British Forces Germany
British Forces Germany (BFG) is the generic name for the three services of the British military, made up of service personnel, UK Civil Servants and dependents (family members), based in Germany. It was first established following the Second World War the largest parts of it becoming known as the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and RAF Germany (RAFG).
|British Forces Germany|
|Branch|| Royal Navy|
Royal Air Force
|Part of||UK Ministry of Defence|
|Brigadier Richard Clements|
It is still the largest concentration of British armed forces permanently stationed outside the United Kingdom. With the end of the Cold War and the Options for Change defence review in the early 1990s, BFG as a whole has been considerably reduced. Since the 1990s, the British presence has centred on the 1st Armoured Division, and supporting elements. With restructuring under the Army 2020 change programme and with units rebasing, the majority of the remaining British service personnel in Germany are part of 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade.
Following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the permanent deployment will end by 2020. As of 1 October 2017[update], there were 3,820 troops still in Germany, down from 19,100 in April 2010.
First established following the Second World War, the forces grew during the Cold War, consisting by the early 1980s of I (BR) Corps made up of four divisions; 1st Armoured Division, 2nd Armoured Division, 3rd Armoured Division and the 4th Armoured Division.
Disbandment of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG) in 1994, following the end of the Cold War and the Options for Change defence review in the early 1990s, reduced the personnel strength of the British Armed Forces in Germany by almost 30,000 with just one division (1st Armoured Division) remaining. The British presence was estimated to have been contributing 1.5 billion Euros annually to the German economy in 2004. Following a further spending review, one brigade was withdrawn and Osnabrück Garrison closed in 2009.
Administrative support for British service personnel in Germany and across Continental Europe was delegated to United Kingdom Support Command (Germany). The four Army garrisons in Germany were under the direct administrative control of UKSC. The General Officer Commanding UKSC also functioned as head of the British Forces Liaison Organisation (Germany), which is responsible for liaising and maintaining relations with German civil authorities. HQ British Forces Germany was formed in January 2012 replacing the United Kingdom Support Command (Germany) (UKSC(G)) and the Germany Support Group (GSG).
Rhine Garrison, which principally comprised HQ British Forces Germany in the Rheindahlen Military Complex and Elmpt Station, also reduced in size; the HQ moved to Bielefeld in July 2013 and other units returned to the UK. The two central garrisons - Gütersloh and Paderborn - combined to form a single "super garrison" called Westfalen Garrison in April 2014.
With the departure of Major General John Henderson in March 2015, the Commanding Officer of British Forces Germany became a brigadier's post, with Brigadier Ian Bell assuming command.
In summer 2015, a further brigade was withdrawn and Bergen-Hohne Garrison closed leaving a minimal presence in the state of Lower Saxony and just one brigade (20th Armoured Infantry Brigade) in North Rhine-Westphalia.
British Forces Germany is concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia. The HQ is located at Bielefeld and 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade is located at Westfalen Garrison. The 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade is currently equipped with Challenger 2 MBTs, Warrior IFVs, AS-90 howitzers, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, armoured personnel carriers, Gazelle and Lynx helicopters.
Off duty lifeEdit
During the height of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, the IRA targeted personnel in Germany between 1988 and 1990. The attacks resulted in the deaths of nine people, including three civilians, and many wounded. As a result, vehicles owned by personnel ceased to have distinct registration plates, which had made them easily identifiable.
Major units as of 2019Edit
Major units included:
- Headquarters, British Forces in Germany
- Headquarters, Bielefeld Station
- Headquarters, Paderborn Station
- 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade Headquarters
- 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Armoured Infantry) at Paderborn
- 26th Regiment, Royal Artillery (Self-Propelled Artillery)
- 1st Armoured Medical Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps
Commanders have included:
General Officer Commanding United Kingdom Support Command (Germany)
- 1994–1995 Major-General Scott Grant
- 1995–1997 Major-General Christopher Drewry
- 1997–2001 Major-General Christopher Elliott
- 2001–2003 Major-General John Moore-Bick
- 2003–2006 Major-General David Bill
- 2006–2009 Major-General Mungo Melvin
- 2009–2012 Major-General Nicholas Caplin
General Officer Commanding British Forces Germany
- 2012–2015 Major-General John Henderson
Commander British Forces Germany
- 2015–2018 Brigadier Ian Bell
- 2018–Present Brigadier Richard Clements
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- Chandler (2003), The Oxford History of the British Army, p. 360
- – Quarterly Location Statistics, 1 October 2017
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- Army commands Archived July 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "'They're Moving Back': New BFG Commander Shuts Down 20 Brigade Rumours". Forces Net. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.