Welcome to DECODED, a blog site for those interested in the period of history between the end of the Second World War and the final reunification of Berlin, Germany. This site is maintained by a Cold War history enthusiast, for other Cold War history enthusiasts and will be a source of information from both sides of the Cold War for history enthusiasts, political science fans, researchers, military history collectors and military veterans alike. Please visit the site regularly for updates. This site by no means is to represent or endorse any political agenda or ideology, information contained within is strictly used for the purpose of education and preservation of history for future generations. Thank you for visiting my blog, and welcome to the brink...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Small Nation, Big Responsibility: The Army of Luxembourg in West Germany

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small landlocked country in Europe bordered by the Republic of France, Kingdom of Belgium and the Federal Republic of Germany. After losing its government policy of neutrality when Germany invaded Luxembourg on its way to invading France in 1940, the small country spent five years under German occupation until being liberated by the western allies in September 1944. Following liberation, the restored national government introduced a policy of obligatory national military service. The 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalions were established at Walferdange and Dudelange, Luxembourg. In 1948 Luxembourg signed the mutual European defense agreement the Treaty of Brussels alongside several of its future NATO allies. On 4 April 1949, Luxembourg joined NATO.

The small Luxembourg Army took responsibility for occupational duties in part of the authorized French Zone of Occupation with elements of the 2nd Infantry Battalion occupying facilities in Bitburg and a detachment of the 1st Infantry Battalion occupying facilities in Saarburg in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of West Germany. Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion remained in Bitburg until 1955 when West German officially established its own federal armed force the Bundeswehr.

With such a small land area, Luxembourg's Army was never very large in size however it did contribute defense forces to the NATO command structure. In 1961, the 1st Artillery Battalion was authorized for use by NATO. The Battalion was comprised of three firing gun batteries each equipped with six 105mm field howitzers. In 1963, the unit was attached to the United States Army 8th Infantry Division of United States Army in Europe. The Artillery Battalion was later disbanded in 1967.

Following the disbandment of the 1st Artillery Battalion, a new 1st Infantry Battalion was redesignated following the abolishment of national military service in Luxembourg. The Battalion was comprised of a Headquarters and Service unit, two Mechanized Infantry companies, and a Reconnaissance Company of two Recce platoons and an Anti-Tank platoon. In this entity, the 1st Infantry Battalion became a part of NATO's Allied Command Europe Mobile Force-Land often referred to as ACE Mobile Force-Land which was a small quick rapid reaction force headquartered in Heidelberg, West Germany. Its deployment spectrum ranged from Germany to Norway and Turkey.

In 1985, the 1st Infantry Battalion was reorganized and replaced by a reinforced company designated as part of the ACE Mobile Force Company with two Recce platoons and an Anti-Tank platoon. It also included a Forward Air Control team, logistical support elements and medical support elements. 

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