- "Belgium is a nation, not a road."-King Albert I, giving a defiant warning to Kaiser Wilhelm II
The Belgian Armed Forces are the military of Belgium. The Belgian military is operated as a single unified command consisting of the Land Component, Air Component, Naval Component, and Medical Component.
The Belgian military was formed after Belgium acheived independence from the Netherlands in 1830. Belgium was neutral in most international disputes and conflicts through much of it's early history. The Belgian Army would mobilize anytime a conflict got to close to home. However, there were exceptions to this rule and the Belgians did deploy some forces in overseas conflicts.
Belgium stuck to its neutrality at the start of World War I. It mobilized its forces as a deterrent, but did not support the Entente or Central Powers. Unfortunately, Imperial Germany had other plans.....
The Germans believed that launching an invasion of Belgium and using it as a road towards northern France would catch the Allies off guard and give them an advantage. Despite being out numbered at least 5 to 1 , the Belgians managed to resist the invasion with fierce determination and held off the Germans at Liege, Antwerp and other places for more than a month. The Germans were stunned at the ferocity of the Belgians, many of them believed they would be no threat to the Kaiser's Army. Unfortunately, the Belgian defenses eventually caved under relentless German pressure and soon the Germans controlled most of the country, with only a small sliver remaining free. King Albert I personally led the Belgian Army in the free zone, getting aid from Britain. The Belgians' defense at Liege was not in vain however. The time it bought allowed the French to reposition their troops, and when the Germans finally made it through into France the French stopped their advance in the First Battle of the Marne.
After the war, the Belgian government failed to improve the military's preparedness, choosing to ignore more modern weapons like tanks or airplanes and instead focused all attention of beefing up defenses at Liege and Antwerp even though this strategy had failed in the Great War.
When the next World War broke out Belgium again did not take sides but found itself once again invaded by Germany. The Nazis quickly overran the country and the government fled to Britain and King Leopold III was taken captive. At the time of the invasion about 20% of Belgium's male population was in the military, most of them were kept as prisoners of war. A small number of Belgian troops were evacuated at Dunkirk with the British Expeditionary Force. Throughout the war Belgians fled the occupied country for Britain and joined the Free Belgian Forces. A number of Belgian units were created. The 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, which was known famously as Brigade Piron and could possibly be the Trope Namer, participated in the D-Day Landings and continued fighting during and after the liberation of their country. After Germany's surrender the Belgians had their own small occupation zone within the British Zone of defeated Germany.
After the war the Belgians scrapped their old neutrality policy and forged an alliance with the rest of the Western Allies. This led to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which became headquartered in Brussels. The Belgians followed up on this alliance by sending a force to fight in the Korean War. The Belgians have also participated in NATO missions in the Balkans and in the War on Terror in Afghanistan.
The Land Component
The Land Component is known for the unique camouflage pattern worn by it's soldiers, often called the ""jigsaw" or "brushstroke" pattern because of it's resemblance to a puzzle or canvass.
Belgium has acheieved notoriety for the invention of the famed FN series of assault rifles and pistols, being manufactured by the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal. The FN FAL was adopted by the militaries of many of Belgium's NATO allies. Currently the FN SCAR is set to become the standard assault rifle of Belgium around 2015-2017.
Vehicles used include the MOWAG Pirahna, the Pandur I, and the Dingo 2.
The Naval Component
The Naval Component currently has two frigates, 6 minesweepers, and 6 support ships. Two of which are royal yachts.
The Air ComponentThe primary aircraft of the Air Component is the American-made F-16 Falcon.
The Medical ComponentExactly What It Says on the Tin. This branch is responsible for all medical services in the armed forces. It can also be expected to be on the ground in any humanitarian crisis.
Belgian Armed Forces in fiction
- They are referenced in an episode of Recess. When Gus is having problems with a bully at school, he asks his father, a U.S. Army officer, a "hypothetical" question about what would happen if a "big country" started attacking a "little country". His father proceeds to tell him the story of how Belgium stood up to the invasion by Imperial Germany in World War I. Of course, only after Gus is inspired to stand up to his bully does his father clarify what really happened to Belgium when they fought against Germany: they got the stuffing kicked out of them.
- In Independence Day, a Belgian contingent is mentioned to have been lost in the Sinai Peninsula, after fighting alongside British, Israeli, Egyptian, and Iraqi forces against the aliens.