4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group


4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was a formation of the Canadian Army, then Mobile Command of the unifed Canadian Forces. The formation served as the main forward deployed land element of Canada's armed forces, and was stationed in West Germany from 1957 until it was disbanded in 1993.

History

Establishment and BAOR

Canada had maintained a presence in Europe as part of the NATO forces since 1951, when 27 Canadian Infantry Brigade was initially deployed to Hannover attached to British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). This formation, which was formed primarily with Militia units, eventually moved to a permanent base at Soest in 1953. To begin with, it was intended to rotate brigades to Germany - 27 CIB was replaced by 1 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group in October 1953, which in turn was replaced by 2 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group in 1955, and then 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group in 1957. The arrival of 4 CIBG saw a significant reinforcement of the formation's capabilities; prior to this each brigade had only been equipped with a squadron of main battle tanks. The arrival of 4 CIBG saw a full armoured regiment equipped with Centurions and an independent brigade reconnaissance squadron with Ferrets. In 1959, when 4 CIBG's tour was due to end, a change was made in the reinformcement policy for Germany. Instead of whole brigades rotating every two years, the decision was made to keep 4 CIBG and its associated brigade units in place, instead rotating the major combat elements to Germany every three years.

The brigade was headquartered in Soest. Individual units were stationed both at Soest and other towns in North Rhine-Westphalia:
*Soest - BHQ, 1 x infantry battalion, service units
*Hemer - 1 x infantry battalion, artillery regiment
*Werl - 1 x infantry battalion, engineer regiment, field ambulance
*Iserlohn - armoured regiment

In 1962, the brigade was reinforced with the addition of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps helicopter recce troop, equipped with nine CH-112 Nomad helicopters. By the mid 1960s, 4 CIBG's manpower totalled 6,700 men; it featured three mechanised infantry battalions, a reconnaissance squadron equipped with both armoured vehicles and helicopters, artillery equipped with both fire support and tactical nuclear weapons, and an extensive logistic operation. The extent of the Canadian operation led to the British describing it as "a light division". [ [http://www.army.gc.ca/lf/English/6_1_1.asp?id=264 Change of Command marks long period of service in Europe] - Canadian Army]

Unification and Drawdown

The presence of the three mechanised infantry battalions led the brigade to be renamed as 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group on 1 May 1968, three months after Canada's three separate armed forces were unified into the single Canadian Forces. Around the same time, a review of Canada's foreign policy was announced by the Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, part of which involved an investigation into the role of 4 CMBG, which was the Canadian military's main overseas asset. The ultimate result of the investigation was the announcement by the Prime Minister, as part of an overall cut in defence spending, to reduce the Canadian military commitment in Europe by half. 4 CMBG would also be re-roled - rather than its attachment as an active part of BAOR, it would become a reserve attached to either the VII (US) Corps or II (GE) Corps, relocating to Lahr in Southern Germany. Most notably, this downsizing and re-roling led to the withdrawal of the tactical nuclear weapons capability. 4 CMBG remained in place as part of NATO's forces throughout the Cold War until the final drawdown of Canada's military presence in Europe when it was disbanded in 1993.

Units serving

The following is a list of major combat units serving in 4 CIBG/4 CMBG:
*Armour
**The Royal Canadian Dragoons - 1957-1959, 1970-1987
**Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) - 1966-1970
**8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) - 1960-1964, 1988-1993
**The Fort Garry Horse - 1962-1966
*Infantry
**1st Battalion, Canadian Guards - 1959-1962
**2nd Battalion, Canadian Guards - 1957-1959
**1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment - 1962-1965
**2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment - 1965-1969
**3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment - 1977-1984, 1988-1993
**1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - 1964-1967
**2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - 1966-1970, 1984-1988
**1er Batallion, Royal 22e Régiment - 1967-1993
**2e Batallion, Royal 22e Régiment - 1965-1969
**1st Battalion, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada - 1960-1964
**2nd Battalion, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada - 1957-1959
**2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada - 1962-1965
**3rd Mechanized Commando, The Canadian Airborne Regiment - 1970-1977
*Artillery
**1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery - 1957-1960, 1967-1993
**2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery - 1964-1967
**3rd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery - 1960-1964

External links

* [http://www.army.gc.ca/lf/English/6_1_1.asp?id=264 Change of Command marks long period of service in Europe]
* [http://baor-locations.com/canada.aspx Canadian Infantry Brigade, British Army of the Rhine 1951-1971, Outline Deployment]
* [http://library.uvic.ca/site/spcoll/Mil/VOHC_2008/NTaschuk.pdf 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group: Significance of A NATO Force in Germany]


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