Brief Synopsis from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Forces_Europe

Canadian Forces Europe was the Canadian Forces military formation in Europe during the Cold War. The CF assisted other NATO allies in watching the military activities of Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

Canadian Forces Europe (CFE) consisted of two formations in West GermanyCanadian Forces Base Lahr, with the 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1957-1993), and No. 1 Air Division RCAF at Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen, which later became 1 Canadian Air Group. Both formations closed in the early 1990s with the end of the Cold War.

Canadian Army

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”.[1]

The brigade was renamed 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in May 1968.

Royal Canadian Air Force

To meet NATO‘s air defence commitments during the Cold WarNo. 1 Air Division RCAF was established in Europe in the early 1950s with four Royal Canadian Air Force bases in France and West Germany. These included RCAF Station Marville (No. 1 Wing) and RCAF Station Grostenquin (No. 2 Wing) in France and Royal Canadian Air Force Station Zweibrücken (No. 3 Wing) andRoyal Canadian Air Force Station Baden-Soellingen (No. 4 Wing) in West Germany. These wings consisted of three fighter squadrons each.

RCAF Station Grostenquin was closed in 1964 and its units transferred to RCAF Station Marville. In 1967 Marville was closed after France’s withdrawal from NATO’s military command structure and the units transferred to new RCAF Station Lahr (later CFB Lahr, now Black Forest Airport). RCAF Station Zweibrücken was closed in 1969.

Additional Summary

Extract from

A History of the Canadian Presence in Germany
(by Jasper M. Trautsch, commissioned by the Embassy of Canada in Germany, 2009)

V. Defending the West: Canadian Forces in Germany

A fourth element of the Canadian presence in Germany was the stationing of troops in the western part of the country. While the Canadian government had not wished to have its troops permanently stationed abroad after World War Two, the development of the Cold War made this necessary.

In 1945, the Canadian Cabinet decided to withdraw all its troops (Army and Air Force) from Germany between April and the autumn of 1946. Besides domestic pressure to do so, the refusal of the Occupying Powers to grant Canada any influence on policies on post-war Germany provided a strong reason for this step. As the Cold War intensified, however, and when the Korean War broke out in 1950, the Canadian government realized that the security of Western Europe required Canada also to deploy forces, thus proving its commitment to NATO. In fact, Canada’s decision to send troops to the Federal Republic of Germany by the end of 1951 was primarily an act of “political symbolism”. Western allies had continuously criticized Canada’s lack of commitment, and Canada needed to contribute military forces in order to have a say in western defense policy in Europe.

The Canadian government made it clear that it wished to avoid the status of an Occupying Force and felt that no additional burden should be placed on Germany’s economy, still only slowly recovering. Nevertheless, the Canadian government fully accepted the allies’ view that sovereign power in Western Germany lay with the Allied High Commission and that the government of the Federal Republic had no say in regard to what troops should be stationed there and under what conditions. The West German government took the position that – as Canada wished its troops to come to Germany as part of NATO and not as Occupying Forces – it could use this as a bargaining device to have a say in future troop deployment on German soil. Adenauer thus wanted the provisions of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement of June 19, 1951 to apply to the Canadian Brigade. However, Canadians troops did not come to Germany on the basis of the North Atlantic Pact but under English command, as English auxiliary forces.

In the fall of 1951, Canada finally sent the 27th Infantry Brigade (consisting of 3,500 soldiers) to the Hanover area, under the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine. The members of the Brigade were given the status accorded to members of the Allied Forces, including privileges and immunities from German jurisdiction. Since they were there as allies and not as an occupying power, however, Canada did not receive any compensation from Germany.

In 1953, the 27th Brigade was replaced by the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade and was moved to Soest and Iserlohn. Two years later, the 1st Brigade was replaced by the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. As of 1957, the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade was stationed in Western Germany (until 1993) and subsequently increased in size to 6,700 soldiers.

A second pillar of Canada’s military commitment in Western Europe during the Cold War was the deployment of the 1st Royal Canadian Air Force Air Division (consisting of 12 fast jet squadrons) to France and Western Germany. Due to the substantial cost of this troop deployment, Canada supported German rearmament in the 1950s, in order to be able to cut its own. Consequently, the Air Division was reduced to eight fighter squadrons in the early 1960s. When France left the military command structure of NATO in 1966, the entire division, consisting of 4,250 soldiers and 64 Starfighters was moved to Western Germany in 1967 (Baden-Söllingen and Lahr).

In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau reduced Canadian troop numbers in Germany to 5,000. However, by 1987, the number of Canadian soldiers 15 stationed in Germany had risen again to 7,100. In 1993, most Canadian forces were repatriated. However, the Canadian Forces maintain a small national support unit in Germany, and military personnel are assigned to a number of NATO organizations within Germany. Between 1951 and 1993, more than 100,000 members of Canada’s military forces had served on military bases on German soil.

A Short History of 4 CIBG

When soldiers of the 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade arrived at the Port of Rotterdam aboard the transport ship FAIRSEA in November 1951, they did not realize they were the vanguard of a decades-long commitment to the defence of freedom and stability in Europe.

Known as a Panda Brigade (for Pacific and Atlantic) the 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade (27 CIB) was drawn mainly from militia personnel recruited for Operation Panda. Some units, such as C Sqn, The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD), were from the Regular Force.

27 CIB was succeeded in Germany by 1 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group in October 1953. 1 CIBG included personnel that had served with 27 CIB but was primarily from units from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians)(LdSH(RC)), Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) and included many soldiers who had served in Korea. After a two year tour, it was replaced by 2 CIBG which was in turn replaced in November 1957 with 4 CIBG, a stronger presence that included an armoured regiment of 47 Centurion tanks and an independent RECCE squadron with Ferret Mk 1 scout cars.

In 1962, following the Berlin Crisis the previous year, 4 CIBG was further bolstered with the addition of nine CH 112 Nomad helicopters, the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Helicopter RECCE Troop. With strength peaking at just over 6,700 men in the mid-60s, the Brigade was often referred to as a “light division” by the British. It possessed a full armoured regiment, three mechanized infantry battalions of four rifle companies each, an artillery regiment, an independent RECCE squadron with armoured vehicles and helicopters, nuclear firepower suitable for a division and extensive logistical support.

4 CIBG became 4 Canadian Mechanzied Brigade Group on May 1, 1968, but its strength was substantially reduced into the next decade. It moved from CFB Soest in northeastern Germany to CFB Lahr in the southwest in June 1971.

Source:. The Maple Leaf, September 15, 2004

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
 Posted by at 5:17 am  Add comments