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British Army of the Rhine


British Army of the Rhine

British Army of the Rhine
Active 1919–1929
Country United Kingdom
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch British Army Flag British Army
Part of UK Ministry of Defence
Garrison/HQ JHQ Rheindahlen, Germany

There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.


  • History 1
    • 1919–1929 1.1
      • Commanders-in-Chief 1.1.1
    • 1945–1994 1.2
    • Commanders-in-Chief 1.3
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5



Formal group photograph of British and French officers and commissioners outside the house of the Commander-in-Chief Allied Armies of Occupation, Marienberg
18th Hussars in Cologne, 6 December 1918.
Field Marshal Lord Plumer, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief the British Army of the Rhine, taking the salute from the 29th Division entering Cologne by the Hohenzollern Bridge
Two tanks passing through Cologne for inspection by the VI Corps Commander, General Aylmer Haldane, June 1919

The first British Army of the Rhine was set up in March 1919 to implement the occupation of the Rhineland. It was originally composed of five corps, composed of two divisions each, plus a cavalry division:[1]

II Corps: Commanded by Sir Claud Jacob

IV Corps: Commanded by Sir Alexander Godley

VI Corps: Commanded by Sir Aylmer Haldane

IX Corps: Commanded by Sir Walter Braithwaite and later by Ivor Maxse

X Corps: Commanded by Sir Thomas Morland

Cavalry Division (formed from 1st Cavalry Division)

However most of these units were progressively dissolved, so that by February 1920 there were only regular battalions:

In August 1920 Winston Churchill told the British Parliament that the BAOR consisted of approximately 13,360 troops, consisting of staff, cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, infantry, machine gun corps, tanks, and the usual ancillary services. The troops were located principally in the vicinity of Cologne at an approximate cost per month of £300,000.[2] The Cologne Post was a newspaper published for members of the BAOR during this period.

From 1922 the BAOR was organised into two brigades:[1]

1st Rhine Brigade

2nd Rhine Brigade


The commanders were:[3]


Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein recording a radio broadcast to mark the change over of British Liberation Army to British Army of the Rhine
A Warrior tracked armoured vehicle as used by the thirteen mechanised infantry battalions of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Armoured Divisions of the British Army of the Rhine during the period 1988 - 1994

The second British Army on the Rhine was formed on 25 August 1945 from 21st Army Group. Its original function was to control the corps districts which were running the military government of the British zone of occupied Germany. After the assumption of government by civilians, it became the command formation for the troops in Germany only, rather than being responsible for administration as well.[4]

As the potential threat of Soviet invasion across the North German Plain into West Germany increased, BAOR became more responsible for the defence of West Germany than its occupation. It became the primary formation controlling the British contribution to NATO after the formation of the alliance in 1949. Its primary combat formation was British I Corps. From 1952 the commander-in-chief of the BAOR was also the commander of NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) in the event of a general war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The BAOR was formerly armed with tactical nuclear weapons.[5]

The 1993 Options for Change defence cuts resulted in BAOR being replaced by the 25,000 strong British Forces Germany (BFG) in 1994.[6] Garrisons which closed at this time included Soest (home of the 6th Armoured Brigade),[7] Soltau (home of the 7th Armoured Brigade)[8] and Minden (home of the 11th Armoured Brigade).[9]


The commanders were:[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b Rinaldi, Richard (2006). "The Original British Army of the Rhine" (PDF). Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Hansard, Debate 10 August 1920 vol 133 cc204-5
  3. ^ a b Army Commands
  4. ^ "British Army of the Rhine". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "BAOR (Tactical Nuclear Weapons)". Hansard. 30 January 1963. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "From occupiers and protectors to guests". BBC. 20 July 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Salamanca Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bournemouth Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Kingsley Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 


  • The Original British Army of the Rhine by Richard A. Rinaldi
  • Peter Blume : BAOR – Vehicles Of The British Army Of The Rhine – Fahrzeuge der Britischen Rheinarmee – 1945–1979 Tankograd 2006.
  • Peter Blume : BAOR : The Final Years – Vehicles Of The British Army Of The Rhine – Fahrzeuge der Britischen Rheinarmee – 1980–1994 Tankograd 2007.
  • T.J. Gander : British Army of the Rhine Ian Allan Publishing, Londres 1984.
  • Thomas Laber : British Army of the Rhine – Armored Vehicles on exercise, Concord Publications, Hong Kong 1991.
  • Carl Schulze : British Army Of The Rhine, Diane Pub Co 1995.
  • Graham Watson & Richard A. Rinaldi : The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947–2004 , Tiger Lily Publications LLC 2005.

External links

  • Royal Engineers Museum Royal Engineers and the British Army of the Rhine
  • BAOR Locations British Army of the Rhine Locations
  • British Army Locations from 1945 British Army Locations from 1945
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