Belgium – Military Operations During the Second World War

By | December 26, 2021

Belgium, like Holland, had remained strictly neutral during the first period of the German war, but, mindful of the aggression suffered in 1914, it had never ceased to prepare its defense and to give a more solid structure. to its military body, which, indeed, had been placed on a foot of virtual mobilization since August 1939.

Belgium had a permanent military force of over 90,000 men, with 4,000 officers, and was capable of mobilizing over half a million men. The military forces were divided into four areas: Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, Namur and included 3 army corps on 3 divisions each, the troops for the defense of Limburg and Namur (just over 1 division), 1 corps of swift army, some other minor units. The military aviation, organized on 3 regiments each comprising 2 or 3 groups of squadrons, could have about 300 aircraft. These military forces, on the whole, could be said to be more than sufficient if commensurate with the surface or population of the state, but the geographical situation of this made it extremely vulnerable.

For the defense, therefore, particular reliance was placed on the nature of a part of the border territories and on the fortification works. Along the southern border of Dutch Limburg, for example, stood the Ardennes group, which it was hoped would have hindered or at least delayed any possible invasion of the enemy, which would then have contributed to the destruction of the bridges on the numerous courses of water and the field works built in the sections of them with easier passage. Further north, the greatest assignment for the defense of the national territory was placed on the fortified system of Liège, robust and modern, and from Liège to the north of Givet, on the deep moat of the Meuse.

There had never been real agreements between Belgium and Holland for joint action in the event of a German attack; what was, then, to jeopardize not a little the efficiency of the defense. However, on the basis of the defense studies carried out in the two countries by the respective staffs and communicated to the French and British staffs, it was considered that, on the whole, the forces of the two countries and the defensive arrangements adopted gave sufficient confidence to retain a possible Germanic invasion for a period that would have been enough for the French staff to amass forces to the north capable of facing the adversary, while for the defense of the rest of the French front particular reliance was placed on the Maginot line.

The Liberty. – It took place in the months of September-October 1944. After having occupied almost all of northern France, the allied armies moved decisively towards the Belgian border, which was crossed between the last days of August and early September. Canadian contingents, advancing along the coast, reached Nieuport on the 7th, Ostend on the 9th. The 2nd English army, for its part, advancing over 300 kilometers in less than a week, entered Lille and Brussels on 3 September. and took possession, by surprise action, of the port of Antwerp. He was therefore able to establish, three days later, a bridgehead on the Alberto Canal, constituting the extreme German defensive line in Belgian territory. Further south, the 1st American army took possession of Charleroi and Namur, and on the 7th arrived in Liège. For Belgium democracy and rights, please check

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