Franco-Belgian military partnership

The Chief of the French Army, General Jean-Pierre Bosser, and his newly appointed Belgian counterpart, Major General Marc Thys, signed a letter of intent on 5 April calling for the creation of a partnership between the 7th French Armoured Brigade (known as the 7e BB) and the Belgian Median Brigade.

This agreement will see both units strengthen their ties “in the areas of education, training, and exchanging knowledge and personnel,” according to the Belgian Land Component. This partnership is not insignificant as both the 7e BB and the Median Brigade, respectively based in Besançon (eastern France) and Bourg-Léopold (eastern Belgium), are primarily designed to participate in high intensity, lengthy operations.

Soldiers of the Prince Baudouin Grenadiers training at the Courtine training ground in France (Photo credit: Belgian MoD)

This letter of intent merely formalises practices that are already widespread between the French and Belgian military. Thus, at the time of writing, more than 420 soldiers of the Median Brigade are completing two weeks of training at the Courtine training ground in France.

The Median Brigade is currently the most important of the Belgian Land Component’s two brigades. This bilingual Franco-Flemish unit consists of five battalions: four line infantry battalions (Regiment 12th of the Line Prince Léopold; 13th of the Line Liberation; 5th of the Line Prince Baudouin Grenadiers; Ardennese Hunters) and an armoured battalion (1/3 Lancers’ Battalion). Made up of “manoeuvre troops“, the Median Brigade is entirely motorised with a fleet consisting essentially of Piranha IIIC wheeled armoured vehicles and Dingo II light armoured vehicles.

Following the integration of the 519 soldiers of the 12th/13th of the Line in January, the current strength of the Median Brigade now exceeds 2,500 men and women.