Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. It has prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. Tensions between the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led in recent years to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. - US CIA World Factbook


The Belgian Army had approximately 200 AFVs on 10th May 1940 (the date of the German invasion) assigned in "penny packets" to various infantry and cavalry divisions for use as support weapons. The Belgians looked upon their AFVs as defensive weapons.

The Minerva---The Minerva---The Minerva---The photo was sent with the following caption: "a veritable Belgian rolling fortress. This machine gun car charges through the enemy ranks at full speed sprayng them with a hail of bullets." - Photo sent by Ion Fonosch. Photo caption translation by Dr. Andre Maurois.
The Minerva

In August 1914 a soldier named Lt. Henkart gave 2 improvised armored cars to the Belgian army. They were commercial Minerva cars with armored plates added. The Cockerill factory at Hoboken (near Antwerp) made these plates. In 1914, Dutch forces captured one of them when Belgian forces crossed the border when they were retreating from the German invasion. The Dutch army used this vehicle during World War I as a border patrol vehicle. It was returned to the Belgian army in 1919.

Specifications
Crew 3 - 6
Length 16' 1"
Width 5' 9"
Height 9' 4" or 7' 6.5" depending on the source
Weight 4 tons
Armament 1 x Hotchkiss Machine Gun
Engine Minerva - gasoline
Speed 25mph

BelgiumFT17.gif (90157 bytes)---ft17inaction.jpg (40245 bytes)---FT17a.JPG (48885 bytes)
The Renault FT-17/18

The difference is that the FT-18 was equipped with the 37 mm cannon vice the machine gun of the FT-17. The FT-18 was a bit faster (about 1 mph) and a bit heavier armored. Belgium considered the FT-17/18 to be infantry tanks. 75 of this French AFV  remained in service with the Belgian army in 1939.

A note about the FT-18: This model designator has been disputed. However, There were differences between the models produced in 1917 and 1918.


Belgium-Leopold.jpg (58740 bytes)---T-15-3-L.jpg (33402 bytes)
The T15

The Belgian Army employed several tanks built by the British firm of Vickers-Armstrong. The Vickers-Carden-Loyd 6 ton light tank model 1934 (designated T15 by the Belgians) was similar to the British Mks III and IV light tanks, but delivered as a Mark VIc. The T-15 had a two-man crew, a French Hotchkiss 13.2mm MG. Forty-two T-15s were delivered. Their assignments are below:

1st Cavalry Division
Total: 16
4 - 1er Guides 6 - 2de Lansiers 6 - 3de Lansiers
2nd Cavalry Division
Total: 16
6 - 1er Lanciers 6 - 2è Chasseurs à Cheval 4 - 1ste Jagers te Paard
1st Division de Chasseurs Ardennais
Total: 9
3 - 1st Regiment 3 - 2nd Regiment 3 - 3rd Regiment
Tank driving school at Borsbeek near Antwerp (Flanders)
Total: 1
1 unit - -
Additionally, the following units were associated with the 1st Division. Additionally, the following units were associated with the 2nd Division.
1ste Karabiniers Wielrijders
3de Karabiniers Wielrijders
17th Art.Rgt. (Mot.)
2è Carabiniers Cycliste
4è Carabiniers Cycliste
18th Art.Rgt. (Mot.)

In the left photo above (taken on pre war maneuvers), King Leopold is seen with his War Minister General Denys. On May 28, King Leopold ordered a cease fire. The Belgian Cabinet and Parliament refused to accept the Kings decision. Belgian troops fought on bravely. In early June the whole country was finally occupied. This heroic defense brought back memories of WW1 on onlookers throughout the world. King Leopold would eventually be captured by the Germans and sent to a camp in Germany until freed in early 1945 by victorious Allied troops.

The right photo is courtesy of Stefan "Panzermeyer" De Meyer


T13.jpg (18000 bytes)

T13B1-CyF.jpg (33512 bytes)---T-13-B2.jpg (32562 bytes)---T13-B3.jpg (37750 bytes)
The T-13 Models B1, B2, and B3

Very simular to the T-15 except that the unit was armed with a cannon. The unit was considered a tank destroyer and mounted a 47mm cannon. All models had a fully rotating turret with the following exception, models B1 and B2 had to lower the side panels first in order to fully rotate.

Total production for the T-13 is listed below
T-13 B1

Thirty units produced.

T-13 B2

These started their life as non-armed V.C.L. artillery tractors which were modified and equipped with a C.47 turret in 1936. Twenty units produced.

T-13 B3

Entered service 1937. One hundred and fifty units produced.

Photo on the second row left is a B1, center* is a B2, and right, a B3 - courtesy of Stefan De Meyer

* The center photo's tank was found in the cellar of the army museum in Vienna in the 1980s and brought home to Belgium, still showing the original paint! The machine is now fully restored and on display. Note the mudguards on this unit. They are of the 75 degree tilt (although one is bent slightly). The B2 can be seen at the Brussels Tank Museum.

Stefan De Meyer writes...

"Of the first two types there were 56 examples in all and they consisted partly of modified, non-armed Vickers-Carden-Loyd T-13 artillery tractors on which a turret was placed. This means that the B2 type had license numbers which were in the 1100-series while the B.1's were in the 0500-series. Of the B-3 we had some 150 ex (ranging from 33.. to 35..). Exact figures are not yet known and will be hard to define as production went on till the works fell into German hands during the campaign. Some turretless examples (either not finished or driving school examples) escaped as far south as Bordeaux in Southern France. All the T-13s were armed with a Belgian C.47 gun and a 7.65mm F.N.30 MG. These guns were quite good for their time and veterans certified me that they entered the German Pz.Kpfw.IV of 1940 on one side and "left" it on the other side. T-13 B1 were not only found in de Chasseurs Ardennais Rgts but also in the C.C. Rgt.'s and in the 1st Rgt. of Cyclistes Frontière (Border Cycl. Rgt.). T-13 B2: 1-2-3 Rgt. Ch.A./1-2 Rgt.Cy.F./C.C./Bon. (Batallion) Grenswielrijders van Limburg. Chasseurs Ardennais Rgt.'s 1-2-3 (i.e. 1st Div) (not in the second division which had no T-13) had T-13 B1 as well as T-13 B2 as well as T-13 B3 (but this last only in the second Rgt.). T-13 B3 were also in : 2nd Rgt. Cy.F. (Cycliste Frontière) Position Fortifiè de Namur (Company of the fortified position of the town of Namur) Inf. Div. 1-2-3-4-7-8-9-10-11 (12 each per company) C.C. : 1-2-3 Lansiers/1-2 Jagers te Paard/1 Gidsen 1-2 Rgt. Cy.F. T-13 B1 and B2 differed only in minor details of which most visible were: Different angle of rear mudguards (B1 = ca 45° and B2 = ca 75°) Different towing hook system."


ua01.jpg (14183 bytes)---Belg-utilitytractor.jpg (6145 bytes)---VCL-Utility-B.jpg (33254 bytes)

VCL-Utility-Infantry.jpg (39568 bytes)---VCL-Utility-Cavalry.jpg (25121 bytes)---VCL-Utility-Ba.jpg (25854 bytes)---Utility Tractor - Photo taken around 1940.
Utility Tractor

The Belgians used these tractors to tow the C.47 anti-tank gun Mod.1931. Two types were made, an infantry version and a cavalry version. Shown above are cavalry versions. The infantry version did not have a rearward facing seat and were much slower (based on an infantryman's marching pace). Another infantry version had a larger track base. All these vehicles were built under license by the "Familleureux works" at Familleheureux. Ca. 30 miles south of Brussels. The bottom two photos by Olaf Schiltmans and Stefan De Meyer show the greater produced cavalry model. The photo by Stefan De Meyer shows that This example probably served with the Germans after its capture. The "Notek" and the protection for the transmission are German made.

Top Row: Center photo courtesy of Olaf Schiltmans. Right photo courtesy of Stefan De Meyer

Bottom Row: Left - infantry version. Center - cavalry version. Right - Utility B with wide tracks. All courtesy of Stefan De Meyer.

Stefan De Meyer writes about the Infantry Version:

"The infantry vehicle on the photo was photographed in the open-air museum near Trieste (N.E. Italy) during the seventies. The collection belonged to a man named "Henriquez" who preserved a number of axis guns and AFV's in 1945 and formed a museum with them. After his death, at least part of the collection was taken over by the city of Trieste. A ZgKw 8t Sd.Kfz.7 was restored during the nineties. The restoration even formed the subject of an article in "Wheels and Tracks". No one knows exactly what happened to the other vehicles in the collection. Unfortunately I have never seen a trace of this Utility again. I hope it still survives either in Trieste or in one or other private collection as this is, to my knowledge, the only remaining example of the Utility type Infantry."

Do you know what happened to the vehicles? Please email me if you have any information.


(no photo)
GMC Model 38

Used by the cavalry to tow the 47mm anti-tank gun. These were built by General Motors of Antwerp.


belford.jpg (24378 bytes)
Ford/Marmon-Herrington Armored Car

90 Ford chassis built by Ford Antwerp and the armored bodies by "Rageno" at Mechelen (halfway Brussels and Antwerp). They were used by the cavalry to tow the 47mm Anti-Tank gun.


BerlietVUDB.gif (103586 bytes)
Berliet 4x4 VUDB model 1929

This Belgian police AFV was never used in combat.


C.jpg (33407 bytes)
Canon de 47 Antichars SA-FRC (47mm AT Gun)

Officially called the C.47 F.R.C. Mod.31 or (Canon anti-char Fonderie Royale de Canons Modèle 1931). This picture of the Belgian main anti-tank weapon stands in the Brussels Army Museum. At least 750 units were in service in 1940. This is the infantry model with rubber rimmed wheels. The cavalry model had pneumatic rubber tires to allow higher speed and better cross-country performance.


Acg1.jpg (22449 bytes)---BelgAMC-35AGCI.jpg (48334 bytes)---belgamc.jpg (55589 bytes)

ACG-1.jpg (64550 bytes)---AMC35 with it's 47mm gun. This tank was knocked out during the German invasion. Note the 2 shell holes in the turret and one near the driver in the hull.
The ACG-1

The Auto Mitrailleuse de Combat Renault type A.C.G.1 Modèle 1935 or abbreviated, the A.M.C. Renault type A.C.G.1 Mle. 35, was armed with a 47mm canon and a coaxial MG. Twenty-five units were ordered by the Belgians from Renault. Delays in production of the chassis due to technical problems caused slow delivery. Out of the 25, only 12 were accepted for Belgian service due to this delay. Rather than wait for the remaining hulls, Belgium developed the V.C.L. T-13 B3 with the same armament. The V.C.L. T-13 B3 was preferred because of the Belgian neutrality policy that preferred the self-propelled anti-tank gun above a real combat tank.

The chassis' and turrets were assembled in Belgium. The last being a French APX-2 turret (APX = Ateliers de Puteaux), slightly modified as ordered by the Belgians and officially called: APX-2B (B = Belgian).

During the 1940 campaign eight vehicles formed an independent squadron of two platoons and fought some fierce and successful combats. Four vehicles fell victim to German 3.7cm PAK 35/36, two were abandoned after being bogged down and two finished the campaign more or less intact. This was the only "true" tank in the Belgian army. "True", meaning that this vehicle mounted a cannon as it's main weapon.


 

Armor in Belgian Service after the 1944 liberation

Belgian M4A3 105mm.---Belgian M4A3 105mm.---Belgian M4A1 76mm.---Belgian M4A1 76mm.

Belgian M4 Firefly.---Belgian Firefly.---M4 Sherman Crab in Belgian service.
M4 Sherman

no details


(no photo)
M36 Tank Destroyer

no details


Belgian M10.---Belgian M10---Canadian transfer of an M10 to Belgium in 1951. - Photo research by Dennis Berkin.
M10 Tank Destroyer

no details


Bel-M7-105mm.jpg (14650 bytes)---Belgian M7
M7 Priest

no details


M24 being recovered by a M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle (TRV).---Belgian M24 Chaffee Light Tank.
M24 Chaffee

no details


M26 Pershing in Belgian service.
M26 Pershing Medium Tank

no details


Belgian M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle (TRV)
M32 Tank Recovery Vehicle (TRV)

no details


M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle (TRV)
M74 Tank Recovery Vehicle (TRV)

no details


Staghound in Belgian service.
M6 Staghound Armored Car

no details


A.E.C. in Belgian service.
A.E.C. Mark 3 Armored Car

This armored car served with heavy troop sections of Belgian Armored Car Regiments, each had a total of 8 AEC.

Specifications
Crew 4
Length 5.61m
Width 2.7m
Height 2.69m
Weight 12900kg
Armament 1 x 6pdr or 75mm, 1 x Besa MG
Armor 30mm (max)
Engine AEC diesel 6 cyl, 158 hp
Speed 60km/h (road)
Range 400km

WHITE-M3A1-SCOUT-CAR.gif (100798 bytes)---Belgian White Scout Car.
White M3A1 Scout Car

No other information is known.


M5 White Half-Track in Belgian service.
White M5 Half-Track

No other information is known.


M5 Stuart Light Tank in Belgian service.
M5A1 Stuart Light Tank

no details


Daimler Dingo in Belgian service.
Daimler Dingo

no details


Bren Gun Carrier in Belgian service.
Bren Gun Carrier

no details


The Conquest Of Belgium


Belgian War Posters


People who helped make this page possible.

Dennis G. Berkin
Dennis G. Berkin

Ralph D. Norton

Tim Keennon

Alain Conradi

Olaf Schiltmans
Olaf Schiltmans

Stefan "Panzermeyer" De Meyer
Stefan "Panzermeyer" De Meyer

Katya
Katya Kuersteiner

Mark Holloway

Laurent Touchard

Ionica Fonosch
Ionica Fonosch

Dr. Andre Louis Maurois
Dr. André Louis Maurois

Jon Bantick

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Last Update: Thursday, February 13, 2003