British Army of the Rhine

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Formal group photograph of British and French officers and commissioners outside the house of the Commander-in-Chief Allied Armies of Occupation, Marienberg.

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.



The first BAOR 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:

II Corps: Commanded by Sir Claud Jacob

  • Light Division (formed from 2nd Division): Commanded by Major-General George Jeffreys
  • Southern Division (formed from 29th Division): Commanded by Major-General William Heneker

IV Corps: Commanded by Sir Alexander Godley

  • Lowland Division (formed from 9th Division)
  • Highland Division (formed from 62nd Division)

VI Corps: Commanded by Sir Aylmer Haldane

  • Northern Division (formed from 3rd Division)
  • London Division (formed from 41st Division)

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

  • Western Division (formed from 1st Division)
  • Midland Division (formed from 6th Division)

X Corps: Commanded by Sir Thomas Morland

  • Lancashire Division (formed from 32nd Division)
  • Eastern Division (formed from 34th Division)

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, 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 is £300,000.[1]

From 1922 the BAOR was organised into two Brigades:

1st Rhine Brigade

  • 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers 1922–1926
  • 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment 1922–1926
  • 2nd Battalion QO Cameron Highlanders 1922–1926
  • 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment 1922–1924
  • 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment 1926–1928
  • 2nd Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers Nov 1926 – Oct 1929
  • 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment 1926–1928

2nd Rhine Brigade

  • 2nd Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s LI 1922–1924
  • 1st Battalion KO Yorkshire LI 1922–1924
  • 2nd Battalion KRRC 1922–1925
  • 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles 1922–1926
  • 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment 1923–1924
  • 2nd Battalion King’s Shropshire LI 1924–1927
  • 1st Battalion Oxford & Bucks LI 1925–1927
  • 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers 1926–1929
  • 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment 1927–1929
  • 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment 1928–1929


Commanders have been:[2]

Other information[edit]

The Cologne Post was a newspaper published for members of the BAOR during this period.


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.

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.

The 1993 Options for Change defence cuts resulted in BAOR being replaced by the 25,000 strong British Forces Germany (BFG) in 1994.

Commanders have been:[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hansard, Debate 10 August 1920 vol 133 cc204-5
  2. ^ a b Army Commands


External links[edit]