BRITISH FORCES GERMANY (BFG)
The 2010 SDSR stated that there was “no longer any operational
requirement” to base UK forces in the country. Thus, the government
decided to accelerate the re-basing of military personnel from
Germany with the aim of returning half of the more than 20,000
personnel to the UK by early 2015. The withdrawal tempo was
increased when the Army Basing Plan was announced in March 2013, a
plan that required all but 4,400 troops should return to the UK by
late 2016. The remaining personnel (mainly logistic and
administrate) are earmarked to return to the UK by the end of 2018.
Latest early 2015 reports suggest that the withdrawal of personnel
from Germany is moving faster than originally planned.
The HQ of 1st (United Kingdom) Division moved to the UK (York) in
early 2015 and this will be the first time since early 1945 that the
UK will not have a divisional headquarters in Germany. At the height
of the Cold War the UK had four divisional headquarters in Germany.
HQ 7th Armoured Brigade moved back to the UK (early 2015) where it
was re-designated as the 7th Infantry Brigade (based in Chilwell)
under the command of 1st (United Kingdom) Division. This will leave
one Brigade Headquarters (20th Armoured Brigade) in Germany until
late 2016 when the Headquarters will move to Bulford and come under
the command of 3 (United Kingdom) Division.
The headquarters of British Forces Germany has moved from
Rheindahlen to Bielefeld and 372 staff are being relocated in an
effort to cut down on the £55 million cost of running the old HQ at
The estimated cost to the public purse of maintaining and operating
bases in Germany in 2010-11 was approximately £190 million. It is
believed that the previous net injection to the German economy from
the UK presence in Germany was around £700 million and following the
return of troops from Germany, a similar sum will be injected back
into the UK economy.
On 1 August 2007 Op BANNER, the military support to the civilian
police in Northern Ireland ended and despite some recent activity by
resurgent Irish Republican factions the Province remains relatively
The worst year for terrorist violence was in 1972 when 131 service
personnel were killed and 578 wounded. At one stage in 1972 there
were over 30,000 service personnel in the Province supported by
another 10,000 police. Overall 763 members of the armed forces and
303 other members of the security forces lost their lives as a
result of the violence in Northern Ireland.
By early 2016 it is believed that the service strength in Northern
Ireland will be approximately 2,000 personnel of whom about 95 per
cent will be from the Army – a figure similar to the personnel
strength in 1969 before the current ‘troubles’ began. The core of
the peacetime garrison is centred around facilities at Ballykinler,
Belfast (Holywood), and Lisburn.
On 1 January 2009 HQ Northern Ireland was disbanded and HQ 38
(Irish) Brigade (Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn) became the Province’s