Germany

What Assets Do British Forces Have In Germany?

Some British troops began leaving Germany in 2013 as part of the Army Basing Programme.

Following the end of the Second World War, British Forces maintained a presence on German territory for decades.

Representatives of all three services were deployed to the central European country together with UK civil servants, taking the name of British Forces Germany (BFG).

As the Cold War years advanced, the number of British military personnel in Germany and their missions varied according to the broader geo-political situation.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany and the fall of the USSR, British Forces Germany started slowly leaving the country.

Nearly two decades later, in 2004, there were still about 25,000 British troops on German soil.

However, the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 set out plans to "withdraw all forces from Germany by 2020".

In 2021, these are the military assets British Forces still have in the central European country.

Paderborn and Sennelager

Elements of the British Army and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) are still present at the Normandy Barracks and at the Athlone Barracks in Paderborn, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

According to the British Army, the following elements are based at the Normandy Barracks:

  • Commander British Army Germany
  • Germany Enabling Office
  • Germany Support Unit
  • Sennelager Training Centre
  • Command and Staff Trainer
  • Combined Arms Tactical Trainer
  • 23 Amphibious Engineer Squadron Royal Engineers
  • Exercising Troops accommodation

Meanwhile, Exercising Troops technical accommodation and the Land Training Fleet are based at Athlone Barracks.

Land Training Fleet Sennelager can house a 140-strong fleet.

Mönchengladbach and Wulfen

A location in Mönchengladbach, not too far from the Dutch border, is used as a vehicle storage depot by the Army.

Wulfen, a village in Saxony-Anhalt, is used as a munitions storage facility, according to the British Army.

Army Basing Programme

As of 2010, the United Kingdom still had a "major military presence" in Germany, with 20,000 service personnel and their families still based in the country.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review of the same year stated that there was no longer "any operational requirement for UK forces to be based there" and set the target to "withdraw all forces from Germany by 2020".

The Army Basing Programme (ABP) was announced in March 2013 and it was set up as a joint effort by the Army and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in May of the same year.

A total of £1.8bn was assigned to the programme, with the aim of investing it in infrastructure to welcome back troops and their families on their return from Germany and save £240m a year once the drawdown is complete.

More than 900 new homes have been built on Salisbury Plain as part of the Army Basing Programme.

The ABP has seen the construction of more than 1,000 family homes and 4,500 single-living accommodation spaces.

Existing sites have also been refurbished, including those at Catterick, Tidworth, Larkhill and Bulford.

According to the British Army, 82% of the 20,000 service personnel based in Germany and their families have relocated back to the United Kingdom since 2010.

In 2018, then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that about 185 Army personnel and 60 MOD civilians would remain in Germany after the withdrawal of British Army units to the UK has been completed.

The final units left in the country are currently based in Paderborn and Sennelager and will relocate to new facilities in Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, in the final phase of the Army Basing Programme.

Salisbury Plain now has more than 900 new homes, as well as dozens of new workshops and garages, messes, regimental headquarters, gyms and sports pitches, as well as road improvement schemes.