From Cold War to Present Day

The Infantry Brigade Group

The militiamen leaving for Europe in 1951 had signed two-year contracts. As soon as Canada realized that its European stay would be longer than expected, the 27th Brigade Group of the Special Force was renamed the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade Group of the Regular Force, officially established in mid-October 1953. The formations became permanent, and reservists ending their contracts could choose between returning to civilian life and enlisting in the active force. At that time a number of the Regular Force units that had gone to Korea with the 25th Brigade Group were moved to Germany as part of this new Brigade Group that fell under British command in part of the British sector.

In the meantime the 2nd and 3rd Brigade groups formed in the reorganization of 1954 were starting to train. In 1955 the 25th Brigade Group repatriated from Korea became the 4th Infantry Brigade Group. There would now be a brigade reserved for NATO while the other three remained in Canada - two brigades attached to the 1st Canadian Division and the other forming the Mobile Striking Force. A 2nd division was intended to be battle-ready 30 days after a mobilization order was issued.

In 1967 the parts of the air division stationed in France under American command had to leave. They were installed at Lahr, a few kilometres from Baden-Solingen, where Canadian squadrons had been stationed since the mid-1950s. In 1970 what remained of the 4th Brigade Group left its quarters in northern Germany to move with the air force in southern Germany. This made it possible to unify Canada's participation and place it entirely under American command. However, given the cuts in strength and the disappearance of a tactical nuclear role for the army, the Canadian troops found themselves in reserve with a mission that, though important, reflected their limited potential.

After some brigade changes, Canada adopted the following policy: The army formation in Germany would be named the 4th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Group and rotations within it would henceforth be of individuals, not of units. Over the years, Canada had to try to better the lives of its service members and their dependents-for example, by providing schools. All this became extremely expensive. As soon as the Soviet threat was no more, the Canadian overseas effort followed suit.