Berlin Infantry Brigade Plaque

After the end of the Second World War, the allies were to permanently garrison troops in Berlin for the next fifty years. The British military contribution was known as the Berlin Infantry Brigade and was to be based in the city from 1953 until 1994. The Berlin Infantry Brigade was formed in October 1953 out of the force called “Area Troops Berlin” and consisted of some 3,100 men in three infantry battalions, an armoured squadron, and a number of support units. Its shoulder sleeve insignia was a red circle over a black background with the word Berlin in red on a black background running around the top. It is this badge that we have today, painted onto a wooden plaque:

These plaques were common souvenir items for troops garrisoned in Berlin, and were also used as gifts for dignitaries from other units and militaries visiting the Infantry brigade.

The Berlin Infantry Brigade was not initially part of the British Army of the Rhine despite being based in Germany. However, it is recorded, at the very least, by the mid-1980s, that the brigade was indeed part of BAOR, being its second major component after I (BR) Corps. One of the most interesting features of the Berlin Infantry Brigade was its attached armoured squadron. The tanks deployed to this squadron were painted in a unique camouflage pattern of white and grey square blocks to better match the urban surroundings in which they were deployed. How effective this camouflage would actually be is open to debate, however it was a popular and distinctive colour scheme and remains popular amongst modellers and military vehicle enthusiasts who like to replicate it. Here we see the Chieftain tanks allocated to Berlin on parade during the Cold War in the camouflage. Note also the badge of the Berlin Infantry Brigade being displayed in a very small badge on the mudguards of each tank:

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