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Dutch officer commands German panzer battalion for first time

26 October 2017

A Dutch officer has become commander of the German Army’s Panzerbataillon (Tank Battalion) 414 for the first time. The Bundeswehr described this as “historic” and the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MinDef) said it was “a next step” in the integration of the Dutch Army’s 43 Mechanised Brigade into the German 1st Panzer Division.

A German Leopard 2A6 during the change of command ceremony of Panzerbataillon 414 from a German to a Dutch officer on 20 October. (Bundeswehr)A German Leopard 2A6 during the change of command ceremony of Panzerbataillon 414 from a German to a Dutch officer on 20 October. (Bundeswehr)

Germany and the Netherlands have been planning this integration since 2015 and the two countries’ defence ministers signed an agreement on it in 2017.

Panzerbataillon 414 has a 100-strong Dutch tank company with 18 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks and three German panzer companies. The Dutch also contribute personnel to the battalion staff and to the support company.

Brigadier General Jan Swillens, commander of the Dutch 43 Mechanised Brigade, said, “No other combat unit exists of this size with this form of integration, from the low to high level: a Dutch company with German materiel.”

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