The Luxembourg Army



The Militia (1817-1841)

On 8 January 1817, the King-Grand Duke William I published a constitutional law governing the organization of the Militia, the main provisions of which were to remain in force until the Militia was abolished in 1881.

The law provided for an establishment of some 3,000 men. Up until 1840, Luxembourg’s militiamen served in units of the Royal Netherlands Army.

Militiamen served for 5 years. After an initial year of active service, conscripts were mobilized for only three months in each of the remaining years.

Note: Between 1830 and 1839, the agreements governing the Militia were not implemented in Luxembourg owing to the momentous political developments occurring in Holland and Belgium.

The Federal Contingent (Contingent Fédéral) (1841-1867)

When in 1839 William I became a party to the Treaty of London, the Grand Duchy was severed from what is now the Belgian Province of Luxembourg losing 160,000 inhabitants in the process. As a result, the size of the Militia was halved.

Under the terms of the Treaty of London, Luxembourg and the newly formed Duchy of Limburg, both members of the Germanic Confederation, were together required to provide a Federal Contingent. This was the origin of the Luxembourg Contingent, whose 1,319 regulars, 220 first line reservists and 439 second line reservists were distributed among the following units:

  1. a light infantry battalion garrisoned in ECHTERNACH,
  2. a cavalry squadron stationed in DIEKIRCH, and
  3. an artillery detachment in ETTELBRUCK.

In 1846, the Royal Grand Ducal decree of 25 November disbanded the cavalry and artillery units and the Luxembourg Contingent was separated from the Limburg Contingent. The establishment increased to 1,602 men divided into two light infantry battalions. The reserve comprised two companies totaling 533 men and a 267-strong depot company. The first battalion was garrisoned in ECHTERNACH and the second in DIEKIRCH.

In 1866, the Austro-Prussian war resulted in the dissolution of the Germanic Confederation. When the Treaty of London was signed at the London Conference on 11 May 1867, the Grand Duchy ceased to belong to the Germanic Confederation. Luxembourg was declared neutral in perpetuity, that neutrality being guaranteed by the signatory powers.

The Prussian garrison left the fortress in 1867 and on 9 September of the same year the two Luxembourg light infantry battalions entered the capital.

The Luxembourg Light Infantry Corps (Corps des Chasseurs Luxembourgeois) (1867-1881)

The new military organization was established through a Royal Grand Ducal decree of 10 September 1867.

The troops were organized in two battalions known as the Corps des Chasseurs Luxembourgeois, with a total of 1,568 officers and other ranks.

The law of 18 May 1868 provided for a contingent comprising one light infantry battalion divided into 4 companies totaling 500 men (excluding officers and NCOs). Finally, in 1881, the law of 16 February disbanded the light infantry battalion owing to the abolition of the militia-based system.

The Gendarmes and Volunteers Corps (Corps des Gendarmes et Volontaires) (1881-1944)

The new corps established under the law of 16 February 1881 marked the beginnings of the wholly national Luxembourg Army ("Force Armée Luxembourgeoise"). This national characteristic of the corps explains why the centenary of the Armed Force was celebrated in 1981.

  1. The Gendarmes and Volunteers Corps comprised two companies under a single command:
  1. a 125-strong company of gendarmes;
  2. a company of volunteers garrisoned in Luxembourg comprising 140 - 170 privates and NCOs.

In times of crisis, the strength could increase to 250.

The officer corps numbered 9 officers, to whit:

1 major (commanding officer)

2 captains (company commanders)

4 - 6 subalterns.

The military band comprised 39 musicians including its director of music.

After 1881, the military organization remained unchanged until 1938 when the Grand Ducal decree of 30 September increased the number of volunteers to 300.

The Grand Ducal decree of 24 February 1939 provided for yet another reorganization of the company of volunteers, its establishment being augmented to include 6 officers, 2 warrant officers, 2 staff sergeants, 12 sergeants, 24 corporals, 57 lance-corporals and 200 privates. The Grand Ducal decree of 15 September 1939 established a 125-strong corps of auxiliary volunteers which was attached to the company of volunteers.

When in 1940 the international situation further deteriorated on the eve of the Second World War, the Luxembourg Army comprised 13 officers and 255 gendarmes in the gendarmes company and the 425 men of the volunteers company augmented by the auxiliary volunteers.

The Luxemburgers of the "PIRON Brigade"

Further to the agreements signed by the Luxembourg government in exile in London with the British government, with the Belgian government in exile and the Free French government, a group of seventy Luxembourg volunteers was assigned in March 1944 to the "Artillery Group" of the 1st Belgian "Liberation" Brigade (also known as the "Piron Brigade").

The brigade, commanded by Belgian Major B. DE RIDDER, incorporated these Luxemburgers into its ranks as the LUXEMBOURG BATTERY.

It was placed under the command of Belgian officers: Lieutenants P. RAQUET and J. DANKAERT. Later, from August 1944 onwards, these officers were assisted by Luxemburgish officer cadets L. JACOBY, J. JUTTEL and R. WINTER, who had in the meantime passed through Officer Cadets Training Units (OCTUs) in England.

Battery sergeant-major M. KRIER and four bombardiers (W. DOERFEL, J.P. PUTZ, E. WAGNER and A. GOEREND) together with a few other NCOs and half of the other ranks had already received proper military training and had gained some experience in North Africa with the French Foreign Legion. The other soldiers were either escapees or men who had evaded the Wehrmacht draft and had reached England.

When it landed in Normandy (on 6 August 1944) the Luxembourg unit comprised 3 Luxemburgish officer cadets, 9 NCOs and 68 other ranks.

In September 1944, forty-six additional Luxembourg volunteers joined the Piron Brigade in the Belgian theatre of operations after rapid training in England. A number of the latter were assigned to a special unit, the Scout Section, while others joined the Luxembourg Battery, the armored car unit or the infantry.

The Luxembourg Battery was equipped with four howitzers - known as "25 pounders" on account of their caliber - with a maximum range of 12 km. Thanks to their special platform, the guns could be unlimbered in 3 minutes, and were rapidly prepared to fire in any direction.

The guns were towed by special Morris vehicles with ammunition trailers.

The Luxembourg Battery’s guns were named after Princesses Elisabeth, Marie-Adelaide, Marie-Gabrielle and Alix.

The Post-Liberation Luxembourg Army (1944-1967)



On the eve of the Liberation, the Grand Ducal decree signed in London on 14 June 1944 suspended the provisions of the law of 16 February 1881. Recruitment was now possible through calls for volunteers and, if necessary, conscription.

On 30 November 1944, obligatory military service was introduced by Grand Ducal decree. The decree was amended and supplemented by that of 4 July 1945.

In July 1945, the 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalions were established, one stationed in Walferdange and the other in Dudelange. At that time, the Luxembourg Army had a total establishment of some 2,150 men and comprised two infantry battalions and the Grand Ducal Guard Company, established earlier in March 1945 and garrisoned in the Saint-Esprit barracks in Luxembourg City.

In November 1945, the Luxembourg Army took charge of part of the French zone of occupation in Germany, the 2nd Battalion occupying part of the Bitburg district and a detachment from the 1st Battalion part of the Saarburg district. The 2nd Battalion remained in Bitburg until 1955.

The ministerial order of 15 July 1946 laid down the responsibilities of the various bodies through which the Armed Force Minister directed and exercised command over the army.

Those bodies were:

  1. the General Inspectorate of the Army;
  2. the Army Staff.

The "Military Administration" was superintended by the Army Chief of Staff and comprised all of the Army’s administrative services, which were subdivided as follows :

  • Army Staff Department
  • Audit and Treasury Department
  • Personnel and Recruitment Department
  • Health and Hygiene Department
  • Quartermaster's Department
  • Transport and Garaging Department.

The Army was constituted as follows :

  1. a Grand Ducal Guard Corps, to which the Military Band is attached;
  2. two infantry battalions.

Each battalion comprised 43 officers, 136 NCOs and 830 corporals and privates, totaling 1,009 men.

The total establishment of the Army was 2,159.

Luxembourg signed the Pact of Five in Brussels in March 1948, then the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. The law governing the organization of the military was voted in 1952.

Article 37 thereof provided that the Army should comprise:

  • a General Inspectorate,
  • an Army Staff,
  • an Army Command,
  • a Home Command,
  • a Services Directorate,
  • regular units,
  • inactive list and reserve units.

On 27 June 1950, the Security Council recommended that the United Nations member states should provide the Republic of Korea with the necessary assistance to repel the armed attack by North Korea of 25 June 1950.

Sixteen countries, including Luxembourg, decided in succession to send armed forces to assist the Republic of Korea.

The Belgian detachment, into which the Luxembourg contingent was incorporated, formed in Camp Beverloo on 1st October 1950 and embarked at ANTWERP on 18 December 1950 after intensive training. This Belgo-Luxemburgish Unit was known as the "Belgian United Nations Command" or the "Korean Volunteer Corps".

Having arrived in Korea on 31 January 1951, the Belgo-Luxemburgish battalion was attached to the US 3rd Infantry Division and was to remain with them most of the time.

The battalion never attained its projected establishment of 900. It was comprised of volunteers, regulars and reservists. In Korea, the battalion was gradually augmented with Korean troops. The first Luxembourg contingent of 43 volunteers was placed under the command of Lieutenant Jos WAGENER and was attached to A Company as its 3rd Platoon. The following NCOs were on the strength: Warrant Officer Walter STEFFEN, Staff Sergeants Robert MULLER and Aloyse FRANK and Sergeant Louis PETERS. This first contingent remained in theatre until 30 September 1951.

The second Luxembourg contingent under the command of Lieutenant Rudy LUTTY comprised 46 volunteers. It arrived on 24 March 1952 and was to remain until early 1953. The NCOs were Sergeants Robert FEIEREISEN, Jos STURM, Ernest GOLDSCHMIT, Robert MORES, Eugène JANS and Robert HATTO.

The Belgian and Luxemburgish volunteers distinguished themselves in particular in the actions on the IMJIN river, at "HAKTANG-NI" and "CHATKOL". The Belgo-Luxemburgish detachment suffered many losses. Two Luxemburgers, Sergeant R. MORES and Corporal R. STUTZ, were killed and 17 were wounded.

The Belgo-Luxemburgish battalion was disbanded in August 1955. Korea erected a monument in its honor in DONG-DU-CHON.

Creation of the GTR (1954-1959)

The size of the Luxembourg Army peaked in 1954 when the Regimental Tactical Group ("Groupement Tactique Régimentaire" - GTR) was established as Luxembourg’s contribution to NATO.

The GTR comprised:

  1. three infantry battalions (each comprising 35 officers, 121 NCOs and 753 privates, totaling 909 men);
  2. one artillery battalion (44 officers, 110 NCOs and 421 gunners, totaling 575 men);
  3. one services company (8 officers, 33 NCOs and 145 privates, totaling 186 men);
  4. one medical company (9 officers, 39 NCOs and 171 privates, totaling 219 men);
  5. one transport company (4 officers, 19 NCOs and 147 privates, totaling 170 men);
  6. one signals company (5 officers, 11 NCOs and 101 privates, totaling 117 men);
  7. one company of engineers (9 officers, 28 NCOs and 205 privates, totaling 242 men);
  8. one heavy mortar company (6 officers, 27 NCOs and 147 privates, totaling 180 men);
  9. one reconnaissance company (5 officers, 16 NCOs and 110 privates, totaling 131 men);
  10. one headquarters company (25 officers, 30 NCOs and 150 privates, totaling 205 men).


On a war footing, the GTR consequently required 220 officers, 676 NCOs and 3,856 privates, totaling 4.752 men.

A logistics support group was attached to the GTR. The group comprised a triage and evacuation of wounded company, a materiel company and a quartermaster company. The group’s overall establishment was 20 officers, 74 NCOs and 273 privates, totaling 367 men.

Together with its logistics support group, the GTR had a theoretical establishment of 5,119.

In addition to the GTR, the Army also included the Home Command comprising the following units:

  1. one headquarters company (27 officers, 42 NCOs and 114 privates, totaling 183 men);
  2. one company of military police (5 officers, 18 NCOs and 118 privates, totaling 141 men);
  3. one movements and transportation company (16 officers, 37 NCOs and 161 privates, totaling 214 men);
  4. one static guard battalion (34 officers, 110 NCOs and 910 privates, totaling 1,054 men);
  5. one mobile battalion (38 officers, 138 NCOs and 842 privates, totaling 1,018 men);


The total establishment of the Home Command was 2,607.

The intended establishment of the General Staff was 63 officers, 86 NCOs and 250 men.

The General Staff was located in the WALFERDANGE barracks.

The projected establishment of the DIEKIRCH and WALFERDANGE training center with its various technical services (CAPELLEN and WALDHOF) was 2,300.

The projected overall wartime establishment was 10,400. That figure was never reached; only the GTR, the General Staff and the essential logistics and technical services became operational.

With the exception of the GTR and parts of the infrastructure (General Staff, DIEKIRCH training center, essential technical services), the other formations were to remain purely theoretical.

The GTR was disbanded in 1959.

The Artillery Battalion and the Territorials (1959-1967)

In 1961, a light artillery battalion (105 mm) was placed at NATO’s disposal.

From the end of 1961 onwards, the core of the new unit was operational in DIEKIRCH. The battalion was equipped with eighteen 105 mm howitzers from the former GTR artillery battalion. The battalion’s order of battle shows 32 officers, 110 NCOs and 308 gunners, totaling 450 men.

The artillery unit was to be comprised of volunteers.

In 1963, the battalion was attached to the US 8th Infantry Division stationed in FRG.

In addition to the contribution to NATO in the form of the artillery battalion, a force of Territorials was also established.

  1. Its projected wartime establishment was 3,511 and was meant to comprise:
  1. one mobile battalion, whose mission was general protection of the national territory (38 officers, 138 NCOs and 842 privates, totaling 1,018 men);
  2. one static guard battalion, whose mission was to protect vulnerable points in the nation (36 officers, 120 NCOs and 826 privates, totaling 982 men);
  3. one movements and transportation company (16 officers, 37 NCOs and 161 privates, totaling 214 men);
  4. one company of military police (5 officers, 15 NCOs and 118 privates, totaling 138 men);
  5. one observation and intelligence battalion (34 officers, 60 NCOs and 388 privates, totaling 482 men);
  6. one signals company (11 officers, 59 NCOs and 272 privates, totaling 342 men);
  7. one headquarters company (36 officers, 61 NCOs and 238 privates, totaling 335 men);

The majority of these units were reserve formations.

Additionally, a technical services base and its directing staff were located in CAPELLEN.

Finally, it should be noted that the Grand Ducal Guard, which had remained entirely independent at the time of the GTR, was attached to the Home Command. It was stationed in WALFERDANGE then in CAPELLEN. In 1966, it was disbanded and its taskings transferred to and performed by the artillery battalion.

The Artillery Battalion and the Home Command together with the Army Training Center located in DIEKIRCH took their orders from Army Headquarters in WALFERDANGE castle.

Compulsory Military Service: Some Figures

Although compulsory military service was introduced with the Grand Ducal decree of 30 November 1944, as amended and supplemented by that of 4 July 1945, it was not until 9 July 1945 that the first conscripts of the 1945 year group were called up.

Between 1945 and 1967, the duration of national service was not the same for all year groups.

The legal requirement varied from 6 to 12 months, and the last batch of conscripts from the 1947 year group only served for 3 months.

Year Group
Duration of National Service
1925 - 1928
12 months
1929 - 1931
6 months
1932 - 1945
12 months
9 months
6 months

Some 34,700 Luxembourg national servicemen called up from year groups 1925 - 1947 served with the colors.

B. TODAY’S ARMY (from 1967 to the present)

The law of 29 June 1967 ended compulsory military service and re-organized the Army as follows:



The legally prescribed mission of the Army is integrated within the broader mission of the Force Publique (Public Force), which can be expressed as follows:

For purposes of defending the national territory against foreign enemies and to preserve order and peace therein, the State must have at its disposal the physical assets without which the exercise of sovereign power - in terms of power to command - would encounter insurmountable difficulties’ (Pierre MAJERUS "L'État Luxembourgeois", 1983 page 302).

The assets in question - the Public Force - include the Gendarmerie and the Police as well as the Army.

The above statement of purpose entails the following missions for the Army:

  • In the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and pursuant to the agreements to which Luxembourg is a party, participating in collective defense through the provision of a contingent.
  • Defending national territory.
  • Providing logistics support for and ensuring the safety of Allied Forces stationed in or in transit through Luxembourg pursuant to LOC/HNS agreements.
  • Participating in controls, inspections and observer missions provided for in the CFE and Open Skies treaties.
  • Participating in WEU activities.
  • Participating in humanitarian aid operations.
  • Participating in peacekeeping operations.
  • Reinforcing the police should the need arise.
  • Preparing volunteers at the Army Training School for their future assignments.
Organization of the Army

The Constitution stipulates that the Grand Duke shall command the Public Force, (Art. 37 of the Constitution) via the Minister of the Public Force.

For practical purposes, command of the Army was placed in the hands of a "Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding the Army", supported by an Army Staff known as the "Army Command".

A. The law of 29 June 1967, which introduced voluntary military service, also provided for the following Army establishment :

  • 430 volunteers (male). These could be augmented by a variable number volunteers in addition to the approved contingent (�70). These volunteers followed specialized training courses;
  • 100 career NCOs and 10 supernumerary NCOs;
  • 30 career officers, including one doctor and one dental surgeon and 10 supernumerary career officers;

The following were attached to the officer corps:

  1. military justice: two military prosecutors;
  2. chaplaincy: two catholic priests;
  3. a mandated general practitioner;
  • a military band comprising 60 career NCO musicians under the direction of an officer;
  • 100 civilian staff.

B. The law of 22 June 1977, which provided for a reform affecting the commissioned officers of the Public Force, reintroduced the rank of colonel exclusively for the Commander of the Army.

C. Further to an appeal brought before the Court of Justice of the European Communities by the Commission of the European Communities concerning equal opportunities for men and women in terms of employment, training and professional advancement, young women of Luxembourg nationality became eligible for voluntary military service in 1987, and the first female candidate volunteers joined the Army on 21 April 1987.

D. The law of 17 June 1987 changed the organization of the military by increasing the establishment and creating an Army School.

  • The number of career officers increased to 37 (doctor and dental surgeon included). The number of supernumerary officers was raised to 10, not including aides-de-camp on special attachment to the Grand Ducal Household.
  • The number of career NCOs increased to 125. The number of supernumerary career NCOs rose to 10, not including NCOs on special attachment to the Grand Ducal Household.
  • Civilian staff increased to 110.
  • The number of volunteers (430) remained unchanged. However, the number of approximately 150 volunteers in addition to the approved contingent was revised upwards to allow between 180 - 250. These are the volunteers attending the Army School and those following specialized training.
  • The Army School.

    The Army School is placed under the authority of the Minister of Public Force for all matters relating to its organization, administration and operation, and under that of the Minister for Education and Youth for all matters relating to teaching.

    It is directed by a teacher appointed jointly by the Minister of Public Force and the Minister for Education.

    The School staff comprises:

    1. teachers
    2. lecturers
    3. an administrative assistant.

E. The law of 2 August 1997 (reorganization of the Army) and the modification of the law of 27 July 1992 (participation of the Grand Duchy in peacekeeping operations under the auspices of international organizations) brought about the following major changes:

  1. the Army was to be fully capable of fulfilling its role within the North Atlantic Alliance and the Western European Union in a new international context, both in the field of peacekeeping and humanitarian relief work and in the traditional area of the security and defense of the Nation.
  2. this goal was achieved by amending the law governing the military as laid down when compulsory military service was abolished in June 1967.
  3. the law governing the military had always omitted to list the missions to be performed by the Luxembourg Army. Over the years, and particularly recently, this omission proved to be a serious handicap and the need to remedy the situation became increasingly pressing.

The new law establishes the missions as follows:

At National Level:

  1. participating, in the event of armed conflict, in defending the Grand Duchy's territory;
  2. protecting vital points and areas within the national territory;
  3. assisting other public authorities and the population where the public interest is seriously at stake or in the event of natural disasters;
  4. preparing its volunteers for public or private sector employment;

At International Level:

  1. contributing to collective or common defense within the framework of international organizations of which the Grand Duchy is a member;
  2. participating, in the same framework, in peacekeeping and crisis management missions, including peace enforcement missions;
  3. participating in verification and monitoring of implementation of international treaties to which Luxembourg is a party.

The Army places at NATO's disposal a reconnaissance company which serves in the AMF(L).

A unit of identical composition is assigned to the Eurocorps.

(4) The structures were adapted to suit the missions thus defined via the law of 2 August 1997:

  • An "Army Staff' has replaced the former "Command", headed by a Chief of Staff with the rank of Colonel, assisted by a Deputy Chief of Staff holding the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

The Military Training Center located in the DIEKIRCH barracks is now known as the "Military Center", a title more in keeping with its actual mission.

The Center comprises:

  • a headquarters
  • operational units
  • administrative units
  • logistics services
  • a medical and pharmaceutical service
  • an Army School
  • The Army School will continue to provide general educational courses for the volunteers and will prepare them for the competitive examinations organized in the various public-sector bodies which recruit staff from the Army.
  • A top-class athletes section is attached to the Military Center. Its purpose is to enable top-level athletes, freed from professional constraints, to focus on improving their performance and to better prepare for national and international events.

    The program of activities for top-level athlete volunteers reconciles military obligations with the imperatives of training and participation in courses and competitions. Three months’ basic military training are mandatory, to be completed on entry as a trainee volunteer.

  • A Military Band.

(5) Military Personnel.

The legally authorized number of officers has been increased from 35 to 40 and the number of NCOs from 125 to 135 to ensure adequate supervision of other ranks.

The number of detached career soldiers has been increased to provide representation on Allied committees and staffs.

In addition to officers and NCOs, the Army also includes career corporals : an innovation which reflects the political will to move towards a standing army concept.

This new career is modeled on the subordinate ranks career path which already exists in the Gendarmerie and the Police.

Career corporal numbers are set at 90 in total.

They will be enlisted progressively in line with a multi-year recruitment program.

This new career path extends over four ranks.

Career corporals will ultimately form the core of AMF and Eurocorps contingents and will be included in units deployed in peacekeeping and peace support operations.

The military band will continue as part of the Army and will be placed directly under the authority of the Army Staff. Its configuration and composition will remain unchanged.

The medical service will be reinforced to include a registered nurse and a number of graduate nurses.

The number of mandated officers (officiers commissionnés), i.e. civilians who may be entrusted with military functions, will be increased.

In particular, it is planned to recruit the following :

  1. a psychologist to advise the military in preparing for peacekeeping operations and to counsel those who have problems readjusting on returning from dangerous missions;
  2. a third military jurist in order to avoid officers concurrently filling the role of investigating magistrate and prosecutor.
  3. a lawyer to act as legal adviser.

(6) Reserve Force.

The possibility of creating a reserve force, as provided for under the 1967 law abolishing compulsory military service, has been deleted from the law governing the military. This provision had never actually been implemented. In future, volunteer NCOs and officers shall be engaged.

(7) Volunteer Soldiers.

The Army will continue to recruit on a voluntary basis.

The length of military service proper will continue to be 18 months.

The maximum number of volunteer privates, currently 430, will be decreased gradually in line with the recruitment of career corporals. To avoid confusion with the ranks held by the latter, some volunteer soldier ranks will be redesignated.

Volunteer soldiers will continue to be the only eligible candidates for careers in the lower ranks of the Public Force, in the prison guard service, as postmen, customs officers and forest wardens. The current situation thus remains unchanged.

However, it is intended to translate the priority entitlement automatically enjoyed by volunteer soldiers for employment in certain civil service posts into a genuine, concrete advantage by specifying the relevant arrangements in a Grand Ducal regulation. This measure will assist in promoting the attractiveness of voluntary military service and will increase employment opportunities for volunteers on completing their service.

In future, volunteer soldiers will be affiliated to a health insurance scheme and a pension fund (the caisse de maladie des fonctionnaires et employés publics and the la caisse de pension des employés privés). All their contributions will be paid for by the State.

(8) Civilian Personnel.

Numbers will be increased by recruiting qualified engineers, technicians and skilled workers.

F. The recent law on the funding of the military procurement program passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 11 November 1997 achieved two goals in that it:

  1. authorized the government to fund a major multi-year military hardware procurement program running from 1st January 1997 until 31st December 2001 with a budget of LUF 620 million, to include:
    1. military vehicles (LUF 391 million)
    2. weapons and ammunition items (LUF 69 million)
    3. communications equipment (LUF 160 million)

  2. set up a special fund, known as the "military equipment fund", to finance the multi-year procurement program. Annual allocations to the fund are made from the State’s special expenditure budget.

G. Between 1968 and the present day volunteer soldiers have served in the Luxembourg Army.

The DIEKIRCH Military Center

The Military Center (MC) comprises active units and Army services.

It has a variety of missions:

Peacetime Missions:

  • Training and preparing MC units to perform NATO and territorial missions.
  • Supplying guards of honor and security guards.
  • When requisitioned, assisting the Gendarmerie and the Police in their policing/law enforcement missions.
  • Assisting the Civil Defense and national authorities in the event of public disasters.
  • Assisting in preparing volunteer soldiers to fill posts within the lower ranks of the civil service exclusively reserved for them or to which the have preferential entitlements.
  • Performing supply activities of all kinds for Army units and, as required, for the Public Force.

In times of crisis the MC shall furnish :

  • the AMF(L) contingent
  • the EUROPEAN CORPS contingent
  • the Host Nation Support group
  • territorial units.

The Military Center comprises the following:

  • a headquarters
  • a headquarters and training company
  • an AMF company and a European Corps company, each comprising:
    • two scout platoons
    • one anti-tank platoon
  • an education company
  • the logistics service
  • the medical and pharmaceutical service
  • the Host Nation Support Group
  • a top-class athletes section
  • an inspection, verification & observation group.
Contribution to NATO

Following on from the GTR and the artillery battalion attached to the US 8th Infantry Division stationed in BAUMHOLDER, the 1st NATO Infantry Battalion was established when compulsory military service was abolished in 1967. This battalion was provided by the then CIM (Centre d’Instruction Militaire) and comprised a headquarters and services unit, two motorized infantry companies and a scout company, totaling 366 officers, NCOs and volunteers. From 1968 onwards it formed a part of NATO’s ACE Mobile Force (Land) (AMF(L)) and in September 1969 it took part in its first exercise in DENMARK.

The AMF(L) is a multinational, conventional mobile force which can be sent to a threatened area as soon as early symptoms of armed conflict become apparent. It therefore plays something of a political role, the purpose being to have a deterrent effect on aggressors. Its role may be summed up as "showing the flag".

Since NATO has forces from several nations in Central Europe, the AMF(L)’s deterrent role comes into play on the flanks (NORWAY- DENMARK- ITALY- GREECE and TURKEY).

While Luxembourg’s NATO battalion could take part in missions in DENMARK, GREECE and TURKEY, it cannot deploy to NORWAY during the winter months for want of winter equipment and appropriate training.

Between 1968 and 1985, various changes affected the battalion :

  • the 106 CSRs were replaced by the TOW system
  • the DODGE 4x4 utility vehicles were replaced with ROVER vehicles
  • the National Support Element platoon was established
  • the establishment increased.

In 1982, at the insistence of the NATO High Command, a platoon took part in winter training for the first time.

The last exercise of the 1st NATO Infantry Battalion was a winter exercise in early 1985, and the battalion was replaced by the "Luxembourg AMF(L) Contingent". This was a reinforced company whose personnel were provided by the DIEKIRCH Military Center, i.e.:

  • a National Support Element (NSE) for logistics
  • a medical support element.

Today, the "Luxembourg AMF(L) Contingent" forms an integral part of NATO’s ACE Mobile Force (Land), and is equipped and trained so as to be capable of operating in all AMF(L) engagement zones.

Contribution to the EUROPEAN CORPS.


At a meeting held on 6 May 1994, the Luxembourg Government took a policy decision to join the EUROPEAN CORPS. Luxembourg has been a member of the EUROPEAN CORPS since 7 May 1996. The Eurocorps contingent is organized in the same manner as the AMF(L) contingent and is placed under the operational command of the Belgian 1st Mechanized Infantry Division.

On 6 September 1996, a political declaration of intent was signed in Luxembourg by the responsible ministers of the two countries, Messrs. PONCELET and BODRY.

The agreement attaching the Luxembourg contingent to the Belgian Army’s 1st Mechanized Division was signed on 11 December 1996.

The contingent comprises a headquarters element, two reconnaissance platoons, an anti-tank platoon and a logistics support element. Its total strength is 167 (9 officers, 30 NCOs and 128 volunteer soldiers).

The contingent will be provided with armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and MAN lorries. Its main weapons are to be the STEYR rifle, the .50 machine-gun and an anti-tank system. As regards communication systems, the contingent will have French equipment from the PR4G range.

The contingent will be prepared to perform both reconnaissance unit missions in offensive and defensive operations and humanitarian, peace keeping and peace enforcement missions.

The Luxembourg Army is represented at the EUROPEAN CORPS headquarters in STRASBOURG by an officer acting as Luxembourg Permanent National Representative.

Peacekeeping Operations in FORMER YUGOSLAVIA


The Luxembourg Army sent a contingent to join the Belgian United Nations Protection Force battalion in CROATIA (more precisely to BARANJA in EASTERN SLAVONIA) comprising 41 military personnel (3 officers, 7 NCOs and 31 volunteers) from 1st April 1992 until 1st August 1993.

Participation in IFOR, SFOR and KFOR Missions

A. IFOR (Implementation Force).

The Luxembourg Army contribution to IFOR missions consists of a contingent of 22 military personnel, i.e. 2 officers, 2 NCOs and 18 volunteers. A tour of duty lasts one year.

The Luxembourg contingent operates under the command of the Belgian battalion and is attached to the transport company based in VISOKO (some 30 km north of SARAJEVO).

The contingent, comprising 4 HUMMER vehicles (HMMWV) and 6 MAN lorries, makes up a transport platoon. The platoon’s main task is to transport materiel for the Belgian battalion and the ARRC.

Austria and Greece also have assets assigned to the battalion, which is known as the BELUGA Battalion.

The Luxembourg contingent was deployed on 20 January 1996 and carried out its first mission on 25 January (transport between SPLIT and VISOKO).

B. SFOR (Stabilization Force).

The Luxembourg Army has participated in the SFOR mission since 20 December 1996 contributing approximately the same personnel and equipment as for the IFOR mission.

SFOR’s mandate is currently unlimited.

In April 1998, Belgium and Luxembourg decided jointly to deploy and engage the BELUBG (Belgium Luxembourg Battle Group) within the Multi National Division South West under UK command. This Battle Group comprises a headquarters, two mechanized infantry companies, an administrative support element, a logistics detachment and a Luxembourg detachment.

The latter was transferred to TOMISLAVGRAD where the Battle Group set up its

BELUBG’s military role is to furnish a dissuasive military presence in the region, to prevent any resumption of hostilities, to prevent heavy arms from leaving their stockage zones, to contribute to the security environment, to monitor implementation of and where necessary enforce compliance with the military aspects of the DAYTON Agreement and to provide support to the High Representative, Mr. WESTENDORP, in the implementation of the civilian aspects of that Agreement.

Since October 98 (SFOR 6), every SFOR contingent - comprising a command element, two combat sections and a maintenance team - carries out patrols, escort duties, inspects Bosnian military sites located in the area of operations, assists in protecting civilian organizations (NGOs ..) and guards SFOR military facilities.

The contingent is equipped with 6 armored HMMWVs and 3 MAN lorries (including one breakdown lorry). In addition to personal weapons, the contingent is equipped with heavy machine-guns to ensure adequate protection of personnel.

C. KFOR (Kosovo Force).

In 1999, Luxembourg decides to disengage its contingent from Bosnia Herzegovina and to commit its forces to BELUKOSBAT (Belgium Luxembourg Kosovo Battalion) in Kosovo. This battalion depends upon the Multinational Brigade North (MNB (N)).

  • Civilo-Military Cooperation (CIMIC)

    In 1999, the first CIMIC team - 1 NCO and 1 troop - to operate in Kosovo was send into theatre by August 28th. The following team, reinforced by a commissioned officer took over 24th of February 2000.

  • Combat detachment.

Besides our CIMIC participation, Luxembourg also contribute with one reconnaissance platoon to KFOR. Its configuration is the same as in SFOR.

Participation in European Union Observer Mission in FORMER YUGOSLAVIA


During Luxembourg’s presidency of the European Union, the Luxembourg Army took part in the mission contributing 5 officers and 6 NCOs from 1 June 1997 until 31 December 1997.


The following equipment is in use in the Luxembourg Army:

A. Weapons:

  • 9mm FN pistol
  • STEYR AUG 5.56mm rifle
  • STEYR HBAR 5.56mm automatic rifle
  • MAG 7.62mm machine-gun
  • 50 calibre HB M2 machine gun

B. Anti-Tank Weapons:

  • Light Anti-tank Weapon (LAW)
  • TOW

C. Motorized Assets.

  • HUMMER (HMMWV) vehicles, armored and unarmored
  • MERCEDES Jeeps
  • MAN 4T lorries.

D. Communications Equipment.

  • VHF : AN/GRC 160 - AN/VRC 46 - AN/PRC 77 - PRC 613
  • HF : AN/GRC 106TA - VRC 620
  • UHF : PRC 660T - URC 240T
Volunteer Status

Volunteer status in the Luxembourg Army is governed by the Grand Ducal Regulation of 22 September 1967 (subsequently modified).

The Army recruits on a voluntary basis. In order to satisfy the conditions of entry, applicants must:

  • be of Luxembourg nationality
  • be at least seventeen and no older than twenty-five years old
  • be single
  • have no illnesses or infirmities incompatible with military service
  • possess the necessary intellectual, moral and physical attributes.

Once a candidate volunteer’s application has been submitted, the Police inquires into his/her background and the applicant is then called to the Military Center to undergo tests of physical aptitude and general knowledge. The decision to accept or reject the application is taken by a panel. On acceptance, candidate volunteers undergo a four months’ basic instruction and a training course.

The candidate volunteer may withdraw during the course, but may equally be dismissed if he/she fails to meet the required intellectual, moral or physical standards.

Once the course has been completed, the candidate signs an 18-month enlistment contract (to include the up to nine-month trial period).

Volunteers leaving the Army after at least three years' service are in certain instances entitled to exclusive or priority access to posts in the Civil Service. They alone are eligible for employment as:

  • Army NCOs
  • Career Corporals
  • Military Band NCOs
  • Army Guards
  • Policemen (brigadier)
  • Customs Officers
  • Postmen (or women) in the Post & Telecommunications Service
  • Prison Guards
  • Forestry Commission Wardens.

In addition, they have a priority entitlement to employment in the lower ranks of the other public-sector departments, services and institutions, including social insurance bodies, local government offices and the Luxembourg state railway company.

After completion of an 18 month enlistment contract, the volunteer is admitted as police candidate if he satisfies to the required standards at the access test without taking into account his order of classification.

At the end of their engagement, volunteers may apply for successive one-year re-enlistment's rising to fifteen years’ voluntary service.

A volunteer’s monthly pay ranges from EUR 1.045,- to EUR 1.394,- depending on rank and years of service.

Part of volunteers' wages is automatically paid into a special interest rate savings account at the state savings bank (Caisse d'Épargne de l'État), access to which is blocked until the volunteer reaches the age of 21.

After 18 months’ service, volunteers are additionally entitled to a demobilization allowance of EUR 146,- per month.

The training of volunteers is organized as follows:

  • three months’ basic training
  • after assignment to a unit, the volunteer receives training specific to that unit
  • after eighteen months’ service, volunteers are transferred to the Education Company for six or twelve months of general educational courses (thirty hours per week).

The courses include the three foreign languages (French, German and English), mathematics, geography, civics and an introduction to EDP.

Military training is kept up through short exercises, shooting practice and sports activities. After twenty-four months’ service and on successful completion of the Army School course, those volunteers who meet the legal requirements may apply for professional training with a view to following a career reserved for Army volunteers in the lower ranks of the civil service.

Training of Officers and NCOs

A. Officers.

Officers undergo four years’ training either at the Royal Military Academy in BRUSSELS or at the COËTQUIDAN establishments in France.

Subsequent training for officers takes place in Belgium (company commanders’ course), in France (staff course) and in Italy (NATO Defense College).

B. NCOs.

The great majority of NCOs receive their initial training at the School of Infantry in ARLON (Belgium). Subsequent training is provided either in Belgium (signals, pyrotechnics, mechanics, cooks) or in France (nursing).

C. Corporals.

The majority of corporals undergo initial training at the Royal Non-Commissioned Officers' School in DINANT (Belgium).

Subsequent training conforms to that of NCOs, given that currently applicable legislation on 'open careers' for civil servants allows career corporals, under certain conditions, access to careers as NCOs.

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