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Saturday, February 2nd 2019, 3:06pm

Belgian News 1949

20 January
The Aeronautique Marine has signed a contract with Fokker for the delivery of twelve T.XM maritime patrol aircraft. All twelve will be delivered this year and will largely replace the current fleet of Fokker T.XIV.Wm seaplanes that are no longer required in large numbers.


Tuesday, February 12th 2019, 11:21am

26 January
Manufacture Belge de Lampes Electriques, famous for its Mazda brand lightbulbs, Adzam brand electron tubes and fluorescent tubes has branched out from lighting products and has begun manufacturing other electronic components for the growing telecommunications market. These new products are the result of work carried out in the company’s research lab, which opened in 1945.

1 February
Astronomer Jean Meeus asserts that the orbits of all the planets of the Solar System are within the same 90° arc of the Solar System on this date. The next time it is thought this will occur is on May 6 2492.


Saturday, March 9th 2019, 10:32am

15 February
Large crowds gathered at the Cockerill Yards in Antwerp to watch the hull of the aircraft carrier Wandelaar slide down the ways. Launched by the Prime Minister’s wife, the Wandelaar is the largest naval vessel yet built in Belgium and on completion next year will bring the Navy into the select number of navies which operate aircraft carriers.


Saturday, March 9th 2019, 5:48pm

... dang. Can't come up with any Belgian aircraft carrier jokes at the moment...


Sunday, April 14th 2019, 10:38am

1 March
A severe storm has caused much damage in northern Europe and in particular on the Belgian coast. At Ukkel wind gusts up to 128km/h were recorded. The severe damage to the coast was partly caused by the exceptional wind blowing perpendicular to the coast and therefore increasing the flooding which has spread along almost the entire Belgian coast.


Sunday, May 5th 2019, 11:23am

15 March
The Navy’s first purpose-built hydrographic survey ship was commissioned into service at a ceremony today. The Astrolabe is fully equipped with echo sounders and marine science laboratories and will be able to accommodate 25 scientists. The University of Antwerp has long campaigned for such a vessel and it is hoped that all Belgian universities will be able to access the Astrolabe to conduct oceanographic research.


Tuesday, May 21st 2019, 11:23am

Visit of Philippine Military-Technical Commission – 10 March 1949

The Philippine Military-Technical Commission led by Colonel Francisco Magundaya had arrived from Switzerland via air and were hosted by the 1er Brigade Mécanisée, barracked at Sint-Truden.

They were shown some of the latest products on offer from Belgian manufacturers. Fabrique Nationale had their FN FAL range of automatic rifles and other small arms on display. Cockerill was particularly keen to show their new amphibious Marine Tank and how useful it could be for a nation like the Philippines made up of many islands. The tank was shown in action on the exercise ground, handling the water obstacles with ease. They also displayed the VUC-2, basically a licence-built Oxford which the Commission had seen a few days prior at Bovington. Another interesting concept that was demonstrated was the CATI 90 (Canon antitank d'infanterie automoteur 90mm): a self-propelled anti-tank gun based on the VUC-2 chassis and armed with the new 90mm Cockerill C 90 / L32. It is operated as a pair with an ammunition carrier. Cockerill emphasised the small size for easy concealment and its fighting power with the powerful C 90 gun.
Avions Fairey also hand brochures on hand for armed variants of the Fairey Gyrodyne helicopter, but as yet no hardware to show.

Following the demonstrations the Commission were escorted to the train station and placed aboard a chartered train to take them to the Netherlands for the next leg of their journey, lunch being served on board.


Saturday, June 1st 2019, 11:55am

19 March
Regie voor Maritiem Transport, the state-owned ferry service on the Ostend-Dover route which operates under the name Oostende Lines announced that three new motor vessels will be taken into service this year, offering a welcome expansion on this busy route popular with holidaymakers in the summer and commercial traffic on their Ro-Ro ferries all year round.


Saturday, June 8th 2019, 10:15am

31 March
After successfully completing her builder’s trials, the new training cruiser Queen Julianna commissioned today to join the fleet. The Queen herself was present to formally witness the ceremony. Although her peacetime role will be largely one of training crews and conducting flag cruises, the cruiser has been assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron at Antwerp. The Queen Julianna carries an armament equal to many light cruisers and in wartime she would become a full fighting unit of the cruiser fleet.


Saturday, July 13th 2019, 3:36pm

1 April
Two new defence ships of a new category for the Navy have been laid down today. The Verviers and the Veurne are net layers which can handle various types of heavy anti-submarine nets and also carry anti-submarine weapons. They can also be used for target towing duties. The two ships are being built by the Zeebrugge Shipyard and the Cockerill Yard. Both will complete next year.

10 April
The 33rd Tour of Flanders cycling classic was held on today. The race started in Ghent and finished in Wetteren, a course totalling 260km. Italian Fiorenzo Magni won the race in an 18-man sprint ahead of Belgians Valère Ollivier and Briek Schotte. Magni is the second non-Belgian rider to win the Tour of Flanders, as well as the first Italian. Only 52 of 225 riders finished the race.


Saturday, August 10th 2019, 10:29am

1 May
The 4th Motor Torpedo Squadron at Ostend has been disbanded today. All twelve motor torpedo boats used by the Squadron will be disposed of. The reduction is part of the restructuring of the MTB force, which is currently receiving new equipment.

9 May
The Kredietbank bank group has branched out further with the founding of the Kredietbank S.A. Luxembourgeoise bank in Luxembourg. The bank will specialise in private banking. Kredietbank is the largest Flemish bank (the third largest in Belgium) and the successful growth strategy has seen the development of portfolio-management services for investors.


Sunday, September 1st 2019, 11:23am

14 May
Renard et Stampe flew their latest product for the first time today. The prototype RS-10 is a variant of the SR-7B monoplane aerobatic aircraft but with a single seat only and powered by an imported 210hp Continental engine.

18 May
The Internationales Sachsensymposion research network for the archaeological study of the Saxons and their neighbouring peoples in northwestern Europe has been created as an international society for the continuous and international study of the history and ethnic origins of the Germanic Saxons.

20 May
The first CATI 90 (Canon antitank d'infanterie automoteur 90mm) a self-propelled anti-tank gun has rolled off the production line at Cockerill. To be known in Belgian service as the T-22, the vehicle is based on the VUC-2 chassis, a licence-built Carrier Tracked No.2 Mk I Oxford. Anew upper body mounts the brand-new Cockerill C 90 / L32 90mm anti-tank gun in the glacis. The sides of the open-topped body can be folded down to give the crew more room. The body is only lightly armoured. The T-22 will be operated in teams of two vehicles, a gun carrier and an ammunition carrier based on the standard VUC-2. The Army found the prototypes eminently suitable for the style of “short-and-scoot” tactics used by the tank destroyer fleet. An order for 100 of each variant was placed in March 1947 and they will replace all older tank destroyers currently in service by 1950.


Monday, September 2nd 2019, 1:48pm

Hood scripset,


18 May
The Internationales Sachsensymposion research network for the archaeological study of the Saxons and their neighbouring peoples in northwestern Europe has been created as an international society for the continuous and international study of the history and ethnic origins of the Germanic Saxons.

Given the details of the founding of the organization I find it curious that it is reported under Belgian News.


Tuesday, September 3rd 2019, 10:00am

Given the details of the founding of the organization I find it curious that it is reported under Belgian News.

Didn't ya get the memo that Cuxhaven was annexed by the fortress concrete shock troops of the 2nd Chocolatier Company of the Belgian Army last week? ;)
Or I may of overlooked that small part in the origins story when I came across it. :whistling:


Saturday, October 12th 2019, 11:10am

19 June
The 1949 Belgian Grand Prix was held today at Spa-Francorchamps.

Eighteen drivers entered the race which soon became an exciting event. Juan Manuel Fangio who started second on the grid only completed the first lap before his Maserati engine blew and he had to retire. The official Maserati team suffered a blow when on lap 7 when Reg Parnell's clutch failed and he had to retire. Two laps later Italian Giuseppe Farina racing another Maserati 4CLT/48 spun off the track while trying to overtake and ended up in the tyrewall. The bad luck then hit the Talbot-Lago-Talbot team, Pierre Levegh suffering mechanical failure on lap 11 and his team Guy Mairesse overhooting a corner and crashing on lap 16. Three laps later Philippe Étancelin limped back to the Talbot pitstop with gearbox problems which saw him retire. Argentinian Benedicto Campos, the other Automóvil Club Argentino entrant, joined Fangio on the sidelines on lap 21 as his Maserati 4CLT/48 suffered an oil pump failure, his engine seizing.

The race was won by French Toyota driver Louis Rosier. Second and third place were taken by the Italians Luigi Villoresi Scuderia and Alberto Ascari of the Scuderia Ferrari team driving Ferrari 125s. Peter Whitehead in another Toyota TFO-1 took fourth place, followed by Belgian Johhny Claes in his Talbot-Lago T26C. Prince Bira raced well but missed on on a podium place, the survivng Maserati's and the British ERA team who all finished but had a lacklustre race made up the rest of the finishers along with Brit Geoffrey Crossley in his privately entered Alta GP.

23 June
The large Société Anglo-Franco-Belge locomotive manufacturer is rumoured to be developing a new diesel-powered locomotive to remain competitive as such locomotives begin to take a growing section of the new orders from railway operators across Europe. It is thought that the diesel engines may be provided by a British company, possibly the giant National Electronic Engineering Limited concern which includes the products of Paxman and Napier.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2019, 9:14pm

Belgian Motorway Network

An update of progress this year on the programme to build a network of Autoroutes (motorways) across Belgium linking into the networks of France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Construction has started in 1949 on the A8 with a planned completion date of 1953. The A8 will run from Halle to the French border at Rijsel via Tournai. At the border the A8 will link to a French Autoroute.

Construction is ongoing on the following routes;
A4: Brussels – Namur – Arlon – Luxembourg (Luxembourg City); 88km (17 miles) long, construction started in 1947 with planned full completion 1950

A5: Brussels – Charleroi – Philippeville – Couvin – French border onto French Autoroute; construction started in 1947 with planned full completion 1952

A7: Halle – Nivelles – Mons – French border (Valenciennes) onto French autoroute; construction started in 1945 and the last section will complete next year

A9: Anderlecht – Geraardsbergen – Kortrijk; construction started in 1946 and the last section will complete next year

A16: Dutch border (Voeren) from Dutch motorway A2 – Visé – Liège; construction started in 1948 with planned full completion 1953


Saturday, December 7th 2019, 10:24am

1 July
The Beiliard shipyard in Ostend has today laid down two new fleet tugs for the Navy as part of the ongoing improvements to the support fleet. These two tugs are half of the planned number of the Zeemeeuw Class, the other two being laid down by Cockerill at Antwerp. All four should complete next spring.

In other shipping news, the steamer Marie-Flore earlier today collided with the Nordish vessel Ragnhild Brövig off the mouth of the River Scheldt and sank, fortunately without casualties aboard either ship.

7 July
Discussions began in Antwerp today about the possibility of forming a Belgian television network across the country. A panel of experts has been appointed to assess the technical requirements a television broadcasting system would require. The other aspect to be discussed is whether the future service should be bilingual or whether there should be separate French and Flemish language broadcasting.


Sunday, January 26th 2020, 11:34am

15 July
A new blast furnace has been blown in today at Forges de la Providence’s Rehon plant in France. This is the sixth blast furnace on site and is the first new furnace since 1930.

17 July
The 1949 Belgian Motorcycle Grand Prix was the fourth round of the 1949 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season and took place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. British rider Bill Doran won the 500cc race riding his AJS, two Italians took the other podium positions, Arciso Artesiani and Enrico Lorenzetti. By winning their second race of the 600cc Sidecar of the season, British Norton rider Eric Oliver and his swinger Denis Jenkinson wrapped up their first Sidecar championship. In the same race, Belgian sidecar rider Edouard Bruylant and his British swinger known as 'Hurst' were sadly killed in an accident.


Saturday, February 15th 2020, 12:35pm

7 August
The supplier of electricity Belgium’s, Electobel, which has extensively electrified the nation and provided its power generation construction and electric-powered mass transport expertise to Syria, Russia, Egypt and Argentine since the turn of the century today took another international step with the formal opening of a new subsidiary company in Czechoslovakia to manufacture electric motors for trams and trains and small generator sets.


Friday, February 21st 2020, 12:33pm

Lieutenant General Jean-Baptiste Piron stood on top of a concrete cuploa at the fortress of Eben-Emael. His aide, Colonel Bastin stood beside him. The German border was not far in front of them.
"Have you been satisfied with the inspection so far General?" Bastin asked as they took in the contours of the site and its fortifications. There was a long pause.
"No Emil, I am not satisfied at all. These forts are antiquated."
Bastin looked slightly surprised at this and swung his arm over the vista, "But Sir, these fortification are only just over ten years old."
"These may be but the defences of Antwerp date back to 1906, our grandfathers built the fortifications at Liège. These are like dinosaurs, they have little utility now. Its like re-equipping our Chasseurs with horses and swords. I doubt in a real war they would last more than a few days at most and we have six regiments tied up under concrete, another four divisions along the coast."
Bastin shrugged, "but that would buy us time to get our reserves into place. Our strategy has always been to hold the enemy at the border and deny him the lines of communication to penetrate further into the interior and then to use our armour as a counter-attacking tool. We are a small nation, what else can we do, we can't trade space for defence so easily."
Piron opened up his notebook, "Emil, these old forts would barely stop a modern mechanised Army like the Germans have. They have had concrete-piercing shells and heavy mortars since before the Great War. Shells have come a long way since, there are reports of rocket-boosted shells which with a high angle trajectory could punch through our heaviest concrete. The English have the 'squash head' round that can rip through heavy armour. Against aircraft with heavy bombs and rocket-projectiles we have even less hope. There is no doubt the Germans have all our heavy turrets and cupolas accurately plotted on their firing charts. Their first salvos would be deadly and we can move bunkers, our firepower is static. Paratroopers good easily be dropped behind our lines and isolate our forts one by one. My idea is to restore mobility to the Army. You know of the CATI?"
Bartin nodded, "Of course General, an unarmoured tracked carrier with a 90mm gun than cannot carry more than a few rounds on its own. Quite frankly many in the General Staff do not believe in the project. They are fine for the Ardennes but it the scenario you outline they wouldn't last long here. Even with what the Americans call 'shoot and scoot', they would be highly vulnerable. And our T-21s are only adequate at best, fast but not up the Standardpanzers of the Germans. They only have 75mm guns remember."
The General paced around, "for the price of all this concrete we could have brought hundreds of modern tanks, self propelled guns and better planes for air support too. We have to make the best of what we have. My plan to put to the General Staff is simple, we use the outer line of forts to soak up pressure but we only keep the most relevant anti-tank and fire-support elements of the forts operational, we could easily halve our manpower sucked up in them. Who knows, if we are smart about it the Germans might think they are still fully operational and that will throw their plans off. Meanwhile we expand our armoured brigade and start to get the rest of the Army on wheels and thinking about fighting in manoeuvre instead of sitting in bunkers on their fat asses. Then if we were invaded we could use a series of fast punches from different directions to block the enemy and defeat him."
His aide shrugged, "its not a bad plan General, but its hard to change a generation of thinking, can the General Staff be persuaded?"
Piron turned to walk back to the concealed hatchway to descend back inside the fort, "They have to be persuaded."