|Secret Army (AS)|
|Participant in the Second World War|
Insignia of the Armée secrète
|Active||1 June 1944 -September 1944|
|Originated as||Army of Belgium and Légion Belge|
|Allies||Belgian Government in Exile|
|Opponents||German Occupying Forces|
The Secret Army or AS (French language: Armée secrète, Dutch language: Geheim Leger ) was the largest organization in the Belgian Resistance during the Second World War. It was loyal to the Belgian Government in Exile.
Background[edit | edit source]
Following the defeat of Belgium in the 18 days' campaign of 1940, many former soldiers and officers from the army formed the Légion Belge in the spring of 1941. The Légion was greatly weakened by political squabbles amongst its members and was reluctant to work with the government in exile.
After the arrest of one of the leaders of the Légion, Charles Claser, the movement reformed with the name Armée de Belgique. The Armée was hit by a wave of arrests in 1943 after it was infiltrated by undercover Abwehr agents.
From 1943, many former members of the Armée de Belgique and Légion Belge reformed into a new group, with the support of the government in exile called the Armée Secrète (AS).
History[edit | edit source]
As in it predecessors, many of the founders of the AS were former members of the Belgian Army and so the group followed a more traditional military structure than other resistance groups in the country. Its objectives were not exclusively military; many of the founding members of the group predicted the need for a national force to police the country after liberation as well as providing an organization which the Government in Exile could negotiate with.
The AS was by far the largest resistance group in Belgium, with between 45,000-54,000 members at its height in 1944. However, only a minority of those (around 7,000) were armed and served in a military capacity.
Around 4,000 members of the Armée secrète were killed in or before the liberation of Belgium in September 1944.
Structure[edit | edit source]
The structure of the AS was highly decentralized. Many of the regional cells of the organizations - which were organized as subsidiaries of the national organization - did not necessarily share the political aims and objectives of the national leadership.
Different "zones" and "sectors" around the country were assigned to the groups which operated within them:
|Zone||Sector||Group||Locations||Examples of actions|
|Zone I||D||10||Hainaut - Saint Marcoult|
|Zone II||Antwerp - Limbourg|
|Zone III||East and West Flanders|
|Zone IV||Brabant and the Province of Namur|
|Zone V||Sector 5||Group A||Condroz and the environs of Ciney||Sabotage of the Yvoir-Spontin Tunnel (19 July 1944)|
Combat at Jannée (27 August 1944)
|Group D||Around Orchimont||Sabotage of the L.T.12 between Alle and Sedan|
References[edit | edit source]
- De Vidts, Kim. "Belgium: A small yet significant resistance force during World War II" (PDF). Doctoral Thesis. Hawaii. p. 87. http://www.hpu.edu/CHSS/History/GraduateDegree/MADMSTheses/files/2004KimdeVidts.pdf. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- M. Dumoulin, M. Wijngaert et al. (1995). Nouvelle Histoire de Belgique: 1905-1950. Ed. Complexe. pp. 93.
- Conway, Martin. The sorrows of Belgium : liberation and political reconstruction, 1944-1947. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 20. ISBN 9780199694341.
- Jurado, Carlos (1992). Resistance Warfare 1940-45. p. 16.
- "Site de la Fondation Armée Secrète". www.sgl-fas.be. http://www.sgl-fas.be/?lang=fr.
[edit | edit source]
- (French) (Dutch) "Fondation Armée Secrète 1940-1945". www.sgl-fas.be. http://www.sgl-fas.be/?lang=fr. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
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