The Musée Royale de l'Armée (Koninklijk Legermuseum) Collection, Brussels

The Main Hall of the
Musée de l'Armée

Royal Belgian Army Museum has a vast collection of uniforms, weapons, photographs and documents from Belgium's military past. Included are exhibits from the Spanish and Austrian occupations, through Napoleon's wars, Belgium's own War of Independence, the Belgian expeditions to the Congo and Mexico, massive sections on the Two World Wars right up to Belgium's modern involvement in UN peacekeeping missions. There is not much on the German colonies during the First World War currently on display, but they have a a very good collection of imperial German uniforms in general and especially of German naval infantry items from Flanders. 

If you ever have a chance to visit Brussels, I would fully recommend a trip to the Musée Royale de l'Armée. Admission is free and it is fairly centrally located with good public transport access. See the Musée Royale de l'Armée website for more information.

(Click on the pictures below to enlarge)

A display case containing three Seebataillon shakos. The one on the left is mostly obscured by its black parade plume. The one in the centre is a good quality other ranks pattern with brass naval eagle and imperial cockade. The one on the right is a mid-war Ersatz shako covered in khaki canvas with a dull grey metal naval eagle.   Another view of the three Seebataillon shakos.   Another view of the three Seebataillon shakos.



A display case showing various imperial air service items and a dark blue Seebataillon uniform as worn in Flanders in the opening months of the Western Front in 1914.


A closer look at the Seebataillon figure's shako. It is a mid-war Ersatz version apparently made from green leather with a dull metal naval eagle.


A view showing the white collar and shoulder straps with gold Litzen and insignia. The number of the unit ("1" for I. Seebataillon) can just be seen at the bottom of the shoulder strap.

This photo details of the white Brandenburg style cuff with Litzen on the Seebataillon uniform.   A naval soldier's other ranks cap with the tally reading "Kaiserliches Marinekorps".   A naval top as worn by soldiers of the Marinekorps Flandern. Note the wound badge on the left breast.
    An imperial German flag captured in East Africa.    

Some other items at the Museum include...

Bavarian Infantry and Prussian Cuirassier helmets from the Franco-Prussian War.   Portuguese Uniforms from the First World War. The museum has items from all of the combatant (and several non-combatant) nations from both World Wars.   An other ranks helmet from the 92nd Brunswick Infantry Regt. Part of the vast collection of German First World War headgear.
French colonial uniforms.   Austro-Hungarian caps from the First World War.   Belgian colonial uniforms and items.
A hanger full of military aircraft.   A helmet and uniform from the Belgian Expedition to Russia during the First World War.   A car park full of tanks, shown in this view from left to right are a Lee/Grant, a Hetzer, a T-34, a Panzer IV and a Sherman.


 short, a visit to the Musée Royale de l'Armée, Brussels is a great day out...
See the Musée Royale de l'Armée website for details.

 All photographs on this page taken by C Dale © 2005

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