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A national parade in the colors of Mali, Croatia… and the A400M

Malians in parade, during the preparation (credit: French Ministry of Defence)
Malians in parade, during the preparation (credit: French Ministry of Defence)

(BRUXELLES2) The national parade of July 14 which will take place on Sunday morning will obviously be placed in the colors of the intervention of Mali but also of other European contingents (Croatian in honor of the new arrival in the European and Franco- German to celebrate the anniversary of the Elysée). Here are some photos - preview - taken during rehearsals by army photographers.

The Mali

The Malian battalion made up of 75 men will be one of the "flagship" elements of this parade with an African unit symbolizing Minusma (the UN force in Mali) like the force that preceded it, Misma (Benin, Burkina Faso , Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad, Togo).

But it is also the French forces of the Serval intervention that will be honored with elements of the 3rd Mechanized Brigade (BM), the 11th Parachute Brigade (BP), the 1st Marine Infantry Regiment (Rima) , of the 5th regiment of combat helicopters (RHC)... At the head of his forces will parade two generals: General Bernard Barrera, commander of the 3rd BM and chief Serval until May 11 as well as General Jean-Jacques Borel commander of the air forces of the Serval operation (and chief of staff of the CDAOA, air defense and air operations command).

1 C135 tanker precedes its "small" Rafale, Mirage 2000D, Mirage F1 (credit: Fr Défense ministry)
1 C135 tanker precedes its "small" Rafale, Mirage 2000D, Mirage F1 (credit: Fr Défense ministry)

Danish and German air support

In the air, indeed, we can admire several "paintings" representing the French intervention Serval.

On the combat aircraft side, there will be 2 Rafale (“Provence” squadron of BA 113 Saint-Dizier) and 3 Mirage 2000 D and 1 Mirage F1 CR reconnaissance (“Savoie” squadron of BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan) , preceded by their "mother hen", a C135 tanker (from the "Bretagne" squadron, from the Istres air base).

On the transport side, a German Transall (from Lufttransportgeschwader 61) and a Danish C130 (from Transporteskadrille 721 in Aalborg) will illustrate the support provided by the Allies, essential in terms of air transport alongside the French Transall (from BA 123 Orléans) and 3 CN 235 (crew instruction squadrons, "Vercors", "Ventoux" of BA 110 Creil).

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Croatian inter-army detachment (credit: Fr Defense ministry)
Croatian inter-army detachment (credit: Fr Defense ministry)

Croats already engaged in European operations

As a tribute to the arrival of the 28th country of the European Union, the Croatian Protection and Honor Battalion - which provides protection for VIPs (President of the Republic, Government and Commander of the Armed Forces) - will be present . 75 soldiers under the command of Colonel Dragan Basić, with three uniforms which represent the 3 armies (green for the army and the air force, blue for the navy and sand for the units which served in Afghanistan) , and the VHS-K1 assault rifle (Croatian-made but may bear some resemblance to the French Famas).

The Croats have already been engaged in several European defense operations missions, long before they became members of the European Union. We found them like this at EUFOR Tchad (see also: Croats in Chad: decision confirmed), in the anti-piracy operation Eunavfor Atalanta (see also: Croats will join Operation Atalanta), as well as in two civilian missions: EUPOL Afghanistan and EULEX Kosovo.

We should also point out that they lent "involuntary" assistance in supplying arms to the Syrian rebels. But that's another story (read: The arms embargo against Syria? Croatia took their time).

Franco-German friendship

In testimony to the anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, there will also be some units of the Franco-German brigade, under the command of General Gert-Johannes Hagemann: 3rd regiment of hussars, 292nd Jägerbataillon and the command and support battalion , recently enlisted with UNIFIL in Lebanon and who came to the aid of flood victims in eastern Germany (read: The Franco-German Brigade as reinforcements against the floods).

It should also be noted that a Belgian Alpha jet will also be on hand to illustrate the combined training of pilots at the Franco-Belgian fighter school in Cazaux.

First Elysian outing for the A400M

Finally, how can we not forget the presence, for the first time, of the A400M, the new transport aircraft manufactured by Airbus, and which will begin to replace the Transalls that are running out of steam this summer, at the rate of 3-4 aircraft per year.

In figures: the parade this year is about 4800 soldiers, 265 vehicles, 58 aircraft (including 6 foreigners) and 35 helicopters, not to mention the 241 horses.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).