Although on the victorious side, the First World War had left Belgium in ruins. Until 1929, the Belgian Army took part in the occupation of the River Rhine’s left bank, while a small part of Germany was ceded to the state of Belgium.
In November 1918, the Belgian Army went to peace with roughly 30 armored cars. In 1919, it also received its first five Renault FT tanks, with a total of 54 acquired until 1923. This armored vehicle fleet would quickly wear out, and coupled with a reduction of the army’s size, political and diplomatic decisions, and the financial crisis of 1929, the army was in a somewhat dilapidated state in the early 1930s.
To remedy vehicle issues, twelve Berliet VUDB armored cars were bought in France in 1930, but these performed unsatisfactorily. Similarly, results with six Vickers-Carden-Loyd Mk.VI carriers that arrived in 1931 were somewhat disappointing. However, subsequent orders placed at Vickers were successful, with 42 Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tank Model 1934 (T.15) delivered throughout 1935. More importantly, large quantities of Vickers Utility Tractors (VUT) and Vickers-Carden-Loyd 1934 Artillery Tractors were ordered or built under license in Belgium. From the latter, the T.13 tank destroyer was developed and built in three types, with around 246 ready for service in May 1940. Other armored oddities in service in May 1940 were a small number of Renault ACG1 tanks and Marmon-Herrington 4×4 armored artillery tractors.
On 10th May 1940, Germany attacked neutral Belgium for the second time. Belgian forces linked up with the Dutch in the north, the French in the south, and the British Expeditionary Force. However, the swift German armored breakthroughs and capitulation of the Netherlands on the 14th made the Allies retreat. After eighteen days of intense fighting, the Belgian Army laid down arms and surrendered. Roughly 7,000 Belgian soldiers died.
A number of Belgians escaped to the UK and formed their own brigade, including an armored unit, at one point armed with Guy wheeled tanks. It successfully fought in France in 1944.