“ BELGIAN FOURRAGERE 1940 “

The “Belgian Fourragère 1940” was created by Decree N°300 of March 26, 1945 – by Prince Charles, Regent of the Kingdom of Belgium, and upon the proposal of the Minister for National Defense . It is important to note that, besides being created for issue to the Belgian Armed Forces for acts of bravery during WWII, this ‘special badge’ was to be conferred on those units who counted at least TWO CITATIONS in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army .

The “Belgian Fourragère 1940” is composed of ONE round smooth cord, partially braided, and of TWO other cords, of which one is terminated by a knot and a brass ferret – it is made of wool and cotton for NCOs and EM, and of silk for Officers – all threads are tinted in colors resembling the ribbon of the Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 (i.e. basic red, dotted with green threads) – the Fourragère encircles the LEFT shoulder and passes under the armpit, and is fixed by 2 tiny loops onto the button of the LEFT shoulder loop …





Belgian Fourragère 1940
(colors slightly faded)


correct wear


U.S. Airborne units mentioned on TWO occasions in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army, and thus honored with the “Fourragère 1940”:

Decree of October 4, 1945 – No. 1034bis

The United States 82d Airborne Division and attached 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment are mentioned twice in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army and granted the Fourragère 1940, for :

1.                 Being a large unit, and having participated in the campaigns of TUNISIA, SICILY, ITALY, FRANCE and the NETHERLANDS, it distinguished itself particularly in the Battle of the Ardennes from December 17 to 31, 1944 . Called upon for reinforcement by the Allied High Command in the evening of December 17, while it was stationed in the region of REIMS, the Division established its combat positions in the region of WERBOMONT 24 hours later under extremely severe climatic conditions .
Progressing toward the AMBLEVE and the SALM rivers, a corridor was maintained with the elements of four United States Divisions enclosed in the region of St. VITH, raising by its magnificent courage the morale of the engaged units !
Preventing the enemy from penetrating the Northern flank of the pocket created by the von Rundstedt Offensive and thus saving the City of LIEGE and its approaches from a new enemy occupation .

2.                 The United States 82d Airborne Division and attached 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, after having fought a wonderful defensive battle on the SALM and AMBLEVE rivers and, after having checked repeated attacks from the best German units, began to wear out the opposed effectives and progressed, notwithstanding the severe cold and a great mass of snow, to the German border and took 2,500 enemy prisoners including 5 Battalion commanders .
These battles were extremely dangerous as its organic composition formed a serious handicap . It did not, like a normal Division, have heavy armor intended to support its action .
For 23 days, and under the most difficult material conditions, the Veterans of the 82d Airborne Division did not cease to give an example of heroic courage, rendering their battles illustrious through several remarkable combat actions .
Enlargening by its valor the tradition of vigilance of the Allied Airborne troops, it rendered immense services to Belgium and the Allied Cause through the establishment of the necessary bases for the new pursuit of the enemy toward the Rhine .

Decree of April 13, 1946 – No. 2086

The following units attached to the 82d Airborne Division are mentioned on two occasions in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army and granted the Fourragère 1940, they are :

Company A – 50th Field Hospital, 666th Quartermaster Truck Company, 254th Field Artillery Battalion, 740th Tank Battalion

Notes : the 101st Airborne Division and attached units (501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Counterintelligence Corps Detachment, Order of Battle Team #5, Military Intelligence Interpreter Team #401, Photo Interpreter Team #9, Prisoner of War Interrogation Team #1 and #9, 3d Auxiliary Surgical Group), are all mentioned on two occasions in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army, and are likewise granted the Fourragère 1940 by Decree of October 22, 1945, No. 1196 – it is important to note that the 101st Airborne Division obtained the Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm (for its first citation) by Decree of July 30, 1945 No. 828 … Other United States Airborne units were the object of one citation in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army, i.e. 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (101st Abn Div) by Decree of October 22, 1945 No. 1197; 1st Battalion / 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion by Decree of November 7, 1945 No. 1329 . High-ranking Officers equally received special honors; such as Lieutenant General Matthew B. RIDGWAY (O-5264) CG XVIIIth Airborne Corps, who was nominated Commander in the Order of Leopold with Palm and granted the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm by Decree of January 3, 1946 No. 1576 . Major General James M. GAVIN (O-17676) CG 82d Airborne Division was nominated Commander in the Order of the Crown with Palm and granted the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm by Decree of February 22, 1946 No. 1923, in reward for services rendered to Belgium . (also Major General Maxwell D. TAYLOR CG 101st Abn Div; Major General Anthony C. McAULIFFE Cdr Div Arty 101st Abn Div; Brigadier General Gerald J. HIGGINS, Asst Div Cdr 101st Abn Div; and some of their Staff Officers were equally honored and decorated by the Kingdom of Belgium) .



Top : Commander, Order of Leopold
Left : Knight, Order of Leopold
Right : Officer, Order of Leopold


Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm


Top : Commander, Order of the Crown
Left : Knight, Order of the Crown
Right : Officer, Order of the Crown


General Note : the “Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm” was awarded to the AMERICAN UNKNOWN SOLDIER of World War II by Decree of January 2, 1948 No. 4574 .



Airborne Divisions were not the only units, to be awarded the “Belgian Fourragère 1940” other American combat units were likewise mentioned on two occasions in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army and granted this award :

2d Armored Division (Decree May 22, 1945, No. 514) and some attached units (Decree April 28, 1947, No. 3864), XXIX Tactical Air Command (Decree July 7, 1945, No. 717), 3d Armored Division certain attached units (Decree November 7, 1945, No. 1330), 9th Infantry Division certain attached units (Decree November 20, 1945, No. 1391), IX Tactical Air Command (Decree November 20, 1945, No. 1392), 30th Infantry Division certain attached units (Decree November 20, 1945, No. 1393), 4th Infantry Division certain attached units (Decree November 20, 1945, No. 1394), 1st Infantry Division certain attached units (Decree November 20, 1945, No. 1395), Antwerp AAA Command (Antwerp X Command) (Decree June 17, 1946, No. 2509), 2d Infantry Division certain attached units (Decree June 17, 1946, No. 2509), 99th Infantry Division certain attached units (Decree June 17, 1945, No. 2509), 18th Field Artillery Brigade (Decree January 3, 1947, No. 3311), 113th Cavalry Group certain attached units (Decree April 28, 1947, No. 3865), 31st Antiaircraft Artillery Group certain attached units (Decree September 26, 1947, No. 4309), 152d Antiaircraft Artillery Operations Detachment (Decree September 26, 1947, No. 4309)

Special Remark : the “Belgian Fourragère 1940” was awarded by the Belgian Government, only if a unit was cited TWICE in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army, and its award required a specific Decree of the Government . Colors are the same as the ribbon for the Croix de Guerre 1940 (scarlet & primitive green), and a streamer can be displayed on the unit’s organizational Flag or Guidon to indicate the award . The Belgian Fourragère 1940 is authorized for permanent wear only (personnel temporarily assigned to the unit awarded the Fourragère may not wear it) . It should be noted that the current design (as worn by US military units) is a simplified version, different from the original Belgian Fourragère ! Very important is the fact that, as per Army Regulations, only ONE Fourragère, or Shoulder Cord should be worn on the uniform, and when worn, it should always encircle the LEFT shoulder ! Since the Fourragère was only awarded after the War, it will not be seen on period photographs, showing servicemen during World War II …



US version of the Belgian Fourragère 1940



copy of (internal) unit award authorizing wear of the Belgian Fourragère 1940
by a member of the 494th Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Group, XXIX TAC,
issued in Germany, August 24, 1945