- For the squad, see Belgians.
Belgium is a country on the northeastern border of France, north of Luxembourg and southwest of the Netherlands. It was an unwilling participant to the First World War on the Entente side, which saw its nation invaded and brutalised by German troops in attempt to complete the Schlieffen plan. In-game, they are represented by the Belgians, a strong defensive squad able to call down heavy mortars.
Guaranteed by the 1841 Treaty of London, in which all the great powers of Europe (including Prussia, France, and the United Kingdom) pledged to protect its independence and neutrality. Belgium was the first Western European nation invaded during the First World War, by the Germans, who believed that it would be a fast and effective way to outflank the French army corps on the Franco-German frontiers. However, the Germans did not count on the heavy resistance of the small and poorly equipped Belgian Army, who stoutly guarded their fortresses as they fell to the Germans, causing heavy casualties and creating major delays in the German Schlieffen plan.
However, most of the country was quickly over-run and the Belgians retreated to the rivers and canals of Flanders on the northwestern portion of the Franco-Belgian frontier. The violation of neutral Belgium, whom the world powers had agreed collectively to protect against any aggressors in the 1841 Treaty of London, served as a pretext to bring Great Britain into the war on the side of the Entente. Entente propaganda inspired men all over the world to volunteer in the thousands from all across the British Empire, from South Africa to New Zealand and Australia.
King Albert of Belgium bravely led his troops as they defended the last corners of Flanders, holding the coastline so as to keep British shipping safe and capable of aiding their mainland allies. It was the Belgians who decided to flood many of the newly formed battlefields - much of Belgium is below sea level, and the ditches and dams were broken so as to hold the Germans at bay. This worked to some degree, but it also turned the green fields of Flanders into a muddy hell for those who fought there in later years.