The PARA-COMMANDO Company Anti-Tank – (Co ATk Para-Cdo)

When African missions take an end in 1962, the Para-Commando Regiment was oriented towards interventions in the European field of operations. It appears necessary to give the Para-Commando Regiment a unit having more powerful Anti-Tank weapons than the Energa and Blindicide and shooting at least up to 2.000 meters.
To this end, it is decided to create a Para-Commando Anti-Tank Company (Co ATk Para-Cdo).
The officers and the gunners of the future Company (Co) follow a two-month training course as from August 1962 in the Entac Center of the Infantry School based in Leopoldsburg.
The Unit (French-speaking) is officially created on March 1, 1963 at the Barracks Slt Thibaut in Flawinne.
The new Company is equipped with remote controlled missiles Entac (Engin Téléguidé Anti-Chars) of French design. The Company, composed of 6 Officers, 29 non-commissioned officers and 94 volunteers and conscripts. With a Staff and three platoons, each one being divided up in two sections with two firing stations.
In 1970, the municipality of Grand-Han asks to sponsor the Co ATk Para-Cdo and, on 15 and 16 August, the sponsorship ceremonies take place in the municipality.
In 1978, the Company takes part in the operation “Red Bean” in Kolwezi in Shaba, from 18 May to 26 June; it is then mentioned in dispatches :


… the Para-Commando Anti-Tank Company.
From 19 May to 10 July 1978, to have shown coolness and remarkable discipline and effectiveness in the achievement of a mission of liberation and protection of Belgians and Foreigners whose life was threatened in Shaba and more particularly in Kolwezi

In 1979, the Unit, that has become fully professional, is equipped with a new missile: the MILAN (Missile Light Anti-Char).
In 1988, during the mission of the Naval Force in the Persian Gulf, the Co ATk Para-Cdo provides permanently two Milan gunners, these were relieved regularly.
In 1991, from 24 September to 4 November, the Co ATk Para-Cdo takes part, within a detachment of the Para-Commando Brigade (Brigade Staff, 1st and 3rd Parachutist Battalion, Recce squadron and the Co ATk Para-Cdo), in the operation “Blue Beam” in Zaïre.
The mission of the Company was initially limited to Kinshasa, occupying the airport of N’Djili (the Staff and two platoons), housed in the building “CAMAC”, the old head office of the Military Technical Cooperation (MTC) in the heart of the Zaïre capital with a platoon.
From 25 October, the Company organises, at the request of the Brigade, evacuation and safety missions in Moanda, Boma and Matadi in Low-Zaire and in Kikwit.
On 3 November, the Company leaves N’Djili after having protected the departure of the last C-130 and joins the centre town for the night.
The day after, it crosses the river Zaïre to reach Congo Brazzaville.
In 1993, from January 20 to February 24, the Co ATk Para-Cdo takes part with the 3rd Battalion Parachutist (3 Bn Para) in the operation “Sunny Winter” in Congo Brazzaville. The purpose of this mission is to prepare the evacuation of our compatriots in Zaïre, where rebels of Mobutu disorder their safety.
After one month of “stand-by”, things calm down in the former colony and the detachment can go back to Belgium.
In 1993, from 9 August to 17 December, the Company force, (112 men) takes part in reinforcement of the 3 Bn Para in the operation “UNOSOM II” in Somalia with 3 platoons on CVRT (close vehicle reconnaissance troop) and a platoon on jeeps.
The day following its arrival in Kismayo, it settles with its heavy elements a hundred Km away north of Bandar-Salaam near the town of Jilib.
The “Jeep platoon” settles in Bilis-Qooquaani near the Kenyan border.
After a mission full of emotions, it will go back home from 8 to 17 December.
On 8 April 1994, the day following the transfer of command between Major Lattaque and Major Kesteloot, the Co ATk Para-Cdo is alerted to take part in the operation “Silver Back” in Rwanda.
It will fly away on 9 April to Nairobi (Kenya) where it will stay in reserve for intervention. Only some elements will briefly to go at Kigali, to ensure the defence of the airport with the 2nd Battalion Commando.
On 21 April, the Unit will get back in Belgium, after a false alarm and a stopover in Djibouti, where an intervention in Burundi join with the French Forces was under consideration.
On 27 May 1994, after a restructuration of the Belgian Army Forces, the Co ATk Para-Cdo is amalgamated with the Para-Commando Recce Squadron to form a new Battalion, the 3rd Lancers-Parachutist Regiment, which will be disbanded in 2003. The personnel wore the wine-coloured beret.
Since its creation in 1963 until its dissolution in 1994, the Co ATk Para-Cdo was stationed with the 2nd Battalion Commando in the barracks SLt Thibaut at Flawinne,
The Company had taken up the Commando traditions and wore the green beret with the Regimental insignia and the same attributes on the dress as the 2nd Battalion Commando.

Corps Commanders

Major G. De Groote 01 mar 1963
Major R. Vanderperre 30 sep 1968
Major E. Genot 29 jan 1971
Commandant PSC P. Malherbe 10 sep 1973
Commandant A. Detry 16 sep 1974
Major F. Hanot 15 jun 1976
Commandant B. Brijs 16 sep 1978
Major H. Laroy 01 aug 1980
Major A. Gerard 29 jul 1982
Major L. Noel 05 oct 1984
Major Y. de Lavareille 22 dec 1988
Major Ph. Lattaque 04 jan 1991
Major H. Kesteloot 07 avr 1994

Corps warrant officers

Warrant officer J. Hauffman 1963-1965
Warrant officer M. Leiding 1965-1971
Chief warrant officer R. Brichard 1971-1983
Chief warrant officer M. Cardinal 1983-1989
Warrant officer M. Etienne 1989-1992
Warrant officer M. Dimanche 1992-27 mai 1994

Corps corporals

1st Corporal Chief S. Dubois 1991-27 mai 1994