Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations Allied Command Operations. Since 1967 it has been located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons, from 1951 to 2003, SHAPE was the headquarters of Allied Command Europe, ACE. Since 2003 it has been the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, SHAPE retained its traditional name with reference to Europe for legal reasons although the geographical scope of its activities was extended in 2003. At that time, NATOs command in Lisbon, historically part of the Atlantic command, was reassigned to ACO, an integrated military structure for NATO was first established after the Korean War raised questions over the strength of Europes defences against a Soviet attack. The first choice for commander in Europe was American General of the Army Dwight D, on December 19,1950, the North Atlantic Council announced the appointment of General Eisenhower as the first SACEUR. British Field Marshal Sir Bernard L, montgomery moved over from the predecessor Western Union Defence Organization to become the first Deputy SACEUR, who would serve until 1958. In establishing the command, the first NATO planners drew extensively on WUDO plans, General Eisenhower arrived in Paris on January 1,1951, and quickly set to work with a small group of planners to devise a structure for the new European command. The Planning Group worked in the Hotel Astoria in central Paris while construction of a permanent facility began at Rocquencourt, just west of the city, devising command arrangements in the Central Region, which contained the bulk of NATO’s forces, proved to be much more complicated. Drawing upon his World War II experience, General Eisenhower decided to retain overall control himself, instead there would be three separate C-in-Cs. In December 1950 it was announced that the forces initially to come under General Eisenhowers command were to be the U. S, on April 2,1951, General Eisenhower signed the activation order for Allied Command Europe and its headquarters at SHAPE. Headquarters, Allied Forces Central Europe was activated in Fontainebleau, France in 1953, on the same day, ACEs subordinate headquarters in Northern and Central Europe were activated, with the Southern Region following in June. By 1954 ACEs forces consisted of Allied Forces Northern Europe, at Oslo, Allied Forces Central Europe, Allied Forces Southern Europe, hodes, United States Army Allied Forces Southern Europe – Admiral R. P. M. Two 1952 central region exercises involved air-ground combined forces, equinox was a major air-ground exercise involving French-American tactical air units and a French airborne infantry unit under the command of Général dArmée Alphonse Juin, French Army. They maneuvered east of the Rhine River in the British Zone under the command of Lt. General Sir Richard Nelson Gale. Finally, Rosebud involved ground maneuvers by the U. S, seventh Army in the American Zone of Occupation of Allied-occupied Germany. The initial plans saw the defence of Western Europe from a Soviet invasion resting heavily on nuclear weapons, the conventional forces would attempt to hold this line while the allied strategic air forces defeated the Soviets and their allies by destroying their economy and infrastructure. What this strategy meant for the battle in the central region was described for publicity purposes in January 1954 by then-Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Alfred Gruenther as. An air-ground shield which, although still not strong enough, would force an enemy to concentrate prior to attack, in doing so, the concentrating force would be extremely vulnerable to losses from atomic weapon attacks
Organisation of ACE in 1952.
Main building at SHAPE
SHAPE's Structure before JFC Lisbon was deactivated
Flags of the NATO countries in front of SHAPE (Maisières, Belgium, 2006).