German Losses against France, May-June 1940.

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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sid guttridge
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Post by sid guttridge » Fri May 20, 2005 4:36 am

Hi Daniel,

I think you may be giving De Gaulle too much credit, both as an original military thinker and as a commander of armoured troops.

My impression is that his distinction is not that he was an original thinker, but that he was the first Frenchman to grasp the concepts of others and publish on the subject.

He also doesn't seem to have made much impact as a tank
commander. His very limited success (actually failure as he was quickly repulsed) only looks good when compared with the failures of many other French commanders.

Of course, de Gaulle had very little opportunity to test his theories himself due to his lack of seniority and the disasterous situation he inherited, so I would suggest that no real conclusion can be drawn as to how good he might have been. His greatness as a Frenchman rests on other achievements.



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Post by Laurent Daniel » Fri May 20, 2005 5:33 am

Hi Sid,

My Gallic roster feathers standing up :evil: I am replying to you
Hey, frog, cool down...

OK. Better now :D

Charles de Gaulle published 4 books between 1924 and 1938:
La discorde chez l'ennemi
Le Fil de l'epee
Vers l'armee de metier
La France et son armee
Plus several surveys and editorials
I have, and read, all of them.

This part of his saga is not well known out of France. But it is there that one can find the origin of the "rebel" creating out of nothing the Free French Forces and leading them till military and political victory. I mention also political because I sometime wonder how the hell he could manage France to have a right of veto in the UN security council.

He was a thinker and started as a military thinker. His first theories about the proper use of armored forces are dated 1922, published 24, before Guderian own similar theories started to be known and published. He also was an advocate of professional armies vs conscript armies, it's all there, black and white in front of me.

Concerning his qualifications as armored troops commander, I would agree with you: He was given too little, too late to really show something, except the little pleasure of being the sole one to force the Panzer to retreat, even temporarily.

Concerning his capacity as military commander, planner, a small quote:
(Sorry, original in French, approximate translation)

"Hitler didn't reached London and he will not. So, he will attack the USSR and he will lose there another Russian Campaign (Note fm DL: parallel to Napoleon). This German-Soviet war will give to that war a worlwide dimension as it was the case for WW1. I mean that America will enter into the conflict, the sole difference with WW1 being that, this time, Japan will not be in our camp.
Now that the future of this war is known, we are only left with bringing back France to the right side, the one of freedom and victory".
Important: When he told that to Maurice Schuman?
London, 28 June 1940
Yeap, 12 days after flying to London from Bordeaux.
Now, tell me that he was not a military thinker :wink:
Daniel Laurent

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Post by sid guttridge » Fri May 20, 2005 8:31 am

Hi Laurent,

I stand corrected. I thought that "Vers l'armee de metier" was his first significant publication in 1934.

The 28 June 1940 quote illustrates that de Gaulle had a very good grasp of geopolitics, and it is for this that he is justly regarded as a great Frenchman. But he left no mark on military developments. His military ideas were not adopted even in France and he was unable to make his mark as a commander in the field for reasons we have already discussed.



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Post by Laurent Daniel » Fri May 20, 2005 9:07 am

sid guttridge wrote:Hi Laurent,
His military ideas were not adopted even in France
Just try to follow my sci-fi scenario:
Thanks to the strong support of the Chief Of Staff Petain, De Gaulle views were approved in 1928 by the French politicians.
In June 40, the Panzers would ave been facing an equivalent force of French "Blindés".

We had the money, we had the industry, we had the technology, we had the schools to train the officers, NCO and tank teams.
But we didn't had the top-level men required.
I have been told once, by a far right guy, "Yes, but you didn't had a Hitler"

Nevermind, we had a De Gaulle and he brought us back to the top. Later.
Daniel Laurent

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Post by sid guttridge » Sat May 21, 2005 12:10 am

Hi Laurent,

The Treaty of Versailles forced the Germans to contract their army massively for 15 years. As a result most WWII generals were retired. When the army was expanded again, it gave many younger officers (like Guderian) the opportunity for accelerated promotion.

Is there any evidence that Vichy France's Armee Nouvelle had the same effect of cutting away the dead wood amongst the senior officers?I know de Lattre de Tassigny was one of its divisional commanders. What about the others?



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Post by Laurent Daniel » Sat May 21, 2005 3:28 am

Hi Sid,
You got me.
I dunno :oops:

But the topic is of interest, let me dig a bit and I will be back
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Post by Panzermeyer » Sat May 21, 2005 4:03 am

Hi Sid,

You mentioned general De Lattre de Tassigny (future commander of the 1st French Army) who did rather good job with the 14e DI on the Aisne River in the area of Rethel.

On 10th June, the northern French counter-attack on the Annelles - Perthes axis is led by the groupement of lieutenant-colonel Maître with elements of the 3e DCR : 17 Hotchkiss H39 (2/42e and 3/42e BCC), 9 Renault B1bis (2/41e BCC) and the 3 infantry companies of the 16e BCP (bataillon de chasseurs portés).
The attack of the "groupement Maître" is led by the capitaine De Hautecloque (as known as "Leclerc", future commander of the famous 2e DB, the 2nd French armoured division), he walks in front of the infantry and the tanks with his famous stick. 12 tanks have been lost but the German advance has been delayed.
The 16e BCP manages to take Perthes and to rescue the French 127e RI still fighting in the town (only 7 officers, 3 NCOs and 35 men still alive). Together they will defend the town until 22h00 when they received the order to pull back. Thanks to this attack the 14e DI (general De Lattre) could retreat in good conditions.
Here is an example of a captain in 1940 becoming commander of an armored division.
Leclerc's column (ancestor of the 2e DB) took the Koufra oasis in Lybia to the Italians in 1941 and all the Fezzan area (SW Lybia) between March 1942 and January 1943. Leclerc’s force quickly crushed the Italian defense in southern Libya and marched 1500 miles north reaching Tripoli on 23rd January 1943 just as the British arrived from Egypt. Leclerc placed himself under the command of Field Marshal Montgomery and his corps played a major role in the advance of the 8th Army on Tunisia. He was promoted to General de Division on 5th May 1943 and ordered to Morocco to form the 2e DB (2nd Armored Division).

One can also mention 3 officers of the 3e DLM whcih fought very well in Hannut and inflicted heavy losses to the Germans. Colonel Leyer is in 1940 commander of the 12e Régiment de Cuirassiers, the reconnaissance regiment of the 3e DLM. He is the future commander of the 4e DLM in June 1940 and will be in 1942 in North-Africa one of the main actors of the creation of the French armored arm.
In 1940, the 2e Régiment de Cuirassiers is led by lieutenant-colonel Touzet du Vigier and the 1e Régiment de Cuirassiers is led by lieutenant-colonel de Vernejoul. Colonel Touzet du Vigier and colonel de Vernejoul will both command an armored division of the French 1st army : 1e DB for Touzet du Vigier and 5e DB for de Vernejoul.

On the other hand there were generals who went on with their good work.
General Juin for example, commander of the 15e DIM which fought with success in Gembloux will later led the 120,000 soldiers of the French expeditionary corps in Italy in 1943-1944.
The CEFI allowed to take Monte Cassino by piercing more south in the Monte Majo, a much more mountainous area but general Juin's Goumiers and their mule packs did it and broke the front where the Germans didn't expected them. They forced the Germans to evacuate Monte Cassino, they were forced to withdraw from the position on 17th May at the orders of Kesselring because the US generals finally allowed the French colonial corps to outflank the Cassino position. With this outflanking movement (something which was already proposed but rejected in January 1944) the position became untenable for the Germans and they had to withdraw. Monte Cassino could then be occupied after so many bloody fights of all the allies in front of it : US, Australian, Polish, French, British etc. The French expeditionary corps also opened the doors of Rome to the allied forces on 4th June 1944 after a series of battles : Garigliano, Pico ... In Italy they lost 7,000 KIA, 30,000 WIA and 42,000 MIA.

There are probably many other examples of captains and colonels from 1940 who played an important role in 1941-1945, these are just several example I am aware of without making peculiar researches.



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Post by Laurent Daniel » Sat May 21, 2005 5:09 am

Hi Sid,
So I dug a bit and got some sort of conclusions, but they are opened to criticism and complements.

First, one cannot compare the recruitment of the German army before the beginning of the war and the one of the Petain army.

On the German side, young and creative officers were attracted by a powerful leader who wanted to fight, while in France the leader was a semi-senile old officer who lost the war and had little hope to be back fighting. Nothing exciting…

Quite a number of the French “young and creative” officers joined De Gaulle in the Free French Forces (General Leclerc, Colonel Massu, General Koening, etc..) or the French Resistance in the ORA (Army resistance organization). An hemorrhage for the Petain side. Sole exception, to my knowledge: General Juin and General De Lattres De Tassigny, but their cases are a bit special, see below. See also thegood post above from Panzermeyer, good illustration of the De Gaulle Army, not the Petain Army.

Second, there were no “Armee nouvelle” as such.
The components of the Petain army:
- The Armistice Army, in Metropolitan France: 100,000 men maximum, no air force, no heavy equipment. General Juin was with them. When the Germans invaded the so-called “free-zone” in 42, they were disbanded. Some, like Juin, managed to reach Algeria. Note: Algeria where Darland was, not London where De Gaulle still was at that time. Still behind Petain.
- The colonial Armies: Algeria, Africa, Syria and Lebanon, Indochina. Most of the commanding officers were what you call “dead wood”.
- The Navy: Toulon, Alexandria, some units in Algeria and Africa. There, dead wood again, slightly rotten by the seawater….
From the top-level point of view, it looked like they were all near from retirement:
Vichy France top level military, ages as in 1943:
Petain: 87
Admiral Darlan: 62
Admiral Auphan: 49
Admiral Platon: 57
General Bridoux: 55
General Denz: 62

Early 43, when De Gaulle eventually unified behind him all the liberated French territories including North Africa and started to build what will be the 1st French Army, he obviously recruited all those colonial troops, many of their NCOs and officers and integrated them with the Free French Forces. But he cut out the old wood. Asked once why General Juin (In his fifties) was still there in spite of the Petainist stains in his record, our pragmatic Grand Charles replied: “I know, I know. But I have no choice, he is the best”. Same story with De Lattres
For the record, we often call him “Le Grand Charles”. In French, “grand” means both tall and great, and he was both :D
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Post by Panzermeyer » Sat May 21, 2005 5:45 am

The 1st French Army was organized in 2 corps :
- 1st corps under the command of general Béthouart
- 2nd corps under the command of general De Goislard de Monsabert

Colonel Béthouard is commander of the high mountain brigade in February 1940. In April 1940 he is general and commander of the 1st light mountain division send in Norway in April 1940. After the armistice he is sent to Morocco and thanks to his orders limit the fight with the US troops during operation Torch. He is sent to the USA from December 1942 to November 1943 to negotiate the rearmament of the French Army. In 1944 he takes command of the 1st corps of the 1st French army.

Colonel De Goislard de Monsabert, he is in command of the 9e RTA (Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens) in September 1939 in Miliana. In December he takes command of the 81st infantry brigade at Blida. He is promoted general in August 1941. In November 1942 he prepares the arrival of general Giraud at Blida. He is deprived of the French nationality by the Vichy government. He takes command of the "Corps Franc d'Afrique" and later of the 19th army corps during the campaign of Tunisia.
On 10th April 1943, after the death of general Welvert, general de Monsabert takes over command of the 3rd DIA during the operations in Tunisia. The division is transferred in Italy in December 1943 to relieve the 43rd US infantry division. The first battles are led at Monna Casale, Acquafondata and at the Belvédère in January 1944. On 12th May 1944, on the Garigliano, the division takes Castelforte, opening the road to Rome. On 3rd July Sienne is taken. On 16th August the division lands in France near Toulon during operation Anvil / Dragoon. Toulon is liberated on 21st August and Marseille on 28th August, more than 10,000 POWs are made. On 31st August, general De Goislard de Monsabert takes command of the 2nd corps of the 1st French army and participates to the liberation of Saint-Etienne, Lyon, Mâcon, Chalon, Autun and Dijon before taking part in the campaign in the Vosges and in Alsace. Crossing the Rhine general De Goislard de Monsabert takes Stuttgart. In July 1945 he is promoted commander of the French Forces in Germany.



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Post by Laurent Daniel » Sat May 21, 2005 6:02 am

Hi Panzermeyer,

Interesting post.
Just a small question: Where Juin and le Roi Jean where? I always tought that they both were within this 1st army... and no traces of them in your officers list?

Quand je dis question, c'est question honnete, pas de sous entendu d'aucune sorte. Plus je vieillis, plus j'evalue avec precision ce que je ne sais pas et la liste est longue :wink:
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Post by Panzermeyer » Sat May 21, 2005 7:15 am


AFAIK general Alphonse Juin was in the highest HQ staff in late 1944 and as I mentioned De Lattre was in command of the French 1st army.

The 1st French Army was organized in 2 corps :
• 1st corps under the command of general Béthouart
• 2nd corps under the command of general De Goislard de Monsabert

and they are composed of :
• 1e Division Française Libre (motorized infantry division)
• 2e division d'infanterie marocaine (infantry division)
• 3e division d'infanterie algérienne (infantry division)
• 4e division marocaine de montagne (mountain infantry division)
• 9e division d'infanterie coloniale (infantry division)
• 1e division blindée (armored division)
• 5e division blindée (armored division)
+ not endivisionned elements :
• Bataillon d'Afrique (commandos)
• Bataillon de Choc (commandos)
• Bataillon de France (commandos)
• Four GTM (groupements de tabors marocains) (infantry)
• 9e Régiment de Zouaves (infantry)
• 1e Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens (infantry)
• Two Chasseurs d'Afrique regiments (RCA) (armored regiments)
• Three Spahis regiments (recon armored regiments with armored cars and Stuarts)
• One Régiment Colonial de Chasseurs de Chars (armored regiment with tank destroyers)
• 2e Régiment de Dragons (armored regiment)
• 64e, 65e and 66e RAA (Régiment d'Artillerie d'Afrique = African artillery regiment)
• Régiment d'artillerie coloniale d'Afrique occidentale française
• Régiment d'artillerie coloniale du Levant
• Four engineer regiments and one bridging battalion
----> During late war several other divisions joined this Army :
• 27e division alpine (mountain infantry division) who played a role in the Alps in 1944 (formed on the basis of the former 1e division alpine).
• 3e division blindée (armored division) (created sooner, disbanded September 1944 an rebuilt in 1945)
• 1e division d'infanterie
• 10e division d'infanterie
• 14e division d'infanterie
• 19e division d'infanterie
• 23e division d'infanterie
• 25e division d'infanterie
• 36e division d'infanterie
• 1e DCEO (Division Coloniale d'Extrême Orient)
• 2e DCEO (Division Coloniale d'Extrême Orient)

The French first army included in fact all the French troops except

1) the 2nd armored division and the marine commandos which landed in Normandy

2) the French SAS

3) French commandos who were active in the Pacific theater of operations during WW2. The CLI (corps léger d'intervention = light intervention corps) including 500-700 men at the creation in 1943 (in Algeria, under the command of colonel Huard) and 1600 men in 1945 was formed by various commandos called "Gaurs". They are the French equivalent of the "Chindits" and they were active in Burma and especially in Indochina from 1944 to 1946. The CLI was integrated in the 20th Indian division and was dropped behind the Japanese lines for guerrilla actions. They lost 120 KIA and 209 WIA. On 1st May 1945, in India, the unit becomes the 5e RIC including an airborne battalion and a SAS battalion (airborne and amphibious operations). The SAS battalion includes the marine commandos from capitaine de corvette Pierre Ponchardier also known as "commando Ponchardier" (or "tigers' commando" by the Viet-Minh). After WW2, operation in October 1945 around Saigon against the Viet-Minh, liberation of southern Indochina. Operation in Mytho, Vinh Long, Canthö, Tra Vinh etc. In 2 months the commandos free dozen of French people, 800 Christian annamists and liberates several areas. They are directly under the command of General Leclerc.

4) All the French sailors who served in the French and British ships

5) All the air force crews who served in the French, British and Russian squadrons etc.

The French air force in 1943-1945 was composed of :

In UK :
- 4 fighter groups (Alsace -Sqn 341-, Ile-de-France -Sqn 340-, Cigognes -Sqn 329- and Berry -Sqn 345-)
- 3 bomber groups (Lorraine, Tunisie and Guyenne)
- 2 transport groups (Artois and Picardie)

- 1 fighter group (Normandie-Niemen -GC.3-)

Under USAF and RAF command in North Africa, Sicily, Corsica, France etc.
- 9 fighter groups (Nice -Sqn 326-, Corse -Sqn 327-, Provence -Sqn 328-, Travail, Roussillon, Champagne, Navarre, Lafayette, Dauphiné and Ardennes)
- 6 bomber groups (Bretagne, Maroc, Gascogne, Bourgogne, Sénégal and Franche-Comté)
- 2 reconnaissance groups (Belfort, Savoie)
- 1 transport group (Anjou)

446 Thunderbolts were delivered to the Free French air force based in North Africa. They equipped the following units :
- GC II/6 Travail
- GC II/5 Lafayette
- GC II/3 Dauphine
- GC I/4 Navarre
- GC I/5 Champagne
- GC III/3 Ardennes
- GC III/6 Roussillon

RAF French Spitfire squadrons :
Squadron Spitfire Marks Flown Squadron codes
N° 326 V, VIII, IX 91
N° 327 V, VIII, IX 7E
N° 328 V, VIII, IX S8
N° 329 V, IX, XVI 5A
N° 340 II, V, IX, XVI GW
N° 341 V, IX, XVI NL
N° 345 V, IX, XVI 2Y


Therefore the French fought in Europe, in Africa, on the eastern front with the 'Normandie-Niemen' fighter group and in the Pacific theatre of operations.



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Post by Panzermeyer » Sat May 21, 2005 7:18 am

Two other officers were mentioned :

Pierre Koenig is an intelligence officer in Germany until 1929 in the staff of the 40e DI and 43e DI. He takes part in various operations in the Moroccan desert until September 1939. Back in France on 16th June 1940 he cannot continue the fight there and embarks for Great Britain on 20th June 1940. He is rallying De Gaulle immediately and he is promoted battalion commander. He takes part to the first operations involving some Free French troops like in Dakar. He plays a very important role in the rallying of Gabon to the Free French in November 1940.
In 1941 he is promoted colonel. He is in Sudan and in Palestine and takes part to operation "Exporter" in Syria as staff officer and later commander of the 1e DFL. In August 1943 he is staff officer for the French Army in Algeria and is in charge of the fusion between the Free French and the former Vichy French troops to build the French Army. In March 1944, he is representative of the new French government by US general Eisenhower. On 28th June 1944, Koenig is promoted army corps general and governor of Paris on 25th August. In July 1945 he is commander of the French Troops in Germany and in 1946 he is promoted army general.

Edgard de Larminat chooses the colonial infantry in 1919 after the school of Saint-Cyr. During 2 1/2 years he serves in Morocco and he is then sent to Western Africa, in Mauritania.
From 1925 to 1928 he is in the 1e RIC and the 22e RIC. In 1928 he is sent to Indochina and in September he is promoted battalion commander in September 1929. Back in France in 1931 he takes command of a battalion of the 4e RTS. From 1933 to 1935 he is in the "Ecole de Guerre" (War School).
In 1935 he is lieutenant-colonel and sent in the Levant (Syria - Lebanon). He is promoted colonel in March 1940 and in May he is in the HQ staff of the Middle-East theatre of operations. In June 1940, refusing the defeat, he tries to keep the troops of the Levant in the fight. He is arrested and put in jail in Damas on 27th June 1940. Three days later he escapes and joins the Free French troops in Palestine.
He plays a crucial role in the rallying of mant African territories to the Free French troops. In 1941 he is condemned to death by Vichy and he is also promoted brigade general. He organized the African battalions which will be included in the 1e DFL and in the Leclerc Column (ancestor of the 2e DB).
Staff officer by general Catroux, commander in chief of the Levant, he takes command of the 1st Free French brigade in December 1941 for the campaign in Lybia. He is also the officer in charge of the preparation of the defenses of Bir Hakeim to face the assault of the Germano-Italian forces in May 1942. In January 1943, he tales command of the 1e DFL and fights victoriously in Tunisia, taking the Djebel Garci in front of Takrouna from 8th to 13th May 1943.
He is then sent to Italy with the French Expeditionary Coprs in Italy (FECI) and led the 2nd army corps. In August 1944 he takes part in the landing in Provence and in October 1944 he takes command of the "commandement des Forces Françaises de l'Ouest", which becomes the "Détachement d'Armée de l'Atlantique". He is then in charge of reducing the German pockets in Lorient, La Rochelle, Rochefort, Royan etc. During the winter 1944-1945 he is in charge of transforming FFI units in regular army units and creates 5 infantry divisions. Between the 14th and the 20th April 1945 he reduces German pockets in the Bordeaux area and takes 10,000 POWs and a huge quantity of equipment. In November 1945, Edgard de Larminat is promoted general inspector of the overseas troops.


About the 1st Free French division :

On 18th June 1940, General Charles De Gaulle broadcasted an appeal on BBC radio for French men and women to join him and the British in the fight against Nazi Germany. But, by the end of July 1940 only 7000 men had volunteered to join the Free French forces. The attacks by the RAF on the French Navy at Mers-El-Kebir and Dakar caused bitterness in France and did not encourage former members of the French Army to escape to Britain.
Nonetheless the Free French troops are enlarging and they are involved in many combats in North Africa and in the Middle-East from 1941 to 1943.
On 17th January 1941, De Gaulle decided to send some French troops to take part in the campaign in Eritrea and Ethiopia, against the Italians. They performed valiantly at Cub-Cub and were the first to enter Massawa. On 8th April 1941, the 13e DBLE took the port of Massawa from a garrison of 1400 Italian troops. On 27th March 1941, De Gaulle decided to form a division, beginning with these troops ; he gave it the name of "1e Division Française Libre" (1e DFL) led by at first by general Legentilhomme.
With the addition of troops from Africa and the Pacific, the formation’s strength grew to two brigades, and it was renamed the 1e Division Légère Française Libre (1st Free French Light Division - 1e DLFL) in May 1941. General Koenig then took over command.

From 7th June to 11th July 1941, the division fought the Vichy forces of the Levant (Syria and Lebanon), alongside the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade and the 7th Australian Division. The unit won the battle of Damascus and allowed General De Gaulle to assert his authority over the French Levant.
The 1e DLFL was dissolved on 20th August 1941 and was reorganized into two light motorized divisions, comprising tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, and self-propelled guns (75mm guns on trucks). De Gaulle wanted to use them alongside the British 8th Army. Faced with hesitation from the British, De Gaulle offered the units to the Russians. The British then agreed to use the 1e DLFL, on two conditions : that it must be completely re-equipped in their care and that it must receive supplementary training. The French agreed, while retaining the use of 75mm self-propelled guns.
On 12th January 1942, the division was engaged in the pockets of Halfaya and Sollum. The British offensive was cut short when Rommel received his reinforcements and the pendulum swung backward, forcing the British to retreat and go on the defensive. On 14th February, the division settled in at Bir Hakeim, covering the south flank of Auchinleck's army. At the beginning of June, alone and isolated, it resisted for 15 days against Rommel and three Afrika Korps divisions, and having succeeded in a spectacular sortie which cost it 30% of its strength, it gained international glory and renown.
At the end of October 1942, the division was engaged in Montgomery's initial breakthrough, as a diversion in the El Himeimat sector. Afterward, it took part in securing the 8th Army's rear area while the Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine du Pacifique (Pacific Naval Infantry Battalion - BIMP), as the division’s only fully mechanized unit, accompanied the 8th Army in the pursuit of the Afrika Korps into Tunisia.
In January 1943, General de Larminat took over the command of the Free French troops.

On 17th January 1943, with the contribution of 8,000 men from Somalia, which had only recently deposed its Vichy governor and joined the Free French cause, the "Light Division" could finally transform itself into a true "Division". The DFL in its final form was born.
While the rest of the 1e DFL reorganized, only the BIMP saw action ; but on 8th May 1943, the entire division was again engaged in Tunisia in the Takrouna sector, where it fought a short 5-day battle on the heights.
With the end of the North African campaign, the division was stationed in Tunisia for a time, but was then sent back to Tripolitania, because its recruitment methods were judged "too aggressive" for the liking of the other units of the French Army being formed. (The DFL, which proudly insisted that it was the only "true" Free French division, had been visiting the garrisons of the other French units and recruiting their men !)
The unit’s official name was then changed to the 1e Division Motorisée d'Infanterie (1st Motorized Infantry Division), and after that to the 1e Division de Marche d'Infanterie (1st Foot Infantry Division) — but it always refused to be known as anything other than the 1e DFL.
General de Lattre de Tassigny, after being appointed commander of the French 1st Army in North Africa, took over and continued to issue orders in the name of 1e DFL. On 20th September, the division was regrouped around Nabeul. With the departure of General Koenig it changed commander; his replacement was General Diego Brosset, who had risen from the division’s own ranks. A considerable number of reinforcements allowed him to fill out the division to its full strength of three brigades and 18,000 combatants. It was then re-equipped with American material, but kept its British uniforms and a large part of its small arms and support weapons (Bren LMGs, PIATs, 2-inch mortars).
On 10th April 1944, the division was placed under the orders of the French Expeditionary Corps in Italy - General Juin - and left for Italy. In May, alongside the 3e Division d'Infanterie Algerienne (3rd Algerian Infantry Division - 3e DIA), the 2e Division d'Infanterie Marocaine (2nd Moroccan Infantry Division - 2e DIM) and the 4e Division Marocaine de Montagne (4th Moroccan Mountain Division - 4e DMM), it took part in the breakthrough at Garigliano and the following exploitation, which opened the doors to Rome for the allies. Then in June, the division pursued the Germans into Tuscany as far as Monte Calcinaio. During these operations it was always the center of the French line, making frontal attacks to pin the enemy while the other divisions flanked and encircled, and it took heavy casualties. On 20th June, it was relieved by the 2e DIM and moved into quarters south of Naples. It used the opportunity to reconstitute itself and complete its equipment. On 7th August, it embarked in Taranto for a "secret" destination, which, as everyone on board knew, was Provence (operation Anvil / Dragoon)
After the battle of Provence, the division continued on to further glory in its pursuit of the German army through France, and in the hard battles of the Vosges and the Alsace plain, where General Brosset was killed. Colonel Garbay, another officer risen from within the ranks, took command. General de Gaulle made the arrangement official shortly thereafter by promoting him to general, much to the annoyance of the French military establishment. The division took part in the battle of the Colmar pocket, and then, in 1945, in the mopping-up of the fortified Alpine sectors still held by the Germans.



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Post by sid guttridge » Sat May 21, 2005 7:50 am

Hi Guys,

Wow! Thanks for that. It will take me several days to digest it all, so forgive me if I don't get straight back to you.



Laurent Daniel
Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:29 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Laurent Daniel » Sat May 21, 2005 8:31 am

Hi Sid,
Now you have TWO frogs after you:

Panzermeyer, who it seems is sitting on few tons of reliable sources
Me, with definitely less sources but still a big typical French mouth and few infos.

Beware :wink:
Just joking
Panzermeyer, it seems you are a valuable recruit here :D
Most welcome
Daniel Laurent

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Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2002 4:51 am
Location: France

Post by Panzermeyer » Mon May 23, 2005 2:41 pm

Laurent Daniel wrote:... who it seems is sitting on few tons of reliable sources

I am really focused on the French 1939/1940 army. My main sources are :

Main "technical" sources :

• "1940 L'infanterie" (collection armes et uniformes, François Vauvillier)
• "Chars B au combat - Hommes et matériels du 15e BCC" (Stéphane Bonnaud)
• "Denkschrift über die französische Landesbefestigung" (Berlin 1941)
• "France 1940 – l'armement terrestre" (Stéphane Ferrard)
• "Hommes et ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot" (Jean-Yves Mary et Alain Hohnadel)
• "Il était une fois la Ligne Maginot" (Jean-Bernard Wahl)
• "Kennbläter fremden Geräts" (Heft 8a und Heft 8b) (Berlin 1941)
• "L'armement de l'infanterie française 1918-1940" (Gazette des armes, special edition)
• "L'automobile sous l'uniforme" (François Vauvillier)
• "Les engins blindés français 1920-1945" (Pierre Touzin)
• "Les matériels de l'armée de terre française 1940" (2 volumes, Stéphane Ferrard)
• "Les véhicules blindés français 1900-1940" (Pierre Touzin)
• "The French army 1939-1940 – organisation, order of battle, operational history" (4 volumes, Lee Sharp)
• Direction Générale de l'Armement, various official technical documents from 1939-1940
• Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre
• Trackstory n°1 : Somua S35
• Trackstory n°2 : Panhard 178
• Trackstory n°3 : Renault B1bis
• Various 1936-1940 French military manuals including :
--o "Aide-mémoire de l'officier de cavalerie en campagne" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1939)
--o "Aide-mémoire de l'officier de réserve d'infanterie" (Lieutenant-Colonel Arendt, 1940)
--o "Aide-mémoire d'instruction pour les unités de chars légers – instruction tactique du chef de char" (1936)
--o "Aide-mémoire du mitrailleur" (Capitaine Vidal, 1939)
--o "Aide-mémoire pour les travaux d'état-major" (Ecole Supérieure de Guerre, 1939)
--o "Instruction générale sur le tir de l'artillerie" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1940)
--o "Instruction pour les unités dotées d’armes lourdes" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1940)
--o "Instruction provisoire pour la pièce de mortier de 60mm modèle 1935" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1938)
--o "Instruction sur le matériel automobile, la conduite des véhicules et les colonnes automobiles" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1939)
--o "Instruction sur l'emploi tactique des grandes unités" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1937)
--o "L'enseignement du combat" (2 volumes, Commandant Bouron, 1936)
--o "Manuel du gradé de l'armée de l'air" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1938)
--o "Manuel du gradé d'infanterie" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1940)
--o "Manuel du gradé du génie" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1936)
--o "Précis de tir et armement de l'infanterie" (Lieutenant-Colonel G. Paillé, 1939)
--o "Tables de tir du matériel de 47mm Mle1937" (Ministère de la Guerre, 1939)

Other sources :

• "1939-1940, batailles pour la France" (Patrick de Gmeline)
• "39-45" magazines
• "Avec la 3e DLM et le corps de cavalerie" (G. Delater)
• "Avec les héros de 40" (Marc-André Fabre)
• "Batailles & Blindés" magazines
• "Blitzkrieg à l’Ouest, Mai-Juin 40" (Jean-Paul Pallud)
• "Ceux de la cavalerie 1939-1940" (Francis Rico)
• "Ceux de l'artillerie 1939-1940" (Etienne Dubuisson)
• "Ceux des chars – 45 jours, 45 nuits" (Pierre Voisin)
• "Comme des lions – mai/juin 1940 – le sacrifice de l'armée française" (Dominique Lormier)
• "De Gaulle sous le casque – Abbeville 1940" (Henri de Wailly)
• "Des forêts d'Alsace aux chemins de Normandie – La 43e division d'infanterie dans la guerre, 3 septembre 1939 – 26 juin 1940" (Thibault Richard)
• "Divided and Conquered : The French High Command and the Defeat of the West, 1940." (Jeffery A. Gunsburg, 1979)
• "En auto-mitrailleuse à travers les batailles de mai" (Guy de Chézal)
• "Fallait-il sauver le char Bayard ?" (René Boly)
• "Franc tireur en uniforme" (André Sernin)
• "French order of battle in World War II, 1939-1945" (George F. Nafziger)
• "Gembloux 1940 … Echec à la 4e Panzer" (Marcel Pieret)
• "Gembloux" (Henri Aymes)
• "Groupe Franc" (Albert Merglen)
• "Guderian's XIXth Panzer Corps and the Battle of France : Breakthrough in the Ardennes, May 1940." (Florian K. Rothbrust)
• "Histoire de la ligne Maginot" (Roger Bruge)
--o volume 1 : "Faites sauter la ligne Maginot"
--o volume 2 : "Offensive sur le Rhin"
--o volume 3 : "On a livré la ligne Maginot"
• "Histoires de Guerre" magazines
• "Historica" magazines
• "Historique du 7e bataillon de chars légers F.C.M"
• "J'étais médecin avec les chars" (André Soubiran)
• "Juin 1940 – combats sur le Rhin et dans les Vosges" (J.-Martin Busser)
• "Juin 40 le mois maudit" (Roger Bruge)
• "Koh Chang, the unknown battle – Franco-Thai war of 1940-1941" (Jurg Meisler, World War II Investigator, XIV, 1989, 26-34)
• "La 36e division d'infanterie à l'honneur, 1939-1940" (F. Soulet)
• "La bataille de France, mai-juin 1940" (Pierre Lyet, 1947)
• "La bataille su sud d'Amiens, 20 mai – 8 juin 1940" (P. Vasselle)
• "La campagne de 1940" (Christine Levisse-Touzé)
• "La Division de Fer dans la Bataille de France, 10 mai - 25 juin 1940" (Pierre-Georges Arlabosse)
• "La division de Metz (42e DI) pendant la bataille de France" (Général Pierre Keller)
• "La Panzers passent la Meuse" (Paul Berben and Bernard Iselin)
• "La victoire évaporée – Abbeville 1940" (Henri de Wailly)
• "L'Arme Blindée Française (volume 1) : Mai-juin 1940 ! Les blindés français dans la tourmente" (Gérard Saint-Martin)
• "L'arrière garde meurt mais ne se rend pas ! La tragédie des Flandres, 1940" (Pierre Porthault)
• "Le 1e Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes" (Pierre Dufour)
• "Le 7e GRDI dans les combats du 10 mai au 4 juin 1940" (Laurent Soyer)
• "Le 9-9 dans la tourmente 1939-1945" (André Mudler and Yves Lacaze)
• "Le coup de faux – Assassinat d'une ville" (Henri de Wailly)
• "Le défaut de l'armure : nos chars pouvaient-ils vaincre en 1940 ? Enseignements et perspectives nouvelles" (Georges Ferré)
• "Le mythe de la guerre-éclair – la campagne de l'Ouest de 1940" (Karl-Heinz Frieser)
• "L'effondrement – 1940" (Henri de Wailly)
• "Les Cadets de Saumur" (Patrick de Gmeline)
• "Les combats du Mont-Dieu – Mai 1940" (Gérard Giuliano)
• "Les combattants du 18 juin" (Roger Bruge)
--o volume 1 : "Le sang versé"
--o volume 2 : "Les derniers feux"
--o volume 3 : "L'armée broyée"
--o volume 4 : "Le cessez le feu"
• "Les Corps Francs 39/40" (Patrick de Gmeline)
• "Les mille victoires de la chasse française, mai-juin 1940." (Jean Gisclon)
• "Les soldats de la drôle de Guerre" (François Cochet)
• "Les Spahis au feu, la 1e Brigade de Spahis pendant la campagne 1939-1940" (Général P. Jauffrault)
• "L'escadron de Segonzac" (Olivier d'Ormesson)
• "Mai - Juin 1940 : défaite française, victoire allemande, sous l'oeil des historiens étrangers" (Maurice Vaïsse)
• "Mai - Juin 1940 : les combattants de l'honneur" (Jean Delmas, Paul Devautour and Eric Lefèvre)
• "Mai - Juin 1940, les blindés français" (Ronald Mc Nair)
• "Militaria" magazines (especially special issues n°4, 8, 17, 21, 31, 34)
• "Orage en Champagne, l'ultime bataille – 12 juin 1940" (Claude Antoine)
• "Quelques-uns des chars 1939-1940" (René Bardel)
• "The battle of Gembloux, 14-15 May 1940 : the 'Blitzkrieg' checked" (Jeffery A. Gunsburg, the journal of military history 64 (January 2000), 97-140)
• "The battle of the Belgian plain, 12-14 May 1940 : the first great tank battle" (Jeffery A. Gunsburg, the journal of military history 56 (April 1992), 207-244)
• "The French Army 1939-45 (2 volumes)" (Ian Sumner, François Vauvillier and Mike Chappell, Men-at-arms series n°315, Osprey)
• "Une bataille 'oubliée' de la seconde guerre mondiale : Stonne, Le Mont Dieu, Tannay. 14-25 mai 1940" (Bernard Horen)
• "Une vie de char" (Robert Le Bel)
• "Weygand, De Gaulle et quelques autres – La Somme 16-28 mai 1940" (Henri de Wailly)

That's for the main ones. As you see several unit histories, wartime manuals and documents etc.



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