.
CusterMen MENU Italian Campaign At The Front Books Armies Maps 85th Division GI Biographies Websites

<>Dated:  Jan 6, 2006

French Organizations
In Italian Campaign

FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY FORCES

  This page presents a organizational tables and general information on the French army in Italy.  The French government that was in exile in North Africa, raised 5 divisions of colonial troops who were sent to fight in Italy under the command of General Alphonse Juin.  They French troops, who were from the colonies of Morroco, Tunisia, & Algeria, played an important role in the attack of Monte Cassino.  After the fall of Rome, the French troops were pulled out and re-organized into the 1st French Army.
   I've received email that criticized my website for not mentioning the French troops and specifically the colonial troops from Morroco.  I'm slowly adding more history of the Italian Campaign that relates to the combat after the fall of Rome.  The French troops were present before the fall of Rome.  However, to prevent further harsh email, I am adding this page.  I hope it is of some help.  At least it shows that the Italian Campaign included nationalities other than American and British.  I would like to thank Pierre Laevensof Lille, Framce for his assistance in reviewing the contents of this page.
Return to: Units & Organizations     or see  German Organizations  or  Italian Organizations


 
 

FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
Commanding General

General Alphonse Juin "He was one of the finest soldiers", General Mark Clark
  Born: December 16, 1888 at Bone, Algeria.   Died: January 27, 1967

  General Juin was in command of the 15th Motorized Infantry Division in Morroco at the beginning of the war.  When the German Army began its Western Offensive, Juin and his troops moved into Belgium. After advancing 30 miles, Juin engaged General Walther von Reichenau and the 6th Army. Forced to retreat he was pushed back to Valenciennes and then Lille. After running out of ammunition, Juin was forced to surrender on 30th May 1940.

   Juin was held at Koenigstein Castle until pressure from General Henri-Philippe Petain and General Maxime Weygand resulted in Adolf Hitler ordering his release. Juin was now appointed by Petain as commander of all French troops in Morocco. When the Germans forced Petain and his Vichy government to recall Weygand on 18th November 1941, Juin replaced him as commander of all land forces in North Africa.

   In November 1943, Juin took command of Free French forces in Italy. The following month he relieved the 34th US Infantry Division at Monte Cassino, a hilltop site of a sixth-century Benedictine monastery. Defended by 15 German divisions the line was fortified with gun pits, concrete bunkers, turreted machine-gun emplacements, barbed-wire and minefields. In December 1943, the Allied suffered heavy loses while trying to capture the monastery.  On 18th May, 1944, Monte Cassino was captured by French troops led by Juin and by Polish Corps led by General Wladyslaw Anders. This opened a corridor for Allied troops and they reached Anzio on 24th May.
 
 

History of FEC and its Divisions

Corps Expéditionaire Français - CEF  or French Expeditionary Corps, FEC,  or    also known as
Corps Expéditionaire Français en  Italie - CEFI - or the French Expeditionary Corps in Italy
When the Allies landed on North Africa, the Vichy government was hostile towards the US and especially the British and planned to oppose any landings.   In 1942, the Allies were planning to move American troops to North Africa to help the British fight the Germans under Rommel.   General Mark Clark was sent on a secret mission to persuade the French to ally with them to open a second front in support of the British 8th Army.  General Clark was flown from the GHQ in UK to Gibralter by a Major Tibbets.  From there he was secretly landed on the coast by a submarine.  There he met with Admiral Jean Darlan, the commander of all the French forces and a member of the Vichy government in North Africa. Soon after the landing, General Clark met General Juin at a conference with the French commanders on 10 November.  Darlan ordered the end to all resistance to the Allies.  The French joined the Allies' cause and a new French army was organized using American material. General Clark had high respect for General Juin as the FEC was assigned to his command.  They became good friends.

At the beginning of 1943, three Algerian divisions and two Moroccoan divisions were constituted.  The existing Free French Division was reorganized into two Free French brigades and other units.  The north African colonial troops had their own nationalistic fervor and had little in common with each other.  These unit had to learn to work and fight together as one a single unit.

The FEC was originally designated as the 1e Armée Français or the 1st French Army.  This would cause problems with the US 5th Army command, to which the French army was subordinated.  Therefore, General Juin decided to name the his force the CEF.

 After the fall of Rome, the FEC continued to fight until it took Sienne on the 3rd July.  The 1st DFL were the first to pull out of combat on the 20 June 1944.  The last was the 4th DMM on the 20-22 July.  All divisions were directed to Naples area for regrouping and refiting.  At 00:00 on 23 July, 1944, the FEC was officialy dissolved and was absorbed into the 1st French Army under General de Lattre de Tassigny. From Naples, the divisions embarked for southern France.

1e Division Française Libre (DFL) (1st Free French Division) or 1st Division Motorisee d’Infanterie  (1st  Motorized Infantry Div).   The 1st DFL was formed in February 1943 out of a combination of the 1st and 2nd Free French Brigades.  After a reorganization in August, it was designated as the 1e Division Motorisee d’Infanterie (1st Motorized Infantry Div) and then again as the 1e Division de Marche d’Infanterie, which is a general term use by French for a mixture of diverse units.  This division arrived in Italy in April 1944 and continued to be called the Free French Division and the 1st Motorized Infantry Division.

2e Division d'Infanterie Maroccaine (DIM) (Moroccan Infantry Division)  The 2nd DMI was formed on 1 May 1943 and was the first French formation on active service in Italy.  It arrived in Italy in end November 1943.

3e Division d'Infanterie Algérienne (DIA) (Algerian Infantry Division).   The 3rd DIA was stationed near the Tunisian border when the Allies landed in North Africa.  They participated in the operations that led to the liberation of Tunisia.  On 3 May 1943, the Division of Constantine was redesignated as the 3rd DIA or 3rd Algerian Infantry Division.  After some amphibious training it embarked for Italy and relieved the US 45th Division.

4e Division Marocaine de Montagne (DMM)  (Moroccan Mountain Division)  The 4th DMM  was originally formed as the 3e Division d’Infanterie Marocaine but changed to the 4th DMM.  Later it was renamed simply the Division Marocaine de Montagne, but it was continued to be referred to by the 4th DMM.  Units of this division participated in the liberation of Corsica in September & October 1944.

Other units
The 2nd & 6th RTM (Moroccan Infantry Rgts) were redesignated, after their heavy combat losses, as the 2nd & 6th Regiments Mixtes de Tirailleurs Marocains et Algerians.  Later, in August 1944, they were renamed 1st Regiments de Tirailleurs Algeriens and 6th RTM.

Morroccan Tabors -  Morroccan “goums” were initially formed for internal security in 1908.  They were eventually absorbed into the military with a ‘goum” equivalent to a ‘company’.  A “tabor” was the equivalent to a battalion and consisted of three goums.  Three tabors formed a “group”.  The tabors were never used on the battlefield as a group but were deployed as replacements for infantry units. “Goumiers” were the name of those serving in these units.

Quoting from General Mark Clark's autobiography, he describes how the FEC broke through the GUSTAV Line in May of 1944.

    "Meantime, the French forces had crossed the Garigliano (River) and moved forward into the mountainous terrain lying south of the Liri River.  It was not easy.  As always, the German veterans reacted strongly and there was bitter fighting. The French surprised the enemy and quickly seized key terrain including Mounts Faito Cerasola and high ground near Castelforte.  The 1st Motorized Division helped the 2nd Moroccan division take key Mount Girofano and then advanced rapidly north to S. Apollinare and S. Ambrogio.  In spite of the stiffening enemy resistance, the 2nd Moroccan Division penetrated the Gustave Line in less than two day’s fighting.
     "The next 48 hours on the French front were decisive.  The knife-wielding Goumiers swarmed over the hills, particularly at night, and General Juin’s entire force showed an aggressiveness hour after hour that the Germans could not withstand.  Cerasola, San Giogrio, Mt. D’Oro, Ausonia and Esperia were seized in one of the most brilliant and daring advances of the war in Italy, and by May 16 the French Expeditionary Corps had thrust forward some ten miles on their left flank to Mount Revole, with the remainder of their front slanting back somewhat to keep contact with the British 8th Army.
    "For this performance, which was to be a key to the success of the entire drive on Rome, I shall always be a grateful admirer of General Juin and his magnificent FEC."
(and a little further)
    "The 8th Army’s delay made Juin’s task more difficult, because he was moving forward so rapidly that his right flank---adjacent to the British---constantly was exposed to counter-attacks".

FRENCH EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
Order of Battle
Including dates of arrival in Italy

Commanding General:  General Alphonse Juin

1e DIVISION FRANCAISE LIBRE (DFL) - (Motorized Infantry Div, aka Free French Division}
General Diego Brosset -  arrived in Italy in April 1944
        1st Brigade  - Colonel Delange
             13th DBLE Demi-Brigade de la Légion Etrangère,  {Half Brigade of Foreign Legion}
               Chief Battalion Bablon
                 1 Battalion of Foreign Legion{BLE}
                 2 BLE
               22nd BMNA Bataillon de Marche Nord Africain {North African "Walking" Battalion *}
        2nd Brigade - Lieutenant-Colonel Garbay
             4th Bataillon de Marche {BM}
             5th BM
             11th BM
        4th Brigade - Colonel Raynal
             21st BM
             24th BM
             Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine du Pacifique(BIMP)  {Marine Infantry Battalion of Pacific}
       1st Regiment d'Artillerie Coloniale(RAC)   {Colonial Artillery Rgt}
        Lieutenant-Colonel Maubert
            1/1 Squadron
            2/1 Squadron
            3/1 Squadron
           155 Group (Long Tom)
       1st Regiment de Fusiliers Marins (RFM) - (Marine Fusilier Regiment)
       Capitaine de Fregate Amyot d'Inville( KIA 10 June 44)
       succeded by Capitaine de Corvette de Morsier. Light Armor.
            1st Squadron
            2nd Squadron
            3rd Squadron
            4th Squadron
            E.H.R.
       FTA 21st Groupe Antillais DCA {West Indies AA Group} -Chief Battalion Lanlo

2e DIVISION d'INFANTERIE MAROCAINE  {Moroccan Infantry Division}
General André Dody - arrived in Italy in end november 1943
        4th Regiment de Tirailleurs Marocains (RTM)-  {Moroccan Skirmisher Rgt}
        Col Lappara succeded by Col Bridot
            1/4 Battalion
            2/4 Battalion
            3/4 Battalion
        5th RTM - Colonel Joppé succeded by Lt-Col Piatte
            1/5 Battalion
            2/5 Battalion
            3/5 Battalion
        8th RTM - Colonel Molle succeded by Col de Berchoux
            1/8 Battalion
            2/8 Battalion
            3/8 Battalion
        3rd Regiment de Spahis Marocains (RSM)   {Moroccan Spahis Rgt}
         Colonel Pique-Aubrun - light armor M5
            1st Squadron
            2nd Squadron
            3rd Squadron
            4th Squadron
            E.H.R.
            Auto Services
        63rd Regiment d'Artillerie d'Afrique (RAA)-  {African Artillery Rgt}
            1/63 Squadron
            2/63 Squadron
            3/63 Squadron
            4/63 Squadron
        87th Engineers Battalion Lieutenant-Colonel Berthezène
        FTA 41st DCA group Chief Squadron Blanchet/ Juigner/ Bescond

3e DIVISION d'INFANTERIE ALGERIENNE  - {Algerian Infantry Division)}
General Joseph de Goiselard de Monsabert - arrived in Italy in end December 1943
        3rd Regiment de Tirailleurs Algériens (RTA)  -  {Algerian Skirmisher Rgt}
         Colonel Gonzalès de Linarès
            1/3 Battalion
            2/3 Battalion
            3/3 Battalion
        4th Regiment de Tirailleurs Tunisiens (RTT)  - {Tunisian Skirmisher Rgt}
        Colonel Roux( KIA 27 January 44) succeded by Lieutenantt-Colonel Guillebaud
             1/4 Battalion
             2/4 Battalion
             3/4 Battalion
        7th RTA  - Col Chapuis
             1/7 Battalion
             2/7 Battalion
             3/7 Battalion
        3rd Regiment de Spahis Algériens de Reconnaissance (RSAR) {Recon Algerian Spahis Rgt}
         Lieutenant-Colonel Bonjour (light armor M5)
             1st Squadron
             2nd Squadron
             3rd Squadron
             4th Squadron
             E.H.R.
             Auto Services
        67th RAA (African Artillery Rgt)
            1/67 Squadron
            2/57 Squadron
            3/67 Squadron
            4/67 Squadron
        83rd Engineers Battalion Chief Battalion Vilette / Colin
        FTA 37th DCA Group Col Blanchet

4e DIVISION MAROCAINE de MONTAGNE (DMM) {Moroccan Mountain Division}
 General François Sevez - arrived in Italy in February 44
        1st Regiment de Tirailleurs Marocains (RTM) {Moroccan Skirmisher Rgt}
        Colonel Brissaud-Desmaillet
             1/1 Battalion
             2/1 Battalion
             3/1 Battalion
        2nd RTM - Colonel Buot de l'Epine succeded by Colonel Deleuze
             1/2 Battalion
             2/2 Battalion
             3/2 Battalion
        6th RTM - Colonel Cherrière
             1/6 Battalion
             2/6 Battalion
             3/6 Battalion
        4th RSM -  (light armor M5)
        Colonel Lambilly(Kia 18 May 44) succeded by Chief Squadron Dodelier
             1st Squadron
             2nd Squadron
             3rd Squadron
             4th Squadron
             E.H.R.
            Auto Services
        69th Regiment d'Artillerie de Montagne (RAM)  - {Mountain Artillery Rgt}
        Lieutenant-Colonel Cerisier
             1/69 Squadron
             2/69 Squadron
             3/69 Squadron
             4/69 Squadron
             82nd Engineers Battalion Chief Battalion Labouerie

GOUMS MAROCCAINS {Moroccan Goum}
General Augustin Guillaume - Arrived in Italy between November 43 and April 44.
       1st Groupe de Tabors Marocains (GTM)  {Moroccan Tabor Group}
       Colonel Leblanc
            2nd Tabor - Chief Battalion Roussel
                51st Goum
                61st Goum
                62nd Goum
            3rd Tabor  - Chief Battalion Colbert-Turgis
                4th Goum
                65th Goum
                101st Goum
            12th Tabor - Chief Battalion Leboîteux
                12th Goum
                63rd Goum
                64th Goum
       3rd GTM - Col Massiet du Biest
            9th Tabor - Commandant Picardat
                81st Goum
                82nd Goum
                83rd Goum
            10th Tabor - Commandant Boulet-Desbarreaux
                84th Goum
                85th Goum
                86th Goum
            17th Tabor - Commandant Alès(KIA 5 June 44) Commandant Parlange
                14th Goum
                18th Goum
                22nd Goum
       4th GTM - Lieutenant-Colonel Soulard succeded by Colonel Gautier
            5th Tabor - Captain Parlange / Commandant Villemandy
                41st Goum
                70th Goum
                71st Goum
            8th Tabor - Commandant Aunis succeded by Commandant Pantalacci
                78th Goum
                79th Goum
                80th Goum
            11th Tabor - Commandant Pejorlas
                88th Goum
                89th Goum
                93th Goum

       RESERVES GENERALES {General Reserves}
         7th Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique  (RCA)
              Lieutenant-Colonel Van Hecke . Tank Destroyer M10
                  1st Squadron
                   2nd Squadron
                   3rd Squadron
                   4th Squadron
                   E.H.R.
                   Auto Services
              8th RCA - Lieutenant-Colonel Simon - Tank Destroyer M10
                   1st Squadron
                   2nd Squadron
                   3rd Squadron
                   4th Squadron
                   E.H.R.
                   Auto Services
         64th RAA  - Colonel Latarse
                   1/64 Squadron
                   2/64 Squadron
                   3/64 Squadron
         Régiment d'Artillerie (Colonial Artillery Rgt of the Levant)
                Coloniale du Levant, Colonel Missonier
                  1st Group
                   2nd Group
                   Groupe de Canonniers Marins (Gunners Sailors Group)
                       1st Battery Capitaine de Frégate Le Coroller equipped with 155mm
                       GPF (long range Fillioux) these are French guns that the Italians had
                       taken from south France between 40/43 and retrieved after the landing
                       of the allied forces.
                      2nd Battery  Lieutenant de Vaisseau Jourden / Capitaine de Corvette Acloque

* 'Bataillon de Marche' is a general term use by French for assembling
diverse elements from different units in a temporary unit and to distinguish
it from the regular formations.

French Abbreviations of units   sorted by size of unit
DIM   = Division d'Inanterie Maroccaine       {Moroccan Infantry Division}
DMM = Division Marocaine de Montagne     {Moroccan Mountain Division}
GTM  = Groupe de Tabors Maroccains        {Moroccan Tabor Group}
BM    = Bataillon de Marche                       {March battalion--general term for diverse unit}
RAA  = Regiment d'Artillerie d'Afrique          {African Artillery Rgt}
RAC  = Regiment d'Artillerie Coloniale         {Colonial Artillery Rgt}
RAM  = Regiment d'Artillerie de Montagne   {Mountain Artillery Rgt}
RCA  = Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique    {African Light Infantry Rgt}
RFM  = Regiment de Fusiliers Marins          {Marine Fusilier Regiment}
RTA  = Regiment de Tirailleurs Algériens    {Algerian Skirmisher Rgt}
RTM  = Regiment de Tirailleurs Maroccains {Moroccan Skirmisher Rgt}
RTT  =  Regiment de Tirailleurs Tunisiens    {Tunisian Skirmisher Rgt}
RSM  = Regiment de Spahis Maroccains    {Moroccan Spahis Rgt}
BLE   = Brigade de la Légion Etrangère       {Brigade of French Foriegn Legion}
DBLE = Demi-Brigade de la Légion Etrangère  {Demi-Brigade of French Foriegn Legion}
FTA   = Forces Terrestres Antiaérienne       {AA Ground Forces}
EHR  = Escadron Hors Rang                      {Outstanding Squadron}- a supply & administrative unit
 

I am very grateful for the assistance of Pierre Laevens of Lille, Framce, for his assistance with the organization table and the French terms.  Pierre is a wargammer who has several resources available on the French armies.



French Troops Parade Through Rome - June 18th, 1944
Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine du Pacifique
(Marine Infantry Battalion of Pacific)
The famous French Battalion "Pacifique" marching through streets of Rome.
This was a news release photo from Allied Forces HQ.
There are many photos of troops parading in front of Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.




Return to TOP of Page
Go To:    
US Units
Canadians
British
Polish Brazilians

German

      
Go to US Divisions - Regiments & Supporting Units, for a complete list of US Divisions and the Regiments with illustration of each should patch.  Also includes examples of Distinguishing Unit Insignia pins of units that fought in Italy.

Return to The Italian Campaign  main menu or  The Italian Front Menu .
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         .

CusterMen MENU Italian Campaign At The Front Books Armies Maps 85th Division GI Biographies Websites