French units defending the Pyrenees, 1940

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Ironmachine
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French units defending the Pyrenees, 1940

Post by Ironmachine » 08 Mar 2011 12:26

As the title says, I'm interested in knowing which French military units defended the Franco-Spanish border in 1940. Can anybody help me?
Thanks.

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Loïc
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Re: French units defending the Pyrenees, 1940

Post by Loïc » 08 Mar 2011 14:41

in 1940 in the 5 departments there were only the local Regional Regiments with the oldest reservists (38-48 years old), the Regimental Depots, the Gendarmerie & Mobile Republican Guard, Labour Companies etc... like in the others departments
the 4th Half-Brigade of Chasseurs Pyrénéens before march 1940 and some newly-raised Senegalese Battalions were too in the area in march-april 1940 for training as there was the camp of Rivesaltes near Perpignan, the 16th Customs Battalion of Perpignan and 17th of Bayonne

no Army, Corps or even Division remained, initially the Mobilisation in september 1939 saw the creation of the short-lived Detachement d'Armée des Pyrénées in 3 Sectors without artillery, cavalry or engineers, just 14 Battalions, mainly reservists (10 Chasseurs Pyrénéens, 4 Machine-Gun) see my post in spanish here about it :
http://www.elgrancapitan.org/foro/viewt ... 46&start=0

for the Regional troops were raised the following units
Pyrénées Orientales 164e Régiment Régional initially 7 battalions of which 6 for the guard of foreigners camps
Haute-Garonne & Ariège 171e Régiment Régional 5 battalions
Hautes-Pyrénées 182e Régiment Régional 8 battalions of which 4 for the guard of foreigners camps
Basses-Pyrénées 183e Régiment Régional ?? battalions

but even these regiments lost a part of their initial strenght between the autumn 1939 and the spring 1940 and so companies or battalions were disbanded due to the demobilisation of many veterans soldiers,
no datas about them unfortunately but in order to give an idea of this "deflation" the Parisian 223e RRT, 3700 men in september 1939 was reduced to 2430 in october (-34 %) only one month after, and the 61e RR lost ~50 % of the regiment in january 1940 like that...



Regards
Loïc
Last edited by Loïc on 08 Mar 2011 16:25, edited 3 times in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: French units defending the Pyrenees, 1940

Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Mar 2011 16:09

Hi Loic,

Authoritative factual answers, such as yours here, to otherwise obscure questions are what makes sites like this so valuable.

Thanks.

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Ironmachine
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Re: French units defending the Pyrenees, 1940

Post by Ironmachine » 08 Mar 2011 18:57

Thank you very much, Loic. That was exactly what I was looking for.

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Loïc
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Re: French units defending the Pyrenees, 1940

Post by Loïc » 03 Jan 2012 17:18

Hello
some updated datas about the French Army deployment in 1940 in the five border departments of the XVIth XVIIth & XVIIIth Military Region
we saw it was reduced during the autumn 1939
as I wrote even the initial strenght of the Regional Regiments appear overabundants and probably didn't reflect their organisation in 1940
so from Western Pyrénées to Eastern Pyrénées :
Hautes-Pyrénées 182e Régiment Régional 8 battalions of which 4 for the guard of foreigners camps
Basses-Pyrénées 183e Régiment Régional ?? battalions
for both departments only the 182e Régiment Régional reduced to ~13 companies
17th Customs Battalion
(not counting Cavalry Artillery Infantry Training War Depots & Artillery Organisation Center)
Haute-Garonne & Ariège 171e Régiment Régional 5 battalions
same regiment but reduced, ~2000 men for the whole regiment
(in Ariège there were too 2 Infantry Depots DGIC 379 & DGI 173)
15e BATS (Senegalese Tirailleurs Autonomous Battalion) sent to Pamiers for training during the spring 1940
of course in Haute-Garonne the town of Toulouse is the HQ of the 17th Military Region having many Regimental Depots and Air Bases or Factories etc...
Pyrénées Orientales 164e Régiment Régional initially 7 battalions of which 6 for the guard of foreigners camps
Regionals reduced to a ~400men Battalion of the 163e Régiment Régional
in this department I forgot the (a third of the) IVth (Coastal Defence) Battalion of the 281e RI (sent to the Alps)
and a Coastal Naval Battery both in Port Vendres-Collioure with a 13,2mm Machine-Gun Company
(Colonial Infantry Depot 169 in Perpignan and near this garrison the camp de Rivesaltes serving as movilization and training camp for Senegalese Tirailleurs Battalions raised during the spring 1940 : 63e to 67e of which 65e and 67e stationned some weeks in the department; 113e to 124e theorically raised 1 May 1940)
theorically there was the 16th Customs Battalion

*not counting Gendarmerie, Mobile Republican Guard, some regional Transport and Guet (Watch) units and unarmed Labour or Workers Companies


Regards
Loïc

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