French colonial troops in 1940?

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Kelvin
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Kelvin » 12 Nov 2009 11:24

Was it true over 80,000 West Afrian troop fought in 1940 ?

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Loïc
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Loïc » 13 Nov 2009 11:17

if they "fought" all I don't know, the total of black Africans serving in the French Army in Metropolitan France and Overseas seems to reach ~120 000 men

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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by fraserk » 04 Jan 2010 06:45

Hi All

I am getting the impression that the make up of French forces in 1940 were quite mixed up. So a 'Colonial' division would contain 'white' regiments, and a colonial regiment may contain white and colonial companies.

Is this the case?

how would I find out more about the make up of these units?

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Bronsky
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Bronsky » 04 Jan 2010 17:08

Loïc wrote:if they "fought" all I don't know, the total of black Africans serving in the French Army in Metropolitan France and Overseas seems to reach ~120 000 men
As of 1 April 1940, non-North African colonial troops numbered 259,453 of which 194,000 in the colonies, 8,400 in Lebanon-Syria, 31,000 in North Africa a,d 26,000 in France (11,000 in combat units, the rest in rear-area formations).

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Loïc
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Loïc » 10 Jan 2010 03:04

thanks Bronsky for these figures
fraserk wrote: I am getting the impression that the make up of French forces in 1940 were quite mixed up. So a 'Colonial' division would contain 'white' regiments, and a colonial regiment may contain white and colonial companies.

Is this the case?
"Colonial Infantry" was the name of the Marine Infantry since 1901 only French citizens (metropolitan or people from the "Old Colonies" : West Indies Guyane Réunion) served in these units, the indigenous served with the Senegalese or Indochinese Tirailleurs Regiments or Battalions
it is true that during the Great War some RIC had indigenous battalions or even indigenous companies inside French Battalions

in 1939-1940 with the Regiments of the Colonial Divisions stationned in France :

-the "RIC" Colonial Infantry Regiments : French stock, "white" "european" if you want but don't forget that blacks whites or mulattos from the "Old Colonies" were French citizens too and can serve too in the RIC

-the "RTS" Senegalese Tirailleurs Regiments : basically indigenous (from black Africa) units with French officers and NCO's and a small number of French soldiers
according to Lee Sharp The French Army 1939-1940 Volume V Anti-Aircrat Cavalry & Colonial Units
a RTS had 81 French and 3 Indigenous Officers, 324 French and 49 Indigenous NCO's, 176 French and 139 Indigenous Corporals, 761 French and 1592 Indigenous soldiers

-the "RICMS" Senegalese Mixed Colonial Infantry Regiments : created during the spring 1940 by the replacement in some RIC of 2 Battalions by 2 black Africans Tirailleurs Battalions, similar to these RIC of the Great War with 2 Indigenous Battalions and one "European" Battalion

-case of the 42nd and 52nd Colonial Machine-Gun Half-Brigade, raised with the nucleus of the 42nd Malagasy and 52nd Indochinese Machine-Gun Battalions mixed with French reservists, each Half-Brigade had 80 % of French soldiers and 20 % Indigenous (Malagasy in the 42nd, Indochinese in the 52nd)

-Malagasy soldiers were sent in some Colonial Artillery Regiments or Engineer Battalions & Auxiliary Companies

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fraserk
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by fraserk » 13 Jan 2010 01:25

Amazing - I am finding it so hard to get a clear picture of the make up of a 'Colonial' Division or Regiment, and I can see now that it is all mixed up.

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Marcus
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Marcus » 24 May 2014 12:02

A discussion on the legality of putting French colonial troops to work on the Atlantic Wall was split off into a new thread at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 2&t=208021

/Marcus

Kelvin
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Kelvin » 08 Apr 2016 21:44

Did Senagelese Tirailleur regiments were only recruited from three areas : Senegal, Ivory Coast and French Sudan ?

And apart from MG battalions, did Malgach also incorporated into DIC ?

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Loïc
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Loïc » 08 Apr 2016 23:14

The Senegalese Tirailleurs came from whole French black Africa but due to obvious demographic reasons they came more from French Western Africa recruitment (15 millons of inhabitants) than Equatorial (3 millions) less the special status for Cameroon and Togo allowing only volunteers,
so of course they came in particular from the most populated colonies, French Sudan, Ivory Coast...maybe it was that the sentence you found wanted to mean

in the MG Battalions and whole infantry in France, there were no Malagasy Tirailleurs units sent from the great "red island", Malagasy were only in one infantry unit, no more than 20%, larlegy merged with metropolitan reservists from southwestern France, the 42nd Colonial MG half-brigade of the 102e DIF, apart this case they were much more in the Engineers

in the 8 DIC during april 1940 part of the various divisional colonial artillery regiments were converted into "mixed" regiments with Malagasy horse-drivers

Regards
Loïc

Kelvin
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Kelvin » 09 Apr 2016 06:03

Hi, Loic, Thank for your answer.

Apart from 42nd DB, but only had 41st Colonial MG regiment, it was not have Malagasy ?

Regarding enginner units, Malagasy was employed at separate Colonial Pioneer regiment like 481st or in Divisional units like DINA and DIC ?

BTW, Zouaves regiment was exclusively comprised only white volunteer from French colonies ? Because like Algeria, there were one million French settlers there.

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Loïc
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Loïc » 09 Apr 2016 15:55

hello

first, the 41e RMIC was a metropolitan regiment, years before it was a malagasy unit

the Pioneers were not all in the Engineer branch but in the Infantry arm and the 481e RPC was also a metropolitan unit from Brittany-Vendée reservists, only the 487e and 623e RPC were from colonial recruits but not Malagasy : Senegalese, in this branch there was a 631st Malagasy Pioneer Battalion raised but sent to Syria-Lebanon

the Malagasy Engineers units in France were not divisional units, consisted in 4 Roadmen Battalions and 11 independent auxiliaries engineer companies

the Zouaves were not volunteers units, just like others metropolitan regiments with conscripts or reservists, apart they were recruited mainly from the French of the 3 Algerian Departments for the regiments in North Africa, the 9th Zouaves Regiment in metropolitan France with metropolitan conscripts and 4 others metropolitan reserve regiments were also raised in 1939 in southern France

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Loïc

Kelvin
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Kelvin » 09 Apr 2016 18:44

Hi, Lioc, thank a lot. :D

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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Kelvin » 15 Jan 2018 07:28

Loïc wrote:The Senegalese Tirailleurs came from whole French black Africa but due to obvious demographic reasons they came more from French Western Africa recruitment (15 millons of inhabitants) than Equatorial (3 millions) less the special status for Cameroon and Togo allowing only volunteers,
so of course they came in particular from the most populated colonies, French Sudan, Ivory Coast...maybe it was that the sentence you found wanted to mean

in the MG Battalions and whole infantry in France, there were no Malagasy Tirailleurs units sent from the great "red island", Malagasy were only in one infantry unit, no more than 20%, larlegy merged with metropolitan reservists from southwestern France, the 42nd Colonial MG half-brigade of the 102e DIF, apart this case they were much more in the Engineers

in the 8 DIC during april 1940 part of the various divisional colonial artillery regiments were converted into "mixed" regiments with Malagasy horse-drivers

Regards
Loïc

Hi, Loic, did Vietnamese also limited to 51st MG battalion only ? No other unit with them ? Thank

And if DIC is under control of Colonial Ministry, so who controlled DINA or DIA, three Algerian departments were considered a part of Metropolitan France, and ruled under Internal Ministry while Tunisia and Morocco were French Protectorates and Quai d'Orsai controlled it indirectly through the appointment of Political Residents, so in peace time, exactly who manage DINA ? Thank

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Loïc
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by Loïc » 15 Jan 2018 19:09

the DINA in peacetime were only in metropolitan France, not in North Africa and not belonging to Colonial Troops, I don't see both protectorates and the Foreign Affairs having something to say in this matter...

the Vietnamese, the Indochinese, it is the same case than the Magalasy but into the 52nd Machine-Gun Half-Brigade mixed with French Pyrenean reservists, a 55th Battalion was raised from remnants of this unit in june 1940

there were others Indochinese units but the main difference with others colonies, as from a military and colonial perspective they are not really perceived favourably as good recruits and first line troops, just at least recognized for specialized tasks (drivers, nurses, Ordnance, Quatermaster services...) so they were mobilised into auxiliaries to not say civililan workers companies
actually most numerous were the Indochinese workers/labour units, one company and one Battalion with military status and above all the 73 companies with civilian status of the 5 Indochinese workers Legions
also military were 20 Quatermaster auxiliaries companies for Army field bakeries and 16 machine-gun AAA units in metropolitan France, 2 Pioneer Battalions for Levant

the Metropolitan authorities planned to raise from Indochina 2 or 3 unrealistic expeditionnary Divisions for France and Syria-Lebanon and 100 000 civilian workers more for metropolitan factories

Regards
Loïc

alain adam
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Re: French colonial troops in 1940?

Post by alain adam » 15 Jan 2018 23:27

As my dear friend Loïc said , DINA was not an african division , but a metropolitan version , with elements from africa ( with french officers and s/o ) . In fact there was two depots in this case, one in Africa, one in France , because there were fully dedicated to the metropolitan front , with a rotation of troops .
At the opposite , DIA were divisions dedicated only for africa and levant , and mobilized only in theses countries , again , with a big part of metropolitan officers .
DIC were dedicated to be used on the whole French empire .
To be complete , we have to specify legionnary troops ( Légion étrangere ) , used mainly in maghreb for active regiments ( and depots in france ) , but without any limits in range , it's why you can find them in norway or in the east asia .

Regards ,
Alain
ATF40 ( Armée de Terre Française 1940 ) : French ground army in 1940 , website atf40.fr

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