Photos WW2 French Forces



November 23rd 1944. Men of the "12eme Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique", commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Minjonnet".

The crew of an M8 75mm Howitzer Motor Carriage named "Kleber" of 3e Escadron / 3e Spahis Marocain, Corps Expeditionaire Francais, 5th Army, Italy, April 1944.

A Chasseur Alpin of the 1er Division Légère de Chasseurs (DLCh) quenches his thirst before boarding the liner/troop transport "Djenné" moored in the port of Brest, enroute to Narvik, Norway,17 April 1940.
Free French crew displays the Jolly Roger of submarine Curie (ex-HMS Vox)

Curie (P87) is one of the three Free French submarines to earn a Jolly Roger during WW2. Her name was chosen to honor the previous Curie (Q87) who served in WW1. Thus she had a few references to this legendary submarine led by the Franco-Irish captain O'Byrne when she raided the main Austro-Hungarian naval base.

Her motto "A corps perdu" means "With heart and soul". "Pola 1914" was written on the conning tower and the first captain Chailley was the son of the second-in-command who decided to remain in the original submarine. The ship's mascot was called Radium, a nod to Marie Curie's discovery.

The submarine had a successful career in 1944, sinking several axis shipping and a troop transport. She was given back to the Royal Navy in 1946.
Battleship Richelieu sporting her measure 32 camouflage (August 1943 - March 1944)
A captured German PaK 38 mounted on the back of a CMP truck, used by the Free French, Bir Hakeim, Libya 1942
These images show Free French "tankistes" being trained to operate the Valentine tank by instructors from the British 6th Armoured Division at Sidi Youssef, Tunisia, March 1943.

Posing somewhat nonchalantly for the camera, this "Goumier" of the the "Corps Expéditionnaire Français en Italie" exhibits some interesting features.
Beneath his striped burnous he wears baggy traditional Arab saroual trousers and open sandals...not really best suited for fighting in Italy's rugged terrain!
The knife he is half-heartedly wielding is not the traditional Goumier's kummyah which had a curved blade.
Rather, this appears to be a US-issue M3 fighting knife, which is quite likely as their web-gear and related equipment was largely drawn from US sources.

A Goum patrol of the Corps Expéditionnaire Français en Italie about to set out on a mission behind enemy lines.
They rarely took prisoners...unless instructed to do so for intelligence purposes.
Beneath their traditional striped Arab burnous they wore US supplied uniforms like the rest of the Free French forces.
Their helmets are US M1917A1s and their webgear is also US issue.
Note the man second right has a wire-cutter on his belt.
Their rifles were usually a mix of French and US types...Berthiers and M1903s etc., with French or US-issue bayonets, as appropriate.
And always their curved koummya knives, which they used with alacrity on their hapless victims!

Female personnel of a field ambulance unit of the Corps Expéditionnaire Français en Italie (CEFI) which was commanded by Général Alphonse Juin.

The ambulance is a Dodge WC 54 of the 422e Ambulance de Campagne attached to the 2e Division Marocaine.


Despite their US uniforms, their distinctive "Casques tankistes" identify these men as members of a reconnaissance unit of the Free French 2eme Division d' Infanterie Marocaine with the US Fifth Army, San Angelo, Italy, December 1943.
The back-story is as follows:
US Under-Secretary of State for War, John J. McCloy, accompanied by Major-General John P. Lucas, Commander of the US VI Corps, were scheduled to formally meet General André Dody, Commander of the 2e Division Marocaine, before his troops moved up into the line to relieve the US 34th "Red Bull" Division.
Selected men from both the 2eme Division d' Infanterie Marocaine and US 34th Division were to provide the Honor Guard.
That is what these French officers were apparently discussing.

On the left is Chef d'escadron Turnier (XO) of the 3e RSM (3e Régiment de Spahis Marocain), 2e Division d'Infanterie Marocaine.


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