order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Mar 2021 12:25

Hi Carl,

You are absolutely right. The Armée Nouvelle had hidden what weaponry it could, but this was not enough to adequately equip a major expansion.

As I post above, "Vichy had been obliged to destroy its mobilization records and abolish the relevant army staff, but its civil census department rebuilt them from scratch. As a result, they planned to triple their standing army of eight divisions to 24. They had sufficient small arms for this.

They hid dozens of field and anti-tank guns, but these were insufficient back a force of 24 divisions.
"

There was a major difference between the Reichswehr and the Armée Nouvelle. The former was massively oversubscribed, but the latter seriously under recruited.

The Armée Nouvelle had plenty of officers, but it got so few other-rank volunteers willing to join up for 12 years as regulars that the Germans had to make concessions and in March 1941 they allowed voluntary recruitment to resume in occupied France. Some volunteers even came from Alsace, which was now part of the Reich. Pending the achievement of a full complement of volunteers, the Germans also allowed the Armée Nouvelle to retain existing conscripts from the classes of 39/2 and 40/1, whose terms were compulsorily extended from two to three years. Yet, by November 1942, the army was still 30,000 men short of its 100,000-man establishment and the remainder were still equally divided between conscripts and regulars. It probably didn't help that the south of France, where the Vichy Zone lay, was rather less militaristic than the occupied north.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Apr 2021 04:48

So when the Axis moved in the autumn of 1943, were these forces treated as POWs, or disbanded and allowed to return home, or?

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Apr 2021 12:32

daveshoup2MD,

From my old notes, they were kept in their barracks after the German occupation of 11 November, being allowed into town on alternate days with German troops to avoid friction. The Germans notionally included at least one division on the Mediterranean coast as part of their coastal defences. However, simultaneously with the occupation of Toulon and the scuttling of the French fleet on 27 November, German troops entered their barracks, their units were disbanded and the men were sent home. Of the existing Vichy security forces, only the Garde Mobile, the gendarmerie, the police and Petain’s personal guard regiment were retained. In February 1943 the Germans resurrected French antiaircraft defences in the Vichy zone and several dozen batteries on 75mm and 25mm AA guns were formed, most notably in defence of Marseilles. Fire direction came from Luftwaffe controllers but the crews and guns were entirely French.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Apr 2021 19:38

Sid Guttridge wrote:
18 Apr 2021 12:32
daveshoup2MD,

From my old notes, they were kept in their barracks after the German occupation of 11 November, being allowed into town on alternate days with German troops to avoid friction. The Germans notionally included at least one division on the Mediterranean coast as part of their coastal defences. However, simultaneously with the occupation of Toulon and the scuttling of the French fleet on 27 November, German troops entered their barracks, their units were disbanded and the men were sent home. Of the existing Vichy security forces, only the Garde Mobile, the gendarmerie, the police and Petain’s personal guard regiment were retained. In February 1943 the Germans resurrected French antiaircraft defences in the Vichy zone and several dozen batteries on 75mm and 25mm AA guns were formed, most notably in defence of Marseilles. Fire direction came from Luftwaffe controllers but the crews and guns were entirely French.

Cheers,

Sid.
Interesting; thanks.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Apr 2021 19:41

Loïc wrote:
20 Mar 2013 21:59
hello

the Armée d'Armistice didn't have Groupements de Transport, Transport units were these companies of Train : there were Groupes de Transmissions (Signals GT)

the 4th Half-Brigade was Chasseurs à pied (DBCP) not Infantry
in the 17e Division Militaire it was the 24e RA not the 14e

the DAT Groupements were divided between the 404e & 405e DCA

the Armistice Army including "Guard" (former Mobile Republican Guard before 1941, former Mobile Gendarmerie) didn't reach 100 000 but ~95 000men but with the Anti-Aircraft Artillery there were 10 to 15 000men more

there were also Indigenous mainly from Indochina and Madagascar from the companies of the Groupements de Militaires Indigènes Coloniaux Rapatriables : ~16 500 but I am no sure that they were armed, they were always there in 1944-1945, these companies were not disbanded by the Germans in november 1942

and others branches of the Armed Forces were still in Metropolitan France
-National Gendarmerie
-Armée de l'Air
-Marine Nationale

so there were probably ~195 000men in Metropolitan France in 1940, Army Navy Air & Gendarmerie
in november 1942 the Army (Armée de Terre) had only 60 to 75 000men

Gendarmerie Legions and ~12 Sappers Companies of which 3 Signals to rebuild bridges, railways, communications were the only French military units in northern occupied zone since july 1940

Regards
Loïc
Loic - Was there any organizational continuity between the (roughly) eight divisions and two brigades of the Armée Nouvelle (as of November, 1942) and the French LMP formations raised in 1944-45? Beyond (presumably) individuals, of course?

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Loïc
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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Loïc » 19 Apr 2021 00:40

hello

both had nothing to do, unrelated, the newly raised Divisions of post-august 1944 came from the Maquis FFI from everywhere
Sid Guttridge wrote:
18 Apr 2021 12:32
daveshoup2MD,

In February 1943 the Germans resurrected French antiaircraft defences in the Vichy zone and several dozen batteries on 75mm and 25mm AA guns were formed, most notably in defence of Marseilles. Fire direction came from Luftwaffe controllers but the crews and guns were entirely French.

Cheers,

Sid.
several dozens resurrected batteries mostly for Marseille...? Hum...I don't think
The germans promised, but it was a fool's game, the resurrection of 36 batteries only for french interest under french command, only in the former (free) southern zone to not to be involved in the northern zone against the allied planes etc...
instead of that the personnel, not volunteer, was organized in 12 short-lived Railway 25 mm AAA batteries of which 7 sent to the Northern zone, almost all in Normandy and Brittany, closely under german control for the greater malaise of the 2000 artillerymen,
raised in june 1943 then sent to the northern zone in autumn, 3 months later these Railway AAA batteries were disbanded the 27th november 1943 having suffered a high rate of desertion not counting others legal basis official attempts to escape via back door such as transfers and permissions,
no others batteries were raised than these last ones

Regards
Loïc L.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 Apr 2021 05:31

Loïc wrote:
19 Apr 2021 00:40
hello

both had nothing to do, unrelated, the newly raised Divisions of post-august 1944 came from the Maquis FFI from everywhere

Thanks. Were the former armistice army personnel simply integrated as individuals, then?

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by wwilson » 19 Apr 2021 06:52

@daveshoup2MD

You might find it worthwhile to translate this French Wikipedia article:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premier_r ... _de_France

This was an Armistice Army regiment the personnel of which joined the Résistance. They were part of a successful action that captured a large German group under the command of General Elster.

Briefly, some elements of this regiment became part of the "Charles Martel" FFI brigade, then were part of the 8th Cuirassiers of the FFI, and finally the 8th Cuirassiers of the French Army when that FFI regiment was regularized on 1 April 1945. Their final duties were as part of the forces confronting the German holdouts in Saint-Nazaire.

Cheers

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Apr 2021 10:48

Hi Loic,

I have the following from notes made at Sauve in 2000: "In February 1943 the Germans also authorised the resurrection of anti-aircraft defences in the former Unoccupied Zone. These consisted of 44 heavy batteries (each with four 75mm and two 25mm guns) and 12 light batteries (each of 12 25mm guns). Training and fire control was provided by the Luftwaffe and the French crews proved reasonably reliable when employed locally, notably in the defences of Marseille. This prompted the Germans to try extending their deployment into northern France. However, when several batteries were sent to Brittany and Normandy in July 1943, the crews realised that they were now furthering German strategic aims rather than defending their own neighbourhoods and performed so badly that in October they were returned to the south of France and disbanded."

Are you sure that the anti-aircraft defence of Marseille was not manned by French guns and gunners at all in 1943?

An online history of the DCA says vaguely;

"Reconstitution d’une capacité antiaérienne
Le 13 janvier 1943, le Gouvernement français (de Vichy) présente à l’Allemagne une demande de reconstitution d’une nouvelle
armée dans laquelle figure de la DCA. Cette demande est acceptée un mois plus tard ; elle autorise la mise sur pied d’unités antiaériennes françaises placées pour emploi aux ordres de la Luftwaffe : vingt-quatre batteries de quatre pièces de 75 CA, douze batteries à douze pièces de 25 CA et trois batteries de projecteurs. Des officiers de liaison allemands devront y présents à tous les niveaux.
Il est aussi prévu de constituer des unités de DCA ferroviaires (sept batteries de 25 CA montées sur 144 wagons) destinées à la
protection des voies ferrées en Bretagne et en Normandie. Un Centre d’instruction est même créé dans l’Indre, à Issoudun, avec une annexe à Neuvy-Pailloux ; les instructeurs sont allemands.
. Démantèlement
La dissolution de la DCA de Vichy est imposée à la France par les Allemands le 23 novembre 1943.
"

Cheers,

Sid.

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Loïc
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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Loïc » 19 Apr 2021 15:51

hello

a total of 56 batteries...never heard of that, that is a very impressive AAA ORBAT for 1943 despite the Armée d'Armitice had been demobilised, bizarre bizarre...

the second text seems copied from (SHAA searcher) Claude d’Abzac-Epezy's thesis and others works about these SGDA units,
we find the - planned smoke and mirrors - 36 batteries (24 heavy 12 light, not counting 3 further projectors batteries) promised initially by the Germans to be allowed to the French in the southern zone I mentionned above
as said the military personnel instead of these 39 batteries formed only 12 Railway AAA Batteries of which 7 in the northwestern area Normandy Britanny
the others allowed SGDA units were 4 Passive Defence (firemen-salvage) battalions and the watching posts of the Public Air Security (SAP) an alert service of the southern zone scattered in small obervation posts always in existence since the beginning of the war in 1939
daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 Apr 2021 05:31

Thanks. Were the former armistice army personnel simply integrated as individuals, then?
or as cadres and nucleus like, from memory, resurrected 152e RI and 27e BCA and maybe others units

Regards
Loïc L.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Apr 2021 18:12

Has anyone written a examination of French circumvention of the Armistice restrictions?

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by daveshoup2MD » 20 Apr 2021 04:09

Loïc wrote:
19 Apr 2021 15:51
hello

a total of 56 batteries...never heard of that, that is a very impressive AAA ORBAT for 1943 despite the Armée d'Armitice had been demobilised, bizarre bizarre...

the second text seems copied from (SHAA searcher) Claude d’Abzac-Epezy's thesis and others works about these SGDA units,
we find the - planned smoke and mirrors - 36 batteries (24 heavy 12 light, not counting 3 further projectors batteries) promised initially by the Germans to be allowed to the French in the southern zone I mentionned above
as said the military personnel instead of these 39 batteries formed only 12 Railway AAA Batteries of which 7 in the northwestern area Normandy Britanny
the others allowed SGDA units were 4 Passive Defence (firemen-salvage) battalions and the watching posts of the Public Air Security (SAP) an alert service of the southern zone scattered in small obervation posts always in existence since the beginning of the war in 1939
daveshoup2MD wrote:
19 Apr 2021 05:31

Thanks. Were the former armistice army personnel simply integrated as individuals, then?
or as cadres and nucleus like, from memory, resurrected 152e RI and 27e BCA and maybe others units

Regards
Loïc L.
Many thanks.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Apr 2021 11:39

Hi Guys,

The Armee Nouvelle had defensive plans that envisaged forming eight divisional redoubts. They actually began to deploy to them the night before the German occupation but were ordered back to barracks when this turned out to be premature. The Germans disarmed and disbanded all the divisions in barracks at the end of November. This destroyed the integrity and continuity of Vichy's army units. However, some of the officers and men went on to form the Organisation de résistance de l'armée (ORA) in the Vichy zone.

The redoubt concept lived on in the plans of the French leadership in North Africa and it expected ORA to create liberated areas in these redoubts ahead of or with an Allied landing. Glieres was one redoubt that appeared in both Armee Nouvelle and ORA planning. (Mont Mouchet may have been another?) Thus although there was no substantial organizational continuity, there was some manpower continuity between the Armee Nouvelle and ORA, whose leaders were often (largely?) ex-Vichy officers. However, the redoubt tactics proved flawed at both Glieres and Mont Mouchet and both were broken up largely by second line German troops without influencing outcomes elsewhere.

The Armee Nouvelle had used existing French regimental numbers. As the Free French resurrected many regimental numbers in 1944-45 it is very likely that some bore the same numbers as Vichy units. However, this does not necessarily imply much continuity. The 152eme may be a case in point. Its pre-war home depot was in German annexed Alsace or Lorraine. Vichy's army seems to have kept its number as a sort of implied claim for their return, rather like its navy kept the Strasbourg as the name of its flagship. I wonder where it recruited in 1944-45?

For all Vichy's friction with the British, the enemy the Armee Nouvelle was planning to oppose was always Germany.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 20 Apr 2021 12:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Apr 2021 11:52

Hi Loic,

I also thought the total of 56 batteries rather large. It is the equivalent to an entire flak division!

So, to be clear, you are certain that none of the heavy batteries were ever formed?

I ask, because my impression was that the mobile light batteries were formed after the static heavy batteries were created in the former Unoccupied Zone and the light batteries were intended as a sort of expeditionary element extending coverage into the former Occupied Zone in northern France.

I guess 11th Flak Division would have been responsible from the German side. I wonder what its documentation says?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: order of battle of the metropolitan Armée d'Armistice

Post by Loïc » 20 Apr 2021 12:45

hello

indeed it is enormous, the flak division size doesn't speak to me but rather that 56 batteries is around 80/85% of the AAA Batteries maintained in the post-june 1940/november 1942 Armistice Army and the germans didn't really want to rearm the French Army after having disbanded it fews weeks before to say the least

but all these batteries were disbanded the 27th november 1942 as the rest of the units in southern zone, including the Groups and batteries of the 405e de DCA in Marseille area

it is quite bizarre your source, maybe it was an other plan or false promises among others in the german-french negociations taking place after november 1942..
The Armee Nouvelle had used existing French regimental numbers. As the Free French resurrected many regimental numbers in 1944-45 it is very likely that some bore the same numbers as Vichy units. However, this does not necessarily imply much continuity. The 152eme may be a case in point. Its pre-war home depot was in German annexed Alsace or Lorraine. Vichy's army seems to have kept its number as a sort of implied claim for their return, rather like its navy kept the Strasbourg as the name of its flagship. I wonder where it recruited in 1944-45?
mainly from Maquis FFI from Auvergne and Bourbonnais with former regimental cadres
if it such regimental number was maintained it is first because this pre-war active unit had escaped to the captivity with de Lattre's 14e DI withdrawn until Auvergne in june 1940, and second because like the British Army the French Army has its own very strong traditions where the numbers are like regimental names linked to French military History and territories and the 152e RI was one of the most prestigious regiments, among the only 5 infantry regiments with the red fourragère at the colours of Légion d'Honneur, indeed it was linked to Alsace and Lorraine but it was not the main reason, it existed also a big number of units having links with both provinces but the 152e was the most prestigious,
the Armistice Army choose to keep or reform active pre-war units linked to all the regions of France, not only the southern zone, excatly as did the FFI and French authorities at the Liberation, it existed even two resurrected 26e RI in 1944

Regards
Loïc

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