Numbering of French division in 1940

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Kelvin
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Joined: 06 Apr 2007 14:49

Numbering of French division in 1940

Post by Kelvin » 17 Jan 2020 13:21

Hi, everyone, I would like to ask why France did not have 33rd, 34th , 37th, 38th 39th Divisions , how their System of numbering work ?

And DINA and DIC had their own numbering starting from 01st but DIA seemed to have follow numbering of Metropolitan divisions ? French Metropolitan divisions stopped at 71st Infantry division and DIA started at 81st. Thank

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Loïc
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Location: Riom Auvergne & Bourbonnais France

Re: Numbering of French division in 1940

Post by Loïc » 17 Jan 2020 23:00

hello

basically the numbering of French Infantry Division is a legacy coming from the military map of 1873*, and used in broad outline until 1940 suffering some changes, when the territory was initially covered by 18 regional Army Corps each having a pair of Divisions (1ère to 36e DI), 19e for Algeria, then a 20e and even a short-lived 21e Army Corps/Région were raised to renforce the Northeastern 6e and 7e Regions with further active Divisions raised (39e to 43e) so that was the basic architecture to understand how Divisions were numbered
all these active Divisions were shared by active and reserve serie A Divisions in 1939-1940

Then there was the traditionnal numbering of the Reserve Divisions (Regional n°+50 beginning with 51st for 1st Region in the series 50 and 60 until 70e and 71e) kept by the serie B Divisions in 1939

in the Interwars were raised the DINA but the DIC existed in peacetime even before 1914 forming an unnumbered (22nd) Army Corps

the DIA raised only in wartime in 1939 were numbered in the serie 80 previously attached to the disappeared Territorial Infantry Divisions (81e to 105e DIT with vacants numbers) as the Territorial Army has ceased to exist

the 5 Infantry Divisions mentionned were not reactived, they remained vacants due to various reorganisations of the French Army after the Great War and consequential waves of disbanded units
33e and 34e were both Divisions of the 17th Army Corps/Region, among the 8 active Infantry Regiments from this Region it remained only after 1928 the 14e RI of Toulouse joining the 36e DI
37e and 38e didn't exist in peacetime, were given for the units from the 19th Army Corps in 1914 once they reached metropolitan France, both Divisions were conserved in the peacetime ORBAT after 1918 and disappeared with the French Army of the Rhine in Germany in the years 1929-30
39e was historically a Division belonging to the 20th Region

not counting 44e DI, for similar reasons 5 others divisions were vacants in september 1939 such as
8e until april 1940 (historically 4e Region; raised from renumbering a planned 8e DINA)
17e april 1940 (historically 9e Region, to be raised from RMVE, ended as newly-raised DLI)
40e june 1940 (6e Region; raised from 1ère and 2e DLCh. CEFS)
59e june 1940 (9e Region) number given to a DLI
68e january 1940 (from Flanders Grpt Littoral Nord instead of its southwestern 18e Region where the 4 serie B Infantry Regiments were sent to North Africa)

in comparison with all the Divisions raised throughout the Great War, not counting others colonial and cavalry divisions, remained vacants not only 33e 34e 37e 38e 39e DI but also 46e 48e
69e 72e 73e 74e 75e 76e 77e
89e 90e 91e 92e 94e 95e 96e 97e 98e 99e 100e
120e to 134e DI
151e to 158e DI
161e to 170e DI

but were raised 180e 181e 182e 183e in North Africa 191e 192e in Levant and in emergency the unexpected 235e to 241e DLI, none having any historical background in the French Army

*Military map c.1930
10e and 12e Region were disbanded in 1934
the French Infantry Divisions were numbered mainly from their original Regional Army Corps
e.g. both active 25e and 26e DI of the 13e Corps d'Armée/Région Militaire and its 63e Division de Réserve
became the 25e (active) 26e (serie A) and 63e (serie B) DI in 1939
Carte_cantonale.JPEG
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Kelvin
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Posts: 3007
Joined: 06 Apr 2007 14:49

Re: Numbering of French division in 1940

Post by Kelvin » 18 Jan 2020 15:20

Loïc wrote:
17 Jan 2020 23:00
hello

basically the numbering of French Infantry Division is a legacy coming from the military map of 1873*, and used in broad outline until 1940 suffering some changes, when the territory was initially covered by 18 regional Army Corps each having a pair of Divisions (1ère to 36e DI), 19e for Algeria, then a 20e and even a short-lived 21e Army Corps/Région were raised to renforce the Northeastern 6e and 7e Regions with further active Divisions raised (39e to 43e) so that was the basic architecture to understand how Divisions were numbered
all these active Divisions were shared by active and reserve serie A Divisions in 1939-1940

Then there was the traditionnal numbering of the Reserve Divisions (Regional n°+50 beginning with 51st for 1st Region in the series 50 and 60 until 70e and 71e) kept by the serie B Divisions in 1939

in the Interwars were raised the DINA but the DIC existed in peacetime even before 1914 forming an unnumbered (22nd) Army Corps

the DIA raised only in wartime in 1939 were numbered in the serie 80 previously attached to the disappeared Territorial Infantry Divisions (81e to 105e DIT with vacants numbers) as the Territorial Army has ceased to exist

the 5 Infantry Divisions mentionned were not reactived, they remained vacants due to various reorganisations of the French Army after the Great War and consequential waves of disbanded units
33e and 34e were both Divisions of the 17th Army Corps/Region, among the 8 active Infantry Regiments from this Region it remained only after 1928 the 14e RI of Toulouse joining the 36e DI
37e and 38e didn't exist in peacetime, were given for the units from the 19th Army Corps in 1914 once they reached metropolitan France, both Divisions were conserved in the peacetime ORBAT after 1918 and disappeared with the French Army of the Rhine in Germany in the years 1929-30
39e was historically a Division belonging to the 20th Region

not counting 44e DI, for similar reasons 5 others divisions were vacants in september 1939 such as
8e until april 1940 (historically 4e Region; raised from renumbering a planned 8e DINA)
17e april 1940 (historically 9e Region, to be raised from RMVE, ended as newly-raised DLI)
40e june 1940 (6e Region; raised from 1ère and 2e DLCh. CEFS)
59e june 1940 (9e Region) number given to a DLI
68e january 1940 (from Flanders Grpt Littoral Nord instead of its southwestern 18e Region where the 4 serie B Infantry Regiments were sent to North Africa)

in comparison with all the Divisions raised throughout the Great War, not counting others colonial and cavalry divisions, remained vacants not only 33e 34e 37e 38e 39e DI but also 46e 48e
69e 72e 73e 74e 75e 76e 77e
89e 90e 91e 92e 94e 95e 96e 97e 98e 99e 100e
120e to 134e DI
151e to 158e DI
161e to 170e DI

but were raised 180e 181e 182e 183e in North Africa 191e 192e in Levant and in emergency the unexpected 235e to 241e DLI, none having any historical background in the French Army

*Military map c.1930
10e and 12e Region were disbanded in 1934
the French Infantry Divisions were numbered mainly from their original Regional Army Corps
e.g. both active 25e and 26e DI of the 13e Corps d'Armée/Région Militaire and its 63e Division de Réserve
became the 25e (active) 26e (serie A) and 63e (serie B) DI in 1939
Carte_cantonale.JPEG
Hi, Loic, thank for your Information, very helpful.

I check initial OOB of French Army in Aug 1914, they really did not have 37 and 38th divisions in Metropolitan France. that mean both divisions in WWI was consisted of Zouaves and Arabs ?

And in accordance with your data, in Great War, French Army had 1-48th divisions, 51-77th divisions, 89-92nd divisions, 94-100th divisions, 120-134th divisions, 151-158th divisoin, 161-170th divisions, that mean French had 119 x infantry divisions.
plus 81-88, 93, 101-105 territorial divisions = 14 divisions

And French had 10 x Cavalry divisions in Aug 1914 1-10 Cavalry division = 10

And at least 1-3 Colonial divisions and I find 10-11, 15-17 Colonial divisions too =8

In all, French army had at least or formed 151 divisions, quite remarkable if in comparison with French divisions in 1940. did they had more younger reservists in 1914 ? They cannot raise those number of divisions because a lot of Young men lost in 1914-1918 ? (1.4 miillion French Young men killed in Great war)

And so called Territorial Army of France is same as regional Regiment consisted of older Reservist over 45 years old ? Thank

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