Armée de terre
ACTIVE 15th century – present
SIZE 111,628 military personnel (2014), incl. 8,000+ personnel of the Paris Fire Brigade
PART OF French Armed Forces
NICKNAME(S) La grande muette "The great mute one"
MOTTO(S) Honneur et Patrie "Honour and Fatherland"
* Hundred Years\' War (1337–1453)
* Colonial Wars (1534–1980)
* Thirty Years\' War
War of the League of Augsburg
War of the Spanish Succession
* Allied Forces
* Vichy French Forces
* Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990
* Global War on Terrorism (2001–present)
* Second Ivorian Civil War * Central African Republic conflict
(List of wars involving
Current commander General Jean-Pierre Bosser
The FRENCH ARMY, officially the LAND ARMY (French: Armée de terre ) (to distinguish it from the Air Army ) is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces . Along with the French Air Force , the French Navy and the National Gendarmerie , it is responsible to the French government . The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (C.E.M.A.T.) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (C.E.M.A.). All soldiers are considered professionals following the suspension of conscription , voted in parliament in 1997 and made effective in 2001.
As of 2014 , the French
In 1999 the
“ (...) Mastering his own strength, he respects his opponent and is careful to spare civilians. He obeys orders while respecting laws, customs of war and international conventions.(...) He is aware of global societies and respects their differences. (...) ”
* 1 History
* 2 Structure and organisation
* 2.1 Arms of the French
* 3 Personnel
* 3.1 Soldiers * 3.2 Non-commissioned officers * 3.3 Officers
* 4 Equipment * 5 Uniform * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links
This article includes a list of references , but ITS SOURCES REMAIN UNCLEAR because it has INSUFFICIENT INLINE CITATIONS . Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (February 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message )
The French Royal
The first permanent army, paid with regular wages, instead of feudal
levies, was established under Charles VII in the 1420–30s. The Kings
The bulk of the infantry for warfare was still provided by urban or provincial militias, raised from an area or city to fight locally and named for their recruiting grounds. Gradually these units became more permanent, and in 1480s Swiss instructors were recruited and some of the 'Bandes' (Militia) were combined to form temporary 'Legions' of up to 9000 men. These men would be paid and contracted and receive training.
Henry II further regularised the French army by forming standing Infantry regiments to replace the Militia structure. The first of these the Régiments de Picardie,Piémont,Navarre and Champagne were called the Les Vieux Corps (The Old Corps). It was normal policy to disband regiments after a war was over as a cost saving measure with the Vieux Corps and the King's own Household Troops the Maison du Roi being the only survivors.
Regiments could be raised directly by the King and so called after
the region in which they were raised, or by the nobility and so called
after the noble or his appointed colonel. When
In 1684 there was a major reorganisation of the French infantry and
again in 1701 to fit in with
The revolution split the army with the main mass losing most of its
officers to aristocratic flight or guillotine and becoming demoralised
and ineffective. The French Guard joined the revolt and the Swiss
Guards were massacred during the storming of the Tuileries palace .
The remnants of the royal army were then joined to the revolutionary
militias known as sans-culottes , and the "National Guard " a more
middle class militia and police force, to form the French
From 1792, the French Revolutionary
Napoleon I , the French
In 1812 Napoleon marched on Moscow seeking to remove Russian
influence from eastern Europe and secure the frontiers of his empire
and client states. The campaign initially went well but the vast
distances of the Russian Steppe and the cold winter forced his army
into a shambling retreat preyed on by Russian raids and pursuit. The
After Napoleon's abdication and return, halted by an Anglo-Dutch and Prussian alliance at Waterloo, the French army was placed back under the restored Bourbon Monarchy. The structure remained largely unchanged and many officers of the Empire retained their positions.
THE LONG 19TH CENTURY AND THE SECOND EMPIRE
The Bourbon restoration was a time of political instability with the country constantly on the verge of political violence.
The army was committed to a defense of the Spanish monarchy in 1824, achieving its aims in six months, but did not fully withdraw until 1828, in contrast to the earlier Napoleonic invasion this expedition was rapid and successful.
Taking advantage of the weakness of the bey of Algiers
The news of the fall of Algiers had barely reached Paris in 1830 when the Bourbon Monarchy was overthrown and replaced by the constitutional Orleans Monarchy, the mobs proved too much for the troops of the Maison du Roi and the main body of the French Army, sympathetic to the crowds, did not become heavily involved.
In 1848 a wave of revolutions swept Europe and brought an end to the Bourbon monarcy. The army was large uninvolved in the street fighting in Paris which overthew the King but later in the year troops were used in the suppression of the more radical elements of the new Republic which led to the election of Napoleon's nephew as president.
The Pope had been forced out of Rome as part of the Revolutions of 1848, and Louis Napoleon sent a 14,000 man expeditionary force of troops to the Papal State under General Nicolas Charles Victor Oudinot to restore him. In late April 1849, it was defeated and pushed back from Rome by Giuseppi Garibaldi's volunteer corps, but then recovered and recaptured Rome.
The French army was among the first in the world to be issued with
Minié rifles , just in time for the
A series of colonial expeditions followed and in 1856
The French army was now considered to be an example to others and military missions to Japan and the emulation of French Zouaves in other militaries added to this prestige. However an expedition to Mexico failed to create a stable puppet.
EARLY 20TH CENTURY
In August 1914, the
French Armed Forces numbered 1,300,000 soldiers.
During the Great War the
French Armed Forces reached a size of
8,300,000 soldiers, of which about 300,000 came from the colonies.
During the war around 1,397,000 French soldiers were killed in action,
mostly on the Western Front . It was the most deadly conflict in
French history. The main generals were:
Joseph Joffre , Ferdinand Foch
Charles Mangin ,
At the beginning of the war, the French
At the beginning of
World War II
After 1945, despite enormous efforts in the
First Indochina War of
1945–54 and the
Soldiers of the 4th zouaves regiment during the
At the end of
World War II
COLD WAR ERA
Cold War , the French Army, though not part of NATO's
military command structure, planned for the defence of Western Europe.
In 1977 the French
In the 1970s–1980s, two light armoured divisions were planned to be
formed from school staffs (the 12th and 14th). The 12th Light Armoured
Division (12 DLB) was to have its headquarters to be formed on the
basis of the staff of the Armoured and Cavalry Branch Training School
(French acronym EAABC) at
In the late 1970s an attempt was made to form 14 reserve light infantry divisions, but this plan, which included the recreation of the 109th Infantry Division, was too ambitious. The planned divisions included the 102nd , 104e, 107e, 108e, 109e, 110e, 111e, 112e, 114e, 115th, and 127th Infantry Divisions. From June 1984, the French Army reserve consisted of 22 military divisions, administering all reserve units in a certain area, seven brigades de zone de defence, 22 regiments interarmees divisionnaires, and the 152nd Infantry Division, defending the ICBM launch sites. The plan was put into action from 1985, and brigades de zone, such as the 107th Brigade de Zone, were created. But with the putting-in-place of the "Réserves 2000" plan, the brigades de zone were finally disbanded by mid-1993.
POST COLD WAR ERA
In February 1996 the President of the Republic decided on a transition to a professional service force, and as part of the resulting changes, ten regiments were dissolved in 1997. The specialized support brigades were transferred on 1 July 1997 to Lunéville for the signals, Haguenau (the artillery brigade) and Strasbourg (engineers). The 2nd Armoured Division left Versailles on 1 September 1997 and was installed at Châlons-en-Champagne in place of the disbanding 10th Armoured Division. On 5 March 1998, in view of the ongoing structural adoptions of the French Army, the Minister of Defence decided to disband III Corps, and the dissolution became effective 1 July 1998. The headquarters transitioned to become Headquarters Commandement de la force d\'action terrestre (CFAT) (the Land Forces Action Command).
During the late 1990s, during the professionalisation process, numbers dropped from the 236,000 (132,000 conscripts) in 1996 to around 140,000. By June 1999, the Army's strength had dropped to 186,000, including around 70,000 conscripts. 38 of 129 regiments were planned to be stood down from 1997–99. The previous structure's nine 'small' divisions and sundry separate combat and combat support brigades were replaced by nine combat and four combat support brigades. The Rapid Action Force, a corps of five small rapid-intervention divisions formed in 1983, was also disbanded, though several of its divisions were re-subordinated.
STRUCTURE AND ORGANISATION
Main article: Structure of the French
List of current regiments
Structure of the French
Chief of Staff of the French
Military history of
List of senior officers of the French
Ranks in the French
The organisation of the army is fixed by Chapter 2 of Title II of Book II of the Third Part of the Code of Defense, notably resulting in the codification of Decree 2000-559 of 21 June 2000.
In terms of Article R.3222-3 of the Code of Defence, the Army comprises:
ARMS OF THE FRENCH ARMY
The Légion étrangère ( French Foreign Legion ) was established in 1831 for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces. The Legion is commanded by French officers. It is an elite military unit numbering around 7,000 troops. The Legion has gained worldwide recognition for its service, most recently in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan since 2001. It is not strictly an Arme but a commandement particulier, whose regiments belong to several arms, notably the infantry and the engineering arm.
The Troupes de marine are the former Colonial Troops of the French army. They are the first choice units for overseas deployment and recruit on this basis. They are composed of Marine Infantry (Infanterie de Marine) (which includes parachute regiments such as 1er RPIMa and a tank unit, the RICM ) and the Marine Artillery (Artillerie de Marine).
The Aviation légère de l'Armée de terre (ALAT, which translates as
On the administrative side, there are now no more than one DIRECTION and two services.
The two Services are the service of ground equipment, and the
integrated structure of operational maintenance of terrestrial
materials (SIMMT, former DCMAT). This joint oriented service is
responsible for project management support for all land equipment of
the French army. The holding-operational equipment the
Historically there were other services of the
After the health service and the service of species replaced respectively by the French Defence Health service and Military Fuel Service , other services have disappeared in recent years:
* In 2005, the
For many years up to 19 military regions were active (see fr:Région
militaire). The 10th Military Region (France) supervised French
Algeria during the
PERSONNEL STRENGTH OF THE FRENCH ARMY 2015
Commissioned officers 13,800
Non-commissioned officers 37,600
Civilian employees 8,100
There are two types of enlistment for French army soldiers:
* Volontaire de l’armée de terre (VDAT) (Volunteer of the Army), one year-contract, renewable. * Engagé volontaire de l’armée de terre (EVAT) (Armed Forces Volunteer), three- or five years contract, renewable.
NCOs serve on permanent contracts, or exceptionally on renewable five years-contracts. NCO candidates are either EVAT or direct entry civilians. High school diploma giving access to university is a requirement. École Nationale des Sous-Officiers d’Active (ENSOA), Basic NCO school of 8 months, followed by combat school of 4 to 36 weeks depending on occupational specialty. A small number of NCO candidates are trained at the Ecole Militaire de Haute Montagne (EMHM) (High Mountain Military School). NCOs with the Advanced Army Technician Certificate (BSTAT) can serve as platoon leaders .
Career officers serve on permanent contracts.
* Direct entry cadets with two years of Classe préparatoire aux
grandes écoles or a bachelor\'s degree spend three years at École
Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (ESM), and graduates as First
* Direct entry cadets with a master\'s degree spend one year at ESM,
and graduates as First Lieutenant.
* Non-commissioned officer with three years in the army, spend two
École militaire interarmes , and graduates as First
Lieutenant. 50% of the commissioned officers in the French
Contract officers serves on renewable contracts for a maximum of 20 years service. A bachelor's degree is required. There are two different programs, combat officers and specialist officers. Officers in both programs graduates as Second Lieutenants and may reach Lieutenant Colonels rank. Combat officers spend six months at ESM, followed by one year at a combat school. Specialist officers spend three months at ESM, followed by a year of on the job-training within an area of specialization determined by the type of degree held.
Main article: Modern equipment of the French
The HK416F is the new service rifle of the French military . *
Leclerc main battle tank *
GCT 155mm self-propelled artillery *
Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter
In the 1970s
The legionnaires of the French Foreign Legion wear white kepis, blue sashes and green and red epaulettes as dress uniform, while the Troupes de marine wear blue and red kepis and yellow epaulettes. The pioneers of the French Foreign Legion wear the basic legionnaire uniform but with leather aprons and gloves. The Chasseurs Alpins wear a large beret , known as the "tarte" (the pie) with dark blue or white mountain outfits. The Spahis retain the long white cloak or "burnous " of the regiment's origin as North African cavalry.
Gendarmes of the Republican Guard retain their late 19th century dress uniforms, as do the military cadets of Saint-Cyr and the École Polytechnique . A dark blue/black evening dress is authorized for officers and individual branches or regiments may parade bands or "fanfares" in historic dress dating as far back as the Napoleonic period.
* ^ A B "Key defence figures 2015" (PDF). Defense.gouv.fr. 3
* ^ United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] Peacekeeping in
between the Blue Line
* ^ Original French : (...) Maître de sa force, il respecte
l'adversaire et veille à épargner les populations. Il obéit aux
ordres, dans le respect des lois, des coutumes de la guerre et des
conventions internationales. (...) Il est ouvert sur le monde et la
société, et en respecte les différences. (...) :
* ^ Quid , ed. 2001, p.690, see also 'France, Soldiers, and
* ^ Jacques Marseille, " L'Empire ", dans La
* Anthony Clayton, 'France, Soldiers, and Africa', Brassey's Defence
* J A C Lewis, 'Going Pro:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to FRENCH ARMY .
* (in French) Official website * French Military Reform: Lessons for