HOME
The Info List - French 1st Armoured Division





The 1st Armored Division (French: 1re Division Blindée, 1re DB) is a unit of the French Army
French Army
formed during World War II. Dissolved for a first time in 1946, the unit was recreated in 1948. It was again dissolved in 1999 with the cadre of the professionalization of the French Military. The 1st Mechanised Brigade (1re BM), created on July 1, 1999, inherited traditions of the 1re DB. The 1re BM was again dissolved on July 21, 2015. The 1st Division (1re DIV) was recreated in 2016.

Contents

1 Creation and different nominations 2 Motto and designation 3 History

3.1 1943 to 1946

3.1.1 From the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
to Vosges, August 15 to November 13, 1944 3.1.2 Combat for Alsace November 14, 1944 to February 9, 1945 3.1.3 February 10 to May 7, 1945 3.1.4 End of the war 3.1.5 Composition in 1944 3.1.6 Organization of the mounted Zouaves
Zouaves
battalions

3.2 1948 to 1999 3.3 1999 to 2015 3.4 Since 2016

4 Composition 2016

4.1 7e brigade blindée – 7th Armoured Brigade 4.2 9e brigade légère blindée de marine - 9th Marine Infantry Brigade 4.3 27e brigade d’infanterie de montagne – 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade 4.4 Brigade franco-allemande – Franco-German Brigade

5 References

5.1 Sources and bibliography

Creation and different nominations[edit]

The 1st Armored Division (1re DB) was created on May 1, 1943. It was dissolved on March 31, 1946. The 1st Armored Division was recreated in 1948. On July 1, 1999, the 1st Mechanised Brigade (1re BM) inherited the traditions of the division. The 1st Mechanised Brigade was dissolved on July 21, 2015. The 1st Division (1re DIV) was recreated on July 1, 2016 part of the Scorpion Force alongside the 3rd Division.

Motto and designation[edit] The motto of the division, Nomine et Virtute Prima, translates literally to "La première par le nom et la valeur" in French, "The first by name and valor". The choice of the insignia, the cross of Saint Louis by général Jean Touzet du Vigier, comes from the place of formation of the unit, Tunisia, where King Louis IX of France
Louis IX of France
came to rest in 1270. The division is known and referred to as "division Saint-Louis". The division was cited three times at the orders of the armed forces during the Second World War. History[edit] 1943 to 1946[edit] In 1943, a French armed force was formed in North Africa. The unit was equipped with modern equipment coming from the United States, and the program anticipated the constitution of several armed divisions. Following various materials arrivals, only three divisions were constituted, on the following:

One command staff One company of headquarter staff Three command staff brigade One reconnaissance regiment Three tank regiments One chasseur tank regiment Three mounted infantry battalions Three artillery groups One engineer battalion One group FTA One repair group squadron One transmission company One service company One medical battalion One exploitation group

This division was organised on American lines, in three Combat commands. The three French divisions were organised like this for their 1944-1945 operations. Within this context, the 1st Armored Division (1st DB) was formed on May 1, 1943. The division was heir to the Light Mechanised Brigade (French: Brigade Légère Mécanique, BLM) which combat engaged in Tunisia. On January 28, 1943, General Jean Touzet du Vigier
Jean Touzet du Vigier
(promoted on December 25, 1942) took command of this unit in formation. He had left the command of the BLM to général Brossin de Saint-Didier and installed his command post in Mascara where the training center for armored brigades garrisoned. When first established, 1 DB consisted of a reconnaissance regiment, the 3rd Chasseurs d'Afrique, of Constantine; two tank regiments, the 2nd and 5th Chasseurs d'Afrique, Oran and Maison Carrée; and a fourth Chasseurs d'Afrique
Chasseurs d'Afrique
regiment, the 9th, equipped with tank-destroyers. Adding to these four formations, one mounted regiment, the 2nd Zouaves, of Oran, the 68th Artillery Regiment, of Tunisia; the 88th Engineer Battalion, recently created at Port-Lyautey, and the 38th FTA group, of Ténès. In the coming months of May 1943 joined transmission and services. In August, the train and a squadron group reinforced immediately. Then, the 2nd Chasseurs d'Afrique
Chasseurs d'Afrique
was divided (doubled) to form 2nd Tank-Cuirassiers Regiment, a regiment that général du Vigier commanded in 1940. The latter had just been promoted to a divisional general on August 25, and all the forces which were under his disposition were grouped around Mascara. The 2nd Zouaves
Zouaves
Regiment disappeared and was replaced, as the infantry of the division, by three independent battalions, belonging to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Zouaves, forming a demi-brigade. The division became part of the First Army (then designated Army B) and which would participate to the amphibious assault on Provence. The first embarking commenced in Oran and Mers-el-Kébir at the end of the month of July 1944, after several peregrinations. The Naval ships lifted anchors on August 10 and 11. The disembarking should have taken lieu between Saint-Tropez and Saint-Raphaël. At the dawn of August 15, an enormous naval fleet was assembled north-west of Corsica steering and heading north. The operations of the 1st Armored Division throughout the course of World War II
World War II
comprised three phases:

From the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
to the Vosges, August 15 to November 13, 1944 Combat in Alsace, November 14, 1944 to February 9, 1945 February 10 to May 7, 1945

From the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
to Vosges, August 15 to November 13, 1944[edit] Throughout the course of the first phase operations, the CC1 was engaged in battle, then the entire division competed with the VI Corps, the siege of Toulon, Marseille and the liberation of Provence. The unit reached the Rhône by means of improvisation, regrouped, west of the river for fifteen days following the disembarking and engaged in a ride of 600 kilometers, which would bring them to the footsteps of the Vosges, following an uninterrupted combat engamenent event series, which lead to the liberation of Saint-Étienne, Lyon, Anse et Villefranche, Chalon-sur-Saône, Chagny, Beaune, Dijon and Langres. Started then the hardships of a slow and difficult incursion by the valleys of the Vosgues, in the mud and the rain and snow. After 54 days of marching towards Le Thillot, which stations are Mélisey, Servance, Haut-du-Them-Château-Lambert, Ramonchamp, Cornimont, Travexin, Fresse, la Chevestraye, Recolonges, la Chapelle de Ronchamp, colline de Bourlémont, the division succeeds to the Trouée de Belfort
Belfort
on October 18, 1944. Following this first phase operations, the 1st DB was cited for a first time at the orders of the armed forces. Combat for Alsace November 14, 1944 to February 9, 1945[edit] During the course of the second phase, the re DB was the first to penetrate Alsace and the first at Rhin. Making way on November 14 from the high valley of Doubs, the 1e DB mounted the offensive on Belfort. The division operating within the cadre of the 1st Army Corps (général Béthouart) slides along Héricourt along the French and Swiss border and apprehended Delle on November 18. The next day, the CC3 was in Alsace and, at 1800, the tank platoon of lieutenant Loisy was able to raise the fanion in the Rhin, at Rosenau. The latter was part of the 4th squadron of the 2nd African Chasseur Regiment. This officer would meet his end on the next November 23, when his tank was hit by an anti-tank launcher during the attack on caserne Lefebvre at Muhouse. On the 20, colonel Caldairou entered the city. Nevertheless, despite the success resulting from the junction of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps in the region of Burnhaupt, Colmar
Colmar
remained well protected. During two months, the division held in the snow a defensive sector on Dollar, south of that of what would be later referred to as the Colmar Pocket. On January 20, the 1st Army relaunched the assault on the two northern and southern flanks of the pocket, in the middle of a snow storm. Following a three-week struggle, Alsace was liberated and Colmar
Colmar
seized on February 2. The division, which engaged in combat since December 5 under the orders of général Sudre, following an annoying progression in between mines, witnessed a short exploitation which led to Chalampé on February 9 in the morning. Accordingly, the division finished the campaign of France started on August 15, 1944 and which was over six months later on the Rhin. Following this second phase of operations, the 1e DB was cited a second time at the orders of the armed forces. February 10 to May 7, 1945[edit] At the beginning of the third phase, since April 5, the CC2 was in Germany. Combat engaged with the 9th Colonial Infantry
Infantry
Division, the path throughout the Forêt-Noire was cleared, to deliver to the 1st Army the important routes. Later to the turn, the CC3 combat engaged supporting the colonials. Following a march on Kehl and Offenburg, they made way south to apprehend Fribourg on April 21. They rejoined the division on the 28 south-west of Ulm. The 1st Armored Division crossed the Rhin on April 17. Général
Général
Sudre regrouped means at the exception of CC3 around Freudenstadt, and while acting with the cadre of the 1st Army Corps, his unit mounted the assault. The division accordingly made way to Danube by Rottweil and Horb, crossed the river on April 21 at Matulheim and Tuttlingen, and while engaging Stockach, pushed back all along the Danube by Sigmaringen until Ulm which was apprehended in liaison with the American 7th U.S. Army arriving from the North. The 1re DB apprehended Immenstadt on April 30 and reached the same day the Austrian frontier to occupy Aach and Oberstdorf. With only the field of mountains in plain sight, the division opened the way for the infantry and regrouped around de Biberach. First in the Rhin, first in Danube, the division with the Cross of Saint-Louis reached objectives following a sequence of successful event combat engagement series. The division played a decisive role towards the final campaign. The CC2 in Forêt-Noire, the CC3 in the fields of Bade, then the entire division engaged in combat until May 7. Following this ultimate and third phase operations, the 1e DB was cited for a third time at the orders of the armed forces. End of the war[edit] Following the cessation of hostilities, the 1ere DB joined Palatinat, around Landau. The division remained there for two months. The division sent to Berlin the first detachment in charge of representing France, on July 1, composed of : a squadron of the 3rd African Chasseur Regiment, a squadron of the 9th, 2 companies of the 1st and 3rd Zouaves, and a train detachment. On September 5, the headquarter staff of the division garrisoned at Trèves. The 1re DB, with reduced effectif by the demobilization, returned to France and garrisoned, October 1945 to March 1946 in the zones of Bourges, Châtellerault, Nantes and Angoulême. The division was dissolved on March 31, 1946. Composition in 1944[edit] The 1re DB which disembarked in Provence in August 1944 was composed of 73% Europeans and 27% Indigènes. Organic units:

3rd African Chasseur Regiment (French: 3e régiment de chasseurs d'Afrique, 3e RCA) : régiment de reconnaissance 9th African Chasseur Regiment (French: 9e régiment de chasseurs d'Afrique, 9e RCA) : régiment de chasseurs de chars équipé de Tank Destroyer (TD) 38e groupe de FTA : artillerie antiaérienne 88e bataillon du génie Régiment du train divisionnaire 291e compagnie de transport 91/84e compagnie de transmissions 11e GERD 15e bataillon médical CC1

2nd Cuirassiers Regiment (French: 2e régiment de cuirassiers, 2e RC) : régiment de chars 2nd Zouaves
Zouaves
Regiment (French: 2e bataillon de Zouaves, 2e RZ) : infanterie portée 68th Artillery Regiment, I/68th (French: 68e régiment d'artillerie, 68e RA) : artillerie

CC2

5th African Chasseur Regiment (French: 5e régiment de chasseurs d'Afrique, 5e RCA): régiment de chars 1st Zouaves
Zouaves
Regiment (French: 1er bataillon de Zouaves, 1e RZ) : infanterie portée III/68th : artillerie

CC3.

2nd African Chasseur Regiment (French: 2e régiment de chasseurs d'Afrique, 2e RCA) : régiment de chars 3rd Zouaves
Zouaves
Regiment (French: 3e bataillon de Zouaves, 3e RZ) : infanterie portée II/68th : artillerie

Organization of the mounted Zouaves
Zouaves
battalions[edit] The infantry of the 1re DB was constituted of three mounted Zouaves battalions (French: bataillons de zouaves portés, BZP) organized within the following: One BZP was assigned to each of the three CC which composed the 1e Armored Division. The effectif was almost 800 men (Pied-Noirs, Metropolitan French and Maghrebis) and consisted of 3 combat companies with almost 180 to 200 men each. Each company consisted of three combat sections (platoons) of almost fifty men mounted by 5 half-tracks (armed with machine guns, mortars and cannon 57 anti-tank). Different and various circumstances governed combats of St-Loup-de-la-Salle, on September 6, 1944, almost 30 kilometers east of Tailly. The entire BZP endured the heavy attack. In other circumstances, road combats were also expected, which led the Zouave to often progress through mounting tanks. Nevertheless, Zouaves
Zouaves
also often mounted assaults by themselves. Such various governing circumstances were taking place on September 9 in front of Nuits-St-Georges. A company of the 3rd BZP was ordered to apprehend Nuits-Saint-Georges. Tanks were occupied in Beaune and could not provide fire support. The resistance was strong and companies without rear support endured heavy losses. As tanks were made available again, assaults were relaunched. These were, briefly evoked, the types of various circumstances in which the BZPs conducted battle. Losses were heavy. The infantry accompanying the 1e DB endured killed in action and wounded, 1700 men out of 2400, the initial effectif. Almost 72% of the effective. Losses were compensated by reinforcements sent from North Africa as well as numerous volunteers who engaged as villages and cities were being liberated.[1] 1948 to 1999[edit] The 1st Armoured Division was recreated in 1948. In 1951, the general headquarter staff garrisoned at Trèves in Germany. The division was part of the French Forces in Germany (French: Forces françaises en Allemagne, FFA). Composition in 1985:

1er Régiment de cuirassiers de St Wendel 6e Régiment de dragons de Saarburg 8e Groupe de chasseurs de Wittlich 16e Groupe de chasseurs de Saarburg 153e Régiment d'infanterie de Mutzig 9e Régiment d'artillerie de marine de Trèves 61e Régiment d'artillerie de Morhange 13e Régiment de génie de Trèves 1er Escadron d'éclairage divisionnaire de St Wendel 1er Régiment de commandement et de soutien de Trèves

From 1993 to 1999, the 1re Division Blindée was part of the Eurocorps. 1999 to 2015[edit] On July 1, 1999, the 1st Armored Division became the 1st Mechanised Brigade (1re BM). The general headquarter staff garrisoned at Châlons-en-Champagne. The 1re BM was dissolved on July 21, 2015. Since 2016[edit] The 1st Division was recreated on July 1, 2016. Interarm, the division is formed of three brigades as well French units of the Franco-German Brigade and is part of the Scorpion Force alongside the 3rd Division and units stationed in outre-mer and overseas. Composition 2016[edit] The 1st Division is subordinated to the Commandement des Forces Terrestres CFT. The division counts 25000 men in :

1er Régiment d'Artillerie (1er RA) - Rocket Artillery Regiment in Bourogne
Bourogne
with MLRS 19e Régiment du Génie (19e RG) Engineer Regiment in Besançon 132e Bataillon Cynophile de l'Armée de Terre (132e BCAT) - Military Working Dog Battalion in Suippes

7e brigade blindée – 7th Armoured Brigade[edit] Main article: 7th Armoured Brigade (France)

Insignia of the 7eBB

Based in Besançon.

7e Compagnie de Commandement et de Transmissions (7e CCT) - Command and Signals Company in Besançon
Besançon
with VAB 1er Régiment de Chasseurs (1er RCh) - Armoured Regiment in Verdun with 60 Leclerc 5e Régiment de Dragons (5e RD) - Armoured Regiment in Mailly-le-Camp with 60 Leclerc 1er Régiment de Tirailleurs
Tirailleurs
(1er RTir) - Infantry
Infantry
Regiment in Epinal with VBCI 35e Régiment d'Infanterie (35e RI) - Infantry
Infantry
Regiment in Belfort with VBCI 152e Régiment d'Infanterie (152e RI) - Infantry
Infantry
Regiment in Colmar with VBCI 68e Régiment d'Artillerie d'Afrique (68e RAA) - Artillery Regiment in Valbonne
Valbonne
with 12x CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and 16x 120mm RTF1 mortars 3e Régiment du Génie (3e RG) - Engineer Regiment in Charleville-Mézières

9e brigade légère blindée de marine - 9th Marine Infantry Brigade[edit] Main article: 9th Light Armoured Marine Brigade (France)

Insignia of the 9e BIM

Based in Poitiers.

9e Compagnie de Commandement et de Transmissions (9e CCT) - Command and Signals Company in Poitiers
Poitiers
with VAB Régiment d'Infanterie-Chars de Marine (RICM) - Armoured Marine Infantry
Infantry
Regiment (light cavalry) in Poitiers
Poitiers
with AMX 10 RC
AMX 10 RC
and ERC 90 1er Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine (1er RIMa) - Armoured Marine Infantry
Infantry
Regiment (light cavalry) in Angoulême
Angoulême
with AMX 10 RC
AMX 10 RC
and ERC 90 2e Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine (2e RIMa) - Marine Infantry Regiment in Le Mans
Le Mans
with VBCI 3e Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine (3e RIMa) - Marine Infantry Regiment in Vannes
Vannes
with VAB 126e Régiment d'Infanterie (126e RI) - Infantry
Infantry
Regiment in Brive-la-Gaillarde
Brive-la-Gaillarde
with VAB 11e Régiment d'Artillerie de Marine (11e RAMa) - Marine Artillery Regiment in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier
Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier
with TRF1
TRF1
howitzers, CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and RTF1 mortars 6e Régiment du Génie (6e RG) - Engineer Regiment in Angers

27e brigade d’infanterie de montagne – 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade[edit] Main article: 27th Mountain Infantry
Infantry
Brigade (France)

Insignia of the 27e BIM

Based in Varces.

27e Compagnie de Commandement et de Transmissions de Montagne (27e CCTM) - Command and Signals Company in Varces 4e Régiment de Chasseurs (4e RCh) - Wheeled Armoured Regiment in Gap with 36 ERC 90, 16 VBL and 6 Gazelle helicopters 7e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins
Chasseurs Alpins
(7e BCA) - Mountain Infantry Battalion in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Bourg-Saint-Maurice
with VAB and VHM 13e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins
Chasseurs Alpins
(11e BCA) - Mountain Infantry Battalion in Chambéry
Chambéry
with VAB and VHM 27e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins
Chasseurs Alpins
(27e BCA) - Mountain Infantry Battalion in Annecy
Annecy
with VAB and VHM 93e Régiment d'Artillerie de Montagne (93e RAM) - Mountain Artillery Regiment in Varces with CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and RTF1 mortars 2e Régiment Etranger de Génie (2e REG) in Saint-Christol

Brigade franco-allemande – Franco-German Brigade[edit] Main article: Franco-German Brigade

Insignia of the BFA

Based in Müllheim, Germany French contribution:

3e Régiment de Hussards (3e RH) - Wheeled Armoured Regiment in Metz (France) with AMX 10 RC
AMX 10 RC
and VBL 1er Régiment d'Infanterie (1er RI) - Infantry
Infantry
Regiment in Sarrebourg (France) with VAB Bataillon de commandement et de soutien (BCS) - Logistic battalion in Müllheim
Müllheim
(Germany)

References[edit]

^ Texte émanant du colonel ANDERHUBER, ancien du 3e BZP, Amicale des Anciens du 2e Zouaves
Zouaves
20 juin 2011 - Bulletin n°45

Sources and bibliography[edit]

De Lattre de Tassigny, Histoire de la première armée française, Plon, 1949. Collectif, La première division blindée au combat, Malakoff, sur les Presses de Théo Brugière, le 30 juillet 1947 Revue Ligne de front, Hors série numéro 5 de septembre octobre 2008.

v t e

Divisions of the French Army

Active

1st 3rd

Cold War period (incomplete)

Infantry

8th 15th 27th Alpine 109th 152nd

Armored

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 7th 8th 10th

Light Armored

6th 9th 12th 14th

Airborne

4th Airmobile 10th 11th Light Intervention 24th 25th

Other

Division Daguet

Second World War (list)

1939-1940

Armour

1st Armored 1st Light 2nd Armored 2nd Light 3rd Armored 3rd Light 4th Armored 4th Light 7th Light

Cavalry

1st Light 2nd Light 3rd Light 4th Light 5th Light 6th Light

Colonial

1st Moroccan 1st Colonial 1st North African Light 2nd Colonial 2nd Colonial Light 2nd Moroccan 2nd North African 3rd Colonial 3rd Moroccan 3rd North African 4th Colonial 4th North African 5th Colonial 5th North African 6th North African 6th Colonial 7th Colonial 7th North African 8th Colonial 8th Colonial Light 81st African 82nd African 83rd African 84th African 85th African 86th African 87th African 88th African 180th African 181st African 182nd African 183rd African Cochinchina and Cambodia Tonkin

Infantry

1st Motorized 2nd 3rd Motorized 4th 5th Motorized 6th 7th 8th 9th Motorized 10th 11th 12th Motorized 13th 14th 15th Motorized 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th Motorized 26th 32nd 35th 36th 40th 41st 42nd 43rd 44th 45th 47th 51st 52nd 53rd 54th 55th 56th 57th 58th 60th 61st 62nd 63rd 67th 68th 70th 71st 101st Fortress 102nd Fortress 103rd Fortress 104th Fortress 105th Fortress 191st 192nd

Mountain

1st Light Chasseurs 2nd Light Chasseurs 27th 28th 29th 30th 31st 64th 65th 66th

Light

1st 3rd 17th 59th 235th 236th 237th 238th 239th 240th 241st Burtaire

Provisional

Besse March Chastanet March Poisot March Regard March Senselme March

Other

1st Polish 2nd Polish

Vichy France

Metropolitan

7th Military 9th Military 12th Military 13th Military 14th Military 15th Military 16th Military 17th Military

Africa and Asia

Algiers Territorial Casablanca Cochinchina and Cambodia Constantine Territorial Fez Marrakech Meknes Oran Territorial Tunisian Forces Command Tonkin

Related

33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French)

Free France/ Army of Liberation

Infantry

1st Algerian 1st Alpine 1st Colonial 1st Free French Division 1st Moroccan 1st 1st Far East Colonial 2nd Algerian 2nd Colonial 2nd Far East Colonial 2nd Moroccan 3rd Moroccan 3rd Algerian 3rd Colonial 4th Moroccan Mountain 6th Moroccan Mountain 7th Algerian 8th Algerian 9th Colonial 10th Colonial 10th Infantry 14th Infantry 19th Infantry 23rd Infantry 25th Infantry 27th Alpine 36th Infantry

Armour

1st Armored 2nd Armored 3rd Armored 5th Armored

Temporary

Constantine March Algerian March Oran March Southeast Algerian Front

First World War (list)

Infantry

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th 31st 32nd 33rd 34th 35th 36th 37th 38th 39th 41st 42nd 43rd 44th 45th 46th 47th 48th 51st Reserve 52nd Reserve 53rd 55th Reserve 56th Reserve 57th Reserve 58th Reserve 60th Reserve 61st Reserve 62nd Reserve 63rd Reserve 66th Reserve 67th 68th 69th 70th 71st 72nd 74th 76th 77th 81st Territorial 82nd Territorial 84th Territorial 87th Territorial 88th Territorial 89th Territorial 92nd Territorial 101st Territorial 102nd 120th 121st 122nd 123rd 125th 126th 127th 128th 129th 132nd 133rd 152nd 153rd 156th 157th 158th 164th 165th 166th 169th 170th

Cavalry

1st 1st Foot 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th

Colonial

Moroccan 2nd Colonial 3rd Colonial 10th Colonial 11th Colonial 15th Colonial 16th Colonial 1

.