View Full Version : Help needed from a French Marine

09-14-2008, 04:46 AM
I have many questions about the current Infanterie de Marine: in terms of force composition, and their projected role under the new White Paper. I expect they could be answered best by a serving or retired French Marine. Hopefully, at least one of you reads this Dicussion Board.

My reason for interest in the Infanterie de Marine is that I am descended from a large number of men who served in les Compagnies franches de Marine en Canada, or in units which were attached under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Marine. So, my avatar is le petit soldat en Canada.

The first set of questions deals with history, as viewed by the current French Marines. So, first some Frdnch Marine sources that I found:

1er Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine
Date de création 1822 et 1945 Type Blindés légers [ancien Infanterie]


2eme Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine
Date de création 1822 Type Infanterie


1er régiment d'infanterie de marine
Depuis sa création en 1822, le 1er Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine est présent sous toutes les latitudes et participe notamment à la guerre de Crimée ( plus précisément en Baltique à Bomarsund en 1854), aux campagnes de Chine (1860), du Mexique (Puebla 1863), du Tonkin (Sontay 1883). ... Puis, suite à l'offensive allemande de 1940, le régiment est détruit.

Il est recréé le 8 mai 1945 à partir de la 4è brigade de la 1re DFL qui a combattu en Afrique du Nord (Tobrouk et Bir Hakeim), en Italie (Garigliano) et a percé le front allemand à Belfort et à l'Authion.


2e régiment d'infanterie de marine
Le 2e régiment d'infanterie de marine est l'un des plus anciens et des plus décorés des troupes de marine. Son drapeau est le seul de l'armée française à porter 15 noms de bataille. ...


Now, more specifically, as to which current regiment is the direct descendant of Richelieu's first regiment.

from ... troupesdemarine.org ....1rima....

Créés en 1622 par le Cardinal de RICHELIEU, les Compagnies franches de Marine, autrement appelées "Compagnies Ordinaires de la mer" étaient destinées à la défense des ports et du littoral.

En 1626, regroupées par ordre du Roi en un Régiment de la Marine, elles recevaient la mission d'assurer le service des armes à bord des bâtiments.....

Le 7 août 1822, une ordonnance royale créait deux régiments d'Infanterie De Marine qui furent licenciés en 1827. Recrés sous la dénomination du 1er et 2eme Régiments de la Marine en 1831, ils recoivent mission de pourvoir au service ordianire des garnisons des colonies Françaises. Portés à trois en 1838 et dénommés Régiments d'Infanterie de Marine, ils se voient confier le service de garnison des ports militaires du royaume et celui des colonies.

En 1854, un décret impérial réorganise le corps d'Infanterie de Marine et créé un 4eme Régiment. La réorganisation s'effectue par changement d'appellation : le 1er Régiment prend le n° 2 à Brest et le 1er Régiment est créé à Cherbourg, anciennement portion secondaire du 1er.

C'est à partir de cette date que commence l'historique du 1er Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine, conformément à la décision prise par la commission centrale des Historiques de Paris.

If I understand correctly, in 1622 we start with les Compagnies franches de Marine - ca.1685-1760, roughly 2 dozen cies served in Canada. In 1626, the cies were grouped into one Régiment de la Marine. But, "elles recevaient la mission d'assurer le service des armes à bord des bâtiments" could mean that the Régiment de la Marine was limited to service at naval bases or ships.

So, question 1: In French Marine history, were the Compagnies franches de Marine en Canada regarded as part of the 1626 Régiment de la Marine; or left as independent cies not part of the regiment ?

Moving on, in 1822, the one régiment d'Infanterie De Marine became two; by 1831, the 1er et 2eme Régiments de la Marine.

So, question 2: In French Marine history, which of the two (1er or 2e) was regarded as the successor to Richelieu's one régiment ?

Moving on, in 1838, a 3rd regiment was created; and, in 1854, a 4th regiment was added. In that reorganization, we also have "changement d'appellation : le 1er Régiment prend le n° 2 à Brest et le 1er Régiment est créé à Cherbourg, anciennement portion secondaire du 1er."

So, question 3: Is my understanding correct that the 1er and 2e swapped numbers - so that the present 2e is really the descendant of the ancien 1er ?

That seems to be confirmed by the last sentence (in the above quote): "C'est à partir de cette date ... Historiques de Paris."

But, the official webpage of 1er Régiment d'Infanterie de Marine says:

from .. defense.gouv.fr .. 1er
Régiment le plus ancien des Troupes de marine, ....

So, there seems to be a bit of controversy (at least on the Net) as to which regiment is "le plus ancien".

Modern organization and future under the new White Paper

My initial question here deals with force composition. From the sources above, I find:

from ...troupesdemarine.org ... 1rima
Composition Organique Novembre 2002
Composé de près de 1.000 personnels
54 Officiers
228 Sous-Officiers
603 Marsouins (dont 359 EVAT)
41 civils

from .. defense.gouv.fr .. 2e
.... 58 officiers, 269 sous-officiers et 606 militaires du rang

This is roughly a 1 to 2 ratio of Os & NCOs to soldats.

Coincidentally, that is similar to, but higher than, that ratio, in actual practice (vs. theoretical TOE), found in the Compagnies franches de Marine en Canada - especially those operating on the frontiers. Their missions were generally special operations - so, the extra Os and NCOs were necessary.

Hopefully, someone will be able to enlighten me about this. If not, c'est la vie !

defense linguistics
09-14-2008, 10:04 AM
Not a French Marine, but I know many who are, including members of 1&2 RIMa. Regimental histories are really not my field, but I'll try to put you in touch with someone who can help.

09-14-2008, 07:50 PM
for the response and offer of assistance.

There was a French Marine officer who posted a few times here, but I forget his handle. Have to do some searching also.

defense linguistics
09-15-2008, 09:50 AM
Sur télé 5: http://www.francetvod.fr/site-vod/histoire-de-l-armee-francaise/index-fr.php

09-15-2008, 05:11 PM
Nous sommes désolés ...

Tried your url from a clean window of IE with same result - then tried each directory back to the root - same result.

Only the root


works. Got from there to this (where I assume you pointed)


and lo and behold - the promo screen brought up a clip shot of "Histoire de l'Armee ..., which hitting its "little hand" led to:


which is a COMMENTAIRES page, where I could have left a commentary - chose not to - five letter word beginning with "m".

Finally, back to ... france5.fr, & daylight in the swamp - it is playing on chan 5, today at 20:35. Voila !

Usually I try to be a smart, lazy guy; but today, obviously a dumb, diligent guy - the most dangerous of the four variants. :D

Merci for the headsup - and for (unintentionally) injecting a bit of humor in a day which has not started well.

09-15-2008, 05:58 PM
Trying to get back to the smart, lazy guy - with feet up on desk and thinking.

Besides my first three questions on regimental history (which I would like someone to answer, if possible), I was looking for some on-line resources on the French Marines (besides those I already found - there is also some Wiki-type stuff in English).

Looking at myself as a smart, but very ignorant, recruit, what I need - to begin with - are the French Marine equivalent (on-line) of the Guidebook for Marines and the Platoon Leaders Handbook.

Going on from there, it would be nice if there were a French Marine on-line equivalent of our SWC Reference Library.


I am not asking for an equal to equal on-line discussion as such, because I am too ignorant to do so. There are many others here who could handle that from the gitgo - I am not one of them.

What I need is more in-depth on-line French Marine background than I've found.

Hoping this message might be helpful to whomever might be willing to help.

Merci in advance.

09-18-2008, 04:22 PM
As a French Marine Reserve Officer, I suggest you read this website (in French and with an English Version). This is an unofficial website for Troupes de Marine:

Lieutenant (US: 1/LT) de réserve Stéphane TAILLAT
Régiment d'Infanterie-Chars de Marine (former "Régiment d'Infanterie coloniale du Maroc, founded in 1915)

09-18-2008, 04:40 PM
I remembered that you posted here, but forgot the name. As an ".. Histoire, Officer ..." (remembered you were a teacher - apparently a common profession for reserve officers), I hit the right man.

I will look at the webpage. Right now I am in the midst of completing a drop-dead project, which has to "be in the mail" this afternoon.

Probably will be back with questions, either here or in a PM.

09-19-2008, 12:45 AM
Attached is my soldiers list to make some sense out of the PM.

The webpage cited by Lt. Taillat is very good for anyone interested in the French Marines (TDM in their parlance).