The Info List - École Spéciale Militaire De Saint-Cyr

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The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (ESM, literally the " Special
Military School of Saint-Cyr") is the foremost French military academy. It is often referred to as Saint-Cyr (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃ siʁ]). Its motto is "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre": literally "They study to vanquish" or "Training for victory". French cadet officers are called "saint-cyriens", or "cyrards". The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr is located in Coëtquidan
in Guer, Morbihan
department, Brittany, France.[1][3] French students who enter the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr as cadets are about 21 years old, and undergo three years of training. All ESM cadets graduate with a master of arts or a master of science and are commissioned officers.[1][3] The academy was founded in Fontainebleau
in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte and was then moved in 1806 in the buildings of the former Maison Royale de Saint-Louis, in Saint-Cyr-l'École, West of Paris. The cadets moved several times during the second World War eventually settling in 1945 in the Coetquidan military camp, in Morbihan.


1 History

1.1 Motto

2 Museum 3 Traditions

3.1 Class names and insignia 3.2 Uniform 3.3 Ceremonies 3.4 Re-enactment

4 Application 5 Training 6 Notable alumni 7 References 8 External links


Lycée militaire de Saint-Cyr, seat of the Academy from 1808 to 1940, now in Camp Coëtquidan.

The colonel, supervisor of the Cadets' studies, during the Bastille Day Military Parade.

The Color guard
Color guard
of Saint-Cyr.

The 1st rank of the first company of cadets.

The École Spéciale Militaire was created by order of Napoleon Bonaparte on May 1, 1802 (the Law of 11 Floréal an X according to the then-official revolutionary calendar), to replace the École Royale Militaire then located in Fontainebleau. Renamed the École Spéciale Impériale Militaire after Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor, it moved in 1808 to Saint-Cyr-l'École
(Yvelines) in the castle of the former Maison royale de Saint-Louis, a school for girls of the French nobility disbanded at the time of the Revolution. The school trained a large number of young officers who served during the Napoleonic Wars. It remained stationed in Saint-Cyr-l'École
after Napoleon's deposition and through all regime changes until 1940. After the defeat of the French Army
French Army
against Germany
in 1940, the school moved to the free zone, in the south of France, in Aix-en-Provence. After the invasion of the free zone by the Germans in 1942, the school was disbanded, but French cadet officer training went on, part in Cherchell
(Algeria, then Free French territory) and part in the United Kingdom (Cadets de la France
Libre) under General de Gaulle's command. At the Libération of France
in 1944, the school was reunited under the command of General de Lattre de Tassigny and settled in the military camp of Coëtquidan, Morbihan, because the "vieux bahut" (old school) had been severely damaged by an Allied bombing during the Libération campaign. The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr has remained there to this day. A reform in 1961 split the school into two entities: the current École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (ESM), devoted to the training of direct-recruitment officers, recruited through an annual national competitive exam, and the École Militaire
École Militaire
Interarmes (EMIA), cadets from internal recruitment (selected from non-commissioned officer (NCO) ranks and reserve officer ranks) and added a third entity, the École Militaire
École Militaire
du Corps Technique et Administratif (EMCTA), devoted to the formation of administrative specialist officers. The school admitted its first female cadets in 1983 and underwent a minor reform in 2002 devised to broaden the diversity of its recruitment. Since 1802, 65,000 Saint-Cyriens have been trained, along with 2,000 international cadets. Of the French graduates 9,639 died on the field of battle. Alumni also count 11 Maréchaux de France, three French heads of state, two flying aces, six members of the Académie Française, and one Blessed of the Catholic Church. The school has links with both West Point
West Point
and the Sandhurst Military Academy, including student exchanges. Motto[edit] Napoleon's original motto, "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" ("They study to overcome/conquer/win"), was changed by the restoration king, Louis XVIII, to: "Ils s'instruisent pour la Défense de la Patrie" ("They study for the Defence of the Fatherland"). The Napoleonic version was used again from 1848 to 1870. That motto was next changed to "Honneur et Patrie" ("Honour and Fatherland") until 1918, when it reverted again to the original Napoleonic wording. Museum[edit] The museum is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings from 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. to group tours and afternoons to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. On the weekend, the museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. and from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. The museum is closed to the public on Mondays and it is closed from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays. The museum is located on Rivoli court. The permanent collection explores the lives of the Saint-Cyrien from the end of the ancient regime to today. The collection shows the evolution of the uniform, personal objects, artwork, authentic documents, arms, clothing and family relics. Traditions[edit] Class names and insignia[edit] Since 1829, every class (promotion) of Saint-Cyr chooses a name. It can be a nickname (du Firmament, "of the Stars", for the first one), the name of a famous battle (Sevastopol for the 1855–56 Class), the name of a famous soldier or general (Bayard, 1923–25 Class, Foch, 1928–30 Class). Since 1934, every class also chooses a special insignia. Uniform[edit] Cadets of Saint-Cyr wear in full dress (grande tenue) a special uniform, derived from the 1845 Regulations Infantry Officer Dress. This dress incorporates a dark-blue tunic, red trousers (red skirts for female cadets) and a shako with red and white plumes. Facings are light blue, as is the képi worn on less formal occasions. Red fringed epaulettes are worn by cadets and yellow by cadet-officers. This traditional uniform was worn by both cadets and instructors at Saint-Cyr from 1845 until 1914 and then again from 1930 until 1939.[4] After World War II it was again adopted in 1949.[5] The shako plumes are nicknamed Casoars (cassowaries), because they were first adopted in 1855 at the time of this colorful bird's first appearance in the Paris Zoo. While the plumes were not at first welcomed by the cadets, they have become a symbol of Saint-Cyr. The Saint-Cyr cadets of the class of 1913–14, graduating ahead of time with the outbreak of World War I, reportedly vowed to lead their platoons in battle wearing the casoar on their service kepis.[6] Ceremonies[edit] The various steps of the cadets' formation are celebrated in various ceremonies, all performed during nighttime. At the beginning of the first year, after boot camp, the cadets are welcomed with shakos granted to them by the third-year cadets. This is called the petit soir or "small night". At the end of the first year, the cadets are presented with the Casoar (the red and white plumes on their shakos) and with their officer's sword. This is the grand soir or "big night". At the end of the second year, cadets are officially commissioned second lieutenants. This is celebrated in the "baptism" (baptême) of the class, a ceremony in with every cadet receive the accolade from a senior officer. At the end of the third and final year, the cadets are promoted to the rank of lieutenant and receive their new insignia in a ceremony called the "triumph" (triomphe). This ceremony is also the time of solemn proclamation of the class name. Re-enactment[edit] Using authentic battle gear and uniforms of the period, re-enactments of famous battles and ceremonies are regularly staged. The most famous of these is the Battle of Austerlitz, which took place on 2 December 1805 and has been celebrated since. 2 December, nicknamed "2S" by the Saint-Cyr cadets, is the date of many Saint-Cyr related celebrations in the Army
proper or among the alumni associations made up of graduates of the school. Application[edit] Cadets are recruited through a national annual competitive exam, after previous tertiary education. French students take exams on general knowledge, aptitude and intelligence; sit for an interview and pass a test of physical ability.

Standard test (concours sur épreuves) : These saint-cyriens after undergraduate education, like most other French Grandes écoles, two years of classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles or a three-years bachelor's degree in a university. Interview and record exam (concours sur titres) : These saint-cyriens are recruited after graduate education (master's degree). They will follow only the last year of Saint-Cyr training.

In addition, a number of foreign students are admitted annually. Training[edit] As all cadets are commissioned as lieutenants upon graduation, military and leadership education is nested with academic instruction. The course is three years long and covers academic training, military training, physical training and leadership training. The first-year involves military training and academics. The last two years focus on academics with one to three week breaks for military training. Officer cadets at St-Cyr are commissioned officers. The cadets attend school from September to July. Each promotion (class) of the ESM is organised as a battalion. The 1st-year students (rank of élève-officier – Cadet) are France's Third Battalion, 2nd-year (rank of aspirant – Officer Designate) are France's Second Battalion
and third-year (rank of sous-lieutenant – 2nd Lieutenant) are France's First Battalion. The Reserve Officers, Special
Duty Officers and Aspirants trained at the ESM in short sessions are France's Fourth Battalion. Upon graduation, cadets are awarded the diploma of Saint-Cyr, which is a master's degree in Strategy and Internationals Relations or Management, or an engineer's degree, depending on their major. Majors are in engineering or science subjects or specialization in classics, modern or ancient history, modern languages, applied modern languages, geography, science and economics, law, computer science, physical education, political science or Asian studies. Graduates leave the school with the rank of lieutenant and join the specialist school of the branch they select for one additional year, before being assigned to a regiment to serve as a platoon leader. Notable alumni[edit]

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali: former President of Tunisia Abdullah Atfeh, former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense of Syria Ion Antonescu
Ion Antonescu
(1882–1946): Chief of the Romanian Government during WW II Michel Arnaud (1915–1990): 1935 Bahram Aryana
Bahram Aryana
(1906–1985): Military Chief of Staff, Iran Felipe Ángeles, Mexican revolutionary, (1868–1919) Iosif Butoi (1900–1957): Military Chief of the Romanian Military Academy François Certain Canrobert
François Certain Canrobert
(1809–1895): 1828 Marcel Deslaurens
Marcel Deslaurens
(1883-1940), French general, died May 1940 Achille Pierre Deffontaines youngest French general to die in World War I Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
(1890–1970): 1912 Henri Hay De Slade, flying ace, WWI (1893–1979) Louis Franchet d'Espérey (1856–1942): 1876 Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque
Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque
(1902–1947): 1924 Hélie de Saint Marc
Hélie de Saint Marc
(1922–2013) Gabriel Brunet de Sairigné (1913–1948): 1933 Ettore Perrone di San Martino (1789–1849): 1806 David Galula (1919–1967): 1940 Babacar Gaye : Head of MONUSCO Adolphe Guillaumat
Adolphe Guillaumat
(1863–1940): 1884 Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
(1889–1952) Charles de Foucauld
Charles de Foucauld
(1858–1916): 1876 Joseph Gallieni
Joseph Gallieni
(1849–1916) Carlos Guerrero: War Minister of Ecuador (1926) Jacques Guillermaz (1911–1998) 1937 Diplomat, Sinologist Sardar Homayoun
Sardar Homayoun
(1850s–1930s) Alphonse Juin
Alphonse Juin
(1888–1967): 1912 Arthur Constantin Krebs
Arthur Constantin Krebs
(1878–1964) Auguste Lahoulle, flying ace, WWI (1891–1959) François-Henry Laperrine (1860–1920) Guillaume Konsbruck (1909–1983): 1931–1933, Luxembourgian politician Paul Legentilhomme (1884–1975): 1907 Liao Yaoxiang
Liao Yaoxiang
(1903–1968): 1936, Chinese general in the Second Sino-Japanese War Louis II, Prince of Monaco, (1870–1949) Hubert Lyautey
Hubert Lyautey
(1854–1934) Patrice MacMahon
Patrice MacMahon
(1808–1893): 1827 Dragoljub Mihailović Abdollah Khan Momtaz (1909–1912), Iranian diplomat Pierre Nord, writer (1900–1985) Hüseyin Nâzım Paşa (1848–1913): Chief of Staff of the military of the Ottoman Empire Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
(1856–1951) Aimable Jean Jacques Pélissier
Aimable Jean Jacques Pélissier
(1794–1864) Peter I of Serbia (1844–1921): 1862 Lucien Poirier (1918–2013): 1939 Haj Ali Razmara
Haj Ali Razmara
(1901–1951): Prime Minister
Prime Minister
of Iran
1950–51 Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani: son of the Emir of Qatar Jean-Etienne Valluy (1899–1970) Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
(1867–1965): 1897 Manouchehr Khosrodad
Manouchehr Khosrodad
(1927-1979), commander of Imperial Iranian Army Aviation Philippe Morillon (1935-), French general commanding the United Nations Forces in Bosnia (1992-1993) and a Member of the European Parliament until 2009


^ a b c "Modern Languages — Norwich University College of Liberal Arts". Retrieved 30 January 2015.  ^ "Biographie du général Éric Bonnemaison" (PDF). st-cyr.terre.defense.gouv.fr (in French). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2011.  ^ a b "Les écoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan
/ Site Saint Cyr Coëtquidan
– Les écoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan". Retrieved 30 January 2015.  ^ Jean-Pierre Baly, page 17 "La Gazette des Uniformes", no 193, Juillet-Aout 2001 ^ Jean-Pierre Baly, page 9 "La Gazette des Uniformes", no 154, Mai-Juin 1995 ^ Christian Benoit "Les saint-cyriens entrant en guerre", pages 44–49 "Armes Militaria" no 259 Fevrier 2007

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Special
military school of Saint-Cyr.

Official website (in French)

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Conférence des Grandes écoles

Engineering grandes écoles

Agrocampus Ouest Agro ParisTech AgroSup Dijon Arts et Métiers ParisTech Chimie ParisTech CNAM CPE Lyon EBI École centrale

Lille Lyon Marseille Nantes Paris


ECAM Lyon ECAM Rennes

ECE Paris École des ponts ParisTech École de l'air École Navale ECPM EFREI EI Cesi EIGSI EISTI EIVP École des mines

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Clermont-Ferrand Lille Montpellier Mulhouse Rennes






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Institut d'optique ISA ISAE ISARA Lyon ISEN

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Polytech Group

Nantes Orléans

Supélec Institut Mines-Télécom

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Business schools

Audencia EDC Paris EDHEC EMLYON EM Normandie EM Strasbourg ESC Bretagne Brest ESC La Rochelle ESC Lille ESC Pau ESC Rennes ESCP Europe ESDES ESIEE Management ESSCA ESSEC European Business School Paris Grenoble HEC Paris ICN Graduate ICS Bégué IESEG INSEAD Institut de Formation Internationale (IFI) INSEEC IPE Paris ISC Paris ISEFAC ISEG ISG ISM IONIS STM KEDGE Montpellier NEOMA PSB Skema Telecom Toulouse


CELSA CFJ EHESP ENA ENAC Alumni ENSFEA ENS ENS Paris-Saclay ENS LSH ENS Lyon ENS Rennes ENSA Nancy ENSBA ENSCI–Les Ateliers ENV Alfort ENV Lyon ENV Nantes EOGN ESA ESM Saint-Cyr ESSA Bordeaux ESSA de Lyon-Bron IFM INP-ENVT ISIT École de design Nantes Atlantique Université Paris-Dauphine

Universities abroad

Fondation 2ie École Hassania des travaux publics National School of Mineral Industry École polytechnique de Louvain Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech HEC Lausanne HEC Montréal HEC Management School – University of Liège Institut national des postes et télécommunications Polytechnique Montréal Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management École supérieure des communications de Tunis Technical University of Madrid University of Lisbon

Accredited degrees

Bilan d'aptitude délivré par les grandes écoles Mastère spécialisé MSc

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Écoles militaires of France

French Army

Initial Training

École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr École militaire interarmes École nationale des sous-officiers d'active

Specialist Schools

École de l'infanterie High Mountain Military School

French Navy

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École Navale École de maistrance École militaire de la flotte

French Air Force

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École de l'air École militaire de l'air

National Gendarmerie

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École des officiers de la gendarmerie nationale

Directorate of Higher Military Education

École Militaire Institut des hautes études de défense nationale

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NATO Military Academies


Armed Forces Academy Royal Military Academy Vasil Levski National Military University

Royal Military College of Canada Royal Military College Saint-Jean

Dr. Franjo Tuđman Military Academy University of Defence Estonian National Defence College National University of Public Service

Land forces

Royal Danish Military Academy

École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr École militaire interarmes École des officiers de la gendarmerie nationale

Officer Training School Hellenic Military Academy Military Academy of Modena Norwegian Military Academy Tadeusz Kościuszko Land Forces Military Academy Military Academy Nicolae Bălcescu Land Forces Academy General Military Academy Turkish Military Academy Royal Military Academy Sandhurst United States
United States
Military Academy

Maritime forces

Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy Royal Danish Naval Academy École Navale Naval Academy Mürwik Hellenic Naval Academy Italian Naval Academy Royal Norwegian Naval Academy Polish Naval Academy Naval School Mircea cel Bătrân Naval Academy Escuela Naval Militar Naval Academy Britannia Royal Naval College

United States
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Naval Academy United States
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Air forces

Royal Danish Air Force Academy École de l'air German Air Force Officer Training School Hellenic Air Force Academy Accademia Aeronautica Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy Polish Air Force Academy Portuguese Air Force Academy Turkish Air Force Academy Royal Air Force College Cranwell United States
United States
Air Force Academy

Coordinates: 47°56′43″N 2°09′08″W / 47.9453°N 2.1522°W / 47.9453; -2.1522

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 141321909 ISNI: 0000 0001 1957 1442 GND: 4438680-1 BNF: