The Info List - French Army

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The French Army, officially the Ground Army
(French: Armée de terre [aʀme də tɛʀ]) (to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de L'air or Air Army) is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army
Chief of Staff of the French Army
(CEMAT) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Bosser is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army
future acquisitions. For active service, Army
units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France
for planning for, and use, of forces. All soldiers are considered professionals following the suspension of conscription, voted in parliament in 1997 and made effective in 2001. As of 2017[update], the French Army
employed 117,000 personnel (including the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
and the Paris Fire Brigade). In addition, the reserve element of the French Army
consisted of 15,453 personnel of the Operational Reserve.[3] In 1999, the Army
issued the Code of the French Soldier, which includes the injunctions:

“ (...) 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. (...)[4] ”


1 History

1.1 Early history 1.2 The long 19th century and the second empire 1.3 Early 20th century 1.4 Decolonisation 1.5 Cold War
Cold War
era 1.6 Post Cold War
Cold War
era 1.7 War on Terror

2 Structure and organisation

2.1 Arms of the French Army 2.2 Administrative services 2.3 Military regions

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


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Main article: Military history of France Further information: History of French foreign relations Early history[edit]

The French Royal Army
at the battle of Denain (1712)

The first permanent army, paid with regular wages, instead of feudal levies, was established under Charles VII in the 1420–30s. The Kings of France
needed reliable troops during and after the Hundred Years' War. These units of troops were raised by issuing ordonnances to govern their length of service, composition and payment. These Compagnies d'ordonnance
Compagnies d'ordonnance
formed the core of the Gendarme Cavalry into the sixteenth century. Stationed throughout France
and summoned into larger armies as needed. There was also provision made for "Francs-archers" units of bowmen and foot soldiers raised from the non-noble classes but these units were disbanded once war ended. 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 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 Louis XIII
Louis XIII
came to the throne he disbanded most of the regiments in existence leaving only the Vieux and a handful of others which became known as the Petite Vieux and also gained the privilege of not being disbanded after a war.

The Gardes françaises
Gardes françaises
at the battle of Fontenoy (1745)

Main article: French Royal Army
(1652–1830) In 1684 there was a major reorganisation of the French infantry and again in 1701 to fit in with Louis XIV's plans and the War of the Spanish Succession. This reshuffle created many of the modern regiments of the French Army
and standardised their equipment and tactics. The army of the Sun King tended to wear grey-white coats with coloured linings. There were exceptions and the foreign troops, recruited from outside France, wore red (Swiss, Irish...) or blue (Germans, Scots...) while the French Guards wore blue. In addition to these regiments of the line the Maison du Roi provided several elite units, the Swiss Guards, French Guards and the Regiments of Musketeers being the most famous. The white/grey coated French Infantry of the line Les Blancs with their Charleville muskets were a feared foe on the battlefields of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, fighting in the Nine Years' War, the Wars of Spanish and Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
and the American Revolution.

The French Revolutionary Army
at the battle of Jemappes (1792)

Main article: French Revolutionary Army 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 Revolutionary Army. From 1792, the French Revolutionary Army
fought against various combinations of European powers, initially reliant on large numbers and basic tactics, it was defeated bloodily but survived and drove its opponents first from French soil and then overran several countries creating client states. Under Napoleon I, the French Army
conquered most of Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. Professionalising again from the Revolutionary forces and using columns of attack with heavy artillery support and swarms of pursuit cavalry the French army under Napoleon and his marshals was able to outmanoeuvre and destroy the allied armies repeatedly until 1812. Napoleon introduced the concept of all arms Corps, each one a traditional army 'in miniature', permitting the field force to be split across several lines of march and rejoin or to operate independently. The Grande Armée
Grande Armée
operated by seeking a decisive battle with each enemy army and then destroying them in detail before rapidly occupying territory and forcing a peace.

After defeating Prussian forces at Jena, the Grande Armée
Grande Armée
entered Berlin on 27 October 1806

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 Grand Army
of the 1812 Campaign could not be replaced and with the "ulcer" of the ongoing peninsular war against Britain and Portugal
in Spain
the French army was badly short of trained troops and French manpower was almost exhausted. 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[edit] The Bourbon restoration was a time of political instability with the country constantly on the verge of political violence.

Conquest of Algeria.

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 France
invaded in 1830 and again rapidly overcame initial resistance, the French government formally annexed Algeria but it took nearly 45 years to fully pacify the country. This period of French history saw the creation of the Armée d’Afrique, which included the French Foreign Legion. The Army
was now uniformed in dark blue coats and red trousers, which it would retain until the First World War. 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 monarchy. 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.

Battle of Magenta.

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 Crimean War
Crimean War
against Russia, allied with Britain. This invention gave line infantry a weapon with a much longer range and greater accuracy and would lead to new flexible tactics. The French army was more experienced at mass manoeuvre and war fighting than the British and the reputation of the French army was greatly enhanced. A series of colonial expeditions followed and in 1856 France
joined the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
on the British side against China; obtaining concessions. French troops were deployed into Italy
against the Austrians, the first use of railways for mass movement. 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 régime. In 1870 France
was humiliated by defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. The army had far superior infantry weapons in the form of the Chassepot
and an early type of machine-gun but its tactics were inferior and by allowing the invading German force the initiative the army was rapidly bottled up into its fortress towns and defeated. The loss of prestige within the army lead to a great emphasis on aggression and close quarter tactics. Early 20th century[edit]

French Poilus
posing with their war torn flag in 1917, during World War I (1914–18)

In August 1914, the French Armed Forces
French Armed Forces
numbered 1,300,000 soldiers. During the Great War the French Armed Forces
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, Philippe Pétain, Robert Nivelle, Franchet d'Esperey and Maurice Sarrail
Maurice Sarrail
(See French Army
in World War I).

Free French Foreign Legionnaires at the Battle of Bir Hakeim
Battle of Bir Hakeim

At the beginning of the war, the French Army
was wearing the uniform of the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
of 1870, but the uniform was unsuited to the trenches, and so in 1915 the French Army
replaced the uniform, with the Adrian helmet
Adrian helmet
replacing the képi. A uniform with a capote, of bleu-horizon colour adopted to the trenches, was adopted, and the uniform for colonial soldiers coloured khaki. At the beginning of World War II
World War II
the French Army
deployed 2,240,000 combatants grouped into 94 divisions (of which 20 were active and 74 were reservists) from the Swiss border to the North Sea. These numbers did not include the Army
of the Alps facing Italy
and 600,000 men dispersed through the French colonial empire
French colonial empire
are not included in this figure. After defeat in 1940, the Vichy French regime was allowed to retain 100–120,000 personnel in unoccupied France, and larger forces in the French Empire: more than 220,000 in Africa (including 140,000 in French North Africa),[5] and forces in Mandate Syria and French Indochina.[6] After 1945, despite enormous efforts in the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
of 1945–54 and the Algerian War
Algerian War
of 1954–62, both lands eventually left French control. French units stayed in Germany
after 1945, forming the French Forces in Germany. 5th Armored Division stayed on in Germany
after 1945, while 1st and 3rd Armoured Divisions were established in Germany
in 1951. However NATO-assigned formations were withdrawn to fight in Algeria; 5th Armoured Division was withdrawn in 1956. From 1948 to 1966, many French Army
units fell under the integrated NATO
Military Command Structure.[7] Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe
Allied Forces Central Europe
was a French Army
officer, and many key NATO
staff positions were filled by Frenchmen. While an upper limit of 14 French divisions committed to NATO
had been set by the Treaty of Paris, the total did not exceed six divisions during the Indochina War, and during the Algerian War
Algerian War
the total fell as low as two divisions. The Army
created two parachute divisions in 1956, the 10th Parachute Division under the command of General Jacques Massu and the 25th Parachute Division under the command of General Sauvagnac.[8] After the Algiers putsch, the two divisions, with the 11th Infantry Division, were merged into a new light intervention division, the 11th Light Intervention Division, on 1 May 1961.[9] Decolonisation[edit]

Soldiers of the 4th zouaves regiment during the Algerian War

At the end of World War II
World War II
was immediately confronted with the beginnings of the decolonisation movement. The French army, which had employed indigenous North African spahis and tirailleurs in almost all of its campaigns since 1830, was the leading force in opposition to decolonization, which was perceived as a humiliation.[10] In Algeria the Army
repressed an extensive rising in and around Sétif in May 1945 with heavy fire: figures for Algerian deaths vary between 45,000 as claimed by Radio Cairo at the time[11] and the official French figure of 1,020.[12] The Army
saw maintaining control of Algeria as a high priority. By this time, one million French settlers had established themselves, alongside an indigenous population of nine million. When it decided that politicians were about to sell them out and give independence to Algeria, the Army
engineered a military coup that toppled the civilian government and put General de Gaulle back in power in the May 1958 crisis. De Gaulle, however, recognized that Algeria was a dead weight and had to be cut free. Four retired generals then launched the Algiers putsch
Algiers putsch
of 1961 against de Gaulle himself, but it failed. After 400,000 deaths, Algeria finally became independent. Hundreds of thousands of Harkis, Moslems loyal to Paris, went into exile in France, where they and their children and grandchildren remain in poorly assimilated "banlieue" suburbs.[13] The Army
repressed the Malagasy Uprising
Malagasy Uprising
in Madagascar in 1947. French officials estimated the number of Malagasy killed from a low of 11,000 to a French Army
estimate of 89,000.[14] Cold War
Cold War

Alignment of AMX-30
tanks during the Cold War. 1,258 were in service in 1989.

During the Cold War, the French Army, though not part of NATO's military command structure, planned for the defence of Western Europe.[15] In 1977 the French Army
switched from multi-brigade divisions to smaller divisions of about four to five battalions/regiments each. From the early 1970s, 2nd Army
Corps was stationed in South Germany, and effectively formed a reserve for NATO's Central Army
Group. In the 1980s, 3rd Army
Corps headquarters was moved to Lille
and planning started for its use in support of NATO's Northern Army
Group. The Rapid Action Force of five light divisions was also intended as a NATO
reinforcement force. In addition, the 152nd Infantry Division was maintained to guard the intercontinental ballistic missile bases on the Plateau d'Albion. 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 Saumur.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] Post Cold War
Cold War

An ERC 90 Sagaie
ERC 90 Sagaie
of the 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment
1st Parachute Hussar Regiment
in Côte d'Ivoire in 2003

1st Army
Corps was disbanded on 1 July 1990. 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.[19] 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.[20] 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. War on Terror[edit] Opération Sentinelle
Opération Sentinelle
is a French French military
French military
operation with 10,000 soldiers and 4,700 police and gendarmes deployed[21] since the aftermath of the January 2015 Île-de- France
attacks, with the objective of protecting sensitive "points" of the territory from terrorism. It was reinforced during the November 2015 Paris attacks, and is part of an ongoing state of emergency in France
due to continued terror threats and attacks.[22][23] Structure and organisation[edit] Main article: Structure of the French Army

French Army


Light Aviation

Armoured Cavalry

Troupes de marine

French Foreign Legion

Chasseurs alpins

List of current regiments

Structure of the French Army


Chief of Staff of the French Army


Modern Equipment


Military history of France


List of senior officers of the French Army

Ranks in the French Army


Croix de guerre

Médaille militaire

Légion d'honneur


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.[24] In terms of Article R.3222-3 of the Code of Defence,[25] the Army comprises:

The Army
Chief of Staff (Chef d'état-major de l'armée de terre (CEMAT)). The army staff (l'état-major de l'Armée de terre or EMAT), which gives general direction and management of all the components; The Army
Inspectorate (l'inspection de l'Armée de terre); The Army
Human Resources Directorate (la direction des ressources humaines de l'Armée de terre or DRHAT); The forces; A territorial organisation (seven regions, see below) The services; The personnel training and military higher training organisms.

The French Army
was reorganized in 2016. The new organisation consists of two combined divisions (carrying the heritage of 1st Armored and 3rd Armored divisions) and given three combat brigades to supervise each. There is also the Franco-German Brigade. The 4th Airmobile Brigade was reformed to direct the three combat helicopter regiments. There are also several division-level (niveau divisionnaire) specialized commands including Intelligence, Information and communication systems, Maintenance, Logistics, Special
Forces, Army Light Aviation, Foreign Legion, National Territory, Training. Arms of the French Army[edit] The Army
is divided into arms (armes). They include the Troupes de Marine, the Armoured Cavalry Arm
Armoured Cavalry Arm
(Arme Blindée Cavalerie), the Artillery, the Engineering Arm
Engineering Arm
(l'arme du génie); the Infantry, which includes the Chasseurs Alpins, specialist mountain infantry, Materiel Matériel; Logistics (Train); Signals (Transmissions). Parachute units are maintained by several of the armes. 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
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 Army
Light Aviation), was established on 22 November 1954 for observation, reconnaissance, assault and supply duties. It operates numerous helicopters in support of the French Army, its primary attack helicopter is the Eurocopter Tiger, of which 80 were ordered. It is an Arme with a commandement particulier. Administrative services[edit] On the administrative side, there are now no more than one Direction and two services. The Army
Human Resources Directorate (DRHAT) manages human resources (military and civilian) of the Army
and training. 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 Army
is headed by the Service de maintenance industrielle terrestre (SMITer). Historically there were other services of the Army
who were all grouped together with their counterparts in other components to form joint agencies serving the entire French Armed Forces. 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 Army
historical service (SHAT) became the "Land" department of the Defence Historical Service
Defence Historical Service
(Service historique de la défense); In September 2005, the Central Engineering Directorate (Direction centrale du génie, DCG) was merged with its counterparts in the air force and the navy to form the Central Directorate of Defense Infrastructure (Direction centrale du service d'infrastructure de la défense); On 1 January 2006, the Central Directorate of Telecommunications and Informatics (DCTEI) was incorporated into the Central Directorate of the Joint Directorate of Infrastructure Networks and Information Systems (DIRISI);

The Army
Commissariat was dissolved on 31 December 2009 and intégrated into the joint-service Service du commissariat des armées. There is the Diocese of the French Armed Forces
French Armed Forces
which provides pastoral care to Catholic members of the Army. It is headed by Luc Ravel and is headquartered in Les Invalides. Military regions[edit] For many years up to 19 military regions were active (see fr:Région militaire). The 10th Military Region (France) supervised French Algeria during the Algerian War.[26] However, by the 1980s the number had been reduced to six: the 1st Military Region (France) with its headquarters in Paris, the 2nd Military Region (France) at Lille, the 3rd Military Region (France) at Rennes, the 4th Military Region (France) at Bordeaux, the 5th and 6th at Lyons and Metz respectively.[27] Each supervised up to five division militaire territoriale – military administrative sub-divisions, in 1984 sometimes supervising up to three reserve regiments each. Today, under the latest thorough reform of the French security and defence sector, there are seven fr:Zone de défense et de sécurité each with a territorial ground army region: Paris (or Île-de-France, HQ in Paris), Nord (HQ in Lille), Ouest (HQ in Rennes), Sud-Ouest (HQ in Bordeaux), Sud (HQ in Marseille), Sud-Est (HQ in Lyon), Est (HQ in Strasbourg).[28] Personnel[edit]

Personnel strength of the French Army

Category Strength

Commissioned officers 13,800

Non-commissioned officers 37,600

EVAT 57,300

VDAT 671

Civilian employees 8,100


Soldiers[edit] 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.

Non-commissioned officers[edit] 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. Officers[edit]

Career officers

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 Lieutenant. 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 years at École militaire interarmes, and graduates as First Lieutenant. 50% of the commissioned officers in the French Army
are former NCOs.

Contract officers

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. Equipment[edit] Main article: Modern equipment of the French Army

The HK416F is the new service rifle of the French military.

Leclerc main battle tank

GCT 155mm
GCT 155mm
self-propelled artillery

Eurocopter Tiger
Eurocopter Tiger
attack helicopter

Uniform[edit] In the 1970s, France
adopted a light beige dress uniform which is worn with coloured kepis, sashes, fringed epaulettes, fourragères and other traditional items on appropriate occasions. The most commonly worn parade dress however consists of camouflage uniforms worn with the dress items noted above. The camouflage pattern, officially called Centre Europe (CE), draws heavily on the coloration incorporated into the US M81 woodland design, but with a thicker and heavier striping. A desert version called the Daguet has been worn since the First Gulf War which consist of large irregular areas of chestnut brown and light grey on a sand khaki base. The legionnaires of the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
wear white kepis, blue sashes and green and red epaulettes as dress uniform, while the Troupes de marine
Troupes de marine
wear blue and red kepis and yellow epaulettes. The pioneers of the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
wear the basic legionnaire uniform but with leather aprons and gloves. The Chasseurs Alpins
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.[30] A dark blue/black evening dress is authorized for officers[31] and individual branches or regiments may parade bands or "fanfares" in historic dress dating as far back as the Napoleonic period. References[edit]

^ IISS Military Balance 2017, p.111 ^ [1] United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] Peacekeeping in between the Blue Line ^ "Key defence figures 2015" (PDF). Defense.gouv.fr. 3 September 2015.  ^ 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. (...)  : "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 June 2004. Retrieved 13 September 2006.  ^ Quid, ed. 2001, p.690, see also 'France, Soldiers, and Africa.' ^ Jacques Marseille, " L'Empire ", dans La France
des années noires, tome 1, Éd. du Seuil, rééd coll. " Points-Histoire ", 2000, p.282. ^ Isby and Kamps, 1985, 106. ^ Clayton, 'France, Soldiers, and Africa', Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988, p.190 ^ Collectif, Histoire des parachutistes français, Société de Production Littéraire, 1975, 544. ^ Alistair Horne, The French Army
and Politics, 1870–1970 (1984). ^ J.F.V. Keiger, France
and the World since 1870 (Arnold, 2001) p 207. ^ Horne, Alistair (1977). A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962. New York: The Viking Press. p. 26.  ^ Martin Evans, "From colonialism to post-colonialism: the French empire since Napoleon." in Martin S. Alexander, ed., French History since Napoleon (1999) pp 410–11 ^ Anthony Clayton, The Wars of French Decolonization (1994) p 85 ^ David Isby and Charles Kamps, Armies
of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985 ^ Colonel Lamontagne G, CD Archived 12 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine., accessed June 2013. ^ Isby and Kamps, 1984, p.111, 162 ^ In 1986, the 109th Infantry Division was restructured into the 109th Brigade de Zone. In 1992, as part of the " Armée 2000 " plan, the brigade became the 109th brigade régionale de défense (109th Regional Defence Brigade). ^ French Army
Terre magazine, 1998, see III Corps (France) article for reference. ^ Jane's Defence Weekly
Jane's Defence Weekly
31 July 1996 and 13 March 1996, International Defence Review July 1998 ^ Willsher, Kim (9 August 2017). "French police search home of man suspected of driving into soldiers". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 August 2017.  ^ "Suspect in hit-and-run on French soldiers unknown to spy agencies: source". Business Insider. Reuters. 10 August 2017.  ^ Patel-Carstairs, Sunita (9 August 2017). "Man held after terror attack on French soldiers". Sky News. Retrieved 9 August 2017.  ^ "Version du décret avant abrogation" (in French). Legifrance.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2013-01-25.  ^ CDEF(R), no. R3222-3 Code de la défense, art. R.3222-3 ^ Charles R. Shrader, The First Helicopter War: Logistics and Mobility in Algeria, 1954–1962, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999, 28–31. ^ Isby and Kamps, Armies
of NATO's Central Front, 131–133. ^ Code de la défense - Article R1211-4 legifrance.gouv.fr ^ Chiffres clés de la Défense - 2016 Retrieved 2017-03-06. ^ Galliac, Paul. L' Armee Francaise. p. 44. ISBN 978-2-35250-195-4.  ^ Galliac, Paul. L' Armee Francaise. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-2-35250-195-4. 

Further reading[edit]

Anthony Clayton, 'France, Soldiers, and Africa', Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988 J A C Lewis, 'Going Pro: Special
Report French Army,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 19 June 2002, 54–59 Rupert Pengelley, 'French Army
transforms to meet challenges of multirole future,' Jane's International Defence Review, June 2006, 44–53 Vernet, Jacques. Le réarmement et la réorganisation de l'Armée de terre française, 1943–1946. Service historique de l'armée de terre, 1980.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to French Army.

(in French) Official website French Military Reform: Lessons for America's Army?, George A. Bloch (includes explanations of the structure of command) The French Army: Royal, Revolutionary and Imperial

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Vehicles of the French Army

Armoured cavalry

ERC 90 Sagaie EBRC Jaguar AMX-30 AMX 10 RC AMX Leclerc AMX-10P AuF1 VAB VBL VBCI VBMR Griffon

Artillery, transport and combat engineering


French Army
Light Aviation

Alouette III Gazelle Puma Super Puma Tiger Fennec Cougar NH90

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Current French infantry weapons and cartridges


PAMAS MAC Mle 1950


Assault rifles

SIG SG 550
(and variants) HK 416

Sniper rifle


Anti-materiel rifle

PGM Hécate II


Benelli M4

Submachine guns

MP5 P90

Machine guns

M2HB AA52 Minimi

Grenade launchers

M203 LGI Mle F1


LGI Mle F1 LLR 81mm MO-120-RT-61






12-gauge 5.7×28mm 9×19mm NATO 5.56×45mm NATO 7.62×51mm NATO 12.7×99mm NATO

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Divisions of the French Army


1st 3rd

Cold War
Cold War
period (incomplete)


8th 15th 27th Alpine 109th 152nd


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

Light Armored

6th 9th 12th 14th


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


Division Daguet

Second World War (list)



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


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


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


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


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


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


Besse March Chastanet March Poisot March Regard March Senselme March


1st Polish 2nd Polish

Vichy France


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


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

Free France/ Army
of Liberation


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


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


Constantine March Algerian March Oran March Southeast Algerian Front

First World War (list)


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


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


Moroccan 2nd Colonial 3rd Colonial 10th Colonial 11th Colonial 15th Colonial 16th Colonial 17th Colonial

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Land Forces

Land forces

Albanian Land Force Albanian Military Police

Belgian Land Component Belgian Medical Component

Bulgarian Land Forces Canadian Army Croatian Army

Czech Land Forces Czech Castle Guard

Royal Danish Army Danish Army
Home Guard

Estonian Land Forces Estonian Defence League

French Army French National Gendarmerie French National Guard

German Army German Joint Support Service German Joint Medical Service

Hellenic Army Hungarian Ground Forces Iceland
Crisis Response Unit

Italian Army Italian Carabinieri

Latvian Land Forces Latvian National Guard

Lithuanian Land Force Lithuanian Special
Operations Force

Army Montenegrin Ground Army

Royal Netherlands
Army Royal Netherlands

Norwegian Army Norwegian Home Guard

Polish Land Forces Polish Special
Forces Polish Territorial Defence Force

Portuguese Army Romanian Land Forces Ground Forces of the Slovak Republic Slovenian Ground Force

Spanish Army Spanish Royal Guard Common Corps of the Spanish Armed Forces Military Emergencies Unit

Turkish Land Forces Turkish Gendarmerie General Command

British Army United States
United States

Maritime land forces

Military Police Company of the Bulgarian Naval Forces Command Croatian Naval Security Company Estonian Naval Base Defense Company French Fusiliers Marins German Naval Force Protection Battalion Italian Navy San Marco Marine Brigade Netherlands
Marine Corps Portuguese Marine Corps Romanian Naval Forces 307th Marine Battalion Spanish Navy Marines Turkish Naval Amphibious Marine Brigade British Royal Marines United States
United States
Marine Corps

Air force land forces

Belgian Air Component Force Protection Squadron Military Police Company of the Bulgarian Air Forces Command Czech Air Force
Czech Air Force
Security Squadrons Estonian Air Force
Estonian Air Force
Base Defense Operations Center French Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air German Air Force Regiment Latvian Air Force Security Platoon Lituanian Air Force Air Defence Battalion Montenegrin Air Force
Montenegrin Air Force
Air Base Security Platoon Royal Norwegian Air Force Base Defense Squadron Portuguese Polícia Aérea British Royal Air Force Regiment United States
United States
Air Force Security Forces

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(land forces) in Europe

Sovereign states

European Union

Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Republic of Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom


Albania Andorra Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina Georgia Iceland Kazakhstan Liechtenstein Republic of Macedonia Moldova Monaco Montenegro Norway Russia San Marino Serbia Switzerland Turkey Ukraine

States with limited recognition

Abkhazia Kosovo Nagorno-Karabakh Northern Cyprus South Ossetia Transnistria

Authority control