French Armed Forces

French Armed Forces

Army. – With the law of April 18, 1936, the French military organization, already determined by the law of July 13, 1927, was modified and constituted as follows: 18 territorial military regions in the motherland (already 20; the 10th and 12th suppressed); 1 territorial military region in Algeria; metropolitan troops and mobile troops: 20 metropolitan infantry divisions (of which 7 motorized and 3 alpine), 1 colonial division, 2 Senegalese colonial divisions, 2 North African divisions and 1 metropolitan infantry group, 1 mixed colonial group, 3 tank brigades armed, 5 cavalry divisions, 4 artillery brigades, 2 engineering brigades; troops deployed in overseas territories: 13 infantry brigades, 4 cavalry brigades.

Overall, the infantry includes: 91 regiments and 28 battalions in the motherland; 51 regiments and 15 battalions in overseas territories.

Tanks: 11 regiments and 1 battalion in the motherland; 4 battalions, 4 companies and 1 section in overseas territories.

Cavalry: 32 regiments, 5 groups, 3 battalions and 2 companies in the motherland; 14 regiments, 3 groups and 7 companies in overseas territories.

Artillery: 72 regiments, 2 groups, 10 battalions and 2 companies in the motherland; 9 regiments, 3 groups and 7 batteries in the overseas territories.

Engineers: 12 regiments in the motherland, 1 regiment and 4 battalions in the overseas territories.

Navy. – New units: battleships: 4, of which 2 (Jean BartRichelieu) of 35,000 tons, under construction; they must have 33 knots of speed (160,000 cav.) and be armed with 8/381, 16/130 anti-aircraft and 2 catapults for 4 aircraft; the other 2 (DunkerqueStrasbourg) have the following characteristics: 26,500 tons, speed 30 knots (125,000 cav.), armament 8/330 (in two quadruple bow towers), 16/130 anti-aircraft, 8/37, 32 machine gunners, 2 catapults, 4 planes; weight of the armor about 10,000 tons; maximum thickness 225 mm. to the belt. Autonomy: 7500 miles at 15 knots.

2nd class light cruisers: 1, De Grasse, under construction, of 8000 tons. and 34 knots; 6 (The GalissonnièreJean de VienneMontcalmGloireMarseillaiseGLeygues), launched in 1933-36, from 7600 tons. and 32/36 knots, armed with 9/155, 8/90 anti-aircraft, 2 launch tubes of 550, 4 aircraft, range 6000 miles at 13 knots, good protection. 1, Émile Bertin, launched in 1933, from 5900 tons. and 34/39 knots, armed with 9/155, 4/90 anti-aircraft, 2 triple 550 tubes, 2 aircraft, 6000 miles range at 13 knots, less protected than the previous ones and equipped as minelayers (200 weapons).

Flotilla conductors: the 6 Cassards of 1933 were followed by 6 Indomptable (L’IndomptableLe FantasqueL’AudacieuxLe MalinLe TerribleLe Triomphant), built in 1933-34, of 2569 tons. and 37/45 knots, armed with 5/138, 4/37 antiaircraft, 3 triple tubes of 550, 4 bomb launchers; and the 2 new experimental types Volta and Mogador, of 2884 tons. and 38 knots, armed with 8/138, 4/37, 3 triple 550 tubes, bomb launchers.

Torpedo boats: in 1936 the construction of the so-called torpedo boats was resumed, setting up 8 units (Le HardiFleuretÉpéeMamelukCasqueLansquenetLe CorsaireLe Filibustier) of 1772 tons. and 37 knots, armed with 4/138 and having an autonomy of 6000 knots, followed in the 1937 program by the 4 Agile type units (Le FierL’AgileLe FaroucheL’ Entreprenant) of 1000 tons.

Escort warnings: from 1932 onwards the construction of this important type of vessel began, with 12 La Flore type notices, of 610 tons, 34 knots, 2/100, 4 tubes of 40, autonomy 1800 miles at 18 knots.

Minesweepers: 18 type ÉlanCommandant DubocAnnamite, under construction, of 630 tons. and 20 knots, armed with 2/100.

Large cruising submarines: 2, Roland Morillot and La Praia, under construction, of 1600 tons; 12 type Le Conquérant and Sfax, built between 1931 and 1935, from 1379-2000 tons. and 20/10 knots, armed with 9 hoses of 550, 2 hoses of 400, 1/100, autonomy 8000 miles at 10 knots.

Medium cruising submarines: 4 La Créole type, under construction, of 805 tons; 2 Cérès type, under construction, of 597/790 tons, 14/9 knots and 7 launch tubes; 1 Aurore, under construction of 805 tons; 4 type Vénus, built in 1934-35, from 597/790 tons. and 14/9 knots, armed with 7 hoses of 550, 2 hoses of 40, 1/75, autonomy of 3000 miles.

Minelayer submarines: 1, Èmeraude, under construction. A number of colonial notices, speedboats, subsidiary ships, etc. have also been built or are under construction.

Balanced force: 73,000 men.

Air Force. – The air forces of military aviation are divided into: metropolitan autonomous aviation; military cooperation and training aviation; overseas aviation; colonial aviation; naval cooperation aviation.

The metropolitan autonomous aviation comprises 2 corps: a) heavy aviation corps on three divisions, each division on two or three brigades, the brigades on two or three teams (about 600 aircraft over the reserve); b) light aviation corps, consisting of a division on three brigades, each brigade on two or three teams (about 500 aircraft over the reserves). The first includes all the bombing, reconnaissance and combat departments; the second all hunting departments. Both report to the Air Ministry, through the General Staff.

According to Zipcodesexplorer, the Army Cooperation and Training Aviation includes all observation departments, divided into regional groups (one regional group for each army corps); it depends on the Ministry of Air, on the technical side, and for use by the army.

Overseas aviation (about 270 aircraft over reserves). includes the air forces of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Syria. It is made up of three brigades, each on one or two teams, and a Levant Air Force command (one team on 3 groups).

The colonial aviation is made up of land observation squadrons, and some maritime reconnaissance (seaplanes): about 200 aircraft.

Naval Cooperation Aviation consists of bombardment, exploration, torpedo, cruise, and includes embarked and unbound aviation. The first has the aircraft carrier Béarn (40 aircraft), and the aircraft carrier Commandant Teste (approximately 20 aircraft); the second is divided into 4 maritime regions: Cherbourg, Brest, Berre and Biserta. It directly depends on the Ministry of the Navy.

The total strength of the French Air Force is about 40,000 men, of which 5,500 are pilots and 6,000 are specialized, and 2350 airliners.

French Armed Forces