Free French Army
The armed forces rejoined with the free France were called free French Forces (FFL) .
HistoryTheir emblem was the Cross of Lorraine. One distinguishes inside the FFL, the free French Air forces (FAFL) and the free French Naval forces (FNFL), the terrestrial Forces of Free France not having other name only FFL. The badge of these terrestrial forces is a red Glaive between two blue wings and a crown of Laurier S with in top the Free France inscription. Even after war, the Général de Gaulle always carried this badge when it was in uniform.
One their principal military successes was the Bataille of Bir Hakeim, the May 26th until the June 11th 1942, in Libya, where the 1st free French Brigade, under the command of the general Kœnig, stopped during 14 days the rush of the Afrika Korps towards Suez, thus giving time to the 8th British army in rout to gather on the strengthened line of El Alamein, and definitively to stop there the advance of Rommel towards the channel. This victory showed with the Alliés that the French Army had just reappeared. Indeed during these 14 days, they are 3700 soldiers who will resist to the 40.000 men of Rommel. Same with their tanks, their planes and a numerical superiority, they did not succeed in passing. On these 3.700, there were 800 died.
These forces consisted of volunteers coming from all horizons and refusing the Armistice signed by the Vichy government. The following anecdote, told by Pierre Clostermann (in a life not like the others , ED. Flammarion (2005)) give an idea of the frame of mind of the time; a commander who reproached a comrade of Clostermann for having yellow socks and a yellow sweater under his uniform, the aforementioned comrade answered: My Commander, I am a civilian who voluntarily comes to make the war that the soldiers do not want to make!
The FFL ceased existing the 1943 following their fusion with the Army of Africa ordered by Henri Giraud.
Generals of the Free French Army
- Philippe de Hauteclocque says the Leclerc general, promoted on a purely posthumous basis Marshal of France
- Edgard de Larminat
- Georges Catroux
- Paul Legentilhomme
- Marie Pierre Koenig, promoted on a purely posthumous basis Marshal of France
- Raoul Magrin-Vernerey known as Ralph Monclar
- Diego Brosset
- Pierre Garbay
- Alfred Cazaud
- Philibert Collet
- Pierre Lelong
- Pierre Billotte
- Ernest Petit
- Joseph Magnan
- Commercial Pierre
- George Chadebec of Lavalade
- Paul Beynet
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