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LES FRANCAIS LIBRES

A BIR HAKEIM

(janvier-juin 1942)

1ere Division Legere Française Libre

1st Free French Brigade Group

 

Organisation (voir note 1 ci-dessous):

General Koenig

13e Demi Brigade de Legion Etrangere (13e DBLE) : Lt-Colonel Amilakvari

2e Bataillon de Legion etrangere(2e BLE)

3e Bataillon de Legion etrangere (3e BLE)

2e Brigade Coloniale : Colonel de Roux

Bataillon de Marche n°2 (BM 2)

Bataillon du Pacifique n°1 (BP1)

Et :

Le Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine (le BIM)(voir note 2 ci-dessous)

Moyens divisionnaires :

Compagnie du Quartier general

Compagnie antichar

22e compagnie Nord Africaine (22e CNA)

Compagnie du genie

1er regiment d'artillerie coloniale avec 4 batteries de 6 canons de 75

1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins (DCA) (12 Bofors et 2 mitrailleuses quadruples de 13,2 mm / 2 Quad. 13,2mm A/A HMG)

Sans oublier :

a) Les officiers et soldats britanniques :
-de la 20e Mission Militaire
-Deux sections de DCA de la 43e Batterie legere Britannique (6 Bofors)

b)les services de la Brigade et ceux de la 7e Division Blindee et du XXXe Corps britanniques : compagnie auto, compagnie de transmissions, Groupe sanitaire Divisionnaire et ambulances legeres, RASC units (7th Armoured Division, 30th Corps)

Notes :

1) l'organisation de la Brigade/Division legere ne correspond pas completement a l'organigramme des brigades britanniques equivalentes ("Brigade Groups") qui ont 3 bataillons d'infanterie et beaucoup moins d'armes antichars. / The organization of the Free French Brigade follows more or less the organization of British Brigades which had 3 infantry Battalions and less anti-tanks guns than the French Brigade.

2)pour des raisons d'organisation les compagnies du BIM avaient ete reparties dans les autres unites(une compagnie dans le 3e BLE, , la seconde dans le BP1), la troisieme devient compagnie antichar de la division. Mais la structure de bataillon ( 3 compagnies) etait conservee.
Rappel : le BIM est la seule unité ayant eu deux drapeaux nationaux dans l'armee française : le drapeau francais et l'Union Jack. Ceci est sans doute vrai pour l'histoire britannique aussi...

/Because the BIM was an elite unit which fought along with British troops very early ( September 1940), the battalion still retained its command structure, but 2 companies were integrated in other units(one in the 3e BLE, another in the BP1), and the 3rd company became the Anti-Tank company of the Brigade.
Note that in French History (and British History), the BIM is the only unit carrying these two National Flags : the Union Jack and the French tricolour.

Organisation et equipement de la Division Legere Française Libre / pour Spearhead

Table of organization and equipment of the First Free French Brigade Group for Spearhead

The units of the Brigade were motorized infantry (on trucks and 63 Bren Carriers).
For reconnaissance , "Jock columns", offensive operations and counter attacks, the Free French used their 75mm ATG's as portee guns,( and Bren Carriers). For this purpose , the 75mm ATG's may be used on trucks or desembarked. Also, a part of the 25mm ATG's equipped some Morris trucks and Bren Carriers. See conversions on the other pages.

NOTES :

a) Before 25th May 1942 only 6 Bofors and 12 25mm A/A guns, after this date , 18 Bofors (see the relevant note)
b)in defensive role use all the weapons listed for the Brigade
c) in offensive , 1 stand of 47mm guns should be removed, but the Tanakes (see below)could be used
d) in offensive role 3 75mm A/T should be "portee" guns (other 75mm A/T being towed)

2e BLE

Battalion Headquarters
-HQ : 1 HQ Stand
-1 infantry Stand

3 infantry companies each with
-3 Rifle platoons/stands (Note : 2 platoons of 9 are in Bren Carriers)
-1 HMG stand

1 "Heavy company" ("Compagnie lourde") :
-1- 81mm mortar Stand
-1-25mm ATG
-1-75mm ATG
-1- Platoon Engineers/Pionniers Stand

3e BLE (Note : all Foreign Legion units except one company of the BIM)

Battalion Headquarters
-HQ : 1 HQ Stand
-1 Reconnaissance Infantry Stand equipped with a Bren Carrier

1 support infantry company ("Compagnie de soutien")
- 4 platoons Stands (2 platoons of 4 are in Bren Carriers)
- 2 HMG Stands

1 Infantry Company of the BIM
-3 Rifle platoons/Stands
-1 HMG Stand
-1 81mm Mortar Stand

1 "Heavy company" ("Compagnie lourde") :
-1- 81mm mortar Stand
-1-25mm ATG
-1-75mm ATG
-1- Platoon Engineers/Pionniers Stand

BM 2

Battalion Headquarters HQ :
-1 HQ Stand
-1 infantry stand in Bren Carrier

3 infantry companies each with
-3 Rifle platoons/Stands
-1 HMG stand

1 "Heavy company" ("Compagnie lourde") :
-1- 81mm mortar Stand
-1-47mm ATG (Italian 47mm guns)
-1-75mm ATG
-1- Platoon Engineers/Pionniers stand

BP1 (Note : all stands are Bataillon du Pacifique units except one company of the BIM)

Battalion Headquarters
-HQ : 1 HQ Stand
-1 Infantry Stand in Bren Carrier
-Optional : 1 Platoon Stand of "Tanakes" (Scratchbuild Armoured cars with 37 mm ATG guns, combined here to allow representation in SH scale))


1 support infantry company ("Compagnie de soutien")
- 4 platoons Stands (2 platoons of 4 are in Bren Carriers)
- 2 HMG Stands

1 Company of the BIM
-3 Rifle platoons/Stands
-1 HMG Stand

1 "Heavy company" ("Compagnie lourde") :
-1- 81mm mortar Stand
-1-25mm ATG
-1-75mm ATG
-1- Platoon Engineers/Pionners stand

Brigade Assets :

- 1 defence company of Division HQ : 1/2 Rifle Stands (optional)

-1 AT Gun company (BIM) with :
- 1 47mm ATG (French 47mm guns)
- 1 or 2 75 mm ATG Stands (preferably 2 75mm Stands as this will match the exact number of 75 mm used by the Brigade)

-1 Artillery Regiment
-Regimental HQ
-3 Batteries each with 2 75mm French guns (this follows the SH organization, but the regiment had 4 batteries)

-1 Anti Aircraft Battalion (1er BFM /Fusiliers marins)
-Battalion HQ
- 2 or 3 Stands of 40mm Bofors (Fusiliers Marins)
-1 stand of 40 mm Bofors (43e COLYRAA battery)

Note that during the battle in Bir Hakeim, damaged Bofors were replaced by former guns used by the fusiliers marins: French 25mm A/A guns

-1 Engineers company :
-3 Rifle Stands

-1 Infantry Company (22e CNA) :
- 4 Rifle Stands
- 1 81mm mortar Stand
- 1 HMG Stand