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Friday, 29 March 2013

Zouaves et Turcos

Three more photos found on t'internet.

The zouaves in these photos look remarkably clean and relaxed, suggesting posed pictures rather than action. Perhaps they are from annual manoeuvres. No dates available.

This photo of Tirailleurs Marocains was taken in Paris in August 1914.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Marechal Ferdinand Foch

Ninety five years ago, during the period of late March and early May 1918, General Foch was made Supreme Allied Commander, to coordinate the different national armies on the Western Front and to present an all-encompassing strategy for victory. He was made Marechal de France in August 1918.

Next month, at the York Branch of The Western Front Association, Professor John Derry is to present a talk entitled "Foch : architect of Victory?". As a student of French military history, I am quite excited about this. This is the first talk on the French army that I have attended at WFA. In preparation I have read this rather slender but very informative book.

I have also tried Liddell Hart's biography "Foch the Man of Orleans". I read the first fifty pages but I find the style difficult. I know it is a biography that is held in some esteem, so I will try it again.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Favourite WWII Soft Skin Vehicle - Laffly V15

Recently I saw a thread on TMP asking for favourite soft skin vehicle from WWII. There were lots of Jeeps and Kubelwagens, M3 and 251 halftracks, DUKWs......

This is my favourite, the French Army Laffly V15.

A 4/5 seater, 4 X 4 wheel drive, to carry 250 kg, top speed 80kph. 5000 were ordered form Laffly and from Licorne, but only around 250 were made before the Armistice.

Two variants were made. V15R for the infantry a general purpose all terrain vehicle, and V15T, a light tractor for the cavalry's anti-tank guns.

This picture is of two V15Ts of the Vichy cavalry, being used by mortar units.

All captured examples were pressed into Wehrmacht service. This V15T was captured and used by the Germans and has been liberated and pressed into Allied service by US troops.

From what I can read, the V15 was a very good GP vehicle, in technical terms ahead of anything the UK or USA armies had. There are a few examples around, I must find one to look at.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Siege of Besancon, April 1814

 I found this painting on the internet. I regret I cannot identify the artist.

The painting shows the end of the siege of Besancon in 1814. French Army General Jacob Francois Marulaz is surrendering control of the fortress to Austrian General Prince Aloys Lichtenstein following the abdication of Napoleon on 11th April 1814. The date of the surrender is difficult to find, with different sources putting forward either 16th or 20th April.
Portrait of General Marulaz

Marulaz was given command of 6th Military Division in December 1813. The siege began on 8th January. He commended a very mixed bag of infantry, cavalry and other troops.

A very good IT image of Besancon citadel. The glacis now has much tree cover.

My photo of the same spot as shown in the painting.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Fort Liouville turret

I found this photo on a Facebook page. It shows the twin 75mm turret at Fort Liouville and an impact from a German shell. The Fort took some very heavy artillery bombardments during 1914 but did not fall, it remained in French hands throughout the Great War. I believe the turret was damaged but not put out of action.