9th Colonial Infantry Division - 9e division d’infanterie coloniale

9 e colonial infantry division


Badge of the 9th DIC with the anchor as a symbol of the overseas troops and the Lorraine Cross of Free France
active July 1943 to December 1947
State France
( CFLN , GPRF , Fourth Republic )
Armed forces French Liberation Army ,
French Armed Forces
Armed forces Land Force
Branch of service Kolonial - Infantry
( Marine Troop )
Type Division
Strength 19.300 Mann (1945)
Origin of the soldiers West Africa , Morocco , France
Wars Second World War ,
Indochina War

The 9 e division d'infantry coloniale (short 9 e DIC , on German 9th Colonial - Infantry - Division ) was a major unit of the Free French Forces in World War II , mainly soldiers from the Colony West Africa and the Protectorate of Morocco included.

Second World War

The division was originally supposed to be created in 1939/40 as part of the French mobilization , but the planned formation under General Pellet did not materialize. [1] On July 15, 1943, after the Allied invasion of North Africa , the large association was created there as part of the Free French forces . At that time it comprised the 4th, 6th and 13th regiments of the Tirailleurs sénégalais (Senegalese rifle infantry) as well as the Colonial Infantry Regiment (RICM) and Colonial Artillery Regiment (RACM) of Morocco. [2]

Even before the division was founded, the regiments had suffered heavy losses: the 4th Senegalese Rifle Regiment had lost over 600 men on April 20, 1943 when the troop transport ship Sidi Bel Abbès was sunk by U 565 off Oran . At the beginning of June the 13th regiment had lost 35 soldiers in a German air raid on Algiers . [3]

The first in command was General Blaizot [4] , who soon handed over command to General Magnan . [5] On the assumption was the Division Army B (later renamed the 1st Army under Lattre de Tassigny ).

In October 1943 the division gathered in Mostaganem near Oran and from there crossed over to Corsica in April / May 1944 . In June, the division carried the brunt of the Brassard operation , the conquest of Elba from Corsica . The following August, the division was part of Operation Dragoon , the Allied landing on the Côte d'Azur . The regiments of the division were responsible, among other things, for the conquest of Fort d'Artigues in Toulon . Although the soldiers had won in battle, it came soon after the successful completion of the operation to Blanchiment("Whitening") the army; that is, the majority of the division's African soldiers (around 9200 men [6] ) were replaced by voluntary resistance fighters from the Forces françaises de l'intérieur . Officially, this was justified with the necessary consolidation of internal and external troops and the impending winter war, for which the Africans were not prepared; in addition, imperialist-racist motives presumably played a role (the French leadership did not want the motherland to be liberated by black colonial soldiers). Three “white” colonial regiments ( 6th , 21st and 23rd RIC) replaced the Senegalese, who were repatriated to their homeland under adverse circumstances. [7]

With the 1st Army , the division, now commanded by Generals Morlière and Salan , advanced through Belfort ( Burgundian Gate ) into Alsace by the end of January , where it was involved in the liberation of Mulhouse and the conquest of Colmar . At the beginning of April, troops of the division, now under General Valluy , [8] crossed the Rhine and took Karlsruhe , Rastatt and Baden-Baden .


By the beginning of December 1945, the division was relocated to Indochina and incorporated into the local expeditionary force (CEFEO) . In Indochina, Ho Chi Minh , leader of the Việt Minh , had used the power vacuum created by the collapse of Japan three months earlier and proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam after the August Revolution . Soon afterwards there had been heavy fighting with incoming British-Indian occupation troops and smaller French units. The 9th DIC, when it reached Indochina, had 19,300 men [9]the first numerically strong French association on site. Together with the 3rd DIC under General Nyo , which arrived in February 1946 , it formed the backbone of the occupation forces and enabled the withdrawal of the 20th British-Indian Infantry Division under General Gracey . In March, they provided a larger part of the soldiers for the French landing operation in North Vietnam ( Opération Bentré ). [10]

After the March 6th agreement , the situation eased, but triggered by the bombing of Haiphong (which was ordered by General Valluy, meanwhile Indochina commander in chief), the Indochina war broke out at the end of the year . Since the military organizational structure turned out to be inefficient in the first year of the war, the 9th DIC virtually ceased to exist at the end of 1947 as a result of restructuring (but without being officially dissolved).

In 1963, a successor unit was created under the name 9e brigade d'infanterie de marine , which still exists today as part of the Troupe de marine as a light amphibious tank unit and has also taken over the tradition of the bleue division . [11]

Individual evidence

  1. atf40.fr: Armée de Terre Française 1940 - Division D'infanterie Coloniale (abgerufen im Januar 2015).
  2. De L'AOF Aux Bords du Rhin. 9th Colonial Infantry Division - Memorial to the Glory of the 9th DIC (Copy of the Division-Erinnerungsbuchs) , S. 7 ff. ( Logbook of the 9th DIC in operations )
  3. stonebooks.com: Free French Divisions (accessed January 2015)
  4. generals.dk : Blaizot, Roger-Charles-André-Henri (accessed January 2015)
  5. General Magnan, commander of the 9th DIC and first military governor of Toulon released. In: AOB 341. Juli / August 2004 ( troupesdemarine.org PDF).
  6. Gilles Aubagnac: The withdrawal of the black troops of the 1st army. in: Historical Review of the Armies. Nr. 2, 1993, S. 34–46.
  7. The Bleaching of the 9 ° DIC In: Revue des Troupes coloniales. Nr. 281, Oktober 1946 ( troupesdemarine-ancredor.org PDF).
  8. The review of two worlds. Ausgaben 1–3, 1970, S. 350.
  9. Gilbert Bodinier: The Return of France to Indochina: 1945–1946. Army Historical Service, 1987, S. 65.
  10. Axel Rappolt: Leclerc and Indochina: 1945–1947. 2007, S. 150.
  11. www.troupesdemarine.org: 9th Marine Light Armored Brigade.
    www.defense.gouv.fr: 9th Marine Infantry Brigade. (abgerufen im Januar 2015).