10th Parachute Division (France)

The 10th Parachute Division (French: 10e Division Parachutiste, 10e D.P) was a formation of the French Army, part of the French Airborne Units. It consisted predominantly of infantry troops, and specialized in airborne combat and air assault. Established in 1956, it fought primarily in the Suez Crisis and the Algerian War. It was dissolved immediately after the Algiers putsch of 1961.

10th Parachute Division
10e Division Parachutiste
Insigne de la 10e division parachutiste.jpg
10e DP Shoulder Arm Insignia
Country France
BranchFrench army
TypeFrench Parachute Division
AnniversariesSaint Michael, September 29
EngagementsSuez Crisis
Algerian War
Jacques Massu (1956–1959)
Jean Gracieux (1959–1960)
Bernard Saint-Hillier (1960–1961)
Identification symbolParachutiste métropolitain légion-béret.jpg Parachutistes coloniaux-béret.jpg
Abbreviation10e D.P


Organizational chart of the 10e D.P.

On July 1, 1956, the 10e D.P. is created with the following units:

Note: On the 1 December 1958, the "Colonial infantry" was renamed "Marine infantry".


Operation MusketeerEdit

Barely created, the 10e D.P. took part in the Suez Crisis in Egypt, in an operation named "Operation Musketeer". The 10e D.P was reinforced for this purpose with:

On 5 November 1956, elements of the 10e D.P. were dropped on Port Fuad and Port Said, completed the next morning by amphibious assaults on both towns. Although the battle was a military success, allied troops had to withdraw due to pressure from the United States.

Battle of AlgiersEdit

In Algiers, the National Liberation Front (FLN) was carrying out a wave of terrorist attacks an urban guerilla which made many casualties, mostly Muslim civilians.[1] In January 1957, Robert Lacoste, Minister Resident in Algeria, reacted by giving full powers to General Massu over the Algiers area. Massu sent the 10e D.P. to search out, arrest and question FLN members. The battle of Algiers proved to be a clear success for the French military, with most prominent FLN leaders killed or arrested and terrorist attacks effectively stopped.[2] However, the use of torture against some FLN members led to an increasing opposition to war in France and internationally.

Battle of the FrontiersEdit

In 1956, the newly independent Republic of Tunisia was helping the FLN by smuggling weapons and men through its territory. The electrified fence known as the Morice Line was built up to prevent Algerian FLN guerrillas from entering the French colony of Algeria from Tunisia. The 10e D.P. was assigned to the surveillance of a portion of the electrified border, in order to intercept rebel bands that have managed to cross it. The Morice Line had a significant impact of the reduction of guerrillas activities by forces that originated from Tunisia. However, general Massu, the commanding officer of the 10e D.P. was relieved of his command as he criticized president Charles de Gaulle's actions.

Algiers PutschEdit

Despite the military successes, French Prime Minister Michel Debré's government started secret negotiations with the anti-colonialist FLN in order to grant independence to Algeria. French settlers and soldiers were stunned by this decision and a putsch was organized in Algiers. With the exception of the 3e RPIMa, the rest of the 10e D.P. supported the coup. When the putsch failed the 25e D.P. along with the 10e D.P. were dissolved and the 1er R.E.P was the only regiment disbanded.


The Archangel Michael featured in Mont Saint-Michel and the Insignia of the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment.

Except for the Legionnaires of the 1e REP that conserve the Green Beret; the remainder of the French army metropolitan and marine paratroopers forming the 11th Parachute Brigade wear the Red Beret.

The Archangel Saint Michael, patron of the French paratroopers is celebrated on September 29.

The prière du Para (Prayer of the Paratrooper) was written by André Zirnheld in 1938.


Just like the paratrooper Brevet of the French Army; the Insignia of French Paratroopers was created in 1946. The French Army Insignia of metropolitan Paratroopers represents a closed "winged armed dextrochere", meaning a "right winged arm" armed with a sword pointing upwards. The Insignia makes reference to the Patron of Paratroopers. In fact, the Insignia represents "the right Arm of Saint Michael", the Archangel which according to Liturgy[dubious ] is the "Armed Arm of God". This Insignia is the symbol of righteous combat and fidelity to superior missions. The French Army Insignia of Marine Infantry Paratroopers is backgrounded by a Marine Anchor.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ In Le livre blanc de l'armée française en Algérie, p.37, between November 1954 et May 1957, 16,932 attacks were perpetrated against civilians and 9,134 against police and military forces, it resulted in the death of 6,325 Muslims and 1,035 Europeans.
  2. ^ Bernard Droz, Evelyne Lever, Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie, Points Histoire, éd.du Seuil, 1982 p. 129-130

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