19th Army Corps (France)

The 19th Army Corps (19e Corps d'Armée) was a corps of the French army. In December 1870, the Tours delegation created the 19th Army Corps which was formed in Alençon. It was recreated by decree of the JO of August 13, 1874, it brought together the various military units of Algeria. It constituted the nucleus of the Army of Africa.

The corps appears to have been disbanded and superseded by the 10th Military Region by a decree of 18 February 1946.

19th Military RegionEdit

The Army Corps was located in the 19th Military Region of the Metropolitan Army which included the three départements of Algiers, Oran and Constantine, situated in modern day Algeria. The garrisons were principally based in Algiers, Mascara, Tlemcen, and Ain.[1] Elements were also in Tunisia, forming the 'Tunisian occupation division', located mainly in Tunis, Bizerte and Sousse. The other twenty military regions of the Metropolitan army covered mainland France, hence the distinction this was the 'Army of Africa'.[2][3]

Franco-Prussian WarEdit

The Twenty-one army corps were established in December 1870, each with its own military region. The 19th Army Corps was stood down on 13 March 1871.

From 1870 to 1914Edit

The corps' Oran and Algiers divisions fought the -'Aït Khabbash', a fraction of the Aït Ounbgui khams of the Aït Atta confederation in the late 1890s. The conflict ended by the annexation of the Touat-Gourara-Tidikelt complex by France in 1901.[4]

First World WarEdit

The Moroccan Division was one of the most decorated units of the French Army and all its regiments were distinguished by unit citations mentioned in despatches of the armed forces at the end of the conflict.[5] The Moroccan Division was the only division to receive the battle honour of being decorated with the légion d'honneur throughout the course of World War I.[6]

The following troops were detached from the 19th Army Corps to serve in the Corps expéditionnaire d'Orient. Two provisional regiments compromising of a total of five Zouave battalions and one Foreign Legion battalion, saw action in the Gallipoli campaign, and thereafter on the Salonika front, fighting alongside British troops in both theatres of war.

Second World WarEdit

The 85th African Infantry Division (85e DIA) was a Formation-A-Class reserve mountain division mobilized 2 September 1939 in Algiers. The 85th DIA occupied covering positions along the Libyan border until the end of May 1940 and was then shipped to Marseille by 3 June 1940.[7]

On 10 May 1940, the corps comprised the 85e DIA; the 181st African Infantry Division; the 182nd African Infantry Division; the 183rd African Infantry Division; the East Saharan Front of division size; an armoured battalion, an infantry battalion (21e Bataillon d'Infanterie Légère d'Afrique, of the Battalions of Light Infantry of Africa), and a cavalry regiment.[8]

The Oran, Constantine, and Algiers Divisions existed on 8 November 1942 as Operation Torch began; the corps was commanded by Lieutenant General fr:Louis Koeltz[9] while the Algiers Division was under Charles Mast.

The corps joined the Allies in late 1942 when Vichy French forces in north-west Africa went over to the Allies after 'Torch' and Hitler ordered 'Case Anton,' the German and Italian occupation of Vichy France.

The Corps order of battle in 1942 (as far as known) during this time was:

  • Division de marche d'Alger
    • 1er régiment de Tirailleurs algériens (Algerian native infantry regiment)
    • 9e régiment de tirailleurs algériens (Algerian native infantry regiment)
    • 3e régiment de Zouaves (north African European infantry regiment)
    • 2e régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique (north African European cavalry regiment)>
    • 1er régiment de spahis algériens (Algerian native cavalry regiment)
    • 65e régiment d'artillerie d'Afrique (north African artillery regiment)
    • 410e régiment d'artillerie de défense contre aéronef (anti-aircraft artillery regiment)
  • Division de Marche d'Oran
    • 2e régiment de tirailleurs algériens (Algerian native infantry regiment)
    • 6e régiment de tirailleurs algériens (Algerian native infantry regiment)
    • 15e régiment de tirailleurs sénégalais (African native infantry regiment)
    • 1st Foreign Infantry Regiment (French Foreign Legion)
    • 1st et 3rd Batteries, 62e Regiment d'Artillerie Africaine (RAA), 2e 66e RAA, 1er 68e RAA.
    • Batteries A/C 47mm (2 ? 3? Š)
    • 411e régiment d'artillerie de défense contre aéronef (anti-aircraft artillery regiment)
  • Division de Marche du Maroc :

As of 27 December 1942 :

    • 7e régiment de tirailleurs marocains (Moroccan native infantry regiment)
    • 3e régiment de tirailleurs marocains (Moroccan native infantry regiment)
    • 4e régiment de tirailleurs tunisiens (Tunisian native infantry regiment)
    • 3e régiment étranger d'infanterie (foreign legion infantry regiment)
    • 1er Groupe de tabors marocains (Moroccan native infantry regiment)
    • 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1er régiment étranger de cavalerie) (2 escadrons ? 1 groupe ?) (Foreign Legion)
    • 2 groupes de 75
    • 1 battery of 47mm
    • 1 escadron d'automitrailleuses (GB)
    • 1 company of light tanks (US)

NB sont mentionnés : mountain artillery reinforcements (2 ou 3 ou 4 batteries ?)

The 19th Army Corps fought as an Allied formation within the British 1st Army until the surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia.

Postwar changeover to 10th Military RegionEdit

General fr:Henry Martin (général) appears to have been the last commander of the 19th Army Corps (1944–46) and the first commander of the successor 10th Military Region, formed in accordance with the decree of 18 February 1946.

Corps commanders 1920 – 1946Edit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ L'armée Française - 1901, Roger de Beauvoir, éditions Plon-Nourrit, pages 58 à 60.
  2. ^ Chtimiste, Didier (1 August 2007). "Régions militaire en 1914". Chimiste - mon site consacré aux parcours de régiments en 1914-18 (in French). Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  3. ^ "[Map of] Régions militaires et Corps d'Armée le 2 août 1914". Grande Guerre : territoriaux bretons et normands du 87 DIT (in French). 18 October 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  4. ^ Claude Lefébure, Ayt Khebbach, impasse sud-est. L'involution d'une tribu marocaine exclue du Sahara, in: Revue de l'Occident musulman et de la Méditerranée, N°41–42, 1986. Désert et montagne au Maghreb. pp. 136–157: « les Divisions d'Oran et d'Alger du 19e Corps d'armée n'ont pu conquérir le Touat et le Gourara qu'au prix de durs combats menés contre les semi-nomades d'obédience marocaine qui, depuis plus d'un siècle, imposaient leur protection aux oasiens. »
  5. ^ Marc Michel, L'Afrique dans l'engrenage de la Grande Guerre, 1914–1918, Karthala, 2013, p.103
  6. ^ 4e R.T.T; 7e R.T.A; the R.M.L.E; 8e R.Z; Bulletin des lois de la République française, Imprimerie Royale, 1919, pp.2023–2035
  7. ^ Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre. Guerre 1939–1945 Les Grandes Unités Françaises. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1967. Vol. 3, 161-174.
  8. ^ "19 Army Corps, 10 May 1940".
  9. ^ "XIXe Région Militaire, Operation Torch, Campaign for North Africa, 08.11.42".

ReferencesEdit

  • Clayton, Anthony (1988). France, Soldiers, and Africa. Brassey's Defence Publishers.
  • Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre. Guerre 1939–1945 Les Grandes Unités Françaises. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1967. Vol. 3