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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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BWilson

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South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 2/20/2015 5:58:26 AM
 And what of the contributions of these countries to Allied operations? More generally, "Africa at war" is an interesting topic in the context of the Second World War. The Belgian Congo Force Publique also participated in lesser known campaigns. East and West African troops from the British colonies fought in India (and Africa as well ?)

 Seems like there are a lot of less well known stories here.

Photo: Rhodesian troops in Italy.


Photo: Force Publique soldiers


Photo: 11th East African Division troops in Burma.


Photo: South African troops in Abyssinia.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 2/20/2015 8:25:42 AM
The celebration of the D-Day landing and the multiple recollections of the ageing participants in the battles of that war issued in a period of recollection of the horrors of that war and the bravery of the participants; particularly by the survivors. Celebrities from both the Axis and the Allied Powers were there; even the French, Russians and Italians who fought on both sides of the war.

The only ones missing were the valiant African soldiers who fought and died in these same battles, served at the front and perished in the prisoner-of war camps. Their heroism and dedication went unnoticed and unregarded. This is a pity and a great shame for the hosts of these celebrations. It should have been no surprise to the Africans, however, as their treatment after the war was a triumph of racist and discriminatory behaviour towards them by those whose homelands the Africans had fought to save.

These African soldiers were many and ubiquitous. They fought in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Far East, especially Burma, Ceylon, and India. There were over a million African soldiers engaged in this war. For them the war started at its very beginning; not the attack on Poland which triggered the European response in 1939, but even earlier in 1935 when the Italian Fascist troops, backed by African soldiers from Eritrea attacked Ethiopia. African troops were engaged in this war as a result of the colonial occupation of their countries and the compulsion of the colonial powers on the colonies to provide manpower for the war effort. Some were volunteers but most were compelled to become soldiers.

Each colonial power had a different method of conscription but the end result was the same. In his book, ‘Fighting For Britain: African Soldiers in the Second World War’, historian David Killingray says more than half a million African troops served with the British forces between 1939 and 1945 -- 289,530 of them with the King's African Rifles from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi.

He describes it as the largest single movement of African men overseas since the slave trade. Most of the Africans were told that they had no choice. They were told that they must fight and were picked up by Army trucks from their home villages and sent for basic training, often with the complicity of the native chiefs and district supervisors. The Belgians just rounded up whomever they saw and dropped them off at a local army base; usually after some initial brutality.

Regards Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 2/20/2015 11:53:34 AM
 And of those African soldiers, one in particular had a booming voice that carried him to the rank of RSM.

Photo: Idi Amin Dada.



Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 2/20/2015 11:55:30 AM
Jim,

 Another large contingent came from the North African lands -- a huge part of France's rebuilt army during the campaigns in Italy and 1944-45.

 On edit -- and as part of the French Army in 1940 as well (several DINAs -- North African Infantry Divisions). Senegalese soldiers suffered disproportionately in German captivity; many were murdered; IIRC, the SS had a leading role in these outrages.

Photo: French colonial troops as POWs, 1940.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Posts: 2957

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 2/24/2015 10:33:19 AM
Fascinating topic with great pics,
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/28/2015 4:57:25 PM
The Africans -- South African formations

1 Division. Infantry division, fought in the East Africa Campaign and North Africa.

2 Division. Infantry division, fought in North Africa and forced to surrender at Tobruk in 1942.

3 Division. Recruitment and training formation in South Africa. Provided a brigade to garrison Madagascar in the latter half of 1942.

6 Armoured Division. Formed from personnel including those of 1 Division. Fought in the Italian Campaign. Most service in Italy was under the command of the Fifth U.S. Army. Division ended the war northeast of Milano.

The South African Air Force took part in actions against U-boats, and supported the East African, North African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns, as well as the invasion of southern France.


Quote:
South Africa made a significant contribution to the British Commonwealth war effort, especially in the early years as the British struggled to mobilise. As for the Army, of the 132,194 men who volunteered for full time service by the war’s end, nearly 3400 were killed, 7,236 wounded and 12,271 missing and POW.



Quote:
(6 South African Armoured Division) was a battle-wise outfit, bold and aggressive against the enemy, and willing to do whatever job was necessary. In fact, after a period of severe day and night fighting, the 6th had in an emergency gone into the line as infantrymen. When the snow stalled their armour they dug in their tanks and used them as artillery to make up for our shortage in heavy guns. Whenever I saw them, I was impressed by the large number of decorations and honours they had earned the hard way. Their attacks against strongly organised German positions were made with great élan and without regard for casualties. Despite their comparatively small numbers, they never complained about losses. Neither did Smuts, who made it clear that the Union of South Africa intended to do its part in the War – and it most certainly did. -- General Mark C. Clark



Quote:
By the end of World War II in August 1945, SAAF aircraft (in conjunction with British and Dutch aircraft stationed in South Africa) had intercepted 17 enemy ships, assisted in the rescue of 437 survivors of sunken ships, attacked 26 of the 36 enemy submarines that operated around the South African coast, and flown 15,000 coastal patrol sorties.


[Read More]
[Read More]
[Read More]

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/28/2015 5:23:56 PM
The Rhodesian Air Training Group made an important contribution to the training of air crew for the war effort. The scheme was actually off the ground before that much larger BCATP in Canada.

British, Australian, South African and Rhodesians trained there.



Quote:


The final financial responsibility accepted by Southern Rhodesia Government was for:

1. The capital expenditure on land and buildings and ancilliary works for the whole of the Air Training Scheme including quarters and housing.
2. The cost of all barrack equipment at Air Stations.
3. The cost of R.A.T.G. Headquarters.
4. All pay and allowances for Rhodesian personnel serving in Rhodesia.
5. Make up pay and family allowances for Rhodesians serving abroad. That is the difference between R.A.F. and Rhodesian rates.
6. A cash contribution of £800 000 p.a. towards the operating costs of the Air Training Scheme.



I don't know how well integrated the programme was though.


Squadron 44 RAF was named the Rhodesian squadron in Bomber Command. About 25% of the air and ground crew were Rhodesians.

[Read More]


George

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/28/2015 5:27:49 PM
 Thank you for that information, George. We rarely acknowledge the African contribution to the Second World War here, so I thought I would put up some information regarding the various countries. I want to put up some information on the Rhodesian forces as well although their land forces were apparently not larger than regiments and were therefore subordinated to various non-Rhodesian divisions.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/29/2015 6:42:59 AM
After El Alamein, the South Africans, and I thought that they were infantry, returned home.

The managed to form an armoured division in 1943.

For a time it was attached to the New Zealanders but also to the Canadian Corps just after Monte Cassino and the charge up the Liri valley.

Beyond that, I know little about them and especially whether this was a racially integrated division.

George

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/29/2015 9:05:54 AM
The Africans -- Rhodesian units

Northern Rhodesia (today known as Zambia). Formed eight battalions of the Northern Rhodesia Regiment. Most of these battalions performed garrison and occupation duties.

1st Battalion fought in British Somaliland and Abyssinia during 1940-41. Subsequently saw combat in Burma in 1944 with 21st East African Brigade.

3rd Battalion fought with 22nd East African Brigade and 7th Indian Division in Burma 1944-45.

------

Southern Rhodesia (today known as Zimbabwe). Formed the Rhodesian African Rifles. Apart from the RAR, Rhodesian troops served in a variety of units in the campaigns in East Africa, North Africa, and Italy. 1 RAR served in Burma with 22nd East African Brigade during 1944-45.

Three air squadrons were designated as "(Rhodesian)". Squadrons 44 and 266 operated from Great Britain. Squadron 237 fought over East Africa, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.


Quote:
My bloody Rhodesians were often scruffy — but clean — and they were sometimes late for briefings, but they were always swift into action and their gunnery was without equal. -- Brigadier C. E. Lucas-Phillips



Quote:
According to figures compiled by (J F) MacDonald for his War History of Southern Rhodesia, 26,121 Southern Rhodesians served in the armed forces during the conflict, of whom 2,758 were commissioned officers. Broken down by race and gender, there were 15,153 black men, 9,187 white men, 1,510 white women and 271 coloured and Indian men. Of the 8,390 who served outside the territory, 1,505 were black men, 6,520 were white men, 137 were white women and 228 were coloured or Indian men. . . . MacDonald records 916 Southern Rhodesian fatalities from enemy action during World War II—498 airmen, 407 ground troops, eight seamen and three female personnel—and 483 wounded, of whom 434 were soldiers, 47 were airmen and two were sailors. (Source: Wikipedia)


And, sadly --


Quote:
Since the country's reconstitution and recognised independence as Zimbabwe in 1980, Robert Mugabe's administration has pulled down many monuments and plaques making reference to the dead of the First and Second World Wars, perceiving them as reminders of white minority rule and colonialism that go against what the modern state stands for. This view is partly rooted in the association of these memorials with those commemorating the British South Africa Company's dead of the Matabele Wars, as well as those memorialising Rhodesian servicemen killed during the Bush War. Many Zimbabweans see their nation's involvement in the World Wars as a consequence of colonial rule that had more to do with the white community than the indigenous black majority. Southern Rhodesia's dead of the two World Wars today have no official commemoration, either in Zimbabwe or overseas. (Source: Wikipedia)


[Read More]
[Read More]

Photo: Rhodesians with 60 KRRC in North Africa (IWM)


Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/29/2015 9:27:21 AM
 Anyone have information about this incident ?


Quote:
In one horrific episode in 1942, 202 soldiers of 1823 Pioneer Company surrendered on the fall of Tobruk and were murdered by their captors.


On edit -- found this.


Quote:
When Tobruk finally fell in May 1942, the men of 1823 Company from East Africa were taken prisoner as British forces withdrew from the town. Italian guards killed 202 of them but seventy-one escaped to the British lines and forty-nine survived to become prisoners of war. -- Page 158 of Deborah Ann Schmidt's The Bechuanaland Pioneers and Gunners (2006).


Ah yes, the "clean war" in the desert.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/29/2015 12:31:03 PM
The Africans -- Somali units

Somaliland Camel Corps. Battalion sized unit in existence at the start of the Second World War. Along with a battalion of Northern Rhodesians, the Camel Corps fought against the Italian invasion of British Somaliland. Upon British withdrawal, the Camel Corps was disbanded. When the British returned in 1941, the Camel Corps was reestablished before being disbanded again in 1944 after some mutinies. Among the Corps' more unusual actions was the capture of a German U-boat crew that was forced ashore after air attacks on their boat.

Somaliland Scouts. Descended from the Somali Guard Battalion and Somali Companies, the Scouts were formed in the latter half of 1943 and garrisoned British Somaliland.

Image: Somaliland Camel Corps soldier.


Cheers

BW

---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/30/2015 3:01:56 PM
The Africans -- Libyan formations

The overwhelming majority of African troops fielded in the Second World War fought for the Allies. But not all of them. In Libya, Italy formed two divisions of native troops. By the time of Operation COMPASS in 1940, these divisions were made up of two infantry regiments and an artillery regiment. The troops were native and the officers were Italian. Both divisions were in part destroyed and in part captured during COMPASS, the bold British invasion of Libya in 1940.

The 1st Libyan Division (Sibelle) existed before the war and was known as the Libyan Colonial Division. The division was retitled on 1 March 1940. In September 1940, the 1st Division captured Sollum. Attacked on 10 December 1940 at Wadi Maktila by British forces, the division effectively ceased to exist by the following day. Division components were the 1st and 2nd Libyan (Infantry) Regiments, and the 1st Libyan Artillery Regiment. The division was part of the Group of Libyan Divisions (Gruppo Divisione Libiche) during the British attack.

The 2nd Libyan Division (Pescatori) was formed on 1 March 1940. When attacked by British forces on 9 December 1940, the 2nd Division was located vicinity Alam el Tummar and part of the Group of Libyan Divisions. Division components were the 3rd and 4th Libyan (Infantry) Regiments and the 2nd Libyan Artillery Regiment.

Neither division was rebuilt following the Italian defeat in COMPASS.

The following study looks to be an interesting read regarding the defeat of Italian 10th Army and includes excellent orders of battle for COMPASS. [Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/31/2015 5:18:31 AM
The Africans -- German organized Arab troops


Quote:
Many Arabs thought the Germans would free them from the rule of the old colonial powers France and Britain. Hitler had shown how to burst the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles. After Germany defeated France in 1940, chants against the French and British echoed around the streets of Damascus: "No more Monsieur, no more Mister, Allah's in Heaven and Hitler's on earth." -- Spiegel Magazine


This one is a difficult story to follow. I've only found a bit of reliable information (Tessin); there is a lot of repetition of other information by Wehrmacht enthusiasts including claims that up to 20,000 Arabs served in the German forces. Take it for what you find it worth.

Shortly before the German surrender in Tunisia, a regiment "T" was formed from north African Arabs. Apparently some of these managed to make it to Europe; as the Germans formed the independent 845th Infantry Battalion from Arab personnel. Not all of these were African Arabs, some were from Arab populations already present in Europe, such as in Greece.

Apparently, enough Arabs were recruited in France to form a second battalion, and so the 845th became a weak regiment with two battalions, the I. and the II. The II. battalion was sent to Zwettl and there are reports that Arabs were part of the German 41st Infantry Division and took part in combat against Greek partisans. The II. Battalion was disbanded on 10 January 1945 and its remaining Arab personnel were sent to the I. Battalion, which was also in the German South-East Theater of Operations. The remainder presumably disintegrated in the chaos of the German defeat and attempted withdrawal from Yugoslavia in mid-1945.

Photo: German-Arab Legion troops


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 3/31/2015 5:58:49 AM
The Africans -- Force Publique


Quote:
Since the invasion of Belgium on May 10, 1940, the Belgian Congo has had but one object in life. All its problems have been rolled into one: how to contribute most effectively to the common allied victory. -- Pierre Ryckmans, Governor of the Belgian Congo


In 1940, the colonial governor of the Belgian Congo decided the colony would continue to fight on the side of the Allies. To this end, he made elements of the colony's paramilitary force, the Force Publique, available to the Allied war effort.

In support of operations in East Africa, the 3rd Brigade of the FP took part in a grueling overland march through Sudan to Abyssinia. Under the command of General Gilliaert, the FP troops cut off a large number of Italian and native troops, accepting the surrender of over 5,000, including nine Italian generals in July 1941. The total of Italian and native surrenders thereafter grew to over 15,000. FP losses were some 500 men.

In 1942-43, some 13,000 men of the FP served on garrison and security duties in Nigeria, Egypt, and Palestine.

The Belgian Congo also provided a medical unit that saw service with British forces in Africa and India.

[Read More]
[Read More]

Image: Belgian "African War Medal 1940-1945"


Photo: FP soldier in the Middle East, 1944 (Philippe Jacquij)


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 4/1/2015 2:28:12 PM
The Africans -- British East Africa



 A great contribution was made to the British war effort by their colonies in East and West Africa. Both regions mobilized several brigades of infantry that either secured areas of strategic interest or engaged Italian and Japanese troops in combat. The brigades mobilized in East Africa were:

☆Formed as the 1st (East Africa) Infantry Brigade at the end of August 1939, this unit was renumbered as the 21st (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in October 1940. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles, but 1-Northern Rhodesia Regiment was with the brigade for almost the entire war. Served in East Africa, Abyssinia, Ceylon, Burma, and India. Battle credit for The Juba. Ended the war with 11th East Africa Division.

☆Formed as the 2nd (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in September 1939, this unit was renumbered as the 22nd (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in October 1940. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles, but 3-Northern Rhodesia Regiment was with the brigade for the last half of the war. Served in East Africa, Italian Somaliland, Abyssinia, Madagascar, Ceylon, and Burma. Battle credits for The Juba, Arakan Beaches, and The Irrawaddy. Ended the war with 19th Indian Division.

☆Formed as the 5th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in October 1940, this unit was renumbered as the 25th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade several days later. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles. Served in East Africa, Abyssinia, Ceylon, Burma, and India. Ended the war with 11th East Africa Division.

☆Formed as the 26th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in January 1941. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles. Served in East Africa, British Somaliland, Abyssinia, Ceylon, Burma, and India. Ended the war with 11th East Africa Division.

☆Formed as the 7th (N Rhodesia) Infantry Brigade in September 1940, this unit was renumbered as the 27th (N Rhodesia) Infantry Brigade in October 1940, and retitled as the 27th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in April 1945. Component battalions for the first half of the war were from the Northern Rhodesia Regiment, and subsequently drawn from the King's African Rifles. Served in East Africa, South Africa, and Madagascar. Ended the war under the command of Northern Area.

☆Formed as the 28th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in July 1941. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles. Served in East Africa, Abyssinia, French Somaliland, Ceylon, Burma, and India. Brigade no longer had subordinate units as of April 1945 and was disbanded in June 1945.

☆Formed as the 29th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in March 1942. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles, and for two years, 5-Northern Rhodesia Regiment. Served in East Africa and Abyssinia. Ended the war under the command of Southern Area.

☆Formed as the 30th (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in August 1942. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles, and for one year, 2-Northern Rhodesia Regiment and 1-Rhodesian African Rifles. Served in East Africa. Ended the war under the command of Northern Area.

☆Formed as the 31st (East Africa) Infantry Brigade in January 1943. Component battalions were primarily from the King's African Rifles, and 4-Northern Rhodesia Regiment. Served in East Africa and Abyssinia. Ended the war under the command of Southern Area.

Photo:Soldiers of the King's African Rifles in Ethiopia, 1941 (IWM)


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 4/2/2015 11:06:47 AM
The Africans -- Senegal


Quote:
There is no doubt, however, that the Tirailleurs Sénégalais and other black French soldiers were singled out for particularly harsh treatment during the campaign and that many of them died under the difficult conditions in the transitional camps or of diseases contracted in the permanent camps during the following war winters.--Raffael Scheck, Hitler's African Victims


 Senegal and other French sub-Saharan colonies provided a major source of manpower for France during the Second World War. Reviled by Nazi propagandists and at times openly feared by German soldiers, the Senegalese were courageous soldiers who would advance into close-in fighting swinging a 40-inch native "knife" known as the coupe-coupe. As the French Army was defeated piecemeal in 1940, the Senegalese too often became the victims of German war crimes and thousands were murdered after or while surrendering.

 In 1940, the Senegalese (and sometimes men from other African colonies) were organized into Senegalese Rifles Regiments (RTS is the French abbreviation). Other "mixed" regiments were made up of two "European" battalions and one Senegalese battalion (RICMS). It is estimated that some 40,000 Senegalese took part in combat in the 1940 campaign; of these, 17,000 were killed or wounded, or listed as missing in action. The regiments were subordinated to Colonial Infantry Divisions (DIC). The regiments that were wholly or partly made up of Senegalese troops in 1940 were:

☆1er RTS (at Saint-Louis in French West Africa)
☆2e RTS (at Kati in French West Africa)
☆3e RTS (2e Division de Maroc in French North Africa)
☆4e RTS (2e DIC)
☆5e RTS (Division de Sousse in French North Africa, later subordinated to the Mareth Division)
☆6e RTS (3e Division de Maroc in French North Africa)
☆7e RTS (at Dakar in French West Africa)
☆8e RTS (2e DIC)
☆10e RTS (Division de Sousse in French North Africa, later subordinated to 88e DIA)
☆11e RTS (181e DIA in French North Africa)
☆12e RTS (1er DIC)
☆13e RTS (Division d'Alger in French North Africa, later subordinated to 181e DIA)
☆14e RTS (1er DIC)
☆15e RTS (Division de Constantine in French North Africa, later subordinated to 183e DIA)
☆16e RTS (4e DIC)
☆17e RTS (in Damascus)
☆18e RTS (Division de Sousse in French North Africa, later subordinated to 88e DIA)
☆24e RTS (4e DIC)
☆25e RTS (8e DIC)
☆26e RTS (8e DIC)
☆5e RICMS (6e DIC)
☆6e RICMS (6e DIC)
☆27e RICMS (attempted formation of 9e DIC)
☆28e RICMS (attempted formation of 9e DIC)
☆33e RICMS (7e DIC)
☆44e RICMS (5e DIC)
☆53e RICMS (5e DIC)
☆57e RICMS (7e DIC)
☆RTS du Tchad (at Fort Lamy in French Equatorial Africa)

 During the armistice, the following Senegalese regiments were present in the French Army of Africa:

☆6e RTS (at Casablanca and Fes)
☆13e RTS (at Algiers)
☆15e RTS (at Philippeville and Constantine)
☆Following the 1940 campaign, the 4e RTS had been reorganized in French West Africa. The regiment suffered grievous losses (over 700 officers and men) on 20 April 1943 when the passenger liner it was embarked upon (Sid Bel Abbès) was torpedoed by U-565 in the Mediterranean. The regiment was subsequently rebuilt.

 In the Tunisian Campaign of 1942-43, the 15e RTS fought as part of the Oran Provisional Division, suffering 51 dead. Following the reestablishment of French forces organized on U.S. lines, the 4e, 6e, and 13e RTS fought with 9e DIC, conquering Elba and fighting in Provence and Alsace until November 1944, at which point they were replaced with French Army regiments formed from liberated manpower. Of any single colony, Senegal provided France with the greatest number of foreign regiments and was among the many colonial forces of the French Empire that enabled France to reestablish a field army and fight effectively in the campaigns in Italy, France, and Germany.

 The 1er Division Coloniale d'Extreme-Orient began formation in late 1944, and was intended to serve in a planned operation to liberate French Indochina from the Japanese. Among other elements, it commanded the 16e and 18e RTS. Elements of this division including the entire 18e RTS and one battalion of the 16e RTS, saw combat with the French Army Detachment of the Alps from early April 1945 though the end of the war.

[Read More]

Photo: Tirailleur after receiving award from General De Gaulle, 1942 (LoC)


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 4/2/2015 2:42:39 PM
The Africans -- Italian East Africa formations


Quote:
Haifa battalion of 102 Colonial Infantry (102 Divisione Somala) from Jumbo began to advance under their white Italian officers at about 5.45 a.m. on 18 February. In the pre-dawn darkness they moved silently and unseen almost up to the Transvaal Scottish line, before the glimmer of daybreak revealed to the waiting South Africans scores of crouching figures clearly silhouetted against the glow of the eastern sky.'B' Company of the Transvaal Scottish opened fire almost as one man. Rifle and machine-gun bullets ripped into the advancing ranks and mowed them down. With great gallantry the enemy came on again and again in the face of withering fire. Italian officers, with admirable courage, rallied their men and themselves mounted machine-guns on the open plain without cover of any sort to add their fire to the unequal contest against the Bren-and Vickers-gunners in the Transvaal Scottish bridgehead ... --Neil Orphen, East Africa and Abyssinian Campaigns (part of the South African official history of the war)


 One of the unfortunate cliches to emerge from the war has been that of the Italian Army as unmotivated and predisposed to surrender. Such was far from the case in the East African campaign. Both the Italian cadre and the native soldiers proved themselves worthy opponents of Great Britain, the Commonwealth, and the British Empire. In East Africa, Italy organized four divisions of colonial troops. The complete order of battle is not clear as apparently Italy had twenty-five brigades of colonial troops in East Africa in 1940, with more brigades in formation. [Read More]

☆I Divisione Indigeni was formed in 1935 from Eritreans and took part in the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. (As far as I can tell) The division was destroyed during British conquest of Eritrea.

☆II Divisione Indigeni was formed in 1935 from Eritreans and took part in the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. (As far as I can tell) The division was destroyed during British conquest of Eritrea.


Quote:
... the Colonial troops, until they cracked at the very end, fought with valour and resolution, and their staunchness was a testimony to the excellence of the Italian administration and military training in Eritrea.--Compton MacKenzie, Eastern Epic


☆101 Divisione Somala was raised in Somalia after the Italian declaration of war in 1940. The division was destroyed in March 1941 in southern Ethiopia.

☆102 Divisione Somala was raised in Somalia after the Italian declaration of war in 1940. The division was destroyed in February - March 1941 in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia.

Photo: Eritrean Ascari troops



Quote:
In 1940, 256,000 Askaris in the Italian Royal Army were present in the local Italian colonies. Of these, 182,000 had been recruited in Italian East Africa (Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia) and 74,000 in Libya.-- Wikipedia; the South African official history also notes almost 182,000 native troops in Italian East Africa (p. 342).


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 4/3/2015 6:17:20 AM
The Africans -- British West Africa

Image: 82 and 81 West African Divisions formation badges (IWM)


 A great contribution was made to the British war effort by their colonies in East and West Africa. Both regions mobilized several brigades of infantry that either secured areas of strategic interest or engaged Italian and Japanese troops in combat. The brigades mobilized in West Africa were:

☆Formed as the 1st (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in October 1939, this unit was retitled as the 3rd (Nigeria) Infantry Brigade in June 1940, later as 23rd (Nigeria) Infantry Brigade, and finally as the 1st (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in September 1941. Component battalions were from the Nigeria Regiment. Served in East Africa, Italian Somaliland, Abyssinia, British Somaliland, West Africa, India, and Burma. Battle credit for The Juba and Arakan Beaches. Ended the war with 82 West African Division in Burma.

☆Formed as the 4th (Gold Coast) Infantry Brigade in September 1939, this unit was renumbered as the 24th (Gold Coast) Infantry Brigade in October 1940, and retitled as the 2nd (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in December 1941. Component battalions were from the Gold Coast Regiment. Served in East Africa, Italian Somaliland, Abyssinia, West Africa, India, and Burma. Battle credits for The Juba, and Arakan Beaches. Ended the war with 82 West African Division in Burma.

☆Formed as the 3rd (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in December 1940. Component battalions were from the Nigeria Regiment. Served in West Africa, Burma, and India. Brigade was disbanded from 30 November 1944 until 1 March 1945. Ended the war with 81 West Africa Division in India.

☆Formed as the 4th (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in February 1941. Component battalions were from the Nigeria Regiment. Served in West Africa, India, and Burma. Battle credit for Arakan Beaches. Ended the war under the command of 82 West African Division in Burma.

☆Formed as the 5th (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in March 1942. Component battalions were from the Gold Coast Regiment. Served in West Africa, Burma, and India. Battle credits for North Arakan and Arakan Beaches. Ended the war with 81 West Africa Division in India.

☆Formed as the 6th (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in April 1941. Component battalions were from the Sierra Leone and Nigeria Regiments. Served in West Africa, Burma, and India. Battle credits for North Arakan and Arakan Beaches. Ended the war with 81 West Africa Division in India.

☆Formed as the 7th (West Africa) Infantry Brigade in April 1942. Component battalions were primarily from the Gambia Regiment with one battalion from the Gold Coast Regiment. Served in West Africa. Disbanded in February 1943 under the command of Gambia Area.


Quote:
Two West African divisions, the 81 (West Africa) Infantry Division and 82 (West Africa) Infantry Division were both deployed to Burma where they fought in the Arakan. These formations were unique in the British Army in that they employed unarmed soldiers as porters, making the division very mobile in difficult country. --British Military History website


Photo:Indian soldiers and soldiers of the 81 (WA) Division (IWM)


Cheers

BW
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Sadurian
Rugby, UK
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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 4/11/2015 8:19:16 AM
I found this thread whilst looking for more information on the 11th (East Africa) Divisional Scout Battalion, part of the 81st West African Division in 1944.

If anyone's interested, some years ago I wrote an undergraduate essay on the 81st West Africans which details a fair bit of information on their composition and experience in Burma: http://www.saduria.co.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/West_Africans.doc

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 11/28/2015 3:16:07 PM
bump -- intend to continue this thread to cover North African formations as well.

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 8/2/2016 2:26:39 PM
bump again.

Cheers

BW
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scoucer
Berlin, Germany
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Posts: 1957

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 8/2/2016 4:24:38 PM
Good idea Bill. I enjoyed reading it.

Trevor
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Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

BWilson

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Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 8/3/2016 1:43:17 AM
Trevor,

 I need to wrap it up with a couple more posts on the topic.

Cheers

BW
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17thfabn
Ohio, USA
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Posts: 43

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 9/4/2016 6:59:52 PM

Quote:
 And of those African soldiers, one in particular had a booming voice that carried him to the rank of RSM.

Photo: Idi Amin Dada.



Cheers

BW
--BWilson


Great thread.

My quick internet search says Amin claimed to have served in World War II, but didn't actual join the the colonial British Army until 1946. Of course he wouldn't be the 1st politician to fabricate his military record.
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BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 6/8/2017 1:27:05 PM
The Africans -- Tunisia

Image: Regimental badge of the 28th Tunisian Rifles


 Along with the Senegalese, the troops of the Maghreb contributed several divisions in 1940, as well as forming the bulk of the troops of the French colonial forces that fought in Italy, France, and Germany from 1943 until VE-Day in 1945. The regiments formed from Tunisians (RTT - Tunisian Rifles Regiment) were:

☆The 4e RTT was based in Tunisia at the start of the war. After a tour on the Mareth Line facing the Italian colony of Libya, the regiment saw service in the 1940 campaign with the 84e DIA (African infantry division). Following the armistice, the 4e RTT returned to Tunisia. Following Operation TORCH, the Germans and Italians invaded Tunisia and, as separate battalions, the 4e RTT engaged them in combat. Subsequently, the 4e RTT was again brought up to strength and eventually joined the 3e DIA (Algerian Infantry Division), fighting in Italy, France, and Germany until the end of the war.

☆Like the 4e, the 8e RTT was based in Tunisia when the war broke out. Also assigned to the 84e DIA on the Mareth Line and during the 1940 campaign, the 8e RTT was disbanded in November 1940.

☆The 12e RTT was formed on 1 April 1940 in the Levant. Part of the 19e Division, the regiment was disbanded in October 1940.

☆The 16e RTT was based in the Levant at the start of the war. Also part of the 19e Division, the 16e RTT returned to Tunisia in October 1941, after fighting in Syria and Lebanon against the British invasion of the Levant (Operation EXPORTER). After a period as the 16th (Independent) Demi-Brigade, the regiment regained its old title in January 1942. Disbanded after Operation TORCH (in which the 16e RTT briefly fought against the U.S. Army), men of the 16e RTT were used to reinforce the 4e RTT after its combat against Axis forces in Tunisia.

☆The 20e RTT was formed in 1939 and subordinated to the 7e DINA (North African Infantry Division) in France. The regiment was disbanded after the armistice.

☆The 24e RTT was based in France as part of the 3e DINA in September 1939. The regiment was subordinated to the 5e DINA in May 1940, and disbanded after the armistice.

☆The 28e RTT was based in France as part of the 1er DINA when the war broke out. The regiment was disbanded after the armistice in June 1940.

☆The 32e RTT was formed in Tunisia in February 1940 and manned the Mareth Line. The regiment was disbanded on 20 August 1940.

☆A cavalry regiment*, the 4e RST (Tunisian Spahis) was based in Tunisia in September 1939. Two of the regiment's squadrons operated along the Mareth Line until the armistice. Following the armistice, the third squadron of the regiment was attached to the 2nd (provisional) Spahi Regiment (2e RMS). As part of this unit, the Third Squadron fought briefly against British Eighth Army on the Mareth Line in November 1942. Subsequently, the regiment was rallied to Free France, was equipped with British armoured cars, and fought in the Tunisian Campaign as part of British Eighth Army. Following victory in Tunisia, the 4e RST remained in Tunisia for the remainder of the war.

* In the French Army, cavalry regiments were roughly of infantry battalion size in terms of manpower.

Cheers

BW

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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 6/11/2017 10:04:27 AM
The Africans -- Algeria

Image: Algerian Tirailleurs


 Numerous regiments of the French Army were manned with Algerians. The infantry regiments formed from Algerians (RTA - Algerian Rifles Regiment) were:

At the outbreak of the war in 1939 (Blue units served in the 1940 Campaign.)

☆The 1er RTA was subordinated to the 5e BIA (Algerian Infantry Brigade) in Blida, Algeria and transferred to the 81e DIA (African Infantry Division).

☆The 2e RTA was subordinated to the 4e BIA in Tlemcem, Algeria. In September 1939, the regiment was sent to the Levant as part of the 86e DIA. This unit was renamed the 10e RTA on 1 November 1940. The 2e RTA was recreated in Algeria in the same month as part of the Army of the Armistice (which see).

☆The 3e RTA was subordinated to the 7e BIA in Constantine, Algeria and transferred to the 83e DIA.

☆The 5e RTA was subordinated to the 5e BIA in Blida, Algeria and transferred to the 180e DIA. Unit disbanded in March 1941.

☆The 6e RTA was subordinated to the 4e BIA in Tlemcem, Algeria and transferred to the 82e DIA.

☆The 7e RTA was subordinated to the 7e BIA in Constantine, Algeria and transferred to the 83e DIA.

☆The 9e RTA was based in Miliana, Algeria and transferred to the 81e DIA.

☆The 11e RTA was subordinated to the 7e BIA in Constantine, Algeria and transferred to the 85e DIA.

☆The 13e RTA was based in France as part of the 2e DINA (North African Infantry Division). Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.

☆The 14e RTA was based in France as part of the 3e DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.

☆The 15e RTA was based in France as part of the 3e DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.

☆The 17e RTA was mobilized upon outbreak of the war and subordinated to the 87e DIA. Regiment disbanded in November 1940.

☆The 18e RTA was mobilized upon outbreak of the war and subordinated to the 87e DIA. Regiment disbanded in November 1940.

☆The 19e RTA was subordinated to the 85e DIA. Regiment disbanded in November 1940.

☆The 21e RTA was based in France as part of the 4e DINA and later transferred to the 6e DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.

☆The 22e RTA was based in France as part of the 2e DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign; recreated on 1 December 1940 in the Levant by renaming of the 10e RTA.

☆The 23e RTA was based in France as part of the 4e DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.

☆The 25e RTA was based in France as part of the 4e DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.

☆The 27e RTA was based in France as part of the 1er DINA. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign.


☆The 29e RTA was mobilized upon outbreak of the war and based in the Levant; later part of the 86e DIA.

☆The 31e RTA was mobilized upon outbreak of the war and subordinated to the 7e DINA. Regiment disbanded in November 1940.

☆The 33e RTA was mobilized upon outbreak of the war and subordinated to the 180e DIA in North Africa. Regiment disbanded in November 1940.

☆The 35e RTA was mobilized upon outbreak of the war and manned the Mareth Line in Tunisia. Regiment disbanded in November 1940.

 The following battalion-sized cavalry regiments existed:

☆ The 2e RSA (Algerian Spahis Regiment) was subordinated to the 3e BS (Spahis Brigade).

☆ The 6e RSA was subordinated to the 1er BS. Disbanded at Tlemcem on 16 October 1940.

☆ The 7e RSA was subordinated to the 2e BS. This unit was interned in Switzerland on 19 June 1940.

☆ The 9e RSA was subordinated to the 3e BS.


☆ In Algeria, the 1er RSA and 3e RSA formed the 7e BS, part of the 6th Light Cavalry Division.

Army of Africa and of the Levant of the Armistice:

☆The 1er RTA was subordinated to the 5e BIA (Algerian Infantry Brigade) in Blida, Algeria.

☆The 2e RTA was subordinated to the 2e BIA in Oran, Algeria. Briefly engaged U.S. forces in combat upon invasion by the Allies during Operation TORCH.

☆The 3e RTA was subordinated to the Constantine Division in Constantine, Algeria.

☆The 6e RTA was subordinated to the 4e BIA in Tlemcem, Algeria.

☆The 7e RTA was subordinated to the 7e BIA in Sétif, Algeria.

☆The 9e RTA was subordinated to the 5e BIA in Blida, Algeria.

☆The 10e RTA was created on 1 November 1940 in the Levant by renaming of the 2e RTA. In turn, on 1 December 1940, this unit was renamed the 22e RTA.

☆The 11e RTA was subordinated to the Fes Division in Fez, Morocco. Unit disbanded in 1944.

☆The 22e and 29e RTA were based in the Levant, in which location they fought invading British and Commonwealth forces during Operation EXPORTER in 1941. The 22e broke into two camps following EXPORTER; one battalion joined the Free French and the remainder returned to Algeria. [Read More] After returning to Algeria, the 22e RTA was disbanded in 1942.

 There were also three battalion-sized cavalry regiments:

☆The 1er RSA (Algerian Spahis Regiment) at Médéa, Algeria (part of 1st Cavalry Brigade).

☆The 2e RSA at Tlemcem, Algeria (part of 2nd Cavalry Brigade).

☆The 3e RSA at Batna, Algeria (part of 3rd Cavalry Brigade).

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 6/13/2017 12:05:19 PM
The Africans -- Algeria (2)

 The gallantry of the Free French units notwithstanding, France required the manpower of the forces stationed in North Africa to stage a military comeback. The Algerians were a significant component of the unified force.

Tunisian Campaign (Blue units served in Tunisia, Italy, France, Germany, or in all of these countries.)

☆The 1er RTA served in the Constantine and Algiers Divisions.

☆The 2e RTA served in the Constantine and Oran Divisions.

☆The 3e RTA served in the Constantine Division.

☆The 6e RTA served in the Oran Division. Regiment remained thereafter in Algeria. Renamed on 15 August 1944 the 6th provisional Algerian Rifles Regiment (6e RTAM), based in Tlemcem. Unit regained original name on 1 October 1945.

☆The 7e RTA served in the Constantine Division.

☆The 9e RTA served in the Constantine and Algiers Divisions. Regiment disbanded in Algeria on 31 May 1944 with its personnel used to reinforce French Army units in the Italian Campaign.

☆The 29e RTA served in the 1er DMM (Moroccan Mountain Division).


Italian Campaign

☆The 3e RTA served in the 3rd Algerian Division.

☆The 7e RTA served in the 3rd Algerian Division.


Campaigns in France and Germany

☆The 3e RTA and 7e RTA served in the 3rd Algerian Division.

☆The 1er RTA served in the 4e DMM.

☆The three battalions of the 2e RTA served in the regiments of the 2e DIM (Moroccan Infantry Division).

☆The 29e RTA served in the French Army Alps Detachment.


 Two battalion-sized mechanized cavalry squadrons, formed from the 1er RSA and 2e RSA supported the French I and II Corps:

☆1er RSAR (Algerian Spahi Reconnaissance Regiment). Fought in the Tunisian Campaign as the 1er RSA on horse and foot. Subsequently mechanized and redesignated the 1er RSAR, taking part in the campaigns in France in 1944 and Germany in 1945.

☆Disbanded in Algeria at the close of 1940, the 6e RSA was stood up again in 1942. The unit took part in the Tunisian Campaign and was subsequently designated the 6e RSAR before being renamed the 2e RSAR and taking part in the campaigns in France in 1944 and Germany in 1945.

☆The 3e RSAR (former 3e RSA) served as the mechanized reconnaissance battalion for the 3rd Algerian Division.

☆The 7e RSA was a battalion-sized cavalry regiment that served with the 1er Brigade de Spahis during the campaign in France in 1944 and Germany in 1945.


☆The 9e RSA was stood up in Algeria again after the Allied landings but did not take part in combat.

Cheers

BW


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BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 6/15/2017 10:50:00 AM
The Africans -- Morocco

Image: Moroccan Goumier


 Morocco was another large contributor of manpower to the French Army of Africa, and ultimately, of the French forces that took part in the liberation of France and conquest of Germany.

 Unit history by regiment (RTM = Regiment of Moroccan Rifles; RSM = Regiment (of infantry battalion size) of Moroccan Spahis; GTM = Group (regiment) of Goumiers -- Moroccan mountain infantry.):

☆In 1939, the 1er RTM was based in Morocco. The regiment served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 1er DM (Moroccan Division). The regiment was again based in Morocco during the armistice, although the fifth battalion of this unit fought against the British invasion of the Levant (Operation EXPORTER). The 1er RTM defended against the invasion of Morocco by U.S. forces during Operation TORCH. This regiment was later subordinated to the 4e DMM (Moroccan mountain division). During September-October 1943, the 1er RTM cleared Corsica of German forces. Subsequently, the 1er RTM took part in the Italian Campaign, the liberation of southern France in 1944, and the invasion of Germany in 1945.

☆In 1939, the 2e RTM was based in Morocco. The regiment served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 1er DM (Moroccan division). The 2e RTM defended against the invasion of Morocco by U.S. forces during Operation TORCH. This regiment was later subordinated to the 4e DMM (Moroccan mountain division). Subsequently, the 2e RTM took part in the Italian Campaign, the liberation of southern France in 1944, and the invasion of Germany in 1945.

☆In 1939, the 3e RTM was based in France as part of the 43e DI (infantry division), and took part in the 1940 campaign with this division. Following the 1940 campaign, the 3e RTM was briefly stood up in Morocco from January to May 1941. Activated again in 1943, the regiment was once again disbanded in February 1944.

☆In 1939, the 4e RTM was based in Morocco. The regiment served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 82e DI (infantry division). The regiment was again based in Morocco during the armistice. This regiment was later subordinated to the 2e DIM (Moroccan infantry division). The 4e RTM took part in the Italian Campaign, the liberation of southern France in 1944, and the invasion of Germany in 1945.

☆In 1939, the 5e RTM was based in France and served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 1er DINA (North African infantry division). Following the 1940 campaign, the regiment was stood up again in Morocco on 14 November 1940. This regiment was later subordinated to the 2e DIM (Moroccan infantry division). The 5e RTM took part in the Italian Campaign, the liberation of southern France in 1944, and the invasion of Germany in 1945.

☆In 1939, the 6e RTM was based in France and served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 5e DINA. Following the 1940 campaign, the regiment was stood up again in Morocco. This regiment was later subordinated to the 4e DMM (Moroccan mountain division). Subsequently, the 6e RTM took part in the Italian Campaign, the liberation of southern France in 1944, and the invasion of Germany in 1945.

☆In 1939, the 7e RTM was based in France and served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 1er DM. Following the 1940 campaign, the regiment was stood up again in Morocco. The 7e RTM defended against the invasion of Morocco by U.S. forces during Operation TORCH. The 7e RTM was disbanded in early 1944, and its manpower used to replaces losses of units in action in the Italian Campaign.

☆In 1939, the 8e RTM was based in France and served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 13e DI. Following the 1940 campaign, the regiment was again based in Morocco. This regiment was later subordinated to the 2e DIM (Moroccan infantry division). The 8e RTM took part in the Italian Campaign, the liberation of southern France in 1944, and the invasion of Germany in 1945.

☆In 1939, the 9e RTM was based in France and served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 6e DINA. Following the 1940 campaign, the regiment was disbanded.

☆In 1939, the 10e RTM was based in France and served in the 1940 campaign as part of the 7e DINA. Following the 1940 campaign, the regiment was disbanded.

☆On 25 March 1945, the Régiment Mixte Marocains et Étrangers (RMME) was formed in France and subordinated to the Army Detachment of the Atlantic. It was made up of one battalion of Moroccans and another of foreigners, primarily of Spanish and Basque provenance.

 The Goumiers were initially employed by France in Morocco as tribal irregulars from the early 20th century forward. They came from the mountain folk of Morocco and were masters of stealth and close-in warfare. In the Second World War, the 1er GSM (Moroccan Auxiliaries Group) was formed in May 1940 and employed along the Mareth Line. Following the armistice, the French authorities in North Africa maintained many Goumiers in regular service, and in excess of what was allowed by armistice terms, by describing their function to German and Italian officers as a sort of tribal police.

☆The 1er and 2e GSM fought in the Tunisian Campaign. Following victory in Tunisia, the regimental-sized groups were renamed GTM's (groups of Moroccan Tabors -- a "Tabor" was a battalion-sized unit of Goumiers) and eventually four were formed.

☆The 1er GTM fought in Italy in 1943-44, France in 1944-45, and Germany in 1945.

☆The 2e GTM fought on Corsica and Elba, and then in France in 1944-45, and Germany in 1945.

☆The 3e GTM fought in Italy in 1943-44, and then in France in 1944-45, and Germany in 1945. Repatriated to Morocco in April 1945.

☆The 4e GTM fought in Italy in 1943-44 and then returned to Morocco until 1945, when it was employed in the campaign in Germany.

 Comment by an officer of the U.S. 26th Infantry regarding Moroccan Goumiers:

Quote:
Two companies of Goums...were stationed next to our CP, and these had sent out two raiding parties the same night... Mostly mountain men from Morocco, these silent, quick-moving raiders were excellent at night raids, and in surprise attacks. How successful they had been was attested by the two [French] officers who had command of the companies of the Goumiers. The companies lacked most of the clothing, equipment and almost no weapons necessary for warfare. The 2 raids had remedied that. Inspections the next day revealed a good many German articles of clothing under their conventional brown and white vertical striped robes. Their rifles were a mixture of the best German and Italian weapons. Mess equipment, and a good deal of the food was also of enemy origin, as were the knives, pistols, blankets and toilet articles.

From questioning of the Italian prisoners, it was evident that they had either heard or experienced the merciless raids of the Goums, and they wanted no part of them. Part of the Goums' success lay in their silence as they moved forward, and in their highly perfected art of camouflage. One anecdote ran that one warrior had so successfully camouflaged himself all day in full sight of the Germans that a German officer had wandered over to what he thought was a bush, and had urinated on the motionless head of the Moroccan soldier who bore the trial well, but who marked that particular officer down for special attention that night, it was the officer's last night amongst the living. Goums did not take any prisoners, and it was well-known to the Germans and Italians what befell anyone who ran afoul of those Moroccans. There was certainly no desire to have our battalion tangle with either of the two raiding parties sent out the same night.


 From 1942 until 1945, Goumier casualties ran to over 8,000 of which 1,625 were killed in action.

Cheers

BW


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BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 6/22/2017 11:32:51 AM
The Africans -- Morocco (2)

 Morocco also fielded several regiments (battalion-sized) of horse and mechanized Spahis cavalry.

☆1er RSM (Regiment of Moroccan Spahis). Stationed in the Levant in 1939. In July 1940, an element (38 men) left their command to join the Free French in Egypt. A confusing lineage resulted, as the 38 men eventually formed the kernel of a Free French unit similarly named except that the word "provisional" was used (the "1st provisional Regiment of Moroccan Spahis" -- 1er RMSM). The remainder of the original unit fought invading British forces in 1941 during Operation EXPORTER, and then returned to Morocco where it engaged invading U.S. forces during Operation TORCH. The Free French provisional unit became the reconnaissance squadron for the 2e DB (armored division). What became of the original 1er RSM at this point is poorly documented in terms of easily accessible sources. The French Wikipedia article asserts the unit remained in Morocco until late 1944 when it was shipped to France and took part in the 1945 Battle of Royan. Late in 1945, the 1er RSM was disbanded and folded into the 8th Dragoon Regiment. The Free French provisional 1er RMSM later incorporated the lineage of the original regiment.

☆2e RSM. Stationed in Marrakesh in September 1939 and subordinated to the 3e BS (Spahis brigade) in France in November 1939. Regiment disbanded after the 1940 campaign. In 1943, the regiment was stood up in Morocco as a garrison regiment.

☆3e RSM. Subordinated to the 5th Cavalry Brigade in North Africa in 1939. During the armistice, the regiment was based in Meknès and Rabat. In 1943, the 3e RSM became the mechanized reconnaissance battalion of the 2nd Moroccan Division and took part in the campaigns in Italy in 1943, France in 1944, and Germany in 1945.

☆4e RSM. Stationed in Compiègne in 1939, the 4e RSM was subordinated to the 1er BS during the 1940 campaign. During the armistice, the unit was stationed in Marrakesh. From 1943, the regiment fought as the reconnaissance battalion for the 4th Moroccan Mountain Division in Corsica, Italy, France, and Germany.

☆5e RSM. Formed in Morocco in 1943, the 5e RSM was subordinated to 1er BS and took part in the campaigns in France and Germany in 1944-45.

☆6e RSM. Formed in Morocco in 1944, the regiment served as a garrison unit in Meknès and Fez.

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 6/23/2017 5:19:59 AM
The Africans -- other French African regiments


Image: Free French troops of the Cameroonian Rifles


 Prewar France, Vichy France, and Free France had colonial troops in Africa apart from the Senegalese and the north Africans.

 Madagascar had two regiments of Malagasy (and some Europeans) troops -- the Régiments Mixte Malgache. These were numbered 1er and 2e, and mobilized in 1939. Under the Vichy Regime, these troops resisted the British and Australian invasion of Madagascar in 1942 (Operation IRONCLAD). The regiments were disbanded following British conquest of the island, a lengthy affair of some six months.

☆The 1er RTC (Regiment of Cameroonian Rifles) was formed in 1940 as a unit of Free France and fought at Bir Hakeim, in Gabon, and in Syria. The regiment was disbanded in 1944.

☆The Senegalese Rifles of Guinée Regiment (Régiment de tirailleurs sénégalais de Guinée) was formed on 1 November 1940 and disbanded on 31 December 1943 without seeing combat. The unit was formed from the 4th (independent) Battalion of Senegalese Rifles and a battalion of colonial artillery, out of concern for what the French perceived as an excessively pro-German stance in neighboring Liberia.

☆The Senegalese Rifles of Niger Regiment (Régiment de tirailleurs sénégalais du Niger) was formed on 1 October 1941 and remained in service as a garrison regiment for the remainder of the war.

☆The Senegalese Rifles of Sudan Regiment (Régiment de tirailleurs sénégalais du Soudan) was formed in 1940 and served as a garrison regiment for the remainder of the war.

☆The Senegalese Rifles of Chad Regiment (Régiment de tirailleurs sénégalais du Tchad) existed at the outbreak of the war. Among the first Free French units, the regiment fought with General Leclerc at Koufra in 1941, the Fezzan in 1942, and in southern Tunisia in 1943. The regiment was disbanded in July 1943 with the native Africans returned to their homelands. The Europeans in the unit formed the Régiment de marche du Tchad (Provisional Regiment of Chad) and fought as part of the 2nd Armored Division in France and Germany during 1944-45.

☆French Somaliland rallied to Free France in early 1942. A battalion of Somalis was formed, and on 26 August 1944, this battalion joined two provisional infantry battalions from French Equatorial Africa to form the provisional Regiment of French Equatorial Africa and Somaliland (Régiment de marche d'Afrique équatoriale française et Somalie). In 1945, this regiment was subordinated to the 1er Division Coloniale d'Extrême-Orient in the south of France and then detached to Atlantic Army Detachment, with which it fought at the Battle of Royan.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3514

Re: South Africa and Rhodesia
Posted on: 7/5/2017 7:42:58 AM
 This pretty much wraps up the thread from my point of view, unless someone knows of other units that were not mentioned.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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