Division Leclerc Column & Free French 2nd Armored Div, 1940-46
'General Leclerc' was the nom de guerreadopted by the Gaullist officer Philippe de Hautcloque, to protect his family in occupied France. He became France's foremost fighting commander, and his armored division (the '2e DB') its most famous formation. Starting as a small scratch force of mostly African troops organised and led by Leclerc in French Equatorial Africa, it achieved early success raiding Italian and German positions in co-operation with Britain's Long Range Desert Group. Following the Allied victory in North Africa it was expanded and reorganised as a US Army-style armoured division, with American tanks and other armoured vehicles. Shipped to the UK, in spring 1944, it was assigned to Patton's US Third Army, landing in time for the Normandy breakout and being given the honour of liberating Paris in August 1944. Combining a thorough analysis of their combat and organisation with detailed colour plates of their uniforms and equipment, this is the fascinating story of Free France's most effective fighting force.
M.P. ROBINSON is a Canadian author who lives with his wife and 5 children near Toronto, Canada. He has a BA (Hons) History from York University, and has authored or co-authored 8 books and numerous articles on armoured vehicles and armoured warfare. His historical interest in politics and warfare spans from ancient times right up to the present day.Colonel THOMAS SEIGNON, an active army officer, served in Armor branch from platoon leader to battalion commander. Having a passion for armored vehicles history, he has authored numerous articles plus a couple of books on the subject and is an active member of the French tank museum board and scientific council. He is married and has 3 kids, which does not prevent him from using the train on a weekly basis between the Joint Staff in Paris and his home in Saumur, along the Loire valley. RAFFAELE RUGGERI was born in Bologna where he works and lives with his wife. After studying at the Fine Arts Academy, he worked in several areas of graphics and design before deciding to devote himself to illustration. He has long been interested in military history and has illustrated a number of books for Osprey.
This publication is 64 pages with several rare black and white vintage photographs, plus color plates of vehicles and uniforms.
Introduction: Philippe de Hautecloque becomes 'Francois Leclerc'. The introduction also includes a chronology.
The first several pages address the organization of Division Leclerc and the activities in France's African colonies after 1940. Until I read this publication I was not familiar with the efforts of the Free French military in central Africa or their participation in eliminating German and Italian military activities in North Africa.
Although the Free French were not major participants in the June invasion of France, they became heavily involved in the liberation of their homeland beginning in August of 1944 with their arrival in Normandy and Southern France. They participated in several engagements where they secured victories over their German opponents and were praised by allied leaders for their performance.
The campaign in France was especially moving as the Free French armies met the Germans head-on and won battles. One of Leclerc's goals was to raise the flag over Strasbourg once they had defeated their German foe. They did it! The German military was by no means beaten during this time, and the French forces often had their hands full, but in the end had made up for their stunning defeats in 1940.
First, allow me to thank IMPS/USA and Osprey Publishing for the opportunity to review this publication.
I found this publication very informative on the history of the Free French military after the spring of 1940. The French Resistance operations during the German occupation have been often covered in detail, while the efforts of the Free French army is often overlooked. This publication fills a lot of gaps in that history. This is well worth reading.
Lastly, the vintage photographs are very welcome as they depict the vehicles used by the French as well as the soldiers who fought the battles. The pictures are a valuable resource for the military modeler. Recommended.