Les Troupes Coloniales d'Indochine
During WWI as most of you know that France used Troops from Indochine (Indochina) in France itself and in Salonika in Greece but most of the time you think of these troops as Labor Service Troops called Bataillons d’étapes of which 15 were raised during the war but there were four battalions that were combatant forces, the 1er, 2e, 7e, and 21e. The 1ère and 2ème served in the Greece and the 7ème and 21ème in France.
I will focus on the 7ème Bataillon Indochinois today ...
The 7ème Bataillon Indochinois (7th Indochinese Battalion) which was formed on February 16, 1916 in the Tonkin, at the Seven Pagodas, under the command of Chef de Bataillon Dez. This battalion numbered around 1,000 men. The unit landed in Marseilles and then were directed to Camp de Fréjus, which was located on the Mediterranean coast between Nice and Toulon, where they were to undergo training in military techniques and in a rudimentary soldier's French called parler tirailleur to April 1917. On April 10 the battalion then was attached to the 12ème Division (12th Division) where its companies were divided up within the units of this division:
1ère Compagnie (1st Company) went to the 54ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne at Sept Monts
2ème Compagnie (2nd Company) went to the 67ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne at Ambrief
3ème Compagnie (3rd Company) went to the 350ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne at Sept Monts
5ème Compagnie (5th Company) went to the divisional depot of the 12ème Division at Rozicie
4ème Compagnie (4th Company), the Section Hors Rang (Battalion HQ) and the Compagnie de Mitrailleuses (Company of Machine Guns) were assigned to Montramboeuf under the command of Chef de Bataillon Dez
The battalion was to be engaged in combat with the 12ème Division at 2ème Bataille de l'Aisne and the Chemin des Dames on May 5,6 and 7 of 1917. The men from these companies were basically used following the attack of the main forces in re-provisioning supplies, sweeping of the conquered German trenches of stragglers, called Nettoyers de Tranchée and organizing the conquered land for the follow through units.
In June of 1918 the battalion was assigned to a “quiet” section of trenches in the sector near Anould in the Vosges where it remained until June 22 and while there they pushed back an enemy attack. After June 22 the unit was assigned to an area north of Munster called Centre de Résistance Clové where they repelled two attacks accompanied by huge bombardments and asphyxiating gasses finally bieng pushed back between the 29 and October 30 1918. The battalion was resting in Lorraine when the Armistice came. The battalion embarked at Marseilles on February 15 1919, to go back to Haïphong where it is dissolved.
More later on the remaining Bataillons and other interesting tid-bits on these soldiers
Last edited by 1886lebel; 09-14-2010 at 08:34 PM.
Co-Author of the book:
Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 1860–2014