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It is hard to convey the public impact of France's war to maintain her colonial grip on Algeria; yet in the late 1950s this ugly conflict dominated Europe's media to almost the same extent as would Vietnam ten years later. It brought France to the very verge of military coup d'etat; it destroyed thousands of careers; bitterly divided the French military and political classes for a generation; and sent hundreds of thousands of European settler families into often ruinous exile. This title details the history, organisation, equipment and uniforms of the forces involved in the Algerian War (1954-1962).
Men of action and elite soldiers with a young and dynamic spirit, the French Foreign Legion are capable of doing their duty anywhere anytime. Martin Windrow's superb text examines the history of this famous force from the end of the Second World War onward. This first class addition to the Men-at-Arms series not only contains the usual wealth of accompanying photographs and illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by Mike Chappell, but is extended by a further 16 pages, allowing the author to display the full range of his expert knowledge, including 11 pages devoted to uniforms.
It is arguable that no group of fighting men in the history of European arms has been so misrepresented by ill-informed publicity as the French Foreign Legion. Though initially conceived in 1831 as a means of drafting recently discharged foreign soldiers to Algeria, the Legion has developed into a sophisticated force of motorized infantry, airborne troops and light armor. In this book, acclaimed French Army expert Martin Windrow examines the history and uniforms of the French Foreign Legion, from its service in the Carlist War of 1835-36 to World War II and beyond, debunking many of the prevalent myths surrounding this formidable force.
This volume covers the classic 'Beau Geste' period, of the French Foreign Legion when the corps was expanded during the most dynamic years of French imperial expansion. Legion battalions fought in the deserts and mountains of southern Algeria and Morocco, as well as in the jungles of North Vietnam, West Africa and Madagascar. Their varied uniforms and equipments for each period and theater are illustrated and examined. Written by a leading expert on the French Foreign Legion, this is a colorful introduction to the period when the Legion forged their legendary fighting reputation.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The decision, in Spring 1948, to form two battalions of Foreign Legion paratroopers was prompted by the requirement for enlarged airborne forces in the First Indochina War (1946), and the healthy recruitment then employed by the Legion. There were some initial doubts. The Legion were known to be magnificent heavy infantry, but were felt by some to lack the flexibility and agility demanded by independent airborne operations. In the Legion itself there were some misgivings over the possible clash between the self-consciously exclusive 'para mentality', and the Legion's own very marked ésprit de corps. Over time, however, all these doubts evaporated with experience.
Following the close of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) and the establishment of the Third Republic, France embarked upon a new wave of colonialism, acquiring addition territories in Southeast Asia, including Tonkin and Annam which, together with Cambodia and Cochinchina, formed French Indochina. In North Africa their influence increased, with Tunisia acquired as a protectorate in 1881, until by the turn of the century much of North, West and Central Africa was under their control. France needed and army to police these new territories, and one of then most important elements of their colonial establishment was the French Foreign Legion. Originally founded in 1830, the Legion saw some its finest hours in North Africa and Indochina in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it is this period of the legions' history that has been immortalized in popular culture in works such as Beau Geste. Drawing on memoirs and other period sources, this book covers a wide range of environments and types of action and will be a valuable reference to any scholar of the legionnaires.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The states of Indochina had been French colonies or protectorates since the 19th century. However, in March 1945 the Japanese interned all French troops and officials, and turned over all civil government to local authorities. The power vacuum caused by the Japanese surrender allowed the Viet Minh, a strong revolutionary organisation, to be established throughout Vietnam. When the French returned to the north, incidents between French and VM troops were inevitable, negotiations collapsed and the French opted for a military solution. This book examines the history of the conflict and the forces of both sides of the French Indochina War (1946-1954).
In December 1953 French paratroopers, who had been searching for the elusive Vietnamese army, were quickly isolated by them and forced to retreat into their out-gunned and desolate jungle base-a small place called Dien Bien Phu. The Vietnamese besieged the French base for five long and desperate months. Eventually, the demoralized and weakened French were utterly depleted and withdrew in defeat. The siege at Dien Bien Phu was a landmark battle of the last century-the first defeat of modern western forces by an Asian guerilla army.The Last Valley is the first new account of the battle since the 1970s. The author has incorporated much new material from French and Vietnamese sources, including veteran interviews, making this the most complete account to-date. And Martin Windrow has received widespread praise from top historians such as John Keegan and Max Hastings (below), as well as reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic.
In December 1953 the French army occupying Vietnam challenged the elusive Vietnamese army to engage in a decisive battle. When French paratroopers landed in the jungle on the border between Vietnam and Laos, the Vietnamese quickly isolated the French force and confronted them at their jungle base in a small place called Dien Bien Phu. The hunters-the French army-had become the hunted, desperately defending their out-gunned base. The siege in the jungle wore on as defeat loomed for the French. Eventually the French were depleted, demoralized, and destroyed. As they withdrew, the country was ominously divided at U. S. insistence, creating the short-lived Republic of South Vietnam for which 55,000 Americans would die in the next twenty years.
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