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Commandos de Provence

Page Created
February 1st, 2024
Last Updated
February 16th, 2024
French Flag
Additional Information
Order of Battle
Badge Commandos de Provence
Tete Haute
September 4th, 1944
January 5th, 1945
Theater of Operations
Organisational History

The Commandos de Provence, are formed on September 4th, 1944, under Commander de Courson de Villeneuve, with the assistance of the Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur (F.F.I.) The Commando Group is created from volunteers from various Resistance groups in from the Aix-en-Provence area. They come to bolster the Commandos d’Afrique in Marseille, where they are stationed from the September 16th, 1944 to October 6th, 1944.

On October 10th, 1944, the Commandos de Provence advance towards the the Jura, establishing their encampment at Salins-les-Bains, Marnoz, and then Authoison. From October 16th, 1944 to October 26th, 1944, they engage in the battles within the Vosges, particularly in the forest of Cornimont, tackling La Grosse Pierre, Le Brûleux, and Le Haut de Tomteux.

Following another period of training at Salins-les-Bains, the Commandos of Provence, alongside the Commandos d’Afrique, are actively engaged from the November 18th, 1944 to November 22nd, 1944 in the battles for the liberation of Belfort. From the November 17th, 1945 they fight in the Chagey – Chalonvillars region, capturing Fort Salbert on November 20th ,1945 before engaging in battles at Cravanche, Belfort, Valdoie. One day later November 21st, 1945. They fight at the Martinet crossroads which are situated at the entrance to Offemont and the town of Offemont. After which they fight at Bois d’Arsot on November 22nd, 1944.

In December 1944, the unit takes up quarters in Giromagny.

At the start of 1945, the integration of the Commandos of Provence and the Parisian Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur and the Bataillon Désiré starts.

On January 5th, 1945, several units are reorganised into six Bataillons de Choc. The Commandos d’Afrique is reorganised into the 5e Bataillon de Choc, 5e Choc under Commander Ducournau, while the Groupement de Commandos de Provence and the Commandos de Paris/Bataillon Désiré become the 6e Bataillon de Choc, 6e Choc.

On 18th January 1945, these two Bataillons de Choc form a Groupement de Commandos de Choc known as the 3e Groupement de Commandos de Choc, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bouvet.

From the January 19th, 1945 to February 6th, 1945, the Bataillons de Choc are engaged in Alsace in the battles to reduce the Colmar pocket. On January 21st, 1945, they attack Cernay and from January 25th, 1945 to February 6th, 1945, they liberate of Guebwiller and Buhl.

Returning to Giromagny on February 14th, 1945, a detachment trains on the Doubs and then on the Rhône from the February 28th, 1945 to March 16th, 1945, in preparation for crossing the Rhine. During the night of the March 17th, 1945 and March 18th, 1945 the unit conducts a commando raid in the Kembs sector, crossing back and forth over the Rhine, and once more on the April 8th, 1945, in Nambsheim and Kembs.

The Commandos enter Germany and cross the Rhine at Kehl and Neuf-Brisach on the April 23rd, 1945. Sixty men of the Bataillon engage in a new raid on the April 24th, 1945 opposite to Istein, then, on the April 25th, 1945, the men fight at Eisenbach and at the Wieden Eck pass. On the April 27th, 1945 and April 30th, 1945, the unit is involved in clearing operations in the Belchen and Feldberg regions, and on the May 8th, 1945, in the Schushsen region. Here they end the war.

On the September 6th, 1945, Commander Ducournau takes command of the 3e Groupement de Commandos de Choc and begins demobilisation operations. On the November 1st, 1945, the 3e Groupement de Commandos de Choc is dissolved and becomes the 2e Bataillon of the 1er Régiment d’Infanterie de Choc AéroPorté or 1er RICAP, which in turn becomes the 2e Bataillion of the 1er Régiment de Choc.

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