Bon 14 juillet à tous! (With Echos to 1941)

Of interest to military history buffs, the 4,400-strong French military parade down les champs Élysée to celebrate the 232nd anniversary of Bastille Day yesterday was led by a 232-member company of the famed “Les marsouins de Leclerc” of the Régiment de Marche du Tchad or RMT.

Régiment de marche du Tchad leading the parade. Respect aux anciens, et vive la France!

The full, 2 hour parade: 

As discussed before here, today’s RMT shares the lineage of the old Senegalese colonial infantry regiment of Chad (Régiment de Tirailleurs Sénégalais du Tchad, RTST), from which a young Major Philippe Hauteclocque (under the nom de guerre, Leclerc) handpicked a column of 400 to strike out from that rare Free French colony against the key oasis of Koufra in Italian Libya in January 1941. They went on to win other honors fighting alongside the Allies at Fezzan (1942), Tunisia (1943) Alençon (1944), Paris (1944), and Strasbourg (1944).

Les marsouins de Leclerc is also the name of a popular French military graphic novel series covering the regiment’s history, from “Koufra to Kabul.”

Those who are students of military history will also appreciate the irony that the RMT is carrying France’s new infantry rifle, the Heckler und Koch HK416. Seen here in rehearsals last week: 

Also note they wear the fouled anchor badge of the Troupes de Marine on their kepi, although they are a mechanized infantry regiment in the French Army, another throwback to the old colonial days. Their unit patch is the old Free French Lorraine Cross. 

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