French Army Ranks up to 1914

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French Army Ranks up to 1914

Post  wfrad on Wed 11 Jun 2008, 9:39 am

Here's a brief chart of French army ranks pre 1914. The Austrian knots should be a little tighter, but I thought it would be easier to see as they are {polite way of saying I was fed-up of getting squares instead of curls}.
Still it gives the general idea.
WF
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French army 1914 amendment

Post  wfrad on Sat 14 Jun 2008, 9:47 am

Franch pre 1914
I’ve deleted the first chart due to a couple of mistakes.

Notes:
Commander in Cheif & Army Commander had an additional row of silver braid on the Kepi above the oak leaves, other generals only had the single row of gold braid above the oak leaves.
WO rank, Adujants-Chef wore lace the same colour as buttons.

Here’s some facings:
Artillery- Blue tunic, Scarlet facings with Scarlet collar patch and Gold buttons.
Alpine Artillery as Artillery.

Cuirassiers- Blue tunic, Red facings with Blue collar patch and Gold buttons.

Chasseurs- Light Blue tunic, Crimson facings with Crimson collar patch and Silver buttons.

Dragoons- Blue tunic, White facings with Blue collar patch and Silver buttons.

Engineers- Blue tunic, Black facings with Black collar patch and Gold buttons.

Hussars- Light Blue tunic, Light Blue facings with Light Blue collar patch and Silver Buttons.

Line Infantry- Blue tunic, Red facings with Red collar patch and Gold buttons.
Alpine Infantry- as Line Infantry.

Remount- Blue tunic, Blue facings with Blue collar patch and Silver buttons.

Rifles- Blue tunic, Blue facings with Blue collar patch and Silver buttons.
Alpine Rifles- As rifles.

Train- Light Blue tunic, Crimson facings with Crimson collar patch and Silver buttons.

If anyone notices any more cock-ups let me know.
Thanks
WF

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Re: French Army Ranks up to 1914

Post  buistR on Sat 14 Jun 2008, 10:55 am

Those are very good WF! A clear summary of a complicated subject.

Don't forget the famous red trousers though - worn by nearly all branches except the artillery, engineers and infantry chasseurs; and supposedly a major factor in the heavy French casualties in August 1914.

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Red Trousers

Post  wfrad on Sat 14 Jun 2008, 8:52 pm

Who could forget the red trousers, After1918 in the French zone they were used to great affect to ram home that France had finally revenged the humiliation of the Franco Prussian war.
The problem is giving correct info, example, campaign dress for the foreign legion had both red and white trousers.
As you rightly say it’s complicated, so rather than make daft mistakes I’ve kept it basic [thats not say that I haven't already made any].
Also the tunic knots, artillery officers are shown with red facings under the knots, while mountain artillery officers are shown with chevrons on the cuff.
The plot thickens.
Regards
WF

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Re: French Army Ranks up to 1914

Post  ChrisF202 on Sun 15 Jun 2008, 11:01 pm

wfrad, were their no ranks higher then General de Division?

In my Osprey book about the French Army 1914 - 18 they include several higher general ranks. Did those ranks only come about after 1915 when the horizon blue uniforms were introduced?

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French Generals

Post  wfrad on Mon 16 Jun 2008, 6:48 am

Chris,
Yes, up until 1914 there was only two general officer ranks and the appointment of commander [extra lace on cap]
Once the army han increased in size the generals ranks increased from two to six, and the stars from silver to gold?gilt.
The one rank that I did leave off the chart was Marshal of France, seven five pointed silver stars on the tunic and Dolman cuffs.
I believe that the serving Marshal before Marshal Foch was Marshal Joffre. I'm not sure when Joffre was promoted Marshal, I thought it was after the outbreak of war, so I left the rank of Marshal off the chart.
If I wrong, sorry.
regards
WF

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Re: French Army Ranks up to 1914

Post  buistR on Mon 16 Jun 2008, 7:40 pm

Joffre was promoted Marshal of France on 26 December 1916 WF. He rode in the 1919 Victory Parade in Paris still wearing the black dolman and red breeches of the 1914 uniform - though presumably with the seven stars of his new rank. As you note, there were only two ranks of general officer in the French Army in 1914 so the victor of the Marne was, strictly speaking, incorrectly dressed. However who was going to tell him so?

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Joffre

Post  wfrad on Tue 17 Jun 2008, 7:42 am

Thank's buistR.
I know that when he was commander in cheif, before the war, he held generals rank but I thought that he was promoted after his victory {if that's what it was} in hold the German advance.
I don't have too much info on the stucture of the army.
Correct me if I'm wrong, didn't the last Marshal before Joffre die in the 1890's?
WF

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Re: French Army Ranks up to 1914

Post  buistR on Tue 17 Jun 2008, 3:02 pm

Yes you are right WF. The last Marshal of France before Joffre would have been Francois Conrobert who died in 1893. He was one of several Marshals created under the Second Empire - in his case in 1856. That repository of all wisdom (sort of) Wikipedia has a full listing of all France's marshals over the centuries - see Marshal of France article.

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French Airforce pre 1943

Post  wfrad on Thu 19 Jun 2008, 10:13 am

Thank's buistR
Here's another brief rank chart for French Air Rank.
If you spot any mistakes let me know.
All other ranks wore blue felt collar patches, piping was Russian braid of branch colour.
Flying personnel also wore metal qualification badges above the breast pocket.
Branch colours:
Green – Fighter interceptors.
Yellow – Mixed formations.
Scarlet – Bombers.
Sky blue – Intelligence, Observation and reconnaissance.
Violet – Aerodrome personnel.
Ash grey – Air battalions and companies.
White - Meteorology.
Orange – Balloon Battalions.
From 1944 The Free French were organised with British and American uniforms with remnants of French equipment.
Free French branch of service colours were:
Black – Flying Cadre.
Violet – Mechanics.
Brown – Administration.
Bordeaux red – Medical.
Blue – Police
Free French rank was also worn in different positions and also a new rank of Sergeant Major.
Long stripes and chevrons were still worn on the forearms of the Louise blue French uniforms, while short 5cm ones on a blue background were worn on the forearms of the Khaki American jacket, and the shoulder straps of the American blouse.
Rank was worn on the shoulder straps of the British uniform and summer shirts.


regardsWF


Last edited by wfrad on Thu 19 Jun 2008, 10:18 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : brain instead of braid)

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Re: French Army Ranks up to 1914

Post  ChrisF202 on Thu 19 Jun 2008, 10:04 pm

Another amazing chart Wfrad! What program do you use to draw these illustrations? Also when was this system of insignia introduced? I assume its 1909 (when the French Air Force was created) - 1943?

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french army of the air

Post  wfrad on Fri 20 Jun 2008, 5:26 am

Chris
The ranks in use during [or at least the start] of WWII were adopted around 1934/35.
The Military Aviation and Aviation Service of the Navy were renamed Army of the Air and Maritime Aviation and reorganisation and modernisation began mid 30's.
Programs that I use are a mix of Serif PhotoPlus10 and Corel draw, corel came cheap with the system and although good, I have just mastered the basics.
I believe you can get a copy of PhotPlus10 and a draw program for free, you just have to register with Serif.

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