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French Battalion NCO grouping 23rd IR / 2nd ID
Old 04-05-2010, 11:54 AM   #1
VALERY226
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Default French Battalion NCO grouping 23rd IR / 2nd ID

Bonjour,
Two years ago in a garage sale, late in the morning (around 10 !), I noticed in a shoe box, an Indian head patch. I thought at the beginning it was a vehicle collector patch but when I saw snaps in the back, I knew it was a good shot… In the box, more treasures were hidden among plastic toys and cheap tools. The young seller told me that all these military insignias came from his grandfather who spent, according to him, few years in the US Army during WWII and in ...PTO. Unfortunately in France, Korea war is a forgotten war and only few people know french soldiers fought bravely in the country of the morning calm.



We have here a little grouping from a “bataillon de Corée” sergeant.

The COREE tab is an official type (gold letters on black). They are widely used since may 51 by French volunteers and became official after a CO (general MONCLAR) in October 51.

The 2nd Infantry Division SSI is a flat edge US made. 6 female snaps were sewn in the back in order to clean easily the uniform.


Two crossed rifles with 23 added



Japanese made DI of the 23rd Infantry Regiment made by N.B.I Co Japan. The French Bn was the fourth battalion of the 23 IR.



Nations Unies shield. This insignia is the first type made by Drago Paris Nice from 1950 till 1952. This insignia was designed to follow the US uniforms regulations and has to be worn on the Ike jacket or summer shirt instead of collar discs.



The the red piping on the sergeant stripes on the right side means this NCO came from colonial troops.

The UN sky blue background ranks are unofficial and are rarely seen

The Distinguished Unit Citation has the two oak leaves (General orders 86, 49 and 72)
and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation (General orders 276 and 304) are the two unit citations won by the Bn.

After some works, I discovered that this junior NCO has been wounded as a group leader, received a TOE war cross and ended his tour as Bn postman.

Hope you enjoy

Cheers

Valery
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Unfortunately in France, Korea war is a forgotten war and only few people know french soldiers fought bravely in the country of the morning calm.
Valery,

as you no doubt are well aware it is not only in France that the collective memory of the war has been erased...ask the Briton in the street about the Korean War and our part in it and you would get a blank look in return.....

I am very glad that you have rescued the grouping and this brave son of France is remembered and honoured once more.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:24 PM   #3
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What a superb grouping!

The French, like many other members of the United Nations forces, achieved heroic triumphs in Korea.

Thanks for posting this collection!
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:34 AM   #4
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Hello valery,

Being in a reenactment group named crèvecoeur about the french battalion in the korean war, I'm really impressed of this lot. Are you still in possession of it?

Thanks for all

Augustin
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:23 PM   #5
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Many of these veterans went on to perish in Indochina while serving with Groupe Mobile 100.

Korea

Lieutenant General Raoul Magrin-Vernerey, better known under his nom de guerre, Monclar, Inspector of the French Foreign Legion and a hero of World War II, supported Chief of Staff of the French Army General Clément Blanc's decision to form a volunteer force and agreed to command the new unit, accepting a demotion back to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The French Battalion arrived in Pusan, South Korea on November 29, 1950 and was placed under the operational control of the 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, 2nd U.S. Infantry Division. Despite initial fears about French forces being "on the rout",[1] the battalion carried out several successful early actions and earned the respect of General Matthew Ridgway, commander of the U.S. Eighth Army.

From January 7–12, 1951, the French Battalion participated in the First and Second Battle of Wonju where it stopped the North Korean advance. It was followed by the Battle of the Twin Tunnels (February 1–2, 1951) and of Chipyong-ni (February 3–16, 1951). These battles, during which the battalion resisted the attacks of four Chinese divisions for three days, allowed the 8th Army to score a victorious counter-offensive. Three weeks later, the battalion was engaged in combat for Hill 1037 (about 50 miles east of Seoul) and lost 40 dead and 200 wounded while attacking and capturing the hill.

In the spring of 1951, the battalion crossed the 38th parallel into the Hwacheon region. The destruction of an engineering platoon led to a partial rout of the French Battalion. However it allowed U.S forces to stop the new Chinese offensive. In the fall of 1951, the French took part in the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. In the course of these combats which lasted a month, 60 French soldiers were killed and 200 were wounded. In the fall of 1952, after a lethal war of positions, similar to the Battle of Verdun during World War I, the battalion put a halt in Chongwon, South Korea, to a Chinese offensive toward Seoul. This resistance resulted in 47 dead and 144 wounded. The total Chinese losses against the French battalion were estimated at 2000 men. In the winter and the spring of 1953, the battalion took part in battles which kept the North Korean and Chinese forces from reaching Seoul.

After the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in July 1953, the French Battalion left Korea with five French Citations to the Order of the Army; the French Fourragère in the colors of the Military Medal; two Korean Presidential Citations; and three American Distinguished Unit Citations. Forty-four of the French casualties were eventually buried at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, South Korea.

In an address to a joint session of the United States Congress in May 1952, General Ridgway said the following:

I shall speak briefly of the 23rd US Infantry Regiment, Colonel Paul L. Freeman commanding, [and] with the French Battalion... Isolated far in advance of the general battle line, completely surrounded in near-zero weather, they repelled repeated assaults by day and night by vastly superior numbers of Chinese. They were finally relieved... I want to say that these American fighting men, with their French comrades-in-arms, measured up in every way to the battle conduct of the finest troops America and France have produced throughout their national existence.

One member of the French Battalion, Louis Misseri, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States for his actions. His citation reads:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Louis Misseri, Sergeant, Army of France, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with the Third Company, French Battalion, attached to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces at Pia-ri, Korea on September 26, 1951. As a squad leader in an attack on "Heartbreak Ridge," Sergeant Misseri led his squad through an intense barrage of enemy mortar and artillery fire to the slope on which enemy bunkers were located. Dividing his squad into two sections, he personally led one section of three men in an assault upon the bunkers. While his comrades covered his advance, he moved forward alone through a hail of fire, attacked the first bunker, and silenced it. He continued his assault until the way had been cleared for his squad to advance and reorganize. When the enemy launched a counterattack, Sergeant Misseri, although seriously wounded, drove them back, inflicting fifteen casualties with his rifle. When this position became untenable and he was ordered to withdraw, he sent his men back one by one while he covered their withdrawal. The last man to leave the hill, except for one other who helped him because of his wounded condition, he would not allow himself to be evacuated until he had made a complete report of his mission. One of the very few men to reach the top of "Heartbreak Ridge" during this costly attack, Sergeant Misseri's gallantry and extraordinary devotion to duty reflect the highest credit on him and uphold the finest traditions of the Army and the Republic of France.[3]

The commander of the 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment said of the French Battalion:

When you order them [the French] in defence, you're sure they'll hold the position. When you show them a hill to be seized, you're sure they'll manage to get atop. You may leave for two days, storms of shells and waves of enemies may swarm over them, the French are still there!

Post Korea

On October 22, 1953, the French battalion embarked on the SS General Blake and headed for Indochina, where it would be expanded into a two battalion regiment and form the nucleus of the French Groupement mobile 100. During their service in Indochina, the unit (under its new title of Le Regiment de Corée) would participate in the brutal Battle of Mang Yang Pass along Route coloniale 19 in June and July 1954, where it would suffer heavy casualties. Between its arrival in Indochina and the cease-fire on July 20, 1954, the 1st Battalion suffered 238 killed or wounded, and the 2nd Battalion suffered 202 killed or wounded. In addition, 34 Indochinese assigned to the battalion were killed in action. On September 1, 1954, the Regiment de Corée was disbanded and reduced back to battalion size. The battalion remained in Indochina until July 17, 1955, whereupon it embarked from Saigon to Algeria to participate in the suppression of the ongoing insurrection.

On August 10, 1955, the battalion landed in Algiers and began a series of garrison and search and destroy operations in the Constantine Department. On September 1, 1960, the battalion was amalgamated with the 156th Infantry Regiment (French: 156e Régiment d'Infanterie) and received the designation of 156e Régiment d'Infanterie- Régiment de Corée. All told, the regiment suffered 48 killed in action in Algeria. The regiment was repatriated to France following the Évian Accords and disbanded upon its return to France in 1962.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beersheba4thLH View Post
Many of these veterans went on to perish in Indochina while serving with Groupe Mobile 100.

Korea

Lieutenant General Raoul Magrin-Vernerey, better known under his nom de guerre, Monclar, Inspector of the French Foreign Legion and a hero of World War II, supported Chief of Staff of the French Army General Clément Blanc's decision to form a volunteer force and agreed to command the new unit, accepting a demotion back to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The French Battalion arrived in Pusan, South Korea on November 29, 1950 and was placed under the operational control of the 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, 2nd U.S. Infantry Division. Despite initial fears about French forces being "on the rout",[1] the battalion carried out several successful early actions and earned the respect of General Matthew Ridgway, commander of the U.S. Eighth Army.

From January 7–12, 1951, the French Battalion participated in the First and Second Battle of Wonju where it stopped the North Korean advance. It was followed by the Battle of the Twin Tunnels (February 1–2, 1951) and of Chipyong-ni (February 3–16, 1951). These battles, during which the battalion resisted the attacks of four Chinese divisions for three days, allowed the 8th Army to score a victorious counter-offensive. Three weeks later, the battalion was engaged in combat for Hill 1037 (about 50 miles east of Seoul) and lost 40 dead and 200 wounded while attacking and capturing the hill.

In the spring of 1951, the battalion crossed the 38th parallel into the Hwacheon region. The destruction of an engineering platoon led to a partial rout of the French Battalion. However it allowed U.S forces to stop the new Chinese offensive. In the fall of 1951, the French took part in the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. In the course of these combats which lasted a month, 60 French soldiers were killed and 200 were wounded. In the fall of 1952, after a lethal war of positions, similar to the Battle of Verdun during World War I, the battalion put a halt in Chongwon, South Korea, to a Chinese offensive toward Seoul. This resistance resulted in 47 dead and 144 wounded. The total Chinese losses against the French battalion were estimated at 2000 men. In the winter and the spring of 1953, the battalion took part in battles which kept the North Korean and Chinese forces from reaching Seoul.

After the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in July 1953, the French Battalion left Korea with five French Citations to the Order of the Army; the French Fourragère in the colors of the Military Medal; two Korean Presidential Citations; and three American Distinguished Unit Citations. Forty-four of the French casualties were eventually buried at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, South Korea.

In an address to a joint session of the United States Congress in May 1952, General Ridgway said the following:

I shall speak briefly of the 23rd US Infantry Regiment, Colonel Paul L. Freeman commanding, [and] with the French Battalion... Isolated far in advance of the general battle line, completely surrounded in near-zero weather, they repelled repeated assaults by day and night by vastly superior numbers of Chinese. They were finally relieved... I want to say that these American fighting men, with their French comrades-in-arms, measured up in every way to the battle conduct of the finest troops America and France have produced throughout their national existence.

One member of the French Battalion, Louis Misseri, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States for his actions. His citation reads:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Louis Misseri, Sergeant, Army of France, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with the Third Company, French Battalion, attached to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces at Pia-ri, Korea on September 26, 1951. As a squad leader in an attack on "Heartbreak Ridge," Sergeant Misseri led his squad through an intense barrage of enemy mortar and artillery fire to the slope on which enemy bunkers were located. Dividing his squad into two sections, he personally led one section of three men in an assault upon the bunkers. While his comrades covered his advance, he moved forward alone through a hail of fire, attacked the first bunker, and silenced it. He continued his assault until the way had been cleared for his squad to advance and reorganize. When the enemy launched a counterattack, Sergeant Misseri, although seriously wounded, drove them back, inflicting fifteen casualties with his rifle. When this position became untenable and he was ordered to withdraw, he sent his men back one by one while he covered their withdrawal. The last man to leave the hill, except for one other who helped him because of his wounded condition, he would not allow himself to be evacuated until he had made a complete report of his mission. One of the very few men to reach the top of "Heartbreak Ridge" during this costly attack, Sergeant Misseri's gallantry and extraordinary devotion to duty reflect the highest credit on him and uphold the finest traditions of the Army and the Republic of France.[3]

The commander of the 23rd U.S. Infantry Regiment said of the French Battalion:

When you order them [the French] in defence, you're sure they'll hold the position. When you show them a hill to be seized, you're sure they'll manage to get atop. You may leave for two days, storms of shells and waves of enemies may swarm over them, the French are still there!

Post Korea

On October 22, 1953, the French battalion embarked on the SS General Blake and headed for Indochina, where it would be expanded into a two battalion regiment and form the nucleus of the French Groupement mobile 100. During their service in Indochina, the unit (under its new title of Le Regiment de Corée) would participate in the brutal Battle of Mang Yang Pass along Route coloniale 19 in June and July 1954, where it would suffer heavy casualties. Between its arrival in Indochina and the cease-fire on July 20, 1954, the 1st Battalion suffered 238 killed or wounded, and the 2nd Battalion suffered 202 killed or wounded. In addition, 34 Indochinese assigned to the battalion were killed in action. On September 1, 1954, the Regiment de Corée was disbanded and reduced back to battalion size. The battalion remained in Indochina until July 17, 1955, whereupon it embarked from Saigon to Algeria to participate in the suppression of the ongoing insurrection.

On August 10, 1955, the battalion landed in Algiers and began a series of garrison and search and destroy operations in the Constantine Department. On September 1, 1960, the battalion was amalgamated with the 156th Infantry Regiment (French: 156e Régiment d'Infanterie) and received the designation of 156e Régiment d'Infanterie- Régiment de Corée. All told, the regiment suffered 48 killed in action in Algeria. The regiment was repatriated to France following the Évian Accords and disbanded upon its return to France in 1962.
Impressive battle record.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:18 AM   #7
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From January 7–12, 1951, the French Battalion participated in the First and Second Battle of Wonju where it stopped the North Korean advance. It was followed by the Battle of the Twin Tunnels (February 1–2, 1951) and of Chipyong-ni (February 3–16, 1951). These battles, during which the battalion resisted the attacks of four Chinese divisions for three days, allowed the 8th Army to score a victorious counter-offensive.
Actually the 23rd Infantry RCT (including the French Battalion).
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:31 PM   #8
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Wow the Wehrmacht Forum never ceases to amaze me. My Uncle Charles S. Feikert who served with the 23rd RCT, fought with the French Battalion in Korea. I just called my Father who has all of Charles effects, to which he just received. In his military documents father said that he has a document from either the U.S. or French Government that says he has Received the Croix De Gere with Bronze Star for pulling, rescuing injured French Soldiers under direct enemy fire. I called Father to have him find the documents to verify what is said.

I shall post again with what is said in the document. A special Thanks to VALERY226 and Beersheba 4thLH for your posts.

Last edited by Heer Feikert; 03-25-2018 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:00 PM   #9
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Hi,

i recently reread again the massive and probably the best book on the Korean War by Clay Blair "The Forgotten War" and also the "Bataillon de Corée - Les volontaires français 1950-1953" by Erwan Bergot.

I do not want to dismiss all the other foreign units who fighted in the United Nations forces in Korea, but the French Battalion took part in the most famous victorious battles of the war with the US forces, especially the 2nd "Indian" Division :
- Wonju battle (January 10, 1951)
- Twin Tunnels battle (February 3, 1951)
- Chipyong-Ni battle (February 13-17, 1951)
- Heartbreak Bridge battle (September 13-October 22, 1951)
- T-Bone fights (June 20-July 27, 1952)
- Arrowhead battle (October 5-12, 1952)

The French Battalion became famous on his first battle in Wonju, when 25 French soldiers, under the command of Gildas Lebeurier, counterattacked the CCF with a bayonet charge. Lebeurrier, who passed away on June 2, 2017, got the Silver Star from General Ridgway on his hospital bed.

It should be noted that at the time France was fighting (losing is a proper term) in Indochina, and that no French organic troops was available for the Korean War.
And the communists in France led an heavy propaganda campaign against the French Battalion.

Amongst the +3400 French volunteers, we will find... a few guys that already fighted the "Reds" during... WW2. It is confirmed that a few ex-LVF volunteers were enlisted (probably as Foreign Legion soldiers) and took part to the fights, i was unable to find if it was the case for any French Waffen-SS volunteers.

You will find below some maps taken from Bergot's book (in French).
I reworked the Heartbtreak Ridge map that was originally painful to understand.

Map 1 shows the itineary of the French Battalion during the Korean War, and the various famous (won) battles in which the unit took part.

Map 2 shows the battles of Twin Tunnels and Chipyong-Ni.

Map 3 shows the battle of Heartbreak Ridge.

Map 4 shows the battle of Arrowhead.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg 1.jpg (117.1 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg 2.jpg (149.6 KB, 95 views)
File Type: jpg 3.jpg (144.0 KB, 97 views)
File Type: jpg 4.jpg (154.5 KB, 97 views)
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:03 PM   #10
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Hi,

now here is the Gliederung of the French Battalion, courtesy of the Bergot's book.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg b.jpg (95.0 KB, 95 views)
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:36 PM   #11
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Hi,

some pictures of the high-ranking officers of the French Battalion, courtesy of Bergot's book.

Pic 1 shows from left to right :
- General Monclar (Supreme commander of the United Nations French Forces)
- Commander Le Mire (commander of the French Battalion from November 1950 to September 1951)
- Commander Barthélémy (deputy of the French Battalion from September 1951 to November 1951)
- Commander De Beaufond (deputy of French Battalion from November 1950 to September 1951 then commander of the French Battalion from September 1951 to November 1951)

Pic 2 shows from left to right :
- General Monclar
- Capitain Le Maitre (commander of the C.A., compagnie d'accompagnement - mortars and rocket launchers)
- General Ruffner (Commander of the 2nd "Indian" Division)

Pic 3 (February 1951, visiting the French Battalion) shows from left to right :
- General Almond (commanding the U.S. X Corps)
- General MacArthur (then commander of United Nations Command in Korea)
- Civil War Correspondent François Pelou, of "L'Aurore" newspaper - now known as "Le Parisien", which would be the first French journalist in Dallas when President Kennedy and then his murderer Oswald was killed)
- General Ridgway (then 8th Army commander)

Pic 4 shows from left to right :
- Commander Le Mire (commander of the French Battalion from November 1950 to September 1951) holding the temporary flag of the French Battalion
- General Monclar awarding the Croix de Guerre des Théâtres et Opérations Extérieurs (CDG TOE) to the unit

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg numérisation0111.jpg (113.8 KB, 95 views)
File Type: jpg numérisation0113.jpg (109.1 KB, 95 views)
File Type: jpg numérisation0114.jpg (157.1 KB, 95 views)
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:44 PM   #12
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Hi,

courtesy of the Bergot's book, the listing of the KIA/MIA of the French Battalion.

A total of 269 French soldiers + 18 South Korean soldiers were killed, and 7 went missing in action.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg w.jpg (164.0 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg x.jpg (154.3 KB, 95 views)
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Old 07-29-2018, 07:56 PM   #13
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Hi,

two interesting PDFs in French : the attached one is the history of the Battalion in the Korean War.

The second one on the link below is a 52-page commemorative booklet made for the recent memorials built in South Korean between 2007 and 2013.
Each battle location is given, with various infos, including the number of KIA.

http://www.bataillon-coree.com/image...de-MEMOIRE.pdf

and to conclude, here is the French Battalion commemorative official website :

http://www.bataillon-coree.com/index.php/fr/

See You

Vince
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merci
Old 08-09-2018, 04:32 PM   #14
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A most interesting thread of the "forgotten war" and thanks to all who provided information, including Vince's "Gliederung"!
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:34 PM   #15
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I agree Very interesting !!!!!!!!! Tom
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