Régiment Blindé de Fusiliers-Marins
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|Régiment Blindé de Fusiliers-Marins|
M10 tank destroyer similar to those of the RBFM.
|Active||September 19, 1943 – end of 1945|
|Country||France GPRF Général De Gaulle|
|Type||Tank Chasseur Armored Regiment|
|Size||300 wheeled vehicles|
|Part of||2nd Armored Division|
|Engagements||World War II|
|Decorations||Fourragere Légion d'honneur (Dixmude, 1944)|
|Naval Ship-of-the-line captain Maggiar|
The Régiment Blindé de Fusiliers-Marins or (RBFM) was an armored naval infantry regiment of the French 2nd Armored Division. The regiment belonged to the units of the French Fusiliers Marins which are units of the French Navy whose ships were either immobilized or destroyed.
In November 1942, Anglo-American troops invaded North Africa and were joined by a group of Fusiliers-Marins (45 Fusiliers-Marins and 333 Officiers Mariniers, Quarter-masters and Sailors) who volunteered to serve alongside Allied forces. These volunteers were armed with U.S. equipment and served as reconnaissance troops, becoming known as the Bizerte Battalion.
On 19 September 1943, the Bizerte Battalion was redesignated the Régiment Blindé de Fusiliers-Marins. They were then moved to Casablanca, Morocco where they were joined by other volunteers who replaced those Marines who had returned to naval service.
Under the command of Naval Ship-of-the-line captain Maggiar, assisted by capitaine de corvette Martinet, the RBFM was equipped with 36 M10s, 25 M3 Scout Cars, 6 M2 half-tracks, 3 M3 Half-tracks and other vehicles and were integrated into the French 2nd Armored Division.
The RBFM was organised into 5 squadrons:
- Headquarters staff squadron
- 1st Squadron commanded by a Naval Lieutenant de Vaisseau (LV)
- 2nd Squadron commanded by a Naval Lieutenant de Vaisseau
- 3rd Squadron commanded by a Naval Lieutenant de Vaisseau
- 4th Squadron commanded by a Naval Lieutenant de Vaisseau
In addition a female ambulance platoon, the Marinettes, part of the 13th Medical Battalion, commanded by a female Enseigne de vaisseau was attached to the Regiment.
Arrival in Normandy
The 2nd Armored Division began disembarking on French soil at 01:30 on 3 August 1944, at Saint Martin de Varreville, the coast of Utah Beach.
Liberation of Paris
The RBFM played an active role to the liberation of Paris by penetrating the city in three places as follows:
- the 4th Squadron attacked towards the Pont de Sèvres, which was reached on the night of 24 July, despite strong resistance
- the 3rd squadron proceeded through Arpajon, Longjumeau, Antony, Sceaux, to arrive by the Porte d'Orléans, Porte de Gentilly and Porte d'Italie while progressing in direction of Hötel de Ville to finish at the Hotel Meurice
- 1st and 2nd Squadrons along with the Regimental command post proceeded through Trappes and Voisins-le-Bretonneux where one of the Tank Destroyers fired on the bell tower of the church, which was being used as a German observation post.
Since Normandy, the regiment destroyed some 60 German tanks for the loss of 10 tank-destroyers.
Liberation of Strasbourg
The Régiment Blindé de Fusiliers-Marins was decorated with the fourragère de la Légion d'Honneur des Fusiliers Marins de Dixmude, awarded in May 1944.
- Brigade de Fusiliers Marins
- List of Allied forces in the Normandy Campaign
- 1er Régiment de Fusiliers Marins