Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Frenchie I.

This is coolbert:

"Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's danger all about?"


Better known by his adopted nom de guerre', MONCLAR.

"nom de guerre'

an assumed name, as one under which a person fights, paints, writes, etc. pseudonym"

The adoption of a nom de guerre' is a common practice among senior French military officers? Why is that so if it is so?

Enlisted in the French Foreign Legion [FFL] at age fifteen. Was told "go home" when his ruse was discovered. I am surprised that he was even allowed to enlist in the first place. French citizens, according to what I know, ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENLIST IN THE FFL.

Graduated from the French military academy of St. Cyr in 1914. Just in time to see service in World War One [WW1]. Was a lieutenant in the French Army and served with great distinction.

By the end of the war [WW1]:

* Eleven citations.

* Wounded seven times.

* 90 % disabled.

* Mustard gas damage to eyes.

* Two trepanations [drilling a hole in the head to release pressure] for head wounds.

* Right arm broken by grenade explosion.

* Thigh fractured by bullet wound.

Served postwar [WW1] as an officer in the FFL. The normal practice is for enlisted in the FFL to be non-Frenchmen, the officers active duty serving French citizens.

Had a distinguished record in World War Two [WW2].

* Bjervik [Norway].

* Narvik [Norway].

* Orient French Brigade in Eritrea.

* northern Syria.

And finally:

"In 1950, as Lieutenant General, on the eve of his retirement, he exchanged his stars for the stripes of a Lieutenant Colonel in order to be able to fight voluntarily as the commander of the French battalion made available to the United Nations in Korea. He was wounded seven times, was the recipient of 22 citations and 100 percent disabled."

Took, voluntarily, a reduction of rank from Lieutenant General to Lieutenant Colonel just to be able to lead the French battalion in Korea. Lead into combat in a desperate fight against terrible odds. THAT REDUCTION IN RANK, DELIBERATE AS IT WAS, IS THERE ANY PARALLEL ANYWHERE!!??

[I had previously stated that the reduction in rank was from Major General to rank of Major. Well, I was close!]

"The French soldiers were volunteers from Legion garrisons in Africa and other parts of the world. Their leader was a battle-scarred veteran of the Legion who led them in battle wearing his monocle, a beret, a bright red scarf--and using a cane to compensate for his limp. Sixty-year-old Raoul Monclar, as he called himself, had given up his three-star general's rank and his true name of Magrin-Venery and had reverted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, since general was too high a rank for a battalion commander. Now, with a nom de guerre and the proper rank to lead a volunteer battalion in combat under the U.N. flag, he and his 1,000-man force . . . "This is my finest hour," Monclar declared."

"This is my finest hour".

This WAS his finest hour. And for all of those men of the French battalion serving in Korea too. There MUST HAVE BEEN A SENSE OF OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE FRENCH TROOPS TOWARD THE AMERICANS. AND A DESIRE TO REDEEM FRENCH MILITARY HONOR TOO!!

And here the comments from an American soldier serving with the French battalion during the Korean Conflict:

"I had several conversations with Colonel Monclar in his quarters. The Colonel usually operated his battalion headquarters from a frontline company. He served me some of his personal wine once--I was just a corporal at the time."

"The Colonel usually operated his battalion headquarters from a frontline company"

HQ located with a frontline company. Monclar was NOT one to shirk the danger - - was he!!?? NO, he was a man that did the opposite his whole life.

"He served me some of his personal wine once"

The personal leadership touch. NOT found at all levels of command. Monclar had it! As for the French and their cuisine and love of wine, need I say anything?


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