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  • Groupe Blinde Sud Tunisien

    Groupe Blinde Sud Tunisien

    Found this little bit of info. Interesting mix of vehicles. Anyone had some additional info on it? How well did it do? What happened to it after North Africa?


    "Groupement blinde sud-tunisien" also sometimes known as - Groupe Blinde Francais (GBF).

    Formed in Feb 1943 from armoured/mobile elements of the French 19th Corps.
    The unit took part in several actions - Gafsa (17 march), Tebessa, Le Kef,
    Siliana, Pont-du-Fahs and Zaghouan and helped the 8th Army,
    coming from the south, to cut the Cape Bon peninsula.

    Groupe HQ: 3x S-35, radio lorries
    5th RCA: up to 20x Valentine
    9th RCA: 6x M3 75mm GMC
    12th RCA: 20x S-35
    1 US LIght Tank Coy: 17x M3A1 Stuart

    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...?f=85&t=142168

    Robert
    For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

  • #2
    Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post
    Groupe Blinde Sud Tunisien

    Found this little bit of info. Interesting mix of vehicles. Anyone had some additional info on it? How well did it do? What happened to it after North Africa?
    The short answer is the various components were used as parts of the new French armored and infantry divisions formed along the US TO/TE & with US equipment in 1943-44.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      The short answer is the various components were used as parts of the new French armored and infantry divisions formed along the US TO/TE & with US equipment in 1943-44.
      Thanks Carl. I was hoping that some of our French friends perhaps would have some more info then what I found. Robert
      For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post
        Thanks Carl. I was hoping that some of our French friends perhaps would have some more info then what I found. Robert
        Seasoned soldiers were a bliss for the green US Army, during the winter and spring of 1943, the input of the French units operating in the mountains tipped the scales and was instrumental in preventing the Germans from moving farther west towards Algeria.

        Somua S35 tanks still performed well in North Africa, outfitted with the radio communication system they lacked in 1940.

        It's a squadron of Somua S35 (lieutenant Douboster) from the 12eme RCA who captured general von Arnim and his staff at the Cap Bon several hours before the arrival of the British 8th army.
        Von Arnim was so outraged to be caught by the French that he refused to give his pistol to the French officer and sulked until a British Officer came along.


        kelt
        Last edited by kelt06; 25 Feb 10, 10:54.

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        • #5
          Once again I'm looking for information on the unit. How well did it do? What happened to it after North Africa? Did it serve in Italy? Any other type of info? I found what I think is a little more about it. Robert

          "The group fought during the last phase of the Tunisian campaign, beginning with the attack on Gafsa on March 17, 1943. The Somua squadron got its last mission in May 1943: help the 8th Army, coming from the south, to cut the Cape Bon peninsula where 200,000 German and Italian troops were concentrated, hoping for an improbable evacuation by sea. The Somua squadron began its attack on May 9, 1943, and initially meet no serious opposition. A second platoon followed the first one 2 km behind. Their crews were the helpless witnesses of the fate of the mates, slaughtered by the guns of camouflaged Panzer IVs. They later counted up to 12x 75mm shots on one of the 2 destroyed Somua S35 tanks. The 3 other tanks of the platoons escaped thanks to their speed. On May 11, the French troops in the 19th Army Corps crushed the remnants of the 21.PzD, and 2 days later the capitulation of the Axis forces in Africa was signed.
          During these exhausting battles, the Somua S35 tank has once more displayed its inherent qualities. A total of only 4 were lost in combat. Capitaine Gribius wrote then: "the Somua tank can still be counted as one of the best of the mechanically, with the speed, range, reliability and simplicity of the best US tanks to date. But its inferiority lies in the insufficient armament, lack of communication equipments, in its well designed but not thick enough armor, and in its internal layout in the crew compartments (ergonomics) that is no more suited to the present tactics (1943)".
          Among the 19 surviving tanks, 17 will be kept in the 1st squadron of the 7th Régiment de la Garde to show the flag in this part of the French Empire. But before leaving their tanks, the crews pulled away the embossed "SOMUA" plates and welded them on the Shermans received from the new US ally. Thus keeping the memory of the tank all of them saw as the best tank in the world !"
          Last edited by JCFalkenbergIII; 26 Feb 10, 23:34.
          For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post
            Once again I'm looking for information on the unit. How well did it do? What happened to it after North Africa? Did it serve in Italy? Any other type of info? I found what I think is a little more about it. Robert

            "The group fought during the last phase of the Tunisian campaign, beginning with the attack on Gafsa on March 17, 1943. The Somua squadron got its last mission in May 1943: help the 8th Army, coming from the south, to cut the Cape Bon peninsula where 200,000 German and Italian troops were concentrated, hoping for an improbable evacuation by sea. The Somua squadron began its attack on May 9, 1943, and initially meet no serious opposition. A second platoon followed the first one 2 km behind. Their crews were the helpless witnesses of the fate of the mates, slaughtered by the guns of camouflaged Panzer IVs. They later counted up to 12x 75mm shots on one of the 2 destroyed Somua S35 tanks. The 3 other tanks of the platoons escaped thanks to their speed. On May 11, the French troops in the 19th Army Corps crushed the remnants of the 21.PzD, and 2 days later the capitulation of the Axis forces in Africa was signed.
            During these exhausting battles, the Somua S35 tank has once more displayed its inherent qualities. A total of only 4 were lost in combat. Capitaine Gribius wrote then: "the Somua tank can still be counted as one of the best of the mechanically, with the speed, range, reliability and simplicity of the best US tanks to date. But its inferiority lies in the insufficient armament, lack of communication equipments, in its well designed but not thick enough armor, and in its internal layout in the crew compartments (ergonomics) that is no more suited to the present tactics (1943)".
            Among the 19 surviving tanks, 17 will be kept in the 1st squadron of the 7th Régiment de la Garde to show the flag in this part of the French Empire. But before leaving their tanks, the crews pulled away the embossed "SOMUA" plates and welded them on the Shermans received from the new US ally. Thus keeping the memory of the tank all of them saw as the best tank in the world !"


            There was no such thing as a regiment de la garde in the French Army during WWII.

            The 22 Somua S35 light tanks (cavalerie) used in Tunisia by the 12th Cuirrassier (armored) were all outfitted with ER29 or ER55 radio sets (in 1940 only some of the platoon leader tanks had an ER 29 set).

            The S35 tanks and their battle experienced crew had been shipped from France to Dakar in late 1940, officially to beef up the defenses against Anglo/FFL attacks, in 1942 the unit was transferred to Algeria.

            Another S35 unit was recreated in 1944, the 13eme regiment de Dragons, outfitted with tanks recovered from Normandy, storage parcs and from the factory.
            The 13th Dragon was involved with the clearing of "Festung Saint Nazaire" together with other newly formed units outfitted with French and German tanks and supported by FFI as infantry.



            kelt

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kelt06 View Post

              The S35 tanks and their battle experienced crew had been shipped from France to Dakar in late 1940, officially to beef up the defenses against Anglo/FFL attacks, in 1942 the unit was transferred to Algeria.
              How many were sent to Africa in 1940? Do you have much other info on what was sent to Africa from June 1940? Tanks, artillery, aircraft, men, ect...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                How many were sent to Africa in 1940? Do you have much other info on what was sent to Africa from June 1940? Tanks, artillery, aircraft, men, ect...
                a grand total of 22 S35 were taken from an armistice storage parc and sent to Dakar in the fall of 1940, most of the remaining S35 were spirited away by the Germans despite the 1940 armistice agreement.

                kelt

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                • #9
                  Any other tanks, aircraft, ect... ?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                    How many were sent to Africa in 1940? Do you have much other info on what was sent to Africa from June 1940? Tanks, artillery, aircraft, men, ect...
                    I believe that David Lehmann provided detailed informations on Axis History Forum a while ago.


                    kelt

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kelt06 View Post
                      I believe that David Lehmann provided detailed informations on Axis History Forum a while ago.


                      kelt
                      Thanks. I am always looking for new or alternate sources/opinions

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                      • #12
                        As of 1942. Were these the same French units as in the Groupe Blinde Sud Tunisien? Robert

                        Groupement du Sud Tunisien - Lt-Col Nussard, (port of Gabès)
                        • 1st battalion, 4e Régiment de Tirailleurs Tunisiens (I/4e RTT) – Colonial Infantry
                        • 2nd groupe d’escadrons à cheval, 4e Régiment de Spahis Tunisiens (II/4e RST) – Horse Cavalry
                        For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

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