Jean de Lattre de Tassigny


Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

Infobox Military Person
name= Jean de Lattre de Tassigny


caption=De Lattre at the 5 June 1945 meeting in Berlin
born=2 February 1889
died=11 January 1952
placeofbirth= Mouilleron-en-Pareds, France
placeofdeath= Paris, France
nickname=Roi Jean
allegiance=
serviceyears= 1911 - 1951
rank=Général d'Armée
commands=First Army
French Far East Expeditionary Corps
unit=
battles= World War I
World War II
First Indochina War
awards=Marshal of France (posthumous)
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor
relations=Bernard de Lattre de Tassigny
laterwork=

Jean Joseph Marie Gabriel de Lattre de Tassigny (2 February 1889 – 11 January 1952) was a French military hero of World War II.

Early life

Born at Mouilleron-en-Pareds, he graduated from school in 1911 (5th of his promotion in saint-Cyr), and fought in World War I and was wounded two times. He specialized in cavalry, and was made head of the French War College in 1935. After World War I he served as an officer in the French headquarters during the Rif War.

He entered general Weygand headquarter in 1932 (who had the choice between de Lattre and de Gaulle and choose de Lattre because of his superiors rank and honors), and then served in the headquarter of an infantry regiment at Metz.

World War II

When war was declared in 1939, he commanded the French 14th Infantry Division until the armistice with the Axis troops. He won a minor battle in Rethel where a German officer said that the French resistance was similar as in the battle of Verdun.

He remained on active duty, commanding Vichy French forces in Tunisia in 1941. He took charge of the 16th Division in 1942, but began organizing an anti-German force, which led to his arrest and a 10-year jail sentence. He escaped, though, to Algiers, where he took command of the French Army B. "French Army B" were one of two armies of the Southern Group of Armies otherwise known as the "U.S. 6th Army Group" which was set up to organise the invasion of Southern France in Operation Dragoon. The other army was the US Seventh Army commanded by Alexander M. Patch. Before that, elements of de Lattre's army took Corsica. De Lattre then landed in Provence, southern France on August 16, 1944, and his troops began marching through France liberating the country as they went. On September 25 1944 "French Army B" was redesignated French First Army. The army crossed the Vosges after heavy fighting. After that, de Lattre took Belfort but stopping the progress of his army, he allowed the Germans to create the Colmar Pocket. During December 1944, the attempts to take Colmar were unsuccessful but de Lattre was able to collapse the pocket in January and February 1945 after the successful defence of Strasbourg (defended on the north by American troops ans the French 3rd DIA and on the south by the French).

Under General Charles de Gaulle's encouragement those French Resistance members who wished to continue fighting were incorporated into the French First Army by General de Lattre. Once France had been liberated, as part of the Alliance, his army crossed the Rhine and invaded Germany. In Germany, his army, now numbering 300,000 soldiers took Karlsruhe, Ulm and Stuttgart before crossing the Danube and arriving in Austria. De Lattre represented France at the German unconditional surrender in Berlin on May 8, 1945.

After World War II

After World War II, he first became chief of staff of the NATO infantry in Europe. He was under the orders of Field Marshal Montgomery, organizing numerous training exercises. He also served as a French military ambassador in South America.Then, he commanded French troops in Indochina during the First Indochina War. He won three major victories at Vinh Yen, Mao khé and Yen Cu Ha and defended successfully the north of the country against the Viet Minh but his only son, Bernard de Lattre de Tassigny, was killed in action during the war In 1951, illness forced de Lattre de Tassigny to return to Paris where he later died of cancer; he was posthumously made Maréchal de France. After his return to France, his successors Salan and Navarre were far from having an equal success in Indochina.

Decorations

*Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur
*Companion of the Liberation (decree 20 November 1944)
*Médaille Militaire
*Croix de guerre 1914-1918 (8 citations)
*Croix de guerre 1939-1945
*Croix de guerre des Théatres d'Opérations Exterieures (3 citations)
*Médaille des Evadés
*Gold Medal of Physical Education
*Gold Medal of Public Health
*Military Cross (UK)
*Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (UK)
*Distinguished Service Medal (US)
*Legion of Merit (US)
*Order of Suvorov (USSR)
*Grand Cross of the Order of Léopold (Belgium)
*Croix de Guerre (Belgium)
*Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion (Czechoslovakia)
*Czechoslovak War Cross (Czechoslovakia)
*Grand Cross of the Order of St Olav (Norway)
*Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
*Virtuti Militari (Poland)
*Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog (Denmark)
*Commander of the Brazilian Order of Merit
*Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin (Argentina)
*Order of Military Merit, white (Cuba)
*Medal of Military Merit (Mexico)
*Grand Cross of Order of Military Merit (Chile)
*Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Cambodia
*Grand Cross of the National Order of Vietnam
*Grand Cross of the Order of a Million Elephants (Laos)
*Grand Cross of the Order of the White Parasol (Laos)
*Sherefian Merit Medal (Morocco)
*Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Morocco)
*Grand Cross of the Order of Blood (Tunisia)
*Grand Cross of the Order of the Black Star (Benin)

ee also

* Western Front (WWII)
* Battle of Hoa Binh
* Battle of Vinh Yen

References


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