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North African units in Indochina

The French holdings in North Africa provided one of the main sources of manpower for the CEFEO. In July 1953, there were 30,000 North Africans serving in Indochina, as static garrisons, parts of the Groupes Mobile (GMs) or other mobile duties. The Tirailleurs (riflemen), Goumiers (Moroccan irregular infantry) and spahis (cavalry) from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, served throughout the war in many roles. The other North African units (i.e. the Colonial infantry and artillery) are not included here, but will be covered elsewhere. 



Each Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens (RTA - Algerian Rifle Regiment) was required, in early 1947, to form a March Battalion for service in Indochina, as part of the 1re Demi-Brigade de Marche de Tirailleurs Algériens (1re DBMTA - 1st March Demi-Brigade of Algerian Rifles). These were to return to their original units after a two-year tour. From 1950, the battalions stayed in place in Indochina, and were relieved by detachments from Algeria or Germany, to replace the time-expired personnel. 

In addition, four of the Bataillons de Pionniers Nord-Africains (BPNA) - formed in 1945-46 to guard depots of US military surplus material - were renamed (using the designations of previous tirailleur battalions, dissolved in 1940) and sent to Indochina. 

Also, the 7e RTA was sent in 1953 from garrison duty in Germany to serve in Indochina. 

The uniform and personal equipment of the Algerian Tirailleurs was generally a mixture of pre-WW2 French, WW2 US or British, and some post-WW2 French patterns. The bush-hat was popular in the field, though the US pattern steel helmet is also often seen on photographs, with the chèche (worn as a turban) mainly reserved for parades. Armament was typical for all CEFEO units (mixture of MAS 36 and M1 Garand rifles, plus FM 24/29 and 60mm or 81mm mortars as support). Tirailleurs used the standard CEFEO battalion organisation of HQ company and 4 rifle companies (often reduced to 3 companies in practice). 

The units of Algerian Tirailleurs which served in Indochina were:
Unit Dates of Service Notes
BM/1er RTA  26/03/47 -22/04/49  Part of 1re DBMTA. Served 5 months in Cochinchina, then 09-12/47 in Tonkin, before returning to Cochinchina (Thu Dau Mot, Vinh Long, Chau Doc) and Cambodia. Relieved by the 22e BTA. 
BM/2e RTA  26/03/47 -26/07/49  Part of the 1re DBMTA. Operated in Cochinchina (My Tho, Plain of Reeds, Long Xuyen, Rach Gia). 
BM/7e RTA  26/03/47 -17/08/49  Formed from III/7e RTA in Germany. Part of 1re DBMTA. Operated in Cochinchina (Ben Tre), Cambodia (09-10/48), then Cochinchina again (Ben Tre and Bien Hoa). 
BM/3e RTA  30/04/47 -07/09/49  Initially operated in Cochinchina (Sa Dec, Tra Vinh), then Tonkin 11/48 - 8/49 
201e BMTA  12/10/47  The 1er BM/201e RPNA became the 201e BMTA and operated in Tonkin (guarding the RC5), then moved to Cochinchina (01-03/48) to guard the rubber plantations. Became 21e BTA on 16/02/48. 
205e BMTA  17/11/47  Formed from the 205e BPNA, and became part of the 4e Demi-Brigade Algéro-Marocaine (4e DBAM - 4th Algero-Moroccan Demi-Brigade). Occupied the guard posts of the Cao Bang sector. Became the 23e BTA on 16/02/48. 
217e BTA  20/11/47  Formed from elements of the 217e BPNA and gendarmerie, and became part of the 4e DBAM. Stationed in Cochinchina (Cai Lay, Thu Dau Mot). Became 25e BTA on 16/02/48. 
21e BTA  16/02/48 -10/01/50  Renamed from the 201e BMTA. Served in Cochinchina until 03/48, then Tonkin (security on the RC4 between Cao Bang and Lang Son). 
23e BTA  16/02/48 -31/03/49  Manned the guard posts in Cao Bang sector until relieved by 25e BTA (and disbanded in situ). 
25e BTA  16/02/48 -01/02/50  Renamed from the 217e BTA. Moved from Cochinchina to Tonkin in 10/48, occupying the Cao Bang sector, and then Son Tay. Relieved in 01/50 by the 4e BM/7e RTA. 
22e BTA  20/02/49 -15/11/54  Formed from the 200e BPNA. Initially operated in Cochinchina (My Tho, Vinh Long), then air-transported to Tonkin in 01/51 for service in the Red River Delta (Vinh Yen, Phat Diem, Nam Dinh, Bui Chu) until its' disbandment. 
BM/6e RTA  08/06/49 -31/07/54  Served in Cochinchina (Rach Gia and Tra Vinh) until its' embarkment for Tonkin in 12/50. Then served at Haiphong, and subsequently several sectors in the Delta (Bac Ninh, Dap Cau, Ha Dong) until the cease-fire. Disbanded at Hanoi. 
2e BM/3e RTA  03/07/49 - 03/55  Relieved the BM/7e RTA in Cochinchina, and operated in Thu Dau Mot and Ben Cat until 01/54, when it was moved to Seno (Laos). 
2e BM/2e RTA  28/07/49 -30/09/54  Operated in Tonkin (Son Tay, Phuc Yen, Lao Kay, Lai Chu, RC6 posts) until 05/54. After the cease-fire, became I/21e RTA. 
4e BM/7e RTA  25/08/49 -30/09/54  Attached to the GMNA. Operated primarily in Tonkin, with interludes in Central Annam (05-06/50) and Cambodia (09-10/53). Operated in most of the Red River Delta during the course of many operations, and in 1954 became responsible for the security of the Hanoi-Haiphong railway. After the cease-fire, became the II/21e RTA on 01/10/54. 
2e BM/1er RTA  10/09/49 -07/05/54  Arrived in Tonkin with the GMNA, and operated here until 1954. Initially stationed in the Delta, but served upcountry in 1952, and in the Thai Highlands during 1953, before returning to the Delta. Then part of GM6, the battalion was air-transported to Dien Bien Phu in 12/53, and occupied the "Isabelle" position before being destroyed in 05/54. 
27e BTA  18/10/49 -15/12/54  Formed from elements of the 201e BPNA, 2e and 6e RTA. Operated in Annam (Quang Tri, Dong Hoi, Dong Ha). Transported in two waves to Tonkin in 1953, and operated in Mid-Laos from 12/53 - 06/54, then again in Tonkin (06-11/54). Transfered to Tourane (Da Nang) and disbanded. 
3e BM/3e RTA  15/12/49 -07/05/54  Arrived in Tonkin to provide security for Chinese refugees in Tien Yen and That Khe, then sent to Cochinchina (05/50) where they participated in a long series of operations in Thu Dau Mot, Lai Thieu and Ben Cat. Briefly served in Cambodia (06/52), then in Central Annam in the summer of 1952. Becoming part of the general reserve, they returned to Tonkin in 11/52, operating in Phat Diem, Ha Dong, and on the RC6. Sent to Cochinchina (07/53), then Central Annam (08/53), and they were air-transported to the Plain of Jars (Laos) before returning to Tonkin in 09/53. Attached to GM 9, they operated in the Delta until 12/53, when they were air-transported to Dien Bien Phu, where they occupied the "Dominique" position until their destruction in early 05/54. 
3e BM/1er RTA  12/01/50 -30/09/54  Arrived in Tonkin for service in the Delta (Nam Dinh, Phat Diem, Bac Ninh). From 06/51 - 08/52 served in Nha Trang (Annam), then returned to Tonkin for operations around Lai Chau and Na Sam (1953), then back to the Delta as part of GM 1. Part of the defence of Seno (Laos) from 01-04/54, then returned to Tonkin. Became the III/21e RTA after the cease-fire. 
3e BM/2e RTA  13/04/51 -31/08/54  Operated in Tonkin (Nam Dinh, Phu Ly, Son Tay, Ninh Giang, Ke Sat). Disbanded in situ. 
5e BM/7e RTA  03/05/51 -15/03/54  Served in Tonkin until transfered to Dien Bien Phu, defending the "Gabrielle" position until destroyed. 
7e RTA  26/10/53 - 12/54  Sent from Germany with all 3 battalions. Debarked at Tourane (Da Nang) to form the infantry component of GM 10 for operations around Tourane, then in the Plei Ku - Nha Trang region. After the cease-fire, monitored the DMZ (17th Parallel) until relieved by the 8e RTM (Moroccans) in 12/54. 
22e RTA  01/07/54 -30/10/55  A March Regiment, formed from 3 battalions raised from the 3 RTAs with the 21e DIA (Division d'Infanterie Algériens) in Algeria. Arriving in Cochinchina, they formed the infantry of GM 101, which served around Bien Hoa until their repatriation. 
21e RTA  01/10/54 - 06/55  Reconstituted after the cease-fire from various March Battalions and GM 1, this Regiment guarded the fort at Haiphong until 05/55, then left for Cochinchina and embarkation to Algeria. 


The 2e and 3e Régiments de Spahis Algériens (RSA) each provided a squadron for the RSMEO (see under Moroccan Spahis).

The 8e Groupe d'Escadrons de Spahis Algériens (GESA), together with 2 squadrons (dismounted) from the 6e and 9e GESAs, arrived in Tonkin on the 18/04/49 as the 8e Groupe de Spahis Algériens à Pied. They initially operated on RC5 and in the sub-sector of Dap Cau. Operated from 05-06/50 around Hué, then returned to Tonkin for service in the Delta, notably with GM 3. In 02/51, they became the 8e Groupe d'Escadrons Algériens Portés, forming (with 2 squadrons of M-24 Chaffees of the 1er Chasseurs) 2 armoured groups. Their 4th Squadron was composed of Muong (tribal) personnel. The unit was renamed the 8e RSA on 01/01/53, and continued to operate with the 1er Chasseurs. Reorganised in 10/53, they then comprised a tank squadron, a squadron carried in M3 half-tracks, and 3 squadrons mounted in GMC trucks. They operated in the south of the Red River Delta and on RC5 before being moved to Cochinchina in 11/54, before embarkation for Algeria in 07/55. 



In all, there were 21 battalions of Moroccan tirailleurs employed in Indochina between 1947 and 1956. Their main service was in Tonkin (17 battalions), but they also served in Cochinchina (8 bns), Annam (5 bns) and Laos (7 bns). There was only intermittent duty in Cambodia. 

Initially, as for the other tirailleurs, march battalions were sent from Morocco for two-year tours, and then returned. But, from 1950, the units remained in place and were relieved by periodic detachments from Morocco. The battalions followed the normal CEFEO pattern, with the usual mix of French (pre- and post-WW2), US and British uniforms and equipment. The bush-hat, steel helmet or chèche (as turban, or worn under the helmet) seem to be the most common headgear. Weapons as per other CEFEO troops. 

The units of Tirailleurs Marocains which served in Indochina were: 
Unit Service Dates Notes
BM/6e RTM (III/6e RTM)  28/02/47 - 20/04/49  Commanded by Cdt. Vanuxem. The 11e Cie, air-transported from Saigon to Dien Bien Phu on 14/03/47, operated in the North-West, relieving Lai Chau and Sam Neua. The rest of the bn joined in April, and they took part in combat in the Son Tay sector, then took part in Operation Papillon (around RC6) in the autumn. Became the III/6e RTM. 
BM/5e RTM  27/03/47 - 11/06/49  Operated in the Red River Delta, and around Haiphong and Quang Yen. Part of Operation Léa. Moved to Cochinchina in 01/48, taking part in a sweep of the Plain of Reeds and Ben Tre, before returning to the Haiphong area. 
BM/4e RTM  01/05/47 - 11/09/49  Operated in Cochinchina around Bien Hoa, Pleiku, Ba Ria, Sa Dec and My Tho. Their amphibious commando (under Lt. Oufkir) successfully worked with Dinassaut 2 between 04/48 and 04/49. 
BM/2e RTM  03/05/47 - 14/07/49  After landing at Tourane (Da Nang), the bn was based at Faifo (Hoi An), then Quang Tri. Relieved by the 3e BM/2e RTM. 
214e BMTM  13/11/47 - 10/01/50  Operating on the edge of the Red River Delta, the unit was renamed the 1er BM/3e RTM, and held the sector at Sept Pagodes (NE of Hanoi). With the arrival of the 3e RTM in Indochina, the unit was renamed as the BM/7e RTM (16/03/49). 
207e BMTM  13/11/48 - 05/05/50  Arrived from Madagascar at Cap Saint-Jacques (Cochinchina), and was renamed the 10e BTM on 27/05/49. Operated around Bien Hoa, then Go Cong. 
I/3e RTM  20/02/49 - 01/55  This unit served all over Indochina. Initially in Cochinchina, where it was used as a mobile bn, then served in Tonkin from 17/01/51 with GM7 at Sept Pagodes, before being assigned to Annam in 07/51, where it operated against the VM 95th bn until 23/11/52. Then followed various rapid changes of posting - back to Tonkin (Na Sam), then briefly in Cambodia (protecting plantations), before returning to Tonkin in late 09/53 for Operation Mouette. Then served in northern Laos with Groupement Vaudrey, before joining GM4 in Tonkin. This unit became 3e RTM after the cease fire. 
II/3e RTM  20/02/49 - 01/55  Arrived with its' sister bn, and served in Cochinchina until 17/01/51, before being moved to Tonkin for the remainder of the war. 
BM/8e RTM  07/05/49 - 10/05/51  Operated in Tonkin - relieved BM/5e RTM in the north-east coastal sector. Maintained security on RC4, between Lang Son and Dong Khe. Part of the Lepage column (with 1er BEP), and scattered at Coc Xa (02-07/10/50). 
3e BM/2e RTM  25/05/49 - 30/09/54  Formed part of the Central Annam GM until relieved by the I/3e RTM, and sent to Tonkin to become part of GM3. Also operated in Laos (air-lifted into Luang Prabang, 04/53, until 07/53) and Cambodia (summer 1953). After the cease-fire, became I/9e RTM. 
2e BM/4e RTM  09/06/49 - 30/09/54  Operated around Tourane (Da Nang), Hué (1951-52) and Dong Hoi (1952-53). Sent to reinforce the air-land base at Seno (Laos) in 11/53. Heavy losses in action with GM 2 around Takkek. Became part of Groupement Vaudrey, and fought with GM 1 and GM 2 in Laos. Returned to Seno in 08/54, and then to Cochinchina. Became the III/9e RTM on 01/10/54. 
2e BM/1er RTM  02/08/49 - 30/09/54  Arrived in Cochinchina, and served as a mobile battalion before being air-lifted to Tonkin in 12/51. Then debarked at Tourane on 28/03/52, for service around Hué and Dong Hoi. From 11/52 - 06/53, operated in the Thai Highlands (Lai Chau) including service with GM 2. Returning to Annam, fought against TD 95 along the "rue sans joie" with 2e BM/4e RTM, then back to Tonkin in 10/53, before being sent to relieve Seno with GM 2. After service in Laos, went back to Tonkin and became the I/8e RTM on 01/10/54. 
III/6e RTM  25/08/49 - 30/09/54  After a brief return to Morocco, the renamed BM/6e RTM returned to Tonkin, where it was quickly redesignated as the II/6e RTM and attached to the GMNA (Groupe mobile nord-africain), which operated around Phat Diem, Bui Chu and Phu Ly. In 10/50, the GMNA became the GM 1, and was involved in the Vinh Yen campaign, and then in various major operations such as Meduse, Reptile and Amphibie in the Red River Delta, and Arc-en-ciel (a follow-up to Hoa Binh). Involved in Operation Lorraine, then air-lifted to Luang Prabang, and after some combat duty in Laos returned to Tonkin for service with GMs 1 and 4, relieving attacked posts in the north. Renamed III/3e RTM before evacuation. 
3e BM/4e RTM  12/12/49 - 30/09/54  Relieved the BM/7e RTM and operated in the Red River Delta and then the Thai Highlands (03-09/50). Attached to the GM 4 on 01/12/50, and fought in the Vinh Yen battles. Part of some major operation in the delta (Meduse & Reptile), around Nam Dinh, then back into the delta (Crachin, Amphibie). Part of Operation Lorraine, then Gerfaut towards the end of 1953. Later carried out security duties along RP 21 and RF 1. Became II/9e RTM on 01/10/54. 
1er BM/1er RTM  29/12/50 - 30/09/54  Initially sent to the coastal region of Tonkin (around Tien Yen), and attached to GM 2 in 03/51, then GM 7 (05/51) at Sept Pagodes. Fought in some of the major delta operations (Crachin & Amphibie). Involved in the evacuation of Vietri, and sweeping RC 2, before being engaged around Sept Pagodes. Later served with GMs 1 and 4 in the running fights around the northern static positions. Became I/8e RTM on 01/10/54. 
1er BM/4e RTM  29/12/50 - 07/05/54  Attached to GM 4 (as III/4e RTM, above). Air-lifted to Dien Bien Phu on 15/01/54, and replaced the 3e BT on "Eliane" (and subject to an assault by the 308, 312 and 316 VM divisions). At the end of April, was holding the Mont Chauve, "Hugette" and "Lili" positions, before being wiped out on 07/05/54. 
3e BM/1er RTM  17/08/51 - 30/09/54  Initially in Cochinchina, then sent north to Tonkin with the other Moroccan units. Moved to Seno (10/52), and involved in combat around Takkek, before later returning to Tonkin (including service in the confused fighting around the static posts in the north). Became III/8e RTM on 01/10/54. 
4e BM/2e RTM  01/09/51 - 30/09/54  Initially in Cochinchina, then served in Tonkin, Cambodia (summer of 1953), Tonkin again, and was sent to Luang Prabang (Laos) with GM 7 in 02/54, taking part in the defence of the Seno base before regrouping at Pakse. Then fought along the RC 9 as part of Groupement Vaudrey. Became IV/5e RTM on 01/04/54, and guarded RC 13 in southern Laos. After the ceasefire returned briefly to Seno before redeploying to Cochinchina. Redesignated as the II/9e RTM on 01/10/54.
5e RTM  22/10/53 - 10/12/54  The 3 battalions of this regiment arrived in Tonkin from Germany and formed the infantry component of the new GM 8. Took part in Operation Gerfaut at the end of 1953. In 07/54 took part of the defence of RP 21 and RF 1, and was heavily engaged in the defence of Phu Ly, and later at Duong La. Engaged to the west of the Day, the regiment relieved the Son Tay sector, before returning to Haiphong on 21/07/54.


These irregular units were formed of volunteer tribesmen from the Atlas Mountains, who now had to adapt to a new style of combat, and a climate very different to their homeland. The Moroccan goumiers were formed into Tabors (battalions) of three Goums (companies) plus a Goum de commandement, d'accompagnement et de transmissions (GCAT - i.e. HQ company). Their uniform was basically that worn during the campaigns of 1943-45 in Italy, with the khaki cotton uniform being most often worn in Indochina without the djellaba (a loose gown, with a hood, worn over the uniform and belted) - though the djellaba was worn in the Tonkin highlands, especially during winter. The gandourah (loose, light khaki cotton "arabic" overshirt) was also fairly common. On their departure for Indochina, the goumiers were issued with colonial sun-helmets, but these were little worn, as were steel helmets. The favoured headgear was a turban formed from the chèche (in light khaki) or a bush-hat. French officers wore either a sky-blue kepi, or side-cap (light blue over sky blue). 

Armament for the goumiers was as per the rest of the CEFEO; MAT 49 SMG, MAS 36 rifle, FM24/29 (LMG), Reibel MAC 31 MG, US MGs, and mortars in 60mm or 81mm calibres. 

In August 1948, the 10e Tabor arrived in Indochina, followed by the 8e (December 1948) and 3e (June 1949). From June 1949, there were always three Tabors present in Indochina, forming the Groupement de Tabors Marocains d'Extrême Orient (GTMEO). Each Tabor was relieved after a two-year tour. 

Operating principally in Tonkin (in the Red River Delta, the mountains of the Thai hill tribes, and the north-eastern border with China). In October 1950, they suffered heavy losses in the fighting along RC4, where the 8e Tabor was virtually annihilated. During 1952-3, the 9e Tabor was based on the highland of Central Annam, while others operated in Laos in 1953-4 (5e, then 10e and 8e Tabors). In total, nine Tabors served in Indochina, with two (the 8e and 10e) serving for a second tour. Their losses during the Indochina War were 16 officers, 41 NCOs and 730 goumiers killed. 
Unit Commander Composition Service Dates
10e Tabor Cdt Dugué MacCarthy Goums 84, 85, 86, GCAT  August 1946 - July 1950 
8e Tabor

Cdt Guérin 

Cdt de Séze

Goums 78, 79, 80, GCAT  December 1946 - October 1950 (destroyed on RC4) 
3e Tabor Cdt de Cherge  Goums 4, 36, 51, GCAT  June 1949 - March 1951 
1er Tabor

Cdt Feaugas (POW)

Cdt Riez 

Goums 58, 59, 60, GCAT (20e Goum replaced the 59e in May 1951)  June 1950 - April 1952 
11e Tabor

Cdt Delcros

Cdt Arbola

Cne Donot 

Goums 3, 5, 8, GCAT  August 1950 - July 1952 
17e Tabor Cdt Saulay  Goums 14, 18, 22, GCAT  January 1951 - November 1952 
9e Tabor Cdt Commaret  Goums 9, 42, 46, GCAT 17  April 1952 - April 1954 
5e Tabor

Cdt Marquez

Cne Azam

Cdt Gastine 

Goums 7, 10, 32, GCAT 38  June 1952 - June 1954 
2e Tabor

Cdt Mirabeau

Cdt Borie 

Goums 21, 33, 66, GCAT 15  November 1952 - October 1954 
10e Tabor Cdt Coudry  Goums 34, 40, 43, GCAT 80  February - November 1954 
8e Tabor Cdt Rouast  Goums 13, 19, 45, GCAT 12  April - November 1954 


The first spahi unit to arrive in Indochina after WW2 was the 7th Squadron of the Régiment de Marche de Spahis Marocains (RMSM), under Capt. Duplay, which served in Saigon for a year from 20/10/45, before returning to France. Further units of spahis were: 
Unit Dates of Service Notes
Régiment de Marche de Spahis d'Extrème-Orient (RMSEO) 28/02/47 - 01/12/47  Formed in 01/47 from 5 March Squadrons provided by the 1er RMSM, 2e and 3e RSA, 1er, 3e, 5e and 12e RCA (Régiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique). The first 3 squadrons (which were raised from the 1er RMSM, 2e and 3e RSA, and 3e RCA) were equipped with M8 Greyhound armoured cars, and the men wore the red forage cap of the spahis. The 4th Squadron (raised from the 5e RCA) had no armoured vehicles and wore the Chasseurs d'Afrique forage cap. The 5th Squadron (from the 1er and 12e RCA) was equipped with scout-cars and half-tracks. The unit was initially used to reform the 9th Dragoons (which had been disbanded about 6 months earlier), but became the RMSEO on 01/04/47, based in Cochinchina. With armoured reinforcements in 05/47, they provided security along the roads from My Tho to Can Tho, Long Xuyen to Tra Vinh, and Chau Doc to Ca Mau. Became the 2e RSM on 01/12/47. 
2e RSM  01/12/47 - 31/03/55  Remaining in Cochinchina, the Regiment served in Cai Be (1947), Vinh Long (1948-53). Ba Ria (1953-54). A Moroccan Commando (dismounted) was provided by the Regiment from 1949-54, and a patrol-boat squadron (based at Co May) from 1953-54. Regrouping at Lai Khe (12/54), the Regiment embarked for Morocco in 03/55. 
6e Spahis Marocains  18/02/48 - 06/07/55  Formed from 4 squadrons raised from the 3e, 5e and 6e Groupes d'Escadrons de Spahis Marocains (GESM), this was initially the 6e Groupe d'Escadrons de Spahis Marocains à Pied (GESMP). Arriving in Tonkin, during 04/49 - 01/50 they provided security along RC4 between Lang Son and That Khe. At the end of 02/50, they relocated to Annam and operated around Dong Hoi, Hué and Quang Tri. On 01/01/53, they were reorganised into a motorised regiment (6e RSM) with 2 (later 4) squadrons in half-tracks, operating in the Tourane (Da Nang) sector. A Commando (Commando B2) for service under 2e Bureau (secret service) control was formed on 24/07/53, Together with 3 squadrons of the Regiment, and 532nd Auxilliary Company (Indochinese), they left for Laos, operating around Seno from 12/53 - 07/54. A 5th Squadron, equipped with M-24 Chaffee tanks, was created on 01/12/53, and provided road security on RC9 and RC1. Regrouping at Tourane in 09/54, the 6e RSM left for Algeria on 06/07/55.
5e Spahis Marocains  28/09/49 - 31/01/55  The 5e GESMP arrived at Saigon, and operated in Cochinchina (My Tho and the Western Vaicos River. In 01/50, they received armoured vehicles (and therefore abandoned their dismounted role), forming the 5e RSM with 2 squadrons of Panhard 178B armoured cars (providing road security and reconnaissance in Hoc Mon, then Tay Ninh from 1953-54, together with Indochinese Auxilliaries and Cao Daists) and a squadron of Humber scout-cars (detached to Cambodia). Regrouping at Trang Bang in 01/55, the unit was disbanded and its' personnel transfered to the 2e RSM. 



Equipped and organised similarly to their Algerian and Moroccan compatriots (although the red chéchia was worn on parade), there were three March Battalions of Tirailleurs Tunisiens (Tunisian Rifles) sent to fight in the Indochina War. All were from the 4e RTT (4th Tunisian Rifle Regiment). Interestingly, the 3rd Battalion arrived before the 2nd! 

The units and service were: 
Unit Dates of Service Notes
BM/4e RTT  01/05/47 - 11/08/49  After several weeks in Cochinchina, sent to Annam to occupy Binh Thuan province, near to Phan Thiet, to guard RC1 (the "Mandarin Road"). 
3e BM/4e RTT  19/10/49 - 25/01/55  Initially operating in Cambodia (11/49 - 10/52), they were then posted to Thu Dau Mot (Cochinchina) to maintain communications between Saigon and the Highlands. After the cease-fire, they received around 20,000 refugees from Tonkin in their sector. Finally stationed in Cam Ranh, before repatriation. 
2e BM/4e RTT  30/04/50 - 15/03/55  Relieved the 10e BTM (Moroccan) and operated initially in Cochinchina (05-12/50), then Tonkin (01-05/51) before being transfered to Annam, where they served in Hué, Quang Tri, Tourane (Da Nang), Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet. 

Much of the above information comes from various excellent articles in Militaria Magazine, by Jacques Sicard. 


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