220: French Regiment d`Infanterie et de Chars de Marine RICM Badges part 1

This entry was posted by Monday, 29 November, 2010
Read the rest of this entry »

French Regiment d`Infanterie et de Chars de Marine  RICM Badges part 1

Régiment d’infanterie-chars de marine

The RICM, in French Régiment d’Infanterie de Chars de Marine (RICM, or 9th Light Armored Marine Brigade) is a light cavalry regiment of the French Army belonging to the “Troupes de Marine“. It is part of the 9th Light Armoured Marine Brigade of the French Army and is currently based in Poitiers. The Regiment is the most decorated of the French Army. It is equipped with AMX-10RC armoured reconnaissance cars.

The regiment was formerly called the Colonial Infantry Regiment of Morocco (Régiment d’Infanterie Coloniale du Maroc) which also used the acronym RICM and therefore inherits from the traditions of French colonial infantry. Those who have served in it include Joost van Vollenhoven (1877–1918), who served as a sergeant and was then promoted to sous-lieutenant at the start of the First World War and captain at its end, later becoming governor of French West Africa.


It has fought in several conflicts and theatres, including both world wars, Morocco, Indochina, Algeria, Chad, Libya, Central Africa, Albania, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast and the Gulf War.

Origins and creation

In 1911 the undermanned expeditionary corps in Morocco was faced with a rebellion in the Rif and Atlas regions. The command called to the Colonial Forces, whose participation had been limited to a few battalions of Senegalese Tirailleurs, for reinforcements. Marching battalions were created from volunteers of the Colonial Infantry regiments stationed in France and sent to Morocco. In August 1914 four of those battalions were amalgamated and the 1st Mixed Regiment of colonial Infantry (1er Régiment Mixte d’Infanterie Coloniale) was created with a mix of colonial and Senegalese battalions. On the 1st of December the Senegalese were replaced with colonial battalions and the regiment was renamed 1st Marching Regiment of Colonial Infantry (1er Régiment de Marche d’Infanterie Coloniale). After suffering heavy losses on the Western Front, it received reinforcements from other battered Colonial Infantry units. The Colonial Infantry Regiment of Morocco (Régiment d’Infanterie Coloniale du Maroc) was created on 9 June 1915, and on 1 August it received its Standard from the French President Poincaré.

First World War

The Colonial Infantry battalions from Morocco were sent to France as early as August 1914 and rushed to the Western Front. They took part in the First Battle of the Marne and then fought in Belgium and northern France. They received their first army citation for gallant conduct during the battle of Mametz in December 1914. In 1916 the RICM took part in the Battle of Verdun. On August the 7th it captured the strategic position of Cote 305 and the Village of Fleury.

In light of its distinguished conduct at Fleury General Mangin ordered the regiment to retake the Fort of Douaumont. The 24 October 1916, reinforced with the 43rd Senegalese Tirailleurs battalion and three companies of Somalis, the RICM retook the fort in less than four hours. It took 5000 prisoners but lost 23 officers and 829 other ranks in the attack. The regiment was awarded the Légion d’honneur and a third palm to its Croix de guerre for this action. In April 1917 the RICM was at the Chemin des Dames. They took the plateau of La Malmaison and received their fifth army citation. During this action the 1st Battalion fought without officers as they were all made casualties at the beginning of the assault.

On 30 March during the German Spring Offensive the RICM held and counter-attacked at the village of Plessis-de-Roye, suffering 160 casaulties but taking 785 prisoners and killing about 400 German soldiers in return. In August 1918 it counterattacked at Parcy-Tigny where Captain van Vollenhoven was killed. It stormed the position of Butte du Mesnil in Champagne during the counter-attack at the end of the Second Battle of the Marne. The regiment was in the Argonne in October where it captured Cote 202 with minimal losses.

The RICM ends the war with ten palms on its Croix de guerre. On December 10, 1918 the President Poincaré awarded the regiment with the double fourragère in the colours of the Légion d’honneur and Croix de guerre, making it the most decorated unit of the French Army. During the First World War the RICM lost 15000 men killed or wounded in action, including 257 officers.


The regiment was stationed in Rhineland from 1918 until 1925 when it was called back to Morocco by Marshal Lyautey. It fought in the Rif until 1926 when Abd el-Krim surrendered. From 1927 to 1932 the regiment was engaged in operations in the south of Morocco. The RICM was awarded the Mérite Militaire Chérifien in this period. The RICM returned to France and was stationed at Aix-en-provence from March 1932 to December 1939.

Second World War

The RICM fought in Alsace during the Battle of France, where it lost 600 men killed, wounded or missing. Dissolved after the Armistice, the regiment was reconstituted at Rabat in 1940. In 1943 with the formation of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division (9e DIC) the RICM became its armoured reconnaissance unit. The division took part in the invasion of Elba 17 June 1943 and took part in the island’s fighting and conquest. Two months later as part of the French First Army it landed in southern France and liberated Toulon. Seppois, the first alsacian village was liberated by the RICM on 19 November. On 13 November 1944 it was the first allied unit to reach the Rhine. The regiment then fought in Mulhouse and Karlsruhe and ended the war on the shores of Lake Constance The RICM lost 54 killed (including 2 officers) and 143 wounded in action (including 6 officers) during the Liberation of France. It received two Army Citations for this campaign, and was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation.

First Indochina War

Algerian War

In May 1956, the Régiment d’infanterie coloniale du Maroc (RICM) moved to Algeria. On the general redesignation of “colonial infantry” units as “marine infantry”, the RICM became the “Regiment d’infanterie chars de marine” on 1 December 1958 , being allowed to keep its former initials due to the regiment’s prestige. It thus became the only light armoured unit in the French marines until 1986, when the 1er régiment d’infanterie de marine also became a light armoured unit. Its officers are trained at the cavalry training school at Saumur.


In 1990/1991, it intervened in operation Salamandre then in the active phase of the Gulf War.

In 1994, it was engaged in Opération Turquoise in Rwanda.

It was stationed at Vannes from 1963 to 1996 and as of September 2008 is based at Poitiers.

In 2004, the RICM headed the Groupement Tactique Interarmes N°1 of operation Licorne on the Ivory Coast. On 6 November 2004, an air attack by Ivory Coast forces on the lycée Descartes at Bouaké killed nine French soldiers and one American civilian taking refuge in this site occupied by the groupement’s Train de Combat N°2. Five infantrymen of the RICM were killed (adjudant-chef Barathieu, adjudant-chef Capdeville, sergent-chef Delon, sergent Derambure, caporal Decuypère) and 30 wounded.

Leave a Reply