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11th Parachute Brigade (France)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

11th Parachute Brigade
11e Brigade Parachutiste
Le 11e.B.P..jpg
  • 11th Light Intervention Division (1961–1963)
  • 11th Division (1963–1971)
  • 11th Parachute Division (1971–1999)
  • 11th Parachute Brigade (1999-present)
CountryFrance France
BranchFrench Army
TypeFrench Airborne Brigade
Size~ 8,500
Part of3rd Division
Garrison/HQBalma, Toulouse
AnniversariesSaint-Michael, September 29
EngagementsAlgerian War

Operation Tacaud
Operation Bonite
Lebanese Civil War

Gulf War
Global War on Terrorism (2001–present)

Olivier Salaün
Parachutiste métropolitain légion-béret.jpg
Parachutistes coloniaux-béret.jpg
Abbreviation11e B.P

The 11th Parachute Brigade (French: 11e Brigade Parachutiste, 11e BP) is a unit of the French Army, dominantly infantry, part of the French Airborne Units and specialized in air combat and air assault. The Brigade's primary vocation is to project in emergency in order to contribute a first response to a situational crisis. An elite unit of the French Army, the brigade is commanded by a général de brigade (Brigadier General) with headquarters in Balma near Toulouse. The Brigade's soldiers and airborne Marines wear the red beret (amaranth) except for the Legionnaires of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment who wear Green beret of the French Foreign Legion.

The 11th Parachute Brigade originally the 11th Light Intervention Division (11e DLI) was created from airborne units contingents of the 10th Parachute Division 10e D.P and 25th Parachute Division 25e D.P of France,[1] both dissolved following the Algiers putsch of 1961 during the Algerian War.

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Creation and different nominations

Origin and history

11th Light Intervention Division – 11e DLI

Organizational Chart of the 11th Light Intervention Division on May 1, 1961
Organizational Chart of the 11th Light Intervention Division on May 1, 1961

the 11th Light Interventtion Division was created on May 1, 1961, from airborne elements of the 10th Parachute Division and 25th Parachute Division, both dissolved following the Algiers putsch of 1961, and from the 11th Intervention Division (11e DI), set at the time to form the 3rd Parachute Division.[4] The division commanded by General Marzloff[5] rejoins the metropole on July 1, 1961. On August 1, 1963, the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment leaves the Division and takes garrison in Lorraine at Dieuze and Nancy.[6]

Order of battle

Since creation the 11th Light Intervention Division is constituted of the following:

At the time, regiments of the French Foreign Legion did not compromise the newly enacted division. On October 1, 1963; the division integrated the BOMAP (Airborne Operational Mobile Base).

11th Division – 11e DIV

On December 1, 1963, the 11th Light Intervention Division merged with the 9th Colonial Infantry Division and became the 11th Division. Starting July 1966 and excluding elements of Division support; the unit activated and operated around three distinct Brigades, the 9th Marine Infantry Brigade at Saint-Malo, the 20th Airborne Brigade (20e BAP) at Toulouse and the 25th Airborne Brigade (25e BAP) at Pau.

A support battalion, the 61e BS was created on February 1, 1964, at Auch. The 61e BS supervised health services and provisions in the Division. In March, the 61st Airborne Signals Battalion (61e BTAP) steps in at Pau and regroups the existing transmission companies.

On July 1966, the 11th Division reached 16,000 men and was composed of two brigades (the 20e BAP at Toulouse and the 25e BAP at Pau) forming five parachute regiments.[7]

Order of battle

Organizational Chart of the 11th Division on July 1, 1966
Organizational Chart of the 11th Division on July 1, 1966

11th Parachute Division – 11e DP

Mortars in action during rescue operations at Kolwezi.
Mortars in action during rescue operations at Kolwezi.
A radio on a jeep during operation Bonite.
A radio on a jeep during operation Bonite.

The 11th division disappeared on April 1, 1971, to give formation to the 11th Parachute Division at Toulouse. The 9th Outremer Brigade (9e BOM) left the Division and the 20th Airborne Brigade (20e BAP), the 25th Airborne Brigade (25e BAP) became subsequently the 1st and 2nd Parachute Brigades and integrated each one support battalion. The three support regiments were reorganized in two interim regiments of intervention that conserved nevertheless their original nominations (1st Parachute Hussar Regiment and the 35th Parachute Artillery Regiment). The 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment disappeared.

Order of battle

On July 1, 1971, the 11th Parachute Division is composed of the following:[8]

On August 1, 1973; the 61st Headquarter Squadron and the 61st Transmission Company were regrouped and form the 61e BCT. The following year in 1974, the 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment was recreated and the interarm regiments find their specialities. On August 1, 1974, the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (1e RPIMa) was reattached to the Division.

Units belonging to the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) and the 35th Parachute Artillery Regiment (35e RAP) took part in Operation Tacaud starting from 1978 in Chad.[9]

Still in 1978, and within the cadre of military cooperation with Zaïre which anticipates assistance and formation, the 2nd Foreign Prachute Regiment is parachuted during the Battle of Kolwezi, and participated in alliance with Belgium Paratroopers to the Rescue of Kolwezi. During this intervention, two teams of the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment and one team from the 1st Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment (1e RPIMa) were deployed to forward operating terrain on observation and reconnaissance missions.

During this time, France was manned with an intervention force of 20,000 strong composed of the 11th Parachute Division, the 9th Marine Infantry Division (9e DIMa), aerial forces and Naval contingents.[10]

On October 23, 1983; one company of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment stationed in Lebanon within the Multinational Force in Lebanon was victim to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing and occasions 55 paratrooper deaths within the ranks of the 1er RCP and the 3 paratroopers within the ranks of the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment.

In the aftermath of the Cold War, the French Army reorganised and the 11e DP which became the 11th Parachute Brigade in 1999.

11th Parachute Brigade – 11e BP

In 1999, as part of the restructuring of the French Army, the 11th Parachute Brigade was formed at Balma (Balman Toulouse Garrison), the base of the 11th Parachute Division. The brigade would later be engaged in Africa and Afghanistan.


The 11th Parachute Brigade, mainly the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP), took part in Opération Licorne in the Ivory Coast.


From 2006 to 2007, the parachute brigade intervened in Afghanistan as part of the French Detachment of NATO's International Force.[11] In September 2007, the brigade was relieved by Chasseurs Alpins of the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade (27e BIM).

On 18 August 2008, a unit of the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (8e RPMIa) lost eight men during the Uzbin Ambush [fr].

The paratroopers of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment (1er RCP), of the 11th Parachute Brigade, took up its first rotation, and was in place by Sunday, 1 May 2011, in Kapisa Province. Four more rotations would follow. A total of 650 military personnel were scheduled for a mission to maintain zonal security.

On 10 May 2011, two combat parachute companies of the 1e RCP—almost 200 men commanded by général Emmanuel Maurin,[12] commander of the 11th Parachute Brigade—were projected east towards Nijrab District, on a mission lasting several months. As a result, 1000 paratroopers were engaged in Afghanistan, principally from the 1e RCP, which were supported by the 11th Parachute Brigade, the 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment, the 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment, 35th Parachute Artillery Regiment, and the 1st Train Parachute Regiment.[13]

From April to October 2001, while preparing for this mission, the 11th brigade rehearsed realistic simulations, in order to achieve operational readiness within the newly established Brigade La Fayette joint command. In Afghanistan, reinforcements served for periods from 6 months to a year in Nijrab District, in northeastern Kapisa Province, while attached to the Tactical Interam Group of Kapisa (TIGK).

As of June 20, 2011, the 11th Parachute Brigade was the brigade that endured the most losses, with 18 casualties, in Afghanistan.[14]


In January 2013, 250 French paratroopers from the 11th Parachute Brigade jumped into Northern Mali to support an offensive to capture the city of Timbuktu.[15]

Present Brigade


The 11th Parachute Brigade is a light mobile brigade capable of projecting power around the world in an emergency, as a first response to a crisis.

Superior commands

The 11th Parachute Brigade is the only parachute brigade of the French Army and is under Ground Forces Command. However, the brigade does not comprise all the parachutes regiments of France, as the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (1er RPIMa) and the 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment (13e RDP) are attached to the French Army Special Forces Brigade, while the 2nd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (2e RPIMa)—stationed permanently in outre-mer, near Réunion island—is under the command of the Armed Forces Zones of the Indian Ocean (FAZSOI).

Order of battle

Organizational Chart of the 11th Parachute Brigade in 2011
Organizational Chart of the 11th Parachute Brigade in 2011

The 11th Parachute Brigade is composed primarily of infantry, with elements of artillery, light cavalry, and combat-engineer regiments. The brigade also includes a Commando Parachute Group (GCP), an elite operational unit belonging to the French Special Forces.

At the beginning of 2000, the brigade was based in southwestern France, except for the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) stationed in Calvi, Corsica. The brigade is 8500 men, women, and legionnaires strong and consists of a central headquarters command and 8 operational regiments with the following composition:




Support Weapons
Small Arms


Except for the Legionnaires of the 1e REG, 2e REG, 2e REP who wear a green beret, the French army metropolitan and marine paratroopers forming the 11th Parachute Brigade wear a red Beret.

The saint's day of Archangel Saint Michael, patron of French paratroopers, is celebrated on 29 September.

The prière du Para (Prayer of the Paratrooper) was written by André Zirnheld in 1938.


With the paratrooper brevet of the French Army, the insignia of French paratroopers was created in 1946. The French Army insignia of metropolitan paratroopers consists of a closed "winged armed dextrochere", ("right winged arm") with a sword pointing upwards. The insignia makes reference to the patron saint of paratroopers and represents "the right Arm of Saint Michael", the Archangel, which, according to Liturgy,[dubious ] is the "armed arm of God". This insignia is the symbol of righteous combat and fidelity to superiors and to the mission. The French Army Insignia of Marine Infantry Paratroopers is over a marine anchor.

Brigade Commanders

11th Light Intervention Division Tenure (1961–1963) –

  • 1961 - 1963 : général Marzloff
  • 1963 - 1963 : général Boussarie

11th Division Tenure (1963–1969)

  • 1963 - 1965 : général Boussarie
  • 1965 - 1966 : général Lalande
  • 1967 - 1969 : général Hubert de Seguins Pazzis
  • 1969 - 1971 : général Lefort

11th Parachute Division Tenure (1971–1999)

  • 1971 - 1971 : général Lefort
  • 1971 - 1973 : général Compagnon
  • 1973 - 1975 : général Le Borgne
  • 1975 - 1977 : général de Foïard
  • 1977 - 1979 : général Lacaze
  • 1979 - 1981 : général Jacques Lemaire [16]
  • 1981 - 1983 : général Maurice Schmitt
  • 1983 - 1985 : général Brette
  • 1985 - 1987 : général Chazarain
  • 1987 - 1989 : général Michel Guignon
  • 1989 - 1991 : général de Courrèges
  • 1991 - 1993 : général Raymond Germanos
  • 1993 - 199x : général Hervé Gobilliard
  • 1994 - 1996 : général Maurice Godinot
  • 1996 - 1998 : général André Soubirou
  • 1998 - 1999 : général Marcel Valentin

11th Parachute Brigade Tenure (1999–present)

  • 1999 - 2001 : général Henri Poncet
  • 2001 - 2002 : général Christian Damay
  • 2002 - 2004 : général Emmanuel Beth
  • 2004 - 2006 : général Jacques Lechevalier
  • 2006 - 2008 : général Jean-Marc Duquesne
  • 2008 - 2010 : général Bosser
  • 2010 - 2011 : général Emmanuel Maurin
  • 2011 - 2013 : général Patrice Paulet
  • 2013 - 2015 : général Olivier Salaün
  • 2015 - 2017 : général des Minières
  • 2017 - **** : général Patrick Collet

See also


  1. ^ Clayton, 'France, Soldiers, and Africa', Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988, p.190
  2. ^ In Revue Uniformes no 278 (sept-oct 2011), page 30
  3. ^ History of French Paratroopers Histoire des parachutistes français, page 556
  4. ^ In Revue Uniformes no 278 (sept-oct 2011), page 30
  5. ^ in paratroopers, the honor to serve Les paras l'honneur de servir , page 151
  6. ^ History of French Paratroopers Histoire des parachutistes français, page 556
  7. ^ History of French Paratroopers Histoire des parachutistes français, page 557 and 559
  8. ^ History of French Paratroopers Histoire des parachutistes français, page 556
  9. ^ De Lespinois, Jérôme (2005). "Emploi de la force aérienne – Tchad 1969–1987" [Use of Air Power – Chad 1969-1987] (PDF). Penser les Ailes françaises (6): 70–72. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  10. ^ [1] Article on French Ministry of Defense, title "L'opération "Léopard", journal collection "mémoire et citoyenneté", number 37, year 1978, page1
  11. ^ "La 11e brigade parachutiste de Toulouse prend le relais en Afghanistan" [The 11th parachute brigade of Toulouse takes over in Afghanistan]. La France à l'Otan. Site de la représentation permanente française auprès de l'Otan (in French).
  12. ^ Villard, Claire (7 May 2011). "200 soldats mobilisés pour l'Afghanistan" [200 Soldiers Mobilize for Afghanistan]. Grand Sud. Ladépê (in French). Retrieved 24 July 2018. [...] part en mission pour une année entière. Le général toulousain prendra en charge l'état-major en Afghanistan baptisé « Task Force Lafayette » [...]
  13. ^ Vocation militaire: 200 soldats mobilisés pour l'Afghanistan
  14. ^ [2] In memoriam of 1st Class Florian Morillo; author, Jean-Marc Tanguy 19 juin 2011,Le mamouth
  15. ^ "French-led operation looks north after Timbuktu". FRANCE 24. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  16. ^ "Décés du général Lemaire". Retrieved 2016-09-17.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 March 2019, at 22:05
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