I apologize for digging up that thread, but I came accross while looking for informations on the French trooops' organization in Indochina.
In the process, I may have bring some details about that:
Back on the "blanchiment", I believe the main reason for shuffling African, Colonial, FFL and FFI units around in 1944 and 1945 was the need to restore some form of cohesion inside the French army. In 1945, French forces were a very odd mix of units which had fought very different wars, and disliked, sometimes hated, each other.
The "blanchiment" of the French Army in 44-45 was due to several reasons.
- First one was the urging of the (still segregated) US Army. Since the Americans were providing the equipment to arm or rearm the new Free French divisions, they strongly insisted that they did so to white troops. If the "blanchiment" was only done partially in the French 1ère Armée, since it couldn't be stricly imposed to a French command, it was not the same for Leclerc's 2e Division Blindée (2e DB). Since the latter unit was to operate from England and under American command for the Normandy campaign, both the British & Americans urged it to replace "indigènes" troops with "white" ones.
- Later on, after the landing in Provence and the march from Provence to Alsace, losses among colonial units imposed to retire some of them and replace them with new units formed from enlisted résistants. De Gaulle was keen to oblige the latter, for he didn't want to leave armed communist maquis behind the army, and rather have them amalgamted in the army.
- Per tradition, at least since WW1, the French Army tried its best not to put colonial troops on the frontline in Winter, for they were supposed to be "racially" inadapted for that climate. I'm sure Moroccan Tabors would have had a say to that, but anyway they were gradually withdrawn from combat in late 44/early 45, and replaced by freshly enlisted troops.
Nonetheless, the "blanchiment" was nowhere complete ...
< Message edited by Madmat -- 6/3/2014 1:24:08 AM >