Since the Middle Ages the “royal” army, made up mainly of mercenaries, first temporarily enlisted, then permanently by the sovereign, rose alongside and, with the modern age, replaced the ancient “feudal” army. When the Revolution broke out and citizens made equal in front of the State, conscription was resorted to, implemented with the mass draft of 1793, then regulated with the Jourdan law of 1798, from which the numerous and victorious armies of the revolutionary and imperial era drew life.. Later, the compulsory military service was practically attenuated by the harmful principle of “substitutions” and “exemptions”; which, together with the inadequate constitution of a second line army, it contributed not a little to the defeats of 1870-71 and induced France to partly model its own system on the Prussian one (read 1873, 1889, 1905, 1913). The present-day peace army has (according to the military laws 1927-28) the fundamental purpose of generating the war army, mobilizing it and providing it with part of the cadres, instructing the contingents with successive calls, protecting its mobilization and gathering; in the alternative, it must provide for the occupation of overseas possessions, for the possible reinforcement of such occupation, and (exceptionally) to contribute to the maintenance of public order. It fulfills its tasks through the pre-military, military, post-military education of citizens, and is protected, as regards mobilization and cover,
France is today the power of Europe that bears the heaviest military expenses, considered both in an absolute sense and in relation to the number of residents or to the total expenditure of the state budget.
The president of the republic has the armed forces. The Minister of War exercises command and administration of the army, assisted by the General Staff and the Superior War Council. The general vice-president of the superior war council acts as inspector general of the army and is designated for the command of the army in war. The territory is divided into 20 “regions” (one is Algeria). The territorial command (territorial organization) is separate from that of the troops (standing forces); the two functions are combined only in the region command.
The territorial organization ensures: recruitment, military preparation (pre and post), mobilization, functioning of the services. It includes: command bodies and staffs, recruitment offices, military preparation bodies, mobilization centers, schools and study bodies, establishments and territorial services. The command of the troops concerns: training, employment, internal administration, hygiene, state and advancement of personnel.
The army is divided into metropolitan (French and North African units) and colonial (units composed, with the exception of officers and part of the career soldiers, of indigenous people from overseas possessions, excluding North African ones). It includes: corps of general officers; troops (infantry, metropolitan and colonial; cavalry; artillery, metropolitan and colonial; genius); services (general and special); gendarmerie.
The troops are grouped in large units (33 infantry divisions and 5 cavalry divisions), or are part of non-undivided units or general reserves; in the colonies they are divided into six groups (Indochina, West Africa, East Africa, Antilles, Pacific, Congo). The infantry division is the great basic unit of the order; there is at least one (infantry or alpine) in each region of the territory; it consists of 3 to 4 infantry regiments and 1 artillery regiment (the alpine division of 2 alpine infantry regiments, 2 half brigades of Alpine hunters, 2 artillery regiments). The cavalry division is composed of 2 to 3 brigades, each of 2 cavalry regiments, 1 group of self-guns, 1 artillery regiment, 1 battalion of self-supported dragoons).
The infantry weapon includes: a) metropolitan infantry: 96 regiments: infantry, zuavi, gunners, foreign legion, diggers-firemen; 21 foot-hunting battalions; 2 African light infantry battalions (discipline departments); 11 tank regiments (10 light, 1 heavy); 6 Saharan companies; b) colonial infantry: 38 regiments: colonial infantry; Senegalese, Malagasy, Indochinese gunners; mixed colonial and Indochinese infantry; 12 autonomous battalions; 4 autonomous companies. The cavalry weapon includes 44 regiments: armor, dragons, horse hunters, spahis, hussars; 18 squadrons of machine guns; 5 self-propelled dragon battalions. The artillery includes: a) metropolitan artillery: 66 regiments: divisional, on horseback, heavy horse-drawn, mounted, counter-aircraft, on foot, mountain, heavy on rails, North African divisional, heavy hired, North African; b) colonial artillery: 12 regiments: Senegalese, Malagasy, Indochinese; 1 independent group; 1 standalone battery. The weapon of genius includes: 11 regiments: genius, diggers, railwaymen, telegraphers and radio operators; 7 autonomous North African battalions. The cavalry, artillery and genius units are largely motorized. The bodies of the various weapons normally include training departments (recruits and instructors) and maneuvering departments (elders); exceptionally, cadre departments (some career officers and military).
According to recipesinthebox, the metropolitan infantry regiment consists of 1 General Staff, the command company, 1 accompanying and liaison vehicle company; 3 battalions (each on 3 rifle-vaulting companies and imachine gun company); in total: 50 officers and 1600 troopers (normal regiment), 60 officers and 2300 troopers (reinforced regiment), 3 37 mm guns, 6 accompanying mortars, 36 heavy machine guns, 81 heavy machine guns, 81 submachine guns, 81 guns with trumpet, as well as rifles, muskets and pistols. The cavalry regiment is made up of 1 command squadron, 4 squadrons, 1 machine gun group; in total 28 officers, 800 tmppa men, 780 quadrupeds, 8 heavy machine guns, 24 submachine guns, as well as muskets and sabers. The divisional artillery regiment comprises 3 groups of 2 light batteries and 2 groups of 2 heavy batteries; in total 42 officers, 950 troopers, 630 quadrupeds (normal regiment), 47 officers, 1550 troops,
The services are: general (General Staff; administrative control) and special (artillery; genius; administration; health; physical education; military justice; powders; military schools; territorial areas of North and Levant Africa).
The gendarmerie ensures public order and the execution of laws and includes: the gendarmerie of the interior (the legion for each region, plus 3 special legions: in total 23 legions); the republican guard (the special legion for the security of Paris); the mobile republican guard (10 groups, 34 companies and 92 mobile platoons), for security and various tasks, including the competition for pre-military education; the gendarmerie of Africa, with tasks and organization similar to those of the interior gendarmerie. Total strength approximately: 40,000 men.
Recruitment has as essential characteristics: the maximum extent of the application of the general and personal obligation to military service; the brevity of the firm; the recruitment of a significant number of career soldiers; the periodic assessment of the reserves, strictly determined by laws. Only those who are physically disabled in absolute terms are exempt from the service; even these are however expected to be used in particular services in the event of war. The unworthy are incorporated in various ways, except those condemned to the most severe penalties, who, however, are placed at the disposal of the ministries of war and of the colonies for uses of military interest. The duration of the service obligation is 28 years: 1 in the active army, 3 in the availability, 16 in the 1st reserve, 8 in the 2nd reserve. The stop is unique, 12 months (subsidized by the pre-military preparation). The quotas are incorporated in the 21st birthday, in two half-yearly fractions. The military on leave are called to arms: for a period of three weeks during the availability; for two periods (one of 3, one of 2 to 3 weeks) during the 1st reserve; for special exercises, lasting no more than seven days, during the 2nd reserve. The recruitment of career soldiers is favored with various economic benefits. In addition to French citizens, the Algerians (stopped for 2 years) and Tunisians (stopped for 3 years) are subjected to conscription for the metropolitan army, on the basis of special laws; compared to the indigenous population, they provide military personnel in a proportion corresponding approximately to that of the motherland. Moroccans are incorporated for voluntary enlistment. For the colonial army, Senegalese, Malagasy, Somali and Indochinese are recruited, mainly through conscription (with a stay of 3 to 4 years).