Resistance Groups

French resistance in WW2

French partisans talking

‘’Pıerre dit bonjour.’’ In english, it means: ‘’Pierre says hello’’ A coded message for the French resistance groups.

We need to go back to 1941 to understand this. With new land doctrinde called ‘’Blizkrieg’’, brand new mechanized units and Panzer tank series, French is crushed by Germany in just six weeks. But some French people refuse to just surrender. They killed German officers with gerilla war tactics, but that was a very bad idea because that movement make Hitler furious and order mass execution of thousand of French jews and communists.

German firing squad killing a French

French resistance must find other ways to fight back without angering the Germans more, and that way was to sabotaging the supply lines or industrail targets because blitzkrieg doctrine need fast units that could breaktrough the enemy lines easily. Their plan worked.

British agents helping Free French

Meanwhile Britian was building a spy network with cooperating  Free French. One of the English spy had a radio that could transmit radio signals all the way back to London. He request things that French resistance needs like bombs, weapons etc. But that kinda radios is very rare considering Britian’s situation and year. So they use the Radio London to counter German propoganda and organize resistance groups. They use a wise tactic. They will use coded messages, a message that Germans or a normal person couldn’t understand but resistance groups can. Like ‘’Pıerre dit bonjour.’’ It could mean: Go to the ??? place after 24 hours for bomb, gun and supply drops. Or: Come to the ???, it will be a meeting for further actions.

Fronts of Free French

The Free French fought Axis and Vichy Regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa.

The Free French Foreign Legion near Asmara, Eritrea 1941. Source: georgerodgerphotographs.com

The Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy Free French units also served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force and British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.

First successes

From 23 October to 4 November 1942, Allied forces, including the FFF, won the Second battle of El Alamein, driving Afrika Korps out of Egypt. This was the first major success of an Allied army against the Axis powers, and marked a key turning point in the war.

French Resistances role in D-Day

A French partisan setting bomb to a railroad

They have to bomb radio sites, railroads, bridges and driving roads so Wehrmacht,especially Panzer divisions, couldn’t use them to get to the front lines fastly. You could also check this article here about Allies side of D-Day  They bomb 577 railroads, 30 driving roads and 32 telecommunaction sites. They even stop several Panzer division for a while that was going for the north. They signal the paratroopers with flaslight to land in key targets like artillery.

Picture sources: Lindybeige, Dan Mielle, Youtube channel, dday-overlord.com

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