Koenig, Marie Pierre Joseph Francis

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Koenig, Marie, born 10-10-1898 in Caen, Calvados, France, commanded a Free French Brigade at the Battle of Bir Hakeim in North Africa in 1942. He fought in the French Army during World War I and served with distinction. After the war, he served with French forces in Morocco and Cameroon. When World War II broke out, Kœnig returned to France. He was first assigned as a captain with the French troops in Norway, for which, in 1942, he was awarded the Krigskorset med Sverd or Norwegian War Cross with Sword.  After the fall of France, he escaped to England from Brittany. In London, Kœnig joined General Charles de Gaulle and was promoted to colonel. He became chief of staff in the first divisions of the Free French Forces

.    In 1941, he served in the campaigns in Syria and Lebanon. He was later promoted to general and took command of the First French Brigade in Egypt. His unit of 3700 men held ground against five Axis divisions for 16 days at the Battle of Bir Hakeim until they were ordered to evacuate on 11-06-1942. General de Gaulle said to Kœnig: Hear and tell your troops: the whole of France is watching you, you are our pride.” Later, Kœnig served as the Free French delegate to the Allied headquarters under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1944, he was given command of the Free French that participated in the Invasion of Normandy.  Kœnig also served as a military adviser to de Gaulle. In June 1944, he was given command of the French Forces of the Interior to unify various French Resistance groups under de Gaulle’s control. Under his command, the FFI stopped range battle in the Maquis, resistance, to prefer sabotage that helped the invasion army. Important in D-Day, the role of the FFI became decisive in the battle for Normandy and in the landing in the Provence of the US Seventh Army  and French Army B. On 21-08-1944, de Gaulle appointed him military governor of Paris to restore law and order. In 1945, he was sent to arrest Philippe Petain who had taken refuge in Germany, but who surrendered himself at the frontier with Switzerland. After the war, Kœnig became a commander of the French army on the French occupation zone in Germany until 1949. In 1949, he became Inspector General in North Africa and in 1950 vice-president of the Supreme War Council.

Death and burial ground of Koenig, Marie Pierre Joseph Francis.

  Marie Pierre Kœnig, who was married to Marie Jeanne Klein, died on 02-09-1970, age 71, in Neuilly-sur-Seine. In 1984, he was posthumously declared Marshal of France. In addition to memorials in France, there are streets named after him in Jerusalem, Israel and in Netanya, Israel. He was awarded a large number of military honours and decorations during his career, including the British Distinguished Service Order, and appointment as Companion of the Order of the Bath. Koenig is buried on the cimétière de Montmartre in Paris.

 

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