Lattre de Tassigny, Jean de, born on 02-02-1889, two weeks before Adolf Hitler (did you know), at Mouilleron-en-Pareds, the son of Roger, Joseph Lattre de Tassigny and Anne, Marie Louise, born Hénault, graduated from school in 1911, fought in World War I and was wounded twice. He specialized in cavalry and was made head of the French War College in 1935. After World War I, he served as an officer in the French headquarters during the Rif War. He entered General Weygand’s headquarters in 1932. Weygand died old age 88, on 28-01-1955, in Paris. Weygand had the choice between de Lattre and Charles de Gaulle
and chose de Lattre, here with Monty
because of his superior rank and honors. De Lattre then served in the headquarters of an infantry regiment at Metz. When war was declared in 1939, he commanded the French 4th Infantry Division until the armistice with the Axis troops. He won a minor battle in Rethel where a German officer said that the French resistance was similar as in the Battle of Verdun. He remained on active duty, commanding Vichy French forces in Tunisia in 1941. He took charge of the 16th Division in 1942, but began organizing an anti-German force, which led to his arrest and a 10-year jail sentence. However, de Lattre was able to escape to Algiers. There he took command of the French Army B. French Army B were one of two armies of the Southern Group of Armies, also known as the Sixth United States Army Group, nicknamed “Aloma Force” under commander General Walter Krueger, elements of de Lattre’s army took Corsica. De Lattre then landed in Provence, southern France on 16-08-1944, and his troops began marching through France liberating the country as they went. On 25-09-1944 French Army B was redesignated French First Army. The army crossed the Vosges after heavy fighting. De Lattre took Belfort but halted the progress of his army. In doing so, he allowed the Germans to form the Colmar Pocket. During December 1944, the attempts to take Colmar were unsuccessful. De Lattre was able to collapse the pocket in January and February 1945 after the successful defense of Strasbourg, which was defended on the north by American troops and the French 3rd DIA, 3rd Algerian Infantry Division and on the south by the French. Under General de Gaulle’s encouragement those French Resistance members who wished to continue fighting were incorporated into the French First Army by General de Lattre. Once France had been liberated, as part of the Alliance, his army crossed the Rhine and invaded Germany. In Germany, his army, now numbering 300.000 soldiers took Karlsruhe, Ulm and Stuttgart before crossing the Danube and arriving in Austria. He could award his son with a decoration but his son was killed in battle in 1951 in Indochina. De Lattre represented France at the German unconditional surrender in Berlin on 08-05-1945.
Death and burial ground of Lattre de Tassigny, Jean de.
In 1951, illness forced de Lattre de Tassigny to return to Paris where he later died of cancer, on 11-01-1952, age 62, he was posthumously made Maréchal de France. He is buried on the cemetery des Invaliden, in Paris. He rests in his native village with his wife, Simonne Calary de Lamazière (1906-2003), who was mayor of Mouilleron-en-Pareds from 1956 to 1977 and the author of three books about her husband and their son, officer Bernard De Lattre de Tassigny (1928-1951),
Bernhard was killed in action, 30-05-1951 (aged 23) near Ninh Binh, during the Battle of the Day River. He had died obeying his father’s orders to hold the town at all costs; this stubbornly fought battle is credited with halting Vietminh General Võ Nguyên Giap’s advance on the Red River Delta at that time, Giap died old age 102 on 04-10-2013, in Hanoi.