The RICM, the most decorated regiment of the French army
The RICM – the Marine Infantry Tank Regiment – an armoured and entirely professional formation – was one of two reconnaissance armoured regiments of the 9th Marine Light Armoured Brigade.
A recent regiment, it was formed in Rabat in Morocco in early August 1914 as the 1st Colonial Infantry Mixed Regiment. In December, it was renamed the 1st Colonial Infantry Marching Regiment. The RICM, the Colonial Infantry Regiment of Morocco was officially created on 9 June 1915 and on 17 August 1914 it landed in Cette (former name of the port of Sète. Over four years, it fought in battles that would make it the most decorated regiment of the French army.
On 24 October 1916, it wrote one of the most glorious pages in its history book when it recaptured Fort de Douaumont in Verdun.
The RICM in Douaumont. Source: RICM collection.
The RICM in the trenches of Douaumont. Source: RICM collection.
After several years stationed in Germany, the RICM returned to Morocco in 1925, summoned by Marshal Lyautey. In the Moroccan Rif mountains, its operations were crowned with success. It returned to France, specifically Aix-en-Provence, in 1932.
In 1939, the RICM left Aix-en-Provence to fight at the outposts in Alsace. Defending French soil inch by inch, it lost two-thirds of its members. Dissolved after the Armistice, it was reformed in Rabat in 1940. In 1943, it became the armoured reconnaissance regiment of the 9th DIC. After arriving in Provence on 20 August 1944, it took Toulon and Mulhouse to arrive at the Rhine in Rosenau on 13 November 1944, the first Allied army to do so. It reached Constance when Germany surrendered.
Le RICM à Rosenau. Source : Collection RICM
Rest was however out of the question for the RICM. It landed in Saigon on 4 November 1945. Throughout Indochina, the regiment proved its worth during ten years of incessant fighting.
Patrouille fluviale en Indochine. Source : Collection RICM
Stationed for seven years in Algeria, the RCIM won fame in the large-scale operations in Oron and protected the Algeria-Moroco military barricade.
Towards the end of 1958, it changed names again to become the Marine Infantry Tank Regiment. On 22 January 1963, the RICM arrived in Vannes and stationed in the Delestraint district. In 1978, it was awarded an 18th citation after taking part in operations in Chad and Lebanon. After two more postings in Beirut in 1982 and 1984, two squadrons were engaged in Operation Daguet in the Middle East in 1991-1992.
As part of peace-keeping efforts led by the UN in former Yugoslavia, the RICM carried out two mandates in 1992-1993 and then in 1995.
In 1994, the Regiment and over half of its troops participated in Operation Turquoise led by France to help the people of Rwanda. During the summer of 1996, the RICM left Vannes and moved to Poitiers. It left almost immediately for a third mandate in Sarajevo, Bosnia, from September 1996 to February 1997. Then in April, a squadron was sent to Albania for Operation Aba in July. From September 1997 to January 1998, the RCIM set up the immediate response force of the SFOR in Bosnia.
From 1998, the regiment took part in a long series of operations: Aramis military assistance in Cameroon; the RCA for a group from the 2nd squadron; Djibouti for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd squadrons; Côte d'Ivoire for two groups and a part of the ECL; Bosnia again for the 4th squadron; Chad for the 1st squadron; Kosovo for one SRR, and the list goes on.
A century of history was completed by the RICM in Mostar with the French Tactical Group.
The RICM in landing operations. Source: RICM collection.
The RICM flag is the most decorated emblem in the French army.
On the obverse
République française Régiment d'Infanterie - Chars de Marine (French Republic Marine Tank Infantry Regiment)
On the back
Honneur et Patrie (Honour and Fatherland)
La Marne 1914-1918
La Malmaison 1917
Plessis de Roye 1918
L'Aisne - L'Ailette 1918
On the tie
The Legion of Honour
The military medal
The Cross of War 1914-1918 with 10 palms
The Cross of War 1939-1945 with 2 palms
The Cross of War for Overseas Theatres of Operations with 5 palms
The Cross of War of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword
The blue tie of the Distinguished Unit” with the “Rosenau” inscription
The Cross of the Order of the Cherifian Merit
Marine infantry hymn
Whether foot soldiers, horseriders, artillerymen or infantrymen, the colonial regiments were some of the first to join Free France.
In addition to the regiments of the 9th DIC (Colonial Infantry Division), there was the marching regiment of Chad and the Marine and Pacific Infantry Battalion, both decorated with the Cross of Liberation.
For its part, the Moroccan Colonial Infantry Regiment, the armoured regiment of the 9th DIC, is the most decorated formation in the French army.
Under the command of Colonel Le Puloch, the RICM took part in the capture of the island of Elba in 1944 then in the Battle of Toulon, where one of its detachments seized the Porte d’Italie and Fort Lamalque.