French Croix de Guerre 1939-1945


The French Croix de Guerre (French: “War Cross”) was intituted in 1915 and 1939 to reward feats of bravery, either by individuals or groups, in the course of the two World Wars. This medal may be conferred on any member of the armed forces, on French citizens and foreigners who have been mentioned in army dispatches, and, in special cases, on military units and towns. Emblems worn on the ribbon denote the level at which the medal was achieved. For an Army Despatch: a bronze palm or laurel branch (known in French as “Croix de Guerre avec Palme”); for an Army Corps Despatch: a gilt star; for a Divisional Despatch: a silver star; for a Bri­gade, Regimental or Unit Despatch: a bronze star.

Normally, two citations are required before a unit becomes eligible for the award of the Fourragère (see right). The award of the Fourragère is not automatic, but must be specifically authorized by decree of the respective foreign government. A citation in orders or award of the Croix de Guerre to a unit does not authorize the wearing of the decoration by an individual. Likewise, no award of the Croix de Guerre to an individual will serve to constitute eligibility to wear the Fourragère. The Fourragère may be worn permanently by individuals who participated with the unit in both actions for which the unit was cited. The French Fourragère may be worn temporarily by individuals assigned to the unit subsequent to the time the award was made, but only so long as they remain with such unit. Listed below are the citations for the French Croix de Guerre (1939-1945) awarded to the 16th Infantry Regiment during World War II.


French Croix de Guerre with Palm
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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Tunisia, 1 Jan-30 Apr 1943
  • G.O. No.: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 43 (1950)

FRENCH CROIX DE GUERRE WITH PALM, awarded under Decision No. 279, 22 July 1946, by the President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, with the following citation:

An elite unit, heir of the noblest traditions of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, which covered itself with glory during the war of 1914-18. Placed under the command of General JUIN, Chief of the French Army Detachment, at the beginning of the Tunisian Campaign in 1943, distinguished itself in Ousseltia valley, supporting effectively the French 19th A. C., and repulsing a strong German offensive. In March 1943, it received the shock of the enemy offensive at Kasserine, and after hard fighting, stopped the German armor and took successively Gafsa and El Guettar, at the price of great sacrifices. In April 1943, it strongly attacked near Beja and menaced Mateur in such a way that at the beginning of May, Mateur fell, opening the way to Tunis.


French Croix de Guerre with Palm
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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Division
  • Place and date: Near Colleville-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944
  • G.O. No.: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 43 (1950)

FRENCH CROIX DE GUERRE WITH PALM, awarded under Decision No. 279, 22 July 1946, by the President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, with the following citation:

An elite unit which landed on the beach of Colleville, 6 June 1944, in spite of stubborn resistance of the coastal fortifications and of the enemy reinforcements. In the afternoon of the same day it seized the crest overhanging the beach and, pushing toward the interior, occupied strategic positions in spite of the furious German counterattacks. In spite of its heavy losses, it succeeded in establishing and consolidating a strong bridgehead, thus contributing to the decisive victory of Normandy.


French Fourragère in the colors of the Médaille Militaire
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  • Organization: U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Division
  • G.O. No.: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 43 (1950)

FRENCH FOURRAGERE in the colors of the Médaille Militaire (Military Medal), awarded under Decision No. 282, 27 July 1946, as amended by Adendum, 3 December 1946, by the President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic.

Please note: the 16th Infantry Regiment was already cited twice in the dispatches for actions in World War I, and thereby authorized to wear the Fourragère in the colors of the Croix de Guerre (see above). For prior citation for the French Fourragère in the colors of the Croix de Guerre, see War Department, General Orders No. 11, 1924. Because the 16th Infantry Regiment is also mentioned twice for actions in World War II, the regiment was authorized to wear the fourragère aux couleurs du ruban de la médaille militaire (fourragère in the colours of the ribbon of the médaille militaire, see right), not to be confused with the Médaille Militaire. For more information about the French Fourragère, please read “Rope of Courage: A Brief Look at the French Fourragère” by George Wilson (download here).

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