Tirailleurs indochinois

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Tirailleurs indochinois
Lính tập (𠔦習)
Coat of arms of the Linh tap (1887).png



Allegiance Flag of France.svg France
Type Tirailleurs
RoleMilitary force
Size1945: 22.000 [1]
Motto(s)Per Arma Pro Pace

The Tirailleurs indochinois (Vietnamese : Lính tập; Chữ Nôm: 𠔦習) were soldiers of several regiments of local ethnic Indochinese infantry organized as Tirailleurs by the French colonial authorities, initially in Vietnam from 15 March 1880. [2] [3] The most notable, and first established, of these units were the Tonkinese Rifles (French: Tirailleurs tonkinois, Vietnamese: Quân đoàn bộ binh Bắc Kỳ).



Tirailleur annamite Tirailleur annamite.jpg
Tirailleur annamite

In the early days of these regiments the charge was often made that the tirailleurs were prone to desertion. [4]

However under the leadership of officers seconded from the regular French Marine (subsequently Colonial) Infantry the tirailleurs became an effective corps, without which the French would have had difficulty in occupying and garrisoning their Indochinese possessions.

The tirailleurs saw active service in Indochina, the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Allied intervention in Siberia between 1918–19, [5] Syria (1920–21) [6] and Morocco (1925–26). [7] During World War I the French Army was initially reluctant to deploy its Indochinese units of the Troupes coloniales on the Western Front but eventually 40,000 Annamite and Cambodian tirailleurs were sent to France. [8] The majority were employed behind the lines in guard, depot and factory-worker duties. However several battalions fought at Verdun, the Chemin des Dames, and in Champagne. [9] Indochinese troops were also deployed to the Macedonian front. [10]

On 10 February 1930 fifty tirailleurs rose in support of the Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng during the Yen Bai mutiny, which was quickly suppressed by loyal tirailleurs of the same regiment. [11] This event resulted in the increased recruitment of non-Vietnamese soldiers.

In 1945 some tirailleur units fought against the Japanese occupation of Vietnam. In particular the "3e RTT" (3e régiment de tirailleurs tonkinois) offered fierce resistance but was annihilated. The six Tonkinese and Annamite tirailleur regiments then in existence were destroyed or dispersed in the course of the Japanese coup, and were not reestablished. [12] Large numbers of Vietnamese troops did however serve in the French Union Forces during the French Indochina War (1946–1954) and the last Indochinese unit in the French Army was not disbanded until 1960. [13]


Indochinese soldiers circa 1916. THE FRENCH ARMY ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-1918 Q102976.jpg
Indochinese soldiers circa 1916.

The regiments were founded in each of the territories of Tonkin, Annam and Cambodia.

Tirailleurs tonkinois ("Tonkinese Rifles")

Tirailleurs annamites

Tirailleurs cambodgiens

Tirailleurs Tais

Ethnic Taï from Sip Song Chau Tai and Northern Laos. [14]

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  1. Vũ Ngự Chiêu. Political and Social Change in Viet-Nam between 1940 and 1946. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin, 1984. Page 360.
  2. Maurice Rives, Eric Deroo Les Lính tâp: Histoire des militaires indochinois au service de la France, 1859-1960
  3. Elisée Reclus Nouvelle géographie universelle: la terre et les hommes Volume 8 1883- "Des bataillons annamites, les linh-tap, aident à la défense de la colonie, et des volontaires se présentent en grand nombre pour la servir."
  4. Albert Marie Aristide Bouinais, A. Paulus - L'Indo-Chine française contemporaine: Cochinchine. Cambodge 1885- Page 190 "Le régiment des tirailleurs annamites, ou linh-tap, a été créé par décret du 15 mars 1880. L'uniforme des soldats est très bien approprié au climat: il consiste en un pantalon blanc très court, une chemise-vareuse bleue sur laquelle se boucle .." "Les tirailleurs annamites vivent en famille sous la tutelle de leur capitaine. Nous ne pouvons que louer ... Les principaux délits qu'on reproche aux linh-tap sont le vol et la désertion ; ce dernier est très fréquent."
  5. Rives et al. 1999, p. 52.
  6. Rives et al. 1999, p. 85.
  7. Rives et al. 1999, p. 86.
  8. Jouineau, Andre (April 2009). French Army 1918 1915 to Victory. p. 63. ISBN   978-2-35250-105-3.
  9. Jouineau, Andre (April 2009). French Army 1918 1915 to Victory. p. 63. ISBN   978-2-35250-105-3.
  10. "French Forces in the Salonika Campaign 1915-1918".
  11. Rives et al. 1999, pp. 72–73.
  12. Rives et al. 1999, pp. 98–99.
  13. Rives et al. 1999, pp. 125–127.
  14. GUERRE D'INDOCHINE - 1948 / 1951 : 3e et 4e BMEO
  15. Rives, Maurice (1999). Les Linh Tap. Histoire des Militaires Indochinois au Service de la France (1859-1960). p. 136. ISBN   2-7025-0436-1.