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In Honour and by Victory, seventeenth episode : the 2nd March Battalion

The 2nd March Battalion of French Equatorial Africa (BM2) was created at the end of 1940 at Bangui, in Central Africa. The battalion, made up of 800 Africans and French military officers, was one of ten battalions of “Tirailleurs” (riflemen) progressively built-up by Free France.

 Le général de Larminat passe en revue le BM 2 à Bangui en 1941 © musée de l’ordre de la Libération / DRIn June 1941, the battalion received the baptism of fire during the Syrian Campaign, while fighting against the Vichy French. In 1942, it fought in Libya as part of the 1st French Brigade, commanded by General Koenig and distinguished itself during the Battle of Bir Hakeim, but suffered heavy human losses.L’adjudant-chef Mouniro, à gauche du commandant Amiel, tient le fanion du bataillon © musée de l’ordre de la Libération / DR At the end of August 1942, the Order of the Liberation was pinned on the battalion’s flag by General de Gaulle while in Beirut.

The battalion moved to Madagascar in February 1943, to Bangui in September 1943  Un tirailleur du BM 2 à Quastina (Palestine) en mai 1941 © musée de l’ordre de la Libération / DRand Algeria in March 1944. The battalion landed in France in January 1945 and took part in the assault against the German-held port of Royan where it distinguished itself in April 1945, by taking enemy positions.

The 2nd March Battalion was dissolved in November 1945. 20 Companions of the Liberation served in the 2nd March Battalion.

Credits : © the Musée de l’Ordre de la Liberation / All rights reserved

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