Osprey Publishing Elite: Division Leclerc The Leclerc Column & Free French 2nd Armored Division 1940-1946

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'General Leclerc' was the nom de guerre adopted by the Gaullist officer Philippe de Hautcloque, to protect his family in occupied France. He became France's foremost fighting commander, and his armored division (the '2e DB') its most famous formation. Starting as a small scratch force of mostly African troops organized and led by Leclerc in French Equatorial Africa, it achieved early success raiding Italian and German positions in co-operation with Britain's Long Range Desert Group. Following the Allied victory in North Africa, it was expanded and reorganized as a US Army-style armored division, with American tanks and other armored vehicles. Shipped to the UK, in spring 1944, it was assigned to Patton's US Third Army, landing in time for the Normandy breakout and being given the honor of liberating Paris in August 1944. Combining a thorough analysis of their combat and organization with detailed color plates of their uniforms and equipment, this is the fascinating story of Free France's most effective fighting force.


  • Introduction: Philippe de Hautecloque becomes 'Francois Leclerc'
  • Gaullist mission to French Equatorial Africa, August 1940
  • The Colonne Leclerc - seizure of French West Africa - raids on Italians in southern Libya - capture of strategic Kouffra Oasis
  • Co-operation with LRDG - link-up with Eighth Army, 1942 * Brigade-strength 'L Force' in Tunisia, February-May 1943
  • Formation of division, May-August 1943 - equipment by US Army
  • Assignment to Patton's Third Army in UK, spring 1944
  • August 1944: Operation 'Cobra', and liberation of Paris
  • Alsace Lorraine - capture of Strasbourg, November 1944
  • Into Bavaria, April 1945
  • Occupation duties, and stand down, 1946