Listing of French Regiments and Battalions, 1914-18

At the time of mobilization in August 1914, there were 44 active divisions in "metropolitan" France: 41 infantry divisions (1st-36th DI, 39th-43rd DI) and 3 colonial (1st-3rd DIC). An additional three divisions were formed upon mobilization: the 44th DI (composed of 4 regiments reserved solely for the defense of the Alps), and the 37th and 38th DI constituted in North Africa. In the first weeks of the war, the Moroccan Division and the 45th DI are formed in North Africa as well. Thus, in August 1914 there were a total of 47 divisions. This would be altered slightly in early September when the 44th DI was dissolved and the 76th DI and 77th DI formed in its stead. At the end of 1914 therefore, the number of active infantry divisions stood at 49.

In theory, each active infantry division was to also have 2 reserve regiments attached to it, a pre-war organization that would not be maintained once fighting began. Most of these were grouped into 25 separate reserve divisions (51st-75th DR). Of these 25 divisions, 4 are assigned to the defense of fortified regions (57th DR at Belfort, 71st DR at Epinal, 72nd DR at Verdun and 73rd DR at Toul). The other 21 reserve divisions were field formations. However, in September 1914 the 54th and 75th DR were dissolved with the result that by the end of 1914 there are only 23 reserve divisions.

In 1915, the formal distinction between active and reserve formations is done away. From the outset it had proved to be a technical difference that did not align with the reality, as reserve units were employed in the same role as their active sister units. Reorganizations in the wake of massive casualties saw the inter-division exchange of active and reserve infantry regiments to balance out the effective strength of formations. An amalgamation of non-divisioned formations and the incorporation of the class of 1915 allows for the formation of 26 new divisions (of which 4 are colonials), making a total of 98 infantry divisions. #s?

By 1916, the process of severing the attachment between the active and reserve regiments, along with the chasseur group from many infantry divisions, was completed. These orphaned units were subsequently formed into their own respective divisions. The greater reorganization though was the dissolving of the infantry brigade. An infantry division was now to be composed of just 3 infantry regiments. This reorganization allowed for the creation of 9 new divisions and by the end of 1916 their total number had risen to 107, though with a smaller number of total effectives.

In 1917, 4 divisions were formed from the transformation of territorial divisions into active ones, along with the creation of another 5 new divisions (4 line infantry and 1 colonial). The infantry division saw further reorganization with the gradual transformation of the infantry regiment: one company from each battalion (4th, 8th, 12th) were formed into the new divisional depot (later called the divisional instruction center). Most regiments had completed the change by the fall but it would not be fully implemented until the spring of 1918. At the same time, a further 14 divisions were formed with either 8, 10 or 11 battalions, respectively. At the end of 1917, 3 other divisions were dissolved (88th, 130th, 158th DI) and the total number of divisions would reach its maximum at 113. In 1918, a pioneer battalion was added to each division and the services branch was expanded further but no new formations were created. The 55th DI was dissolved, while the 65th DI became the 2nd Moroccan Division and the 63rd DI became the Polish Division. At the end of the war, the total number of infantry divisions stood at 109.

August 1914Summer 1916Fall 1917
Infantry Division
2 brigades of 2 regiments
(12 battalions total)
Some also received 1 or 2 chasseur battalions.
Avg. effective: 16,000.
3 regiments
(12 battalions total)
Avg. effective: 12,000.
3 regiments
(9 battalions total)
Avg. effective: 7,500.
Reserve Division 2 brigades of 3 regiments (of 2 btns.)
(12 battalions total)
Avg. effective: 12,000.
N/A N/A.

Besides the active and reserve divisions, there were also autonomous territorial formations. In the August 1914, there were 15 territorial divisions (81st-92nd, 94th, 96th-97th DT and the Belfort Division) assigned mostly to the defense of Paris, the Alps and the coasts. The exceptions to this were the 90th and 94th DT. The former, originally sent to North Africa and Morocco, was disbanded and reassigned to the 94th DT in September 1914. A month later, the 94th DT was disbanded with the various regiments being reassigned to other territorial divisions. Territorial divisions remained unattached to the various army corps, though a certain number of divisions constituted a reserve division group. Territorial Division August 1914:
2 brigades of 2 regiments (varying number of battalions ranging from 2-7 with 34 the average; dependent on the local population levels).

In 1915, following the amalgamation of non-divisioned formations, an additional 6 territorial division were formed: the 99e-101e DT in February, the 102e DT in May, and the 103e-105e DT in August, the last of which was formed from the Belfort Division. In the same year, however, 5 territorial divisions were disbanded: the 82e, 84e, 91st-92e and 96e in June and July. Meanwhile, the regiments of the 85e and 86e DT were reassigned to active divisions. In 1916, coinciding with the dissolution of the infantry brigade and subsequent reorganization of the line infantry division, 4 territorial divisions were disbanded: the 99e in August, and the 102e-104e from March to August (save the 104e, disbanded in November). Additionally, the 105e DT is activated into line infantry division the 133e DI. By the end of the 1916 only 7 territorial divisions were extant. In 1917, these remaining territorial divisions were disbanded, save one (83e DT) which was reserved for the military government of Paris. In June the 89e DT was dissolved entirely, followed in January 1918 by the 100e and 101e DT. Meanwhile, the 81e, 87e, 88e, and 97e DT were activated into line infantry divisions before the year 1917 was out. Due to unanticipated strains on manpower, 2 new territorial divisions would also be formed, only to be subsequently transformed into dismounted cavalry divisions in 1918. At the end of the war, there was only 1 territorial division still extant.

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