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SteveMarsdin

French Official Histories - FREE

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SteveMarsdin

If anyone hasn't looked at the French digital archive recently, they have added a considerable number of WW1 related books and documents over the last few months,

http://gallica.bnf.fr/

I think it is their intention to maximise coverage as we approach 2014. The books added include many regimental histories covering WW1 (e.g 3e Regt Chasseurs d'Afrique; 7e RIC). Like several British regimental histories they shouldn't be read as a sole (and accurate) interpretation of an action but they often contain useful maps, casualty lists etc.

Edited: 16.00 27/08/2012. I see they have also added their "Official Histories" this month. I have downloaded some but notice that at least one is mis-labelled on the site

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Charles Fair

Thanks for the tip off Steve. I have been waiting for the French OH for some time. They will all end up on the iPad before too long.

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SteveMarsdin

Charles, they're not all there yet and don't go by the sub-headings, many are just annexes and you need to check the actual document. There are also different editions that cover the same period which confused me (e.g. there are both the 1922 and 1936 editions of the first volume) but that does in itself give an insight into the evolution of history or at least the French perspective:

http://gallica.bnf.fr/Search?adva=1&adv=1&tri=title_sort&t_relation=%22Notice+d%27ensemble+%3A+http%3A%2F%2Fcatalogue.bnf.fr%2Fark%3A%2F12148%2Fcb41052951h%22&q=les+armees+francaises+1914〈=en

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bmac

The annexes are, though, fascinating and very useful. If only the British OH had such a detailed resource of official documents, plans, reports, etc., available as part of the set. I assume that they are adding volumes bit by bit as the narrative volume for early 1916 (Verdun) is there plus the annexes through the year, but not yet the narrative volume for the Somme. All the others now happily sitting on my PC. :D

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Charles Fair

Thanks, I realised quite quite quckly that it was only partial, but a good start nevertheless. I could find 23 volumes. I hope the rest will make it there before too long, particularly the map volumes.

The only complete set that I have seen was in the reading room of the archives at Vincennes where it filled a wall. Makes the British OH seem paltry by comparison..

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bmac

There is a set in the small library at the Historial in Peronne and one in the UK somewhere. British Library?

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MartH

Excellent, well spotted!

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healdav

If you get into the Archives at the Memorial at Verdun, they have all sorts of maps and books that the French army produced after the war to show front lines, movements, etc.

I don't think they respond to e-mails or whatever.

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alain dubois

Hi,

You'll find here, on the French "pages1418" forum a post with the references of the 106 books "Les Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre" ( AFGG) ( French Armies during the Great War) the first message lists all the books of the collection. It will be periodically updated, at each time that Gallica will publish new digitized items (often on Wednesday). We hope all that the map volumes will be digitized !!

Regards

Alain

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SteveMarsdin

Thank you very much for the insight, Alain

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egbert

Thanks guys for the links -if the French only would speak and write ENGLISH!

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alain dubois
if the French only would speak and write ENGLISH!

Hi

Yes we do, but silently !

Egbert, I believed you were also a French forum member : everybody understands you ........ :hypocrite:

Alain

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egbert

Hi

Yes we do, but silently !

Egbert, I believed you were also a French forum member : everybody understands you ........ :hypocrite:

Alain

Alain, ich bin stolz ein Deutscher zu sein! :P

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alain dubois

Ja, und hier sein zu 3 Sprachen sprechen ( die des Krieges ....)

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Crunchy

I'm with you Egbert. Wonderful downloads but I haven't a clue what I'm reading.

Regards

Chris

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alain dubois

A little revenge compared to the number of digitized books in English! :hypocrite::whistle::hypocrite:

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SteveMarsdin

Alain,

It is a fantastic resource and I am looking forward to the full set being available. The quality of digital reproduction is also very good (better than many on archive.org for example) but the sub-heading descriptions do not make clear what the document contains e.g. that certain volumes are annexes and others narrative; could the content be made more clear in the title ? (to avoid having to open the document up). For example this document contains annexes not the narrative of the First Battle of the Marne.

post-48281-0-91151400-1346342031_thumb.j

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PMHart

This must be the best thing ever I have found on the Great War Forum. Thanks for all the hard work that made it possible and thanks for making it available free.

Just fantastic,

Happy Pete

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alain dubois

Hello,

The description proposed by Gallica is not ... the best than we could hope,

There are 11 Tomes divided as follows :

106 volumes, including 24 of narrative text (called in French "Precis"), 56 of appendices (Annexes) (verbatim publication of selected texts) and 26 volumes of maps.

To avoid to open each Gallica document, a French forum member updates whenever there is something new online the thread linked here allowing us to know exactly what kind of volume is added.

b.e.

1st Tome : The warfare (operations prior to November 14, 1914).

1st Volume The preliminaries . The Battle of the Frontiers. Operations prior to August 24, 1914.

Precis 1st edition 1922, 485 pages . http://gallica.bnf.f...26914

Precis 2nd ed. 1936, 602 pages http://gallica.bnf.f...8/bpt6k6274616s

Annexes, vol. 1. http://gallica.bnf.f...8/bpt6k6267081z

Maps, vol. 1.

Maps, vol. 2.

2nd Volume and so on

The order of online publication is ..... aleatory ( ???), at present 23 books are online (August 23)

Not easy to describe, I hope I make myself clear

Alain

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bmac

Though there are a number of the typically brief regimental histories on Gallica, links to a whole load more can be found here: http://jeanluc.dron....ques.htm. This website about the organisation of the French Army in 1914 is also very useful: http://www.fortiffse...rs/Page5073.htm although some of the internal links on the front page are a bit iffy. The link to Genie (Engineers) on the front page actually takes you to Artillerie a Pied but Genie can be found in the side menu. The layout on some pages is rather odd to with lines disappearing in tables not big enough to hold the data. But small complaints. What the web site cannot possibly convey is the Byzantine complexity of the organisation of the artillery and engineers made more complex still by mergers and number changes. The information about the fortifications in France though is fascinating and incredibly detailed. Try this page about Douamont for size: http://fortiffsere.f...s/Page11436.htm

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alain dubois
there are a number of the typically brief regimental histories on Gallica,

Yes, direct link HERE for the SHD publications ( Defence Historical Service) among the books, a great number are regimental histories, this is a summary of what is in the JMO "Journaux de Marche et Opérations" (War Diaries) Here for the troops, There for the armies, brigades and so on. There is sometimes a lack in the one or the other.

When possible JMO tell the links between French and British Corps.

Alain

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egbert

Too complicated for me. I am 100% convinced the information is a marvel and milestone, but I am just an ordinary non French (with only 7 years French in school) speaking citizen. To circumvent I try to use the search function in English and in German, but this does not show results either. such a wealth of information should at least be published to include English language functionalities.

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Jack Sheldon

It will certainly be useful and a lot easier to carry round than the 80 volumes I have here. I endorse fully the value of the volumes of documents and the maps which are really high quality. It is indispensable if you want to obtain a rounded view of events. However, one word of warning, it does not hold a candle to the BOH in terms of readability. The whole work is dry to the point of desiccation but, as a result, it can also be a useful cure for insomnia.

Jack

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SteveMarsdin

Not easy to describe, I hope I make myself clear

Alain

Thanks Alain, very clear, I will check the "pages14-18" topic regularly for updates.

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MartH

This is really excellent and each of the volumes downloaded are between 100 Meg and 150 Meg. The text volume have a contents link page which works in the pdf and are also embedded at the end of the volume. The appendix volumes don't have an index, but all are searchable when downloaded.

The Canadians and US Defense/War Department 1943 did joint undertaking to produce a bilingual French-English military dictionary which the Canadians added a bit more too in 1945 and published. A large red book with 1016 pages, Very useful when using French resources.

You can also search the term in Nicolson online in English http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/oh-ho/detail-eng.asp?BfBookLang=1&BfId=22 and then look for it online in French http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/oh-ho/detail-fra.asp?BfBookLang=2&BfId=23, or vice versa.

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