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Philippe PETAIN

French Philippe PETAIN

born Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph PETAIN

French general, Marshal of France, and Chief of State of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944

Source :  Etienne CIMETIERE ,  Bertrand CREPEL

Born: on April 24, 1856 in Cauchy-à-la-Tour, Pas-de-Calais, France
Died: on July 23, 1951 in Île D'Yeu, Vendée, France


Biography

Pétain was born in the north of France. He joined the French Army in 1876 and attended the St Cyr Military Academy in 1887 and the École Supérieure de Guerre (army war college) in Paris. His career progressed very slowly, as he rejected the French Army philosophy of the furious infantry assault, arguing instead that "firepower kills". His views were later proved to be correct during the First World War. He was promoted to Captain in 1890 and Major (Chef de Bataillon) in 1900, but unlike many French officers, served only in mainland France, never in Africa or Indochina. As a Colonel he commanded the 33rd Infantry Regiment at Arras from 1911; the young lieutenant Charles de Gaulle, who served under him, later wrote that his "first colonel, Pétain, taught (him) the Art of Command". In the spring of 1914 he was given command of a brigade (still with the rank of Colonel), but having been told he would never become a general, had bought a house pending retirement - he was already fifty-eight years old.

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