Troupes Aeroportees de Marine D óutre-Mer

metal badge, with lugs, unmarked


The Troupes de marine, formerly Troupes coloniales, are an arm of the French Army with a colonial heritage. The Troupes de marine have a dedicated overseas service role. Despite their title they have long been a part of the Army, renamed from the Troupes Coloniales in 1958. They are sometimes referred to as French marines in English-speaking media, though they are not connected to either the French naval infantry, the Fusiliers Marins or naval special forces Commandos Marine.

Soldiers of the troupes de marine are likely to spend much more of their service overseas, particularly in Africa, than other French soldiers. The troupes de marine include infantry (including light tank units and airborne units) and artillery.

The Troupes de marine were founded in 1622 (officially titled compagnies ordinaires de la mer) as land forces under the control of the navy, notably for operations in French Canada. The Troupes de marine were transferred to the army in 1900 and became part of the Troupes Coloniales (Colonial Troops). The nickname la Coloniale or la Colo refers to this heritage.

At their height in 1940, the Troupes Coloniales consisted of nine divisions and several demi-brigades who manned machine gun emplacements on the Maginot Line. They were recruited both in France and overseas.

With France divesting itself of its colonies, the historic title of Troupes de marine was readopted on 4 May 1961. This was after a brief period from 1958 when all the Troupes Coloniales had been designated as Troupes d' Outre-Mer (Overseas Troops) . They became a major component in France's Forces d'Intervention.

Inherited from the British Parachute Regiment the red beret was awarded to French paratroopers by King George VI. It was worn officially for the first time in the French army by the 2nd and 3e RCPs at a parade on 11 November 1944. After undergoing a few modifications, the crimson beret became the standard headdress for all French 'Metropolitan' and 'Marine' airborne troops in 1957, except for the Foreign Legion paratroops who retained the green beret of the Legion.

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