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Marie-Pierre KOENIG

French Marie-Pierre KOENIG

French general

Source :  Alain MARILLRémy ILLIG

Born: on October 10, 1898 in Caen, Calvados, France
Died: on September 02, 1970 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts de Seine, France


Marie Pierre Kœnig was born on 10 October 1898, in Caen, Calvados. He fought in the French Army during World War I and served with distinction. After the war, he served with French forces in Morocco and Cameroon.

When World War II broke out, Kœnig returned to France. He was first assigned as a captain with the French troops in Norway, for which, in 1942, he was awarded the Krigskorset med Sverd or Norwegian War Cross with Sword. After the fall of France, he escaped to England from Brittany.

In London, Kœnig joined general Charles de Gaulle and was promoted to colonel. He became chief of staff in the first divisions of Free French Forces. In 1941 he served in the campaigns in Syria and Lebanon. He was later promoted to general and took command of the First French Brigade in Egypt. His unit of 3700 men held ground against five axis divisions for 16 days at the Battle of Bir Hakeim until they were ordered to evacuate on 11 June 1942. De Gaulle to Koenig: "Hear and tell your troops: the whole of France is watching you, you are our pride."

Later Kœnig served as Free French delegate to supreme Allied headquarters under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1944 he was given command of the Free French that took part of the Normandy Invasion. Koenig also served as a military advisor of De Gaulle. In June 1944 he was given command of the French Forces of the Interior to unify various French Resistance groups under de Gaulle's control. Under his command, the FFI stopped range battle in the Maquis to prefer sabotage that helped the invasion army. Important in D-Day, the role of the FFI became decisive in the battle for Normandy and in the landing in the Provence of the US Seventh Army and French Army B. On 21 August 1944, de Gaulle appointed him military governor of Paris to restore law and order. In 1945 he was sent to arrest Philippe Pétain, who had taken refuge in Germany, but who surrendered himself at the frontier with Switzerland.

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