|503e Régiment de chars de combat|
Regimental Insignia of the 503e RCC
|Active||1918 – 2009|
« Feux et foi »(Fr)
World War I|
World War II
The 503e régiment de chars de combat 503e RCC in French, (503e R.C.C, or 503rd Combat Tank Regiment) was an armoured tank unit of the French Army created on June 4, 1918 and which took part in the two world wars. The regiment merged with the 501e Régiment de chars de combat 501e RCC to form the 501e-503e Régiment de chars de combat 501e-503e RCC, a unit equipped with 80 Leclerc tanks. The regiment was dissolved on June 23, 2009.
Creation and different nominations
- 1916 : creation of the assault artillery.
- 1918 : creation on June 4 of the 503rd Special Artillery Regiment (French language: 503e Régiment d'artillerie spéciale, 503e RAS).
- 1920 : became the 503e régiment de chars de combat 503e RCC.
- 1939 : the regiment became the 503rd Tank Battalion Group (French language: 503e Groupe de bataillons de chars, 503e GBC).
- 1940 : dissolution of the regiment.
- 1951 : recreation of the 503e RCC.
- 1994 : merged with the 501e RCC1, the regiment became the 503rd squadron group of the 501e-503e RCC.
- 2009 : dissolution, on June 23, 2009, of the 503e GE, the regiment was redisgnated as the 501e RCC.
World War I
The 503rd Special Artillery Regiment issued from the assault artillery was created in 1916. Enacted on June 4, 1918 by the merger of three Light Tank Battalions each formed of three artillery groups.
The regiment was engaged in the battle of the Marne to cover the pocket of Château-Thierry. In three days of combat in the Soissonnais, the battalions contributed 40 hours of march out of which 30 in combat. The regiment was accordingly sent to Picardie and was successful at Montdidier. In August 1918, making way back to Soissons, the regiment participated within the cadre and corps of the 10e Armée to the counter-attack of Mangin. While clearing Soissons, the three battalions adopted Vauxaillon as a marching axe and pushed back towards Chemin des Dames. From October to November 1918, the regiment was seen ending campaign in la Lys in Belgium.
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World War II
During dissolution on August 25, 1939, the 503e RCC were formed from four combat tank battalions which were distributed between several tank groups:
- GBC 503
- GBC 513
- combat tank battalion (63 FT 17 tanks)
- GBC 518
- combat tank battalion (63 FT 17 tanks)
- 3e BCC (45 R35 tanks)
- 4e BCC (45 FCM 36 tanks)
- 7e BCC (45 FCM 36 tanks)
On May 10, 1940, two battalions of GBC 503, each equipped with 45 FCM 36s, were deployed near the verrou de Stonne and in Argonne. The 4e BCL and 7e BCL battled to relieve the encircled French infantry. Both battalions disappeared. On the 9 and 10, the 4e BCC combat engaged on Aisn, Voncq, in front of Vouziers and South of Ardennes.
1945 to 2009
In 1952, the regiment received M47 Patton tanks.
During the Algerian War, from 1956 to 1963, the regiment was transformed into a training centre prior their departure to Algeria.
In 1963, the training centre was redesignated as a combat tank regiment and following experimentation, the 503e RCC was the first regiment to receive the AMX-30 B while specializing in the piercing of obstacles in submersion.
In 1982, the 503e RCC had yet again the privilege to be equipped with the first AMX 30 B2.
In 1990, the chef d'état major de l'armée de terre CEMAT, created a combat tank regiment with 80 Leclerc tanks - designated RC 80 - constituted of two squadron groups (GE) formed respectively by the 4e Régiment de dragons 4e RD and the 503e RCC. On August 31, 1994, while the 501e RCC was dissolved, the squadron group of the 4e Régiment de dragons was designated as squadron group 501 and formed, with the GE 503, the 501e-503e Régiment de chars de combat.
The dissolution of squadron group 503 intervened on June 23, 2009. The 239 military personnel which belonged to the GE 503 reinforced the new unit which was redesignated as the 501e RCC. The 4th combat squadron of the 501e RCC, which was projected in a deployment to New Caledonia in 2009, then to Lebanon the following year, was created from the 1st squadron of the 503e RCC.
The men of the new regiment bear wearing the same beret, the insignia and Fourragere of the 501e RCC, nevertheless conserve the traditions of the 503e RCC.
The regimental colors of the 503e RCC was handed over to the last commandant of the 501e-503e RCC
Similarly to the regiment, the squadron group GE 503 has participated to numerous combats engagements. Engagements included relieving missions in ex-Yugoslavia, and Kosovo and on all exterior theatres of intervention (Tchad, Lebanon, Kuwait, Central African Republic, as well as Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Afghanistan).
The GE 503 included 40 Leclerc tanks and was supported by two squadrons in general means and maintenance, shared with the GE 501.
Contrary to the rules, a ministerial decision in 1951 authorized the regiment to bear wearing the regimental colors, the palms acquired by the regiments battalions (5 palms by the 3rd battalion and 3 palms by the 7th battalion), as well as 3 Fourragere. Croix de Guerre 1914-18 with 8 palms and 3 stars.
In 1939, six companies were entitled to wear the fourragere with colors of the Croix de Guerre 1914-18 and the Médaille militaire. In total, 24 palms were awarded to six companies. Three of these companies integrated the 503e RCC in 1935. In 1918, these companies were combined to form the 501e RCC which authorizes that regiment to wear the fourragere with colors of the Médaille militaire.
Regimental Commander of the 503e RCC (1918 - 1940)
Regimental Commander of the 503e RCC (1950 -1990)
Regimental commander of the 503 GE (1990- 2009)
- 4e BCC of the 502e RCC reinforced the formation
- général Serge Andolenko, Recueil d'historique de l'arme blindée et de la cavalerie, Paris, Eurimprim, 1968.
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