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The Army of the Alps (Armée des Alpes) was one of the French Revolutionary armies. It existed from 1792–97 and from July to August 1799, and the name was also used on and off right up until 1939 for France's army on its border with Italy.


The Armée des Alpes was created by a decree of the French Convention on 1 October 1792 which divided the armée du Midi into the armée des Alpes and armée des Pyrénées, and on 1 November the following year it was itself divided into the armée de Savoie and armée d'Italie by a conseil exécutif decree.

Following the decrees of 27–29 November 1793 which brought Savoy back into the France under the name of "the département of Le Mont-Blanc", the armée de Savoie was renamed the armée des Alpes, before having a camp before Lyon split off from it between 8 August and 29 October 1793. The 1793 Armée des Alpes was finally suppressed by a decree of 21 August 1797 (21 fructidor year V), put into effect on 13 September, with its men and theatre transferred to the armée d'Italie


Created on 27 July 1799, this incarnation of the Armée des Alpes only lasted until 29 August 1799, when it was merged into the armée d'Italie.


Armée des Alpes

  • 8 October - 6 November 1792 : général de Montesquiou-Fézensac

Armée de Savoie

  • 7–13 November 1792 : général de Montesquiou-Fézensac
  • 13 November - 4 December, temporarily : général d'Ornac

Armée des Alpes

  • 5–24 December 1792, temporarily : général d'Ornac
  • 25 December 1792 au 5 May 1793 : général Kellermann
  • 6 May - 1 June 1793, temporarily : général d'Ornac
  • 2 June - 18 October 1793 : général Kellermann, along with overall command of the armée d'Italie. Kellermann, to whom the Représentants were ordered not to immediately communicate the decree by which he was deprived of this command, continued to command on the frontier until 18 October, when he was arrested and taken to Paris.
    • 2 June - 2 November : the général d'Ornac, second in command of the armée des Alpes
    • Camp devant Lyon:
      • 8–18 August, Kellermann was at the siege of Lyon
      • 19 - 21 août, he visited the frontier and général Dumuy was in command before Lyon
      • 22–31 August, Kellermann was in command before Lyon
      • 1 September, he went to put himself at the head of the troops guarding the frontier, leaving the besieging division under the command of général Coustard Saint-Lo
  • 25 September - 28 October 1793 :général Doppet, in command before Lyon
  • 29 October - 17 November, provisionally : général Dours
  • 18 November - 22 December 1793 : général Carteaux
  • 23 décembre 1793 - 20 January 1794, provisionally : général Pellapra
  • 22 décembre 1793 (date of nomination) - 14 October 1794 : général Alexandre Dumas, (father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas)
  • 15 October - 30 November 1794, provisionally : général Petitguillaume
  • 1 December 1794 - 7 October 1795 : général Moulin, from 5 April subordinate to général Kellermann
  • 5 April 1795 - 13 September 1797 : général Kellermann, commander in chief of the armée des Alpes and the armée d'Italie until 28 September 1795. He visited all the encampments of the armée des Alpes from 5 to 15 April 1795, then left for the headquarters of the armée d'Italie at Nice.


During the Hundred Days, Napoleon activated the Army of the Alps and placed it under the command of Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet. The force consisted on two regular infantry divisions, one cavalry division, three national guard divisions, and attached artillery. Philibert Jean-Baptiste Curial led the 10-battalion strong 23rd Infantry Division. Jean Mesclop's brigade was made up of three battalions of the 7th Line and two battalions of the 14th Line Infantry Regiment. Jean Louis Eloi Bouvard's brigade comprised three battalions of the 20th Line and two battalions of the 24th Line. Joseph Marie, Count Dessaix commanded the 24th Infantry Division with seven battalions in two brigades. Jean Montfalcon's brigade had three battalions of the 67th Line. Jean Revest's brigade included two battalions each of the 42nd Line and 53rd Line. François Jean Baptiste Quesnel led a cavalry division consisting of only one brigade. Bernard Meyer de Schauensee's brigade consisted of the 10th Chasseurs a Cheval and 18th Dragoon Regiments. The 5th, 6th, and 7th National Guard Divisions were led by Théodore Chabert, Claude Marie Pannetier, and Jean-Pierre Maransin, respectively. The artillery included six foot batteries from the 4th Artillery Regiment and one battery from the 4th Horse Artillery Regiment.[1]

20th Century

In the mid-twentieth century, the Army of the Alps defended France's southeastern frontier with Italy, manning the Alpine Line fortifications of the Maginot Line. The army's commander was General René Olry, headquartered at Valence. The army surrendered to German forces at the end of June 1940 in accordance with the terms of the Second Armistice at Compiègne, having repelled Italian forces in the Italian invasion of France.[2]


  • C. Clerget : Tableaux des armées françaises pendant les guerres de la Révolution (Librairie militaire 1905) ;


  1. Schneid, Frederick C. (2002). Napoleon's Italian Campaigns: 1805-1815. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers. pp. 205–206. ISBN 0-275-96875-8. 
  2. Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques (2009) (in French). Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 4 - La fortification alpine. Histoire & Collections. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-2-915239-46-1. 

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