Military Wiki
Mariano Goybet
Mariano Goybet
Birth name Mariano Francisco Julio Goybet
Born (1861-08-17)August 17, 1861
Died 29 September 1943(1943-09-29) (aged 82)
Place of birth Zaragoza, Spain
Place of death Yenne, France
Allegiance Flag of France.svg France
Service/branch French Army
Years of service 1882-1923
Rank General de division
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur
Croix de guerre 1914-1918
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)

Mariano Francisco Julio Goybet (17 August 1861 - 29 September 1943) was a French Army general, who held several senior commands in World War I.

An old Savoy family

The Goybets are an old family of Savoy which can be traced back to the fourteenth century. They are descended from Louis VIII of France, father of Louis IX of France (St Louis) and allied to the local nobility. They were notaries, merchants, mayors, lords of The Manor, military and industrial people.

One branch of the family was ennobled. There was a provincial governor in 1753 called Goybet de Lutrin de Grilly. He oversaw the provinces of Chablais and Genevois. The family's coat of arms consists of a blue field with three silver stars at the head and an upturned crescent at the point. Traversing the center is a bar of gold.

Mariano Goybet was the son of Pierre Jules Goybet (1823–1912), an industrialist and Marie Bravais. Marie was the niece of the physicist Auguste Bravais, who studied the composition of crystal.

His grandmother was Louise de Montgolfier, niece of the famous inventors of the hot air balloon.

Mariano Goybet’s father and uncle brought paper making to Spain. He[Clarification needed] also fabricated steam machinery and was made a Chevalier and a member of the superior Council of Industry by the Spanish Queen.[citation needed]


Before the war

Goybet was born in Zaragoza, Spain to Pierre Jules Goybet and Marie Goybet. He was educated at the Lycée de Lyon, then at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, from which he graduated as a sous-lieutenant in 1884.

He served in the 2nd Regiment of Tirailleurs Algériens ("Turcos"), where he married Marguerite Lespieau, the daughter of his commanding officer, General Theodore Lespieau, who had fought in the Crimean War, the French conquest of Kabylie, the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune). Goybet was promoted to lieutenant in the 140th Regiment of Infantry, stationed in Grenoble, and then attended L’Ecole de Guerre (the War College), graduating with honors in 1892.

He served on the staff of the 27th Infantry Division, was promoted to capitaine in 1893 and was appointed as orderly officer to General Zédé, Governor of Lyon, in 1896. He commanded a company of the 99th Regiment of Infantry then, following another staff appointment, he was made chef de bataillon of the 159th Regiment of Infantry.

In 1907 he took command of the 30th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins as lieutenant-colonel. He was still in command of this battalion when he was promoted to colonel. He was a good climber and skier and made many treacherous ascents with his troops in the Alps, including Mont Blanc, La Meije, and La Grande Casse).

Source :.[2]

1914 Alsace and Vosges

At the start of World War I he was assigned to the Vosges front with his Alpine battalion. In August, the first battles in Alsace were victorious: Gunsbach, Logelbach, Munster. He seized a convoy of infantry (Bavarian) at Col Manday. He was placed at the head of the 152nd infantry regiment and the success in Alsace was repeated in the Vosges (Ormont and Spitzenberg).

He then took command of the 81st Brigade and his troops took Steinbach in Alsace.

His son, Sergeant Frederic Goybet, was killed, having fought in the Vosges and on the Somme. Months later he lost another son, the adjutant Adrien Goybet, who died conducting his section towards the trenches of Vandales in 1915.


1915 Verdun

Goybet was wounded twice at Hartmanweilerskopf. Afterwards, he joined the 98th Infantry Regiment (part of the 50th Brigade and 25th Division) at the Verdun front. In autumn his division was transported north to the Battle of the Somme. He commanded the 50th Brigade.

He was awarded the Order of the Army by Marechal Philippe Pétain on March 19, 1919.


"He showed the best qualities of Chief at the battles of Ormont and Spitzenberg in September 1914, and at the battle of Steinbach and in the Vosges during the winter of 1914-1915. He was wounded in April 1915." - Marshal Philippe Pétain


1917 the Pursuit of the Germans

In the beginning of 1917 he took command of the 25th Infantry Division and, as the enemy retreated, he pursued them to the city of Saint Quentin. In August his men seized the woods of Avocourt after heavy fighting . In December, he was promoted to General.


1918 victory With the Red Hand: African American soldiers in the battle

Red Hand Division

The Red Hand Division

In May 1918, General Goybet was called by Headquarters to command the 157th Division, which had been decimated after the “Chemin des Dames.” It was reconstituted by putting together the 333rd Infantry Regiment (French) with the American 371st and the 372nd American Regiments (the 372nd being one of the oldest African American battalions, dating back to the American Civil War). The core of the 372nd was the National Guard unit which had defended the Capitol Building and Washington, D.C. Those troops were chosen because they were considered to be extremely loyal.

General Goybet took special notice of the fact this was the first 4th of July to be celebrated by his Franco-American Division.

"It is a striking demonstration of the long standing and blood-cemented friendship which binds together our two great nations. The sons of the soldiers of Lafayette greet the sons of the soldiers of George Washington who have come over to fight as in 1776, in a new and greater way of independence. The same success which followed the glorious fights for the cause of liberty is sure to crown our common effort now and bring about the final victory of right and justice over Barbarity and oppression."

The 157th Division participated with the Fourth Army in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. With violent attacks, General Goybet broke the enemy front at Monthois, taking many prisoners and considerable materiel. After that he occupied the Vosges at the front of Sainte Marie les Mines.

October 8, 1918

General Order No. 234

"'I am proud to forward you herewith the thanks and congratulations of General Garnier-Duplessix and I want at the same time, dear friends of all ranks, Americans and French, to tell you as your leader and as a soldier, from the bottom of my heart how grateful I am to you all for the glory you have acquired for our splendid 157th Division.
"In these nine hard days of battle you have pushed ahead for eight kilometers, fought powerful enemy formations, captured close to 600 prisoners, taken 15 guns light and heavy, 20 infantry mortars and artillery ammunition and brought down by rifle 3 aeroplanes. The red hand of this division is now in truth a blood-reeking hand. I grappled the Boche at the throat and made him yell for mercy. Our glorious comrades who died are well avenged."

General Goybet commanding the 157th Division

The bravery of the African American soldiers is without doubt and has been recognized even it's sometimes a long way. One of the best examples is Freddie Stowers of the 371st Infantry Regiment who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for exceptional heroism. His two surviving sisters Georgina and Mary received the medal at the White House in 1991 from President George H. W. Bush.

Source :[5]

Distinguished Service Medal awarded by General Pershing

"My dear General, the President delegated me to confer you the Distinguished Service Medal in the name of the United States government:

As Commander of the 157th French Division of Infantry, you have been an important factor in the success of the allies by your valiant leadership and eminent tactical ability. The officers and soldiers of the 371st and 372nd American Infantry Regiments count it a great honor to have served as part of your command in the operations conducted by you in Champagne, France and in the Vosges."

General John J. Pershing


Mariano gives his military honor to his troops

H.Q. 19 December 1918

General Order No. 248

Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, sappers, soldiers, gunners and cavalry men of the 157th Division:

"The Marshal of France, commander in chief of the French Army, has ordered the dissolution of our division on the 20th of December 1918. It is therefore the last farewell I address to you this day, which is the last one I have the honor to command you. During seven months you gave everything I demanded of you. You have shown yourself strong in defense, hardy and aggressive in the ‘Coup de mains’, magnificently brave and gallant in offense.

You have gloriously ended the 157th Division career in the course of the great battle of Champaign, in breaking strongly fortified positions, in progressing in a fierce struggle of nine days for more than eight kilometers, taking from the enemy a thousand prisoners, more than 20 guns, several hundred machine guns and enormous materiel.

During our shared life, the powerful bonds which kept us together have been tightened by the sorrow of our cruel losses, as well as in the joy of victory. You gave me your confidence. In my turn I have given you the most precious thing I have to give: MY MILITARY HONOR. It has been put in good hands. With my soldier’s heart I thank you.

The Division's elements will be distributed to other organizations. You will take with you traditions of courage, discipline and affection to your new chiefs. To those who ask where you come from, you will answer with pride, 'We are the soldiers of the Division Goybet, the Division with the Red Hand: it was a fine Division!' And you will give proof of it by your conduct. In the memory of our dear dead I piously kiss the sacred folds of your banners. They have been worn out in the battle, they now wave on the winds of victory."

General Goybet

Source :[7]

Former President Theodore Roosevelt on the African Americans' part in the war

Carnegie, Hall New York, on November 2, 1918


"Well, thank Heaven we went in, and our men on the other side, our sons and brothers on the other side, white men and black, white soldiers and colored soldiers, have been so active that every American now can walk with his head up and look the citizen of any other country in the world straight in the eyes, and we have the satisfaction of knowing that we have played the decisive part.
"And now friends I want as an American to thank you, and as a your fellow American to congratulate you upon the honor won and the service rendered by the colored troops on the other side."

Source :[8]

Damascus, the Holy City

Damascus July 1920

In 1920 General Goybet was called by the General Henri Gouraud to command the Third Division of the Levant.

The Arab Revolt, begun in 1916, was a fight for Arab independence from the Ottoman Empire. “Laurence of Arabia” helped the Arabs in this fight on the side of Faysal. They were supported by the British troops of General Edmund Allenby. Damascus fell on 1 October 1918.

"We have, I think, changed the current of history in the Near East, I ask myself how the great powerful nations will let the Arabs have their way." - T. E. Lawrence October 18, 1918.

Faysal was proclaimed King of Syria in March 1920. The powerful nations would share the Near East between them at the conference of San Remo in Italy in April 1920. Lebanon and Syria became a French mandate and in July 1920, the 24th Division commanded by General Goybet advanced on Damascus. After the battle of Maysaloun, General Goybet's troops arrived in Damascus. Faysal escaped.


Aley, 24 July 1920

"The General is deeply happy to address his congratulations to General Goybet and his valiant troops: 415th of line, 2nd Algerian sharpshooters, 11th and 10th Senegalese sharpshooters, light-infantry-men of Africa, Moroccan trooper regiment, batteries of African groups, batteries of 155, 314, company of tanks, bombardment groups and squadrons who in the hard fight of 24 of July, have broken the resistance of the enemy who defied us for 8 months.
"They have engraved a glorious page in the history of our country." - General Gouraud

An ancestor of General Goybet had been taken prisoner in Damascus—Jean Montgolfier during the Second Crusade in 1147.

"Isn’t it justice that allowed the descendant of a slave to come victorious into the Holy City." - Mariano Goybet

Source :[3][9][10]

Later life

Mariano was appreciated by his commanders, who found him a good tactician and a very cultivated man. He was a friend of Generals Gouraud, Debenay, Petain. They admired his personnel library. He had a passion for the arts and drew very well. The family book he made is an example of his artistic side. He also liked poetry. He corresponded with his favorite author, Rudyard Kipling.

He died in Yenne, France in 1943.

Source : Henri Goybet

Military tradition in the family

Charles Goybet (1825-1910) Division General

His uncle, Charles Goybet, was in the cavalry in the Army of Sardinia and took part in the Italian campaign and Crimea. In 1860 he was squadron chief in the lancers of Florence and he chose France. He finished his career as General Inspector of French Cavalry

Victor Goybet (1845-1947) Division General

His brother Victor was a General in the Alpine troops. He participated in the defense of Verdun. He occupied Mainz in 1917.

Henri Goybet (1868-1958) Ship's Captain

His brother Henri was a ship's Captain and organized the defense of Paris by creating 10 section of cars with projectors[Clarification needed]. He was also Chief of the General Staff of Admiral Ronach in 1917.

Rear Admiral Pierre Goybet (1887-1963)

Pierre Goybet

The third son of Mariano was Rear Admiral Pierre Goybet. He took part in the Battle of Verdun and commanded a cruiser in World War II.

Adrien Goybet (1922-1995) Marine Infantry Battalion Commander

Adrien Goybet, son of the Admiral, was Chef de Battaillon ("Battalion Commander") in the Infantry de la Marine (Colonial Infantry). He trained with British troops under Lord Admiral Mountbatten (Force 136, whose commandos inspired the famous movie The Bridge on the River Kwai)[citation needed].

He was parachuted into Japanese occupied Cambodia in 1945, where he prepared for the landing of the troops of General Leclerc. He served in the Indo-Chinese Campaign (1951–1954) as an Intelligence Officer, as well as in the Algerian campaign (1958–1961).

He was a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. The family has three generations of Legion of Honor recipients. The association of hereditary honors (A.H.H.) associates all the families who have the necessary credentials. (Regulation of 1814 by Louis XVIII “to perpetuate in families the zeal for the good of the state by honorable souvenirs”). Chevalier Henri Goybet, his son, wanted to honor his great-grandfather, who was in the Alpine troops for his military Service in the 27th Alpine Infantry Division. He is a member of A.H.H. The association includes 300 French families.

The family is descended from Jeanne d’Artois, Louis VIII of France and King Henry III of England (1207–1272) and has common ancestors with a number of American Presidents, among them George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Henri III[Clarification needed] is the great grandfather of Jeanne d’Artois.

Source: Mariano & Henri Goybet, Pierre Jaillard



Livre de famille de Mariano Goybet

  1. Henri Goybet, Henri & Pierre Jaillard, Mariano Goybet
  2. Henri Goybet's website Famille du chevalier Henri Goybet
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mariano & Henri Goybet
  4. Mariano Goybet
  5. Mariano & Henri Goybet, Richard Ford, Chester D. Heywood, Freddie Stowers
  6. Heywood, Chester D. (1928). Negro Combat Troops in the World War. Page 302
  7. Chester D. Heywood
  8. Emmet J. Scott
  9. T. E. Lawrence
  10. General Gouraud citation


  • Information from Henri Goybet's website Famille du chevalier Henri Goybet verified by Wikipedia France, great grand son of Mariano, who wrote all the six French Wikipedia article on Goybet family and participated in an Red hand flag episode on PBS.
  • Goybet, Mariano (1898—1931). Family book (archives of Savoie cote IJ 288)
  • Heywood, Chester D. (1928). Negro Combat Troops in the World War.
  • Scott, Emmet J. (1919). The American Negro in the World War
  • Information from Pierre Jaillard Vice president of 'Heraldic of France'.
  • Jaillard, Henri (genealogist) (August 25, 1964). Les Goybet de la vallee de Yenne (archives of Savoie)
  • Note from Richard Ford
  • Goybet, Mariano (1898—1931). Illustrations from the family book (archives of Savoie)
  • French Wikipedia article on Mariano Goybet

External links

Links in French

Links both in French and English

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).