Creation of the 501st regiment of special artillery (RAS)

Creation of the 501st regiment of special artillery (RAS)

The objective of the special artillery, created by General Estienne, was to reach the heart of the enemy artillery so that it could be destroyed using guns mounted on armoured, tracked vehicles: tanks. Its introduction saw the founding of the 500 series of regiments.

By decision of the commander-in-chief, the 501st Assault Artillery Regiment was formed on 13 May 1918 under the command of Squadron Leader Velpry, who addressed his men with the following words: "Given the honour of commanding you, I rely on your patriotic devotion to make our regiment an elite combat unit. It is the first to have been formed; we will keep this in our hearts so that it will also be worthy of first place through its achievements."


The 3rd Squadron of the 501st Combat Tank Regiment in training for Chad, 2015.

It participated in the decisive battles of the summer and autumn of 1918. In 1920, based at Tours, it took the name '501st Combat Tank Regiment' (501e Régiment de chars de combat or 501e RCC).
During the Second World War it served with the 2nd Armoured Division under General Leclerc who stated that "the 501st has never let me down". Now stationed at Mourmelon, the 501st Combat Tank Regiment is equipped with 52 Leclerc tanks and 500 armoured vehicles. Nicknamed the "black berets", its soldiers are deployed in foreign operations.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION...

Book : Mélanie Bénard-Crozat, le 501e régiment de chars de combat - 100 ans au cœur des engagements opérationnels de la France, Esprit com', 2016

Video : 501e régiment de chars de combat - Mourmelon, available under https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OwIPzEips0

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