The Maquis were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. They relied on guerrilla tactics to harass the Milice and German occupation troops. The Maquis also aided the escape of downed Allied airmen, Jews and others pursued by the Vichy and German authorities.
During the Allied invasion of Normandy, the Maquis and other groups played some role in delaying the German mobilization. The French Resistance (FFI Force Francaises de l'Interieur for "French Forces of the Interior") blew up railroad tracks and repeatedly attacked German Army equipment and garrison trains on their way to the Atlantic coast. Thanks to coded messages transmitted over the BBC radio.
When De Gaulle dismissed resistance organizations after the liberation of Paris, many Maquis returned to their homes. Many also joined the new French army to continue the fight. After the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, Charles de Gaulle placed about 200,000 resistance fighters under command of General Marie Pierre Koenig, who attempted to unify resistance efforts against the Germans. The FFI were mostly composed of resistance fighters who used their own weapons, although many FFI units included former French soldiers. As was the style of “Irregular Forces” everywhere the men are dressed in a motley mix of civilian clothes and bits and pieces of military uniform. They proudly were their “tricolour” armbands with the “Cross of Lorraine”— the symbol of Gen. De Gaulle’s Free French Forces. Much of their military equipment is either old French Police and Military issue or… captured German.
More Resistance fighters and vehicles are expected to be released during 2008!
To view a little bit of history on the French Resistance, please click on the French Marquis