6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment

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6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment
(6e Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine)
Insigne régimentaire du 6e RPIMa.jpg
Regimental insigne

(same unit, different designations)

6e BCCP 1948
6e GCCP 1950
6e BPC 1951
6e RPC 1955
10e DP 1957
6e RPIMa 1958–1998
Country France
Branch French Army
Type Troupes de Marine
Role Airborne
Motto(s) Croire et Oser (To Believe and Dare)
Colors Red and Blue
Anniversaries Saint-Michel Day

First Indochina War
*Battle of Mạo Khê
*Operation Castor
*Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Algerian War
Lebanese Civil War

Chef de bataillon Marcel Bigeard

The 6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (French: 6e Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine, 6e RPIMa) was an airborne unit of the French Army.

Creation and different nominations since 1951[edit]

History since 1948[edit]


The Colonial Parachute Battalions pull their origins from the 1st Colonial Parachute Commando Demi-Brigade implanted in Brittany, being heir to the paratroopers of Free France, the SAS Demi-Brigade and the groupment of parachute choc battalions.

The 6e BCCP made way to Indochina on July 28. The battalion fought valiantly on various sectors of the battle front and on March 30, 1951, the battalion resisted an enemy force four times larger for an entire night. Following a five hours of hand-to-hand combat, the battalion endured the loss of 51 men and 97 wounded.[1]

The battalion was accordingly dissolved on August 20, 1951 during the embarking for France.

Recreated on July 5, 1952, the battalion illustrated capability at Tu Lê, in October 1952 and then Langson, in July 1953.

The 6th para engaged Dien Bien Phu twice. On November 20, 1953, the 6th, parachuted during Operation Castor and then on March 16, 1954, the 6th targeted the landing zone in the middle of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Despite heroic acts of valor led, the 6e BPC disappeared again, and was accordingly reconstituted.

North Africa[edit]

Reformed in Marrakech, French protectorate of Morocco, on 1 August 1955 and named 6th Colonial Parachute Regiment. Active in the French colonies of French protectorate of Tunisia, French protectorate of Morocco and, particularly, French Algeria during the Algerian War as a part of the 10th Parachute Division,.


The regiment leaves French Algeria on 6 July 1961 and regroups in Verdun. From January 1963 it was stationed in Mont-de-Marsan, the old instruction base for Colonial Parachute Brigade.


The regiment partook in various peacekeeping missions in Lebanon on numerous yearly designated occasions within the UNIFIL first then integrated the corps of the Multinational Force in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War along with the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, the 1st Parachute Hussard Regiment and the 31e Brigade which included the Operational Group of the Foreign Legion, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment, the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment and the 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment.

The regiment was dissolved 30 June 1998.


The Archangel Michael featured in Mont Saint-Michel and the Insignia of the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment.

Except for the Legionnaires of the 1er REG, 2ème REG, 2ème REP that conserve the Green Beret; the remainder of the French army metropolitan and marine paratroopers forming the 11th Parachute Brigade wear the Red Beret.

The Archangel Saint Michael, patron of the French paratroopers is celebrated on 29 September.

The prière du Para (Prayer of the Paratrooper) was written by André Zirnheld in 1938.


Just like the paratrooper Brevet of the French Army; the Insignia of French Paratroopers was created in 1946. The French Army Insignia of metropolitan Paratroopers represents a closed <<winged armed dextrochere>>, meaning a "right winged arm" armed with a sword pointing upwards. The Insignia makes reference to the Patron of Paratroopers. In fact, the Insignia represents <<the right Arm of Saint Michael>>, the Archangel which according to Liturgy is the <<Armed Arm of God>>. This Insignia is the symbol of righteous combat and fidelity to superior missions. The French Army Insignia of Marine Infantry Paratroopers is backgrounded by a Marine Anchor.

The insignia is mounted with SAS dagger. the insignia was never modified, aside of the various successive inscriptions "BCCP", then "RPC", and finally "RPIMa".

Regimental colors[edit]

Regimental Colors of the 6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment

The regiment was heir to the 6e BCCP created in 1948 and the 6e RPC. The Regimental Color of the 6e RPIMa, heir of the 6th parachute battalion bears the inscription "INDOCHINE" with 5 citations at the orders of the armed forces for the following:

  • 1950 Pho Trach and Chaple
  • 1951 Mao Khé
  • 1952 Tu Lé
  • 1953 Langson
  • 1954 Dien Bien Phu

The regimental color was passed to colonel Romain-Desfossés at Blida on November 5, 1957 by général Gilles.

In eleven years of campaign battles, the regimet endured the loss of 23 officers, 70 sous-officiers and 480 marsouins paratroopers.

The regiment bears wearing in golden letters in the folds, the following inscriptions[2] · :[3]

  • INDOCHINE 1949–1954
  • AFN 1952–1962


The regimental colors of the 6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment is decorated with:

The regiment bears wearing 2 fourragère:


Battle honours[edit]

Regimental Commanders (1948–1998)[edit]


  • Major Vernières (1948–1950)
  • Captain Balbin (1950–1951)
  • Major Marcel Bigeard (1952–1954)
  • Major Victor Chaudrut (1954–1955)

6e RPC6e RPIMa

  • Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Romain-Desfossés (1955–1958)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Ducasse (1958–1959)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Balbin (1959–1962)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Picherit (1962–1963)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Bley (1963–1965)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Le Guillou (1965–1967)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ziegler (1967–1969)
  • Lieutenant Colonel de Llamby (1969–1971)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Vincendon (1971–1973)
  • Lieutenant Colonel de Tonquedec (1973–1975)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Béal (1975–1977)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dentin (1977–1979)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Bertin (1979–1981)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Serpol (1981–1983)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Urwald (1983–1985)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Quadri (1985–1987)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Bordron (1987–1989)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Gandouly (1989–1991)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Perrin (1991–1993)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Champenois (1993–1995)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Caille (1995–1997)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dumousseau (1997–1998)


  • Lieutenant Colonel Mercury (2016–2018)

Notable members of the 6e RPIMa[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Histoire des parachutistes français page 231
  2. ^ Décision n°12350/SGA/DPMA/SHD/DAT du 14 septembre 2007 relative aux inscriptions de noms de batailles sur les drapeaux et étendards des corps de troupe de l'armée de terre, du service de santé des armées et du service des essences des armées, Bulletin officiel des armées, n° 27, 9 novembre 2007
  3. ^ Arrêté relatif à l'attribution de l'inscription AFN 1952–1962 sur les drapeaux et étendards des formations des armées et services, du 19 novembre 2004 (A) NORDEF0452926A Michèle Alliot-Marie

Sources and bibliographies[edit]

  • Collectif, Histoire des parachutistes français, Société de Production Littéraire, 1975.
  • Colonel Roger Flamand, Paras de la France libre, Éditions Presses de la Cité, 1976, ISBN 978-2-258-00036-0.
  • Henry Corta, Les bérets rouges, Amicale des anciens parachutistes SAS, 1952.