Military reserve forces of France
From the very moment Napoléon Bonaparte took power as First Consul in the coup of 18 Brumaire, he was feared by his rivals, and keenly supported by the army. They participated in the creation of a new constitution that forbade a Consul from leading an active army outside France. The violence of the coup d'état had already caused disquiet, and the consuls had access to an impressive garde des consuls.
Following the new constitution to the letter, Napoléon raised a reserve army (and thus not counting as an active army) at Dijon to support his war effort in Italy. This was the turning point of his Second Italian campaign.
On the suspension of obligatory national service and the professionalisation of its armies, France also modified the organisation of its military reserve in the same professionalising way. Law n°99-894 of 22 October 1999 (modified by law 2006-449 of 18 April 2006) set out the organisation of the military reserve and of the defence forces.
The military reserve was organised into 2 bodies :
- the réserve citoyenne (citizen reserve), group of volunteers actively getting to know the military world, undergoing training and maintaining the links between the armed forces and civil society. Citizen reservists have military status.
- the réserve opérationnelle (operational reserve), grouping together reservists with an ESR (engagement à servir la réserve, or "obligation to serve in the reserve") and former military officers with an availability obligation (who thus remain available for the armed forces). The reservists serving under an ESR serve as military officers for periods of 1 to 210 days per year; they are coming from all fields (former officers, old appelés du contingent (conscripts), civilians without a military past) and all the professional social categories.
- This page is a translation of fr:Réserve militaire#La réserve en France.
- Le Capitaine de Cugnac, Campagne de l’armée de Reserve en 1800; Paris 1900. See also Armée d'Italie.
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