In 1914 cavalry officer de Lattre de Tassigny was severely wounded by a sword in a mounted duel with a German Uhlan. By 1939 he was a General and Chief of Staff of the French 5th Army and led the French 14th Division at Aisne. In 1940 after the French capitulation he remained dedicated to the Army and to the Vichy government which sent him to Tunisia. He was soon recalled because of his Allied sympathies and was awarded ten years imprisonment for protesting against the German occupation of the zone libre in 1942. In 1943 he escaped from Riom prison and went to the UK where he allied himself to DE GAULLE and became the Commander of the 1st French Army in North Africa. In 1944 he led the 1st French Army in the liberation of France. He signed the German surrender on behalf of France.
After the war he led French troops in Indo-China and triumphed over the Vietminh. After his death he was made a Marshal of France.