Koenig, General Marie Pierre, 1898-1970

Koenig gained some of his military expertise in the French Colonial wars and served as a captain in the Norway campaign in 1940. When the Allies were forced to withdraw from Norway he returned to France only to be compelled to retire to England when France fell. He joined DE GAULLE’s Free French Army and was sent to North Africa to command a force largely made up of members of the Foreign Legion. An enthusiastic and dynamic leader he conducted the defense of Bir Hacheim in June 1941. Although he was forced to withdraw, his stand against ROMMEL’s Panzers was considered by the Allies to be a victory as he had held the fort for ten days against overwhelming odds and had been able to save most of his troops from being captured. After the invasion of Europe he became Commander of the Forces of the Interior. His major task in this post was to bring the resistance groups under the control of the government of de Gaulle. When Paris was liberated he became the military Governor of the city and it fell to him to restore law and order to the beleaguered city.

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