Louis Franchet d'Esperey - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

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Louis Franchet d'Esperey Information

Louis Franchet d'Esperey

Place of birth: Mostaganem, French Algeria
Place of death: Saint-Amancet, France
Allegiance: France
Service/branch: French Army
Years of service: 1876-1920
Rank: Marshal of France
Battles/wars: Boxer Rebellion World War I
Awards: Marshal of France Serbian Vojvoda Grand Cross of the Légion d’honneur

Louis Félix Marie Francois Franchet d'Esperey (25 May 1856 - 8 July 1942) was a French general during World War I.

Early life

He was born in Mostaganem in French Algeria, the son of an officer of cavalry in the Chasseurs d'Afrique. He was educated at Saint-Cyr and graduated in 1876. He served in French Indochina, China (in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, during which his cousin the German plenipotentiary Clemens von Ketteler was killed) and Morocco before 1914. He received command of I Corps in 1913.

First World War

In 1914, Franchet d'Esperey did well as a corps commander at the Battle of Charleroi, and as result he rose rapidly through the ranks during the war. On the eve of the First Battle of the Marne, Franchet d'Esperey was given command of the Fifth Army. By March 1916, Franchet d'Espérey was in command of the Eastern Army Group and by January 1917 the Northern Army Group. He was badly defeated by the Germans at the Battle of Chemin des Dames in May 1918. He was removed from the Western Front and appointed commander of the Allied armies at Salonika.

Between September 15-29, 1918 General Franchet d'Esperey, in command of a large army of Greeks (9 divisions), French (6 divisions), Serbs (6 divisions), British (4 divisions) and Italians (1 division) - staged a successful offensive in Macedonia that knocked Bulgaria out of the war. General Franchet d'Esperey followed up this victory by overrunning much of the Balkans and by the war's end, his troops had penetrated well into Hungary.

During this final campaign, he was given the nickname "Desperate Frankie" by the British officers.

Post World War I career

On February 8, 1919, Franchet d'Esperey entered Constantinople on a white horse, emulating Mehmed the Conqueror's entrance in 1453 after the Fall of Constantinople, signifying that Ottoman sovereignty over the imperial city was over. When he rode his horse over a Turkish flag laid on a street in Galata district, he gained the instant animosity of the local Turkish population, a resentment that contributed to the creation of the Turkish resistance movement. After World War I ended, General Franchet d'Esperey directed operations against the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919.

He was made a marshal of France on February 19, 1921, and was given an honorary title of Vojvoda (equivalent of Field-Marshal) from the Serbs. He represented France at the coronation of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on 1 November 1930. He was elected to the Académie francaise on 15 November 1934.


Franchet d'Esperey had drive and great energy and his victories against Bulgaria and the remnants of the German and Austro-Hungarian armies were independent of the situation on the Western front, demonstrated by the fact that they came before the main assault on the Hindenburg Line and against a still capable army that offered strong resistance to the British and Greeks in the Battle of Doiran. As a consequence of his generalship Bulgaria signed armistice on 29 September, thus becoming the first Central Power to sign an armistice. In terms of personality, he was vain and pompous, if able. In terms of politics, Franchet d'Esperey was a nationalist Royalist whose loyalty to France outweighed his loyalty to the Bourbons. He died in Albi, France.

In the Serbian capital Belgrade, one boulevard has been named after him, as well as one street in the center of the co-capital of Greece, Thessaloniki.


Légion d’honneur
Knight (21 August 1886)
Officer (29 December 1904)
Commander (31 December 1912)
Grand Officer (30 December 1914)
Grand Cross (10 July 1917)
Médaille militaire (1918)
Croix de guerre 1914-1918 with 3 palms
Médaille Interalliée de la Victoire
Médaille Commémorative du Maroc
Médaille Commémorative de la Grande Guerre
Médaille Coloniale with bars "Tonkin" and "Maroc"

More aircraft.

Source: WikiPedia

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