Famous French Military Leaders

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France has had a strong history and a glorious past when it comes to traditions, culture and heritage. While the country today boasts of having an unfaltering air of luxury and cinematography, things hadn’t been the same as always. The country rose to power during the rule of Louis XIV. Throughout its long history, it has exerted strong influence, culturally, economically and politically. What has stood in its favour and helped the Alpine country become a great power today has been its military. The fifth largest military spender in the world, it has been home to major military industries and has one of the largest aerospace industries of the world. And adding to the fame and glory of French military were its leaders - courageous, resilient, valiant and heroic. Unless you have been living under the rock, names like Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Marquis de Lafayette, William the Conqueror and Louis IX of France wouldn’t be unheard of. While Napoleon is till date regarded as the greatest military commander of all times, Louis IX of France was the most powerful European ruler of his time. Marquis de Lafayette’s contribution before and after the French Revolution was ground-breaking for it was he who helped shape France’s political structure. Check out information on famous French military leaders.
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 1 
Napoleon Bonaparte
(Emperor of the French (1804-1814))
Napoleon Bonaparte
16
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 
 2 
Marquis de Lafayette
(French Aristocrat, Freemason and Military Officer Who Fought in the American Revolutionary War)
Marquis de Lafayette
14
Birthdate: September 6, 1757
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chavaniac-Lafayette, France
Died: May 20, 1834

Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer, who  is remembered for fighting in the American Revolutionary War, as the commander of American troops in several battles. After returning to France, he played key roles in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Considered a hero in both America and France, he advocated the end of slavery.  

 3 
Rollo
(King)
Rollo
10
Birthdate: 0846 AD
Birthplace: Scandinavia
Died: 0930 AD

Rollo of Normandy, also known as Rolf, is part of Scandinavian lore. A Viking, he was known for his exploits as a pirate on the seas of France, England, and other lands. When he attacked France with his Danish army, he was given Neustria, or Normandy, as part of a truce.

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 4 
Maximilien de Robespierre
(French Lawyer and Statesman & One of the Most Influential Figures of the 'French Revolution')
Maximilien de Robespierre
8
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: July 28, 1794
Maximilien de Robespierre was a leading left-wing lawyer and leader during the Reign of Terror. He led the Committee of Public Safety and was part of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club. He was accused of establishing a dictatorship and was guillotined in 1794, thus beginning the Thermidorian Reaction.
 5 
Charles Martel
(Military Leader)
Charles Martel
4
Birthdate: 0686 AD
Birthplace: Herstal
Died: October 22, 0741

Charles Martel was a Frankish military leader and statesman. From 718 until his death in 741, Martel served as the de facto ruler of Francia. He is credited with restoring centralized government in Francia and re-establishing the Franks as the masters of all Gaul through a series of military campaigns.

 6 
Michel Ney
(French Military Commander and Marshal of the Empire)
Michel Ney
6
Birthdate: January 10, 1769
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saarlouis, Germany
Died: December 7, 1815

Michel Ney was a French military commander. One of the 18 Marshals of the Empire inaugurated by Napoléon Bonaparte, Michel Ney played important roles in the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolutionary Wars. Nicknamed the Bravest of the Brave by Napoleon himself, Ney was renowned for his valor in wars. 

 7 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)
Billy Mitchell
7
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936
 8 
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
(French Royal, Statesman and Regent of France (1715 - 1723))
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
5
Birthdate: August 2, 1674
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint-Cloud, France
Died: December 2, 1723

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was the regent of the Kingdom of France from 1715 to 1723. He was the son of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, and Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate. He was named the regent of France for Louis XV, who succeeded to the throne at the age of five. Philippe died months after Louis attained majority.

 9 
Louis-Nicolas Davout
(Military commander)
Louis-Nicolas Davout
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1770
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Annoux, France
Died: June 1, 1823
 10 
Tarrare
(Showman)
Tarrare
9
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: 1798 AD
Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1725
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: May 30, 1807
 12 
Alfred Dreyfus
(Artillery Officer)
Alfred Dreyfus
5
Birthdate: October 9, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: July 12, 1935

Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer whose trial and conviction on charges of treason in 1894 became one of the most polarizing political dramas in the history of modern France. The incident, which is referred to as the Dreyfus Affair, was a political scandal that ended with Dreyfus' absolution in 1906.

Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême
3
Birthdate: August 6, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Died: June 3, 1844
 14 
Joachim Murat
(Former King of Naples (1808 - 1815))
Joachim Murat
4
Birthdate: March 25, 1767
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Labastide-Murat, Cœur-de-Causse, France
Died: October 13, 1815
Joachim Murat, the king of Naples, came to be known for his outrageous dress sense and earned the nickname The Dandy King. Married to Napoleon’s sister, Caroline Bonaparte, he was also a Marshal of France and earned the title of the First Horseman of Europe.
 15 
Joseph Joffre
(Commander-in-Chief of French Forces During the World War I)
Joseph Joffre
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1852
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rivesaltes, France
Died: January 3, 1931

Known as the Victor of the Marne and Papa Joffre, French military commander Joseph Joffre is remembered for his exploits at the Western Front during and after World War I. Following the German invasion of Verdun, he lost his command over the army and was made the Marshal of France.

Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569
Louis, Prince of Conde
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569
 18 
Ferdinand Foch
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1851
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tarbes, France
Died: March 20, 1929

Ferdinand Foch was a French military theorist and general who played a key role during the First World War where he served as the Supreme Allied Commander. Ferdinand Foch played a crucial role in stopping a renewed German advance in the Second Battle of the Marne. Foch was promoted to Marshal of France for his role in World War I.

 19 
François Darlan
(Politician, Military personnel)
François Darlan
3
Birthdate: August 7, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nérac
Died: December 24, 1942
 20 
Simone Segouin
(Military officer)
Simone Segouin
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Thivars, France
 21 
Gilad Shalit
(Sports columnist, Soldier, Journalist, Investment Advisor)
Gilad Shalit
5
Birthdate: August 28, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nahariya

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was held by Palestinian militants from 2006 to 2011 and thus became significant in the Israeli political scene. He was eventually released as part of a prisoner-exchange deal, mediated by Germany ad Egypt, which required the release of over 1,000 Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners.

 22 
André Masséna
(French military commander)
André Masséna
3
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nice
Died: April 4, 1817
 23 
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
3
Birthdate: November 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belloy-Saint-Leonard, Somme, France
Died: November 28, 1947
 24 
Martin Fourcade
(Biathlete)
Martin Fourcade
4
Birthdate: September 14, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Céret, France
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne
2
Birthdate: September 11, 1611
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sedan, France
Died: July 27, 1675
 26 
Henry I, Duke of Guise
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1550
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: France
Died: December 23, 1588
 27 
Eugène de Beauharnais
(French Nobleman and Military Commander Who Was Napoleon Bonaparte's Stepson)
Eugène de Beauharnais
3
Birthdate: September 3, 1781
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 21, 1824

French nobleman and military commander Eugène de Beauharnai is known for service at the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He had also been appointed the Viceroy of Italy under Napoleon I, who was also his stepfather though her mother Joséphine de Beauharnais’s second marriage.

 28 
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
3
Birthdate: June 13, 0040
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fréjus, France
Died: August 23, 0093
 29 
Jean Lannes
(War General)
Jean Lannes
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1769
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lectoure, France
Died: May 31, 1809
 30 
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
(Anglo-French Military Leader Who was an Illegitimate Son of James II of England)
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1670
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moulins, France
Died: June 12, 1734

James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick was an Anglo-French military leader. He was an illegitimate son of James II of England, who reigned as the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1685 to 1688. James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick is best remembered for his service as a general under Louis XIV of France.

 31 
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
(Senior Officer of the British Army and Professional Head of the British Army During World War II)
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke
4
Birthdate: July 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bragnieres-de-Bigorre, France
Died: June 17, 1963

Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, also known as Brookie and Colonel Shrapnel, was a senior British Army officer and a military advisor to Winston Churchill. He had received multiple knighthood honors. An ornithologist, too, he was a skilled bird photographer and had led the Zoological Society of London.

Louis-Joseph de Montcalm
3
Birthdate: February 28, 1712
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vestric-et-Candiac, France
Died: September 14, 1759
 33 
Hugues de Payens
(Former Knight known for First Grand Master of the Knights Templar)
Hugues de Payens
3
Birthdate: 1070 AD
Birthplace: Troyes, France
Died: March 24, 1136
 34 
Maxime Weygand
(Military personnel, Officer)
Maxime Weygand
3
Birthdate: January 21, 1867
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: January 28, 1965
 35 
Ante Gotovina
(General)
Ante Gotovina
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pašman
Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester
3
Birthdate: 1160 AD
Birthplace: Montfort-l'Amaury, France
Died: June 25, 1218
 37 
Louis, Grand Condé
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1621
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 11, 1686
 38 
Maurice Gamelin
(military personnel)
Maurice Gamelin
3
Birthdate: September 20, 1872
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: April 18, 1958
 39 
Robert Nivelle
(Military personnel)
Robert Nivelle
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1856
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tulle
Died: March 23, 1924
 40 
Gaspard II de Coligny
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1519
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Châtillon-Coligny, France
Died: August 24, 1572
 41 
Georges Picquart
(Politician, Military personnel)
Georges Picquart
0
Birthdate: September 6, 1854
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Strasbourg, France
Died: January 19, 1914
 42 
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
(French Explorer and Admiral)
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 31, 1811

Louis Antoine de Bougainville was a French explorer and admiral. He is best remembered for his scientific expeditions, including his 1763 circumnavigation of the globe and expeditions into the Pacific Ocean. Louis Antoine de Bougainville also participated in the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War.

 43 
Bertrand du Guesclin
(Military Commander)
Bertrand du Guesclin
2
Birthdate: 1320 AD
Birthplace: Broons, France
Died: July 13, 1380
 44 
Joseph-François Dupleix
(French colonial official)
Joseph-François Dupleix
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1697
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Landrecies, France
Died: November 10, 1763
 45 
Jean-de-Dieu Soult
(Military leader)
Jean-de-Dieu Soult
3
Birthdate: March 29, 1769
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint-Amans-la-Bastide, France
Died: November 26, 1851
Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse
2
Birthdate: 1041 AD
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: February 28, 1105
 47 
Raoul Salan
(Military personnel)
Raoul Salan
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Roquecourbe, France
Died: July 3, 1984
 48 
Antoine-Henri Jomini
(Military general)
Antoine-Henri Jomini
3
Birthdate: March 6, 1779
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Payerne, Switzerland
Died: March 24, 1869
 49 
Claude, Duke of Guise
2
Birthdate: October 20, 1496
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Castle of Condé, France
Died: April 12, 1550
 50 
Georges Ernest Boulanger
2
Birthdate: April 29, 1837
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rennes, France
Died: September 30, 1891