Charles Mangin

1866 - 1925
General Mangin. Photo SHAT


Born in Serrebourg (Moselle), Charles Mangin (1866-1925) participated in the Congo ?Nil mission of 1898-1900 under the orders of Marchand and leading the native Senegalese infantry. He is colonel in Morocco and with Lyautey he will seize Marrakech. Between 1914 and 1915, he is General and commands an infantry brigade and then, during the battle of the borders in Marne and Artois, the 5th Infantry Division of Rouen. On May 22nd 1916 he attacks the Douaumont (Meuse) fort in vain, then always in Verdun he leads the reconquest offensive at Nivelle's side. In 1917 at the Chemin de Dames, he is chief of the 6th army. The attack did not make progress and he is dismissed. He will come back on 1918 to command the 10th army, with which he will effectuate the famous counter-attack of July 18th in Villers-Cotterêts, where he will beat the enemy. In autumn he wins in Aisne, breaks the German front and releases Soissons and Laon.

The armistice cancels his offensive envisaged in Lorraine. On November 19th he enters in Metz, reaches the Rhine in Mainz on December 11th and occupies the Rhineland. Convinced of the value of the native Senegalese troops he is an assiduous partisan of the most numerous and strong African army (?the Black strength?), serving France. From 1906 to 1922 hid faithful orderly, a very tall man, whose name was Baba Koulibaly and who would watch over him day and night. His devotion was very much appreciated by the General. Magin really was the type of colonial officer, untiring, with a lot of temper, dominating his men and forcing the events.