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2014
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Panzer Grenadier: Division Marocain
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From the Avalanche Press website:

A set of 176 Panzer Grenadier pieces portraying the French 1st Moroccan Infantry Division in May and June of 1940. Formed in October 1939 from three regiments of long-service professionals, the 1st Moroccan Infantry Division immediately became one of the French Army’s elite units.

All ten Moroccan infantry regiments deployed to metropolitan France in the fall of 1939. The 1st, 2nd and 7th regiments went to the 1st Moroccan Infantry Division; the other seven were scattered among seven different divisions (four to North African infantry divisions, and three to metropolitan French divisions).

While the French Army could (and did) induct conscripts in its other African colonies, by law it could not do so in Morocco. A French protectorate, Morocco still had a Sultan and court, though they possessed no power, and therefore only volunteers could be recruited in Morocco. Most recruits came from a rural peasant background, and appear to have seen the Moroccan regiments as a continuation of the Sultan’s army and therefore not an alien institution. While Moroccan troops were denied “Saint Pinard,” the daily ration of three-quarters of a liter of red wine, French cadre appear to have happily shared theirs within the barracks, and alcoholism appears to have driven some Moroccan enlistments.

Soldiers who completed their four-year term were exempt from the prestation, the French tax of 12 days of labor per year (or its cash equivalent) on public works projects. Many signed up for additional tours. Senior officers, and many junior and non-commissioned officers, were French. But the Meknes Military School, established in 1918, had turned out a large number of native Moroccan commissioned officers who usually filled half of the slots at the company level and below. All these factors combined for strong unit cohesion and solid morale, and in February 1940 the division received a new commander in Albert Raymond Mellier, the former director of indigenous affairs in the Morocco Protectorate. Well-known to officers and men, and speaking fluent Arabic, Mellier led his division from the front, using a motorcycle to keep himself constantly at the crucial point.

When the Germans struck in May, 1st Moroccan Division formed part of IV Corps in 1st Army, sent into Belgium to meet the advance. Heavily engaged in the Battle of Gembloux, the Moroccans fought the German XVI Panzer Corps to a standstill in three days of bloody fighting. The Germans never penetrated the Moroccan line despite mass tank assaults and heavy use of Stuka dive-bombers. With screams of Allah Akbar! a battalion of the 7th Moroccan Regiment launched a mass bayonet charge against the tanks of 4th Panzer Division, driving the panicked panzers from the battlefield at the cost of heavy casualties. In only three days of fighting the division had suffered 27 percent casualties. The Moroccans fought in the Lille Pocket at the end of May, with most of the division staff and many of its troops captured when the pocket surrendered. The remnants of the division continued to fight until France laid down her arms on June 24th.

Organized as a standard French infantry division, 1st Moroccan Division had three infantry regiments, each of three battalions. In peacetime the Moroccan regiments had four or five battalions; upon French mobilization the extra battalions were detached for duty in Syria or other colonies. The division had a light artillery regiment, made up of mixed French and Moroccan personnel, and a heavy artillery regiment, almost exclusively manned by Frenchmen.

We chose this elite division for our new Division Marocain special set of Panzer Grenadier pieces, available exclusively for members of the Gold Club. There are 176 pieces made to our new standard, using scorchless laser-cutting technology (really, there are no scorch marks: the ink layer is laid down after the pieces are cut). Use them with 1940: The Fall of France. It’s one of the coolest things we’ve ever made, and you can’t buy it anywhere. It's a special sales incentive to help usher in the Fourth Age of Panzer Grenadier, only for Gold Club members who order our new Panzer Grenadier games.

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Panzer Grenadier: Division Marocain
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Publisher: Avalanche Press Ltd.
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Year: 2014
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