Air Force. – From September 1928 the Air Ministry was established in France, on which the military and civil air forces depend. The air forces of land aviation (1800 aircraft beyond reserves) depend on the general direction of the ground air forces and are grouped into metropolitan forces, forces of the Mediterranean basin and colonial forces. The former include 3 air divisions and a bombing aviation grouping. The 1st Air Division consists of 2 brigades with a total of 4 aviation regiments. The 2nd Air Division includes a brigade with 1 aviation regiment. The 3rd includes 2 brigades with 3 aviation regiments and a corps forming group. The bombing aviation grouping includes 2 brigades with 4 aviation regiments. Two aeronautical battalions also depend on each air division. The units located in the Mediterranean basin include 2 aviation regiments located respectively in Syria and Morocco and 4 aviation groups of which 3 in Algeria and 1 in Tunisia. The forces deployed in the colonies include 8 squadrons, of which 2 are located in French West Africa, 1 in East Africa and 4 in Indochina.
According to CANCERMATTERS, the sea air forces (180 aircraft) depend on the general direction of the sea air forces and the departments are located in four maritime regions: 1st with capital Cherbourg, 2nd Brest, 3rd Toulon, 4th Bizerte. In addition, maritime aviation has an aircraft carrier and a transport vessel. The total strength of the French Air Force is about 40,000 men, of which 5,000 are sailors (3,500 pilots and 1,500 specialized).
Navy. – The French national navy had, it can be said, its founder in Colbert (v.). Colbert’s reforming work was continued with ups and downs by his successors, who, however, did not always understand the importance that the navy could have assumed in the centuries-old competitions with England, so that it can be said that in general the navy went into decline until receive a very serious blow during the Napoleonic wars (Abukir, Trafalgar). In the century XIX the French navy was gradually restored to efficiency, sometimes reaching the point of rivaling the English one; but often subject to political influences or misdirected, it did not follow a well-defined rational line in its development.
During the European war the French navy wrote pages of glory to the Dardanelles and was mainly occupied in the Mediterranean, without having the opportunity to compete with the enemy in battle. French naval departments (destroyers and submarines), placed under the command of the Italian Command, contributed to the war in the Adriatic. In the immediate post-war period, the French navy, at the same time as the Washington agreement, was studying a naval law which initially had to cover construction up to 1930 and which was subsequently extended until 1935. For this period France, as recently declared in London (1931) intends to have a navy of 824,000 tons, made up in principle of new, homogeneous, rationally designed ships.
In 1932 the French navy counts: Battleships (tonnage authorized in Washington 175,000 tons): Lorraine, Provence, Bretagne, launched in 1913, from 23,500 tons. and 21 knots, armed with 10/343; Paris, Courbet, Jean Bart, launched in 1911-12, from 23,500 tons. and 21 knots, armed with 12/305; Diderot, Condorcet, Voltaire, launched in 1909, from 18,900 tons. and 20 knots, armed with 4/305 and 12/240; Armored cruisers: 1, planned, of 32,000 tons; 2, Ernest Renan and Waldeck – Rousseau, launched in 1906 and 1908, from 13,644 and 14,100 tons. and 23 knots, armed with 6/305; Light cruisers: 6 of 7000 tons, under construction, armed with 9/155; 7, set up from 1925 onwards: Duquesne, Tourville, Suffren, Colbert, Foch, Dupleix, Algerie, of which the last (1931) not launched, from 10,160 tons. and 33 knots, armed with 8/203; 3 launched in 1923-24 (Primauguet, Lamotte Piquet, Duguay – Trouin), 8000 tons. and 33 knots, armed with 8/155; 1, Jeanne d’Arc, launched in 1930, from 6500 tons. and 25 knots, armed with 8/155, used as a training ship; 4, ex-Germans and Austrians, launched in 1910-15, from 3500-6200 tons. and 23-26 knots, armed with 100 and 150 guns. Aircraft carriers: 2, Béarnlaunched in 1920, 22,500 tons. and 21 nodes capable of 40 aircraft; Commandant Teste, launched in 1929, of 11,500 tons. and 20 knots. Flotilla conductors: 31, of which 7 still under construction (1931), generally distinguished by the name of birds of prey, wild beasts, well-known admirals and ancient frigates, launched from 1923 onwards, from 2480-2690 tons. and 36-39 knots; armed with 5/130 the first six and 5/140 all the others; 1 ex-German, launched in 1917, of 2100 tons. and 31 knots, armed with 4/150. Destroyer: 1, experimental, under construction; 26, launched between 1924 and 1929, from 1500-1800 tons. and 33-35 knots, armed with 4/130; 33 antiquated, launched between 1911 and 1917, between 700-1200 tons. and from 27-32 knots, with various armaments. Submarine cruisers: 1, Surcouf, launched in 1929, from 3200-4300 tons. and 18/10 knots, armed with 2/203 and 10 launch tubes of 550. 1st class submarines: 40, of which the last 12 are still under construction (1930), launched between 1924 and 1929; the first 9 from 1150/1400 tons and all the others of 1560/2080 tons, 18.5 / 10 knots, armed on average with 10 launch tubes of 550 and 1 gun of 100; 15 antiquated, including several ex-Germans, launched between 1913 and 1918, from 850-1100 tons, minus the Halbronn (formerly U. 139), from 2000-3000 tons. 2nd class submarines: 31, of which 8 under construction (1930), launched between 1925 and 1931, from 630-770 and 13.5-9.5 knots, armed with 7-8 launch tubes of 550; 13 antiquated, launched in 1914-20, from 300-500 and 700-900 tons, armed with 4-10 launch tubes. Minelayer submarines: 6, launched in 1928-29, from 760-950 tons. and 12-9 knots, armed with 4 hoses of 550 and 32 torpedoes; 4 antiquated, launched between 1916 and 1922, from 650-820 and 900-1300 tons. Minelayer: 1, E. Bertin, under construction, of 5800 tons, armed with 6/140; 1, Pluton, launched in 1930, from 5300 tons. and 30 knots, armed with 4/138. In addition, the French navy has a number of minesweepers, gunboats (the most important are the new 15 of 2000 tons and 15 knots, destined for the colonies) and auxiliary units.
Main naval bases are Toulon, Bizerte, Brest, Cherbourg. The French navy has 3600 officers, 9800 non-commissioned officers and 43,500 sub-chiefs and communes.