Chasseurs alpins
The Chasseurs Alpins are the élite
Military elite
A military elite is a unit of soldiers or recruits picked for their competence and put in a special elite unit. Elite units enjoy some benefits as compared to other units, at least in the form of higher status, but often also higher pay and better equipment. Napoleon's Imperial Guard would be a...

Mountain warfare
Mountain warfare refers to warfare in the mountains or similarly rough terrain. This type of warfare is also called Alpine warfare, named after the Alps mountains...

Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 of the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

. They are trained to operate in mountainous terrain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 and in urban warfare
Urban warfare
Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is very different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level...



France created its own mountain corps in the late 19th century in order to oppose any Italian invasion through the Alps. In 1859, the former independent states of Italy such as the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

, Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 or the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 were unified through the campaigns of Garibaldi and Cavour
-Places:Italy* Cavour, Piedmont in Italy* Cavour in ItalyUnited States* Cavour, South Dakota, United States* Cavour, Wisconsin, United States-Other:* Italian aircraft carrier Cavour* the Italian dreadnought Conte di Cavour...


The French military saw this geopolitical change as a potential threat to their Alpine border, especially as the Italian military was already creating troops specialized in mountain warfare (the Alpini). On December 24, 1888, the first troupes de montagne (mountain troops) corps were created from 12 out of the 31 existing Chasseur
Chasseur [sha-sur; Fr. sha-sœr] is the designation given to certain regiments of French light infantry or light cavalry troops, trained for rapid action.-History:...

s à Pied (Hunters on Foot) battalions.

Initially these units were named Bataillons Alpins de Chasseurs à Pied (Alpine Battalions of Hunters/Rangers on Foot). Later this was shortened to Bataillons de Chasseurs Alpins (Battalions of Alpine Hunters/Rangers). From their establishment the Chasseurs Alpins wore a plain and practical uniform designed to be suitable for mountain service. This comprised a loose-fitting dark blue jacket and blue-grey breeches, together with a large beret
A beret is a soft, round, flat-crowned hat, designated a "cap", usually of woven, hand-knitted wool, crocheted cotton, or wool felt, or acrylic fiber....

 carrying the yellow bugle horn insignia of the Chasseur branch. They are believed to have been the first regular military unit to have worn this form of headdress.

Modern unit

Since 1999 they have been (with other units) part of the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade
27th Mountain Infantry Brigade (France)
The 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade is a mountain infantry formation of the French Army. It is heir to the traditions of the 27th Alpine Division, the division alpine FFI créée in 1944,...

 (Brigade d'Infanterie de Montagne), and are currently organised into three battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

  • 7th Battalion, Bourg-Saint-Maurice
    Bourg-Saint-Maurice, popularly known as Bourg, is a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.It is the last large town along the Tarentaise valley in the heart of the French Alps.-History:...

  • 13th Battalion, Chambéry
    Chambéry is a city in the department of Savoie, located in the Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.It is the capital of the department and has been the historical capital of the Savoy region since the 13th century, when Amadeus V of Savoy made the city his seat of power.-Geography:Chambéry...

  • 27th Battalion, Cran-Gevrier
    Cran-Gevrier is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.-Geography:Cran-Gevrier is in the east of Annecy. Part of the city is on a hill . The hamlet of Cran was on the level of the Thiou river...

    Annecy is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy , 35 kilometres south of Geneva.-Administration:...


All three battalions are based in cities in the French Alps
French Alps
The French Alps are those portions of the Alps mountain range which stand within France, located in the Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions....

, thus the name of the units.

Training includes climbing
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands and feet to ascend a steep object. It is done both for recreation and professionally, as part of activities such as maintenance of a structure, or military operations.Climbing activities include:* Bouldering: Ascending boulders or small...

, cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing
Cross-country skiing is a winter sport in which participants propel themselves across snow-covered terrain using skis and poles...

, plus winter and summer mountain leadership and mountain guiding skills. Traditional training included mountain survival skills such as to build an igloo
An igloo or snowhouse is a type of shelter built of snow, originally built by the Inuit....

 shelter and to sleep in temperatures around 0°C. Modern troops may be transported in all-terrain VMBs, VACs, (Bandvagn 206
Bandvagn 206
Bandvagn 206 is a tracked articulated, all-terrain carrier developed by Hägglunds for the Swedish Army. It consists of two units, with all four tracks powered...

) or untracked VAB personnel carriers. Personal weaponry includes the FAMAS assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

, Minimi
FN Minimi
The Minimi is a Belgian 5.56mm light machine gun developed by Fabrique Nationale in Herstal by Ernest Vervier. First introduced in 1974, it has entered service with the armed forces of over thirty countries...

 machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

, FRF-2
The FR F2 is the standard sniper rifle of the French military. It is designed for shooting at point targets at distances up to 800 meters.- Design :...

 sniper rifle
Sniper rifle
In military and law enforcement terminology, a sniper rifle is a precision-rifle used to ensure more accurate placement of bullets at longer ranges than other small arms. A typical sniper rifle is built for optimal levels of accuracy, fitted with a telescopic sight and chambered for a military...

, PGM Hecate II
PGM Hecate II
The Hecate II is the standard heavy sniper rifle of the French Army, sometimes known as the FR-12,7 .It is manufactured by PGM Précision of France...

 heavy sniper rifle, and LGI light mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

, while group weapons included the M2 machine gun, LLR 81mm
LLR 81mm
The Mortier de 81mm léger long renforcé is a mortar used by the French Army. It is the latest iteration of the TDA 81 mm light mortar family, introduced in 1997.The original TDA 81 mm was designed in 1961...

 mortar, and vehicle-mounted 20 mm autocannon
An autocannon or automatic cannon is a rapid-fire projectile weapon firing a shell as opposed to the bullet fired by a machine gun. Autocannons often have a larger caliber than a machine gun . Usually, autocannons are smaller than a field gun or other artillery, and are mechanically loaded for a...

, plus AT4
The AT4 is an 84-mm unguided, portable, single-shot recoilless smoothbore weapon built in Sweden by Saab Bofors Dynamics...

ERYX is a short-range portable SACLOS-based wire-guided anti-tank missile produced by European company MBDA. It is used by several countries, including the Canadian Army, French, and Norwegian armies. The weapon can also be used against bunkers and pillboxes. It also has some capability in the...

 and MILAN
MILAN " is French and German for "kite bird") is a European anti-tank guided missile. Design of the MILAN started in 1962. It was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972. It is a wire guided SACLOS missile, which means the sight of the launch unit has to be aimed at the...

 anti-tank missiles.

The Chasseurs are easily recognised by their wide beret (when not in battle uniform), named the tarte (after a type of pie).

Various Traditions

Chasseurs do not say rouge (red) but blue-cerise (cherry blue), except when speaking of the color of the lips of a beloved, the red in the Legion of Honour's insignia (including its fourragère
The fourragère is a military award, distinguishing military units as a whole, that is shaped as a braided cord. The award has been firstly adopted by France, followed by other nations such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.- History :...

 which is called la rouge), and the red of the French flag. This stems from the days when Napoleon III tried to impose the wearing of the scarlet pantalons garance. The mountain troops objected, and no long use the word 'red' as a result.

The chasseurs have a few other typicalities in what they say:
  • not jaune (yellow), but jonquille (daffodil);
  • not uniforme (uniform), but tenue (outfit, or dress);
  • not la musique (the music), but la fanfare (the band);
  • the band does not joue (play), but ça sonne (it sounds);
  • not tambour (drum), but caisse claire (snare drum);
  • and not caserne (barracks), but quartier (neighborhood, barracks, or quarters).

The Chasseurs are said to have green blood, after the pun: "Le sang vert, c'est pour la France/Le sang versé pour la France" (Green blood is for France/Blood shed for France).

Choruses and Ringin

A hunter salutes when he hears the chorus of his
battalion or battalion where he served during his career, when he
Protest aims, established in 1873 in Chalons when the
Law executives began questioning the existence of the battalions of hunters. The
Alpine hunter salutes also when the Savoyards are sounded.
A hunter salutes when the sounds Sidi Brahim.

Each battalion has a chorus of its own. These tunes are completely different from one another both in the tone of the text. Indeed, earlier battles of infantry without means of transmission, the bugler sounded his horn chorus. Thus, the general overseeing the fighting knew the position of their troops. Each new hunter must know the 32 choruses preserved to pass his "baptism hunter." Tradition dictates that each day number corresponds to a chorus hunter. For this reason it has 31 refrains, the first 31 battalions, and we kept it the 40th battalion was stationed in Madagascar. It is customary to sound the refrain every morning the day before the call to the company.
  • 1er bataillon «Si l'septième de ligne a des couilles au cul, C'est qu'le Premier Chasseurs les lui a foutues!»
  • 2e bataillon «Le Commandant a mal aux dents, mes enfants!» (bis)
  • 3e bataillon «V'la l'troisième, v'la l'troisième, qui rapplique au galop, V'la l'troisième, v'la l'troisième, qui rapplique sac au dos!»
  • 4e bataillon «Quatrième bataillon, Commandant Clinchant, Toujours en avant!»
  • 5e bataillon «Cinquième Bataillon ventre à terre, Commandé par Certain Canrobert, en avant! »
  • 6e bataillon «Le sixième est là, il est un peu là!»
  • 7e bataillon «Bataillon, Bataillon, Bataillon de fer, Bataillon, Bataillon, Bataillon d'acier».
  • 8e bataillon «T'as beau courir, tu ne m'rattraperas pas!» (bis)
  • 9e bataillon «Marie, j'ai vu ton cul tout nu, Cochon, pourquoi le regardes-tu?»
  • 10e bataillon «Dixième Bataillon, Commandant Mac-Mahon, N'a pas peur du canon nom de nom»
  • 11e bataillon «Onzième Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins, Onzième Bataillon d'lapins»
  • 12e bataillon «Ah c'qu'il est con, c'qu’il est con l'Douzième, Ah c'qu’il est con, c'qu’il est con c'con là!»
  • 13e bataillon «Sans pain, sans fricot, au treizième on n'boit que d'l'eau!»
  • 14e bataillon «La peau de mes roulettes pour une casquette, La peau de mes rouleaux pour un shako!»
  • 15e bataillon «Je fumerais bien une pipe, Mais je n’ai pas de tabac!»
  • 16e bataillon «Seizième Bataillon d'Chasseurs à pied, Seizième Bataillon d'Acier!»
  • 17e bataillon «Cré nom d'un chien, nous voilà bien partis, Cré nom d'un chien, nous voilà bien!»
  • 18e bataillon «Encore un biffin d'enfilé, rompez, Encore un biffin d'enfilé !»
  • 19e bataillon «Trou du cul, trou du cul plein de poils sales, Trou du cul, trou du cul poilu!»
  • 20e bataillon «Vingtième Bataillon, Commandant Cambriels, Les Chasseurs à pied ont des ailes!»
  • 21e bataillon «En voulez-vous des kilomètres ? En voilà!»
  • 22e bataillon «Encore un biffin de tombé dans la merde, Encore un biffin d'emmerdé! »
  • 23e bataillon «V'la le vingt-troisième, nom de Dieu, ça va barder!»
  • 24e bataillon «Tout le long du bois, j'ai baisé Jeannette, Tout le long du bois, j'l'ai baisé trois fois!»
  • 25e bataillon « Pas plus con qu'un autre nom de nom, Mais toujours autant!» (ou content)
  • 26e bataillon «Tu m'emmerdes et tu m'fais chier, tu m'dis ça c'est pour blaguer!»
  • 27e bataillon «Si vous avez des couilles, il faudra le montrer!»
  • 28e bataillon «Saut'Putten ; t'auras d'la saucisse, Saut'Putten, t'auras du boudin!»
  • 29e bataillon «C'est le Vingt-neuvième, qui n'a pas d'pain, Qui crève de faim, qui marche quand même!»
  • 30e bataillon «Il était un p'tit homme, Tout habillé de bleu, nom de Dieu!» (ou sacrebleu)
  • 31e bataillon «Trente-et-unième, l'dernier v'nu, Pas l'plus mal foutu!»
  • 32e bataillon «Si j'avais du pinard, j'en boirais bien un goutte, si j'avais du pinard j'en boirai bien un quart!»
  • 40e bataillon «Trou du cul de la reine des Hovas»

The flag

There is only one flag for all the battalions and groups of foot and alpine hunter, the guard was assigned to battalions bearing the red fodder for one year.
The award is now at the Chateau de Vincennes, home of hunters. This act is simpler because it remains only four battalions and military mountaineering school. However currently the color guard is divided between the 7th, 13th and 27th battalion (16th now disbanded).

Enlisted & NCO

  • Chasseur (Hunter/Private
    Private (rank)
    A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

  • Chasseur de 1ère Classe (1st class Hunter/Private 1st class
    Private First Class
    Private First Class is a military rank held by junior enlisted persons.- Singapore :The rank of Private First Class in the Singapore Armed Forces lies between the ranks of Private and Lance-Corporal . It is usually held by conscript soldiers midway through their national service term...

  • Caporal (Lance Corporal
    Lance Corporal
    Lance corporal is a military rank, used by many armed forces worldwide, and also by some police forces and other uniformed organizations. It is below the rank of corporal, and is typically the lowest non-commissioned officer, usually equivalent to the NATO Rank Grade OR-3.- Etymology :The presumed...

  • Caporal-Chef (Corporal
    Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

  • Caporal-Chef de 1ère Classe (Corporal 1st class
    Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

  • Sergent (Sergeant
    Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

  • Sergent-Chef (Staff Sergeant
    Staff Sergeant
    Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in several countries.The origin of the name is that they were part of the staff of a British army regiment and paid at that level rather than as a member of a battalion or company.-Australia:...

  • Adjudant (Warrant Officer 2nd class
    Warrant Officer
    A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

  • Adjudant-Chef (Warrant Officer 1st class
    Warrant Officer
    A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

  • Major (Conductor or Sergeant Major
    Sergeant Major
    Sergeants major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, Sergeants Major are usually appointments held by senior non-commissioned officers or warrant officers...



  • Aspirant (Cadet
    A cadet is a trainee to become an officer in the military, often a person who is a junior trainee. The term comes from the term "cadet" for younger sons of a noble family.- Military context :...

    Aspirant is a military rank in the Canadian Navy, French military, Brazilian military, Romanian Navy and Polish Police.-Canadian Navy:Similar to the French usage, the Canadian Navy uses the French-language rank of "Aspirant de marine" to denote a junior officer under training. The same rank in the...

  • Sous-Lieutenant (2nd Lieutenant)
  • Lieutenant (1st Lieutenant)
  • Capitaine (Captain
    Captain (OF-2)
    The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery...

  • Commandant (Major
    Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

  • Lieutenant-Colonel (Lieutenant Colonel
    Lieutenant colonel
    Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

  • Colonel (Colonel
    Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...


Note: the NCO
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

 ranks Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

and Maréchal-des-logis are not used in the Chasseurs Alpins corps.

See also

  • List of Chasseurs Alpins
  • Ski warfare
    Ski warfare
    Ski warfare, the use of ski-equipped troops in war, is first recorded by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus in the 13th century. The speed and distance that ski troops are able to cover is comparable to that of light cavalry.-History:...

  • Military of France
    Military of France
    The French Armed Forces encompass the French Army, the French Navy, the French Air Force and the National Gendarmerie. The President of the Republic heads the armed forces, with the title "chef des armées" . The President is the supreme authority for military matters and is the sole official who...

  • Germany: Gebirgsjäger
    Gebirgsjäger, in English Mountain Riflemen, is the German designation for mountain infantry. The word Jäger is the traditional German term for rifleman...

  • Italy: Alpini
    The Alpini, , are the elite mountain warfare soldiers of the Italian Army. They are currently organized in two operational brigades, which are subordinated to the Alpini Corps Command. The singular is Alpino ....

  • Poland: Podhale rifles
    Podhale rifles
    Podhale Rifles is the traditional name of the mountain infantry units of the Polish Army. Formed in 1918 out of volunteers of the region of Podhale, in 1919 the smaller detachments of Podhale Rifles were pressed into two mountain infantry divisions, the 21st Mountain Infantry and 22nd Mountain...

  • Romania: Vânători de Munte
    Vânatori de Munte
    The vânători de munte |Huntsmen]]) are the elite mountain troops of the Romanian Land Forces. They were first established as an independent Army Corps in 1916 during World War I, and became operational in 1917 under Corpul de Munte designation....

External links

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