Order of Battle of the French Army Détachement d'Armée de Belgique (D.A.B)
22 April 1915
Order of Battle for 22nd April 1915
Commander: General Putz
Chief of Staff: Colonel Desticker
This Détachement of the French Army had existed by this name from 22 October to 16 November 1914. From 16 November 1914 to 4 April 1915 it had been named the French Eighth Army, but from 4th April to 22nd May 1915 it was again named the Détachement d'Armée de Belgique. After 22nd May 1915 it was renamed XXXVI. Corps.
By 22nd April the Détachement d'Armée de Belgique was holding the front line between the Belgian coast and Steenstraat (north of Ypres). It had been divided into two army groups:
- the Groupement de Nieuport (commanded by General Hély d'Oissel): 38th Division and 81st Territorial Division
- the Groupement d'Elverdinghe (commanded by General Quiquandon): 45th Division and 87th Territorial Division
Located between the Groupement de Nieuport on the Belgian coast and the Groupement d'Elverdinghe north of Ypres were divisions of the Belgian Army holding about 15 kilometres of the front line.
The front line held by the French Army north of Ypres on 22nd April 1915 covered a distance of about 9 kilometres. From its junction with the Belgian Army at Steenstraat on the Yser Canal the line continued from the eastern canal bank in an easterly direction to the Ypres-Poelcappelle road, where it met the left wing of the British Second Army, namely the 1st Canadian Division.
Forming the northern part of the Allied line as it bulged into the Ypres Salient, the French front line sector faced north and was at right angles to the general direction of the north-south Allied front line in Flanders.
Commander: General Quiquandon
The Groupement d'Elverdinghe was effective from 17 April with the incoming divisional commander of the 45th Algerian Division appointed to command it.
The composition of the group was the 87th Territorial Division and the 45th Algerian Division, with five companies of the Belgian Army also attached.
On the morning of 22nd April there were two French divisions in the front line. From west to east they were:
87th Territorial Division
Commander: General Roy
Troops in the division were composed of:
- 173rd Brigade: 73rd and 74th Territorial Regiments
- 174th Brigade: 76th, 79th and 80th Territorial Regiments
- 186th Brigade: 100th and 102nd Territorial Regiment
- Two squadrons: 4th Dragoons
- 2 Groupes of artillery (90mm guns)
Front Line Position
- 173rd Brigade: 9 companies of the 74th Territorial Regiment; 9 companies of the 73rd Territorial Regiment.
- one and a half Territorial battalions
- 186th Brigade: 100th and 102nd Territorial Regiments
Commander: General Quiquandon
Troops in the division were composed of
- 90th Brigade (Colonel Mordacq): 2nd bis Zouaves de marche (3 battalions); 1st Tirailleurs de marche (3 battalions); 1st and 3rd battalions d'Afrique
- 91st Brigade (General Codet): 7th Zouaves de marche (3 battalions); 3rd bis Zouaves de marche (3 battalions)
- One squadron: 1st Regiment de marche de Chasseurs d'Afrique
- 3 groupes of artillery (75mm guns)
Front Line Position
Three battalions of 90th Brigade:
- 1st and 2nd battalions of the 1st Tirailleurs de marche
- 1st Battalion d'Afrique
The second position in the French sector was located about 2 kilometres from the front line and was a continuation of the G.H.Q. Line. It was not continuous but consisted of strongpoints covering Pilckem and Het Sas on the Yser canal.
- The 1st Battalion of the 2nd bis Zouaves (90th Brigade) was split between the centre of the divisional front and the Pilckem-Langemarck road
- The “Battalion Cail” of the 7th Zouaves de marche (91st Brigade) was behind the 1st Battalion of the 2nd bis Zouaves located south of Pilckem
- On the western bank of the Yser Canal a battalion of 7th Zouaves guarded the bridges between Boesinghe and Ypres.
Groupement d'Elverdinghe Reserve
Three battalions were placed in reserve for the group:
- one infantry battalion south of the Boesinghe - Elverdinghe road
- one battalion at Elverdinghe
- one battalion d'Afrique between Elverdinghe and Woesten
According to General Quiquandon's orders of 16th April the artillery was positioned as follows.
Front Line Sector
Three groups, under the command of the lieutenant-colonel acting as commandant of the 45th Algerian Division billet headquarters in Boesinghe.
- Group south of Zuydschoote (1 group of 75 mm guns) commanded by Perrin
- Group east of Boesinghe (2 batteries of 90 mm guns, 2 batteries of 75 mm guns, 1 battery of 95 mm guns)
- Group east of Pilckem (4 batteries 0f 90 mm guns, 2 batteries of 75 mm guns) commanded by Lenoble.
- 2 batteries of 120 mm heavy guns: 1 battery covering the zone of 87th Territorial Division, 1 battery covering the zone of 45th Division
- 1 battery of 95 mm guns covering the zone of 87th Territorial Division
- 1 battery of 75 mm guns of 15 Regiment (half at Boesinghe, half at Elverdinghe)
Escadrille M.F. 35 based north-east of Poperinghe.
Les Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre, Tome II, Troisième Partie, Chapitre XV
Les Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre, Annexe no. 1397: Ordre géneral no. 1, Q.G., le 16 avril 1915. Signed General Quiquandon
Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Volume I, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, Appendix no. 313, p. 225-226