1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mangin, Charles Marie Emmanuel

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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica
Mangin, Charles Marie Emmanuel

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MANGIN, CHARLES MARIE EMMANUEL (1866-), French general, was born at Sarrebourg (Meurthe) on July 6 1866. After six months' service in the ranks (with the 77th Inf. Regt.) he entered the École Speciale Militaire Oct. 30 1886 and was appointed a sous-lieutenant on the completion of his two years' course. The following year he went to Senegal and remained there until June 1892. In Oct. 1893 he went to the French Soudan, and spent most of the following six years either in that country or in the Congo (Marchand Mission), being made a captain in 1897. From 1901 to 1904 he was in Tonkin, and in 1905 was made lieutenant-colonel and posted to the 6th Regt. of colonial infantry. From Nov. 1906 to Dec. 1908 he served in W. Africa, returning there for six months in 1910, in which year he was promoted colonel. From Feb. 1912 to July 1913 he served both in W. Africa and Morocco and was made a general of brigade on Aug. 8 1913.

At the outbreak of the World War he was in command of the 8th Inf. Bde., but on Sept. 2 1914 took over the 5th Inf. Division. In June 1916 he was given temporary rank as a general of division and placed at the head of the XI. Army Corps. His temporary rank was made substantive in Oct. of the same year, just before he carried out at Verdun (Oct. 24 1916) the brilliant attack which resulted in the retaking of Fort Douaumont. On Dec. 19 1916 he assumed command of the VI. Army. This command formed part of the group of armies under Gen. Michelet which was designated to carry out the offensive on the Aisne in the spring of 1917. Extravagant hopes of decisive victory were cherished by his Government and the generalissimo Nivelle. Victory indeed was won, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. Mangin, involved in the bitter controversy which followed the disappointment, was made one of the scapegoats and deprived of his command. Later, however, he was exonerated from blame by a commission of inquiry and placed by M. Clemenceau at the head of the X. Army. While commanding this army he carried out, in July 1918 and in conjunction with General Degoutte, the great counter-offensive on the enemy's right flank which resulted in the first of the final series of Allied victories. He was given the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour on July 6 1919, and was made a member of the Superior War Council in Jan. 1920. In 1921 he was sent on a special mission to South America.

The incorporation of African troops in the French army on a large scale, both before and especially during the war, was the result chiefly of Mangin's persistent advocacy of the idea, which had many opponents. His conception of a “plus grande France,” based on political autonomy and military obligation for all parts of the French Empire, is put forward in the concluding chapters of his work Comment finit la Guerre (1920), which in spite of its title is really a masterly review of the whole war.