Commitment of the Moroccan Goums to the WORLD WAR II

Casablanca (Morocco), November 1942

The Allied Forces, under command of the US, arrives at the shore of Morocco the 8th November, 1942. They want to free Morocco from the Franco-German Nazi-oppressor, The Sultan pledge alliance with the Allied Forces and the Sultans army (Infantry and Cavalry) joined the fights against the Franco-German troops. After 3 days of heavy battle the French troops switch side to the Alliance, defeating the Germans. The Moroccan people are relieved, especially the Jews who fled Europe to escape the Nazism but got caught in Morocco by the French army (Morocco was occupied by France at that moment) when France surrendered to Germany and joined the Nazi-regime. Although The Sultan of Morocco refused to hand over the Jews to the Franco-German occupiers and protected them he couldn't do much when they got caught by the Nazi's and were transfer to the Nazi-camps in the dessert.

Casablanca (Morocco), January 1943

January 1943, the Alliance, at a Conference at the Alliances Headquarters in Casablanca Morocco, decides to use Moroccan troops in the Allied Forces to free North-Africa and Europe from the Nazi-regime. The Moroccan Infantry and Cavalry has already been integrated into the Alliance Force, The Sultan of Morocco sends a call to the Mountains for help to free Morocco and the rest of the world of Nazism. The Mountain-men answers the Sultan's call and start descending from the mountains joining the Forces, because of the Mountain-men’s lack in confidence in Moroccan army officers (Morocco did surrender to the French occupiers) the Alliance decided to create new regiments of Mountain-men only, with their own officers under French supervision, a part of the troops under the French General De Gaulle. The alliance has high expectations of these Mountain-men later to be known as the Moroccan Goums (Goumier in French), considering the French experience when they tried to invade the Mountain-men's soil. The tactical expectations of the Goums will be far exceeded during the World War2, no-one expected the Goums to be so good in warfare, they became the secret weapon of the alliance.

Four Moroccan Goum-groups (regimental-sized units) served with the Allied forces during World War II. They specialized in night raiding operations and mountain warfare against the forces of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during 1943-45. Goumier units were also used to man the front line in mountainous and other rough terrain areas, so the regular infantry units could operate along more profitable axes of advance

Tunisia, 1943

The 1st GSM (a regimental-sized unit) fought on the Tunisian front as part of the Moroccan March Division from December 1942, and was joined by the 2nd GSM in January 1943. After the Tunisia Campaign, the French organized two additional groups and retitled the groups as groupe de tabors marocains (G.T.M.) Each group contained a command goum (company) and three tabors (battalions) of three goums. A tabor contained four 81-mm mortars and totaled 891 men. Each infantry goum was authorized 210 men, one 60-mm mortar, two light machineguns, and seven automatic rifles.

An anonymous junior officer from the U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment, which fought alongside the Goumiers in Tunisia, wrote that:

Two companies of Goums...were stationed next to our CP, and these had sent out two raiding parties the same night... Mostly mountain men from Morocco, these silent, quick-moving raiders were excellent at night raids, and in surprise attacks. How successful they had been was attested by the two [French] officers who had command of the companies of the Goumiers. The companies lacked most of the clothing, equipment and almost no weapons necessary for warfare. The 2 raids had remedied that. Inspections the next day revealed a good many German articles of clothing under their conventional brown and white vertical striped robes. Their rifles were a mixture of the best German and Italian weapons. Mess equipment, and a good deal of the food was also of enemy origin, as were the knives, pistols, blankets and toilet articles.

From questioning of the Italian prisoners, it was evident that they had either heard or experienced the merciless raids of the Goums, and they wanted no part of them. Part of the Goums' success lay in their silence as they moved forward, and in their highly perfected art of camouflage. One anecdote ran that one warrior had so successfully camouflaged himself all day in full sight of the Germans that a German officer had wandered over to what he thought was a bush, and had urinated on the motionless head of the Moroccan soldier who bore the trial well, but who marked that particular officer down for special attention that night, it was the officer's last night amongst the living. Goums did not take any prisoners, and it was well-known to the Germans and Italians what befell anyone who ran afoul of those Moroccans. There was certainly no desire to have our battalion tangle with either of the two raiding parties sent out the same night.

Italy, 1943-45

The 4th Tabor of Moroccan Goums fought in the Sicilian Campaign, landing at Licata on July 14, 1943, and was attached to the U.S. Seventh Army. The Goumiers of the 4th Tabor were attached to the U.S. 1st Infantry Division on July 27, 1943 and were recorded in the U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment's log files for their courage. Upon the Goums arrival at Italy many Italian soldiers surrendered en masse, while the Germans began staging major retreats away from known goumiers presence.

The Italian campaign of World War II is perhaps the most famous and most controversial in the history of the Goumiers. The 4th Group of Moroccan Tabors shipped out for Italy in November 1943, and was followed in January 1944 by the 3rd Group, and reinforced by the 1st Group in April 1944.

In Italy, the Allies suffered a long stalemate at the German Gustav Line, a Line of German/Italian defenses supposed to be Impossible to defeat, with big looses for the Alliance Forces and no breakthrough in sight. Until May 1944, three Goumier groups arrived to help, under the name Corps de Montagne (Mountain Commando Troops), attack through the Aurunci Mountains during Operation Diadem, the fourth Battle of Monte Cassino. "Here the Goums more than proved their value as light, highly mobile, mountain troops who could penetrate the most vertical terrain in fighting order and with a minimum of logistical requirements. Most military analysts consider the Goumiers' maneuver as the critical victory that finally opened the way to Rome."

The German commander-in-chief stationed at the German Gustav Line wrote to his Führer Hitler; The impossible has been done, the Moroccan Goums have crushed and conquered our line of defenses

The Allied commander, U.S. General Mark Clark also paid tribute to the Goumiers and the Moroccan regulars of the Tirailleur units: In spite of the stiffening enemy resistance, the 2nd Moroccan-Goumier Division penetrated the Gustave Line in less than two day’s fighting. The next 48 hours on the French front were decisive. The knife-wielding Goumiers swarmed over the hills, particularly at night, and the entire force showed an aggressiveness hour after hour that the Germans could not withstand. Cerasola, San Giorgio, Mt. D’Oro, Ausonia and Esperia were seized in one of the most brilliant and daring advances of the war in Italy... For this performance, which was to be a key to the success of the entire drive on Rome, I shall always be a grateful admirer of General Juin and his magnificent Goums.

Corsica, 1943

In September 1943 the 2nd Group of Moroccan Tabors participated in the liberation of Corsica, and fought the Germans in the mountains near Bastia, by Cape Corse.

Elba, 1944

The 2nd Group of Moroccan Tabors was part of the French Forces that took Elba from the Germans in June 1944. The operation was called Operation Brassard. The island was more heavily defended than expected, and there were many casualties on both sides as a result of the severe fighting.

Mainland France, 1944

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Groups of Moroccan Tabors fought in the campaigns in southern France, Vosges Mountains, and Alsace during late 1944 and early 1945. The Goumiers started landing in southern France on August 18, 1944. All three groups took part in the combat to liberate Marseille from August 20 - 28, 1944. The 1st Group was subsequently used to secure France's Alpine frontier with Italy until late October 1944, and then took part in the forcing of the Belfort Gap in November. During late September and early October 1944, the 2nd and 3rd Groups fought in the areas of Remiremont and Gérardmer. All three groups fought in the Vosges Mountains during November and December 1944, facing extremely cold weather and bitter German resistance. After hard fighting in the Vosges Mountains and the Colmar Pocket, the 3rd Group was repatriated to Morocco in April 1945. It was replaced in Europe by the 4th Group, which had returned to North Africa after French forces left Italy.

Germany, 1945

The 1st, 2nd, and 4th Groups of Moroccan Tabors fought in the final operations to overrun southwestern Germany in 1945. The 1st Group fought through the Siegfried Line in the Bienwald from March 20 - 25, 1945 and was the first Alliance force to set foot on German soil. In April 1945, the 1st and 4th Groups took part in the combat to seize Pforzheim. In the last weeks of the war, the 2nd Group fought in the Black Forest and pushed southeast to Germany's Austrian border. During the same period, the 1st and 4th Groups advanced with other French forces on Stuttgart and Tübingen. By mid-1946, all three groups had been repatriated to Morocco and disarmed.