11th Parachute Shock Battalion


Top Member
Preface: I am not sure if this is a FFL related unit or a separate line unit of the French Army.

I am asking for some history and clarification on the mission of the 11th Parachute Shock Battalion. Is this unit completely separate from the FFL? I've heard that this unit trained at the Cercettes Parachute Center, Orleans and also at the Underwater Center, Corsica. Usually when I hear of "jumpers" (American slang; also "airborne") having an affiliation to water operations, I think of naval commandos. Thus, my confusion. Please clarify.

Re the history question, where I initially learned of the 11th; I think the 11th was disbanded after the Algerian War. Was this because of French politics or internal Ministry of Defense organizational improvements?

Any and all assistance appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Warm regards,
Bob : 11ème Bataillon de Parachutistes de Choc (in short 11ème Choc) was actually the 'action' group of the former SDECE (French intelligence service). They had nothing to do with the Legion and their missions were similar to those of the "Green Berets" of the CIA.
As you say, they trained in Cercottes in a center called CERP (Centre d'Entraînement de Réserves Parachutistes) and Aspretto (in Corsica) for the underwater operations in CINC (Centre d'Instruction de Nageurs de Combat). It was a very famous and secretive unit. In Indochine they for example participated in the creation of the GCMA (Groupement de Commandos Mixtes Aéroportés). One or 2 French guys were parachuted behind the Vietminh lines to set up maquis with local tribes, in the central highlands of VietNam or in "pays Thaï" (NW VietNam). The same concept was later used by the Americans (remember Col Kurtz in Apocalypse Now ?).
In Algeria, 11ème Choc illustrated itself in an operation called "bleuite", supervised by Capt Paul-Alain Léger. The objective was to intoxicate the FLN and make them believe there were traitors among their ranks. This resulted into a massive purge. During the Algeria war, 11ème Choc also undertook clandestine ops to assassinate arms smugglers in Switzerland and Germany who were supplying the FLN with weapons.
11ème Choc was disbanded after the Algeria war, as a fallout of the OAS rebellion (rightly or not the cadre were believed to be OAS sympathizers). It was recreated in the late 80s, after the disastrous sinking of Greenpeace vessel "Rainbow Warrior" and disbanded again in the mid 90s. It's missions are now performed by 'lower profile' and even more secretive sections of DGSE (successor of SDECE).

Most viewed threads of the week