Groupement de Commandos Mixtes Aéroportés

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The Groupement de Commandos Mixtes Aéroportés ( GCMA , mostly anglicized MACG; German group of mixed airborne commandos ) was a unit established by the French secret service SDECE in Vietnam in 1951 . It was their job to organize the hill tribes and other groups as guerrilla fighters in support of the fight against the Viet Minh . In December 1953, shortly before its dissolution, the unit was renamed GMI ( Groupement Mixte d'Intervention , English: Composite Intervention Group ).


The foundation goes back to a visit of the deputy director of the SDECE in Vietnam. The first in command was Colonel Grall. After Marshall Jean de Lattre de Tassigny took command in Indochina in December 1950, the unit was increased to 140-150 officers. The activities in Laos and Tongking were placed under the direction of Major Roger Trinquier , who innovated the methods of the unit (he became known as the coordinator of the torture campaign at the Battle of Algiers ). As a lieutenant colonel, Trinquier succeeded Gall as the unit's commander in 1953 when he was forced out of office due to a ton of opium being found.

In nominal terms, the unit remained subordinate to the SDECE, in fact it reported directly to the high command of the expeditionary force. The activities were largely financed by trading in opium, which the "mountain peoples" (e.g. Hmong ) continued to cultivate as the only cash crop even after the official ban in 1946 . This trade, known as Operation X, was expressly authorized by French Supreme Command General Raoul Salan from 1951 to 1954 .

To train the future guerrilla fighters , the Action Service School with 300 places was created on a military base in Cap Saint-Jacques (today: Vũg Tàu ; approx. 60 km south-east of Saigon) .

The recruitment of mercenary groups took place according to a multi-stage model. First, a small group of MACG members was parachuted to remote - but "friendly" - mountain regions, where they recruited around 50 locals for training in Cap Saint-Jacques. These recruits returned after about 2½ months in order to form the nucleus of a guerrilla group, called maquis , of about 100 men in their home region . The cost per man up to this level was about $ 9,000. In the third stage, several of these village-based groups were brought together in order to carry out the extermination of the Viet Minh in their area in a coordinated manner. The methods used did not correspond to the western customs of war (see also Dirty War and French Doctrine ). The guerrilla groups were organized along ethnic lines, they came mainly from the Hmong tribe under the leadership of the particularly successful Touby Lyfoung and the members of the Tai , led by Deo Van Long .

An attempt with 1,500 Hmong recruits to relieve the units trapped in mitiện Biên Phủ in April 1954 failed. Initially, the Geneva Peace Agreement of July 20 had no effect on guerrilla warfare, but overflights were prohibited. This posed problems in the supply of the approximately 40,000 mercenaries under the command of around 400 French officers, from August it became impossible and a withdrawal was ordered, which only partially took place.

The GCMA itself was dissolved when the French withdrew. The Trinquier, who was recalled on September 1, 1954, prepared an account of the existing drug money (around 5 million piasters, then around US $ 150,000) by December 15. The sum was (presumably) stolen by the general to whom it was handed. A young artillery captain followed Trinquier as commander. The structures of drug trafficking and guerrilla groups that had been created were continued to be used by the initially hesitant Americans and their associated local potentates.



  • Alfred McCoy: The Politics of Heroin . New York 1991 (rev. Ed .; Orig. 1972), ISBN 1-55652-126-X
  • Bernard B. Fall : Portrait of the Centurion . In: Roger Trinquier: Modern Warfare . New York 1964.
  • Donald Lancaster: The Emancipation of French Indochina . New York 1961.

Individual evidence

  1. McCoy (1991), pp. 135f, 145
  2. ^ McCoy (1991), p. 134
  3. McCoy (1991), pp. 140, 143
  4. Trinquier's letter of November 24, 1972, printed: McCoy (1991), pp. 520ff; and p. 144
  5. Denis Warner: The Last Confucian . London 1964, p. 129f