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The military reserve forces of France are the military reserve force within the armed forces of France.


From the very moment Napoléon Bonaparte took power as First Consul in the coup of 18 Brumaire, he was feared by his rivals, and keenly supported by the army. They participated in the creation of a new constitution that forbade a Consul from leading an active army outside France. The violence of the coup d'état had already caused disquiet, and the consuls had access to an impressive garde des consuls.[citation needed]

Following the new constitution to the letter, Napoléon raised a reserve army (and thus not counting as an active army) at Dijon to support his war effort in Italy. This was the turning point of his Second Italian campaign.[1]

Present organisationEdit

On the suspension of obligatory national service and the professionalisation of its armies, France also modified the organisation of its military reserve in the same professionalising way. Law n°99-894 of 22 October 1999 (modified by law 2006-449 of 18 April 2006) set out the organisation of the military reserve and of the defence forces.

The military reserve was organised into 2 bodies :

  • the "réserve citoyenne" (citizen reserve), group of volunteers actively getting to know the military world, undergoing training and maintaining the links between the armed forces and civil society. Citizen reservists have military status.
  • the "réserve opérationnelle" (operational reserve), grouping together reservists with an ESR (engagement à servir la réserve, obligation to serve in the reserve) and former military officers with an availability obligation (who thus remain available for the armed forces). The reservists serving under an ESR serve as military officers for periods of 1 to 210 days per year; they are coming from all fields (former officers, old "appelés du contigent", civilians without a military past) and all the professional social categories.

These reservists serve in many branches of the forces - the air force, army, gendarmerie, navy, health service, supply corps, and DGA.

Citizen reserveEdit

Operational reserveEdit


A new generation of reservistsEdit

Operational reserve of the armée de TerreEdit

The "réserve Marine"Edit

The "réserve Air"Edit

The "réserve Gendarmerie"Edit

The "réserve Armement"Edit



  1. Le Capitaine de Cugnac, Campagne de l’armée de Reserve en 1800; Paris 1900. See also Armée d'Italie.

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