Goums were light infantry units, which occasionally
comprised some cavalry elements.
They were created in Morocco
at the beginning of the 20th century. Goum-men mostly originated
from mountainous regions.
Goums were made up of native troops under mixed command.
Their strength was roughly that of a company. Higher up the
were tabors. These were bigger units, which comprised 3 to
4 goums, representing a complete batalion of 500 to 800 goum-men.
highly resistant troops, renowned for their fighting spirit
and their disregard for danger, took part in several
wars, notably the Rif war, the Second World War and the Indochina
They used to operate generally on hilly and difficult
terrain, where their outstanding agility, strength and courage,
them a dreadful force and earned them the admiration of many.
During the Italian and Alsace campaigns of World War II,
their exploits and efficiency were exemplary, even though
extremely heavy losses: over 8 000 men were put out of action…
1956, consequent upon the independence of Morocco, the goums
under French command were dissolved. These units used
commanded by Moroccan officers from the French Army alongside
a few volunteer young French officers.
18 juin 1945 - Paris -
Les Tabors marocains défilent
devant le sultan du Maroc
et le général de Gaulle
Tabor flags are presently
kept by the historical department of the French army, while
goum pennants, after half a century of existence marked by
mystery and glory, have been put on exhibition at Musée
de l’Infanterie de Montpellier (Montpellier infantry
Peinture à l’huile sur bois exécutée en 1939 au
3ème goum saharien par un ami de régiment du
Maréchal des Logis Jean GALEA. Collection personnelle