Leclerc, Jacques Philippe

Leclerc, Jacques Philippe ləklĕrˈ [key], 1902–47, French general. His real name was Philippe, vicomte de Hauteclocque, but he adopted the name Leclerc in World War II. Commanding the Free French forces in French Equatorial Africa, he led (Dec., 1942–Jan., 1943) their spectacular march from Lake Chad to Tripoli, over c.1,500 mi (2,400 km); they entered Tripoli with the British 8th Army. Leclerc and his troops then took part in the Tunisian campaign. In 1944 he commanded the French 2d Armored Division; its nucleus was the veterans of his African campaign. Gen. Omar N. Bradley honored Leclerc by letting his division enter Paris first (Aug., 1944) to complete the liberation of the city. Leclerc subsequently took Strasbourg. He was made (1945) the French commander in Asia and accepted the Japanese surrender at Tokyo for France. He later commanded against the insurgents in Indochina. Made inspector general of the French forces in North Africa in 1946, he died a year later in a plane crash. He was posthumously created a marshal of France in 1952.

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