Marne taxis

Marne taxis

  • Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles.

  • Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles. Price poster.

  • Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles.

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Title: Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles.

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Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 220 - Width 160

Technique and other indications: Two-cylinder, eight-horsepower petroleum petrol car, "Landaulet" type body; vehicle acquired by the Compagnie Française des Automobiles de Place (known as "G7"), used on September 7, 1914 for the transport of troops ("Taxi de la Marne") Created between 1905 and 1914 in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Storage place: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrettes website

Picture reference: 06-510628 / 1635 C1

Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

To close

Title: Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles. Price poster.

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Two-cylinder, eight-horsepower petroleum-powered car, "Landaulet" type body; vehicle acquired by the Compagnie Française des Automobiles de Place (known as "G7"), used on September 7, 1914 for the transport of troops ("Taxi de la Marne") Created between 1905 and 1914 in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Storage place: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrettes website

Picture reference: 06-509500 / 1635 C1

Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles. Price poster.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

To close

Title: Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles.

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 220 - Width 160

Technique and other indications: Two-cylinder, eight-horsepower petroleum-powered car, "Landaulet" type body; vehicle acquired by the Compagnie Française des Automobiles de Place (known as "G7"), used on September 7, 1914 for the transport of troops ("Taxi de la Marne") Created between 1905 and 1914 in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Storage place: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palaissite web

Picture reference: 06-505584 / 1635 C1

Car of the Compagnie Française des Automobiles.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais

Publication date: December 2009

Historical context

From Parisian taxis to Marne taxis

The Compagnie Française des Automobiles de Place, later known as "G7" (because its vehicles were registered G7 by the prefecture), was founded on March 4, 1905 by Baron Rognat. Production began in 1905 in Boulogne-Billancourt, and in 1914, three quarters of the 12,000 Parisian taxis were Renault AG vehicles.

From September 1914, the government planned to requisition taxis to evacuate the War Ministry's archives from Paris in the event of a German threat and, to this end, constituted a permanent reserve of vehicles. But it is by an unexpected use that the Parisian taxis become the taxis of the Marne: with the German advance of the beginning of September, Joffre decides, on September 6, to counter-attack and send reinforcement troops to the front. de l'Ourcq. From the Esplanade des Invalides, they will transport, at an average speed of 25 km / h, more than 3,000 soldiers of the 103e and 104e R.I. to Silly-le-Long and Nanteuil-le-Haudouin, about a hundred kilometers from Paris.

Image Analysis

Renault taxis

The first photograph shows an AG-1 vehicle registered 2862-G7 from the front and up close. The model dates from before 1912, when the steering wheel, again on the right, is placed on the left. Of the so-called "landaulet" type, this exterior-driven automobile coupe has a dark red body, confirming that it was produced before 1912, when taxis turned green. The frame and the spokes of the wheels are bright yellow. The vehicle must be started with the crank (visible under the license plate). Sitting on a trunk lined with two black leather cushions, the driver drives using the steering wheel and two levers to the right of the long steering column. Two lanterns, arranged at the front of the vehicle, make it visible at night. Raised and covered with a soft top, the cabin features a bench for two and two folding seats. Passengers access it through partially glazed doors. They can also see the road through the two front windows, which are screened to protect them from possible projections. On the right appears the taximeter where the customer can read the price of the trip.

The second photograph shows the plate screwed into the cab of all vehicles, which indicates the rules and tariffs in force. Taken in the main courtyard of the Hôtel des Invalides, the third photograph shows the same taxi, but before renovation. The building and the cannon in the background place it in a military context.

Interpretation

The legend of the Marne taxis

The image of the AG-1 taxi in the Cour des Invalides, with the cannon in the background, gives the impression of an anomaly: this civilian vehicle, a little worn, with bright colors, does not seem out of place in this majestic and martial setting. But the episode of the Marne taxis precisely signifies, in the collective imagination, a heroic adventure, which closely associates the world of the front and that of the rear in the defense of the motherland. Gallieni, qualifying his initiative, evokes a "good civilian idea", which finds military application. The sacred union was thus materialized and made concrete.

If the role of taxis was not in fact decisive in September 1914 (the vast majority of troops were transported by train) and if the requisition was not free (the army paid the 70,012 francs for shopping), the he episode acquires, in particular thanks to the press, a strong symbolic significance: it represents the victorious national leap allowed by determination, energy, national unity and a certain “French genius” of improvisation. We can assume that many taxi drivers tell "their" battle of the Marne to their passengers, who occupy, literally and figuratively, the place of the soldiers. Beyond the good publicity they give the company, they thus help to fuel the myth and anchor it in the daily lives of civilians. Transfigured by September 6, 1914, these familiar taxis will be closely associated with victorious battles and the courage of the soldiers. Proof that heroism can also concern the rear, which stands ready and knows how to mobilize. A vector of patriotism and national solidarity, the legend is maintained during the conflict and well after.

  • automobile
  • Marne (battle of the)
  • War of 14-18
  • Renault

Bibliography

Stéphane AUDOIN-ROUZEAU and Jean-Jacques BECKER (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Great War, 1914-1918, Paris, Bayard, 2004. François COCHET and Rémy PORTE (ed.), Dictionary of the Great War, Paris, Robert Laffont , 2008.Patrick FRIDENSON, History of Renault factories, volume I, “Birth of the big business, 1898-1939”, Paris, Le Seuil, coll. "The Historical Universe", 1998. Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, Paris, Fayard, 2004.

To cite this article

Alban SUMPF, "Taxis of the Marne"


Video: Les taxis de la Marne