Societe Generale SA

General Marcel Bigeard: Soldier who served in three conflicts and

General Marcel Bigeard was one of France's most adored and decorated military commanders and was a veteran of three wars who became the doyen of counter-insurgency. A veteran of the Second World War, France's colonial wars in Indo-China and Algeria, Bigeard rose up from the lowest rank to become a four-star general. Much to the annoyance of the top brass, he was loved by the troops and gained a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense commander who led by example, being wounded on five occasions and escaping captivity three times. A 1958 profile of him in Time magazine captured his tough-as-nails persona: "A martinet, but the idol of his men, Bigeard whipped them into shape by running them as much as 15 miles at a time. He made them shave every day, no matter where they were, doled out raw onions instead of the traditional wine ration because 'wine reduces stamina.'"