Foreign Legion events: March 21 – 31

See interesting data of the French Foreign Legion’s history collected in a single post. Today, we will present the Legion’s important events which occurred between March 21 and March 31.

 

French Foreign Legion: March 21

1921, Oughziat valley in Morocco
– a group of legionnaires from 4e REI got involved in severe battle with local rebels
– after two hours of combat, 13 legionnaires were killed, 12 wounded
– the remaining 13 legionnaires fought off the attackers with fixed bayonets

1922, fighting near El Faks, Morocco for legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 2e RE

1940, GRDI 97 (composed of 1er REC and 2e REC legionnaires, around 650 men) landed in Marseille, France to be based at Carcassonne
– in May-June, GRDI 97 will participate in the Battle of France and suffer heavy losses
– its commanding officer, Colonel Lacombe de la Tour, will be killed, together with two thirds of his men

1947, clashes with the Viet Minh for 1st Battalion of 3e REI in the Nam Dinh region, the Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam

1961, operations at Djebel Cheamarikh, Algeria for two motorized companies of 2e REI (ex-2e RE)

– on the picture, legionnaires-motorcyclists from GRDI 97 in May 1940

 

French Foreign Legion: March 22

1836, HQ company + two combat companies of the “New Legion” were formed in Paris
– the “New Legion” (current Foreign Legion) replaced the “Old Legion”, having been transferred to Spain to join pro-Madrid forces in the First Carlist War

1918, Mobile Group Fez was formed in Morocco to take part in operations in the Taza region
– 21st Company + Machine Gun Platoon 2, both from 1er RE were part of

1948, an outpost of 3e REI at Na Fac (northern Vietnam) was attacked by the Viet Minh

1949, an operation for 12th + 13th + 17th Squadron of 1er REC in the Qui Nhon region, Annam (today’s central Vietnam); 25 Viet Minh rebels were imprisoned

1954, legionnaires from 1er BEP (future 1er REP) launched an attack in the south of Dien Bien Phu (northern Vietnam), together with Algerian soldiers from 1er RTA, to relieve the Isabelle stronghold (occupied by 3e REI legionnaires) from the Viet Minh
– both, the Viet Minh and French troops suffered heavy casualties

– also in 1954, legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 5e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh in Laos
– 5e REI legionnaires fought off the enemy, but the battalion lost almost 50 men + more than 120 were wounded

– on the picture, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion) legionnaires at Dien Bien Phu, French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: March 23

1916, legionnaires from the 2nd Battalion of 1er RE were attacked by a huge number of rebels at their outpost located at Beni Mellal, Morocco; the enemy was fought off, 4 legionnaires were wounded

1951, legionnaires from 2e BEP (future 2e REP) fought off rebels near Dong Trieu in the Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam

1952, Armored Train (Train Blindé) of 2e REI participated in an operation against a battalion of the Viet Minh, which attacked another French armored train in central Vietnam

1953, a week-long Operation Hautes Alpes started in the Thanh Hoa region, Tonkin Delta
– legionnaires from two battalions of 2e REI + 2nd Battalion of 13e DBLE were involved in

1957, 3rd Motorized Company of 4e REI was based at Bir El Ater, Algeria
– in early March, as the last unit of the Foreign Legion, 4e REI left Morocco (which gained its independence in 1956)

– on the picture, 3rd Motorized Company (CP) of 4e REI at Bir El Ater, Algeria in 1957

 

French Foreign Legion: March 24

1917, Battle of Trana Stena started
– legionnaires from the 3rd Battalion (Battalion Legion, reduced to about 200 men), 1st African Regimental Combat Team (1er RMA) were attacked by Bulgarians, equipped with flamethrowers, at Trana Stena, during the Balkans Campaign (south-eastern Europe)
– the battle lasted 5 days, consisting of several attacks and counter-attacks

1949, Operation Prestige
– first combat jump for 2e BEP in its history
– two 2e BEP companies were dropped over the region of Kompong Trach, southern Cambodia to search local rebel groups

1950, an ambush with rebels for 3rd Battalion of 3e REI in southern Annam, today’s central Vietnam

1954, an operation at Phu Cat, Annam for 1er GA (Amphibious Group) of 1er REC + 12th + 13th + 17th Squadron of 1er REC
– dozens of Viet Minh rebels killed

1959, operations at Oued Kouassenis, Algeria for legionnaires of 5e REI, 15 rebels were killed

– on the picture, legionnaires from 1er RMA during the Balkans Campaign in 1916

 

French Foreign Legion: March 25

1866, Siege of Matchual, French intervention in Mexico
– 300 legionnaires based at Matchual were attacked by some 2,000 Mexicans
– the legionnaires were successfully defending their position for a week and on April 1, the Mexicans were fought off

1953, 1st Foreign Legion Mortar Mixed Company (1re CMMLE) was established in Laos, southeastern Asia to fight against the Viet Minh
– equipped with 120 mm mortars, the company was composed of legionnaires and local volunteers and was administratively assigned to 3e REI
– 1re CMMLE was annihilated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu a year later

1954, 1er BEP launched a counter-attack against Viet Minh positions at the Eliane stronghold during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu

– also in 1954, clashes at Truc Dong, Tonkin (norther Vietnam now) for 2nd Battalion of 13e DBLE
– over 60 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1958, operations at Djebel Asses, Algeria for legionnaires of 5e REI

1961, operations at Djebel Bou Lerphad, Algeria for legionnaires of 2e REI

– on the picture, 1re CMMLE during Camerone Day in Laos on April 30, 1953

 

French Foreign Legion: March 26

1867, two battalions of Foreign Regiment, having arrived after four years spent in Mexico, landed at Oran, Algeria

1917, Battle of Trana Stena
– legionnaires from the 3rd Battalion (Battalion Legion, around 200 men), 1st African Regimental Combat Team successfully attacked Bulgarian soldiers at Trana Stena, during the Balkans Campaign
– over 160 Bulgarians were imprisoned

1953, a commando of Armored Train of 2e REI got involved in an ambush with a Viet Minh company in the Song Luy region, Cochinchina (southern Vietnam now)

1954, 1er BEP launched a counter-attack against Viet Minh positions at the Huguette stronghold during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– Viet Minh lost 20 men, 1e BEP had 2 killed and over 20 wounded men

1991, Operation Merrain started
– a mine clearing operation was launched during the Gulf War in Kuwait City
– two companies + DINOPS (Engineer Combat Divers) of 6e REG (1er REG now) and airborne engineers from 17e RGP (a French non-Legion unit) took part in

– on the picture, 6e REG legionnaires during Operation Merrain in Kuwait City, 1991

 

French Foreign Legion: March 27

1863, Foreign Regiment (RE, the then title of the Foreign Legion), composed of about 1,400 men, landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico to take part in the French intervention in Mexico

1940, a mountain light demi-brigade of 1er REI (the then 1er RE) was retitled
– at Camp Larzac, France, it became 13e DBMLE (future 13e DBLE)
– in April 1940, the unit will take part in battles in Norway against German troops
– in summer 2016, 13e DBLE will be based at Camp Larzac again

– 1941, Battle of Keren, East African Campaign, Second World War
– 13e DBLE of the Free French was part of the British-led forces, which defeated the Italians in the Italian colony of Eritrea, East Africa and captured the important town of Keren

1948, an official decision to create a foreign parachute battalion within the Foreign Legion was made
– in Algeria in June 1948, legionnaires-volunteers formed a first foreign parachute company of a future battalion
– the company was commanded by captain Pierre Darmuzai, who later became the only French officer having commanded all three major airborne units of the Foreign Legion
– on July 1, 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (1er BEP, future 1er REP) was established and the company of captain Darmuzai became its 1st Company
– in October 1948, 2e BEP (2e REP now) was formed in Algeria

1949, legionnaires of 1er BEP conducted a two-day-long operation against the Viet Minh in the Ban Xam region near Hanoi, northern Vietnam

– on the picture, legionnaires of a mountain light demi-brigade (future 13e DBMLE, later 13e DBLE) at Sidi Bel Abbes (Legion’s HQ then), Algeria in early March, before its depart for France to join a mountain warfare instruction at Camp Larzac

 

French Foreign Legion: March 28

1885, Battle of Ky Lua, Sino-French War
– legionnaires of 2nd Battalion, 1er RE made part of 1,600 French troops under the command of general de Négrier during the successful battle in Tonkin (the then title for today’s northern Vietnam), in which the French defeated about 30,000 Chinese soldiers
– the French lost only 7 men, the Chinese over 2,000 men

1917, Battle of Trana Stena ended
– legionnaires from the 3rd Battalion (Battalion Legion, with reduced strength of about 200 men), 1st African Regimental Combat Team (1er RMA) fought off Bulgarians at Trana Stena and took the position, during the Balkans Campaign (south-eastern Europe); a company commander + 24 legionnaires were killed during the battle, over 90 legionnaires were wounded

– the battalion was mentioned in the name of the Army for its bravery during this action
– the same year, that mention helped the battalion to receive a fourragere (the second fouragerre for a Foreign Legion unit)

1954, a large French counter-attack against Viet Minh positions in the west of Dien Bien Phu
– 1e BEP and 1st Battalion of 2e REI participated in
– over 350 Viet Minh soldiers were killed; the French lost 20 men, over 70 were wounded

1959, operations at Zemra, Algeria ended
– during two days, over 100 rebels were killed or imprisoned by 2e REC legionnaires in the Hauts Plateaux region, northern Algeria
– two very important colonels of the National Liberation Army (ALN), Amirouche and Si El Haouès, were among those killed on March 28

1961, operations at Djebel Djehaf, Algeria for legionnaires of 2e REI; almost 20 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 2e REC legionnaires searching rebel hideouts during operations in the Hauts Plateaux region, March 1959

 

French Foreign Legion: March 29

1950, operations in the Tra Vinh region, Cochinchina (the original French title for southern Vietnam), French Indochina
– 1er REC legionnaires + 2e BEP (2e REP now) were involved in

– also in 1950, Operation Tonneau near Canal des Bambous, Haipong region, Tonkin (today’s northern Vietnam)
– 21st Company (Legion Company) from 61e BG (Engineer Battalion) participated in

1958, an operation for para-legionnaires from 1er REP at Chabba Ben Said, northeastern Algeria

2013, Operation Awara ended
– 3e REI legionnaires participated in a ten-day-long operation in the jungle of French Guiana
– the operation was part of Operation Harpie, which has been launched to eliminate activities of illegal gold diggers

– on the picture, 3e REI legionnaires destroying a camp of illegal gold diggers in the jungle of French Guiana during Operation Awara, March 2013

 

French Foreign Legion: March 30

1915, Western Front, World War I
– 3rd Regimental Combat Team (3e RM) of 1er RE was placed at Santerre, Picardy region, northern France
– the unit will participate in defensive operations against German troops

1952, clashes with Viet Minh rebels in the Thai Binh region, Tonkin Delta (northern Vietnam) for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion of 13e DBLE, during Operation Mercure

1954, Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– Dominique and Eliane strongholds at Dien Bien Phu were under intensive fire of Viet Minh artillery
– 1er BEP, 1re CEPML (Heavy Mortar Parachute Company, nicknamed “Cepemele” by legionnaires) + 1re CMMLE (Foreign Legion Mixed Mortar Company) got involved in the severe battle
– within a few hours, a platoon of 1re CMMLE was annihilated

1959, operations in the Ksour Range, western Algeria for 3rd Motorized Company of 2e REI

– on the picture, legionnaires of 1re CEPML at Dien Bien Phu

 

French Foreign Legion: March 31

1916, operations in the M’Rirt region, Morocco for legionnaires (Germans in the majority) from 6th Battalion of 2e RE
– in Morocco during WWI, the battalion made part of 1st Regimental Combat Team, 2e RE

1943, 2e REI (ex-2e RE) was deactivated
– its units were assigned to 3e REI
– 2e REI was reactivated in January 1946

1946, 3e REI left France for French Indochina

1954, Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– Dominique and Eliane strongholds at Dien Bien Phu were attacked by the Viet Minh
– 1er BEP, 1re CEPML (Heavy Mortar Foreign Parachute Company) + 1re CMMLE (Foreign Legion Mixed Mortar Company) + 2e REI legionnaires participated in defending the strongholds

1959, a three-week-long operation in the Frenda region, northern Algeria ended
– legionnaires from 1er REP participated in

1963, Foreign Legion Saharan motorized squadron and companies (1er ESPL, 2e CSPL, 3e CSPL, 4e CSPL) were deactivated

– on the picture, legionnaires of 2e CSPL dressed in their traditional Saharan dress uniform while parading at Laghouat, their garrison in Algeria, 1958

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: March 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: March 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: February 22 – 29
French Foreign Legion history