Foreign Legion events: April 21 – 30

See important data of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Battles, deployments, operations, establishments or dissolutions of units… Today, we will present the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between April 21 and April 30.


French Foreign Legion: April 21

1915, legionnaires from Battalion Legion of 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) participated in a battle of Dardanelles during the Balkans Campaign of WWI

1953, clashes with the Viet Minh at Plaine des Jarres, Laos, then French Indochina for legionnaires from 2e BEP (future 2e REP); several rebels were killed, 5 rebels were imprisoned

1954, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh near Ban Yen Nhan, northern Vietnam, French Indochina
– during the fierce battle, 2nd Battalion of 3e REI lost 70 men, including its battalion commander, Major Raymond Cabaribère
– 68 legionnaires were wounded

1957, operations close to Fillaoussene in the Tlemcen region, northwestern Algeria for legionnaires from 5e REI
– over 30 rebels were killed or wounded


French Foreign Legion: April 22

1847, fierce fighting with rebels for legionnaires from 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, future 1er RE) at Mograr Tahtani, northwestern Algeria

1954, legionnaires from 17th Squadron, 7e GEA (Amphibious Squadron Group), 1er REC destroyed 22 Viet Minh junks (ships) nearby the coastline of Qui Nhon, central Vietnam

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers started
– in the early morning, legionnaires from 1er REP, commanded by interim by Major Hélie de Saint Marc, took control of all strategic points in Algiers, the capital of Algeria

– on the picture, legionnaires of 1er REC with a “crabe” (M29 Weasel, an amphibious tracked vehicle) in French Indochina, 1954


French Foreign Legion: April 23

1895, legionnaires from Foreign Legion Task Force landed in Madagascar to participate in the Second Madagascar expedition, a French military intervention to make a conquest of the island

1947, clashes with the Viet Minh for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI in the Tra Vinh region, southern Vietnam; several legionnaires were killed

1954, some dozens legionnaires-volunteers jumped over Dien Bien Phu to join the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– they will help the French which had been attacked there by the Viet Minh since March 13

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers
– the putsch had been joined by 15 units
– between them, 1er REP commanded by Major de Saint Marc, 2e REP commanded by Major Cabiro, 1er REC commanded by Lt-col de La Chapelle and 5e REI commanded by Major Camelin

– on the picture, French troops (including legionnaires) marching in Madagascar, 1895


French Foreign Legion: April 24

1836, in Spain, fierce fighting between legionnaires from 4th Battalion of the “Old” (original) Legion and Carlists at Pamplona
– during the battle, 4th Battalion lost 100 men, Carlists lost 200 men

1926, legionnaires from 5th Battalion of 4e REI + 4th Squadron of 1er REC were part of 10,000 French troops under the command of General Andrea, which seized Sweida (Soueida in French), Syria on April 24-25
– the French column was sent to Syria (under the French rule since 1920) to calm down a rebellion, which started in 1925 (Great Syrian Revolt)

1940, 13e DBMLE (future 13e DBLE) boarded a ship at Brest, France to deploy to Norway
– the 13e DBMLE legionnaires will participate there in the Norwegian Campaign (April 9 to June 10, 1940), fought between the Allies and Germany in World War II

1950, during Operation Parpaing in the Lang Son region of northern Vietnam, close to the border with China, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fierce fighting with the Viet Minh; over 70 rebels were killed

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers (the capital of Algeria)
– 2e REP commanded by Major Cabiro seized an air base in Algiers held by marine conscripts
– 1er REP commanded by Major de Saint Marc and 1er REC commanded by Lt-col de La Chapelle took control over French bases at Blida, close to Algiers
– in the afternoon, 1er REP helped to guard a manifestation of 100,000 French Algerians recognizing the putschists as their saviors and saviors of French Algeria
– four French putschist generals, the leaders of the Putsch, talked to the manifestation

– on the picture, four putschist generals arriving to the Forum of Algiers to speak to a manifestation of 100,000 French Algerians; in front of the Forum, 1er REP military vehicles


French Foreign Legion: April 25

1941, a funeral of General Paul-Frédéric Rollet, Father of the Legion, at Sidi Bel Abbes (the then Foreign Legion HQ), Algeria; he died in Paris on April 16
– in 1962, when the Legion had to leave Sidi Bel Abbes, his remains were transported to France to be buried at Puyloubier, close to Aubagne

1949, legionnaires from 1er BEP (future 1er REP) and 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were attacked along Colonial Road 4 in the That Khe region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 3e REI lost 17 legionnaires; some 30 legionnaires from 1er BEP and 3e REI were wounded

1954, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, in northern Vietnam, 1er BEP and 2e BEP (future 2e REP), both suffering heavy casualties, had to be amalgamated into a single unit
– BMEP (Foreign Parachute Provisional Battalion) was established at Dien Bien Phu
Major Guiraud took the leadership

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers failed
– the military coup attempt was launched to avoid an independence of Algeria, a country administered for decades as an integral part of France and a country for which many French soldiers, including legionnaires, died in recent years during the Algerian War
– units participating in the putsch, including 1er REP and 1er REC, returned to their bases

1964, 4e REI (active in 1920-40, 1946-64), nicknamed as Regiment of Morocco, since 1956 organized as fully motorized infantry unit, was disbanded
– the majority of its legionnaires consolidated with 2e REI
– in 1980, its history and traditions were adopted by 4e RE, a training regiment of the Legion

– on the picture, 4e REI legionnaires and their Dodge 6×6 ready for an operation in Algeria, 1960


French Foreign Legion: April 26

1882, legionnaires from 2nd Company commanded by Captain de Castries were attacked at Chott Tigri, Oran region, Algeria, while making part of a geographic survey party (300 men in total), by around 1,800 cavalry rebels
– after seven hours of fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off
– the Legion lost several dozens of men

1918, legionnaires of RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, later 3e REI), commanded by Lt-Col Rollet (future Father of the Legion), they attacked under fire the fortified German positions at Bois de Hangard, France
– two of three battalions were destroyed during the attack
– however, German troops were fought off
– that day, RMLE lost 822 men, including 13 officers
– for this action, RMLE received its 7th citation in the order of the Army (it became the most decorated unit of the French Army in 1919)

1949, legionnaires from 11th Company, 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh near Van Gia in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires launched a counter-attack and 35 rebels were killed


French Foreign Legion: April 27

1832, first combat action for the French Foreign Legion
– first fighting for legionnaires of the “Old” Legion (the original one, established in 1831), which occurred in Algeria at Maison Carrée, close to the Algerian capital Algiers
– Swiss and German legionnaires from 3rd Battalion seized the Maison Carrée outpost and defended it against a fierce counter-attack

1951, in the Vinh Long region, Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam, Operation Orage ended for legionnaires of 4th Battalion, 13e DBLE

1961, 1er REP had to leave its camp of Zeralda for Thiersville, an old air-navy base of Algeria, to be waiting for its dissolution there because of its participation in Generals’ putsch in Algiers

– the elite unit of the Foreign Legion formed in 1948, 1er REP was two times annihilated in combat during first six years of its service
– it was also the first French airborne unit completely destroyed in action (Cao Bang 1950)

– the same day, Major Hélie de Saint Marc, an interim commander of 1er REP, and Lt Col Charles Gilbert de La Chapelle, the commander of 1er REC, were arrested for their participation in Generals’ putsch in Algiers
– in June 1961, Major Hélie de Saint Marc was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Lt Col Charles Gilbert de La Chapelle was sentenced to 7 years in prison
– tens of Legion officers were also arrested and imprisoned for their participation in the putsch


French Foreign Legion: April 28

1915, Battle of Sedd-Ul-Bahr
– Battalion Legion, one of three battalions of the 1st African Regimental Team (1er RMA), was involved in a landing operation near Sedd-Ul-Bahr, in the Gallipoli peninsula of Turkey, during the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I
– after three hours of fighting, the French-British forces successfully landed on the beach and took the positions
– however, after the landing, a new battle started between the Allies and Turkish forces
– that day, during the fierce battle, Battalion Legion lost 8 officers and 180 legionnaires

1954, a counter-attack conducted by ex-1er BEP legionnaires from BMEP (Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion) during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, northern Vietnam
– 20 Viet Minh rebels and 3 legionnaires were killed

1958, Operation Romeo ended
– since April 26, legionnaires from 2e REP had killed 199 rebels during the operation in the Beni Sbihi region, Algeria

2015, Operation Tavara ended
– between April 8-28, legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI were involved in an operation aimed against illegal gold diggers in the jungle of French Guiana, close to the Brasilian border

– on the picture, legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI during Operation Tavara


French Foreign Legion: April 29

1912, 1st Battalion of 1er RE left Sidi Bel Abbes (Legion’s HQ until 1962), Algeria for operations in Morocco
– in Morocco, the battalion helped to form a new unit (together with 2nd + 6th Battalion): 1st Regimental Combat Team of 1er RE (1er RM/1er RE)
– still in Morocco, the battalion became 1st Battalion of 4e RE (later 4e REI) in 1920

1916, two Foreign Legion companies left Colomb Bechar, Algeria for the Bou Denib region of Morocco as part of the freshly established Bou Denib Mixed Battalion

1945, Capture of Friedrichshafen, Germany
– the town of Friedrichshafen in Bavaria was captured by legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 1er REC during the last days of WWII in Europe

1966, a new Foreign Legion Museum was open at 1er RE’s Quartier Vienot of Aubagne, southern France

– on the picture, an AMM8 armored car of 2nd Squadron, 1er REC in 1945; the car participated in the Capture of Friedrichshafen on April 29


French Foreign Legion: April 30

1863, Battle of Camerone
– 3 officers and 62 NCOs and legionnaires from 3rd Company of Foreign Regiment got involved in a defensive battle against a force of 2,000 Mexican cavalry of Colonel Milan at Camerone (Camarón), Mexico
– the legionnaires commanded by Captain Jean Danjou resisted for 11 hours at an old, dilapidated hacienda (farm)
– during that 11 hours, Captain Danjou, Second Lieutenant Vilain and dozens of legionnaires died; Mexican attackers had some 300 men killed
– after the Mexicans made final assault, only 3 legionnaires were combat-ready
– they were without munition, with charged bayonets only, but still refusing to surrender
– Colonel Milan ordered his troops to cease fire and spared the surviving legionnaiers
– he allowed legionnaires to maintain their weapons and to form an honour guard for the body of killed Captain Danjou while saying: “These soldiers aren’t humans – they are devils…”
– the Mexican soldiers made a formation and saluted the legionnaires
– the Battle of Camerone became the most important event in the history of the Foreign Legion and the example of bravery for future legionnaires
– the battle is annually celebrated by legionnaires on Camerone Day (April 30)

1958, fierce fighting for legionnaires from 1er REP at Douar Khaia, Souk Ahras region, Algeria
– during the battle, 129 rebels were killed

1961, 1er REP was disbanded because of its active participation in the Generals’ putsch


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: April 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: April 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: March 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: March 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history