Foreign Legion events: May 01 – 10

See most interesting historical events which occurred between May 01 and May 10 during the French Foreign Legion’s history. Battles, deployments, operations, establishments or dissolutions of units…


French Foreign Legion: May 01

1847, French forces, including legionnaires, seized the town of Ain Sefra, Algeria
– the French sized the town after a fierce battle; Elite Companies of 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, future 1er RE) participated in

1946, a group of legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI were attacked near Hoa Trinh, Phan Rang region, central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 15 rebels were killed

1947, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in clashes with the Viet Minh in the Nam Dinh region in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam
– over 30 rebels were killed; 3e REI lost 8 legionnaires

1954, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, ex-1er BEP (future 1er REP) and ex-2e BEP (future 2e REP) legionnaires from BMEP (Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion, established at Dien Bien Phu on April 25) defended the Huguette stronghold against the Viet Minh
– that day, BMEP lost 20 legionnaires, over 60 were wounded

1958, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI were involved in fighting with a group of rebels at Djebel Moudjere, north-western Algeria
– 8 rebels were killed, 16 imprisoned

– on the picture, 5e REI legionnaires during an operation in Algeria in 1958…


French Foreign Legion: May 02

1855, a large attack conducted by legionnaires from 1er RE, commanded by Colonel Raphaël Vienot, against Russian Fort Schwartz of Sevastopol, during the Siege of Sevastopol of the Crimean War
– that day, the regiment lost many legionnaires and half of its officers (14 of 28) participating in the attack, including its commander, Colonel Vienot
– the barracks at Sidi Bel Abbes (former Legion’s HQ in Algeria) and today’s HQ of the Legion at Aubagne were/are named after the killed Colonel – Quartier Vienot

1934, Motorized Mounted Company of 4e REI was based at Foum El Hassan, Morocco

1952, Operation Chaumiere ended
– the operation took place in the Tay Ninh region, southern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 13e DBLE were involved in

1954, in northern Vietnam, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, legionnaires from BMEP (Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion, formed by remaining ex-1er BEP and ex-2e BEP men) defended a Huguette 5 outpost, a part of the Huguette stronghold
– they were attacked by the approaching Viet Minh in the early morning
– the attacks and counter-attacks lasted for more than six hours, but the outpost was defended
– BMEP lost 20 legionnaires, 68 were wounded

– in the evening, the Huguette 5 outpost was attacked again
– the remaining defenders, 29 legionnaires from BMEP, were killed or imprisoned


French Foreign Legion: May 03

1945, legionnaires from 1er REC seized Feldkirch, a medieval city in western Austria, on the border with Switzerland and Liechtenstein

1947, a patrol of 2nd Battalion, 2e REI was attacked in the Phan Rang region, central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– several legionnaires were killed or imprisoned

1949, Operation Pomone ended
– the operation took place in the Phu Tho region, northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 1er BEP (future 1er REP) participated in
– about 50 Viet Minh rebels were captured

1950, a company of legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE were attacked in the My Hoa region, southern Vietnam by a well-equipped Viet Minh battalion
– after severe fighting, the legionnaires won the battle
– 2 legionnaires and 49 rebels were killed

1959, legionnaires from 5e REI fought at Djebel Louha, Algeria
– about 15 rebels were killed

1961, an operation for legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 2e REC in Bou Saada region, northern Algeria; 6 rebels killed

1993, legionnaires from 2nd Company of 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, future 1er REG), being part of UN forces, got involved in fighting with Khmer rebels in the city of Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia

– on the picture, an officer of the 2nd Company, 6e REG in Cambodia, 1993 + a badge created to commemorate the operation


French Foreign Legion: May 04

1925, legionnaires with fixed bayonets from 6th Battalion, 1er RE, being a guard of a French convoy, fought off 1,500 rebels trying to attack the convoy near Ain Aicha, in the Taounat region, Morocco

1954, in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, a Huguette 4 outpost (part of the Huguette stronghold), defended by legionnaires from BMEP (Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion, ex-1er BEP + ex-2e BEP) and a Moroccan unit – around 80 men in total – was attacked by two Viet Minh regiments (some 3,000 men) early in the morning
– after five hours of combat, Huguette 4 saw a counter-attack conducted with the support from remaining Huguette outposts (100 legionnaires of BMEP + Moroccan troops)
– however, in the morning, Huguette 4 was seized by the Viet Minh
– during the severe fighting, the French lost over 160 men, 58 were wounded
– the Viet Minh lost hundreds of men

– the same day of 1954, 3e BEP (Foreign Parachute Battalion, later 3e REP) as a whole, left Africa for Indochina, to support the legionnaires in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu

1957, Operation NK3 started for legionnaires of 1er REP, in the El Khala region, Algeria

1959, legionnaires from 3rd Squadron, 2e REC were involved in an operation at Djebel Taouzara, in the Djelfa region, northern Algeria
– several rebels were imprisoned

1999, first legionnaires arrived at former Air Base 200 near Saint Christol, France
– in July, they will form 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment (2e REG)

– on the picture, French prime ministrer Paul Painlevé is decorating legionnaires near Ain Aicha, Morocco, 1925
– photo credit: Getty Images


French Foreign Legion: May 05

1915, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RE were attacked by local rebels at Sidi Ahmed Zerrouck, western Morocco
– several legionnaires were wounded, the rebels were fought off

1948, legionnaires from Parachute Company of 3e REI, the very first airborne unit of the Legion, established a month ago, were attacked in the Son Tay region near Hanoi, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Lieutenant Morin, the company commander, was wounded during the attack, but the enemy was fought off after several hours of fighting

1954, over 20 legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI were killed or wounded early in the morning, while defending the Claudine stronghold during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam

1956, Operation Lilas started for legionnaires of 5e REI near Ras El Assa, in the Mascara region of northwestern Algeria

1958, military operations at Djebel Djebar, northern Algeria for legionnaires of 1er REP
– two 1er REP companies were transported by helicopters to take part in operations

– on the picture, 1er REP legionnaires using military transport helicopters during an operation in Algeria, 1958


French Foreign Legion: May 06

1922, Battle of Skoura
– 3rd Battalion of 3e REI, commanded by Major Nicolas and comprising some 300 legionnaires, was attacked by 1,300-1,500 well-armed Moroccan Berbers at Tadout, close to Skoura, northern Morocco
– the battle lasted 12 hours and became one of the most violent military actions of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34), including hand-to-hand combat
– fighting with bayonets, 3e REI lost 36 legionnaires, 64 were wounded

1946, for its action during WWII in 1944-45, the regimental flag of 3e REI was awarded with the Distinguished Unit Citation (Presidential Unit Citation now) from the USA, with the blue streamer embroidered Rhine-Bavarian Alps

1954, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam, the Huguette sronghold saw severe attacks conducted by the Viet Minh
– however, the stronghold was successfully defended by remaining 160 legionnaires from BMEP (Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion, ex-1er BEP + ex-2e BEP)

– the same day, legionnaires from 1st battalion, 2e REI were several times attacked by the Viet Minh at the Claudine stronghold

1960, Operation Col Vert started for legionnaires from 2e REI
– the operation took place at Djebel Mzi, in the Mecheria region, northwestern Algeria

2009, in the Darwali region of Afghanistan, legionnaires from 2e REG, being a part of the GTIA Kapisa task force, got involved in fighting with a Taliban group
– several Talibans were killed, 3 men were imprisoned

– on the picture, a 2e REG legionnaire in Afghanistan, 2009


French Foreign Legion: May 07

1915, after six days of fighting, legionnaires from Battalion Legion of 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) lunched a final attack against two lines of Turkish trenches near Sedd-Ul-Bahr, in the Gallipoli peninsula of Turkey, during the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I
– during the six days of fighting, the battalion lost all of its officers and 400 legionnaires (of 500)
– during the final attack, the battalion (comprising last 100 men) was for the third time commanded by Adjudant-chef Léon, an NCO who finally received a battlefield promotion
– Adjudant-chef Léon was promoted to the rank of officer for his outstanding leadership in the battle and was named Second Lieutenant

1932, in then French Indochina, during the official inauguration of the Foreign Legion War Memorial in Son Tay near Hanoi, northern Vietnam, 5e REI (a regiment established in late 1930 in Indochina) received its regimental flag

1954, at 17.30 (5:30PM), Battle of Dien Bien Phu ended
– the battle started on March 13 in the valley of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the French were defeated
– up to 14,000 French troops participated in the battle, over 4,000 of them were legionnaires
– up to 2,300 French troops, including legionnaires, are known to be killed
– more than 11,700 French troops, including legionnaires, were missed or imprisoned by the Viet-Minh in POW camps
– only 3,290 of French troops, including legionnaires, survived the POW camps

– at the Isabelle stronghold, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI didn’t surrender and continued in fighting until May 8

– many Foreign Legion units were annihilated during the battle

– on the rare image, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, 1954


French Foreign Legion: May 08

1833, after six hours of fighting, legionnaires from 4th Battalion (composed of Spanish-speaking men), based at Karguenta near Oran (Algeria), fought off Arab rebels led by the Emir Abdelkader

1943, Tunisia Campaign (also Battle of Tunisia)
– in Tunisia, being part of the final offensive launched by the Allies, legionnaires from 1er REIM and 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Teams) attacked the positions of Africa Corps of Marshal Rommel near Djebel Zaghouan

1945, in Europe, Word War II ended
– the war ended in Europe for legionnaires from RMLE (future 3e REI), 1er REC and 13e DBLE, who fought in France, Germany and Austria

1954, as the last French stronghold, Isabelle fallen during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which took place in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Isabelle was occupied by 3rd Battalion of 3e REI, numbering about 350 legionnaires
– they refused to surrender on May 7, at 17.30 (5:30PM), when the Battle of Dien Bien Phu officially ended
– for many hours, under heavy artillery fire, 3e REI legionnaires continued in launching attacks and counter-attacks against the Viet MInh
– at 01.30 (1:30 AM), the Viet Minh stormed the stronghold
– only few legionnaires survived and were imprisoned
– the battalion ceased to exist
– however, several legionnaires managed to break through enemy positions to cross the border with Laos and joined the French troops deployed there

– on the rare image, 3e REI legionnaires are managing digging up graves and burying the bodies of dead Viet Minh soldiers by (most probably) Viet Minh prisoners, next to the Isabelle stronghold at Dien Bien Phu, 1954


French Foreign Legion: May 09

1915, Second Battle of Artois, France
– the battle started on May 9, when 2e RM (Regimental Combat Team, later RMLE and much later 3e REI) of 1er RE, composed of over 3,000 legionnaires and foreign volunteers, attacked the fortified German positions at Ouvrages Blancs, near Carency, northern France
Francois Faber, the first foreigner to win the famous Tour de France bicycle race (1909), who fought as a volunteer within the Legion’s 2e RM/1er RE, was killed during that attack

1943, during the Tunisia Campaign (also Battle of Tunisia), legionnaires from 1er REIM (Regimental Combat Team, ex-4e DBLE), fighting under the flag of disbanded 4e REI, broke through the German (Africa Corps) positions at Djebel Oust near Depienne, Tunisia

1951, Operation Reptile and Operation Jeanne d´Arc ended for legionnaires from 1er BEP (later 1er REP) and 13e DBLE
– the operations took place in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam and in the Vinh Long region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina

1961, legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 2e REC got involved in clashes with rebels during an operation in the Bou Kahil region, northern Algeria; several legionnaires were wounded


French Foreign Legion: May 10

1914, three companies of 2nd Battalion, 1er RE (Foreign Regiment) seized the town of Taza, eastern Morocco

1943, Tunisia Campaign (also Battle of Tunisia)
– legionnaires from 1er REIM (Regimental Combat Team, ex-4e DBLE), fighting under the flag of disbanded 4e REI, stormed the German (Africa Corps) positions near the town of Zaghouan, Tunisia

1951, Captain Darmuzai, the battalion commander of 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP), received a new flag for his unit, annihilated at Cao Bang (northern Vietnam) during the Battle of RC4 in October 1950 and re-established in March 1951
– at Cao Bang, 1er BEP became the very first French parachute battalion lost in combat

– on the picture, the flag of 1er BEP


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: April 21 – 30
Foreign Legion events: April 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: April 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: March 21 – 31
French Foreign Legion history