Foreign Legion events: May 11 – 20

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 May 11 and May 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: May 11

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, sized Sainte-Marie-du Zit, an important point during the final battle against German troops in Tunisia

1944, Operation Diadem (also the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino) started
– an offensive operation was launched by the Allies at Garigliano, Italy, as part of the Italian Campaign of World War II
– French Expeditionary Corps, including the men from 13e DBLE, participated in

1953, Operation Muguet at Plaine des Jarres in Laos, then French Indochina
– 2e BEP (Foreign Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) + two battalions of 3e REI participated in
– on May 11, legionnaires from 2e BEP got involved in heavy fighting near Dong Danh
– 36 men of the Viet Minh were killed, 10 rebels were imprisoned
– however, 2e BEP lost 3 men, including Captain Hamacek, the commander of 4th Company
– 36 legionnaires were wounded

1959, legionnaires from 3e REI took part in an operation in the El Aneb region, Algeria
– over 20 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 2e BEP legionnaires during an operation in Laos, 1953

 

French Foreign Legion: May 12

1940, in the night, legionnaires from 13e DBMLE (Provisional Half Brigade, later 13e DBLE) attacked the German positions at Bjervik, Norway, during the Norwegian Campaign of WWII
– in the morning of May 13, the legionnaires captured the town
– the name of the battle was emblazoned on the regimental flag of 13e DBLE

1953, Operation Camelia started for legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 3e REI in the Dong Dinh region, Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina

1957, legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in an operation in the Dra El Arche region, Algeria; 12 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 13e DBMLE legionnaires reviewed by General Laborde before their deployment to Norway, late April 1940…

 

French Foreign Legion: May 13

1908, legionnaires from 24th Mounted Company of 1er RE commanded by Lt Jaeglé, got involved in a fierce battle at Beni Ouzien near Bou Denib, Morocco
– Lieutenant Jaeglé and 14 legionnaires were killed

1943, Tunisia Campaign (also Battle of Tunisia) ended
– about 20,000 German soldiers of the Africa Corps surrendered to the Allies during the final battle at Djebel Zaghouan near Pont du Fahs
– 1er REIM (Regimental Combat Team, ex-4e DBLE half brigade of the Legion), fighting under the flag of disbanded 4e REI, received a Battle honour for its bravery during this action
– the name of the battle was emblazoned on the regimental flag of 4e REI (now the flag of 4e RE, the training unit of the Legion)
– many of those Germans of Africa Corps, imprisoned in May 1943, joined the Foreign Legion
– they served in Algeria and Morocco and, after 1945, in the war in French Indochina

1953, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE were attacked during an operation in the Phung Lap region, Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina

– on the picture, French troops, including legionnaires, reviewed by General Giraud in Tunis, Tunisia in May 1943, after the Tunisia Campaign ended

 

French Foreign Legion: May 14

1908, legionnaires from 3rd Mounted Company of 1er RE participated in the capture of Bou Denib, a town in Morocco, in the early stage of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– later at Bou Denib, the legionnaires built a large French military base there

1949, in Tonkin (a former title for northern Vietnam), legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) got involved in battle with the Viet Minh near Tuyen Quang; several men of 1er BEP were wounded

1959, legionnaires from 5e REI took part in Operation Pacome, northern Algeria
– 12 rebels were killed

1961, legionnaires from 4th Squadron, 2e REC got involved in clashes with rebels during an operation in the Djelfa region, northern Algeria
– several rebels were killed

– an old postcard shows a legionnaire guarding Moroccan rebels imprisoned at Bou Denib on May 14, 1908…

 

French Foreign Legion: May 15

1911, a platoon of legionnaires from the 22nd Company, 1er RE were attacked by Moroccan rebels at Alouana, Morocco and had to fight fiercely during next five hours
– 29 men of 36 were killed, including Captain Labordette, their company commander
– the last six wounded legionnaires defended the bodies of their killed comrades until the Legion reinforcement arrived and helped them to fight off the enemy

1953, a French convoy, guarded by legionnaires from 3rd Battalion of 3e REI, was attacked by the Viet Minh while moving near Dong Khe in the Tonkin region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina; legionnaires fought off the attackers

1955, 4e CMRLE (Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company) was disbanded
– created in January 1951, the company was based at Hanoi and Nam Dinh, northern Vietnam to participate in the First Indochina War

– also in 1955, Foreign Legion Veterans Institution (IILE) of Puyloubier, France, built 1953-55, was officially inaugurated

– on the picture, Foreign Legion Veterans Institution of Puyloubier

 

French Foreign Legion: May 16

1916, fierce fighting for legionnaires from 6th Battalion of 2e RE (future 2e REI) at Aguelman, Morocco
– tens of Moroccan rebel cavalry were killed

1946, a Foreign Legion battalion was established at Fez, Morocco
– later that year, it will help to form 4e DBLEM (Demi Brigade of Morocco), a future 4e REI

1949, a very first discovery mission in the sand dunes of the Sahara of southern Libya ended for legionnaires from 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company, est. February 1949)

1953, Operation Paquerette at Plaine des Jarres in Laos, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion of 3e REI participated in

1959, legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in an operation in the El Aneb region, Algeria; 12 rebels were killed

– on the picture, a detachment of 3e CSPL legionnaires wearing their Saharan dress uniform during a ceremony in Libya, 1950s

 

French Foreign Legion: May 17

1949, a recce platoon of 3e REI, commanded by Lieutenant Hélie de Saint Marc, got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh in the Dong Khe region, northern Vietnam
– the enemy was fought off; however, Lt de Saint Marc was shot in the leg during the action
– later in 1961, Hélie de Saint Marc, the then 1er REP commander with the rank of Major, was sentenced to seven years in prison for its participation in the General’s Putsch of Algiers

1954, an operation for legionnaires from 1er GA (Amphibious Group), 1er REC and their Alligators (Landing Vehicle Tracked) in the Binh Dinh region, central Vietnam
– 15 rebels were killed, 25 rebels were imprisoned

1957, 3rd Battalion of 5e REI participated in an operation near the Terni outpost
– several rebels were killed

1978, in Corsica, 2e REP under the command of Lt Col Philippe Erulin was put on alert at 10h00 (10:00 AM) because of a possibility to take part in an operation to rescue over 2,000 European hostages held by Tigers, the Katangese rebels from the Congolese National Liberation Front (FNLC) in the city of Kolwezi, an important mining center of Zaire, Central Africa

– on the picture, the Alligator of 1er GA, 1er REC occupied with legionnaires and local volunteers serving with the regiment (white berets) in Vietnam, French Indochina, 1954

 

French Foreign Legion: May 18

1952, Operation Eole ended for legionnaires from 1er GA (Autonomous Group), 1er REC
– the operation took place Plaine des Joncs in the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam
– several Viet Minh soldiers were killed, 51 rebels were imprisoned

– also in 1952, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh at Tho Lao, Tonkin Delta of northern Vietnam during Operation Dromedaire
– after severe fighting, 9 legionnaires of 5e REI were killed
– the Viet Minh lost 90 men, 81 rebels were imprisoned

1956, operations at Djebel metales, Algeria started for legionnaires from 1st + 2nd Company of 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)

1978, Operation Leopard / Operation Bonite / Battle of Kolwezi
– 2e REP landed at Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Africa) to get a plane for Kolwezi, Zaire, to rescue European hostages held by the Katangese rebels

– on the picture, 2e REP legionnaires are boarding a U.S. Lockheed C-141 plane at the airport of Solenzara, Corsica, to be transported to Ivory Coast, to start Operation Leopard (Operation Bonite)

 

French Foreign Legion: May 19

1940, clashes with German troops for motorized units of GRDI 97 (Division Recce Group, composed of 1er REC + 2e REC elements) near Peronne, France, during the Battle of France, WWII

1954, an operation for legionnaires from 2e GA (Amphibious Group), 1er REC
– the operation took place in the Binh Luc region, Tonki Delta, northern Vietnam

1961, operations for legionnaires from 2e REC in the Hassi Nguita region, Algeria
– 20 rebels were killed

1978, Operation Leopard / Operation Bonite / Battle of Kolwezi
– at 14h30 (02:30 AM), the first wave of 2e REP legionnaires (450 men) under the command of Lt Col Philippe Erulin jumped over Kolwezi, Zaire to rescue over 2,000 European hostages held by the Katangese rebels from the Congolese National Liberation Front (FNLC)
– at Lubumbashi, the second-largest city of Zaire, the second part of 2e REP legionnaires prepared themself to be involved in the operation

– on the picture, 2e REP legionnaires setting up a mortar outpost during the Battle of Kolwezi

 

French Foreign Legion: May 20

1940, two squadrons of GRDI 97 (Division Recce Group, composed of 1er REC + 2e REC elements) stopped German motorized units near Villers-Carbonnel, France, during the Battle of France, WWII

1949, during Operation Pomone II taking place in the Tuyen Quang region of northern Vietnam, French Indochina, legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) found hiding places of the Viet Minh and seized almost 40 mortars

1954, with Viet Minh’s permission, over 40 severely wounded legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 13e DBLE, the unit annihilated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (which ended on May 7), were transported from the valley of Dien Bien Phu to the hospital in Hanoi
– at the same time, a new 1st Battalion of 13e DBLE was re-established with drafts arriving from North Africa and stationed near Haiphong, northern Vietnam

1959, Operation Yves ended for legionnaires from 5e REI
– the operation took place in the Tahamanat region, Algeria
– 9 rebels were killed that day

1978, Operation Leopard / Operation Bonite / Battle of Kolwezi
– 2e REP legionnaires seized the town of Kolwezi, Zaire
– the second wave of the 2e REP jumped over Kolwezi at 05h00 (05:00 AM)
– legionnaires liberated over 2,000 Europeans and passed them to the Belgian troops based at the airport

– on the picture, one of the French strongholds of Dien Bien Phu, 1954, before the battle started…

 

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