Foreign Legion events: May 21 – 31

See most interesting historical events of the French Foreign Legion. Battles, deployments, operations, establishments or dissolutions of units… Today, we will present the important data in the history of the Foreign Legion which occurred between May 21 and May 31.


French Foreign Legion: May 21

1950, legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) jumped over My Trach outposts, Le Thuy region on the North Central Coast of Vietnam
– this action was part of Operation Minos launched to find and eliminate local Viet Minh groups

1953, legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 3e REI were attacked during Operation Camelia in the Dong Dinh region, Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– one legionnaire was killed, several legionnaires wounded

1954, an operation for squadrons of 1er GA (Amphibious Group), 1er REC and their Alligators (Landing Vehicle Tracked) in the Nui Ky Son region, central Vietnam
– that day, 1er REC legionnaires got involved in several clashes with the Viet Minh
– 7 legionnaires were wounded

– the same day of 1954, several squadrons from 2e GA of 1er REC participated in a large operation in the Nui Khe Non region, Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam
– over 300 Viet Minhs were killed or imprisoned; 5 legionnaires were killed, 16 wounded

1957, military operations at Djebel Amour, Algeria for legionnaires from 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) and two squadrons of 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)

– on the picture, Alligators from 2e GA, 1er REC returning from an operation in the Tonkin Delta, 1954


French Foreign Legion: May 22

1915, a camp of the 2nd Battalion of 1er RE at Djibou-Dissen, Morocco, was attacked by Moroccan rebels
– the battalion was one of the three battalions of the 1st Foreign Regiment’s 1st Regimental Combat Team (1er RM/1er RE) serving in Morocco during WWI
– 1 officer + 3 legionnaires were wounded, one of them died from his injuries a week later

1944, during WWII, at Monte Lucio, the Lazio region of central Italy, legionnaires from 13e DBLE (then under the title of 1st + 2nd Foreign Legion Battalion, 1er + 2e BLE) of the Free French got involved in a counter-attack launched by Tiger tanks from 26th Panzer Division
– several men from 13e DBLE were killed or wounded

1950, legionnaires from 2e BEP were attacked at Xuan Bo, Le Thuy region on the North Central Coast of Vietnam, during Operation Minos
– several rebels were killed or wounded

– on the picture, 13e DBLE men in 1944


French Foreign Legion: May 23

1832, a platoon of legionnaires commanded by Ltn Cham were attacked by a company of Arab rebels near Maison Carree, Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– the legionnaires fought to the finish and all of them were killed
– Lieutenant Cham became the first killed-in-action officer of the Foreign Legion

1921, legionnaires from 4th Battalion of 4e RE (which became next year 4e REI) seized the town of Ghender in Syria, during the French control of Ottoman Syria and Lebanon after WWI (both Syria and Lebanon were called Levant by the French at that time)

1949, Operation Pomone II ended
– legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) participated in
– the operation took place in Phu Doan und Tuyen Quang regions
– during two weeks, over 170 Viet Minh soldiers were killed

– the same day of 1949, a French convoy guarded by a company of 3rd Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh on RP37 (Provincial Road) in the Dong Khe region, northern Vietnam, close to China
– during the attack, 3e REI lost 18 legionnaires, 24 were wounded

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

– on the picture, legionnaires from 6e REG during the Gulf War, 1991


French Foreign Legion: May 24

1915, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion of 1er RE were attacked by Moroccan rebels at Djebel Asdem, Morocco
– the battalion was one of the three battalions of the 1st Foreign Regiment’s 1st Regimental Combat Team (1er RM/1er RE) serving in Morocco during WWI
– 3 legionnaires were wounded, one of them died from his injuries a week later

1940, legionnaires from GRDI 97 (Division Recce Group, composed of 1er REC + 2e REC elements) got involved in fighting with German armored units near Villers-Carbonnel and Belloy-en-Santerre, France, during the Battle of France, WWII

1944, Operation Diadem (also the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino) ended
– 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

1954, 3e BEP (Foreign Parachute Battalion, later 3e REP), having left Africa for Indochina on May 4 to support para legionnaires in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, landed at Haiphong, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– while both airborne battalions were annihilated during the battle which finished on May 8, the 3e BEP was designated to be renamed to become a new 2e BEP

1976, 1976 Djibouti helicopter crash
– on May 24, 1976, in today’s Djibouti, six legionnaires died during a helicopter crash

– on the picture, ex-3e BEP legionnaires of the new 2e BEP during a maneuver in French Indochina, 1955


French Foreign Legion: May 25

1925, a group of legionnaires from 2e REI was involved in a battle near Bibane, northern Morocco
– after 12 hours of fighting, the legionnaires seized positions of Moroccan rebels

1927, legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 1er REC were attacked by rebels near Bou Anane, Figuig region, northeastern Morocco
– Captain Thomas (the squadron’s commander) + 4 cavalry legionnaires were killed

1940, between May 19 – 25, GRDI 97 (Division Recce Group, composed of 1er REC + 2e REC elements) was involved in clashes with German motorized units in the Rozieres region, France, during the Battle of France, WWII
– for these actions, GRDI 97 received a citation in the order of the Army

1956, during the Algerian War, men from 5e REI were involved in an operation in the Felfela region, Algeria
– almost 20 rebels were killed

1959, an operation for legionnaires of 3e REI in the Douar Sinfita region, Algeria
– several rebels were killed

– on the picture, a legionnaire from GRDI 97 during the Battle of France, May 1940


French Foreign Legion: May 26

1912, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RE were several times attacked by Moroccan rebels while guarding a French convoy moving to Guercif, Morocco
– tens of rebels were killed
– the battalion lost 1 legionnaire, 6 were wounded

1953, Operation Myosotis started in the Ban Ban region, northern Laos, then French Indochina
– 2e BEP (2e REP now) + 2nd Battalion of 2e REI participated in

1957, an operation near Cap Kaala, northern Algeria for legionnaires from 2e REP
– 8 rebels killed

1960, during two days, legionnaires of 4e REI participated in operations in the Ain Zama region and at Djebel Grouet, close to the Algeria-Tunisia border
– almost 30 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 4e REI legionnaires with Dodges and a Jeep patrolling along the Algeria-Tunisia border, 1960


French Foreign Legion: May 27

1871, Paris Commune
– French regular troops, icluding three battalions of RE (Foreign Regiment, the then title for the Legion) took action against radical socialists and revolutionaries occupying the capital of France (since March 18)
– 5th Battalion seized several barricades held by radicals
– in the evening, the battalion launched a successful attack on the rebel artillery on the heights of the Buttes-Chaumont (northeastern Paris), one of the important strongpoints of the revolutionary government
– 1st + 2nd Battalion participated in operations in the streets of Paris and took over 2,000 prisoners
– these actions stopped the anarchy; the fall of the revolutionary government followed

1918, during the night, legionnaires from 6th Battalion of 2e RE (later 2e REI) were seriously attacked by rebels at El Hammama, Morocco; after sever fighting, the rebels were fought off by machine guns

1940, in the night, legionnaires from 13e DBMLE (Provisional Half Brigade, later 13e DBLE) attacked the German positions at Narvik, Norway, during the Norwegian Campaign of WWII

– also in 1940, between May 27-28, on the Western Front of WWII, legionnaires from 11e REI commanded by Colonel Robert successfully stopped two approaching German divisions in the Sedan region, France
– during the fighting, 11e REI lost over 300 men

1952, Operation Kangourou started in the Cho Chay region, northern Vietnam
– the operation was aimed at hidden bases of the Viet Minh in the region
– 2e BEP + 1st Battalion of 2e REI participated in

– on the picture, French troops on one of the captured rebel barricades in Paris, May 1871 (Source:


French Foreign Legion: May 28

1871, Paris Commune
– the radical socialist and revolutionary government of Paris ceased to exist
– legionnaires from three battalions of RE patrolled the Belleville neighborhood of Paris to capture remaining armed rebels

1940, Battle of Narvik
– in the morning, legionnaires from 13e DBMLE (Provisional Half Brigade, later 13e DBLE) stormed the German positions at Narvik, Norway and sized the town
– the name of the battle was emblazoned on the regimental flag of 13e DBLE

1942, Battle of Bir Hakeim started
– the battle was fought during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, around the port of Tobruk in Libya
– legionnaires from 13e DBLE of the Free French participated in

1952, during Operation Kangourou, legionnaires of 2e BEP were attacked by the Viet Minh at Ngai Ke in the Cho Chay region, northern Vietnam
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 3 wounded

– on the picture, the town of Narvik, Norway in late May 1940, after an Allied bombardment… (Photo credit: GettyImages)


French Foreign Legion: May 29

1958, Lieutenant Colonel Pierre P. Jeanpierre was killed
– during Operation Taureau, Lt Col Pierre P. Jeanpierre, the legendary commanding officer of 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) was killed
– his helicopter crashed at Djebel Mermera, Guelma region, northern Algeria, when he navigated his men by radio to the position of a group of rebels
– as a French officer, he had served with the Foreign Legion since 1937
– in October 1950, then Captain Pierre P. Jeanpierre was one of those 24 survivors of 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, the predecessor to the 1er REP), when the unit (over 500 men) was annihilated during the battle at Cao Bang, northern Vietnam and became the first French airborne battalion lost in combat
– he also participated in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign of 1941 with the 6e REI and in the successful Battle of Algiers (January-October 1957), when his 1er REP helped to restore order in the capital of Algeria and captured the important rebel leader Yacef Saadi

– also in 1958, an operation in the Guelma region, Algeria for legionnaires from 2e REP
– several rebels were killed

1959, Operation Maximin started for legionnaires from 5e REI
– the operation took place in the Mekta region, Algeria
– that day, 9 rebels were killed


French Foreign Legion: May 30

1915, Battle of Fortin le Gouez
– during the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of WWI, legionnaires from Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (Regimental Combat Team) occupied the eastern side of the line along the Dardanelles shore and close to the Kereves Spur, Turkey
– that day, legionnaires were three times roughly attacked by Turks
– their positions were defended and the enemy was fought off

1951, an operation at Plaine des Joncs, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina for legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 1er REC
– 12 Viet Minh rebels were imprisoned

1952, Operation Kangourou ended
– it took place in the Phu Ly region, Red River Delta, northern Vietnam
– legionnaires of 2e BEP were involved in
– during the operation, several rebels were imprisoned
– 2 legionnaires were killed

1960, an operation at Djebel Mesla, Souk Ahras region, Algeria-Tunisia border
– motorized companies of 4e REI participated in
– 10 rebels were killed

– on the picture, the French at Gallipoli, 1915 (Image source:


French Foreign Legion: May 31

1918, legionnaires from RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, later 3e REI) defended their positions against attacking German troops near Soissons, northern France, located about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Paris

1943, 1er REIM + 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Teams) were disbanded
– formed by legionnaires from 1er REI (ex-1er RE) + 4e DBLE and 2e REI + 3e REI, they were actively involved in the Tunisian Campaign and in the final offensive near Djebel Zaghouan (in May), while opposing the Africa Corps of Marshal Rommel

1949, Parachute Company of 3e REI (CP/3e REI), the first airborne unit of the Foreign Legion formed in April 1948, was disbanded and its legionnaires consolidated with 1er BEP (future 1er REP)

1951, 4e REI was deactivated
– its two battalions (1st based in Morocco + 4th based in Madagascar) became autonomous units carrying out advanced military training and maintaining order in the regions
– later in 1955, 4e REI was reactivated

1954, 1re CMMLE + 2e CMMLE (Mortar Mixed Companies) + 1re CEPML (Heavy Mortar Parachute Company) were officially disbanded
– they were annihilated during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina

– also in 1954, 7th Squadron of 1er REC was disbanded at Tourane, French Indochina

1956, an operation for legionnaires from 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) in the Messad region, Algeria

– on the picture (a cover of Kepi blanc magazine of August 1959), a color guard of 2e CSPL wearing their traditional Saharan parade dress uniform (nicknamed Penguin by 2e CSPL’s legionnaires); on the right, bearded Captain Le Berre, the then company commander


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