Foreign Legion events: June 11 – 20

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 June 11 and June 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: June 11

1871, Paris Commune
– Regimental Combat Team, formed by three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (the then title of the Legion), taking an active part along regular French troops in restoring order in Paris during the Paris Commune between March-May, was deactivated
– legionnaires were sent back to Algeria

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– at Aadloun, a town in South Lebanon, 17 kilometres (11 mi) south of Sidon, legionnaires from 13th Company, 4th Battalion, 6e REI were attacked by an Australian brigade during the night of June 10-11
– the positions of legionnaires were under field and naval artillery fire
– they were also attacked by tanks
– in the early morning of June 11, the 13th Company was annihilated
– at Ghassaniyeh, a village in South Lebanon, near the town of Sidon, legionnaires from 14th Company, 4th Battalion, 6e REI were attacked by the British forces
– the 14th Company resisted and at noon, the enemy had to stop its action

1942, Battle of Bir Hakeim
– the battle took place at Bir Hakeim, an oasis with an old fortress in the Libyan desert
– Bir Hakeim was defended by 1st Free French Brigade (a small French force within the British troops), including men from 13e DBLE
– they defended the position from May 26 – June 11 against much larger German and Italian forces commanded by Marshal Erwin Rommel
– on June 11, the Free French, including 13e DBLE men, successfully evacuated the besieged Bir Hakeim fortress while breaking through the lines of the attacking enemy

1946, 3rd Battalion of 3e REI landed in Saigon, Vietnam, then French Indochina to complet the reorganized regiment and to take part in the First Indochina War (1946-54)

– on the picture, Bren Carriers of the Free French, including men from 13e DBLE, patrolling near Bir Hakeim, Libya 1942

 

French Foreign Legion: June 12

1918, Battle of Koudiat
– the battle took place in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– legionnaires from 1st Mounted Company of 1er RE, guarding a French convoy on its road, were attacked by a group of Moroccan rebels during a night camping
– a German NCO Spindler (a platoon leader) + a legionnaire were killed
– Capatin Rostand (a company commander) + 2 legionnaires were wounded
– the enemy was fought off

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– at Ghassaniyeh, a village in South Lebanon, near the town of Sidon, legionnaires from 14th Company, 4th Battalion, 6e REI were attacked again by the British forces
– the outnumbered 14th Company resisted for five hours before being annihilated

1949, an operation for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI
– the operation took part in the That Khe region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during the operation, legionnaires got under fire
– Captain Bazinet, a newly assigned officer to the battalion, was shot in the stomach
– he died from his injuriers a few days later

1955, 2nd Battalion of 13e DBLE left Saigon, Vietnam for Algeria
– the battalion will take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)

– on the picture, 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE camping during an operation in Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: June 13

1917, Battle of Souk El Had
– the battle took place in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– a French composite Mobile Group, including 1st Mounted Company of 1er RE, got involved in fighting with Moroccan rebels
– a long serving NCO named Panther was killed
– another two legionnaires were wounded

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– at Sidon, the third-largest city in Lebanon, two batteries from GALL (Foreign Legion Levant Artillery Group), the unit assigned to the 6e REI, got involved in a fierce battle with British field and naval artillery
– legionnaires resisted and defended their positions
– the British field battery was defeated
– however, the naval bombarding continued
– next day, the legionnaires received an order to leave their positions

1952, in the night, a company from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI was attacked by a Viet Minh battalion at My Hoa, Quang Khe region, central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 5e REI legionnaires successfully resisted for several hours
– in the morning, the enemy was fought off

2011, 13e DBLE (Foreign Legion Half Brigade) officially left Djibouti, a country located in the Horn of Africa, after 49 years of its presence there
– 13e DBLE was the last Foreign Legion unit to be based in Africa
– in August 2011, the unit was based in the United Arab Emirates
– in July 2016, 13e DBLE will be fully based at Camp Larzac, France

– on the picture, a leaving ceremony conducted by 13e DBLE in Djibouti, June 13, 2011

 

French Foreign Legion: June 14

1948, a platoon of legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI attacked and destroyed a Viet Minh company at the Hon Heo peninsula in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam, then French Indochina

1951, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) + 2e BEP (later 2e REP) took part in an operation in the Ninh Binh region, northern Vietnam, to search and destroy Viet Minh groups

1954, an operation for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI near Hanoi, northern Vietnam
– that day, 2 legionnaires were killed

1957, 2e REP legionnaires got involved in fighting with Algerian rebels at Hayden, El Milia region in the eastern Mediterranean coast of northern Algeria
– 12 rebels killed

– also in 1957, Battle of Algiers
– 1er REP legionnaires took part in an operation in the Ain Taya suburb of Algiers, the capital of Algeria, between June 10-14
– over 50 illegal weapons captured + 77 members of FLN (National Liberation Front, the main rebel group in Algeria) imprisoned

1960, legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in clashes with rebels in the Djelfa region in a central part of northern Algeria
– 8 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 1er REP legionnaires parading in Algiers, 1957

 

French Foreign Legion: June 15

1915, 2nd Regimental Combat Team of 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, future 2e RE) got involved in a battle with Germans in the Artois region of northern France, during WWI

1916, Capture of Fechtala
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1st Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE participated in the capture of Fechtala in the Taza region, northern Morocco

1951, companies from 2e BEP were attacked by the Viet Minh near Bo Vi in the Ninh Binh region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2e BEP conducted a counter-attack
– the enemy was fought off
– the battalion lost 6 men + several men were wounded
– a 2e BEP company commander died from his injuriers a few days later

1954, during Operation Atlante, six weeks before the First Indochina War ended, Alligators (Landing Vehicle Tracked, LVT) from 6th Squadron, 1er REC got involved in fighting with two Viet Minh companies in the Binh Dinh region, central Vietnam
– 20 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– on the picture, an Alligator of 1er REC in Vietnam, June 1954
– note a local volunteer serving with the regiment
– these volunteers wore white berets instead of the white kepi (they weren’t legionnaires)

 

French Foreign Legion: June 16

1916, Capture of Taghzert
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1st Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE participated in the capture of Fechtala in the Taza region, northern Morocco
– during the operation, the legionnaires were also attacked at Oued Derna by Moroccan rebel artillery

– also in 1916, Battle of Ain-Ageri
– Mounted Company of 2e RE, as part of a composite Mobile Group, was involved in the battle with Moroccan rebels in northen Morocco
– a legionnaire was killed, another 3 legionnaires wounded

1917, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) received the Fourragère in colors of the Médaille militaire (Military Medal), for the bravery during its actions in France, on the Western Front of WWI
– RMLE was the very first French Army unit to receive this Fourragère
– by the end of the war, RMLE became one of the two most awarded units of the French Army

1949, during Operation Tan My, 1st Company from 2e BEP jumped over Ap Bao Cong near then Saigon, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, to search and destroy local Viet Minh rebels
– legionnaires from 13e DBLE (Half Brigade) also took part in the operation

– on the picture, RMLE in 1917 and the Fourragères of 3e REI; the yellow one is the Fourragère in colors of the Médaille militaire, obtained by the regiment on June 16, 1917

 

French Foreign Legion: June 17

1940, having landed in France two days earlier, after the Norwegian Campaign ended (April-June 1940), legionnaires from 13e DBMLE (future 13e DBLE) boarded a ship at Brest to be sent to England
– the reason was the colapsing France during the ongoing Battle of France of WWII

1954, an operation for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI in the region of Hanoi, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– that day, 2 legionnaires were killed

1961, motorized companies from 2e REI were involved in an operation near Djebel Chemarikh, Ain Sefra region, western Algeria
– several rebels killed or imprisoned

– on the picture, a motorized company of 2e REI in the Ain Sefra region, western Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: June 18

1940, defensive fights against an attacking German division for 11e REI (Infantry Regiment, a provisional unit composed of legionnaires and reservists to fight in France) near Saint-Germain-sur-Meuse, Lorraine region, north-eastern France, during the Battle of France of WWII
– during the fights, 11e REI suffered heavy casualties
– 2nd Battalion of 11e REI was annihilated, including its commanding officer, Major Rzekiecki (of Polish origin)
– that day, 11e REI ceased to exist

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– at Damour, a town in Lebanon, south of Beirut (the capital), legionnaires from 2nd Battalion of 6e REI were attacked by British naval artillery
– the 6e REI legionnaires were under heavy fire for next 20 days

1944, Capture of Radicofani
– during the Italian Campaign of World War II, 1st Battalion of 13e DBLE (then 1er BLE) won the battle at Radicofani, Tiscany region, Italy against German panzer forces

1949, Attack on Fort Leclerc
– Fort Leclerc, the headquarters of 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) located in Libya, was attacked by an armed crowd of local rebels
– a legionnaire guarding the Fort’s gate was killed
– a French Army radio operator was also killed
– another 4 radio operators (non-legionnaires) were wounded
– legionnaires gathered below the fortress (at company’s garages and auto-service grounds) opened fire
– 22 attackers were killed, 2 attackers were imprisoned
– it was one of the first attacks aimed at the French forces in North Africa before the Algerian War started (1954-55)

1959, an operation for legionnaires from 3e REI at Beni Djerdine, Tenes region, north-western Algeria
– during the operation, 10 rebels were killed

– on the picture, Fort Leclerc and 3e CSPL legionnaires in Libya

 

French Foreign Legion: June 19

1918, a French composite battalion, including legionnaires from 6th Battalion of 1er RE, was attacked near the Taghzeft hill, Atlas range, northern Morocco
– several legionnaires were killed or wounded

1929, Siege of Ait Yakoub ended
– in the Ait Yacoub valley, Taza region, northern Morocco, between June 8-19, a French composite group (including legionnaires from 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 3e REI) was besieged by well-armed Moroccan rebels
– the French were heavily outnumbered
– during the siege, tens of French troops died, including many legionnaires
– however, the rebels were fought off and the valley was defended

1940, because of the colapsing France during the ongoing Battle of France of WWII, first elements of 13e DBMLE (future 13e DBLE) landed at Plymouth, south-western England
– they participated in the Norwegian Campaign (April-June 1940) together with the British forces
– a week later, still in England, a choice to join the Free French of General de Gaule or to return back to Africa/France will be offered to legionnaires and other French troops

1949, an operation for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion of 13e DBLE in the Duc Hoa region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during the operation, 49 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1950, during a patrol, 5th Squadron of 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) was attacked by the Viet Minh near Thuy Lien Thoung, in the Dong Hoi region of central Vietnam
– Captain De Figueroa (squadron commander) + several legionnaires were killed

– on the picture, legionnaires of the newly created 13e DBMLE (future 13e DBLE) at Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Legion), 1940

 

French Foreign Legion: June 20

1922, the decree to create a Foreign Legion cavalry regiment was officially issued
– in Tunisia, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) was born
– also that day, the rest of Foreign Legion regiments (1er RE, 2e RE, 3e RE, 4e RE) were designated as Infantry and retitled => 1er REI, 2e REI, 3e REI, 4e REI

1950, Battle of Chap Le
– a French convoy was heavily attacked by a Viet Minh regiment on RC1 (Colonial Road) near Chap Le, in the Quang Tri region, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from a freshly established 4th Battalion, 2e REI, guarding the convoy, got involved in a fierce battle – after two hours of fighting, the enemy was fought off
– 204 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 2e REI lost 10 men, almost 30 were wounded

1958, during the Algerian War, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI took part in an operation at Djebel Azereg, Djelfa region, northern Algeria
– during the operation, 7 rebels were killed

– on the picture, an “ancien” legionnaire from 2e REI in French Indochina, bearing the first insignia of the regiment (1946-57)…

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: June 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: May 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: May 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: May 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history