Foreign Legion events: July 01 – 10

Discover most interesting historical events of the French Foreign Legion. Unit establishments or dissolutions, campaigns, battles, deployments, operations… Today, we publish the important data which occurred in the history of the Foreign Legion between July 01 and July 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: July 01

1939, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) was established in Morocco
– its legionnaires took part in the Battle of France in 1940 and in the Algerian War 1955-62

1940, 14e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade) was established in England, as the first unit of the Free French Forces of General de Gaulle
– the unit served within the British forces during WWII
– it consisted of former legionnaires from 13e DBMLE, the unit which returned to Morocco
– in October 1941, 14e DBMLE became the 13e DBLE

1943, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team) was established
– it grouped all combat-ready infantry legionnaires serving in Africa to fight alongside the Allies in the Liberation of France in 1944-45
– in 1945, the unit was retitled and became 3e REI

1945, 5e REI was deactivated
– the regiment suffered heavy casualties during fights with the Japanese in Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the same day, the survived 5e REI legionnaires grouped in China formed the BM5 (Provisional Battalion)

1948, 1er BEP (Parachute battalion) was established at Khamisis, Algeria
– it participated in the First Indochina War, where the unit was two times annihilated
– in 1955, it became the 1er REP

1954, an operation for 6th Squadron of 1er REC near Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh region in central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– two Viet Minh platoons were destroyed

1955, 21e CPLE, 22e CPLE, 23e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Companies) were established
– they were independent units equipped with Jeeps, Dodges and AMM8 armored cars, maintaining order in Algeria
– in 1956, they were regrouped as GPLEA (Algerian Motorized Group)
– in late 1956, they consolidated with 2e REI

1984, 6e REG (Engineering Regiment) was established
– it became the first engineering regiment of the Legion in its history
– in 1999, 6e REG changed its designation and became 1er REG

1999, 2e REG was established
– a “mountain” regiment of the Legion, based at Saint-Christol
– it is the youngest regiment of the Foreign Legion

– on the photo, a legionnaire from 6e REG during Operation Epervier in Chad, 1987

 

French Foreign Legion: July 02

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– a British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon in June-July 1941, during World War II
– on July 2, after four days of defending their positions at Palmyra, an ancient city in Syria, against continuing severe attacks lunched by British artillery and infantry, the heavily outnumbered legionnaires from 15th Company, 4th Battalion, 6e REI had to finally withdraw because of their total ammunition shortage
– for this defense of Palmyra, the 15th Company was mentioned in the order of the Army

1947, a truck of 40e CCB (Dump Truck Company, the first engineer unit of the Legion established after WWII to be based in Indochina) was attacked by the Viet Minh near My Tho in the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– five legionnaires (2 Germans, 2 Czechs, 1 Pole) were killed

1949, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) attacked the Viet Minh at Dinh Bang, north of then Hanoi, northern Vietnam
– with artillery support, the well-fortified enemy was finally destroyed
– 1er BEP lost 5 legionnaires, 14 men were wounded

– the same day in 1949, 3rd Battalion of 6e REI landed at Haiphong, French Indochina
– it was the only 6e REI unit to be involved in the First Indochina War
– in November 1949, it became the 1st Battalion of a newly established 5e REI

1957, a successful operation for 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) and 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) at Djebel Tafora in the Zaccar region, northern Algeria
– 79 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 3e CSPL legionnaires in action in the Zaccar region of Algeria, July 1957

 

French Foreign Legion: July 03

1866, Siege of Hacienda De La Encarnacion
– during the French intervention in Mexico (1863-67), 125 legionnaires from 4th Battalion, RE (Foreign Regiment, then title for the Legion) successfully managed to defend the Hacienda De La Encarnacion, its provisional outpost located near Matehuala, Mexico, against 600 Mexican attackers
– after two days, the enemy was fought off

1916, an operation in the Taza region of Morocco for 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE to get control of the Bou Hellou valley occupied by Moroccan rebels

1925, Battle of Tesenfeldt
– the first battle for 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment, est. 1922)
– 3rd Squadron (Captain Bourgeois) fought Moroccan rebels at Tesenfeldt, close to Guercif
brigadier (a cavalry title for the corporal rank) Lubovitzscy became the first KIA (killed in action) legionnaire of 1er REC

1948, an operation for legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the operation took place at Hoc Mon, a suburban district of then Saigon, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 19 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1954, during Operation Auvergne, 2nd Battalion of 13e DBLE got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh in the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnam
– the Viet Minh lost 54 men, 8 rebels were imprisoned

1957, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– it took place at El Milia and Adjunkia, north-eastern Algeria
– during two days, 12 rebels were killed and almost 50 firearms captured

– on the photo the regimental colors of the 13e DBLE in French Indochina around 1948, held by Lieutenant René Imbet, a future head of the French Army with the rank of Army General

 

French Foreign Legion: July 04

1916, Battle of Albert
– the battle comprised first operations of the Battle of the Somme (also Somme Offensive, July-November), the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front
– the Battle of Albert took place between July 1 and July 13 near the River Somme, in the Foucaucourt and Gommecourt regions of northern France
– the battle was fought by the British and French against the Germans
– on July 4, about 2,000 legionnaires and war-period-volunteers from RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, Major Cot) attacked German positions at Belloy-en-Santerre, 800 m (875 yards) distant
– after many hours of severe fighting, the village was seized, but RMLE suffered heavy casualties
– RMLE lost almost all officers and NCOs
– 870 men from RMLE were killed that day
– between them, an American poet Alan Seeger
– for that action, the RMLE was mentioned in order of the Army
– in 1920, RMLE became the 3e REI

1917, a battle in a valley of the Skoura region, southern Morocco
– a French Mobile Group, including 6th Battalion of 2e RE (future 2e REI), was attacked by Moroccan rebels
– the French launched a counter-attack and the enemy was fought off
– several rebels were killed

1947, Attack of Ambohiriana
– in Madagascar (Indian Ocean), around 1,200 local rebels attacked the camp of 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLE (Half-Brigade, future 4e REI), based at Ambohiriana
– legionnaires successfully fought off the attackers

– the same day of 1947, legionnaires from freshly established 64e CRALE (Foreign Legion Auto Repair Company), an independent engineering unit, were attacked by the Viet Minh
– the attack took place close to Bien Hoa, Dong Nai region, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2 legionnaires were killed

1954, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh near Tien Kien, Bac Ninh region, northern Vietnam
– 3 legionnaires were killed

– on the picture, the legionnaires of 64e CRALE parading at Nha Trang, their garrison in French Indochina, 1948

 

French Foreign Legion: July 05

1916, Battle of Albert
– after many severe attacks launched all the night by German troops on Belloy-en-Santerre, a village in northern France captured by RMLE (future 3e REI) on July 4, the legionnaires and war-period-volunteers from RMLE took about 750 prisoners (more than the number of combat-ready men within the then RMLE itself), including 15 German officers

– the same day of 1916, a successful action for 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE to capture and destroy a rebel fortress in the Innaouen valley of the Taza region, northern Morocco
– the fortress was captured, but Sergeant Lichthorn (2nd Platoon) was killed during the action

1947, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI took part in a military operation in the Ba Tri region of the Mekong Delta, southwestern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– at My Than Hoa, a battle with Viet Minh rebels
– the enemy was fought off

1960, an operation for 4th Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) in the Djelfa region, northern Algeria
– during clashes, 3 rebels were killed

– on the photo, RMLE legionnaires in France during World War I

 

French Foreign Legion: July 06

1856, having returned after the successful Crimean War (1854-55), battalions of the original Foreign Legion (1st Foreign Legion since January 1855) landed back in Africa to form the new 2nd Foreign Regiment in early August
– the same day of 1856, Swiss legionnaires from 2nd Foreign Legion (nicknamed Swiss Legion) left Toulon, France for North Africa, under their new designation: 1st Foreign Regiment

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– a British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon in June-July 1941, during World War II
– that day, at Rayak and Chtaura, Lebanon, 5th + 6th + 7th Company from 2nd Battalion, 6e REI were attacked by Australians, after a severe artillery fire which lasted all the night
– during the attack, 6th Company – placed on the frontline – was annihilated
– 5th + 7th Companies suffered heavy casualties but defended their positions

1941, the same day during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, a heavily outnumbered platoon of legionnaires from 15th Company, 4th Battalion, 6e REI had to finally withdraw their position at a gas station located deep in the Syrian desert
– surrounded by some 250 British troops equipped with over 40 vehicles, the 22 legionnaires were defending their position for more than two weeks until they were short of ammunition and food
– they destroyed their firearms and arranged a ceasefire
– respected for their bravery by the commanding British colonel, the legionnaires were allowed to keep all their equipment and personal items

1947, Battle of Mai Xa
– in then French Indochina, a platoon of 17 legionnaires from 1st Battalion of 2e REI, led by Senior Sergeant Faucon, was attacked by around 150 Viet Minh rebels during a patrol close to Mai Xa, in the Nam Dinh region, northern Vietnam
– 14 legionnaires were killed, only 3 men survived
– in October, the Viet Minh company having killed the legionnaires was attacked and over 50 rebels were killed

– on the picture, an outpost of 6th Company, 6e REI in Lebanon, during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign; the company will be annihilated by a massive Australian attack on July 6, 1941

 

French Foreign Legion: July 07

1854, first legionnaires from 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) landed at the Gallipoli peninsula (now Turkey), to take part together with the 1er RE in the Crimean War (1854-55)

1912, between July 6-7, two battles with rebels occurred at Souk El Tnine and Moulay Bou Chta in the Fez region, Morocco
– legionnaires from Mounted Company, 2e RE participated in
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 4 wounded

1948, in then French Indochina, Operation Michel started for Parachute Company of 3e REI, the very first airborne unit of the Foreign Legion
– the operation took place in the Dong Khe region of northern Vietnam, close to the border with China

– on the postcard, pre-WWI legionnaires returning to their camp in Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: July 08

1842, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RE were attacked by around 1,500 rebels in the Djidjelli region, Algeria
– after fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off

1917, Battle of Skoura
– a battle near the M’der valley in the Skoura region, southern Morocco
– two French Mobile Groups, including Mounted Company and 6th Battalion, both from 2e RE, were attacked by two Moroccan tribes
– the enemy was fought off by continuing machine gun fire
– 6th Battalion lost 42 legionnaires, 29 were wounded
– Mounted Company lost 1 legionnaire, another 4 were wounded
– for its rapid and effective action during the battle, the Mounted Company obtained its third mention in the order of the Army

1946, in then French Indochina, a platoon led by Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class One in UK) Sron, from 9th Company, 3rd Battalion of 13e DBLE, was attacked by a large Viet Minh group, in the Cu Chi region, southern Vietnam
– 18 legionnaires were killed, 10 legionnaires were wounded
– Captain De Bazelaire, the commander of the 9th Company, marching with the platoon, was also killed

1959, clashes with local rebels for 2nd Motorized Company, 4e REI in the Kissa region, Algeria
– during the fighting, 8 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 4e REI legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, late 1950s…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 09

1916, Battle of Meski
– the battle was launched by around 400 Moroccan rebels near Rhamet Allah in the Bou Denib region of Morocco, against a French Mobile Group (a combined force)
– 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE was involved in
– it served as a recce unit for the Group at that time
Bou Denib Mixed Battalion (an almost unknown half-Colonial/half-Foreign Legion unit, most probably a semi-penal unit, 1916-19) also took part in
– legionnaires from the Mounted Company launched a counter-attack with fixed bayonets
– the rebels were fought off
– one legionnaire was killed, another 6 were wounded

1917, on the Macedonian Front of World War I, taking place in present-day Macedonia, Battalion Legion of 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) faced a severe attack launched by Bulgarian troops
– the legionnaires managed to defend their positions

2014, after nearly 49 years, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) left its barracks in Orange to be based at Camp Carpiagne, close to Aubagne, southern France

– on the video, during the last ceremony on July 9, 2014, in front of the public, the town mayor and its commanding officer, the 1er REC is singing to say goodbye to Orange…
– the song was composed only for this event and will be never performed again

 

French Foreign Legion: July 10

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– a British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon in June-July 1941, during World War II
– that day, at Merdjayoun, southern Lebanon, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 6e REI faced severe attacks launched by Australian infantry
– the legionnaires managed to defend their positions

1949, Operation Alpha in the Binh Nhon region of central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from 1st Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) were involved in

1955, having left French Indochina (south-east of Asia) after 10 years spent in, last elements of 13e DBLE returned to North Africa to join military operations to stop growing activities of local rebels

1958, Rescue of Bambi
– in north-eastern Algeria, during Operation Mirabelle close to Edgar Quinet in the Khenchela region, a lonely and hungry small donkey was found by harkis (native pro-French muslim volunteers, serving within the French regiments) from the Harka 8 of 13e DBLE, which participated in the operation alongside 13e DBLE legionnaires
– taken to the base, the small donkey became a mascot of 13e DBLE, called Bambi
– the image of a harki carrying the small donkey became known all over the world
– in November, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the oldest and largest animal welfare organisation in the world, based in London, thanked officially the Legion for that “demonstration of humanity”

– on the well-known photo, a harki from the Harka 8 of 13e DBLE carrying Bambi, the lonely small donkey found during an operation in north-eastern Algeria in July 1958

 

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