Foreign Legion events: July 11 – 20

Discover most important events in the history of the French Foreign Legion. Unit establishments or dissolutions, campaigns, battles, deployments, operations… Today, we publish the important Foreign Legion historical data which occurred between July 11 and July 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: July 11

1910, a guarding mission ended for 2nd Company of RM (Regimental Combat Team), 2e RE (future 2e REI)
– the mission was launched to guard French supply trains moving in Morocco
– the company was then commanded by Captain Rollet, the future famous General and commander of the Legion, nicknamed Father of the Legion

1948, in then French Indochina, during Operation Michel in the Dong Khe region of northern Vietnam, Parachute Company of 3e REI, the first airborne unit of the Foreign Legion, was attacked by Viet Minh rebels
– 2 legionnaires were wounded

– also in 1948 in then French Indochina, a night patrol (officer + NCO + 7 legionnaires) of 2nd Battalion, 3e REI discovered a secret Viet Minh meeting at Po Chiem, a village in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, close to the border with China
– during a rapid action, 12 rebels were eliminated

2013, the regimental colors of 1er REC (Cavalry) and 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were decorated
– 1er REC was awarded with Croix de la Valeur militaire (Cross for Military Valour) with palm
– the unit earned the award for its participation in Operation Tacaud in Chad in 1978
– 2e REP was awarded with the Fourragère in colors of the ribbon of Croix de la Valeur militaire (red & white) for its actions in the War in Afghanistan

– on the photo, the regimental colors of the 1er REC decorated on July 11, 2013

 

French Foreign Legion: July 12

1831, in Toulon, France, Colonel Stoffel took command of the freshly created Foreign Legion with its first battalions

1915, Battalion Legion of 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) took part in a successful French offensive aimed at Yassıtepe (Rognon), at Cape Helles of the Gallipoli peninsula (now Turkey), during the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I, in which the French and British troops fought against Ottomans (Turks)
– the legionnaires suffered heavy casualties, but they seized Ottoman positions
– many legionnaires were killed and wounded
– one officer was killed, another 5 wounded, including Major Weddel, the battalion commander

1941, Ceasefire of Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– military actions of the British operation (June-July 1941) during World War II against the French stopped
– on the French side, 6e REI (Infantry Regiment) of the Foreign Legion participated in and suffered heavy casualties
– on the British side, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) of the Free French Forces of General de Gaulle took part in

1948, in then French Indochina, a group of legionnaires from 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh near Phu Tong Hoa in the Bac Kan region, northern Vietnam
– 3 legionnaires were killed, 15 wounded

1953, also in French Indochina, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh for 14th Company, 4th Battalion, 2e REI near Xuan Dai, Tourane region, central Vietnam
– about 200 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1956, Operations 92 and 94 ended for legionnaires from 2e REP
– a police operation taking place in the Souk Ahras region of north-eastern Algeria
– during ten days, over 100 suspect were detained

– on the photo, a legionnaire from 2e REI in French Indochina in 1953, with a FM 24/29 light machine gun

 

French Foreign Legion: July 13

1954, in French Indochina, Captain Jean Pichard + 2 legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were killed in the Ban Yen Nhan region of northern Vietnam due to a roadside bomb, two weeks before the war in Indochina ended

1955, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) was awarded with the Fourragère in colors of the Légion d’Honneur (red) for the six mentions in the order of the Army, which the battalion gained for its actions in the First Indochina War between 1949-54
– the 2e BEP became the most decorated French battalion in Indochina

1956, Operation 10 started for legionnaires from 2e REP
– a military operation taking place in the Oued Kebir region of north-eastern Algeria
– during two days, over 20 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 2e BEP parading at Camp Chanson of then Saigon, Vietnam, on July 13, 1955, after its battalion flag was awarded with the red Fourragère of the Légion d’Honneur

 

French Foreign Legion: July 14

Bastille Day, French National Day
– every year, the Foreign Legion participate in the Bastille Day Military Parade
– it takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris

1917, because of the five mentions in the order of the Army for its actions in France on the Western Front of World War I, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) was awarded with the Fourragère in colors of the Médaille militaire (Military medal, yellow-green)
– it became the first French unit to obtain this high award

1939, for the very first time, the Foreign Legion paraded with the White kepis on the Champs-Élysées in Paris
– until 1930s, the white kepis had been regular for Legion units of Morocco only and the French public knew the legionnaires with black kepis

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign (Operation Exporter) ended
– an operation of June-July 1941, during World War II
– the British (Australians + Indians in the majority) attacked French forces in Syria and Lebanon
– on the French side, 6e REI of the Foreign Legion participated in and suffered heavy casualties (250 killed + over 600 wounded legionnaires)
– on the British side, 13e DBLE of the Free French Forces of General de Gaulle took part in
– on July 14, an armistice between France and Britain was signed
– the French had to leave Levant (Syria + Lebanon)

1947, 3e REI obtained a citation in the order of the Army for its actions in Cochinchina (then title for southern Vietnam), French Indochina

1949, Battle of Ban Nien
Ban Nien, a small outpost located in the Dong Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, occupied by 15 legionnaires from 9th Company, 3rd Battlion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– after more than four hours of the battle, the enemy was fought off
– several legionnaires were wounded, none of them was killed

1951, also in Indochina, a patrolling group of 18 legionnaires (led by Sergeant Werner) from 1st Battalion, 5e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh in the Dong Trieu region, north-eastern Vietnam
– only one legionnaire survived the attack

– on the photo, the legionnaires parading with the White kepis for the first time in Paris, on July 14, 1939

 

French Foreign Legion: July 15

1905, last elements of the Foreign Legion left Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean, to return back to the HQ at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
– the Legion had been present in Madagascar since the Second Madagascar Expedition of 1895

1951, Commando 10 was established in Vietnam, then French Indochina
– its cadres were legionnaires from 2e BEP
– Lieutenant De Preville (also 2e BEP) took command
– the troops were native pro-French partisans
– it became the first Commando established within the Foreign Legion (assigned to the 2e BEP)
– because of that, it was called Commando Leyion (Legion in Vietnamese)
– in 1952, it became Commando Preville, in honor to its commander killed in action

1954, two weeks before the war in French Indochina ended, 2nd Battalion of 13e DBLE got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh at Porte Saint Martin near Lang Tai, Bac Giang region, northern Vietnam
– 10 legionnaires were killed, 44 were wounded

1955, an intervention mission in Casablanca, Morocco started for 4e REI
– legionnaires had to restore and maintain order in one of the largest and most important cities in Africa

1956, an operation for 5e REI at Djebel Fillaoussene and Ain Kebira in the Tlemcen region, north-western Algeria
– that day, 13 rebels were killed

– on the picture, a legionnaire from 5e REI looking at landscape of Tlemcen region, north-western Algeria, 1956

 

French Foreign Legion: July 16

1940, 13e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade, participating in the Norwegian Campaign in April-June) of the Foreign Legion was disbanded in Fez, Morocco

– the same day of 1940, 14e DBMLE (one half of ex-13e DBMLE men, who decided to stay in England because of their political views; future 13e DBLE) of the Free French of General de Gaulle was placed at Cove-Farnborough, south-eastern England

1954, in French Indochina, two weeks before the then war ended, 1st Battalion of 5e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh in the Ha Hai region, northern Vietnam
– one legionnaire was killed
– it became the last killed legionnaire of the battalion during the war

– on the photo, 14e DBMLE parading in London on July 14, 1940

 

French Foreign Legion: July 17

1923, Battle of Ain Maklouf, Morocco
– a field camp of 1st Battalion (led by Major Buschenschutz) + Mounted Company, both from 2e REI, was attacked by Moroccan rebels
– after heavy fighting, the legionnaires fought off the enemy

1930, a decree was issued to establish a Foreign Legion regiment in then French Indochina, south-eastern Asia
– in September, 5e REI was born
– nicknamed Regiment of Tonkin (after then title for northern Vietnam, its garrison), it participated in many conlicts before deployment to French Polynesia in 1963, where the unit served until its dissolution in 2000

1953, Operation Hirondelle started in then French Indochina
– a large operation taking place in the Lang Son region in far northern Vietnam, close to the border with China, to search and destroy Viet Minh depots
– several French airborne units took part in, including legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now)
– the three-day-long operation was marked by extreme weather conditions
– several French soldiers, including legionnaires, died from heat exhaustion

1958, a week-long operation ended for legionnaires from 2e REP
– it took place in the Guelma region, north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 25 rebels were killed

– on the photo, French paratroopers jumping over Lang Son close to the border with China on July 17, 1953, to start Operation Hirondelle; 2e BEP took part in

 

French Foreign Legion: July 18

1918, Battle of Soissons
– on the Western Front of World War I, RMLE (future 3e REI) was involved in a battle against German troops, taking place close to Soissons, northern France
– the battle lasted three days, in which RMLE lost 780 men and took 450 prisoners
– for this action, RMLE gained its 8th citation in the order of the Army

1946, in then French Indochina, a platoon from 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh in the Ben Tre region of the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam
– a platoon leader (Lt Chauvet) + several legionnaires were killed

1956, a two-day-long combat helicopter operation
– legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) participated in
– the operation took place in the Médéa region, northern Algeria

– on the rare picture, the regimental colors of RMLE in 1918, holding by Lt Col Rollet, then RMLE commander and the future famous General and Foreign Legion commander, nicknamed Father of the Legion

 

French Foreign Legion: July 19

1870, Franco-Prussian War started
– the war took place in France between July 1870 – May 1871
– three battalions of the Legion took part in
– 1st + 2nd (both composed of non-German legionnaires) + 5th Battalion, freshly created in France and composed of foreign war-period-volunteers (non-legionnaires)
– the battalions fought mainly in the Second Battle of Orléans

1919, the regimental colors of the RMLE, one of the two most decorated colors of the French Army, paraded in London, England

1949, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh for 10th Company, 3rd Battalion, 2e REI in the Bong Song region of central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– over 60 rebels were killed

1950, during Operation Ramadan in the My Tho region of southern Vietnam, legionnaires from 1st Squadron, 1er REC got involved in fighting with Viet Minh rebels
– one legionnaire was killed
– Captain Casati (squadron commander) + 6 legionnaires were badly injured

1959, Operation Jumelles started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– it took place in the Kabylie region, northern Algeria until January 1960
– during the operation, over 510 rebels were killed, 222 imprisoned

1963, first legionnaires ever to be landed in Tahiti, French Polynesia
– these legionnaires were from 5e REI
– some of them were immediately sent to the Mururoa atoll to build a new French nuclear test site

2006, Operation Baliste
– the operation took place in Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon War
– it was aimed at evacuating French citizens (about 4,000) living there to Turkey
– 3rd Company of 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) was involved in between July 19-Aug 11

– on the picture, legionnaires from 1er REP with captured rebel rifles during Operation Jumelles in northern Algeria, 1959

 

French Foreign Legion: July 20

1954, 11 days before the war in French Indochina ended, French units, including 1st Battalion of 2e REI, were attacked by the Viet Minh near Pleiku, Gia Lai region, central Vietnam
– during the attack, the French lost 23 men

1955, clashes with rebels for 10th Company, 3e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 3e REP)
– they took place at Djebel Bosoan, northern Algeria

1959, after three weeks, Operation Etincelle ended for legionnaires from 3e REI
– it was launched to eliminate rebels in the Hodna mountains, Algeria

– on the rare photo, 3e BEP legionnaires during an operation in northern Algeria, July 1955

 

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