Foreign Legion events: July 21 – 31

Explore most interesting events in the history of the French Foreign Legion. Important campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Today, we publish its historical events which occurred between July 21 and July 31.

 

French Foreign Legion: July 21

1948, in then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 3e REI (Infantry Regiment) got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh near Phu Tong Hoa in the Bac Kan region, northern Vietnam
– 2 rebels were imprisoned

1953, while returning from Operation Hirondelle, taking place in the Lang Son region of far northern Vietnam, close to the border with China, legionnaires from Engines Platoon, 2nd Company, 22nd Engineer Battalion were attacked
– the enemy was fought off

1954, Geneva Conference
– three separate ceasefire accords, covering Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (former French Indochina elements), were signed by the French at the conference at Geneva, Switzerland
– while in France this date means the end of the First Indochina War (1946-54), in English-speaking world is the end of the war marked by the 1st August

1959, Operation Etincelle ended for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– it lasted two weeks and took place in the Hodna mountains, M’Sila region, northern Algeria
1er REC, 3e REI, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade), 5e REI also participated in

– on the photo, a French bulldozer during Operation Hirondelle in July 1953; these bulldozers were used by legionnaires from Engines Platoon, 2nd Company, 22nd Engineer Battalion during this operation…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 22

1923, Battle of Immouzer
– the battle took place on the Immouzer plateau, Morocco
– 3rd Battalion of 2e REI fought against Moroccan rebels
– 25 rebels were killed, 49 wounded

1947, a successful operation for 5th Company, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLE (Half-Brigade, future 4e REI)
– it took place at Akatikane and Tambohobe, during restoring order in Madagascar (Indian Ocean), part of the then French colonial empire
– around 100 rebels were killed

1948, in then French Indochina, 4th Company, 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh near Ban Cao in the Van Phai region, northern Vietnam
– 1 legionnaire was killed, several legionnaires wounded
– a few hours later, another legionnaires was killed in the mine explosion

1956, an operation for 3rd Battalion, 5e REI near Turenne in the Tlemcen region, north-western Algeria
– over 20 rebels were killed

1959, Operation Jumelles started
– a large military operation led by General Challe (the future putschist of April 1961) in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria, between July 1959 – March 1960
– four Foreign Legion regiments successfully took part in: 1er REP (Parachute Regiment), 3e REI, 5e REI, 13e DBLE
– over 2,000 rebels were killed and the rebel structures in the region were completely destroyed

– on the picture, 5e REI legionnaires with a 75 SR cannon during an operation in Algeria in late 1950s…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 23

1948, in then French Indochina, a Senior Corporal was killed near Ben Co in the Saigon region, southern Vietnam
– he was a member of 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)

1952, Operation Bolero ended for legionnaires from Armored Mobile Platoon, 2e CREBLE (Foreign Legion Armored Vehicle Repair Company), which took place in the Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam

1961, a three-day-long operation ended for legionnaires from 3e REI at Bizert, the capital of Tunisia
– 3e REI deployed to already independent Tunisia to restore order at the Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed Air Base
– in August, 3e REI returned to Algeria

– on the photo, a legionnaire from 2e CREBLE at Dien Bien Phu, French Indochina, 1954…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 24

1927, CSP (Sappers-Pioneers Company) of the 3e REI was stationed at Foum Zabel to participate in Ziz Road construction
– a few weeks later, the company will start to dig the tunnel through the solid rock
– the famous tunnel will become known as Tunnel of Legionnaire

1949, 4th Squadron of Armored Jeeps, 2e REC left North Africa for Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– its mission was to maintain order on the island, together with a Legion engineering company + a battalion of 4e REI
– it returned to North Africa in February 1952

1952, in then French Indochina, Operation Dynamite ended for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE
– the operation took place in the Saigon region, southern Vietnam
– 15 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– on the picture, legionnaires having passed the Foum Zabel Tunnel in Morocco, late 1920s…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 25

1948, Battle of Phu Tong Hoa
Phu Tong Hoa was an outpost in the Bac Kan region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– it was occupied by 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 3e REI
– the company consisted of 103 men
– the outpost was attacked by three Viet Minh battalions
– the company commander (Captain Cardinal) + another officer + 21 legionnaires were killed
– a half of the killed were young legionnaires arriving in Indochina a week ago
– 34 legionnaires were seriously wounded
– the rest of legionnaires defended the outpost
– after several hours of the fierce battle, Viet Minh attackers were fought off

1954, a patrol from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh in the Lac Dao region, northern Vietnam
– Lieutenant Assez was seriously wounded and died a few days later

1957, a military operation for legionnaires from 1er REP
– it took place in the then Médéa region, northern Algeria

– on the picture, the Phu Tong Hoa outpost a few days after the attack of July 25, 1948…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 26

1946, in then French Indochina, a group of legionnaires from 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 2e REI were attacked during a patrol near Vinh Tuong, Phan Rang region, in the southern part of central Vietnam
– Adjudant-Chef Delhaye (platoon leader) + 6 legionnaires were killed, nobody survived

1949, clashes with the Viet Minh for legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP), during Operation Bastille near Hanoi, northern Vietnam
– Senior Corporal Marco Suss was killed
– Sergeant Heinz Hammermeister was badly injured
– he and his group were the last elements of Parachute Company of 3e REI (the very first airborne unit of the Legion) to consolidate with 1er BEP in June 1948
– Sergeant Hammermeister was a former Fallschirmjäger, a German paratrooper
– he had participated in the well-known Operation Mercury in Crete in 1941, the first mainly airborne invasion in military history
– Sergeant Hammermeister died of his injuries next day, in the hospital of Hanoi

1952, Operation Quadrille ended for 1er + 3e SGA (Amphibious Squadrons’ Group), 1er REC
– the operation took place in the Tourane region, central Vietnam
– during the operation, the Viet Minh lost 36 men

1957, Operation Bravo 6 ended for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– it took place in the Djidjelli region, north-eastern Algeria
– during three days, 6 rebels were killed and 10 firearms captured

– on the picture, 2e REP legionnaires during an operation in northern Algeria in 1957, with captured rebel firearms…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 27

1949, Attack on Col Deo Coma
– the convoy of 13 vehicles equipped by four platoons from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh (600-700 men) at Col Deo Coma, in the Ninh Hoa region of the southern part of central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the battle lasted several hours until the attackers were fought off
– 1 officer + 3 NCOs + 17 legionnaires were killed
– the survivors were badly wounded

1955, clashes with rebels for 3e REI and its 3rd Battalion (est. July 1; ex-BM1LE, Foreign Legion Task Force 1) in the Tafassour region, Algeria

1956, an operation started for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– it took place in the Beni Sbihi region of north-eastern Algeria
– during two days, 35 rebels were killed

– on the picture, an outpost of 3e REI in Algeria in mid-1950s…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 28

1914, First World War started
– four RM (Regimental Combat Teams) attached to the Foreign Legion, replaced later by a single RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) + Battalion Legion of 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) took part in
– during the war, RMLE became one of the two most decorated units of the French Army
– a very little-known unit, Battalion Legion (later 3rd Battalion officially) of 1er RMA was the second Foreign Legion unit to be awarded with the Fourragère (for its 3 citations/mentions in the order of the Army)

1954, an attack conducted by a Viet Minh commando on Fort Japonais near the city of Hue, central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Lieutenant Apouey, a platoon leader, and all European (white) legionnaires from Armored Boats Platoon, 6th Squadron, 1er REC were killed
– the attack was conducted one week after the ceasefire in Geneva was signed

1958, Operation Meftah ended for 1st Battalion, 5e REI
– it took place in the Djelfa region, northern Algeria between July 26-28
– during the operation, 36 rebels were killed

– on the photo, French Foreign Legion armored boats of 1er REC during an operation in French Indochina, in the mid-1950s…

Photo credits: Ernst Haas / GettyImages

 

French Foreign Legion: July 29

1916, a successful action at Djebel Skudin in the Bou Denib region of northern Morocco for 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE
– the legionnaires with fixed bayonets fought off Moroccan rebels
– 22 rebels were killed

1920, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RE seized El Biod in the Beni Mellal region, central Morocco

1952, in then French Indochina, a three-day-long operation ended for legionnaires from 7e SGA (Amphibious Squadrons’ Group), 1er REC
– the operation took place in the Quang Tri region, central Vietnam
– 28 rebels were killed, 216 rebels were imprisoned

– on the photo, an Alligator (Landing Vehicle Tracked, LVT) of 1er REC in French Indochina in 1952 + an insignia of 7e SGA of 1er REC, which was equipped with the same vehicles

 

French Foreign Legion: July 30

1835, the original Foreign Legion (called “Old Legion” now, 1831-38) left Africa
– comprising 66 officers and 2,955 NCOs and legionnaires, the Legion was handed over to Spain to join loyal Spanish forces in the war against the Carlists
– in December 1835, an order to create a “New” Foreign Legion (today’s Foreign Legion) was issued

1900, First Battle of El Moungar
– the battle took place in the South Oran region, Algeria
– Mounted Company of 2e RE (future 2e REI) got involved in fierce fighting with about 900 Berbers
– the enemy was fought off

1922, Battle of Tizi N’Rechou
– in Morocco, a small outpost close to the Tizi N’Rechou mountain, occupying by a group of legionnaires from 12th Company, 3rd Battalion, 4e REI, composed of one Sergeant, one Corporal and nine legionnaires, was attacked by tens of local rebels
– after several hours of fighting, the Sergeant, the Corporal and four legionnaires were killed
– the survivors commanded by a most senior legionnaire finally fought off the attackers

1954, the last fights with the Viet-Minh in French Indochina for 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now)
– the fights took place near Thu Dau Mot, a city near then Saigon, southern Vietnam

1960, Operation Cigale started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– it took place in the then Vialar region (now Tissemsilt), northern Algeria until late September
– during the operation, 115 rebels were killed

– on the picture, 1er REP legionnaires during an operation in northern Algeria in 1960…

 

French Foreign Legion: July 31

1955, last elements of the CDRE/EO (Far East Foreign Regiments Disciplinary Company), disbanded in 1954, left their barracks on the Tagne Island nearby the coast of today’s central Vietnam
– the mission of the unit was to discipline considerably undisciplined legionnaires
– CDRE/EO had been assigned to 2e REI

1956, an operation for legionnaires from 13e DBLE at Bou Yakadane, Khenchela region, north-eastern Algeria
– over 35 rebels were killed

1962, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) was disbanded
– it served in Morocco and Algeria between 1946-62, its legionnaires also took part in the Battle of France in 1940
– its officers, NCOs and legionnaires merged with 1er REC and formed its 5th + 6th Squadrons

– on the picture, 13e DBLE legionnaires during an operation in north-eastern Algeria in 1956…

 

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