Foreign Legion events: August 01 – 10

Explore most important events in the French Foreign Legion’s history. Significant campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Today, the historical events, which occurred between August 01 and August 10, will be published.


French Foreign Legion: August 01

1836, a 18-hour-long fierce battle near Zubiri, Navarre region, northeast Spain
– battalions of the “Old” Foreign Legion (1831-39) participated in
– the Old Legion was handed over to Spain to become part of the Spanish loyal forces to fight Carlists in the First Carlist War
– it consisted of over 4,000 men commanded by Colonel Conrad

1840, the outpost of Milianah, northern Algeria, occupied by legionnaires from 4th Battalion (Major Ferrari) of the Foreign Legion, was attacked by local rebels
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1945, RMLE/EO (Far East Regimental Combat Team) was established
– RMLE/EO was based at Chanzy, Algeria
– its task would be to fight the Japanese in the Pacific
– when the Japanese surrendered, its task was changed
– RMLE/EO was sent to French Indochina, to help restore the order
– in January 1946, RMLE/EO was retitled
– it became 2e REI, a unit deactivated in 1943

1954, First Indochina War ended
– the conflict in south-eastern Asia started in late 1945
– Ho Chi Minh and his Viet-Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam) declared independence from France for Vietnam on Sep 2, 1945
– on July 21, 1954, three separate ceasefire accords, covering Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (former French Indochina elements), were signed by the French at the conference at Geneva, Switzerland
– in 1956, after more than 70 years, last Legion elements left Indochina

1955, 24e CPLE (Motorized Company) was established
– organized at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria, the autonomous unit was redesignated as 4e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) in January 1956
– it participated in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the company was disbanded in 1963

1960, an operation for legionnaires from 3e REI in the Bou Khadra region, Algeria
– during the operation, several rebels were killed

1962, 3e BMLE (Foreign Legion Task Force) was established
– 3e REI in Algeria was reduced and changed its designation
– it became an engineering unit, 3e BMLE
– the unit had to build Legion’s new headquarters in France
– it also built the Legion’s infrastructure in Corsica
– 3e BMLE was disbanded in November 1964

1973, DLEC (Comoros Detachment) was established
– 3e REI, based in Madagascar (Indian Ocean) at that time, received an order to left the island for French Guiana, South America in late August
– on August 1, the 3e REI’s 2nd Company, with HQ on the Mayotte island, Comoros (north-west of Madagascar), became an independent unit, DLEC
– its mission was to continue in maintaining order and French presence in strategic Mozambique Channel
– in 1976, DLEC became DLEM (Mayotte Detachment)

– on the picture, a legionnaire of 3e BMLE during construction works on the site of the future Foreign Legion HQ in Aubagne, France, in 1963


French Foreign Legion: August 02

1863, during the French intervention in Mexico, the 1st Battalion of Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion), commanded by Major Regnault, seized Huatusco, a city in the Mexican state of Veracruz
– three months earlier, 3rd Company of this battalion fought to the finish in the famous Battle of Camerone

1949, Operation Origan ended
– the four-day-long operation took place in the Tan An region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 1er GE (Squadrons Group), 1er REC participated in
– 61 rebels were captured

1956, an operation for 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) in the Oulmadj region, northern Algeria
– during the operation, more than 30 rebels were killed

1978, CRTRLE (Reinforced Road Building Company) was established
– an engineering unit
– organized at Camp Canjeurs, the then largest military camp of Western Europe
– the unit was equipped with more than 200 vehicles and engines
– it became the largest company of the Legion
– in June 1984, the company was placed at Laudun, southern France
– in July 1984, it became 6e REG (Engineer Regiment; 1er REG since 1999)

2011, 13e DBLE was officially stationed in the United Arab Emirates
– in June, the unit left Djibouti, Africa, after more than 49 years


French Foreign Legion: August 03

1907, French Pacification of Morocco started
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE left Sidi Bel Abbes, then HQ of the Legion based in Algeria, for Casablanca, Morocco
– as the first Legion unit, it will be involved in Pacification of Morocco

1955, 21st Company of 72nd Engineer Battalion was disbanded at the then HQ of the Foreign Legion in Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
– the company, established in 1949 and composed of legionnaires, served during the war in French Indochina
– it was one of many engineering units of the Legion serving in Indochina between 1946-55

1955, an intervention mission for 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) in the Naida region of north-eastern Morocco
– several parts of Morocco were hit by anti-French rebellions
– the legionnaires had to show their presence to maintain order in the region

– on the rare image, AMX 13 tanks of 2e REC during an operation to maintain order in north-eastern Morocco, 1955


French Foreign Legion: August 04

1946, in then French Indochina, Folding Boats Platoon, 1re CEMSG (Engineer General Staff & Service Company), deployed to Cambodia to support military operations in the Battambang region
– created in early 1946 and equipped with M2 Assault Boats + small engineering boats able to form a folding bridge, it was the first such unit of the Legion

1948, a successful battle with the Viet Minh for 4th Company, 1st Battalion, 3e REI near Nguyen Binh, in the Cao Bang region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina

1960, an operation for 4th Motorized Company, 2e REI nearby the Hadjeret outpost, western Algeria
– during the operation, several rebels were killed

– on the picture, a legionnaire from 2e REI with a captured rebel, western Algeria, 1960


French Foreign Legion: August 05

1917, clashes with rebels near M’Coun, Taza region, Morocco for 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE
– two legionnaires were wounded

1936, 1er REC received its first 1,000 distinctive unit insignias
– the design of the insignia was created by N. Allnikine, an NCO serving with 2nd Squadron, 1er REC
– within the Foreign Legion, the insignia of 1er REC is the oldest distinctive unit insignia that has never changed its design (followed by that one of the 4th Foreign Regiment, 4e RE of 1937 and the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment, 2e REP of 1949)

1951, Operation Pentagone started
– the two-day-long operation took place in the An Nhon Tay region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE participated in

– on the photo, 1er REC legionnaires at Sousse, the regiment’s garrison in Tunisia, 1937


French Foreign Legion: August 06

1914, Ricciotti Garibaldi made an offer to create an Italian Legion to help the French in the starting World War I
– R. Garibaldi was an Italian politician and soldier from the famous family which played a large role in the history of Italy
– he and his father (Giuseppe, called “Father of Italy”) already fought on the French side in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– the offer had been accepted and the unit composed of Italian volunteers was established in November 1914
– it was attached to the Foreign Legion’s 1er RE (Foreign Regiment) under the title of 4e RM (Regimental Combat Team)
– however, the unit was regulary called as “Garibaldi Legion”
Giuseppe “Peppino” Garibaldi, the son of Ricciotti Garibaldi, became its commanding officer
– two another sons of Ricciotti, also fighting within the Garibaldi Legion as officers, were killed during the first battles on the Western Front

1914, Mounted Company of 2e RE (future 2e REI) took part in a military operation near Koudiat El Biad, in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– while fighting off Moroccan rebels with fixed bayonets, one legionnaire was killed

1952, Operation Domino ended
– the operation took place in the Boi Loi and Co Trach regions of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE participated in
– during the operation, 25 rebels were killed

– on the photo, Lt Col Giuseppe “Peppino” Garibaldi and the officers of 4e RM/1er RE, called as Garibaldi Legion, 1914


French Foreign Legion: August 07

1907, French Pacification of Morocco started
– on August 7, some 3,000 French troops landed at Casablanca, Morocco, and seized the town
– 6th Battalion of 1er RE participated in
– the Pacification of Morocco lasted until 1934

1956, an operation at Djebel Zitouna, Tebessa region, north-eastern Algeria
– 3rd Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved in fighting with rebels
– 3 legionnaires + 29 rebels were killed

– on the image, 2e REP legionnaires launching an assault at Djebel Zitouna, Algeria, 1956


French Foreign Legion: August 08

1925, at Amerghou, Morocco, legionnaires from 2nd Foreign Regiment used grenades to successfully fight off Moroccan rebels and capture the site

1950, Operation Tapis ended
– the operation took place in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2nd Battalion, 3e REI participated in

1960, an operation ended for 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI nearby the Hadjeret outpost, Algeria
– during the operation, over 10 rebels were killed

– on the vintage postcard, the site of Amerghou, Morocco in the 1920s


French Foreign Legion: August 09

1856, new 2nd Foreign Regiment was formed
– at Sidi Bel Abbes of Algeria, the then HQ of the Legion, the new 2nd Foreign Regiment was formed by legionnaires from ex-1st Regiment + ex-2nd Regiment, having returned from the successful Crimean War (1854-55)
– in France in late June, the new 1st Foreign Regiment was formed by Swiss legionnaires from ex-2nd Foreign Legion (also Swiss Legion, 1855-56)

1914, the military camp of 2nd Battalion, 1er RE located at Taza, northern Morocco was attacked by Moroccan rebels
– Sergeant Giliardi was killed

1918, Battle of Gaouz
– in Morocco, a battle occurred between the French colonial troops, being heavily outnumbered, and Moroccan rebels
– 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE took part in
– 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
– the fierce battle lasted several hours
– Mounted Company had 47 killed + 7 wounded, including its company commander (Captain Timm)
– Mixed Battalion had 1 legionnaire killed + 3 wounded
– for this action, the 2nd Mounted Company gained a citation in the order of the Army

1962, last French soldiers killed in Algeria
– on August 9, three months after the Algerian War officially ended and one month after Algeria gained its independence, four members of 1er ESPL (Saharan Motorized Squadron, ex-1re CSPL company) were attacked and killed
– the attack took place in the Laghouat region, Algeria
– Lieutenant Gélas + 3 legionnaires (Pepelko, Roncin, Locca) were killed
– they became the last French soldiers killed by local rebels in Algeria

– on the photo, 1er ESPL legionnaires during the funeral of Ltn Gélas and the 3 legionnaires killed on August 9, 1962


French Foreign Legion: August 10

1835, the whole “Old” Legion (1831-39), comprising over 4,000 men handed over to Spain to become part of the Spanish loyal forces to fight Carlists in the First Carlist War, was united at Palma, Balearic Islands
– it was the first time since its creation, when the Legion was united in one place

1896, Second Madagascar Expedition
– two Legion companies formed by legionnaires from 2e RE (Foreign Regiment) took ship for Madagascar to take part in operations to restore and maintain order in this recent French colony
– last legionnaires left Madagascar in 1905

1914, a French column, including two companies of 2nd Battalion, 1er RE, was attacked at Sidi Omrane near Taza, northern Morocco, by local rebel tribes
– 21st Company, 6th Battalion, 1er RE reinforced the column
– after several hours of fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off
– 2nd Battalion had 3 officers + 62 legionnaires killed or wounded
– 21st Company lost its commander, Lieutenant Sorrensen; 10 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1946, at Siem Reap of Cambodia, then French Indochina, French troops, including legionnaires from 7th Company, 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE fought against Cambodian rebels
– Second Lieutenant Letang was killed

1949, also in Cambodia, near the capital Phnom Penh, two vehicles from 2nd Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) were attacked by rebels
– the legionnaires launched a counter-attack
– 9 rebels + 1 legionnaire were killed

– also in 1949, near Tan My, in the Phan Rang region of the southern part of central Vietnam, then French Indochina, a train was attacked by the Viet Minh
– the train was guarded by a small group of legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 2e REI
– after fierce fighting, the outnumbered legionnaires fought off the attackers
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 5 legionnaires wounded

– on the vintage postcard, “M.A.S.H” of the 2nd Battalion, 1er RE during the operations in the Taza region, Morocco, around 1914


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