Foreign Legion events: August 11 – 20

Explore interesting events in the history of the French Foreign Legion. Significant campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… The most important events, which occurred between August 11 and August 20, will be published today.


French Foreign Legion: August 11

1836, first battalion of the “New” Foreign Legion was disbanded and its men, commanded by Lt Col Conrad, sent to Spain to reinforce battalions of the “Old” Foreign Legion (1831-39)
– the Old Legion was handed over to Spain to become part of the Spanish loyal forces to fight Carlists in the First Carlist War
– in Spain, Lt Col Conrad became Colonel and received the leadership of the Old Legion

1951, several clashes with the Viet Minh near Hanoi, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina for 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)

1955, in Casablanca, Morocco, an intervention mission ended for 4e REI
– between July 15 – Aug 11, legionnaires had to restore and maintain order in one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, hit by anti-French rebellions

– on the picture, the color guard with the regimental flag of the recently re-established 4e REI in front of the unit’s Hall of Honor at its HQ in Fez, Morocco, March 1955


French Foreign Legion: August 12

1914, because of World War I, which started in late July, Legion’s command received an order to form units composed of foreign volunteers enlisted for the war period
– within a few weeks, four RM (Regimental Combat Team) were established in France to fight on the Western Front
– in 1915, the remaining elements of these RMs merged into single RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team), the most decorated unit of the French Army by the end of WWI, which became in 1920 the 3e RE (3e REI in 1922)

1948, an operation to clear Colonial Road 4 took place in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
Parachute Company of 3e REI, the very first airborne unit of the Foreign Legion, was involved in
– during the operation, the legionnaires were attacked by the Viet Minh, but the enemy was fought off

1953, Operation Concarneau
– the operation took place in the Pan Thiet region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated in

– on the picture, Lt Col Rollet, the commanding officer of RMLE (and the future “Father of Legion”), holding the standard of its unit; the flag bears the title of 2e RM/1er RE, one of those four RM, in which the RMLE took its origin


French Foreign Legion: August 13

1918, the French outpost of Ghorm El Alem in central Morocco was attacked
– the outpost was occupied by 4th Company, 1st Battalion, 1er RE
– Lieutenant Pascallaggi was killed

1946, on the site of the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fighting with Khmer rebels
– the enemy was fought off

1947, during a recce operation near Ho Da Manh in the Phan Rang region of the southern part of central Vietnam, then French Indochina, a half-company of legionnaires (some 50 men) from 2nd Battalion, 2e REI were several times attacked by the Viet Minh in the deep jungle
– during the attacks, 5 rebels + 3 legionnaires were killed, 13 legionnaires wounded

1956, an operation for 13e DBLE at Djebel Selkr, northern Algeria
– during the operation, 17 rebels were killed

– on the photo, legionnaires of 13e DBLE during a parade in northern Algeria, 1956


French Foreign Legion: August 14

1859, Foreign Legion first time paraded in Paris
– the first parade in Paris for the Foreign Legion, since its creation
– in Paris, 2nd Foreign Regiment took part in the military parade of the French units participating in the successful Second Italian War of Independence (Apr-Jul 1859)
– for the first time in its history, Paris saw the parading legionnaires

1941, a choice between the Vichy France and the Free Franch of General De Gaulle for officers, NCOs and legionnaires of 6e REI
– in June-July, 6e REI fought against British troops (Australians, Indians + Free French, including 13e DBLE), when defending France’s Levant (Syria + Lebanon) in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– French troops, including 6e REI legionnaires, were defeated and had to return to France
– the choice to leave Marshal Pétain’ France (and the Foreign Legion) and join De Gaulle and his Free French (with the 13e DBLE) took place at Camp T4 near Beirut (the capital of Lebanon), before the repatriation to France
– a column one by one, legionnaires, corporals, NCOs and officers (in this order, to avoid legionnaires and NCOs of following their superiors), the men had to pass in front of Australian officers into a site with two exits marked with “Pétain” and “De Gaulle”
– from 1,200 men of 6e REI, who survived the campaign and had to made their choice in the column, only 3 (three) legionnaires decided to choose De Gaulle and his Free French forces
– the rest of the 6e REI left Beirut on August 16

1947, near the outpost Loc Giang in the Duc Hoa region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a group of 15 legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE were attacked by the Viet Minh
– during the fierce battle, the outnumbered group was annihilated
– 14 legionnaires were killed, including their NCO leader
– only one legionnaire survived

1960, Operation Alexandrine
– at Ouled Ali, close to El Milia, north-eastern Algeria, legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in an operation aimed against local rebel groups
– that day, 10 rebels were killed, 27 rebels were captured

– on the picture, an Australian company renders homage to 6e REI, leaving Beirut for France on Explorateur Grandidier, a boat the image was taken from on August 16, 1941


French Foreign Legion: August 15

1857, the regimental colors of the new 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e RE, est. Aug 1856) landed at Oran, Algeria
– the flag with its guard arrived at Sidi Bel Abbes, then HQ of the regiment located in north-western Algeria, on August 19

1915, the outpost of Bou Ladjeraf, Morocco, occupied by 23rd Company, 6th Battalion, 1er RE, was attacked
– Captain Roquefort (company commander) + 2 legionnaires were killed

1952, Operation Boléro started
– the operation took place in the Hai Duong region of the Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 3rd + 4th Battalion, 3e REI were involved in

– on the photo, a legionnaire of 3e REI in northern Vietnam, French Indochina, in 1952


French Foreign Legion: August 16

1847, clashes and a battle with Algerian rebels at Zaatcha, Algeria
– several companies of the 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) took part in
– 2e RLE lost 14 legionnaires, 71 men (including officers) were wounded

1941, 6e REI left Levant (Syria and Lebanon) for France
– the Legion served in the region since the early 1920s

1951, an operation for 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– the operation took place in the Bac Ninh region of the Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 10 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1953, anti-French rebellions started in Morocco
– clashes with rebel tribes for 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) in north-eastern Morocco
– 4 legionnaires, including an NCO, were killed

1959, fighting with rebels for 1st + 4th Squadron, 2e REC in the Bou Saada region of northern Algeria
– 2 legionnaires + 10 rebels were killed

– on the photo, 2e REC legionnaires paying homage to their fallen comrade, Algeria, 1959


French Foreign Legion: August 17

1949, an outpost of the 1st Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh in the Ban Cao region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– 2 legionnaires (of German and Polish origin) from CLT2/503 (Legionnaire Transportation Company) were wounded
– the Pole died from his injuries two days later

1949, Operation Canigou started for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 6e REI in the Hanoi region, northern Vietnam
– the battalion was the only unit of the 6e REI, based in Tunisia (North Africa) at that time, taking part in the First Indochina War
– landed in Indochina in July 1949, it helped to form a new 5e REI on November 1, and became its 1st Battalion
– in Indochina between July and November 1949, the 6e REI had 10 killed + 12 wounded legionnaires

1956, a two-day long Operation Birkouka started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) in northern Algeria
– 1st + 3rd Company took part in

– on the rare picture, the 3rd Battalion of 6e REI leaving Tunisia for French Indochina, June 1949


French Foreign Legion: August 18

1859, the depot + 4th Battalion of the 2nd Foreign Regiment left Nimes, France for Algeria
– the 2nd Foreign Regiment participated in the successful Second Italian War of Independence (Apr-Jul 1859)
– ironically, 124 years later, in 1983, the 2nd Foreign Regiment will be stationed in Nimes again

1947, Battle of Ambara
– 5th Company, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLE (Half-Brigade, future 4e REI) attacked the rebel camp of Ambara in eastern Madagascar, during a restore order opereation (1947-48) on the island (Indian Ocean), part of the then French colonial empire
– during the battle, 170 rebels were killed

1949, Operation Canigou started for legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) in the Hanoi region, northern Vietnam
– two battalions (from 6e REI and 13e DBLE) also took part in the operation
– 1er BEP jumped over Tinh Luyen, close to Vinh Yen
– a Romanian Seargent and a German legionnaire were killed during the jump
– two another legionnaires were wounded

– on the very rare picture, “Marshal” Lehoaha, the rebel leader surrendered to legionnaires of 4e DBLE’s Task Force (BM/4) in Madagascar in 1948


French Foreign Legion: August 19

1835, the whole “Old” Foreign Legion (1831-39) landed at Tarragona, northeastern Spain
– it consisted of over 4,000 men commanded by Colonel Bernelle (Colonel Conrad thereafter)
– the Old Legion was handed over to Spain in 1835, to become part of Spanish loyal forces to fight Carlists in the First Carlist War

1949, during Operation Canigou, a battle with the Viet Minh for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 6e REI at Tien Qui, in the Phuc Yen region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 1 legionnaire killed + several legionnaires wounded

1955, an intervention mission for both Motorized Companies of 4e REI at Khenifra, Morocco, hit by anti-French violent rebellions
– legionnaires had to restore and maintain order in the town, to prevent pogroms aimed at French civilians

1958, Operation Flavien near Palestro in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria
legionnaires from 1st Company, 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in

1960, an operation for 4e REI at Djebel Frina, Algeria
– during the operation, 12 rebels were killed

– on the picture, anti-French rebels in the town of Khenifra, Morocco, mid-August 1955


French Foreign Legion: August 20

1903, after several days of attacking the French outpost of Taghit, western Algeria, around 4,500 rebels were finally fought off by some 400 French troops garrisoned inside the outpost, including a Legion company from 2e RE
– hundreds of rebels were killed or wounded

1917, Battle of Verdun 1917 started
– a battle on the Western Front of WWI
– it took place near Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France
– RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) of the Legion was involved in
– the French launched several successful attacks on German positions
– RMLE seized Cumières and its surroundings

1955, Oued Zem Massacre
– at Oued Zem, a city of central Morocco, about 70 French residents were massacred during a pogrom launched by local Berber tribes
– 4e REI legionnaires had to intervene to restore order and to prevent further violences aimed at French civilians

– on the photo, the 4e REI reviewed by General Franchi and its commanding officer, Colonel Borreil, at Oued Zem in late August 1955


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