Foreign Legion events: September 01 – 10

Interesting events of the French Foreign Legion’ history. Significant campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… See the most important events which occurred between September 01 and September 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: September 01

1908, at Bou Denib, Morocco, an outpost occupied by 40 legionnaires from a Mounted Company and 35 French colonial troops, was attacked by around 20,000 local rebels
– during next 18 hours, the outpost was defended
– with a new reinforcement arrived and the enemy was fought off

1930, 5e REI (Infantry Regiment) was established in Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam), French Indochina
– its HQ was based at Vietri
– the regiment was disbanded in July 2000

1953, 1re CEPML (Heavy Mortar Foreign Parachute Company) was established at Hanoi, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the company was assigned to the 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
– it participated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954) and was annihilated there
– the company was officially disbanded in May 1954

1955, 1er BEP + 3e BEP became 1er REP and 3e REP
– they served in Algeria at that time
– 3e REP remains the shortest-living regiment of the Foreign Legion
– it was disbanded 12 weeks later, in November 1955 to form a 2e REP

1972, 2e REI was re-established
– deactivated in January 1968, the regiment was based in Corsica

– on the picture, 2e REI legionnaires in Corsica, 1980

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Foreign Infantry Regiment - Corsica - 1980

 

French Foreign Legion: September 02

1841, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, future 1er RE) were attacked in the Kabylie region of Algeria, during a military operation
– the enemy was fought off

1903, Battle of El Moungar
– it took place on the southern border of Morocco and Algeria
– 22nd Mounted Company (led by Captain Vauchez) of the 6th Battalion, 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) was attacked
– 8 hours of fierce fighting against around 3,000 Berbers
– Captain Vauchez + Lieutenant Selchauhansen (Danish officer) were killed
– from 113 legionnaires, 34 were killed + 47 seriously wounded
– the battle is commemorated annually by the 2e REI during El Moungar Day

1916, at Ain Ageri, in the Taza region of Morocco, 2nd Mounted Company, 2e RE got involved in fighting with local rebels to support surrounded French colonial troops
– the enemy was fought off

1949, fierce fighting with the Viet Minh for legionnaires from 1er BEP near Cam Trach, in the region of Hanoi, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– a Viet Minh company was almost destroyed

– on the picture, the 2e REI celebrates 2015 El Moungar Day at their HQ of Nimes

 

French Foreign Legion: September 03

1907, during a fight with local rebels at the Sidi Moumen range near Casablanca, during the first stage of Pacification of Morocco, the 6th Battalion, 1er RE lost its commander, Major Provost

1944, Liberation of Lyon, France
– legionnaires from 13e DBLE (Half Brigade) took part in

1946, in Morocco, GCMP/3 (3e REI’s Mounted and Motorized Companies’ Group) became an independent unit and was redesignated to GCPLEM (Moroccan Motorized Companies’ Group)
– its units were, along with the CSPLE Saharan Company, the only combat elements remaining in North Africa 1944-45 to maintain order there, while the rest of the Foreign Legion fought in Europe
– another curiosity of the GCMP/3 is that during 1943-45 it was part of the 3e REI, which had been disbanded (since June 1943) and administratively didn’t exist
– GCMP/3 also keep the last French mounted company within its ranks
– in 1947, GCPLEM became GPLEM (Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group)
– it served in Morocco until 1956, the year it consolidated with 4e REI (the regiment disbanded in 1964)

– 1949, Attack of Loung Phai
– in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a French supply convoy was attacked by the Viet Minh at the Loung Phai pass
– over 100 people were massacred, including several civilians and legionnaires from 3e REI, accompanying the convoy
– 55 vehicles were completely destroyed, including those from CLT2/503 (Legionnaire Transportation Company)

1977, at Quartier Lapasset, Castelnaudary (southern France), RILE (Foreign Legion Training Regiment) received the regimental colors of the old 4e REI (1920-64)
– in 1980, the RILE became 4e RE

– on the picture, Dodge 6×6 + Jeep + AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) armored cars of the GPLEM (ex-GCMP/3) in southern Morocco, 1954

 

French Foreign Legion: September 04

1837, first four companies of the 2nd Battalion of the “New” Foreign Legion (the Old one was handed over to Spain in 1835) were established

1907, 1st Battalion, 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) landed at Casablanca, Morocco
– it formed a Regimental Combat Team with the 6th Battalion, 2e RE, having been stationed at Casablanca for two days already
– the 2e RE’s Team would participate in the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)

1914, 3e RM (Regimental Combat Team) of the 1er RE (Foreign Regiment) was established in Paris, France to fight on the Western Front of World War I
– the unit was disbanded in July 1915

1949, Operation Cobra ended for legionnaires from 1st + 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half Brigade)
– it took place between the Canal of Ong Kho and the Mekong River in the Hoc Mon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina

– on the photo, a vanguard composed of legionnaires near Casablanca, Morocco, 1907-08

 

French Foreign Legion: September 05

1833, two Legion companies made part of a French detachment commanded by Colonel Bernelle, then Legion’s commander, during a rescue mission in the Guerra region, Algeria
– during a mission, the column was attacked by local rebels
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1864, during French intervention in Mexico (1861-67), Lt Col Carteret-Trecourt seized Yanhuitlan with two battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion), which he commanded

1914, in the Taza region of Morocco, 2nd Mounted Company, 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) got involved in fighting with local rebels near Koudiat El Biad
– legionnaire Rosow was killed

1942, in Senegal (West Africa), first insignes were distributed to legionnaires of 4e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the unit was formed in August 1941 under the old flag of the disbanded 4e REI, to maintain order in then French colony
– after the French in North Africa joined the Allies in November 1942, the 4e DBLE moved back to join the Allied campaign in Tunisia in 1943
– there, it became 1er REIM (Regimental Combat Team) and helped to win the campaign
– 1er REIM was disbanded in May 1943

1960, Operation Domino Foxtrot for legionnaires from 5e REI (Infantry Regiment) at Oued Tamanart in the Collo region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, at least 6 rebels were killed

– on the very rare picture, a group of legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLE in Senegal in 1942, during an exercise with 25 mm canons + the 4e DBLE insignia…

 

French Foreign Legion: September 06

1952, Operation Caiman ended near Thanh Huong, in the Hue and Quang Tri regions of central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from 1st + 6th + 7th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved in
– during three days, about 600 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 1,400 rebels were imprisoned

1959, legionnaires from 4e REI started a military operation in the Edough mountains of the Bone region, north-eastern Algeria

– also in 1959, Operation Rubis started for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) near Serdj El Ghoul in the region of Setif, north-eastern Algeria
– the operation was the first phase of Operation Pierres Precieuses, which lasted until May 1960

– on the picture, a Crab (M29 Weasel) tracked vehicle of 1er REC, during an operation in French Indochina in 1952

 

French Foreign Legion: September 07

1856, two battalions of the 2e RE arrived at Oran, western Algeria to take ship for Algiers, eastern Algeria to participate in an operation to calm down rebellions in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria
– the battalions were commanded by Lt Col Martinez
– he joined the Legion in 1840, after he had been fighting as a Carlist in Spain against the original Foreign Legion (nicknamed Old Legion now, 1831-39)
– in 1859, as a colonel, he became the commanding officer of the 1er RE

1917, in the Taza region of Morocco, Bou Denib Mixed Battalion got involved in fighting with local rebels near Dar El Beida, while guarding a supply column going to Tighmart
– the rebels were fought off
– the battalion, a very little-known unit, was composed of two Legion companies and two companies of French semi-penal Africa Battalions

1953, during Operation Claude, legionnaires from 2e BEP were attacked by two Viet Minh companies near Nam Du Thuong, in the Hanoi region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2e BEP lost 8 men + 22 were wounded
– Viet Minh lost 55 men + 5 men were imprisoned

1956, a military operation for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) at Djebel Bottena in the region of Tebessa, north-eastern Algeria

– also in 1956, 2nd + 3rd Company, 2e REP took part in a military operation in the Philippeville region of north-eastern Algeria

– on the picture, 2e REP legionnaires ready to jump, Algeria, 1956

 

French Foreign Legion: September 08

1855, Battle of Malakoff
– the battle was part of the Crimean War (1854-55)
– the French army under General MacMahon successfully stormed the Malakoff redoubt, part of the fortifications of Sevastopol located south of the Crimean capital
– 100 legionnaires (from 1er RE) led by Second Lieutenant Valliez took part in the battle
– the battle resulted in fall of Sevastopol next day

1952, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI were attacked near Dong Hue, in the Hai Duong region of the Tonkin Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Lieutenant Mazars + several legionnaires were killed

– 1960, Operation Ariege started for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) in the regions of Bou Hammama, Biskra and Khenchela of northern Algeria

– on the picture, The Attack on the Malakoff by William Simpson, published in October 1855

 

French Foreign Legion: September 09

1855, Siege of Sevastopol ended
– Sevastopol, the capital of the Crimea, Russian Empire
– the siege occured between September 1854 – September 1855
– the fall of Sevastopol was a result of the successful Battle of Malakoff a day earlier, conducted by French forces, including 100 legionnaires

1916, during the Balkans Campaign of WWI, the Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) got involved in fighting with Bulgarian soldiers in today’s Macedonia
– Bulgarians were fought off and positions of Cor and Rakiti were seized

1946, re-established three months earlier in Algeria, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) was temporarily deactivated because of a budget deficit
– its legionnaires re-joined the Legion’s HQ of Sidi Bel Abbes
– the unit was reactivated two months later, in November
– 2e REC was stationed in Morocco to maintain order there and, later, to train young legionnaires for cavalry units serving in French Indochina

1952, 19th Company, 5th Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh near La Mat, in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Sergeant Lemière + several local auxiliaries (who made the majority of the battalion) were killed

1955, first elements of 2e REI (Infantry Regiment) left Tunisia for Morocco
– 2e REI returned to Morocco after more than 10 years

1983, 2e REI left Corsica for Nimes, France
– the unit had been based in Corsica, at Corte and Bonifacio, since its reactivation in 1972

– on the rare photo taken probably in 1856, damaged Sevastopol after the siege…

 

French Foreign Legion: September 10

1833, elite companies from 1st + 2nd Battalion of the Foreign Legion were assigned to a French column moving in the Blida region of Algeria to guard it against local rebels

1952, Major Rémy Raffalli, the famous commander of 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) died of his injuries in the military hospital of then Saigon, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– on September 1, he was shot near Chuyen My Truong Ha, close to Saigon, during his last operation conducted in French Indochina, two days before his prescribed sojourn in Indochina has to terminate
– member of the Legion since 1949, Major Raffalli served with 3e BEP in Algeria (North Africa) before his deployment to Indochina to join 1er BEP
– he took the command of the 2e BEP on September 12, 1950
– the current military base of the 2e REP in Corsica, Camp Raffalli, is named after him

– on the picture, seriously wounded Major Raffalli is saluting his 2e BEP legionnaires before moving to the hospital of Saigon, where he died of his injuries a few days later, in the early morning of September 10, 1952…
– note the original designation of the 2e REP’s camp in the late 1960s – Raffali with only one L

 

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