Foreign Legion events: September 01 – 10

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between September 01 and September 10. Learn about famous operations, campaigns, battles, activations or dissolutions of units and other important Foreign Legion historical events which happened from 1831 to these days. Every day is supplemented with a picture.

To see all historical events, go back to: French Foreign Legion – Historical Events


French Foreign Legion: September 01

1908, Attack on Bou Denib
– a rebel attack in Morocco
– aimed at the Bou Denib post
– the post was defended by Major Fesch + some 90 French troops
– between them, elements from 24th Mounted Company, 1er RE
– Captain Maury and his 40 legionnaires
– the post was attacked by around 15,000 local rebels
– the attacks took 18 hours
– the post was eventually defended
– the enemy was fought off
– 7 legionnaires were wounded
– 168 rebels were killed
– some 350 rebels were wounded

1930, 5th Foreign Infantry Regiment
– in Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam), 5e REI was established
– a Foreign Legion unit, nicknamed as Regiment of Tonkin
– it grouped all Legion battalions stationed in then French Indochina
– 5e REI legionnaires took part in the 1941 Franco-Thai War
– also in clashes with the Japanese in 1945
– 5e REI was deactivated in mid-1945
– reactivated in Indochina in 1949
– 5e REI took part in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in 1956, it moved to North Africa
– there, the unit was involved in the Algerian War 1956-62
– reorganized in 1963, it moved to French Polynesia
– to build and guard a new French nuclear testing site
– the 5th Foreign Regiment was disbanded in 2000

1953, 1st Heavy Mortar Foreign Parachute Company
– in then French Indochina, 1re CEPML was established
– a Foreign Legion airborne artillery unit
– based at Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– assigned to the 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion)
– it participated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954)
– the company was annihilated there
– 1re CEPML was officially disbanded in May 1954

1972, 2nd Foreign Regiment reactivated
– in Corsica, 2e RE (now 2e REI) was reactivated
– the longest-serving unit of the Foreign Legion
– deactivated in January 1968
– after having left Algeria as the last Foreign Legion regiment
– in 1983, the regiment left Corsica
– it moved to Nimes, southern France

1977, Foreign Legion Training Regiment
– in southern France, RILE was established
– the first ever training regiment of the Foreign Legion
– based at Castelnaudary
– in 1980, it became 4e RE (Foreign Regiment)

– in the image, 5e RE legionnaires at Mururoa Atoll, in the mid-1980s

5e RE - 5 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Tahiti - Mururoa - 1980s


French Foreign Legion: September 02

1903, Battle of El Moungar
– a severe battle with rebels in western Algeria
– near El Moungar, a waterhole north of Taghit
– a town in the Bechar region
– 22nd Mounted Company, 2e RE (currently 2e REI) participated
– two platoons comprising 113 men under Captain Vauchez
– protecting a camel train going to the Sahara
– they were attacked by around 250-300 Moroccan Berbers
– the battle took almost eight hours
– Captain Marie-Louis Vauchez and Lieutenant Christian Selchauhansen (a Danish officer) were killed
– 34 legionnaires were also killed
– another 47 legionnaires were seriously wounded
– today, the battle is commemorated annually
– on El Moungar Day, the 2e REI’s holiday

1916, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– an action during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– it took place at Ain Ageri, in the Taza region
– 2nd Mounted Company, 2e RE were involved
– in support of surrounded French colonial troops
– the enemy was successfully fought off

1949, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– near Cam Trach, in the region of Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) were involved
– a Viet Minh company was destroyed

– in the photo, the 2e REI celebrates 2017 El Moungar Day

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - France - El Moungar - 2017


French Foreign Legion: September 03

1907, Major Jean Provost killed
– a battalion commander with the Foreign Legion
– the very first Foreign Legion officer killed in Morocco
– during the first stage of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– in a battle with local rebels at Sidi Moumen near Casablanca
– Major Jean Provost (also Provot) led 6th Battalion, 1er RE back then

1923, Battle of Ait Bazza
– a severe battle with Moroccan rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– near Ait Bazza, in the Imouzzer Marmoucha region
– 1st Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– 33 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1946, Moroccan Motorized Companies Group
– in Morocco, GCPLEM was established
– an independent motorized unit of the Legion
– ex-GCMP/3 (Mounted and Motorized Companies Group, 3e REI)
– one of the few combat elements remaining in North Africa in 1944-45
– to maintain order there during WWII
– mainly German and Italian legionnaires (mostly ex-POW prisoners)
– the rest of the Foreign Legion fought in Europe
– the last French mounted company also served within GCPLEM
– in 1947, GCPLEM was redesignated
– it became GPLEM (Moroccan Motorized Group)
– the little-known unit served in Morocco until 1956
– the same year, it merged with 4e REI

1949, Attack of Loung Phai
– a Viet Minh attack in then French Indochina
– at the Loung Phai pass, in the That Khe region of Northern Vietnam
– aimed at a French supply convoy
– accompanied by legionnaires from 3e REI
– over 100 people were massacred
– including several 3e REI legionnaires
– over 50 vehicles were completely destroyed
– including those from CLT 2/503 (becoming later CTLE 3/516)

– in the image, Dodge 6×6 + Jeep + AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) armored cars of the GPLEM (ex-GCPLEM) in southern Morocco, 1954

GPLEM - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Morocco - 1954


French Foreign Legion: September 04

1914, 3rd Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE
– in Paris in France, 3e RM, 1er RE was established
– a provisional combat unit to fight during WWI
– consisting of foreign volunteers enlisting for the war period
– Italians, Belgians and Russians in the majority
– more than 2,100 men together
– assigned to the Foreign Legion
– the unit would fight on the Western Front (France)
– 3e RM, 1er RE would be dissolved in July 1915

1918, in then French Indochina, a rebel attack
– carried out by Chinese rebels
– aimed at the Coc Pau outpost
– located in Northern Vietnam, on the border with China
– held by legionnaires from Autonomous Company, 1er RE
– the legionnaires successfully fought off the attackers
– the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina since 1916
– consisting of around 200 legionnaires
– Germans and Austrians in the vast majority
– the company’s detachments occupied several isolated outposts
– they were situated in the troubled Vietnamese region bordering China

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

– in the picture, men of a Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE in France, 1915

Legionnaires - Foreign Legion Etrangere - France - 1915


French Foreign Legion: September 05

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

1864, Yanhuitlan seized by the Legion
– an action during French intervention in Mexico (1861-67)
– in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico
Yanhuitlan was seized by legionnaires
– two battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion)
– the operation was led by Lt Colonel Carteret-Trecourt
– the then commander of the regiment

1914, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– near Koudiat El Biad, in the Taza region
– 2nd Mounted Company, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– a Russian legionnaire was killed

1957, in Algeria, a military operation
– near Tadjrouna, in the Laghouat region
– the operation was aimed at local rebels
– carried out by 1st + 6th Motorized Company, 2e REI
– 20 rebels were captured

– in the photo, 2e REI legionnaires watching their Dodge 6×6 during an operation in Algeria in 1957

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Algeria - 1957


French Foreign Legion: September 06

1952, Operation Caiman ended
– a three-day large operation in then French Indochina
– near Thanh Huong, in the Hue and Quang Tri regions, Central Vietnam
– legionnaires from 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) and 5e REI were involved
– hundreds of Viet Minh rebels were killed

1959, Operation Rubis started
– a military operation in northeastern Algeria
– the first phase of Operation Pierres Precieuses (Sep 1959 – Sep 1960)
– a successful action in the Constantine region
– aimed at rebel groups crossing the Algeria-Tunisia border
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved

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

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Indochina - 1952


French Foreign Legion: September 07

1896, Pacification of Madagascar started for the Legion
– a large island located in the Indian Ocean, close to Africa
– the island was annexed by France
– during the Second Madagascar Expedition (1895)
– in 1896, rebellions started on the island
– September 7, first legionnaires landed at Tamatave, Madagascar
– Major Cussac and his detachment of the 2e RE (2e REI now)
– two companies (Captain Flayelle + Captain Deleuze)
– in late September, Foreign Legion Madagascar Battalion was established
– to take part in following operations
– last legionnaires left Madagascar in July 1905

1908, Battle of Djorf
– a fierce five-hour battle in Morocco
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– it took place at Djorf, close to Bou Denib
– a French military column against local rebels
– the column was commanded by Colonel Alix
– the then commanding officer of the 2e RE (now 2e REI)
– two battalions from 2e RE and 1er RE took part
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– 25 French troops were wounded
– up to 300 rebels were killed

1917, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– near Dar El Beida, in the Bou Denib region
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion were involved
– a little-known semi-penal unit
– composed of two Legion companies and two companies of the French semi-penal African Battalions
– the battalion was protecting a supply column going to Tighmart
– they were attacked by local rebels
– the enemy was successfully fought off

1932, in Morocco, a battle with local rebels
– at Djebel Tazigzaout, in the Ouarzazate region
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– Mounted Company, 2e REI + 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– the Legion units suffered several losses
– between the killed, Lieutenant Vladimir Alexandroff + Lieutenant Denux

1953, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– during Operation Claude
– an operation in the Hanoi region, northern Vietnam
– the battle took place near Nam Du Thuong
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) were involved
– 2e BEP suffered 8 men killed + 22 were wounded
– 55 rebels were killed
– 5 rebels were imprisoned

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– at Djebel Darmoun, in the Tebessa region
– 2e REP (Parachute Regimnet) participated
– 21 rebels were imprisoned

– in the old postcard, a 2e RE machine gun platoon in the Bou Denib region, Morocco, around 1908

2e RE - 2 RE - Legionnaires - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Morocco - 1908


French Foreign Legion: September 08

1855, Battle of Malakoff
– a major battle during the Crimean War (1853-56)
– a part of the Siege of Sevastopol
– the then capital of the Crimea, Russian Empire
Malakoff was a redoubt located south of the capital
– part of the Russian fortifications of Sevastopol
– successfully stormed by French troops
– they were led by General MacMahon
– a detachment from 1er RE participated in the battle
– Second Lieutenant Valliez and 100 legionnaires
– the battle resulted in the fall of Sevastopol on the next day
– the Crimean War was a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia

1944, Ain Beida rail accident
– a rail accident in northeastern Algeria
– it occurred near Ain Beida
– between Constantine and Tebessa
– a train carrying legionnaires derailed
– they belonged to CSPL
– Saharan Motorized Company (1re CSPL since 1946)
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– 12 legionnaires were wounded

1952, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– near Dong Hue, in the Hai Duong region, Northern Vietnam
– 1st Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– Lieutenant Henri Mazars + several legionnaires were killed

1960, Operation Ariege started for 2e REP
– a military operation in northern Algeria
– in the Aures Mountains
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) participated
– during next weeks, 95 rebels would be killed by the regiment
– 3e REI and 5e REI also participated

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

Crimea - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Attack on the Malakoff - 1855 - William Simpson


French Foreign Legion: September 09

1855, Siege of Sevastopol ended
– the then capital of the Crimea, Russian Empire
– besieged by French and British troops
– the siege occured between September 1854 – September 1855
– part of the Crimean War (1853-56)
– the fall of Sevastopol was a result of the successful Battle of Malakoff
– legionnaires from 1er RE took part in the battle
– the Crimean War was a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia

1952, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– near La Mat, in the Hai Duong region of Northern Vietnam
– 19th Company, 5th Battalion, 3e REI participated
– a unit consisting of local auxiliaries led by Legion leaders
– Sergeant Lemière + several auxiliaries were killed

1983, 2e REI to leave Corsica for France
– that day, first 2e REI legionnaires started to leave Corsica
– they would move to Nimes, southern France
– 2e REI had been stationed in Corsica since its reactivation in 1972
– at Corte and Bonifacio
– in late 1967, 2e REI was the last Legion regiment to leave North Africa
– in early November 1983, it was fully stationed in Nimes
– 2e REI has been based at Caserne de Chabrières

– in the photo, an anti-tank platoon (Jeeps equipped with MILAN sytems) of 2e REI inside the barracks at Bonifacio, Corsica, 1982

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Bonifacio - Corsica - 1982


French Foreign Legion: September 10

1925, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– near Djebel en Nahir, in the Taza region
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– 7th Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– that day, 7 men were killed
– including Lieutenant Brias + Lieutenant René Voisin

1952, Major Rémy Raffalli died from his injuries
– the famous French officer of the Legion
– very popular among his legionnaires
– the then commander of 2e BEP
– Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now
– badly wounded on September 1
– by the Viet Minh, during a military operation
– near Chuyen My Truong Ha, in the then Saigon region
– in Southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– he was wounded two days before his prescribed two-year-long stay in Indochina ended
– Major Raffalli died from his injuries in the military hospital
– member of the Legion since 1949
– he joined it as a young French officer
– Rémy Raffalli served with 3e BEP in Algeria
– Parachute Battalion, changed to 3e REP later
– in 1950, he moved to Indochina
– to take part in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– he took command of the 2e BEP in September 1950
– today, Camp Raffalli is named after him
– the current military base of the 2e REP near Calvi, Corsica

– in the image, for the last time, seriously wounded Major Raffalli is saluting his 2e BEP legionnaires, before being sent to the hospital in Saigon, where he died from his injuries in the early morning of September 10, 1952
– note the original designation of the 2e REP’s camp in the late 1960s – Raffali with one L

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Rémy Raffalli - 1952


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: August 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: September 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history