Foreign Legion events: September 11 – 20

On this day. Explore the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between September 11 and September 20. 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 an image.

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

 

French Foreign Legion: September 11

1932, in Morocco, a battle with local rebels
– at Djebel Tazigzaout, in the Ouarzazate region
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– that day, Lieutenant Jean Anthoine was killed

1946, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– during an operation in the Phong My region of Laos
– two companies from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– at least 30 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– however, Second Lieutenant Bernard Gioan was also killed

1958, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by 3rd Battalion, 5e REI
– at Djebel El Asses, in the Tlemcen region
– at least 44 rebels were killed

1973, 3e REI landed in French Guiana
– that day, 3e REI landed in French Guiana, South America
– after 11 years spent in Madagascar (Indian Ocean)
– in French Guiana, the 3e REI would carry out several tasks
– to protect a new French space center
– to build local infrastructure
– to establish and run a jungle training center
– to guard French interests there

– in the picture, the first-ever parade for 3e REI legionnaires in French Guiana
– it took place at Cayenne, September 12, 1973

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - French Guiana - 1973

 

French Foreign Legion: September 12

1949, Operation Canigou ended
– a three-week operation in then French Indochina
– north-west of Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– the operation aimed at the Viet Minh groups in the region
– several Foreign Legion regiments took part
– 3rd Battalion, 6e REI
13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP)
– during the operation, 6 legionnaires were killed

1955, 2e REI returned to Morocco
– that day, 2e REI returned to Morocco, North Africa
– after more than 12 years
– the regiment was among first French units to deploy to Morocco in 1907
– its battalions continuously served there 1907-20 and 1921-43
– the regiment was fully stationed in Morocco in 1921
– deactivated in 1943-45
– in 1946, 2e REI deployed to French Indochina
– the first Legion unit sent to Asia after WWII
– it served in Indochina between 1946-55
– 2e REI left Morocco for Algeria a year later, in 1956

– in the photo, 2e REI legionnaires in Morocco, 1956

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Morocco - 1956

 

French Foreign Legion: September 13

1915, Future regimental standard of the RMLE
– that day, a Legion unit obrained its regimental flag
– 2nd Regimental Combat Team (2e RM), 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)
– the unit fought on the Western Front of WWI
– two months later, in November 1915, the unit was reorganized
– it merged with another Regimental Combat Team
– both units formed the Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– RMLE (future 3e REI)
– RMLE (over 3,300 men) received the flag of the 2e RM, 1er RE
– during WWI, the flag of RMLE became one of the two most decorated standards of the French Army

1948, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– in the Bac Kan region, Northern Vietnam
– 1st Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– a corporal was killed + 7 legionnaires were wounded

1957, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by 1st + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI
– in the Tlemcen region
– at least 42 rebels were killed

– in the picture, the standard of RMLE (ex-standard of the 2e RM, 1er RE) held by Lt Colonel Rollet, then commanding officer of RMLE and future “Father of the Legion”

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - regimental flag - standard - Rollet - 1917

 

French Foreign Legion: September 14

1837, Battle of Arroniz
– a successful fierce battle with Carlists in Spain
– it occurred in the Arroniz range near Estella
– in the Navarre region, northeastern Spain
– part of the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– a civil war in Spain
– fought between Carlists and Liberals (supported by France and Britain)
– the original “Old” (French) Foreign Legion was involved
– led by Colonel Lebeau
– the Carlists suffered many men killed or wounded
– the Legion also suffered losses
– Captain Antoine Zecca + 13 legionnaires were killed
– 8 officers + 55 legionnaires were wounded

– the original “Old” Legion was handed over to Spain in 1835
– to join the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– in support of Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– its men fought there until December 1838
– the significantly reduced Legion was dissolved in January 1839
– tens of its survivors joined the “New Legion” in Algeria
– the current Legion, formed in 1836

1918, Battle of Vauxaillon
– an important battle in northeastern France
– between Soissons and Laon, in the Aisne region
– on the Western Front of WWI
– to approach and break the Hindenburg Line
– a German defensive position built 1916-17
– RMLE were involved, led by Lt Colonel Rollet
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (future 3e REI)
– this action helped to end the First World War
– RMLE captured over 500 prisoners
– however, the unit also suffered heavy casualties
– 275 men were killed (including 10 officers)
– 1,158 men were wounded
– for that action, the RMLE was mentioned in dispatches
– since then, the 14th September has been commemorated annually by the 3e REI
– this regimental holiday is called Fourragere Day

1932, Turenne rail accident
– the worst accident in the Foreign Legion’s history
– it occurred in northwestern Algeria
– near Turenne (currently Sabra), in the Tlemcen region
– a train carrying a Legion battalion derailed
– it fell 66 feet (20 m) into a ravine
– 56 legionnaires were killed
– 2 officers + 215 legionnaires were wounded
– tens of them had to be amputated

1990, Operation Daguet started
– that day, several Legion units were put on alert
2e REI
1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, now 1er REG)
– to take part in Operation Daguet
– part of the Gulf War (1990-91)
– the operation was aimed at Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait
– during the operation, the French captured over 2,900 Iraqi troops
– the French suffered 10 men killed + 33 men wounded
– between the killed, at least 3 legionnaires

– in the first photo, the derailed train having fallen into a ravine near Turenne, Algeria on September 14, 1932

Turenne rail accident - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Turenne - Algeria - 1932

– in the second photo, a long-serving NCO is holding the standard of the 1er REC during Operation Daguet in Iraq, 1991

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Iraq - Operation Daguet - 1991

 

French Foreign Legion: September 15

1917, in Morocco, a military operation
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– to seize Dar El Beida in the Taza region
– 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE were involved
– a legionnaire was killed
– 6 legionnaires were wounded

1947, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– in the Nam Dinh region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– two Legion outposts were attacked
– held by 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 2e REI
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– at least 27 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the rare image, 2e REI legionnaires arriving in French Indochina, 1946

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Indochina - 1946

 

French Foreign Legion: September 16

1922, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– near Camp of Bou Yahia, close to Marrakesh
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– men of the 10th Company, 4e REI were involved
– Lieutenant Guy de Beauregard was killed
– at that time, 4e REI legionnaires (two battalions) were part of a French composite task force
– they were sent to seize the town of Ouaouizert

1946, 4th Moroccan Foreign Legion Half-Brigade
– in Morocco, 4e REI (reactivated in May) was redesignated
– it became 4e DBLEM, stationed in Meknes
– the unit was composed of two battalions + Mounted Company
– the last Mounted Company of the French Army
– 4e DBLEM maintained order in Morocco
– it also sent its legionnaires to Madagascar (1947-51), Indian Ocean
– the half-brigade became 4e REI again in 1948
– the regiment moved to Algeria in 1957
– to take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– 4e REI was disbanded in Algeria in 1964
– in 1980, its name, traditions and the flag were adopted by 4e RE
– the training regiment based in Castelnaudary, France

1950, Battle of Dong Khe started
– a three-day battle with the Viet Minh
– it took place in then French Indochina
– in the Dong Khe region of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– the outposts and the citadel of Dong Khe (the places held by legionnaires) were attacked
– attacked by two Viet Minh regiments with strong artillery support
– that day, several legionnaires were killed
– the battle would continue for next two days

1962, 2e REP in Bou Sfer
– that day, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) was stationed in Bou Sfer
Bou Sfer was the main military joint base of France in Algeria
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) was also based there
– both regiments left Bou Sfer for Corsica and France in 1967

– in the image, 2e REP legionnaires rendering homage at Camp Segretain, Bou Sfer, Algeria, in the mid-1960s

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Bou Sfer - Algeria - 1960s

 

French Foreign Legion: September 17

1925, Battle of al-Musayfirah (Messifré in French)
– a ten-hour battle with local Druze rebels in Syria
– during the early stage of the Great Syrian Revolt
– also the first French victory during the revolt
– it took place at al-Musayfirah
– a village in the Daraa region of southwestern Syria
– two Legion units were involved
– Major Kratzert and his 5th Battalion, 4e REI
– Captain Landriau and his 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the legionnaires were fortified inside the village
– they were attacked by some 3,000 Druze rebels
– after 10 hours of fierce fighting (including hand-to-hand combat), French planes arrived to support the legionnaires and helped to defeat the enemy
– hundreds of rebels were killed or wounded
– the Legion also suffered heavy losses
– 47 men were killed
– including Second Lieutenant Francois Dupetit (1er REC)
– another 83 officers and legionnaires were wounded
– both units were mentioned in the order of the Army
– the first French victory resulted in the important Capture of Suweida a week later

1949, Battle of Ban Nam
– a fierce battle with the Viet Minh in then French Indochina
– it took place at Ban Nam, in the That Khe region, Northern Vietnam
– 2nd Company, 3e REI were attacked by three Viet Minh battalions
– after several hours of fighting, the company had to withdraw
– 16 legionnaires were killed

1957, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– close to Babar, in the Khenchela region
– 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– 17 rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Michel Prud’homme + 3 legionnaires were also killed

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by legionnaires from 4e REI
– in the Philippeville region
– 18 rebels were killed

– in the very rare photos, Captain Landriau and his 4th Squadron, 1er REC during the campaign in Syria and Lebanon, 1925

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Syria - Captain Landriau - 1925

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Syria - Lebanon - Levant - 1925

 

French Foreign Legion: September 18

1881, in northwestern Algeria, a week-long military operation started
– carried out by 2nd Battalion, Foreign Legion
– some 400 legionnaires
– the operation took place in the Geryville region
– it was aimed at the Bou Alem rebel tribe
– during the operation, many rebels were captured

1950, Battle of Dong Khe ended
– a three-day battle with the Viet Minh
– it took place in then French Indochina
– in the Dong Khe region of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– the outposts and the citadel of Dong Khe (the places held by legionnaires) were attacked
– attacked by two Viet Minh regiments with strong artillery support
– the battalion suffered heavy casualties
– out of 275 legionnaires, at least 85 were killed
– over 120 legionnaires were wounded
– amost all of the survived officers and legionnaires were imprisoned
– some of them would spent four years in the captivity
– between them, Captain Allioux (HQ Company)
– only Captain Jaugeon + Lieutenant Monnet + a few legionnaires (some 13 men), forming small groups, passed the jungle and joined the 3e REI during next 10 days
– around 800 Viet Minh attackers are estimated to be killed

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– at Djebel Maouna, in the Guelma region
– 16 rebels were killed

1959, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by legionnaires from 13e DBLE (Half Brigade)
– in the Bougie region
– at least 14 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 2e REP legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, in the late 1950s

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: September 19

1892, Battle of Dogba
– a part of the Second Franco-Dahomean War
– it took place near the Gulf of Guinea, in today’s Benin (West Africa)
– hundreds of local rebels attacked the French camp at Dogba
– the battle lasted several hours
– two companies from 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– led by Major Faurax
– during the battle, over 100 rebels were killed inside the camp
– nonetheless, Major Marius Faurax was killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

1953, Operation Flandres ended
– an operation in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– took place near Tien Lang and Van Dinh
– in the Tonkin Delta of Northern Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 3e REI + 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved

1959, in northern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– during Operation Jumelles
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the clashes took place in the Kabylie region
– 1st + 2nd + 3rd Motorized Company, 3e REI were involved
– 13 rebels were killed or wounded

– in the first image, Major Faurax during the 1892 Battle of Dogba

Battle of Dogba - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Major Faurax - 1892 - Second Franco-Dahomean War

– in the second image, 3e REI legionnaires in then French Indochina, 1953

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - French Indochina - 1953

 

French Foreign Legion: September 20

1854, Battle of Alma
– a battle during the Crimean War (1853-56)
– a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia
– the battle started the Crimean campaign, a part of the war
– also the first battle fought in Crimea
– a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea
– it occurred at the Alma Heights near Sevastopol
– the then capital of Crimea, Russian Empire
– that day, a fierce French attack aimed at Russian positions
– an elite battalion (800 men) of the Legion was involved
– the attack was successful
– however, 50 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1944, RMLE + 1er REC landed in France
– that day, landings in Provence, southern France
– between them, first elements of the RMLE + 1er REC
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (future 3e REI)
– 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment
– they would take part in the Liberation of France (1944-45)
– part of WWII in Europe

1956, in western Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– near Beni Ounif, Colomb-Béchar region
– two Foreign Legion units were involved
4e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– CDRE (Disciplinary Company, led by Captain Rieux)
– 4e CSPL suffered three losses
– Lieutenant Jean Cailleux + 2 legionnaires were killed

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– in the Guelma region
– 26 rebels were killed

– in the photo, Lieutenant Jean Cailleux (left, white kepi), the 2nd Platoon’s leader of the 4e CSPL, speaking with a Legion NCO (Adjudant Gniewek) during an operation in Algeria, 1956
– Lieutenant Cailleux was killed later that year, on September 20

4e CSPL - 4 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Lieutenant Jean Cailleux - 1956

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: September 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: September 21 – 30
French Foreign Legion history