Foreign Legion events: September 21 – 30

Get to know the most interesting events in French Foreign Legion’ history. Important campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Explore the significant Foreign Legion events which occurred between September 21 and September 30.

 

French Foreign Legion: September 21

1833, two Legion elite companies participated in a military operation commanded by Colonel Bernelle, then Legion’s commander, at Coleah, Algeria
– several attacks conducted by local rebels were fought off

1916, during the Balkans Campaign of WWI, the Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) got involved in fierce fighting with Bulgarian soldiers in today’s Macedonia
– the fights took place near Petrobak
– the battalion had 17 men killed, including Captain Azan

1950, at Dong Lieu in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Company, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh

1955, Operation Timgad started
– it took place near Cheria, Tebessa region, north-eastern Algeria
– it lasted until October 3
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) + 2e REI (Infantry Regiment, based in Tunisia at that time) + 21e CPLE, 22e CPLE, 23e CPLE (Motorized Companies, which became Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group, GPLEA in 1956) + 1re CSPL, 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Companies) participated in
– dozens of rebels were killed during the operation

– on the very rare image, 22e CPLE at its Dodges 6×6, Algeria, 1955

22e CPLE - 22 CPLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Algeria 1955

 

French Foreign Legion: September 22

1870, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) has to participate in the Franco-Prussian War (July 1870 – May 1871)
– that day, the commanding officer of the Foreign Regiment, based in Algeria, obtained an order to form two battalions with 1,000 men, excluding German legionnaires, to be deployed to France to join the war

1953, Operation Brochet started in the Hung Yen region of the Red River Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from 1er BEP, 2e BEP (2e REP now), 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment, its 8th + 18th Squadron), 2e REI (1st Battalion), 5e REI (2nd + 3rd Battalion), 13e DBLE (Half Brigade, its 2nd + 3rd Battalion) took part in
– the operation lasted three weeks
– two Viet Minh regiments were destroyed during the operation

1955, during Operation Timgad near Cheria, Tebessa region, north-eastern Algeria, 5th + 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 2e REI (based in Tunisia at that time), got involved in fighting with rebels
– 21 rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Grandsard (6th Company’s commander) + 4 of his legionnaires were also killed

– on the photo, 2e BEP during Operation Brochet, September 1953

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Operation Brochet - 1953

 

French Foreign Legion: September 23

1924, clashes with Druze rebels in the Sweida (Soueida in French) region of southern Syria for 5th Battalion, 4e REI (Infantry Regiment)

1940, Battle of Dakar (also known as Operation Menace) started
– the battle occurred between September 23-25
– an unsuccessful attempt to seize the capital of Senegal in then French West Africa
– Free French Forces of General de Gaulle, including 14e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade, future 13e DBLE) attacked the French colony
– Free French Forces were the then part of British forces
– they were fought off by regular French troops

1950, Operation Po Ma
– launched as a response to the Battle of Dong Khe, in which 2nd Battalion, 3e REI suffered heavy casualties
– it took place in the Po Ma valley of the That Khe region, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, not far from the Dong Khe
– 1er BEP + Commando composed of local auxiliaries (assigned to the 1er BEP) led by Sergeant Holland (1er BEP) and his deputy, a former Viet Minh officer, participated in
– they got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh
– the enemy was fought off, several Viet Minh members were killed
– 12 Viet Minh men were imprisoned
– very important documents were discovered by the Commando, mapping the unit designations, positions and material of the Viet Minh in the region
– the documents stated that there are up to 18 Viet Minh battalions (over 10,000 men) in the region of Dong Khe
– however, the French command didn’t use this knowledge well
– the French units were ordered to withdraw their positions through Dong Khe
– within two weeks, around 4,000 of French soldiers, legionnaires and local auxiliaries were lost during the Battle of Route Coloniale 4, including the whole 1er BEP, the first French parachute battalion ever lost in combat

– on the photo, 1er BEP after a battle in French Indochina, early 1950s…

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Po Ma 1950

 

French Foreign Legion: September 24

1957, Capture of Saadi Yacef
Saadi Yacef was the military chief of the rebel’s Autonomous Zone of Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– he was captured by legionnaires of the 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the operation helped to end the Battle of Algiers, a year-long campaign of urban guerrilla warfare

1960, Operation Cigale ended
– it took place in the then Vialar region (now Tissemsilt), northen Algeria since the end of July
– legionnaires from 1er REP took part in
– during the operation, 115 rebels were killed

2006, 3rd Company, 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) took ship in Beirut, Lebanon to return to France
– between July-August, it participated in Operation Baliste to evacuate some 4,000 French citizens from Lebanon

– on the image, 3rd Company, 1er REG is leaving Lebanon, 2006

1er REG - 1 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Operation Baliste - Lebanon 2006

 

French Foreign Legion: September 25

1856, an operation started to calm down rebellions in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria
– two battalions of the 2e RE (Regiment Etranger, 2e REI now) participate in
– that day, several fights took place
– 2 officers + 3 legionnaires were killed
– 4 officers + 35 legionnaires were wounded

1915, 2nd Regimental Combat Team of the 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) started its operations near Souain of the Champagne region, northeastern France
– these operations were part of the battles on the Western Front during WWI

1955, during Operation Timgad, legionnaires from 7th Company, 2e REI got involved in fighting with local rebels near Djeurf in the Draa El Melah region, north-eastern Algeria
– 3 rebels were killed

1983, 3rd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) took ship in Beirut, Lebanon to return to France
– between May-September, it participated in the Multinational Force in Lebanon, a considerably chaotic peacekeeping mission, in which peacekeeping soldiers faced the escalation of a civil war
– dozens of French soldiers were killed, including many legionnaires
– 2e REI + 2e REP also took part in

– on the photo, 1er REC and its AML armored cars in Lebanon, 1983

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Lebanon 1983 - AML

 

French Foreign Legion: September 26

1915, during WWI, 2e RM (Regimental Combat Team) of the 2e RE and the 2e RM of 1er RE positions were shelled with German artillery at their positions in the Somme region, northern France
– that day, they lost 209 men, including 15 men killed

1946, a task force composed of legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 2e REI got involved in fierce fighting near the canal of Cau An Ha in the Saigon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– a long-serving Czech legionnaire, Adjudant-Chef Frantisek “Francis” Vejmelek, was killed, together with another NCO, Sergeant Klein + another 2 legionnaires
– Lieutenant De Grimouard and several legionnaires were wounded

1949, Operation Engraissor for legionnaires from 3rd Company, 2e BEP (now 2e REP) in the Thu Dau Mot region of southern Vietnam

1955, legionnaires from 6th Motorized Company, 3e REI were attacked by rebels near Lambaesis in the Batna region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the attack, Sergeant Khaak + legionnaire Westerweller were killed

– on the image, an M3 Scout Car of the 6th Motorized Company, 3e REI during a patrol in the Batna region of Algeria, 1955

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - M3 Scout car - Algeria 1955

 

French Foreign Legion: September 27

1855, during the Crimean War, the Foreign Legion brigade was attacked by Cossacks in the valley of Baidar, Crimea, Russian Empire
– Captain Leclerc + Sergeant Marini + a legionnaire were killed

1883, Tonkin Campaign in French Indochina started for the Foreign Legion
– that day, its 1st Battalion (about 600 men, commanded by Major Donnier) took ship at Algiers, the capital of Algeria to be deployed to Asia to participate in operations in Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam)

1917, then General Petain (later Marshal) awarded the regimental color of the RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, 3e REI now) with the Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (Cross of the Legion of Honor), the highest French civil and military award
– during WWI, RMLE became one of the two most awarded units of the French Army

1953, near Ban Phou Sinam in the Nam Suong region of northern Laos, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 8th Company, 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– 4 legionnaires were killed

– on the picture, the regimental color of RMLE with the Cross of the Legion of Honor (the red one above) in 1918

RMLE - standard - flag - drapeau - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1918

 

French Foreign Legion: September 28

1915, during the second offensive of Champagne of WWI, 2e RM (Regimental Combat Team) of the 2e RE and the 2e RM of 1er RE launched an attack against German positions located around the Navarin farm, close to Souain-Perthes, northern France
– during the attack, both teams lost 955 men

1951, Operation Mandarine started
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI and 3rd + 4th Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved in
– the two-week-long operation took place in the Hung Yen region in the Tonkin Delta of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during the operation, over 1,200 Viet Minh soldiers were killed

1953, legionnaires from 21st Company, 61e BG (Engineer Battalion), were attacked by the Viet Minh in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam
– Legionnaire Di Blasi was killed
– 21st Company was composed of legionnaires
– 61e BG was a French regular engineer unit
– in Indochina 1946-55, several Legion companies were administratively assigned to French regular engineer battalions

1958, Operation Referendum started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the operation took place in Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– the legionnaires maintained order during the French National Referendum of September 28, held after the 1958 May Putsch conducted by General de Gaulle

– on the photo, in then French Indochina in November 1951, General de Lattre de Tassigny decorates the banner of the 3rd Battalion, 5e REI

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Indochina 1951

 

French Foreign Legion: September 29

Saint Michael Day (Saint Michel in French)
– Saint Michael the Archangel is the patron of all French paratroopers
– every year on September 29, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) of the Foreign Legion commemorates its patron
– Saint Michael Day is the holiday for 2e REP legionnaires

1955, 2e GA (Amphibious Group), 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) left Indochina for North Africa
– it consisted of three squadrons
– in North Africa, it moved to Morocco to be assigned to the 2e REC
– 2e GA became its Motorized Squadrons’ Group, GEP

1959, legionnaires from 4e REI (Infantry Regiment) took part in a military operation in the Bone region of north-eastern Algeria, close to Tunisia

1962, the exhumed bodies of General Rollet (Father of the Legion), Major Aage de Danemark (Danish prince) and legionnaire Zimmermann (the last legionnaire of 1er RE killed in action during the Algerian War), buried at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria, were transported to the cemetery of Puyloubier, close to Aubagne, southern France
– during Sep-Oct 1962, the Foreign Legion’s HQ had to leave Algeria to be based in southern France

– on the photo, General Jean Maurin, the then Chief of the Foreign Legion, during 2015 Saint Michel Day in the 2e REP’s Camp Raffalli of Calvi, Corsica
– General Maurin himself started his military career in the 2e REP, as a platoon leader, in 1983

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 Saint Michel Day in the 2e REP

 

French Foreign Legion: September 30

1842, fierce fighting with local rebels for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, future 1er RE) in the Oran region of Algeria

1852, fighting against local rebels at Ouled Mahouh, Algeria
– 600 legionnaires from 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (2e RLE, now 2e REI) took part in

1856, a fierce battle in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria
– a battalion of the 2e RE (2e REI now) participate in
– Sergeant Major Wagner was killed
– 12 legionnaires were wounded

1940, GRDI 97, a division recce group, was officially disbanded
– it was created in 1940 to take part in the Battle of France (May-June 1940) of WWII
– GRDI 97 was composed of legionnaires from 1er REC and 2e REC (Cavalry Regiments)
– during the fights, the group lost its commander (Lt Col de La Tour) + two thirds of its strength (about 400 men of 650)

1959, clashes with rebels for legionnaires from 3rd Motorized Company, 2e REI in the Geryville region of western Algeria

1999, 2e REG (Engineer Regiment), the unit established in July of the same year, received the regimental color at its HQ of Saint Cristol, France

– on the photo, the 2e REG legionnaires lined up at Quartier Maréchal Koenig, their HQ located near Saint-Christol, France, in 2016

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Quartier Maréchal Koenig - Saint-Christol - 2016

 

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