Foreign Legion events: September 21 – 30

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between September 21 and September 30. 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 21

1833, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– the operation occurred at Kolea, southwest of Algiers
– two Legion elite companies participated
– during the operation, several rebel attacks
– they were successfully fought off

1916, in then Macedonia, clashes with Bulgarians
– part of the Monastir Offensive on the Macedonian Front
– a campaign during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– it took place in then Macedonia (today’s northern Greece)
– near Petrobak and Florina
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) were involved
– legionnaires faced Bulgarian troops
– Bulgarians were part of Central Powers
– alongside Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire
– Battalion Legion fought fiercely
– the legionnaires advanced
Florina was seized by the French
– that day, Captain Azan + Second Lieutenant Finelli were killed
– 15 legionnaires were also killed
– 53 men were wounded

1955, Operation Timgad started
– in late September, a large military operation
– aimed at groups of local FLN rebels
– in northeastern Algeria, along the border with Tunisia
– mainly in the Tebessa region
– the operation started on September 21
– thousands of French troops were involved in
– between them, legionnaires from 1er REP
– also 1re CSPL, 2e CSPL and 2e REI
– also 21e CPLE, 22e CPLE, 23e CPLE (future GPLEA)
– dozens of rebels were killed
– the operation ended in October

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– at Djebel Foua, in the Bir El Ater region
– 23e CP (Motorized Company, ex-23e CPLE), GPLEA were involved
– led by Captain Camelin
– that day, 26 rebels were killed
– within two weeks, the company would merge with 2e REI

– in the rare image, Captain Camelin (with the cigarette) and his command car of the 23e CPLE during an operation in Algeria, 1956

23e CPLE - 23 CPLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Captain Camelin - Algeria - 1956

 

French Foreign Legion: September 22

1917, Battle of Thuong Thon
– a battle in then French Indochina
– with a revolted local militia group
– at Thuong Thon, in the Hanoi region, Northern Vietnam
– the battle took two hours
– legionnaires from Autonomous Company, 1er RE were involved
– 7 rebels were killed
– a legionnaire was also killed
– 4 legionnaires were wounded
– Autonomous Company was 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 held several isolated outposts
– situated in the troubled Vietnamese region bordering China

1940, Battle of Lang Son started
– a three-day battle in then French Indochina
– at Lang Son, an important town in northern Vietnam
– between French troops and the invading Japanese
– 2nd Battalion, 5e REI took part
– during the battle, several legionnaires were killed
– finally, the French had to reach an agreement with Japan

1953, Operation Brochet started
– a large three-week operation in then French Indochina
– aimed at Regiment 42 of the Viet Minh
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it took place in the Hung Yen region, Northern Vietnam
– at least 10,000 French troops were involved in
– between them, several Foreign Legion units
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP)
– 2e BEP (2e REP now)
– 8th + 18th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 1st Battalion, 2e REI
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE

1955, Battle of Draa El Melah
– a four-hour battle with local rebels in northeastern Algeria
– at Draa El Melah near Cheria, in the Tebessa region
– it occurred during Operation Timgad
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– 5th + 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– 21 rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Michel Grandsard + 4 legionnaires were also killed

– in the rare photo, 2e BEP legionnaires during Operation Brochet, 1953

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - French Indochina - 1953

 

French Foreign Legion: September 23

1950, Operation Po Ma
– an operation in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it occurred in the Po Ma valley
– in the Dong Khe region, Northern Vietnam
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) participated
– 1er BEP’s Commando also took part
– led by Sergeant Holland, composed of local auxiliaries
– they were involved in a battle with the Viet Minh
– the enemy was fought off, several Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 12 Viet Minh rebels were imprisoned
– very important documents were discovered by the Commando
– showing the strong presence of the Viet Minh in the region
– however, the French command didn’t use this knowledge well
– a week later, the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 would start
– around 4,000 of French soldiers, legionnaires and local auxiliaries would be lost
– during that battle, 1er BEP would become the first French parachute battalion ever lost in combat

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– in the T’Kout region
– 6th Motorized Company, 3e REI were involved
– several rebels were killed and wounded

– in the picture, 1er BEP legionnaires in French Indochina, in the early 1950s

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - French Indochina - 1952

 

French Foreign Legion: September 24

1925, Capture of Sweida
– an action during the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-27)
– an uprising across Mandatory Syria and Lebanon
– aimed at the French
– that day, Sweida was captured by French troops
– an important town of southern Syria
– legionnaires from 5th Battalion, 4e REI were involved

1957, Capture of Saadi Yacef
– an action during the Algeria War (1954-62)
Saadi Yacef was a well-known rebel leader
– the military chief of Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– captured by legionnaires from the 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the operation helped to end the Battle of Algiers (1957)
– a year-long campaign of urban guerrilla warfare

1960, Operation Cigale ended
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– a two-month military operation in northern Algeria
– in the Ouarsenis range, the then Vialar region (now Tissemsilt)
– legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) took part
– at least 115 rebels were killed

– in the image, 1er REP legionnaires returning from an operation, Algeria, 1960

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Algeria -  1960

 

French Foreign Legion: September 25

1856, Battle of Bordj Boghni
– a battle in northern Algeria
– during a military operation in the Kabylie region
– to calm down local rebellions
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) participated
– Lieutenant Veniard + Second Lieutenant Jandon were killed
– 3 legionnaires were also killed
– 4 officers + 35 legionnaires were wounded

1955, in northeastern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– during Operation Timgad
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the skirmish occurred near Djeurf, in the Draa El Melah region
– 7th Company, 2e REI were involved
– several rebels were killed or wounded

1983, 3rd Squadron, 1er REC to leave Lebanon
– that day, a Foreign Legion unit took ship in Beirut, Lebanon
– 3rd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the unit would return to France
– between May-September, it participated in the Multinational Force in Lebanon
– a considerably chaotic peacekeeping mission
– its peacekeeping soldiers faced the escalation of a civil war
– it was the first such mission for legionnaires
– 2e REI + 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) also took part
– during the mission, dozens of French soldiers were killed
– including many legionnaires

– in the photo, 1er REC legionnaires and their AML armored cars in Lebanon, 1983

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

 

French Foreign Legion: September 26

1915, in northeastern France, a Garman artillery attack
– aimed at Foreign Legion positions
– part of the Second Battle of Champagne (Sep-Nov 1915)
– a battle on the Western Front of WWI
– the artillery attack was aimed at two units
– 2nd Regimental Combat Team (2e RM), 2e RE (2e REI now)
– 2nd Regimental Combat Team (2e RM), 1er RE
– the Legion units suffered heavy casualties
– that day, 209 men were killed, wounded or missed

1955, in northeastern Algeria, a rebel attack
– the attack occurred near Lambaesis
– an ancient Roman town in the Batna region
– it was aimed at 6th Motorized Company, 3e REI
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– Sergeant Khaak + legionnaire Westerweller

– in 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

1883, Tonkin Campaign started for the Foreign Legion
– a French campaign (1883-86) in Southeast Asia
– in Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– that day, 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion took ship in Algiers
– the capital of Algeria, North Africa
– about 600 men, led by Major Donnier
– the battalion would deploy to Tonkin
– to take part in military operations
– against local Chinese and Vietnamese armies
– the successful campaign helped to form a new colony
– French Indochina

1917, Cross of the Légion d’Honneur for RMLE
– that day, RMLE was awarded
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (3e REI now)
– by then General Petain (later Marshal)
– the unit obtained the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits
– the Legion of Honour (Légion d’Honneur)
– during WWI, RMLE became one of the two most awarded units of the French Army

1953, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– near Ban Phou Sinam, in the Nam Suong region, northern Laos
– 8th Company, 3e REI were involved
– 4 legionnaires were killed

1959, in northern Algeria, a militray operation
– during Operation Jumelles
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the operation was carried out by 4th Motorized Company, 3e REI
– in the Kabylie region
– that day, 30 rebels were captured

– in the picture, the regimental standard of RMLE with the Cross of the Legion of Honour (the red one) in 1918

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

 

French Foreign Legion: September 28

1915, in northeastern France, a Foreign Legion attack
– aimed at German positions
– part of the Second Battle of Champagne (Sep-Nov 1915)
– a battle on the Western Front of WWI
– the attack was carried out by two units
– 2nd Regimental Combat Team (2e RM), 2e RE (2e REI now)
– 2nd Regimental Combat Team (2e RM), 1er RE
– provisional units consisting of legionnaires and foreign volunteers
– the Legion units suffered heavy casualties
– that day, 955 of their men were killed, wounded or missed

1958, Operation Referendum
– September 28, French National Referendum
– a referendum about France’s new constitution
– also about the future of French colonies
– held after the 1958 May Putsch conducted by General de Gaulle
– in Algeria, the majority voted for France
– both muslims and the French residents
– it was an important defeat for local rebels
– that day, 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) patrolled in the streets of Algiers

– in the photo, 1er REP legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, 1958

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Algeria - 1958

 

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 commemorate their patron
– Saint Michael Day is the regimental holiday for 2e REP legionnaires

1955, 2nd Amphibious Group left Indochina for North Africa
– part of the then 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 2nd Amphibious Group was a battalion-sized cavalry unit
– it participated in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the group consisted of three squadrons
– in North Africa, it moved to Morocco
– to be assigned to the 2e REC
– it became its Motorized Squadrons Group (GEP)

1962, General Rollet + Prince Aage de Danemark to France
– that day, three exhumed bodies left Algeria, North Africa
– General Paul-Frédéric Rollet (known as the Father of the Legion)
– Prince Aage de Danemark (the Danish prince who served in the Legion)
– legionnaire Heinz Zimmermann (the last legionnaire of 1er RE killed in action in Algeria)
– their remains would be transported to southern France
– a result of the freshly proclaimed Algerian independence
– Algeria served as a homeland for the Foreign Legion since the 1830s
– in 1962, the Foreign Legion’s HQ had to leave Algeria
– the three important bodies were also transported
– they were buried at the cemetery of Puyloubier
– the new cementery of the Foreign Legion
– located near Aubagne, southern France

– in the photo, 2016 Saint Michael Day inside the 2e REP’s Camp Raffalli located close to Calvi, Corsica

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Saint Michel - 2016

 

French Foreign Legion: September 30

1842, in northwestern Algeria, heavy fights with local rebels
– they took place in the Oran region
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE were involved
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (now 1er RE)

1856, in eastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Djemma, close to Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region
– 2nd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part
– led by Captain Aubry
– Sergent-major (an already dissolved rank) Wagner was killed
– 12 legionnaires were wounded

1940, Infantry Division Reconnaissance Group 97 dissolved
– in Morocco, GRDI 97 (also GRD 97) was dissolved
– a provisional cavalry unit consisting of cavalry legionnaires
– it took part in the Battle of France (May-June 1940) of WWII
– during the battle, the unit commander was killed
– Lt Colonel de La Tour
– GRDI 97 also lost two thirds of its strength
– about 400 men out of 650
– its survivors returned to Morocco and joined the 1er REC

1950, Battle of Route Coloniale 4 started
– also the Battle of RC4
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– a series of operations to withdraw Cao Bang and the region
– fought against the Viet Minh, along Colonial Road 4
– the operations lasted two weeks
– 1er BEP (later 1er REP) + 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– they faced over 10,000 Viet Minh troops
– both battalions ceased to exist during the battle
– 1er BEP became the first French airborne battalion lost in combat
– only 23 men of the 1er BEP survived the battle
– over 480 men of the battalion were killed or missed
– 3rd Battalion, 3e REI suffered also heavy casualties
– only 32 men of the battalion returned from the battle

1990, Operation Daguet
– that day, first legionnaires landed in Saudi Arabia
– to take part in Operation Daguet
– part of the Gulf War (1990-91)
– the operation was aimed at Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait
– several Foreign Legion units were involved
– 2e REI
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, now 1er REG)
– Commandos from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 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

1999, 2e REG received its flag
– that day, 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment received the regimental flag
2e REG was established in July 1999
– the youngest regiment of the Foreign Legion
– nicknamed as the “mountain regiment”
– it has been placed near Saint Cristol, southern France

– in the photo, the 2e REG’s regimental flag in Paris, 2018

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Paris - 2018

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: September 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: October 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history