Foreign Legion events: October 01 – 10

Another part of the most important events of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Significant campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Explore the historical events which occurred between October 01 and October 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: October 01

1922, 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment officially established
– in Tunisia, 1er REC was established
– the first ever cavalry regiment of the Legion
– the establishment of the regiment followed the decree released in June 1922
– 1er REC was stationed at Sousse, Tunisia

1939, 6th Foreign Infantry Regiment established
– in Syria and Lebanon, 6e REI was established
– the only regiment of the Legion placed in the Middle East
– it participated in the 1941 Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– deactivated in December 1941, 6e REI was reactivated in Tunisia in 1949
– in July 1955, reduced to a single battalion, it consolidated with the 2e REI

1945, 40th Dump Truck Company established
– close to Nimes in France, 40e CCB was established
– the very first engineer unit of the Foreign Legion constituted after WWII
– composed of German POWs (war prisoners) in the vast majority
– its purpose was to support military operations in then French Indochina
– it landed in Indochina in February 1946
– in December 1953, legionnaires left the company
– it became a French Army regular unit

1948, 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion established
– in Algeria, 2e BEP was established
– the unit participated in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it returned to North Africa in 1955 and consolidated with 3e REP
2e REP (Regiment) was constituted
– since May 1961, the only airborne unit of the Foreign Legion
– it has been stationed at Calvi, Corsica since 1967

1963, 5th Mixed Pacific Regiment established
– in Tahiti (French Polynesia), 5e RMP was established
– composed of ex-5e REI legionnaires and French Army engineers
– the original 5e REI (based in Algeria) was reduced and disbanded two months later
– 5e RMP built and then was protecting a new French nuclear test site
– it also carried out local & military infrastructure projects in French Polynesia
– in 1984, it became 5th Foreign Regiment
– the unit was disbanded in July 2000

– in the photo, a German corporal and a young Vietnamese auxiliary, both from 2e BEP, during a lunch in the jungle of French Indochina, 1951

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1951 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 02

1863, during French intervention in Mexico, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) were attacked by Mexican rebels
– the legionnaires led by Major Ligier were protecting a supply train moving on the railroad between Veracruz and Tajeria, Mexico
– the attackers were fought off
– nonetheless, Major Ligier and several legionnaires were killed

1955, fighting with local rebels for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI
– the fighting took place at Immouzer des Marmoucha, Morocco
– several rebels were killed

1959, Operation Dalhia ended
– legionnaires from 3e REI participated in
– the operation took place in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 21 rebels were killed

– in the image, the color guard of 3e REI parading at El Milia, Algeria, 1959

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 03

1950, Withdrawal of Route Coloniale 4
– the withdrawal from Cao Bang, along Route Coloniale 4 (RC4)
– part of the Battle of RC4 (Sep 30 – Oct 18)
– it took place in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– composed of two operations (Orage + Therese)
– during Operation Orage, a French column led by Lt Colonel Charton (some 2,700 people, including the 3rd Battalion of 3e REI and local auxiliaries with their families) had to leave Cao Bang, a town located on the Colonial Road 4 (RC4), north-west of Dong Khe
– Dong Khe was seized by the Viet Minh two weeks earlier (3e REI lost over 200 legionnaires there)
– there were up to 30 well-equipped Viet Minh battalions (over 15,000 men) in the region
– however, Lt Colonel Charton received an order to pass through Dong Khe
– during Operation Therese, a French task force (some 2,000 – 2,400 troops, including 500 para-legionnaires from 1er BEP – future 1er REP), led by Lt Colonel Le Page, had to support Charton’s column
– stationed south-east of Dong Khe, Le Page’ task force received an order to pass through Dong Khe to support the column
– 1er BEP had to stay there and fix the Viet MInh
– that day, its legionnaires killed around 300 Viet Minh soldiers
– in one week, almost all of these 4,000 French soldiers (including the legionnaires and local auxiliaries) were killed or imprisoned

– also in 1950, simultaneously with the Battle of RC4, the outposts located near That Khe (south of Dong Khe) and occupied by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI, were attacked by the Viet Minh
– during next two days, tens of legionnaires were killed or imprisoned
– an order was issued to leave all outposts in the That Khe region

1958, a military operation started for legionnaires from 3e REI at Oued Soudan, in the Philippeville region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 23 rebels were killed

1960, heavy fighting for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) near Ain Errich, in the M’Sila region of northern Algeria
– during the fighting, 21 rebels were killed
– 2e REC had 6 legionnaires killed and 13 wounded

1995, Operation Azalee started
– an operation to remove the provisional government of the Comoro Islands (close to Madagascar, Indian Ocean)
– the government was led by famed mercenary Bob Denard
DLEM legionnaires took part in
– the operation successfully ended three days later

– in the photo, Cao Bang in late 1950

Battle of RC4 - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1950 - Cao Bang - Vietnam - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 04

1856, in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria, the important village of Djemma was captured by elite companies (led by Captain Mariotti) from 2e RE (2e REI now)

1863, a decree was issued
– it ordered to add the name of Camerone on the regimental standard of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion)
– the famous Battle of Camerone (Mexico) of April 1863 became the most important event in the history of the Foreign Legion, commemorated annually by all legionnaires
– since then, all regimental flags within the Legion would bear the inscription Camerone 1863

1892, Battle of Poguessa
– a battle 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 troops along the river of Poguessa, near Dgebe
– the battle lasted two hours
– two companies from 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved in
– some 150 rebels were killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

1951, Battle of Nghia Lo started for 2e BEP
– in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the town of Nghia Lo located in the Yen Bai region was being attacked by the Viet Minh since early October
– on October 4, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) led by Major Raffalli was dropped over the valley of Gia Hoi to support Nghia Lo, several miles distant
– after five days of fighting, three Viet Minh regiments retreated

1952, at Xuan Nguyen in the Ke Sat region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh
– 7 legionnaires were killed + 15 were wounded
– 112 Viet Minhs were killed + 13 were imprisoned

1957, clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 1re CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– the clashes took place near the Libyan border, in the Djanet region of southeastern Algeria
– several rebels were killed

– in the rare image, 1re CSPL legionnaires parading in their traditional Saharan uniform at Djanet, Algeria, October 1957

1re CSPL - 1 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Djanet - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 05

1951, during Operation Mandarine in the Hung Yen region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a fierce battle in the village of Noi Thon, occupied by the Viet Minh
– after several hours of heavy fighting, the Viet Minh was fought off
– however, 5e REI lost tens of legionnaires in the battle

1960, Operation Ariege started
– the first phase of Operation Trident
– legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved in
– the operation took place near Ampere (Ain Azel now), in the Setif region of northeastern Algeria
– during the next two weeks, legionnaires killed 33 rebels

– in the picture, the fanion of the 3rd Battalion, 5e REI decorated in French Indochina, 1951

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

 

French Foreign Legion: October 06

1884, Battle of Lam
– during the Tonkin Campaign in French Indochina, two companies of the 2nd Battalion, Foreign Legion got involved in a severe battle with Chinese soldiers (about 4,000 men)
– the twelve-hour battle took place near the village of Lam, Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– today, this action is known as part of the Kep Campaign (Oct 1884)
– Captain Beynet + 10 legionnaires were killed

1892, Battle of Adegon
– the most important battle of the Second Franco-Dahomean War
– it took place at Adegon, the village located in then Dahomey, today’s Benin (West Africa)
– thousands of local rebels attacked the French troops
– two companies (led by Captain Battreau) from 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved in
– over 500 rebels were killed
– the French had 6 men killed

1916, during the Balkans Campaign of WWI, the Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) got involved in heavy fighting with Bulgarian soldiers in today’s Macedonia
– the fighting took place near Negocani
– Lieutenant Denizon + 13 legionnaires were killed

1946, a military operation for legionnaires from 10th Company (Captain Masselot), 3rd Battalion, 3e REI in the Sadec region of Southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– over 30 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1955, five-day clashes with Moroccan rebels ended
– they took place near Aknoul, in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– two companies from 2nd Battalion, 4e REI got involved in
– 10 legionnaires were killed
– about 30 legionnaires were wounded

1995, Operation Azalee ended
– a three-day operation to remove the provisional government of the Comoro Islands, Indian Ocean
– the government was installed during the coup in late Septemeber
– it was led by well-known mercenary Bob Denard
– DLEM (Mayotte Detachment) legionnaires, led by Captain Dupré, took part in
– in the successful operation, Bob Denard was arrested

– in the photo, DLEM legionnaires ready to take part in Operation Azalee, early October 1995

DLEM - Mayotte - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1995 - Operation Azalee

 

French Foreign Legion: October 07

1837, being part of a large French column, a Legion task force composed of some 500 legionnaires led by Major Bedeau was attacked by at least 1,200 local rebels
– the attack took place near Mansoura, in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria
– the enemy was successfully fought off

1849, heavy fighting with local rebels for a French task force, including 600 legionnaires from 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI)
– the fighting took place near Zaatcha, in the Biskra region of northeastern Algeria
– 2e RLE had 27 officers and legionnaires killed or wounded

1856, an operation aimed at local rebels near Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria
– legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved in
– that day, many rebels were killed or wounded
– however, Captain Crignier was also killed, 8 legionnaires were wounded

1924, heavy fighting with Druze rebels near Rasas, south of Sweida, southern Syria
– legionnaires from 5th Battalion, 4e REI took part in
– the battalion lost 55 men, including 3 officers

1950, Attack on Hill 477 + Battle of Coc Xa
– during the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 in then French Indochina, two major actions occurred
– 3rd Battalion, 3e REI launched a frontal assault to capture Hill 477
– the hill occupied by the Viet Minh was located near That Khe, in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam
– after heavy fighting, Hill 477 was successfully captured
– however, 3rd Battalion’s commander Major Michel Forget was killed
– the battalion captured the hill to let a French column pass safely the dangerous valley

– also during the Battle of Route Coloniale 4, Battle of Coc Xa occurred
– it took place near Dong Khe, in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam
– 1er BEP (Parachute battalion, later 1er REP) was involved in
– because of severe Viet Minh attacks, the battalion was reduced to about 140 men

– Battle of Route Coloniale 4 was a two-week battle, which started in early October
– when two French columns consisting of around 5,500 troops (including 1,100 legionnaires from 3e REI and 1er BEP) and hundreds of local civilians were leaving the dangerous region, they were attacked by at least 15,000 Viet Minh regulars
– both columns were annihilated in heavy fighting

– in the picture, Route Coloniale 4 (RC4) between Cao Bang and Dong Khe, northern Vietnam, French Indochina, late 1950
– Major Forget was killed along the RC4 on October 7, 1950

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1950 - Route Coloniale 4 - Michel Forget

 

French Foreign Legion: October 08

1870, Legionnaires left Algeria for Franco-Prussian War
– that day, two battalions (around 1,500 men in total) of the Foreign Regiment left Oran, Algeria for France to join the Franco-Prussian War (July 1870 – May 1871)
– Foreign Regiment was then title for the Legion
– German-speaking legionnaires were not allowed to participated in the war
– forming another two battalions, they stayed in Algeria to maintain order there

1950, 1er BEP + 3rd Battalion, 3e REI ceased to exist
– during the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 in then French Indochina, 1er BEP (Parachute battalion, later 1er REP) + 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were annihilated
– that day, because of heavy fighting with the Viet Minh, both units ceased to exist
– the battle took place along RC4, in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam
– 1er BEP was reduced to about 140 men the previous day
– led by their very first commander, Major Pierre Segretain, the legionnaires got involved in a fierce battle in the morning and were massacred
– Major Segretain was deadly wounded and died later that day
– only Captain Jeanpierre (the famous figure of the Legion), two lieutenants, three NCOs (2 Germans + 1 Russian) and 17 legionnaires survived
– that day, 1er BEP became the first-ever French airborne battalion lost in combat
– it had over 480 men killed or missed

– 3rd Battalion, 3e REI was placed at Hill 477, near That Khe, in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam
– the battalion captured it the previous day to let a French column pass safely the dangerous valley
– nevertheless, the lonely battalion was encircled by the Viet Minh and massacred in a following battle
– that day, the unit ceased to exist

– Battle of Route Coloniale 4 was a two-week battle, which started in early October
– when two French columns consisting of around 5,500 troops (including 1,100 legionnaires from 3e REI and 1er BEP) and hundreds of local civilians were leaving the dangerous region, they were attacked by at least 15,000 Viet Minh regulars
– both columns were annihilated in heavy fighting

1951, Battle of Nghia Lo ended
– the battle ended for legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP)
– the successful battle took place in the Yen Bai region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– its purpose was to free the town of Nghia Lo
– 2e BEP had 8 men killed (including Lieutenant Lecoeur)
– 27 men were wounded + another 19 missed
– 53 Viet Minh soldiers were killed by legionnaires

1957, Ali La Pointe killed
– a two-day-long military operation ended for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) in Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– during the operation, the second most important rebel leader Ali La Pointe was killed

1959, legionnaires from 5e REI took part in a military operation aimed at local rebel groups
– it took place near Azazga, in the Tizi Ouzou region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, at least 36 rebels were killed

– in the photo, Major Pierre Segretain, the commander of 1er BEP killed on October 8, 1950
– he had served with the Legion as a French officer since 1936

Pierre Segretain - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Battle of Route Coloniale 4

 

French Foreign Legion: October 09

1856, a three-week operation to calm down rebellions in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria successfully ended
– two battalions from 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– during the operation, 3 officers + 4 legionnaires were killed

1958, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) near Serdj El Ghoul, in the Setif region of northeastern Algeria

1960, legionnaires from 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) were involved in an operation aimed at local rebels
– the operation took place at Djebel Bou Kahil, in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– that day, at least 21 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 3e CSPL legionnaires equipped with a Jeep + Dodge 4×4 during an operation in Djelfa region of Algeria, around 1960

3e CSPL - 3 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Algeria - Dodge

 

French Foreign Legion: October 10

1880, French combined arms maneuvers ended
– French annually two-week maneuvers in the Oran region of Algeria
– they took place every year in Algeria in October, between 1875-80
– six infantry battalions, including two Legion battalions, four squadrons and two artillery batteries usually participated in

1884, Attack on Fort Chu started
– a two-day military action of the Tonkin Campaign in Southeast Asia
– also known as part of the Kep Campaign (Oct 1884)
– it took place in today’s Northern Vietnam (then Tonkin)
– French troops against Chinese soldiers
– two companies from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Legion were involved in
– Fort Chu was occupied by about 5,000 Chinese soldiers
– the fort was successfully attacked by around 2,800 French troops
– it was captured the next day, after heavy fighting
– 33 legionnaires were killed or wounded
– the Chinese were defeated and retreated

1950, Evacuation of That Khe
– an operation during the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 (Oct 1950)
– it took place in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the garrison town of That Khe served as an assembly point for survivors from two French columns (around 5,500 troops + hundreds of civilians), annihilated by about 20-30,000 Viet Minh regulars along Route Coloniale 4 in previous days
– That Khe and its military outposts had to be left
– they were occupied by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI and by two remaining companies from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI (its another two companies were annihilated last September at Dong Khe, in the same region)
– a column was formed to move to the southeast to Lang Son, close to Hanoi
– 23 survivors from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) and 32 survivors from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI returned from the jungle and joined the legionnaires at That Khe
– both battalions were annihilated two days ago, as part of the two columns
– the column of That Khe successfully arrived at Lang Son a few days later and will be transported next to Hanoi
– however, while protecting the back of the column, 4th Company of the 3e REI was isolated and attacked by the Viet Minh, and completely massacred
– 1950 Battle of Route Coloniale 4 is seen as the worst French defeat during the First Indochina War (1946-54)

– in the photo, legionnaires from 3rd Company, 3e REI operate a 120 mm mortar at Poste 41 Est, an outpost located close to That Khe, August 1950
– two months later, in early October 1950, when the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 started, the outpost was seized by the Viet Minh after a massive bloody attack

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1950 - Poste 41 Est - That Khe

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: September 21 – 30
Foreign Legion events: September 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: September 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: August 21 – 31
French Foreign Legion history