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

1832, an inspection stated that the Foreign Legion, commanded by Lt Col Mollenbeck par interim, consists of 5,538 men and has a good “esprit de corps”
– this Legion, now called as the “Old Legion”, was handed over to Spain in 1835

1836, six companies of the “New” Foreign Legion were established at Pau, France
– it formed the 1st Battalion, commanded by Major Bedeau

1915, at Matmata near Fez, in the Taza region of Morocco, 2nd Mounted Company, 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) got involved in fighting with local rebels
– legionnaire Rosow was killed

1922, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) was officially constituted
– the constitution of the regiment followed the decree released in June 1922
– its HQ was stationed at Sousse, Tunisia

1939, 6e REI was established
– its battalions were stationed in Syria and Lebanon
– 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, 40e CCB (Dump Truck Company) was established
– the very first engineer unit of the Foreign Legion constituted to take part in military operations in then French Indochina
– organized at Camp Garrigues close to Nimes, France
– composed of German POWs (war prisoners) in the vast majority
– it landed in Indochina in February 1946
– in December 1953, legionnaires left the company
– in January 1954, the company passed to the regular French Army

1948, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) was established
– until 1954, it participated in the war in French Indochina
– having returned to North Africa in late 1955, it consolidated with 3e REP
– 2e REP (Regiment) was established
– since May 1961, the 2e REP has been the only airborne unit of the Foreign Legion
– it has been stationed at Calvi, Corsica since 1967

1963, 5e RMP (Mixed Pacific Regiment) was constituted
– the unit was placed in Tahiti, French Polynesia
– composed of ex-5e REI legionnaires and French Army engineers
– the original 5e REI (based in Algeria) was reduced and disbanded two months later, on November 30, 1963
– 5e RMP had to build and secure a new French nuclear test site
– it also carried out local & military infrastructure projects in French Polynesia
– in 1984, it became 5e RE (Foreign Regiment)
– 5e RE was disbanded in July 2000, after the French nuclear program was terminated

– 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, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Regiment (the then title for the Legion), guarding a supply train going between Veracruz and Tajeria, Mexico were attacked by Mexican soldiers
– Major Ligier and several legionnaires were killed
– the attackers were fought off

1959, Operation Dalhia ended for legionnaires from 3e REI 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

1840, 5th Battalion of the Foreign Legion was established at Perpignan, southern France
– a week later, it landed at Algiers, Algeria

1950, Battle of Route Coloniale 4 started
– it took place in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam
– composed of two operations (Orage + Therese)
– during Operation Orage, a French column (some 2,700 people, including 3rd Battalion of 3e REI and local auxiliaries with their families) led by Lt Colonel Charton 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 are up to 18 well-equipped Viet Minh battalions (over 10,000 men) in the region
– however, Lt Colonel Charton received an order to pass through Dong Khe
– during Operation Therese, a French task force (some 2,400 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
– in one week, almost all of these 4,000 French soldiers (including the legionnaires and local auxiliaries) were killed or imprisoned

– simultaneously, the outposts occupied by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI located close to That Khe (south of Dong Khe), 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 (Infantry Regiment) at Oued Soudan in the Philippeville region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 23 rebels were killed

1960, heavy fights for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) near Ain Errich in the M’Sila region of northern Algeria
– during the fights, 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 led by famed mercenary Bob Denard
DLEM legionnaires took part in
– the operation successfully ended on October 6

– 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) of 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now)

1863, an order to add the name of Camerone on the regimental color 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, celebrated annually by all legionnaires

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

1951, Battle of Nghia Lo ended started for 2e BEP
– in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the outpost of Nghia Lo located in the Yen Bai region and occupied by French paratroopers, had been attacking by the Viet Minh since October 2
– on October 4, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) was dropped over the valley of Gia Hoi to support Nghia Lo, several miles distant

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 wounded
– 112 Viet Minhs were killed + 13 imprisoned

1957, clashes for legionnaires from 1re CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) near the Libyan border in the region of Djanet, south-eastern Algeria
– several rebels were killed

– in the rare image, 1re CSPL legionnaires parading in their traditional Saharan uniform in 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 Trident for legionnaires from 5e REI (Infantry Regiment) in the Khenchela region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, at least 3 rebels were killed

– also in 1960, Operation Ariege started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment, ex-1er BEP) near Ampere (Ain Azel now) in the region of Setif, north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 33 rebels were killed

– 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, during the Tonkin Campaign in French Indochina, two companies of the Foreign Legion’s 2nd Battalion got involved in fierce fighting with huge number of Chinese soldiers (about 4,000 men) near the village of Lam, Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam)
– today, this action is known as part of the Kep Campaign (Oct 1884)
– the battle lasted 12 hours
– 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 2e RE (2e REI now) companies, led by Captain Battreau, 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 fierce fighting with Bulgarian soldiers in today’s Macedonia
– the fights took place near Negocani
– Lieutenant Denizon + 13 legionnaires were killed

1946, a military operation gor 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

1995, Operation Azalee successfully ended
– an operation to remove the provisional government of the Comoro Islands led by famed mercenary Bob Denard
– DLEM legionnaires took part in
– the operation started on October 3

– 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, a large French column, incuding some 500 legionnaires, was attacked by over 2,000 local rebels near Mansourah, in the Kabylie region of Algeria
– the fights continued until October 13, when the French seized the town of Constantine

1849, French forces, including legionnaires from 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI), were attacked by local rebels near a village of Zaatcha in Algeria
– 27 officer and legionnaires were killed or wounded

1856, fighting at Ikhouchelen in the Kabylie region of Algeria for 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now)
– Captain Crignier was killed, 8 legionnaires were wounded

1924, fierce fighting with Druze rebels near Ressas, southern Syria for 5th Battalion, 4e REI (Infantry Regiment)
– the battalion lost 55 men, including 3 officers

1950, during the Battle of Route Coloniale 4, a French column (some 2,700 people, including 3rd Battalion of 3e REI and local auxiliaries with their families) led by Lt Colonel Charton was completely annihilated
– having left Cao Bang on October 3, a town located in northern Vietnam of then French Indochina, the column was ordered to pass through the town of Dong Khe, even if the Viet Minh documents discovered on Sep 22 stated that there are up to 18 well-equipped Viet Minh battalions (over 10,000 men) stationed close to Dong Khe
– 3rd Battalion of 3e REI conducted several last attacks to break the Viet Minh line
– during one of these attacks, Major Forget was killed
– he was the battalion’s commander
– that day, on October 7, 3rd Battalion of 3e REI ceased to exist
– the survived legionnaires were imprisoned
– the majority of them died in Viet Minh’s POW camps

– simultaneously, as part of the Battle of Route Coloniale 4, Operation Therese continued
– a French task force (some 2,400 troops, including 500 para-legionnaires from 1er BEP) led by Lt Colonel Le Page fought against the Viet Minh at Coc Xa, close to Dong Khe
– they were ordered to support Charton’s column
– that day, on October 7, 1er BEP was annihilated in combat and ceased to exist
– its survived legionnaires formed a Provisional Company to continue in 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, two battalions (around 1,500 men in total) of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion), excluding German legionnaires, left Oran, Algeria for France to join the Franco-Prussian War (July 1870 – May 1871)

1950, during the last phase of Battle of Route Coloniale 4, Major Pierre Segretain was killed
– he was the commander of 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
– Major Segretain had served with the Legion since 1936, in 1er REI (1er RE now), 2e REI, 6e REI, 1er REIM, RMLE (future 3e REI)
– in 1948, he joined the 1er BEP and participated in all operations of the battalion
– Major Segretain was among those 130 survivors from 1er BEP, the battalion had already lost 400 men during the battle
– within next two days, another 100 para-legionnaires were killed
– 1er BEP will become the first French parachute battalion ever lost in combat
– only its 29 men will survive the battle

1951, Battle of Nghia Lo ended
– the major battles ended for legionnaires in the Yen Bai region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, to free outpost of Nghia Lo
– on October 4, 2e BEP was dropped over the valley of Gia Hoi to support Nghia Lo, several miles distant
– between October 6-8, 2e BEP fought with the Viet Minh while marching in direction of Nghia Lo
– 2e BEP lost 8 men killed (including Lieutenant Lecoeur), 27 wouned and 19 missed
– 53 Viet Minh soldiers were killed

1957, 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

1958, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 9 rebels were killed

1959, legionnaires from 5e REI took part in a military operation 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 1938

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

 

French Foreign Legion: October 09

1856, a three-week long operation to calm down rebellions in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria successfully ended
– two battalions of the 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 region of Setif, north-eastern Algeria

1960, a military operation for legionnaires from 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) in the region of Bou Kahil, Algeria
– 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, large French combined arms two-week-long maneuvers ended
– they took place in the Oran region of Algeria annually, between 1875-80
– six infantry battalions, including the two of the Legion, four squadrons and two batteries usually took part in

1884, Attack on Fort Chu
– during the Tonkin Campaign in French Indochina, two companies of the Foreign Legion’s 2nd Battalion were involved in the successful attack on Fort Chu, occupied by huge number of Chinese soldiers (about 5,000 men)
– the attack took place in the Red River Delta, Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam) and lasted until October 11
– around 2,800 French troops participated in
– today, this action is known as part of the Kep Campaign (Oct 1884)
– 33 legionnaires were killed or wounded
– the Chinese were defeated and retreated

1950, Evacuation of That Khe
– located south of the Dong Khe sector (northern Vietnam, then French Indochina), the main site of the Battle of Route Colonial 4, the town of That Khe and its local outposts had to be left
– they were occupied by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI and by two remaining companies from 2nd Battalion (its another two companies were annihilated in September at Dong Khe)
– a column was formed to move to the south-east to Lang Son, close to Hanoi
– 3 officers and 26 legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) and an officer + 31 legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI returned from the jungle and joined the French column at That Khe
– they were the only survivors of their units, which participated in the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 (Oct 3-9), facing over 10,000 Viet Minh soldiers
– both battalions (around 1,000 men together) were annihilated and ceased to exist on October 7, during the battle
– the column of That Khe arrived in Lang Son a few days later and will be transported close to Hanoi
– 1er BEP and 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were re-activated six months later, in March 1951
– during the Evacuation of That Khe, 4th Company of 3e REI (at the back of the column) was attacked by the Viet Minh and completely annihilated

1951, Operation Mandarine ended
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI was involved in
– the two-week-long operation took place in the Hung Yen region in the Tonkin Delta of northern Vietnam
– during the operation, up to 1,200 Viet Minh soldiers were killed

– 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