Foreign Legion events: October 11 – 20

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between October 11 and October 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 a picture.

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

 

French Foreign Legion: October 11

1884, Attack on Fort Chu ended
– the final action during the Kep Campaign (Oct 1884)
– an important part of the Tonkin Campaign (1883-86)
– clashes between French and Chinese forces in Tonkin
– then title for Northern Vietnam, Southeast Asia
– that day, a two-day attack at Chu ended
– aimed at a Chinese military fortress of Chu
– Fort Chu was occupied by about 5,000 Chinese soldiers
– the fortress was successfully attacked by French troops
– 2nd Battalion, Foreign Legion were involved, led by Major Diguet
– two companies (Captain Bolgert + Captain Cuvellier)
– the legionnaires were in the first line
– after heavy fighting, the French won the battle
– the Chinese were defeated and retreated
– however, 33 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1952, in then French Indochina, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– it occurred close to Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) were involved
– they faced a Viet Minh company
– about 50 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– another 50 rebels were imprisoned
– however, 4 legionnaires were also killed
– 9 legionnaires were wounded

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation started
– for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the operation was aimed at local rebels
– at Ain Trifia, in the Bou Saada region
– during the operation, 16 rebels were killed

1976, Foreign Legion Training Group left Corsica
– GILE training units left the island of Corsica
– having been placed at Bonifacio and Corte since June 1962
– they moved to Castelnaudary, southern France
– the training units became 4th Foreign Regiment (4e RE) in 1980

– in the image, GILE legionnaires guarding the Montlaur citadel of Bonifacio, their headquarters in Corsica, late 1960s

GILE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1967 - Montlaur - Citadel - Bonifacio

 

French Foreign Legion: October 12

1859, in northwestern Algeria, a French military column was formed
– to conduct an operation aimed at an Algerian rebel tribe
– the operation took place near the border with Morocco
– two battalions of the 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– over 10,000 rebels refused to fight and surrendered
– nevertheless, the Legion suffered many casualties
– 5 officers + 200 legionnaires died of cholera during that operation

1951, Operation Mandarine ended
– an operation in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it took place in the Hung Yen region of Northern Vietnam
– two Legion units participated
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI
– 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– many Viet Minh rebels were killed, wounded or imprisoned

1953, Operation Brochet ended
– a large three-week operation in then French Indochina
– 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
– the French chased two Viet Minh regiments (42nd + 50th)

1959, in northeastern Algeria, a five-day operation started
– carried out by legionnaires from 4e REI
– in the Guelma region
– at least 13 rebels were killed

1984, Regimental standard for 6e REG
– that day, 6e REG obtained their flag
– 6th Foreign Engineer Regiment
– organized at Laudun (southern France) three months earlier
– 6e REG became the first-ever engineering regiment of the Foreign Legion
– it was retitled to 1er REG in 1999

– in the photo, the regimental standard of 6e REG during the ceremony in Laudun on October 12, 1984

6e REG - 6 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1984 - Laudun

 

French Foreign Legion: October 13

1837, Siege of Constantine ended
– an action during the French conquest of Algeria (1830-47)
– between October 10-13
Constantine was an important town
– in the Kabylie region of northeastern Algeria
– held by more than 5,000 local rebels and Ottoman (Turkish) militias
– successfully stormed by a large French column
– incuding a Foreign Legion battalion
– comprising some 500 legionnaires
Constantine was seized after 3 days of the siege
– 21 officers and legionnaires were killed or wounded

1933, Foreign Regiments Joint Depot established
– in Algeria, DCRE was established
– HQ unit of the Legion
– organized at Sidi Bel Abbes, then HQ of the Legion
– DCRE carried out several tasks
– to provide the ongoing basic & advanced training
– for enlisted volunteers and legionnaires
– to serve as a transit & depot unit for then six Legion regiments
– to provide reinforcements for operations abroad
– to maintain the Legion’s moral and traditions
– since 1942, it served as an autonomous regiment
– in 1955, the unit was dissolved
– it was replaced by the 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation started
– for legionnaires from 3e REI
– it took place near Akbou, in the Kabylie region
– 6 rebels were killed

– in the picture, Siege of Constantine of 1837 by Horace Vernet

Siege of Constantine - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1837 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 14

1859, Green uniforms no longer allowed
– that day, an imperial decree was issued
– it stopped the exclusivity of the 1er RE
– 1st Foreign Regiment, activated in 1856
– ex-2nd Foreign Legion (Swiss Legion, 1855-56)
– a unit composed of Swiss legionnaires
– distinguished by wearing of green uniforms
– they kept them even in the 1er RE
– the freshly issued imperial decree changed it
– since then, the 1st Foreign Regiment had to adopt the traditions and the uniform of the 2nd Foreign Regiment (original legionnaires) and declare itself open officially for volunteers of all nationalities
– two years later, the regiment was dissolved
– its legionnaires merged with the 2nd Foreign Regiment

1929, Battle of Djihani
– a severe battle with Moroccan rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle occurred on the Algeria-Morocco border
– at a narrow gorge near the Djihani mountain
– located cose to Meridja, western Algeria
– Mounted Company, 1er REI (1er RE now) took part
– led by a Yugoslavian lieutenant M. P.
– accompanied by a local cavalry unit led by French leaders
– both units were attacked by hundreds of Moroccan rebels
– the Legion suffered heavy casualties
– from around 80 legionnaires, 52 were killed + 8 wounded
– 2 another legionnaires died the following days

1949, Operation Therese started
– a six-day operation in then French Indochina
– in the Lang Son region, Northern Vietnam
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it started by dropping more than 300 legionnaires
– from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
– October 14, they jumped over Lung Vai
– however, 14 men were seriously wounded during landing
– because of the rocky ground of the drop zone
– between the wounded, Lieutenant Stien and Lieutenant Vion

1960, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– near Tizi Timselhadj, in the Khenchela region
– legionnaires from 5e REI took part
– 18 rebels were killed

– in the image, an officer and legionnaires from 5e REI during an operation in northeastern Algeria, around 1960

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - 1960 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 15

1866, in Mexico, a battle with Mexican rebels
– an action during the French intervention in Mexico (1863-67)
– it took place near Huichapan, central-eastern Mexico
– a Foreign Legion detachment was involved
– Major Vilmette and his legionnaires
– from the 1st Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion)
– 30 rebels were killed
– Captain Rouiller + a legionnaire were wounded

1917, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– at the plateau of Tizi, in the Khenifra region
– Machine Gun Platoon from 1st Battalion, 1er RE got involved
– led by Lieutenant Ricard
– after three violent attacks, the enemy was fought off

1947, Attack on Thu Thi
– an action in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the Thu Thi outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– located close to Hanoi, in Northern Vietnam
– occupied by 3e REI elements
– an engineering group from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– 7 legionnaires, led by Sergeant Pathé
– they would have to resist roughly 100 attackers for several hours
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– another 4 legionnaires were heavily wounded
– nevertheless, the outpost was managed to defend

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– in the Tebessa region
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) participated
– during the operation, 13 rebels were killed

– in the very rare picture, 3e REI legionnaires in French Indochina, in 1946

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1946 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 16

1917, Battle of Xom Doi
– a battle in then French Indochina
– between legionnaires and a revolted local militia group
– the battle occurred at Xom Doi, near Vinh Yen
– in the Hanoi region, Northern Vietnam
– Autonomous Company, 1er RE got involved
– led by Captain Monceaux
– the fierce battle took several hours
– 19 rebels were killed or wounded
– 7 legionnaires were also killed
– 8 legionnaires were wounded

– Autonomous Company, 1er RE
– a little known Foreign Legion unit
– the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina in 1916-20
– consisting of around 200 legionnaires
– Germans and Austrians in the vast majority
– the company’s detachments occupied several isolated outposts
– in the troubled Vietnamese region bordering China

1948, 4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
– in Morocco, 4e DBLE would be redesignated
– 4th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade (est. 1946)
– it would become the 4e REI
– a regiment organized in 1920 and deactivated in 1940
– nicknamed Regiment of Morocco
– 4e REI left Morocco for Algeria in 1957
– as the last Foreign Legion unit
– it was disbanded in Algeria in 1964
– the current 4e RE (Training Regiment, est. 1980) in Castelnaudary took over the number, history and traditions of the 4e REI

1957, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– it took place at Djebel Dar Cheikh
– in the Tlemcen region
– legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI were involved
– during the operation, 30 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 4e REI legionnaires ready for an operation in Morocco, mid-1950s

4e REI - 4 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: October 17

1887, French Indochina
– that day, a decree was issued
– it ordered to create French Indochina
– it will be composed of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam
– French Indochina ceased to exist in 1954

1949, in then French Indochina, a Legion outpost was attacked
– the outpost was located at Nam Thu Thuong
– in the Phuc Yen region of Northern Vietnam
– held by 6e REI legionnaires
– 10th Company, 3rd Battalion
– the outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– the attackers were fought off
– however, Captain Robert Minard was killed
– the company commander

1958, in northwestern Algeria, a large military operation
– it took place in the Saida region
– many French troops were incolved
– including two Foreign Legion units
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) + 5e REI
– that day, 60 rebels were killed
– 21 rebels were imprisoned

1967, 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment left Africa
– that day, 1er REC left North Africa for France
– the unit constituted in Tunisia in 1922
– based in Algeria since 1956
– in the evening, the regiment left Mers El Kebir, Algeria
– one of the last French units remaining there
– Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962
– French troops had to withdraw
– 1er REC would move to Orange, southern France
– to be based there for next 47 years, until July 2014
– 1er REC has been stationed at Camp Carpiagne since then
– a large military camp near Marseille

– in the picture, the monumental entrance to the 1er REC base at Bou Sfer, Algeria, in the mid-1960s

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1966 - Bou Sfer - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 18

1914, 2nd Regimental Combat Team, 2e RE established
– in France, 2e RM, 2e RE (2e REI now) was established
– a Foreign Legion provisional unit
– organized for the war period
– 2e RM, 2e RE was consisting of two battalions
– with the strength of almost 2,000 men
– stationed at Camp of Mailly
– in the Champagne province, northeastern France
– the unit would participate in WWI
– its regimental flag would be adopted by RMLE
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– activated in 1915
– the most awarded flag of the French Army in 1919
– RMLE became 3e RE in 1920 (3e REI since 1922)

1953, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– during Operation Mouette
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the attack took place in the Thanh Hoa region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at men from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 13e DBLE suffered 15 men killed + 26 wounded
– however, much more Viet Minh attackers were killed

– in the photo, an officer and his legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE during Operation Mouette, Northern Vietnam, October 1953

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Operation Mouette - Vietnam - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 19

1854, Siege of Sevastopol started for Foreign Legion
– that day, legionnaires joined the Siege of Sevastopol
– the then capital of the Crimea, Russian Empire
– besieged by French and British troops
– the siege took place between Sept 1854 – Sept 1855
– part of the Crimean War (1853-56)
– the Crimean War was a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia
– then both Foreign Legion regiments participated

1954, in Tunisia, a skirmish with local rebels
– at Djebel Gouleb, north of Meknassy
– 3rd Company, 6e REI were involved
– 10 rebels were killed

1958, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– near El Moualek, in the Tenes region
– legionnaires from 5e REI were involved
– at least 16 rebels were killed

1959, Operation Saphir started for 2e REP
– the second phase of Operations Pierres Précieuses
– a large operation during the Algerian War (1954-62)
– that day, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part
– for next three days
– in the Djidjelli region of northern Algeria
– at least 12 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 5e REI legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, 1958

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 20

1849, in northeastern Algeria, an attempt to seize Zaatcha
– part of the Siege of Zaatcha (Jul-Nov 1849)
– an action during the Pacification of Algeria (1847-1903)
Zaatcha is a fortified village with an oasis
– in the Biskra region
– the then village was occupied by hundreds of local rebels
– a French composite task force was sent to attack them
– a 2e RLE detachment participated
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– 600 legionnaires led by Major de Saint-Germain
– the French task force was led by Colonel Carbuccia
– the then 2e RLE’s commanding officer
– a severe fighting occurred
– however, the village wasn’t captured
– that day, 17 legionnaires were killed
– 40 legionnaires were wounded
– in November, Zaatcha would be finally seized
– the 2e RLE’s flag would be inscribed with the battle honor

1947, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– in the Hai Duong region of Northern Vietnam
– 1st Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– 6 legionnaires were killed
– 17 legionnaires were wounded

1958, Operation Corse ended
– a small operation during the Algerian War (1954-62)
– it took place in the region of Mascara
– aimed at local rebels
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– 2 rebels were killed + 4 rebels imprisoned

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

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

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: October 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: October 21 – 31
French Foreign Legion history