Foreign Legion events: October 11 – 20

Get to know the most significant events in French Foreign Legion’ history. Important campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Explore the historical events of the Legion which occurred between October 11 and October 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: October 11

1952, a fierce battle with a Viet Minh company for legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now)
– the battle took place in the Hanoi region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– about 50 Viet Minh members were killed, another 50 imprisoned
– however, 4 legionnaires were also killed + 9 wounded

1953, Operation Brochet ended
– it took place in the Hung Yen region of the Red River Delta, Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP), 2e BEP (2e REP now), 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment, its 8th + 18th Squadron), 2e REI (1st Battalion), 5e REI (2nd + 3rd Battalion) and 13e DBLE (Half Brigade, 2nd + 3rd Battalion) took part in
– the operation lasted seven weeks
– hundreds of Viet Minh soldiers were killed or wounded during the operation

1959, a military operation started for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) at Ain Trifia, in the Bou Saada region of northern Algeria
– 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 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, a French military column was formed to take action against an Algerian rebel tribe
– the operation took place in northwestern Algeria, near the border with Morocco
– two battalions of the 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved in
– over 10,000 rebels refused to fight and surrendered
– nevertheless, 5 officers + 200 legionnaires died of cholera during that operation

1951, Operation Mandarine ended
– a military operation in then French Indochina
– it took place in the Hung Yen region of Northern Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI and 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved in
– many Viet Minh regulars were killed, wounded or imprisoned

1959, a five-day operation started for legionnaires from 4e REI
– it took place in the Guelma region of northeastern Algeria
– at least 13 rebels were killed

1984, Regimental standard for 6e REG
– that day, 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, future 1er REG) received its flag
– 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 important town in the Kabylie region of northeastern Algeria
– a large French column, incuding some 500 legionnaires, was involved in
– in a final general assault, the French successfully seized Constantine after 3 days of the siege
– they fought against more than 5,000 local rebels and Ottoman (Turkish) militias
– Foreign Legion battalion had 21 men killed or wounded

1933, Foreign Regiments Joint Depot established
– in Algeria, DCRE was established
– organized at Sidi Bel Abbes, then HQ of the Legion
– the main mission of the DCRE was to take over the ongoing basic and advanced training for enlisted volunteers and legionnaires, and to serve as a transit & depot unit for six Legion regiments
– since 1942, it had served like an autonomous regiment
– in 1955, the unit was dissolved and replaced by the 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)

1959, a military operation started for legionnaires from 3e REI
– it took place near Akbou, in the Kabylie region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 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, an imperial decree was issued
– it stopped the exclusivity of the 1st Foreign Regiment
– established in 1856, as a unit composed of Swiss legionnaires with the right to be distinguished by wearing green uniforms
– this exclusivity started in January 1855, when the 2nd Foreign Legion (nicknamed Swiss Legion) was established in France, consisting of Swiss legionnaires only
– 2nd Legion was disbanded in 1856 and became the 1st Foreign Regiment
– legionnaires from the original Foreign Legion (est. 1835 and disbanded also in 1856) formed the 2nd Foreign Regiment
– the imperial decree ordered the 1st Foreign Regiment to adopt the traditions and the uniform of the 2nd Regiment (original legionnaires) and made it officially open for volunteers of all nationalities
– two years later, the regiment was dissolved and its legionnaires consolidated with the 2nd Foreign Regiment

1929, Battle of Djihani
– a severe battle at a narrow gorge near the Djihani mountain
– it is located near Meridja, in the Bechar region of western Algeria
– Mounted Company, 1er REI (1er RE now) took part in
– its two platoons commanded by a Yugoslavian lieutenant M. P., accompanied by an auxiliary cavalry unit led by French leaders, was attacked by hundreds of Moroccan rebels
– 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 the Lang Son region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the operation started by dropping more than 300 legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) over Lung Vai in the Lang Son region
– because of the rocky ground of the the drop zone, 14 men were seriously wounded during landing, including Lieutenant Stien and Lieutenant Vion

1960, a military operation for legionnaires from 5e REI near Tizi Timselhadj, in the Khenchela region of northeastern Algeria
– during the operation, 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, during French intervention in Mexico (1861-67), a battle with Mexican rebels
– it took place near Huichapan, central-eastern Mexico
– Major Vilmette and his legionnaires from 1st Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) got involved in
– 30 rebels were killed
– Foreign Regiment had 2 men wounded, including Captain Rouiller

1917, fierce fighting with Moroccan rebels
– it took place at the plateau of Tizi, in the Khenifra region of Morocco
– Lieutenant Ricard and his Machine Gun Platoon from 1st Battalion, 1er RE got involved in
– after three violent attacks, the enemy was fought off

1947, Attack on Thu Thi
– close to Hanoi, in Northern Vietnam of then French Indochina, the Thu Thi outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– an engineering group from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI was placed there
– 7 legionnaires, led by Sergeant Pathé
– they had been resisting roughly 100 attackers for several hours
– 2 legionnaires were killed and another 4 heavily wounded
– nevertheless, the outpost was managed to defend

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

– in the picture, 2e REP legionnaires with captured rebel weapons in Algeria, 1957

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 16

1917, Battle of Xom Doi
– a battle with a revolted local militia group
– it took place at Xom Doi, near Vinh Yen, in the Hanoi region of Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam), French Indochina
– Captain Monceaux and his legionnaires from Autonomous Company, 1er RE got involved in
– the severe battle took several hours
– 19 rebels were killed or wounded
– 7 legionnaires were also killed + 8 legionnaires were wounded
– Autonomous Company (composed of around 200 German and Austrian legionnaires in the vast majority) had been the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina since 1916
– its detachments were occupying several isolated outposts in the troubled Tonkinese region bordering China

1948, 4e DBLE became 4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
– in Morocco, 4th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade (est. 1946) became 4e REI (deactivated in 1940)
– it consisted of four battalions (since November) and Mounted Company, then last mounted company within the French Army
– in 1957, as the last Foreign Legion unit, the 4e REI left Morocco and moved to Algeria to take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the regiment was disbanded in 1964

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

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

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, during Operation Canigou, an outpost of the 10th Company, 3rd Battalion, 6e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– the outpost was located at Nam Thu Thuong, in the Phuc Yen region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Captain Minard, the company commander, was killed

1958, a large military operation in northwestern Algeria
– it took place in the Saida region
– many French troops were incolved in
– between them, 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) and 5e REI legionnaires
– that day, 60 rebels were killed
– 21 rebels were imprisoned

1967, 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment left Africa
– constituted there 45 years ago, in 1922, the 1er REC had to leave Africa for France
– in the evening, the regiment left the base of Mers El Kebir, Algeria
– it moved to Orange, southern France to be based there for next 47 years
– since July 2014, 1er REC has been stationed at Camp Carpiagne near Marseille

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

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 was established
– consisting of two battalions, with the strength of almost 2,000 men
– stationed at Camp of Mailly, in the Champagne province of northeastern France
– the unit will participate in WWI
– its regimental flag will be adopted by Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (RMLE) in 1915 and will become the most awarded flag of the French Army in 1919
– RMLE became 3e RE in 1920 (3e REI in 1922)

1953, during Operation Mouette, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were attacked by the Viet Minh
– the attack took place in the Thanh Hoa region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 13e DBLE had 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, battalions of both Foreign Legion regiments got involved in the Siege of Sevastopol
– Sevastopol was then capital of the Crimea, Russian Empire
– the siege occured between September 1854 – September 1855
– it was part of the Crimean War (1854-56), a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia

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

1959, Operation Saphir started for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– a three-day-long operation in the Djidjelli region of northern Algeria
– at least 12 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 5e REI legionnaires with their wounded comrade during an operation in Algeria, 1958

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

 

French Foreign Legion: October 20

1849, a fortified village of Zaatcha was attacked by French combined arms
Zaatcha is located in the Biskra region of northeastern Algeria
– legionnaires from 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI) were involved in
– 17 legionnaires were killed, 40 were wounded

1947, during an operation in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh
– 6 legionnaires were killed + 17 wounded

1958, Operation Corse ended for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the operation took place in the region of Mascara, northwestern Algeria
– 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: September 21 – 30
Foreign Legion events: September 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: September 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history