Foreign Legion events: October 21 – 31

On this day. Explore the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between October 21 and October 31. 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 an image.

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

 

French Foreign Legion: October 21

1833, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– at Kolea, close to Algiers (the capital)
– two Legion elite companies participated
– the operation was led by Colonel Bernelle
– the then Legion’s commanding officer
– during the operation, several attacks conducted by local rebels
– they were successfully fought off

1952, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– near Dong Phu, in the Nam Dinh region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at a patrol group of legionnaires
– from 5th Company, 2nd Battalion, 5e REI
– the attackers were fought off
– however, a patrol leader was killed
– Lieutenant Stéphane Marielle-Trehouart

– in the photo, 5e REI legionnaires in then French Indochina, in the 1950s

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 22

1915, in then Serbia, clashes with Bulgarians
– part of the Serbian Campaign (Oct 1915 – Jan 1916)
– a campaign during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– the clashes occurred near Kalkovo
– around 10 miles (16 km) north of Gevgelija
– in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia)
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) were involved
– 11th Company, led by Captain Chavanne
– the legionnaires faced Bulgarian attacks
– Bulgarians were part of Central Powers
– alongside Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire
– 11th Company, Battalion Legion fought fiercely
– the legionnaires defended their positions
– Bulgarians were fought off

1953, in then French Indochina, a Legion counter-attack
– during Operation Mouette
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the attack took place near Cau Dai
– in the Thanh Hoa region, Northern Vietnam
– carried out by 10th Company, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– 28 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1955, in northeastern Algeria, heavy fighting with local rebels
– near Soukies, in the Negrine region
– two Foreign Legion units were involved
– 21e CPLE (Motorized Company)
– 2nd Platoon, 23e CPLE
– the legionnaires faced an important rebel group
– that day, 25 rebels were killed

– 21e CPLE and 23e CPLE were autonomous motorized units
– next year, they would help to form GPLEA
– Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group
– in late 1956, GPLEA merged with 2e REI

– in the picture, rebel weapons captured on October 22, 1955, in front of the 21e CPLE’s AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) armored car

21e CPLE - 21 CPLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 23

1942, Second Battle of El Alamein started
– a battle between the British and German forces
– part of the North African Campaign of WWII
– the battle occurred near El Alamein, Egypt
– on the British side, Free French Forces
– led by General de Gaulle, part of the British army
– between them, two battalions of the future 13e DBLE (Half Brigade)

– their commanding officer would be killed the next day
– Lieutenant Colonel Dimitri Amilakvari
– born in Georgia, then Russian Empire
– his family escaped from the new communist regime
– they moved to France
– he and his brother joined the Foreign Legion in the 1920s
– both of them made significant careers with the Legion
– however, the Second World War split them
Dimitri Amilakvari deserted the Legion in 1940
– to join the British Army and fight alongside the Allies in Africa
– his brother Constantin left officially the Legion in 1941
– to fight alongside German troops on the Eastern Front
– he died of his wounds in 1943

– in 1944-45, the future 13e DBLE would be (re-)integrated into the Foreign Legion

1953, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– during Operation Mouette
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the attack took place near Chi Phuong
– in the Ninh Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI
– 5 legionnaires were killed
– 26 legionnaires were wounded

1970, in Chad, clashes with rebels started
– part of Operation Limousin (1969-72) in Chad
– a country in Central Africa
– the clashes occurred close to Zouar
– in the Tibesti region
– two Legion units participated
– Support & Reconnaissance Company, 2e REP
– CMLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company)
– during five days, 54 rebels were killed
– a legionnaire was also killed
– 7 legionnaires were wounded

– in the image, General de Gaulle awarding General Koenig and Lt Col Dimitri Amilakvari (extreme right) with the Order of Liberation in Egypt, August 1942
– Dimitri Amilakvari was killed on October 24, 1942, during the Second Battle of El Alamein

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Dimitri Amilakvari - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1942 - Egypt

 

French Foreign Legion: October 24

1856, in northeastern Algeria, an operation ended
– carried out by two battalions of the 2e RE (2e REI now)
– aimed at local rebel tribes
– the successful operation took three weeks
– nevertheless, the Legion suffered several casualties
– 3 officers + 4 legionnaires were killed

1947, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– in the Hai Duong region of Northern Vietnam
– aimed at the Ke Sat outpost
– occupied by 9th Company, 3e REI
– the legionnaires were heavily outnumbered
– they were defending the outpost for long 14 hours
– the enemy finally retreated
– 62 Viet Minh attackers were killed

1948, 1er BEP left North Africa for French Indochina
– 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (later 1er REP)
– activated in Algeria, North Africa in July 1948
– that day, it left North Africa for Southeast Asia
– to take part in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the battalion would be annihilated two times there
– 1er BEP would also become the first French airborne battalion ever lost in action
– redesignated to 1er REP (Regiment), the unit was dissolved in 1961
– as a punishment for its active participation in the 1961 Putsch of Algiers

1956, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– in the Tlemcen region
– carried out by 2nd Battalion, 5e REI
– at least 8 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 1er BEP legionnaires during an operation in French Indochina

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 25

1849, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Oued El Kelb, in the Constantine region
– 200 legionnaires from 2e RLE were involved
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– Sergent-Major Schmitter was killed
– an already cancelled French Army rank

1962, Foreign Legion definitively left Sidi Bel Abbes
– that day, the Foreign Legion left officially Sidi Bel Abbes
– a garrison town in northwestern Algeria
– built by the Legion in the 1840s
– a garrison town of the Legion since the 1850s
– Headquarters of the Legion since 1867
– until September 1962
– the Legion had to leave the town
– as a result of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– Algeria gained its independence
– the Legion’s HQ moved to Aubagne in southern France
– until July 1968, all Legion units would leave Algeria

– in the photo, the last official ceremony at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria, 1962

1er RE - 1 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1962 - Sidi Bel Abbes

 

French Foreign Legion: October 26

1952, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– at Ban Pe Trong, close to Ta Khoa
– in the Na San region of Northern Vietnam
– the attack was aimed at 10th Company, 3e REI
– led by Lieutenant de Tholozany
– at least 14 legionnaires were killed

1962, 1st Foreign Regiment’s regimental color arrived in France
– that day, the 1er RE‘s regimental color arrived in France
– 1er RE serves as the HQ of the Legion
– the regimental color would be placed in France for the first time in history
– having left Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
– the HQ of the Legion since 1867
– Colonel Vaillant + the color guard landed in Marseille
– they would move to Aubagne, the new HQ of the Legion
– until July 1968, all Legion units would leave Algeria
– their homeland since 1832
– it was a result of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– Algeria gained its independence
– the French had to retreat

– in the image, having left Algeria, the color guard of the 1st Foreign Regiment landed in Marseille, France on October 26, 1962

1er RE - 1 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1962 - Mers El Kebir

 

French Foreign Legion: October 27

1919, RMLE arrived in Morocco
– that day, RMLE arrived in Oujda, Morocco
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– a unit formed in 1915 and participating in WWI between 1915-18
– one of the two most decorated unit of the then French Army
– RMLE would be stationed in Morocco
– the then French protectorate
– next year, RMLE was redesignated
– it became 3e RE (3e REI since 1922)
– the regiment would take part in the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)

1951, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– in the Bac Ninh region of Northern Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 3e REI got involved
– several legionnaires were killed

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– it took place at Djebel Achour, in the Djelfa region
– 4th Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– during the operation, 13 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 2e REC legionnaires paying homage to their fallen comrades, Algeria, 1959

2e REC - 2 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: October 28

1913, in Morocco, a battle with local rebels
– near the M’Coun valley, Tamnaseft region
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– 7th Company, 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the rebels were successfully fought off

1960, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation ended
– the three-week operation took place near T’Kout
– in the Batna region
– legionnaires from 3e REI participated
– during the operation, at least 129 rebels were killed

– in the old postcard, 1er RE legionnaires in front of an outpost near the M’Coun valley, Morocco, before WWI

1er RE - 1 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - M'Coun - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: October 29

1881, a decree was issued
– it allowed French volunteers to join the Foreign Legion again
– it had been forbidden by the French government since 1871

1952, Operation Lorraine started
– France’s large, two-week operation in then French Indochina
– during the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in the Phu Doan and Yen Bay regions
– north-west of Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– up to 30,000 French troops were involved
– between them, legionnaires from from 2e REI, 1er BEP and 2e BEP
– Parachute Battalions (later 1er REP and 2e REP)
– during the operation, the Viet Minh suffered important losses
– the operation ended in mid-November

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation started
– at Djebel Rhifouf, in the Negrine region
– aimed at local rebels
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– during the operation, 26 rebels were killed

– in the image, 2e REP legionnaires during an operation in northeastern Algeria, 1957

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

 

French Foreign Legion: October 30

1947, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– in the That Khe region of Northern Vietnam
– aimed at a French supply convoy
– moving on RC4 (Colonial Road)
– guarded by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI
– the French suffered many casualties
– 20 legionnaires were killed

– between the killed, Senior Corporal Christian Simenon
– a brother of Belgian writer Georges Simenon
– best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret
– his brother Christian Simenon fought on the Eastern Front during WWII
– alongside Germans, as a Walloon volunteer
– after the war, he joined the Foreign Legion

1952, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– near the city of Ninh Binh, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at two Foreign Legion outposts
– occupied by 7th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– heavy fighting occurred
– 30 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– 18 legionnaires were also killed

1955, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– in the Biskra region
– 22e CPLE (Motorized Company) were involved
– that day, a legionnaire was killed
– an officer + 2 legionnaires were wounded

– 22e CPLE was an autonomous motorized unit
– next year, it would help to form GPLEA
– Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group
– in late 1956, GPLEA merged with 2e REI

– in the photo, 13e DBLE legionnaires during a patrol in French Indochina, the early 1950s

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: October 31

1939, Sappers-Pioneers Company, 4e REI dissolved
– in Tunisia, CSP of 4e REI was dissolved
– a Foreign Legion construction company of the 4e REI
– organized in Morocco in August 1926
– carrying out military and public infrastructure projects
– mainly in southern Morocco, in the Tadla and Agadir regions
– it also took part in military operations
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– e.g. near Togha, Ouarzazate region, in 1931
– in 1937, it became a Legion road building company
– dispatched to Tunisia in October 1939
– to form a composite Sapper Battalion

1955, Foreign Legion Transit Company dissolved
– in Southern Vietnam, CPLE of Saigon was dissolved
– a Foreign Legion transit company
– created in May 1947 and based in then Saigon
– all legionnaires arriving or leaving then French Indochina had to pass through the company
– e.g., over 21,300 legionnaires passed through it in 1950
– legionnaires stayed there several days
– to take a rest and to get determination of their future unit assignment

1956, Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group dissolved
– in Algeria, GPLEA was officially dissolved
– a Foreign Legion motorized battalion
– a very little-known, short-lived unit
– officially established in June 1956
– it grouped 21e CPLE + 22e CPLE + 23e CPLE
– Motorized Companies organized in early 1955
– GPLEA was stationed in Djelfa, Algeria
– it participated in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– next day, its three companies merged with 2e REI

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– near El Azreg, in the Mascara region
– aimed at local rebels
2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) were involved
– that day, 20 rebels were killed

1982, 61st Engineer-Legion Mixed Battalion dissolved
– in northern France, 61e BMGL was dissolved
– a French composite engineering unit created in 1971
– consisting of legionnaires and French engineers
– its main task was to build up Camp Canjuers
– the then largest military training area of Western Europe
– 61e BMGL’s Legion Company would be dissolved two days later

– a 1959 Kepi blanc magazine cover shows Captain Le Berre (right, bearded) and the fanion guard of his 2e CSPL in Algeria, 1959

2e CSPL - 2 CSPL - Saharan Company - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

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