Foreign Legion events: November 01 – 10

The most interesting events in French Foreign Legion’ history. See important campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units. Explore the significant events of the Legion which occurred between November 01 and November 10.


French Foreign Legion: November 01

1886, fighting with pirates (of Vietnamese and Chinese origin) near Dong Tien, Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam), French Indochina
– legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– 28 pirates were killed

1940, Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Company (CSPLE) was established
– ex-Motorized Company of 1er RE
– CSPLE became an autonomous Saharan unit of the Legion
– the company was stationed at Tabelbala, south-western Algeria
– it became 1re CSPL in 1946 and was disbanded in 1963

1949, in northern Vietnam, French Indochina, 5e REI was re-established
– created in 1930 and deactivated in 1946, 5e REI served in Indochina, Algeria and French Polynesia
– the 5th Regiment was disbanded in 2000

1952, in French Indochina, Foreign Legion Mortar Company (CMLE) was established
– it became the first Mortar Company of the Legion
– CMLE participated in the Battle of Na San or the famous Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954, under the title of 2e CMMLE), where the company was annihilated

1955, in Morocco, Motorized Squadrons’ Group (GEP) was established
– formed by redesignation of 2nd Amphibious Group (2e GA), 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), having returned from Indochina in October
– GEP was assigned to 2e REC and stationed in Meknes, Morocco
– its two squadrons became 4th + 5th Squadron, 2e REC

1956, Foreign Legion Madagascar Detachment (DLEM) was established
– three days later, it left Algeria, North Africa to be stationed in Madagascar, Indian Ocean left by the Legion in 1951
– DLEM became BLEM (Battalion) in 1957

– on the picture, GEP with its banner guard parading in Meknes, Morocco in November 1955

2e REC - 2 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - GEP - 1956 - Morocco


French Foreign Legion: November 02

1886, in Algeria, the headquarters of 2e RE left Sidi Bel Abbes (HQ of the Legion and 1er RE at that time) to be placed in Saida
– 2e RE remained based in Saida for next 35 years, until 1921

1940, 14e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade) changed its designation to 13e DBLE
– 14e DBMLE was established in England in July 1940
– consisting of ex-13e DBMLE legionnaires
– it was part of General de Gaulle‘s Free French Forces serving whithin the British Army
– it was in opposition to then France and the rest of the Foreign Legion until 1943

1952, during Operation Lorraine, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh near the town of Phu To in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– several legionnaires were wounded

1953, during Operation Mouette, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI got involved in severe clashes with the Viet Minh in the region of Phu Nho Quan, northern Vietnam
– that day, 5e REI lost 81 legionnaires

1955, during a military operation to maintain order in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 4e REI launched an attack to seize the Bou Zineb outpost occupied by a strong group of local rebels
– after fighting day and night, the outpost was seized and the rebels were fought off

1982, 61st Engineer-Legion Mixed Battalion (61e BMGL) was disbanded
– a mixed engineering unit consisting of legionnaires and French sappers, established in 1971
– its main task was to build up Camp de Canjuers, the largest military training area of Western Europe

– on the picture, bearded legionnaires of 61e BMGL during a 11th November ceremony, 1978

61e BMGL - 61 BMGL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1978 - France


French Foreign Legion: November 03

1859, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RE took part in an operation in the Oran region, against two Algerian rebel tribes

1870, arriving in France in late October during the Franco-Prussian War (July 1870 – May 1871), 1st + 2nd Battalion of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) were grouped together with the 5th Battalion (formed in France, composed of legionnaires and fresh foreign volunteers) and stationed at Mer, Loir-et-Cher region, France on November 3
– German legionnaires from 3rd + 4th Battalion of the Foreign Regiment stayed in Algeria to maintain order there

1924, in Syria, 5th Battalion, 4e REI returned to Damascus from a month-long operation against Druze tribe rebels in the As Suwayda region of southern Syria
– during the operation, the battalion lost 3 officers + 52 legionnaires

1953, a military operation for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI near Yen Khoai in the Lang Son region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during the operation, one legionnaire was killed

1960, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REI in the Ain Douis region, western Algeria
– during the operation, 36 rebels were killed

– on the picture, French troops, including legionnaires, camping in Syria in the mid-1920s…

Syria - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1925


French Foreign Legion: November 04

1892, Battle of Cana ended
– a battle during the Second Franco-Dahomean War (1892-94)
– the battle took place in then Kingdom of Dahomey, located near the Gulf of Guinea, in today’s Benin (West Africa)
– French troops led by Colonel Dodds, including two companies of legionnaires, were fighting King Behanzin and his 1,500 Amazons (legendary women soldiers) for two days
– next day, Behanzin left the town and the French seized Cana on November 6

1918, for its actions during WWI, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team) received the double Fourragère of Légion d’Honneur (red) and Croix de Guerre 1914-18 (War Cross, green-red), the highest decoration ever awarded to a French unit
– RMLE became one of the two most awarded units of the French Army
– it changed its designation to 3e RE in 1920 (3e REI in 1922)
– even in 2016, only two French Army units (3e REI + RICM) are decorated with the double Fourragère

1951, Operation Malakoff for legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) near An Nhon Tay in the then Saigon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina

1957, in the Derroua mountain of the Tebessa region in north-eastern Algeria, legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in a military operation against local rebels
– 27 rebels were killed

– on the picture, an NCO of 3e REI in French Guiana, bearing the Fourragères, including the double red & green Fourragère, which the regiment (then RMLE) obtained on November 4, 1918

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2014 - French Guiana


French Foreign Legion: November 05

1854, Battle of Inkerman
– the battle was part of the Crimean War (1854-56)
– allied armies of Britain, France and Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) fought against the Imperial Russian Army
– during the battle, over 8,000 Russian soldiers attacked the French positions
– the positions were defended and the Russians were fought off by several French battalions, including the 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment)
– the battalion had 46 men killed and 94 wounded

1914, during WWI, 4th Regimental Combat Team of the 1er RE (Foreign Regiment) was established
– nicknamed as Garibaldi Legion, the unit was composed of Italian volunteers only
– it fought on the Western Front, where it lost over 500 men
– the unit was disbanded in March 1915

1916, on the Western Front of WWI, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, 3e REI now) joined the Battle of the Somme (Jul-Nov 1916)
– the battle took place along the River Somme in north-eastern France

1949, at Lung Phai in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– one legionnaire was killed

1958, in the El Milia region of north-eastern Algeria, a two-week-long military operation against local rebels started for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 18 rebels were killed

2012, in Lebanon, a six-week-long instruction mission ended for legionnaires from 1er REG (Engineer Regiment)
– they provided a CMD (Conventional Munition Disposal) engineering instruction for local Lebanese troops
– the 1er REG (ex-6e REG) adopted history and traditions of the 6e REI, a Foreign Legion regiment stationed in Syria and Lebanon until 1941
– the instruction mission was headed by Adjudant-chef Nikolic, a Serbian legionnaire with more than 25 years of service, who was killed in Mali in July 2014

– on the picture, a 1er REG legionnaire and a Libanese soldier during the 2012 engineering instruction mission in Lebanon

1er REG - 1 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2012 - Lebanon


French Foreign Legion: November 06

1881, a two-day-long operation led by General Colonieu against an Algerian rebel tribe
– during the operation, 1st + 2nd Battalion of the Foreign Legion, commanded by Colonel Négrier (the future famous General), seized Djebel Beni Smir, a mountain in the Figuig region of western Algeria, occupied by the rebel tribe

1886, fighting with 300 Chinese rebels near Binh Lu, Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam), French Indochina
– legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– 3 legionnaires were killed; Lieutenant Brisse, wounded, died two days later

1939, 11e REI was established at Camp de La Valbonne (eastern France) to defend France during WWII
– a provisional unit composed of 3 battalions
– it consisted of around 3,000 men (legionnaires and French reservists)

1949, in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the Vo Chang outpost occupied by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI, was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Second Lieutenant Rifflet was killed

1956, Suez Crisis
– legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment), supported by 2nd Squadron of 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment), equipped with AMX 13 tanks, took part in the invasion of Egypt
– over 500 legionnaires from 1er REP cleared Port Fuad and killed around 100 Egyptian soldiers
– however, the operation ended next day and legionnaires returned to Algeria in late December

– also in 1956, legionnaires from 5e REI fought against local rebels in the Tlemcen region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the fighting, 2 legionnaires + over 30 rebels were killed

– on the picture, an AMX 13 of 2e REC + legionnaires from 1er REP leaving Egypt after the Suez Crisis ended, December 1956

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Egypt - Suez


French Foreign Legion: November 07

1865, in Mexico, a reorganized 3rd Battalion of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) left the capital to be stationed in San Luis Potosí, central Mexico, to maintain order there

1944, near Rochesson in the Vosges Mountains of north-eastern France, legionnaires from 1er BLE (Foreign Legion Battalion, ex-1st Battalion of 13e DBLE) defended the seized 1013 strongpoint, previously occupied by Germans
– between November 3-7, the battalion lost almost 200 men to seize and defend the strongpoint

1953, Operation Mouette ended
– the large operation took place in the Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa regions of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from several regiments participated in
– during the operation, Division 320 of the Viet Minh lost around 4,000 men

1956, a two-day-long military operation started for legionnaires from 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) in the Ain Errich region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 11 rebels + 2 legionnaires were killed

1960, a two-week-long Operation Ariege started for legionnaires from 1er REP in the Batna region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 81 rebels were killed

– on the photo, 2e CSPL legionnaires during an operation in northern Algeria in 1956

2e CSPL - 2 CSPL  - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: November 08

1852, a provisional Elite Battalion was formed by legionnaires from battalions of the 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) and commanded by Lt Col Ridouel
– next day, it left Sidi Bel Abbes (north-western Algeria) to take part in an expedition in the Algiers (the capital) region
– the battalion returned to Sidi Bel Abbes in early January of 1853

1883, 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion landed at Haiphong, French Indochina
– it was the first Foreign Legion unit ever stationed in Indochina

1942, British-American invasion of French North Africa (Operation Torch) started
– landings in Morocco and Algeria
– all French forces in North Africa received an order to cease resistance
– on November 10, the French in North Africa, including the Legion, joined the Allies

1944, French offensive started in mainland France during WWII, to liberate the country of German troops
– several Legion units participated in

1953, in the Pac Seng region of northern Laos, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– two legionnaires were killed

1957, Battle of Timimoun started
– a month-long large operation near Timimoun, in the desert area of south-central Algeria
– the operation was launched to search and eliminate a group of 60 Méharistes (local camel cavalry loyal to the French) who killed their French superiors, deserted and joined Algerian rebels in mid-October
– they also killed 5 legionnaires from 4e CSPL (Legion’s Saharan Motorized Company) on November 6
– 4e CSPL and French paratroopers took part in the operation
– over 40 Méharistes were killed, 6 were captured

– on the picture, 4e CSPL legionnaires during a launch in the desert near Timimoun, south-central Algeria, 1957

4e CSPL - 4 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: November 09

1831, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Foreign Legion (est. in March 1831, now called the “Old” Legion, disbanded in 1839) will receive its own standard/battle color
– the Legion obtained the standard in June 1832

1870, Battle of Coulmiers
– a battle between French and Bavarian forces during the Franco-Prussian War
– during the battle, the village of Coulmiers (near Oréans, north-central France) was seized by the French
– three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) participated in

2012, in Chad, Central Africa, a protection mission ended for legionnaires from 3rd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the legionnaires protected a convoy of the French Embassy transporting 600,000 Euros

– on the picture, legionnaires from 3rd Squadron, 1er REC during the 2012 protection mission in Chad

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2012 - Chad


French Foreign Legion: November 10

1845, a military operation around Oued Kelouf in the Oran region, north-western Algeria
– a French military column commanded by Colonel Saint Arnaud was involved in
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) was part of the column

1915, Attack of “Dent de Scie” (Saw tooth) started
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) got involved in fierce fighting with Bulgarian soldiers
– the two-day fighting took place near Kalkovo in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia), during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– Captain Homo + 35 legionnaires were killed
– 96 legionnaires were wounded

1916, Battle of Aoufouz
– a battle near Aoufouz, in the Bou Denib region of Morocco, between the French troops and local rebels
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion (1916-19, a little-known semi-penal unit composed of legionnaires and “Bat’ d’Af” soldiers) took part in
– the rebels were successfully fought off

– on the very rare image, 1er RMA including legionnaires from Battalion Legion (3rd Battalion) in winter 1915-16, while returning from then Serbia to Thessaloniki, Greece

1er RMA - 1 RMA - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1915 - Orient


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