Foreign Legion events: November 01 – 10

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


French Foreign Legion: November 01

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

1940, Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Company
– in Algeria, CSPLE was officially established
– ex-Motorized Company, 1er RE
– the first Saharan company of the Legion
– it took part in the North African Campaign of WWII and the Algerian War
– the company became 1re CSPL in 1946
– what has been still an almost unknown fact, it was involved in the 1961 Putsch of Algiers
– the unit was disbanded in 1963

1946, 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment reactivation
– in Morocco, 2e REC was reactivated
– organized in 1939 and deactivated in 1940
– a newly reactivated unit took part in military operations in Morocco (1946-56), Madagascar (1947-52), in the Suez Crisis (1956) and in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– 2e REC was dissolved in 1962

1949, 5th Foreign Infantry Regiment reactivation
– in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, 5e REI
was reactivated
– the only regiment of the Legion established in Asia
– organized in French Indochina in 1930 and deactivated in 1945
– it took part in the Franco-Thai War (1940-41), in fighting with the Japanese in 1945 and in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it left Asia for North Africa in 1956
– after the Algerian War (1954-62), the regiment was reorganized, redesignated and moved to French Polynesia to build and guard a new French nuclear testing site
– in Polynesia, the regiment was disbanded in 2000

1956, Foreign Legion Madagascar Detachment established
– in Algeria, DLEM was established
– it left Algeria for Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– DLEM became BLEM (Battalion) in 1957
– the unit maintained order on the island until 1962
– that year, the unit was reorganized and formed a new 3e REI

– in the image, 1re CSPL legionnaires celebrating Camerone Day in the desert of Algeria, early 1950’s

1re CSPL - 1 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: November 02

1886, 2nd Foreign Regiment placed in Saida
– in Algeria, 2e RE (2e REI now) left Sidi Bel Abbes to be placed in Saida
– Sidi Bel Abbes served as HQ of the Legion at that time
– 2e RE was stationed in Saida for next 35 years, until 1921

1953, during Operation Mouette in then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI got involved in heavy fighting with the Viet Minh
– the fighting took place near Nho Quan, in the Ninh Binh region of Northern Vietnam
– that day, 5e REI had 80 legionnaires killed, wounded or missed

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 all day and night, the outpost was seized and the rebels were fought off

1982, Legion Construction Company disbanded
– in Aubagne, CTL was officially disbanded
– an engineering company of the Legion
– a part of 61e BMGL (Engineer-Legion Mixed Battalion)
– 61e BMGL was a mixed engineering unit established in 1971
– it consisted of legionnaires and French sappers
– its main task was to build up Camp Canjuers, the largest military training area of Western Europe

– in the picture, bearded legionnaires of the Legion Construction Company, 61e BMGL during a 11th November ceremony, 1978

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


French Foreign Legion: November 03

1859, last military action for 2e RE in Africa, before the intervention in Mexico
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in an operation led by General Desvaux, in the Oran region of northwestern Algeria, aimed at two local rebel tribes
– it was the last military action for 2e RE legionnaires in Africa before they deployed to Mexico in February 1863
– during next three years, they worked in autonomous Legion road building detachments

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

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

– in the photo, 2e REI legionnaires searching a rebel cave hideout, Algeria, 1960
– note the legionnaire’s pocket with rifle grenades for his MAS 49 rifle

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Algeria


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 warriors) for two days
– next day, Behanzin left the town and the French seized Cana two days later

1918, Double Fourragère for RMLE
– for its actions during WWI, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team) obtained 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 2017, only two French Army units (3e REI + RICM) are allowed to wear the prestigious double Fourragère

1957, a military operation aimed at local rebels for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) in the Tebessa region in northeastern Algeria
– 27 rebels were killed

– in the image, a long-serving NCO with 3e REI bearing the regiment’s Fourragères, including the double red & green Fourragère obtained by the unit on November 4, 1918

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 - Paris - France


French Foreign Legion: November 05

1854, Battle of Inkerman
– a 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 French positions
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 1er RE) helped to defend the positions and fight off the attackers
– nevertheless, the battalion suffered 46 men killed and 94 men wounded

1914, 4th Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE established
– during WWI, 4e RM/1er RE was established
– consisting of Italian volunteers in the vast majority
– nicknamed Garibaldi Legion, after its Italian commander
– the unit fought on the Western Front, where it lost over 500 men
– it was dissolved in March 1915

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

– in the photo, 2e REP legionnaires during an operation in northeastern Algeria, 1958

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: November 06

1881, a two-day operation aimed at 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, heavy fighting with about 300 Chinese rebels
– the fighting took place near Binh Lu, Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– Lieutenant Brisse, badly wounded, died two days later

1939, 11th Foreign Infantry Regiment established
– at Camp de La Valbonne (eastern France), 11e REI was established
– a provisional unit composed of some 3,100 men
– legionnaires and reservists, including some 900 Poles and 650 Spaniards
– formed to defend France during WWII
– 11e REI ceased to exist in a severe battle in June 1940

1956, legionnaires from 5e REI got involved in a battle with local rebels, in the Tlemcen region of northeastern Algeria
– during the battle, over 30 rebels and 2 legionnaires were killed

– in the very rare picture, 11e REI legionnaires during an inspection at Camp of La Valbonne, eastern France, November 1939

11e REI - 11 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1939 - Valbonne - France


French Foreign Legion: November 07

1953, Operation Mouette ended
– a large three-week operation in then French Indochina
– it took place in the Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa regions of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from several regiments participated in
– during the operation, Division 320 of the Viet Minh lost around 3,500 men

1956, Suez Crisis ended
– an operation to regain Western control of the Suez Canal
– France took part in, alongside Great Britain
– they invaded Egypt
– legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) + 2nd Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved in
– the operation ended by Anglo-French withdrawal following international pressure
– legionnaires returned to Algeria in late December

1960, Operation Ariege again for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– an operation during Oct-Nov, aimed at Algerian rebels
– it took place in the Batna region of northeastern Algeria
– during the next two weeks, legionnaires killed 81 rebels

– in the photo, 1er REP legionnaires during the Suez Crisis, Egypt, November 1956

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


French Foreign Legion: November 08

1883, First legionnaires in Asia
– 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion landed at Haiphong, Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– it was the first-ever Foreign Legion unit stationed in future French Indochina
– the legionnaires will take part in the Tonkin Campaign (1883-86)

1942, Operation Torch started
– a British-American invasion of French North Africa during WWII
– landings in Morocco and Algeria
– all French forces in North Africa received an order to cease resistance
– two days later, the French in North Africa, including the Legion, joined the Allies

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
– 2 legionnaires were killed

1957, Battle of Timimoun started
– a large four-week operation near Timimoun, in the desert area of south-central Algeria
– the operation was launched to search and eliminate a group of some 60 Méharistes (local camel cavalry loyal to the French)
– in mid-October, they killed their French leaders, then deserted and joined Algerian rebels
– the day before the battle started, the deserters and local rebels attacked and imprisoned French oil engineers and local workers during an oil exploration mission deep in the Sahara’s desert, including a security team of 5 legionnaires from 4e CSPL (Legion’s Saharan Motorized Company), led by Sergeant Gutflach
– 4e CSPL and French paratroopers took part in the operation
– over 40 Méhariste deserters were killed, 6 were captured

– in the image, a Dodge 6×6 with 4e CSPL legionnaires bearing djellaba coats, Timimoun, south-central Algeria, late October 1957

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


French Foreign Legion: November 09

1831, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Foreign Legion (the original one, now called the “Old Legion”, 1831-39) will receive its own standard
– 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

1956, a two-day-long military operation ended 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

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

– in 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, northwestern Algeria
– a French military column commanded by Colonel Saint Arnaud was involved in
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) made part of

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

1947, Attack of Phu Gia
– in then French Indochina, a dump truck of 40e CCB (Dump Truck Company) was attacked by the Viet Minh near Phu Gia, in the Tourane region of Central Vietnam
– all 4 legionnaires of the truck crew were killed
– 40e CCB was the very first engineer unit of the Legion created in order to support operations in then French Indochina
– it was formed in France in 1945, with German POWs (prisoners of war) held in France and recruited by Foreign Legion officers

– in the very rare image, a “popote” of Legion NCOs and their French colleagues during an operation in Morocco, in the late 1910’s

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1917 - Morocco


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