Foreign Legion events: November 01 – 10

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between November 01 and November 10. 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: November 01

1886, in Tonkin, a battle with local rebels
– an action during the Pacification of Tonkin (1886-96)
– then title for Northern Vietnam, Southeast Asia
– the battle occurred near Dong Tien
– close to the border with China
– legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part
– they faced Vietnamese and Chinese rebels, led by Bo Giap
– 28 rebels were killed

1939, 11th Foreign Infantry Regiment
– that day in France, 11e REI was established
– a provisional unit of the Foreign Legion
– formed to defend France during WWII
– the regiment was composed of some 3,100 men
– legionnaires, reservists and foreign volunteers
– including some 900 Poles and 650 Spaniards
– 11e REI ceased to exist in late June 1940

1940, Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Company
– in Algeria, CSPLE was officially established
– the very first Saharan company of the Legion
– ex-Motorized Company, 1er RE
– 1942-43, it took part in the North African Campaign of WWII
– the company became 1re CSPL in 1946
– it fought in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the unit would be involved in the Generals’ Putsch in Algiers
– it was disbanded in Algeria in 1963

1946, 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment reactivation
– in Morocco, 2e REC was reactivated
– the second cavalry regiment of the Legion
– first time organized in 1939 and deactivated in 1940
– the newly reactivated unit should maintain order in Morocco
– its men took part in military operations there (1952-56)
– they also deployed to Madagascar (1947-52)
– 2e REC men participated in the Suez Crisis (1956)
– since 1956, they would fight in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– 2e REC was dissolved in 1962

1949, 5th Foreign Infantry Regiment reactivation
– in then French Indochina, 5e REI was reactivated
– the only regiment of the Legion ever established in Asia
– first organized in French Indochina in 1930
– deactivated in 1945
– the regiment took part in several campaigns
– in the Franco-Thai War (1940-41)
– in fighting with the Japanese in 1945
– in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– in North Africa in 1963, the regiment was reorganized
– it moved to French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean
– to build and guard a new French nuclear testing site
– in Polynesia, 5th Foreign Regiment was disbanded in 2000

1956, Foreign Legion Madagascar Detachment
– in Algeria, DLEM was established
– it left Algeria for Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– DLEM became BLEM (Battalion) in early 1957
– the unit maintained order on the island until 1962
– BLEM wasn’t involved in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– as the then only operational unit of the Foreign Legion
– in 1962, the unit was reorganized and reinforced
– it became a new 3e REI

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

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


French Foreign Legion: November 02

1886, 2nd Foreign Regiment placed in Saida
– that day, 2e RE (2e REI now) was placed in Saida
– a town in Algeria, North Africa
– it moved there from Sidi Bel Abbes
– HQ of the Legion at that time
– the regiment would be stationed in Saida for next 35 years
– in 1921, it left Saida and Algeria for Morocco

1953, in then French Indochina, a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– during Operation Mouette
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the battle took place near Nho Quan
– in the Ninh Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– 1st Battalion, 5e REI got involved
– 80 legionnaires were killed, wounded or missed

1955, in Morocco, the Bou Zineb outpost was retaken
– an oupost in the Rif Mountains
– occupied by a strong group of Moroccan rebels
– 1st Battalion, 4e REI launched an attack to seize it
– the fighting took all day and night
– the Bou Zineb outpost was successfully retaken
– the rebels were fought off

1982, Legion Construction Company disbanded
– in Aubagne, CTL was officially disbanded
– an engineering company of the Legion
– the former Foreign Legion Pioneer Company (CPLE)
– since 1971, part of the 61e BMGL
– 61st Engineer-Legion Mixed Battalion
– a French combined unit established in 1971
– consisting of legionnaires and French engineers
– 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
– note the extraordinary insignia of the engineering battalion, which combine the insignias of both the 1st + 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiments

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


French Foreign Legion: November 03

1925, in Syria, a month military operation ended
– part of the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-26)
– the operation occurred in the Sweida region
– it was aimed at Druze rebels
– 5th Battalion, 4e REI were involved
– a battalion serving in Syria since 1921
– during the operation, the unit suffered heavy casualties
– 55 officers and legionnaires were killed or wounded

1960, in western Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by legionnaires from 2e REI
– it took place in the Ain Douis region
– 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
– part of the Second Franco-Dahomean War (1892-1894)
– it took place near the holy city of Cana
– in then-Dahomey (now Benin), West Africa
– French troops against King Béhanzin
– the ruler of the Kingdom of Dahomey
– that day, a fierce battle with the king’s forces
– four Legion companies participated
– hundreds of Dahomeans were killed
– the Legion lost 5 men

1918, Double Fourragère for RMLE
– that day, RMLE was awarded
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– awarded for its great actions during WWI
– it obtained the Double Fourragère
– the higest decoration ever awarded to a French unit
– composed of two fourragerès
– Fourragère of Légion d’Honneur (red)
– Fourragère of Croix de Guerre 1914-18 (War Cross, green-red)
– obtained for nine mentions in dispatches
– gained on the Western Front in France
– in 1920, RMLE became 3e RE (3e REI in 1922)
– even in 2018, only two French Army units (3e REI + RICM) are allowed to wear the prestigious Double Fourragère

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– at Ed Daroua, in the Tebessa region
– it was aimed at local rebels
2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– 27 rebels were killed

– in the image, a long-serving NCO bearing the 3e REI’s Fourragères, including the red & green Double 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
– nicknamed The Soldier’s Battle
– part of the Crimean War (1854-56)
– a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia
– then both Foreign Legion regiments participated
– the battle occurred at Inkerman, a town in Crimea
– a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea
– then part of the Russian Empire
– that day, over 8,000 Russian soldiers attacked French positions
– held also by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RLE
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (now 1er RE)
– the legionnaires helped to defend the positions
– the attackers were fought off
– however, 3 officers + 46 legionnaires were killed
– including Lieutenant Prudon or 2nd Lieutenant Dessort
– 9 officers + 85 legionnaires were wounded

1914, 4th Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE established
– in France, 4e RM was established
– one of the four provisional units
– formed to fight in France during WWI
– 4e RM consisted of more than 2,100 men
– Italian volunteers in the vast majority
– the unit was nicknamed Garibaldi Legion
– after Giuseppe “Peppino” Garibaldi, its founder and commander
– the unit would fight on the Western Front
– over 560 of its men would be lost
– 4e RM, 1er RE was dissolved in March 1915

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a two-week military operation started
– in the El Milia region
– aimed at local rebels
– carried out by 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 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

1886, in Tonkin, a skirmish with local rebels
– an action during the Pacification of Tonkin (1886-96)
– then title for Northern Vietnam, Southeast Asia
– the skirmish occurred near Binh Lu
– close to the border with China
– 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– led by Major Bercand
– they faced some 300 Chinese rebels, led by Bo Giap
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– 2 officers + 9 legionnaires were wounded
– Lieutenant Edouard Brisse died two days later

1956, in northwestern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– legionnaires from 5e REI got involved
– the battle occurred in the Tlemcen region
– that day, 30 rebels were killed
– 2 legionnaires were also 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
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– a large three-week operation in then French Indochina
– it took place in the Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa regions
– aimed at the Viet Minh’s Division 320 in Northern Vietnam
– several Foreign Legion units participated
– during the operation, Viet Minh lost around 3,500 men

1956, Suez Crisis ended
– a two-day military operation
– Anglo-French invasion of Egypt
– code-named Operation Musketeer (ex-Operation Hamilcar)
– a response to Egypt’s Suez Canal nationalization
– seen as Britain’s last attempt to act as an independent great power
– Britain wanted to regain Western control of the Suez Canal
– France saw then Egypt as a national threat
– the country continuously supported Algerian rebels
– because of that, France joined the operation
1er REP (Parachute Regiment) successfully participated
– also 2nd Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– Anglo-French landings at Port Said and Port Fouad
– the Egyptian troops quickly retreated
– however, the operation was stopped by the U.S.
– the U.S. punished Britain and it canceled the operation
– the French were very dissatisfied
– a number of legionnaires saw it as a betrayal
– they were well-prepared and determined to win
– legionnaires returned to Algeria in late December

– 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 Indochina
– that day, first legionnaires landed in Indochina
– 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion
– about 600 men led by Major Donnier
– they landed in Haiphong, Tonkin
– then title for Northern Vietnam
– to take part in the Tonkin Campaign (1883-86)
– French troops against Chinese troops
– in 1887, French Indochina was established
– the last legionnaires would leave Indochina in 1956

1942, Operation Torch started
– an invasion of French North Africa
– part of the North African Campaign of WWII
– the invasion was carried out by Anglo-American troops
– landings in Morocco and Algeria
– the French tried to stop the invasion
– later, an order was issued
– all French forces in North Africa had to cease resistance
– two days later, the French in North Africa joined the Allies
– including the Foreign Legion

1957, Battle of Timimoun started
– a large four-week military operation
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– it took place near Timimoun
– in the desert area of south-central Algeria
– the operation was aimed at a group of deserters
– some 60 Méharistes
– local camel cavalry loyal to the French
– in mid-October, they killed their French leaders
– then deserted and joined Algerian rebels
4e CSPL took part in the operation
– Legion’s Saharan Motorized Company
– alongside French paratroopers
– over 40 Méhariste deserters were killed
– 6 deserters were captured

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

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


French Foreign Legion: November 09

1870, Battle of Coulmiers
– a battle during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– between French and German forces
– the battle occurred at Coulmiers
– a village near Oréans, north-central France
– Provisional Foreign Regiment took part
– its three battalions (1st + 2nd + 5th)
– they launched a direct bayonet charge
– German (Bavarian) troops retreated in disorder
– one of the very few French victories in the war

1956, in northern Algeria, a military operation ended
– a two-day-long operation in the Ain Errich region
2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) were involved
– 11 rebels were killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

2012, in Chad, a protection mission ended
– carried out by 3rd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the legionnaires protected a French Embassy convoy
– 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

1916, Battle of Aoufouz
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– a battle between French troops and local rebels
– the battle occurred near Aoufouz
– in the Bou Denib region
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion were involved
– a little-known semi-penal unit (1916-19)
– composed of two Legion companies and two companies of semi-penal African Battalions (nicknamed “Bat’ d’Af”)
– the enemy was successfully fought off

1947, Attack of Phu Gia
– a Viet Minh attack in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the attack took place near Phu Gia
– in the Tourane region of Central Vietnam
– it was aimed at a Legion GMC dump truck
– assigned to 40e CCB (Dump Truck Company)
– all 4 legionnaires of the truck were killed

– 40e CCB was formed in late 1945
– one of the very first Legion engineer post-war units
– formed to take part in operations in Indochina
– organized near Nimes in France
– a number of its men were German POWs
– recruited in France’s POW (prisoners of war) camps

1960, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– during Operation Ariege
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– 1st Company, 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved
– the fierce battle occurred in the Batna region
– it took several hours
– 9 rebels were killed
– however, 11 legionnaires were also killed
– 6 legionnaires were wounded

– in the image, the fanion of 40e CCB + the company’s insignias from 1947 and 1951

40e CCB - 40 CCB - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Camions Bennes


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: October 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: November 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history