Foreign Legion events: November 11 – 20

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 11

1832, Battle of Sidi Chabal
– a battle near Oran, north-western Algeria
– the French fought against 4,000 local rebels
– 4th Battalion (Spaniards) of the Legion took part in
– the enemy retreated
– 63 rebels were killed, 146 wounded

1844, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (2e RLE, 2e REI now) will receive its own standard/battle color for its previous actions in the Biskra region and the Aures Mountains of Algeria

1915, during WWI, Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (RMLE) was established, commanded by Lt Colonel Cot
– it was formed by consolidation of the 2nd Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE and the 2nd Regimental Combat Team, 2e RE (now 2e REI)
– RMLE will take part in battles on the Western Front of WWI
– by the end of WWI, RMLE was one of the two most decorated units of the French Army
– RMLE became 3e RE (now 3e REI) in 1920

– also in 1915, clashes with some 800 Moroccan rebels for 2nd Battalion, 1er RE between Khenifra and Sidi Amar, Morocco
– 12 legionnaires were wounded

1918, Armistice of 11 November 1918
– an armistice during the First World War between the Allies and Germany
– it ended the fighting of the First World War
– this day is also celebrated as Remembrance Day, to remember the soldiers who have died
– in France, legionnaires traditionally participate in the ceremonies to celebrate this event

1942, Second Battle of El Alamein ended
– the battle took place in Egypt during WWII
– the first major offensive of the Allies against the German and Italian forces since 1939
– FFL (Free French Forces), including the 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade), took part in
– Lt Colonel Amilakvari, the commander of 13e DBLE, was killed during the battle

– in the photo, taken in French Guiana, 3e REI legionnaires remember the fallen soldiers on the 11th November, 2015

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 - Remembrance Day

 

French Foreign Legion: November 12

1857, a military operation ended for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– the operation started in early October to fight with a rebel tribe near the Algerian border with Tunisia

1948, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP), established in July 1948, landed in Haiphong, northern Vietnam, in then French Indochina to take part in the ongoing war against the Viet Minh

1952, Operation Lorraine ended for legionnaires from 1er BEP and 2e BEP (later 2e REP)
– the month-long large operation took place in the Phu Doan and Yen Binh regions of northern Vietnam
– during the operation, the Viet Minh lost over 3,500 men

– on the picture, 1er BEP legionnaires during an operation in French Indochina, 1952

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: November 13

1881, fighting with an Algerian rebel tribe at Mir El Djebel, a plateau in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria
– 1st + 2nd Battalion of the Foreign Legion, commanded by Colonel Négrier (the future famous General), took part in

1947, the Ca Mau outpost located in southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, occupied by legionnaires from 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE was attacked by a Viet Minh battalion
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1951, Operation Lotus started for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI in the Hoa Binh region of northern Vietnam
– the operation lasted until February 1952 and several French units participated in
– over 2,000 French troops, including tens of legionnaires, were killed, wounded or missed during the operation

1954, a three-day-long Operation Castor III started for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 6e REI in the Siliana region of northern Tunisia

1959, a military operation for legionnaires from 4th Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) at Oued Moussa in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 10 rebels + 1 legionnaire were killed

1969, during Operation Limousin, launched in Chad (Central Africa) to eliminate local rebel groups and to restore order in the region, a 2e REP legionnaire was killed
– legionnaire Depuis was the first 2e REP legionnaire killed in action since the end of the Algerian War (1954-62)

– in the photo, 2e REP commando membres in Chad, 1969

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1969 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: November 14

1854, during the Siege of Sevastopol of the Crimean War, a storm accompanied by a strong cold wind and heavy freezing rain devastated the French camp of Strelitzka and French boats on the seashore

1940, in Morocco, 2e REI (based in Meknes) + 4e REI (based in Marrakesh) were deactivated
– their units were reorganized and formed together a new regiment next day – 2e REI, stationed in Marrakesh

1952, during Operation Lorraine in the Ha Giang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, two legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) were seriously wounded

– also in 1952, an outpost at Phat Diem in northern Vietnam, occupied by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 5e REI was heavily attacked by the Viet Minh
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1959, during a military operation at Oued Fedje in the Laghouat region of central Algeria, legionnaires from 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) attacked an important group of local rebels
– 16 rebels were killed + 13 rebels were imprisoned

– in the picture, Dodges of 3e CSPL during a military operation in the Sahara, 1959

3e CSPL - 3 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: November 15

1849, in Sidi Bel Abbes (north-western Algeria), a three-week-long cholera epidemic ended
– 3 officers and over 200 legionnaires from 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) died

1920, in Morocco, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team) became the 3rd Foreign Regiment (3e REI now)
– RMLE (1915-20) was one of the two most decorated units of the French Army

– also in 1920, in Morocco, 4th Foreign Regiment (later 4e REI) was established
– the regiment (nicknamed Moroccan Regiment) was finally disbanded in 1964

1940, at Marrakesh, Morocco, 4e REI (reinforced by ex-2e REI elements) became a new 2e REI
– the regiment was deactivated once again in March 1943

– also in 1940 in Morocco, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) was deactivated
– its legionnaires consolidated with 1er REC
– the regiment was reactivated in 1946 and finally disbanded in 1963

1945, during WWII, French offensive started during the Liberation of France
– 1er REC, RMLE (est. 1943, future 3e REI) and 13e DBLE (Half-brigade) took part in

1948, a train carrying legionnaires of 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) between Haiphong and Hanoi, northern Vietnam, was attacked by an improvised explosive device
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– they became first killed men of 1er BEP
– the unit landed in Indochina three days ago

1949, in Algeria, 3e BEP (Foreign Parachute Battalion) was established
– based at Sétif, the battalion served as a depot unit for para-legionnaires fighting in Indochina and maintained order in the northeastern Algeria
– it became 3e REP (Parachute Regiment) in 1955 and consolidated with 2e BEP the same year, to form the 2e REP

1952, the Rach Suoida outpost occupied by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE and located in the Hoc Mon region of southern Vietnam, was attacked by the Viet Minh
– 12 legionnaires were killed

1956, GPLEM (Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group, 1947-56) was disbanded
– its motorized companies consolidated with 4e REI

– in the rare picture, the entrance of Caserne Chadeysson, the barracks of 3e BEP at Sétif, Algeria in the early 1950s

3e BEP - 3 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Setif - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: November 16

1866, in the state of Querétaro, Mexico, the Foreign Legion started to be reorganized
– the massive reorganization followed the imperial decree of July 1866, which ordered the Legion to stay next 10 years in this country as the only French unit
– the new Foreign Legion would be composed of 8 battalions, 2 cavalry squadrons, 2 artillery batteries, an engineering company and a supply company
– however, the course of events ended the reorganization and last French troops, including 6 battalions of legionnaires, had to leave Mexico in February 1867

1915, in the Taza region of Morocco, 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE got involved in clashes with local Zenaias rebels near Oued Hanimou

1916, Battle of El Maadid
– a battle at El Maadid near Erfoud, 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
– Lieutenant Grand-Jean was killed + 2 legionnaires were wounded

1951, near Toum Nao in the Quang Ninh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, 2nd Battalion, 3e REI was severely attacked by the Viet Minh
– Major De Vincelles (Battalion commander) + Ltn Touyarot (5th Company) + 14 legionnaires were killed
– over 30 legionnaires were wounded or missed
– 60 Viet Minh attackers were killed

1954, 21st Motorized Company (21e CP), 1er RE was established
– led by Captain Hedan and equipped with M3 Half-tracks and M3 Scout Cars, 21e CP became independent in 1955 and was redesignated to 21e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company)
– in 1956, it formed together with 22e + 23e CPLE a new unit, Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group, GPLEA); the same year, the companies consolidated with 2e REI

1959, legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI took part in a military operation in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 11 rebels + 3 legionnaires were killed

– in the rare photo, legionnaires from 21e CPLE (ex-21e CP) with their wounded comrade during an operation in Algeria, 1955

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 17

1849, Captain Bataille and Captain Souville with their legionnaires from 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) were attacked by more than 1,300 rebels in the Batna region of north-eastern Algeria
– the attackers were fought off, but 2 legionnaires were killed

1892, Capture of Abomey
– part of the Second Franco-Dahomean War (1892-94)
– Abomey was the capital of then Kingdom of Dahomey, located near the Gulf of Guinea, in today’s Benin (West Africa)
– French troops led by Colonel Dodds, including a company of legionnaires, seized Abomey after King Behanzin fled the city

1947, the Vo Chang outpost, occupied by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI and located in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, was attacked by the Viet Minh
– 4 legionnaires were killed

1952, during Operation Lorraine in the Ha Giang region of northern Vietnam, 2nd Battalion, 2e REI got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh near Chan Mong
– Lieutenant Laubus + 14 legionnaires were killed
– over 50 legionnaires were wounded or missed

1955, at Djebel Amrane in the Batna region of northern Algeria, clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 11th Company, 3e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 4 rebels were killed, 4 rebels were imprisoned

1956, during a military operation, legionnaires from 1re CP (Motorized Company), 2e REI got involved in clashes with local rebels at Ras Beni Smir near Djien Bou Rezg, western Algeria
– Captain Millien, becoming the company commander two weeks earlier, was killed

– in the photo, 2e REI legionnaires during a military operation in French Indochina, 1952

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: November 18

1884, a battle near Tuyen Quang, Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam) with local pirates
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, led by Lt Colonel Duchesne, took part in
– 9 French soldiers were killed, including one legionnaire

1949, in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, outposts occupied by legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh
– over 20 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– 3 legionnaires were also killed

1954, during a military operation at Djebel Atra in the Gafsa region of central Tunisia, legionnaires from 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) were attacked by a group of local rebels
– all rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Touya + 2 legionnaires were also killed

1955, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion), having left Indochina, landed in Algeria and was disbanded
– on December 1, 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) was created

– in the photo, 2e BEP legionnaires after having landed at Mers El Kebir, Algeria on November 18, 1955

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Mers El Kebir

 

French Foreign Legion: November 19

1884, 3rd Battalion of the Foreign Legion left Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria to be deployed to French Indochina, Asia
– the battalion was followed by 4th Battalion two days later

1916, during the Balkans Campaign of WWI, the Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) seized the town of Monastir (today’s Bitola) in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia), occupied by Bulgarian forces

1955, at Djebel Fortass in the Batna region of northern Algeria, clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 10th Company, 3e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– Lieutenant Cherfallot was killed

1959, legionnaires from 6th Company, 3e REI took part in a military operation in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 14 rebels were killed or wounded

2012, the regimental colors of 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) and 2e REI + the banner of 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were decorated with the Military Valor Cross for their actions in the War in Afghanistan

– in the photo, the flags + the banner during the decoration ceremony at Nimes, France on November 19, 2012

2e REI - 1er REC - 1er REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Fourragere - 2012

 

French Foreign Legion: November 20

1925, Battle of Rashaya started
– part of the Great Syrian Revolt
– the battle occurred in today’s Lebanon between November 20-24
– a defensive action for 4th Sqadron
– around 100 men of 1er REC defended the Rashaya citadel
– they were attacked by 3,000 Druze rebels
– legionnaires refused to surrender and fought till the last round
– after fighting with bayonets, 4th Sqadron received a reinforcement
– the Druze rebels were fought off

1947, in the Tien Giang region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 1er REC got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– 4 Viet Minh soldiers were killed + 7 were imprisoned

1952, in the Son La region of northern Vietnam, legionnaires from 2e BEP were attacked by a Viet Minh regiment, while marching to the Chieng Dong outpost
– 2 legionnaires were killed + 27 legionnaires were wounded or missed

– in the picture, French superiors looking at 4th Squadron’s horses massacred by Druze rebels during the Battle of Rashaya, November 1925

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1925 - Rachaya - Algeria

 

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