Foreign Legion events: November 11 – 20

On this day. Explore the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between November 11 and November 20. 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: November 11

Remembrance Day (or Armistice Day)
– to recall the end of hostilities of World War I
– every year, the Foreign Legion remember their fallen comrades

 

1832, Battle of Sidi Chabal
– a battle in northwestern Algeria
– part of the French conquest of Algeria (1830-47)
– the battle took place in the Oran region
– the French faced some 4,000 local rebels
– 4th Battalion (Spaniards), Foreign Legion took part
– the enemy retreated
– 63 rebels were killed
– 146 rebels were wounded

1915, Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– in France, RMLE was established
– an operational unit of the Foreign Legion
– organized by consolidating two previous units
– formed to fight in France during WWI
– RMLE consisted of almost 3,400 men
– the unit would fight on the Western Front
– by the end of WWI, RMLE would become one of the two most decorated units of the French Army
– the unit moved to Morocco (North Africa) in 1919
– it became 3e RE in 1920 (3e REI since 1922)

– also in 1915, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the clashes took place between Khenifra and Sidi Amar
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the legionnaires faced some 800 Moroccan rebels
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– 12 legionnaires were wounded

1918, Armistice of 11 November 1918
– an armistice during the First World War
– signed between the Allies and Germany
– it ended the fighting on the Western Front of WWI
– this day is also commemorated as Remembrance Day
– to remember the fallen soldiers
– legionnaires traditionally commemorate this event

1942, Second Battle of El Alamein ended
– a three-week battle between the British and German forces
– the first major offensive of the Allies against the German and Italian forces since 1939
– 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 commander was killed during the battle
– Lieutenant Colonel Dimitri Amilakvari

– in the photo, 3e REI legionnaires during a ceremony of the 11th November, to remember the fallen soldiers, French Guiana, 2016

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Remembrance Day

 

French Foreign Legion: November 12

1857, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation ended
– near the Algerian border with Tunisia
– aimed at a local rebel tribe
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE took part

1948, 1er BEP to land in Indochina
– 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (later 1er REP)
– that day, 1er BEP landed in Indochina
– a unit established in North Africa in July 1948
– consisting of almost 800 men
– they would join the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the battalion would be two times annihilated there
– it would become the first French airborne battalion ever lost in action

– in the picture, 1er BEP legionnaires during an operation in French Indochina, 1953

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 13

1881, in western Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– the clashes occurred at Mir El Djebel
– a plateau in the Ain Sefra region
– 1st + 2nd Battalion, Foreign Legion were involved
– commanded by Colonel Négrier
– the future famous General
– the enemy was successfully fought off

1947, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at the Ca Mau outpost
– located at Ca Mau, Southern Vietnam
– held by legionnaires from 3rd Company, 13e DBLE
– Foreign Legion Half-Brigade
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1954, Operation Castor III started
– a three-day operation in Tunisia
– in the Siliana region
– it was aimed at local rebels
– 1st Battalion, 6e REI took part
– many rebel firearms were captured

1959, in northern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Oued Moussa, in the Djelfa region
– 4th Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– 10 rebels were killed

1969, First legionnaire killed in action after the Algerian War
– that day in Chad, a fierce skirmish with local rebels
– during Operation Cantharide
– part of Operation Limousin (1969-72)
– launched by France to restore order in the region
– the skirmish occurred in the Bour Doutoumou range
– in the Fada region of northern Chad (Central Africa)
– 1st Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved
– legionnaire Maxime Depuis was fatally wounded
– he became the first legionnaire killed in action after 1962
– after the end of the Algerian War (1954-62)

– in the photo, legionnaire Maxime Depuis (Marcel Deiber by his real name) + 2e REP legionnaires in Chad, 1969

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1969 - Maxime Depuis - Chad

 

French Foreign Legion: November 14

1918, Rebellion of Binh Lieu started
– a forgotten rebellion in then French Indochina
– in the Quang Ninh region of Northern Vietnam
– started by local Vietnamese auxiliaries
– directed against French authorities
– a French task force was formed
– to successfully restore order in the region
– Autonomous Company, 1er RE participated
– the operation continued until late June of 1919
– the rebels were pacified

– Autonomous Company, 1er RE
– a little known Foreign Legion unit
– the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina in 1916-20
– consisting of around 200 legionnaires
– Germans and Austrians in the vast majority
– the company’s detachments occupied several isolated outposts
– in the troubled Vietnamese region bordering China

1940, in then French Indochina, a rebel attack
– in the Lang Son region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at Motorized Detachment, 5e REI
– led by Lieutenant Guillaume
– a battle would follow
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1951, Operation Lotus started
– a week-long operation in then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Hoa Binh (1951-52)
– during the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the operation occurred in Northern Vietnam
– to seize the town of Hoa Binh and the nearest area
– over 15 French infantry battalions were involved
– between them, several Legion units
– 1st + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI
– 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– over 500 Viet Minh members were killed

1952, Operation Lorraine ended
– a two-week operation in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it occurred in the Phu Doan and Yen Bay regions
– north-west of Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– up to 30,000 French troops were involved
– between them, several Legion units
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP)
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP)
2e REI
– the operation ended in mid-November
– Viet Minh suffered important losses

1956, in northwestern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– the battle occurred in the Tlemcen region
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI participated
– that day, 25 rebels were killed

1959, in central Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– at Oued Fedje, in the Laghouat region
– legionnaires from 3e CSPL were involved
– Legion Saharan Motorized Company
– they faced an important rebel group
– 16 rebels were killed
– 13 rebels were imprisoned

– in the image, 3e CSPL legionnaires in Algeria, November 1959

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 15

1849, in northwestern Algeria, a deadly epidemic ended
– a three-week cholera epidemic
– it occurred at Sidi Bel Abbes
– a future HQ of the Foreign Legion
– 1er RLE legionnaires were affected
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (now 1er RE)
– 3 officers and over 200 legionnaires died
– the Legion left Sidi Bel Abbes in 1962

1920, 3rd Foreign Regiment
– in Morocco, 3e RE was established
– a former RMLE
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– created in France in 1915
– one of the two most decorated units of the French Army
– 3e RE became 3e REI (Infantry) in 1922
– the regiment left Morocco in 1946
– since 1973, the 3e REI has been based in French Guiana

– also in 1920, 4th Foreign Regiment
– in Morocco, 4e RE was established
– nicknamed as Regiment of Morocco
– formed with autonomous Legion battalions
– operating in Morocco during WWI
– it became 4e REI in 1922
– the unit participated in several campaigns
– Pacification of Morocco in 1920-34
– Tunisia Campaign in 1943
– restoring order in Madagascar in 1947-51
– First Indochina War in 1949
– Ifni War (or Forgotten War) in 1957-58
– in 1957, 4e REI left Morocco
– as the very last Foreign Legion unit
– to take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– in Algeria in 1964, 4e REI was dissolved
– in France in 1980, a new 4e RE was born
– the training regiment of the Legion
– it adopted the number, flag and traditions of 4e REI

1940, 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment deactivation
– in Morocco, 2e REC was deactivated
– a Foreign Legion cavalry regiment
– created in Morocco in July 1939
– its men took part in the Battle of France (1940)
– reactivated in Morocco in 1946
– the unit participated in several campaigns
– in Madagascar in 1949-52
– in Morocco in 1953-56
– in Algeria in 1956-62
– 2e REC was dissolved in July 1962
– its men consolidated with the 1er REC
– in 1984, its flag was adopted by DLEM (Mayotte Detachment)

1948, First casualties for 1er BEP
– 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (later 1er REP)
– that day, 1er BEP suffered its first losses
– after having landed in then French Indochina
– the battalion moved to Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– to join the First Indichina War (1946-54)
– the train carrying 1er BEP was attacked
– by a Viet Minh improvised explosive device
– a passenger car carrying the 2nd Company was hit
– 3 legionnaires were killed

– 1er BEP was created in North Africa in July 1948
– in Indochina, 1er BEP would be two times annihilated
– it would become the first French airborne battalion ever lost in action

1949, 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion
– in Algeria, 3e BEP was established
– a little-known Legion airborne unit
– a training & depot battalion
– it also maintained order in Algeria
– military operations in Tunisia in 1951
– 3e BEP was sent to Indochina in 1954
– to take part in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– eventually, the battle was over
– 3e BEP restored the 2e BEP (future 2e REP) instead
– in Algeria in 1954, a new 3e BEP was organized
– it became the 3e REP (Regiment) in 1955
– the Legion’s shortest-living regiment
– 3e REP was dissolved in 1955
– to help to form the 2e REP

1952, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at the Rach Suoida outpost
– in the Hoc Mon region, Southern Vietnam
– held by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE
– Foreign Legion Half-Brigade
– during the attack, 12 legionnaires were killed

1956, Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group dissolution
– in Morocco, GPLEM was dissolved
– an independent Foreign Legion motorized unit
– established in Morocco in 1947
– it took its origin in a little-known 3e REI’s GCMP
– a group of isolated mounted and motorized companies
– maintaining order in Morocco during WWII
– GPLEM units continued to maintain order in Morocco
– in southernmost parts of the country
– after the dissolution, the unit consolidated with 4e REI
– it became 2e GCP (Motorized Companies Group), 4e REI
– in 1957, it moved to Mauritania and the Spanish Sahara
– to take part in the Ifni War (also Forgotten War, 1957-58)
– alongside the Spanish Legion
– in 1958, 2e GCP (ex-GPLEM) moved to Algeria
– to join the ongoing Algerian War (1954-62)
– it joined it as the very last Foreign Legion unit

– in the rare picture, a 4e REI legionnaire in a bar in Morocco, the late 1930s

4e REI - 4 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1938 - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: November 16

1866, Foreign Regiment’s reorganization
– in Mexico, a decision to reorganize Foreign Regiment
– then title for the Foreign Legion
– having been deployed to Mexico since 1863
– during the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– France had an idea to hand over the Legion
– to serve Mexican Emperor Maximilian I.
– for the next 10 years
– the reorganized Legion should be composed of:
– 8 infantry battalions
– 2 cavalry squadrons
– 2 artillery batteries
– an engineering company
– a supply train company
– however, the reorganization would be suspended
– due to the course of political events
– all French troops had to leave Mexico until early 1867
– including then six Foreign Legion battalions

1915, Battle of Isolated Massif
– known as Attack of Dent de Scie in France
– part of the Serbian Campaign (Oct 1915 – Jan 1916)
– a campaign during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– the battle 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
– the legionnaires faced Bulgarian soldiers
– Bulgarians were part of Central Powers
– alongside Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire
– Battalion Legion fought fiercely
– Bulgarians were fought off
– however, the battalion suffered heavy casualties
– Captain Eugene Homo (10th Company) was killed
– 34 legionnaires were also killed
– 96 officers and legionnaires were wounded

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

1951, Attack of Toum Nao
– a Viet Minh attack in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the attack took place near Toum Nao
– in the Quang Ninh region of Northern Vietnam
– it was aimed at 2nd Battalion, 3e REI
– the battalion suffered heavy casualties
– Major Francois Aubert de Vincelles was killed
– the then battalion commander
– Lieutenant Jean Touyarot + 14 legionnaires were also killed
– over 30 legionnaires were wounded or missed
– 60 Viet Minh attackers were killed

1959, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with rebels
– in the Guelma region
– 2nd Company, 3e REI were involved
– 11 rebels were killed

– in the picture, Captain Eugene Homo (killed on November 16, 1915) + 1er RMA troops (including legionnaires from Battalion Legion), while returning from then Serbia to Greece, winter 1915-16

1er RMA - 1 RMA - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1915 - Orient - Captain Eugene Homo

 

French Foreign Legion: November 17

1849, in northeastern Algeria, a rebel attack
– in the Batna region
– aimed at legionnaires from 2e RLE
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– led by Captain Bataille and Captain Souville
– they faced some 1,300 rebels
– the attackers were fought off
– nevertheless, 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
– in today’s Benin (West Africa), near the Gulf of Guinea
– ruled by King Behanzin
– he faced French troops led by Colonel Dodds
– French troops successfully seized the capital
– a company of legionnaires participated
– King Behanzin had to flee the capital

1947, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at the Vo Chang outpost
– located in the Cao Bang region, Northern Vietnam
– held by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI
– during the attack, 4 legionnaires were killed

1952, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– during Operation Lorraine
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the battle took place near Chan Mong
– in the Ha Giang region, Northern Vietnam
– 2nd Battalion, 2e REI got involved
– Lieutenant Gerard Laubus + 14 legionnaires were killed
– over 50 legionnaires were wounded or missed

1955, in northeastern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– at Djebel Amrane, in the Batna region
– 11th Company, 3e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– 4 rebels were killed
– 4 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, an “ancien” (long-serving) legionnaire from 2e REI during a military operation in French Indochina, the early 1950s

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: November 18

1925, in Lebanon, clashes with Druze rebels
– an action of the Great Syria Revolt (1925-27)
– the clashes occurred during a patrol near Rashaya
– a platoon of 4th Squadron, 1er REC was involved
– led by Lieutenant Paul Gardy
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– 3 legionnaires were wounded
– the enemy was fought off

Paul Gardy
– a well-respected French officer
– a future General and a Chief of the Foreign Legion
– he participated in the 1961 Generals’ Putsch in Algiers
– then, he led pro-French Algeria partisans
– sentenced to death, he emigrated to Argentina

1949, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at a French outpost
– located in the Cao Bang region, Northern Vietnam
– held by legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– 20 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– however, 3 legionnaires were also killed

1954, in central Tunisia, a skirmish with local rebels
– at Djebel Atra, in the Gafsa region
– legionnaires from 2e CSPL were involved
– Legion Saharan Motorized Company
– 7 rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Jean Touya was also killed
– 2 legionnaires were killed too

1955, 2e BEP landed in North Africa
– that day, 2e BEP landed in Algeria
– 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion
– the unit returned from Indochina (Southeast Asia)
– after almost 7 years of fighting there
– 2e BEP gained six mentions in dispatches there
– the most among French Army battalions
– in December, its men would help to form a new unit
– 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP)

– in the image, 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

1916, Capture of Monastir
– an action on the Macedonian Front
– during the Monastir Offensive
– part of the Balkans Campaign of WWI
Monastir was a town in then Serbia
– today’s Bitola in southern Macedonia
– that day, successfully captured by French and Russian troops
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA took part
– African Regimental Combat Team
– Bulgarian and German forces fled the town
– Bulgarians and Germans made part of Central Powers
– alongside Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire

1955, in northeastern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– at Djebel Fortass, in the Batna region
– 10th Company, 3e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– Lieutenant Raymond Cherfallot was killed
– 3e REP’s only officer killed in action

1959, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– in the Guelma region
– aimed at local rebels
– 6th Company, 3e REI took part
– 14 rebels were killed or wounded

1960, Operation Ariege ended
– the first phase of Operation Trident
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– Operation Ariege took six weeks
– in the Setif and Batna regions of Algeria
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– over 110 rebels were killed

2012, Military Valor Cross for 1er REG, 2e REI, 1er REC
– that day, three Foreign Legion units were awarded
1er REG (Engineer Regiment)
– 2e REI
– 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– awarded with the Military Valor Cross
– for their actions in the War in Afghanistan (2001-12)

– in the photo, the flags of 1er REG and 2e REI + the fanion of 4th Squadron, 1er REC during the decoration ceremony at Nimes in France, November 19, 2012

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 20

1925, Battle of Rashaya started
– a fierce battle in today’s Lebanon
– part of the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-27)
– a five-day heroic defensive action
– carried out by 4th Sqadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– led by Captain Landriau
– they defended the famous citadel of Rashaya
– an ancient fortification in southern Lebanon
– attacked by about 3,000 Druze rebels
– the legionnaires fought to the last bullet
– the Druze rebels were fought off

1947, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– in the Tien Giang region, Southern Vietnam
– 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– 4 rebels were killed
– 7 rebels were imprisoned

1952, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at legionnaires from 2e BEP
– 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (now 2e REP)
– the attack took place near Chieng Dong
– in the Son La region, Northern Vietnam
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– 27 legionnaires were wounded or missed

1958, Foreign Legion awarded for Bambi
– that day, the Foreign Legion was awarded
– for the Rescue of Bambi
– a small donkey found lonely and hungry
– by the Harka of 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– in the Khenchela region, northeastern Algeria
– the small donkey was named Bambi
– he became a mascot of 13e DBLE
– the image of a harki carrying the small donkey became well-known
– it was published in magazines all over the world
– Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals thanked officially the Foreign Legion for that “demonstration of humanity” and awarded it with a medal
– the oldest and largest animal welfare organisation in the world

– Harka (or Harkis)
– pro-French native Muslim volunteers
– serving with the French Army
– during the Algerian War (1954-62)
– at the time, in all infantry + cavalry Legion units
– many of them were massacred by rebels after the war

– in the picture, a Harki from 13e DBLE rescuing Bambi (the lonely small donkey), Algeria, 1958 + a medal with thanks from the London-based Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Bambi - Algeria - RSPCA

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: November 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: November 21 – 30
French Foreign Legion history