Foreign Legion events: November 11 – 20

Get to know historical events in French Foreign Legion’s history. Significant campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Explore the most important 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, northwestern 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, another 146 wounded

1915, Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– during WWI, in France, RMLE was established
– created by consolidation of 2nd Regimental Combat Teams of both, the 1er RE and the 2e RE (now 2e REI), having been fighting in France since 1914
– RMLE was composed of almost 3,400 men
– the unit 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
– the unit moved to Morocco in 1919
– it became 3e RE in 1920 and 3e REI in 1922

– also in 1915, clashes with some 800 Moroccan rebels for 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– the clashes took place 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 on the Western Front of WWI
– this day is also commemorated as Remembrance Day, to remember the fallen soldiers
– in France, legionnaires traditionally participate in ceremonies to celebrate this event

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

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

1948, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) landed in Haiphong, Northern Vietnam
– established in Algeria in July 1948
– the battalion will take part in the ongoing war with the Viet Minh in then French Indochina
– the unit will be two times annihilated (1950 and 1954) and will become the first French airborne battalion lost in combat

– on 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, 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, in Southern Vietnam of then French Indochina, the Ca Mau outpost was attacked by a Viet Minh battalion
– it was occupied by legionnaires from 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1954, Operation Castor III started
– a three-day operation in the Siliana region of northern Tunisia, aimed at local rebels
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 6e REI took part in

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 were killed

1969, the first 2e REP legionnaire killed in action since the end of the Algerian War
– during Operation Limousin in Chad, a fierce skirmish between legionnaires from 1st Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) and a group of local rebels
– it took place in the Bour Doutoumou range, in the Fada region of northern Chad
– during the fighting, legionnaire Depuis was killed
– another 4 legionnaires were severely wounded
Maxime Depuis became the very first 2e REP legionnaire killed in action since the end of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– Operation Limousin was launched in Chad (Central Africa) to eliminate local rebel groups and to restore order in the region

– 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 rebellion in the Quang Ninh region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– local Vietnamese auxiliaries started a rebellion against French authorities
– a French task force was formed to restore order
– the successful operation continued until late June of 1919
– legionnaires from Autonomous Company, 1er RE took part in
– Autonomous Company (composed of around 200 German and Austrian legionnaires in the vast majority) had been the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina since 1916
– its detachments were occupying several isolated outposts in the troubled Tonkinese region (Northern Vietnam) bordering China

1940, in then French Indochina, Lieutenant Guillaume and his Motorized Detachment of the 5e REI were attacked by local rebels
– the attack took place in the Lang Son region, Northern Vietnam
– after being reinforced by 5th Company, 5e REI, the legionnaires fought off the attackers

1951, Operation Lotus started
– a successful week-long operation in then French Indochina to seize the town of Hoa Binh, Northern Vietnam and the nearest area
– the region located near Hanoi, then capital of Indochina, with important supply roads of the Viet Minh
– over 15 French infantry battalions took part in
– between them, 1st + 3rd Battalion of the 5e REI and 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– over 500 Viet Minh members were killed during the operation
– the operation, launched by well-known General de Lattre, was part of the Battle of Hoa Binh, which lasted until February 1952
– General de Lattre died a few days after the end of Operation Lotus

1959, during a military operation, legionnaires from 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) attacked an important group of Algerian rebels
– the attack took place at Oued Fedje, in the Laghouat region of central Algeria
– that day, 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 Sidi Bel Abbes of northwestern Algeria, a three-week cholera epidemic ended
– 3 officers and over 200 legionnaires from 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) died
– Sidi Bel Abbes served as the HQ of the Legion until 1962

1920, 3rd Foreign Regiment establishment
– in Morocco, 3e RE was established
– ex-RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, created in 1915)
– one of the two most decorated units of the French Army
– it took part in WWI and since 1919, in military operations during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the 3e RE became 3e REI (Infantry) in 1922

– also in 1920, 4th Foreign Regiment establishment
– in Morocco, 4e RE was established
– formed with autonomous Legion battalions operating in Morocco during WWI
– nicknamed as Regiment of Morocco
– it became 4e REI in 1922
– the regiment and its battalions took part in the Pacification of Morocco, First Indochina War or in the Algerian War
– its legionnaires also successfully participated in little-known military operations in Madagascar (1947-52) or in Mauritania (1957-58), alongside the Spanish Legion
– the last Foreign Legion unit to leave Morocco (1957)
– 4e REI was dissolved in Algeria in 1964
– its number, standard and traditions were adopted in 1980 by the Foreign Legion training regiment, 4e RE

1940, 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment deactivation
– in Morocco, 2e REC was deactivated
– the regiment was created in July 1939
– its leaders and legionnaires took part in the Battle of France (1940)
– the regiment was reactivated in 1946
– its legionnaires successfully participated in little-known military operations in Madagascar (1949-52)
– they were also involved in operations in Morocco (1953-56) and since 1956, in the Algerian War
– 2e REC was finally disbanded in 1962
– its standard was adopted by DLEM (Mayotte Detachment) in 1984

1948, First losses for 1er BEP
– that day, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) suffered its first losses
– during its movement in then French Indochina, a train carrying 1er BEP legionnaires was attacked by a Viet Minh improvised explosive device
– the attack took place between Haiphong and Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– they became the first killed men of 1er BEP
– the unit, created in July, landed in Indochina three days earlier
– in Indochina, 1er BEP will become the first-ever French airborne battalion lost in combat (1950)

1949, 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion establishment
– in Algeria, 3e BEP was established
– still a little-known airborne unit of the Legion, however important
– the battalion served as a training & depot unit for para-legionnaires in Indochina
– moreover, it maintained order in northeastern Algeria
– as a whole, it also restored both airborne battalions of the Legion annihilated in Indochina
– by changing its title, it became 1er BEP (1951) and 2e BEP (1954)
– its legionnaires successfully participated in military operations to restore order in Tunisia (1952) or in Algeria (1955)
– the battalion became 3e REP in September 1955
– it has remained the shortest-living regiment of the Legion
– 12 weeks later, 3e REP legionnaires merged with their comrades from the disbanded 2e BEP into a new regiment, 2e REP
– they formed its 3rd + 4th Company

1952, in the Hoc Mon region of Southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the Rach Suoida outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– occupied by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (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 1947, it took its origin in an almost unknown 3e REI’s group of isolated mounted and motorized units maintaining order in Morocco during WWII
– GPLEM units continued to maintain order in southernmost parts of Morocco
– after the dissolution, its motorized companies consolidated with 4e REI
– redesignated as the 4e REI’s 2e GCP (Motorized Companies Group), the ex-GPLEM took part in the little-known Ifni War (also Forgotten War) in Mauritania and the Spanish Sahara (1957-58), alongside the Spanish Legion
– it became the very last Foreign Legion unit to move to Algeria (April 1958) to join the ongoing war there

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

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 16

1866, Foreign Regiment reorganization in Mexico
– an reorganization during the French Intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– in the state of Querétaro, Mexico, the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) started to be reorganized
– the idea was to leave the Legion in Mexico as the only French unit for the next 10 years
– the new Foreign Regiment would be composed of 8 infantry battalions, 2 cavalry squadrons, 2 artillery batteries, an engineering company and a supply train company
– however, the course of following events stopped the reorganization
– all French troops, including the existing six battalions of legionnaires, had to leave Mexico until February 1867

1915, Battle of Isolated Massif
– also known as Attack of Dent de Scie in France
– a two-day severe battle in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia), during the Serbian Campaign (Oct 1915 – Jan 1916) of the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) got involved in
– they faced Bulgarian soldiers
– Bulgarians were part of Central Powers, alongside Austria-Hungary, Germany and Ottomans
– the two-day heavy fighting took place near Kalkovo, around 10 miles (16 km) north of Gevgelija, then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia)
– Captain Homo + 34 legionnaires were killed
– 96 officers and legionnaires were wounded
– nevertheless, Bulgarians were fought off

1916, Battle of El Maadid
– a battle between the French troops and Moroccan rebels
– it took place at El Maadid near Erfoud, Morocco
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion (1916-19, a little-known semi-penal unit composed of legionnaires and “Bat’ d’Af” soldiers) got involved in
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– nevertheless, Lieutenant Grand-Jean was killed
– 2 legionnaires were wounded

1951, Attack of Toum Nao
– 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 Francois Aubert 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

1959, a military operation for legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI in the Guelma region of northeastern Algeria
– during the operation, 11 rebels were killed

– in the very rare photo, 1er RMA troops, including legionnaires from the Battalion Legion, while returning from then Serbia to Thessaloniki, Greece in winter 1915-16

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 17

1849, Captain Bataille and Captain Souville with their legionnaires from 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI) were attacked by more than 1,300 rebels in the Batna region of northeastern Algeria
– 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, ruled by King Behanzin
– the kingdom was located near the Gulf of Guinea, in today’s Benin (West Africa)
– French troops led by Colonel Dodds, including a company of legionnaires, captured Abomey after King Behanzin fled the city

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

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

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

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

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 18

1884, a battle with local rebels near Tuyen Quang, Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– Lt Colonel Duchesne and his legionnaires from 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion took part in
– 9 French soldiers were killed, including one legionnaire

1949, 3e REI’s outposts attacked by the Viet Minh
– in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the 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 Jean Touya + 2 legionnaires were also killed, however

1955, 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion dissolution
– that day, 2e BEP landed in Algeria and was dissolved
– the unit left Indochina after 7 years of being stationed there
– in December, its legionnaires and ex-3e REP men formed a new unit
– 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) was established

– 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

1884, 3rd Battalion of the Foreign Legion left Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
– it will be deployed to Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam), Asia
– the battalion was followed by the 4th Battalion two days later

1916, Capture of Monastir
– part of the Monastir Offensive on the Macedonian Front, during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– that day, legionnaires from the Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team), alongside with Russian troops, captured the town of Monastir (today’s Bitola) in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia)
– the town was previously occupied by Bulgarian and German forces

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

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

2012, Military Valor Cross for 1er REG, 2e REI, 1er REC
– the regimental standards of the 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) and 2e REI + the fanion 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 of 1er REG and 2e REI + the fanion of 4th Squadron, 1er REC during the decoration ceremony at Nimes, 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
– part of the Great Syrian Revolt
– the battle occurred in today’s Lebanon between November 20-24
– a defensive action for legionnaires from 4th Sqadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– they defended the Rashaya citadel being attacked by 3,000 Druze rebels
– 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, heavy fighting with the Viet Minh for legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the fighting took place in the Tien Giang region of Southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 4 Viet Minh men were killed + another 7 were imprisoned

1952, in the Son La region of Northern Vietnam, legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, now 2e REP) were severely attacked by the Viet Minh, while marching to the Chieng Dong outpost
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– 27 legionnaires were wounded or missed

– in the picture, a Belgian and a German legionnaire from 2e BEP, during an operation in French Indochina, in the early 1950’s

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1951 - Vietnam - French Indochina

 

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