Foreign Legion events: November 21 – 30

Learn about most significant data of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Remarkable campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Find out the important events which occurred between November 21 and November 30.

 

French Foreign Legion: November 21

1836, 1st Battalion of the “New Foreign Legion” constituted
– “New Foreign Legion” was established by a December 1835 royal decree
– the “New Legion” replaced the “Old Legion” (created in March 1831)
– the “Old Legion” was handed over to Spain in July 1835 to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– in December 1836, the “New Legion” was sent to Algeria to be based there
– the “Old Legion” fought in Spain until December 1838 and was dissolved in January 1839
– its few survivors joined the “New Legion” in Algeria

1953, in then French Indochina, Operation Castor started for legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) and 1re CEPML (Heavy Mortar Parachute Company)
– they jumped over Dien Bien Phu, the large valley in Northern Vietnam, to help to seize it and to clear it of the Viet Minh
– the French authorities considered to use the valley as a fortified strongpoint for the decisive battle with the Viet Minh, which became known as the 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu

1954, during a military operation at Djebel Sidi Aich, in the Gafsa region of central Tunisia, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 6e REI were attacked by local rebels
– the rebels were successfully fought off

1956, during a military operation in the Philippeville region of northeastern Algeria, Ltn Brehier and his 18 legionnaires from 3rd Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved in a fierce battle with a large group of local rebels
– 30 rebels were killed

– in the image, 2e REP legionnaires in Algeria, 1956

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: November 22

1949, a military operation for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) close to Nhuan Duc, in the Saigon region of Southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Lieutenant Durlet was killed

1954, Demi-Battalion A constituted
– in northwestern Algeria, Demi-Battalion A was constituted
– a provisional unit composed of two companies from Saida and Mascara
– they were made up of fresh legionnaires still doing their basic training
– the new combat-ready unit would participate in restoring order in the Aures Mountains of the Biskra region, eastern Algeria
– Demi-Battalion A, commanded by Captain Fournier, was one of those provisional units established between August and November 1954 to eliminate growing rebel activities in North Africa
– the vast majority of Legion combat units were still stationed in then French Indochina, Southeast Asia
– in late December 1954, the unit was dissolved and its legionnaires rejoined their basic training

1960, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) at Djebel Saifoun, in the Bou Saada region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 31 rebels were killed

– in the rare photo, 2e REC members during an operation in northern Algeria, 1960

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 23

1952, Battle of Na San started
– a ten-day battle between the French and the Viet Minh
– it took place in the Son La region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– in the end, the Viet Minh withdrew with important losses
– Na San was a French stronghold surrounded by 30 smaller armed positions
– the French had 11 battalions (including 4 Legion battalions) + 6 artillery batteries (including a Legion mortar company) placed there
– Na San was attacked by 9 Viet Minh regiments
– that day, 3rd Battalion, 5e REI killed 64 Viet Minh attackers
– however, 5e REI suffered 5 legionnaires killed + 19 wounded or missed

1959, during an operation at Djebel Bechar, in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria, legionnaires from 2e REI got involved in fierce fighting with a large group of local rebels
– 23 rebels were killed
– at least one legionnaire was also killed

1960, a three-day military operation ended for legionnaires from EMT1 (Task Force, ex-battalion), 2e REI near Spissifa, in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria
– during the operation, 13 rebels were killed

1976, first Legion training units to arrive in Castelnaudary
– having left Corsica, first enlisted volunteers and young legionnaires from Legion’s training units arrived at Caserne Lapasset, the old barracks located in Castelnaudary, southern France
– they will continue their basic instruction there
– the training units of the Foreign Legion left Corsica after 14 years
– they left Caserne Lapasset for a new barracks ten years later, in 1986

– in the picture, 4e RE legionnaires leaving Caserne Lapasset, Castelnaudary, 1980’s

4e RE - 4 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1980's - Caserne Lapasset - Castelnaudary - France

 

French Foreign Legion: November 24

1858, a military operation started for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– the four-week operation was launched to restore order in the Collo region of northeastern Algeria

1925, Battle of Rashaya ended
– 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
– legionnaires refused to surrender and fought until the last round
– while fighting with bayonets, 4th Sqadron received a reinforcement
– the Druze rebels were fought off
– over 400 rebels were killed
– 4th Sqadron had 12 men killed, including Captain Granger
– 34 men were wounded

1951, close to Hanoi in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) got involved in a bloody skirmish with the Viet Minh
– 5 legionnaires were killed, another 13 were wounded or missed

1959, military operations in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria
– legionnaires from HQ Company + 1st Motorized Company, 2e REI took part in
– that day, over 30 rebels were killed

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires during a ceremony at their HQ in Ain Sefra, Algeria, around 1959

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Ain Sefra - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: November 25

1955, in northeastern Algeria, two-day clashes with local rebels ended for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the clashes took place near Taberdga, in the Aures Mountains
– 18 rebels were killed
– nevertheless, 13e DBLE’s Captain Genet was also killed

1957, a military operation against local rebels at Djebel Djebria, in the Tebessa region of northeastern Algeria
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in
– 23 rebels were killed

1964, 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force dissolution
– in France, 3e BMLE was dissolved
– an engineering unit formed in Algeria in August 1962
– in fact, it was a reduced 3e REI (its HQ + 2 companies)
– because of that, it was keeping the number 3 in its title
– 3e BMLE helped to establish the Legion’ HQ in France and Corsica
– the unit built a new headquarters of the Legion in Aubagne, France
– it also built the Legion’s infrastructure in Corsica (Corte, Calvi)

– in the photo, 3e BMLE legionnaires parading on the La Canebiere, Marseille, 1963

3e BMLE - 3 BMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1963 - Marseille

 

French Foreign Legion: November 26

1849, Siege of Zaatcha ended
– a four-month siege of an important fortified rebel village of Zaatcha
– the village is located in the Biskra region of northeastern Algeria
– legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now) took part in the siege
– that day, the village was successfully seized by French combined arms, including legionnaires
– during the siege, 85 legionnaires died + another 175 were wounded

1915, Battle of Sidi Abd El Kahman
– a battle with local rebels at Sidi Abd El Kahman, in the Fez region of Morocco
– Mounted Company, 2e RE (2e REI now) got involved in
– 3 legionnaires were killed, including long-serving Sergeant Major Werner

1949, close to the Cho Bo outpost, in the Hoa Binh region in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, Sergeant Major Becker and his legionnaires from 3rd Company, 5e REI got involved in fierce fighting with the Viet Minh
– that day, 5e REI lost 1 officer + 25 legionnaires

1955, at Djebel Maagel in the Batna region of northern Algeria, clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 9th Company, 3e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– a legionnaire was killed

1956, Foreign Legion Madagascar Detachment landed in Madagascar
– that day, DLEM landed in Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– legionnaires returned to the island after 5 years
– DLEM became BLEM (Battalion) 5 months later
– BLEM was the only combat unit of the Legion being not stationed in Algeria during the 1958-62 period and the only combat unit which did never participate in the Algerian War
– in Madagascar in 1962, BLEM was transformed into a new 3e REI

– in the rare picture, DLEM legionnaires during a parade in Diego Suarez, Madagascar, December 1956

DLEM - BLEM - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Diego Suarez - Madagascar

 

French Foreign Legion: November 27

1914, a severe battle with Beni Bou-Guitoun tribe rebels
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE was involved in
– the battle took place at El Kelaa, in the Taza region of Morocco
– 10 legionnaires were killed + another 20 wounded

1953, in the Thai Binh region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 12th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in heavy fighting with the Viet Minh
– Lieutenant Fabre + several legionnaires were killed

– in the image, 1er REC legionnaires with their Crab (M29 Weasel) during an operation in French Indochina, in the early 1950’s

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: November 28

1947, General Leclerc’s plane crash
– in the Sahara desert of Algeria, the plane with famous French General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque on board crashed into the ground
– General Leclerc and several French high-ranking military personnel were killed
1re CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) legionnaires were sent immediately to discover and secure the crash site
– legionnaires picked up the bodies and took them to the nearest military hospital of Colomb Bechar
– General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque became well-known when he commanded the Free French Forces, including the 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade), in North Africa during WWII
– he became Marshal of France posthumously

1956, a two-day-long military operation ended
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved in
– the operation took place at Djebel Anoual, in the Tebessa region of northeastern Algeria
– 18 rebels were killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

– in the very rare photo, General Leclerc reviewing a detachment of the 13e DBLE, around 1946

General Leclerc - Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1946 - 13e DBLE - 13 DBLE

 

French Foreign Legion: November 29

1956, legionnaires from 6th Motorized Company, 3e REI got involved in clashes with local rebels
– the clashes took place near Mac Mahon, in the Batna region of northeastern Algeria
– 25 rebels were killed

1959, a three-day operation ended for legionnaires from 4e REI
– it took place at Djebel Damouss, close to Ouenza, in the Tebessa region of northeastern Algeria
– during the operation, 30 rebels were killed + 14 rebels imprisoned
– 4 legionnaires were also killed

– in the picture, 4e REI legionnaires during a military operation in northeastern Algeria, 1959

4e REI - 4 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: November 30

1952, a Viet Minh attack during the Battle of Na San
– a battle between the French and the Viet Minh
– it took place in the Son La region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– that day, the Viet Minh launched a severe attack aimed at French positions
– after many hours of fighting, the attack was stopped and the enemy was fought off
– four Legion battalions + Legion’s Mortar Company participated in the battle

1955, 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment dissolution
– in Algeria, 3e REP was dissolved
– a little-known airborne unit and the shortest-living regiment of the Legion
– ex-3e BEP (Battalion), established in Algeria in 1949
– the unit served as a training & depot unit for Legion paratroopers
– however, its legionnaires also participated in military operations in Tunisia (3e BEP)
or in the Algerian War (3e BEP, 3e REP)
– after the dissolution, 3e REP legionnaires merged with their comrades from the disbanded 2e BEP (Battalion) into a new airborne regiment, 2e REP
– ex-3e REP legionnaires formed its 3rd + 4th Company

1956, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) at Djebel Zitouna, in the El Tarf region of northeastern Algeria
– that day, 18 rebels were killed

1963, 5th Foreign Infantry Regiment dissolution
– in Algeria, the reduced 5e REI was officially dissolved
– born in 1930, as the only Legion regiment established in Asia
– in October 1963, another 5th Regiment was established in the Pacific
– 5e RMP (Pacific Mixed Regiment), stationed in French Polynesia
– formed with many ex-5e REI legionnaires, it adopted the 5e REI’s traditions
– 5e RMP became 5e RE in 1984 and was finally disbanded in 2000

– in the rare image, the entrance of Caserne Chadeysson, the HQ of 3e BEP (and the 3e REP) at Sétif, Algeria in the 1950’s

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

 

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