Foreign Legion events: November 21 – 30

Explore the most interesting events of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Significant campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Today, we will present the important events which occurred between November 21 and November 30.

 

French Foreign Legion: November 21

1836, the first battalion of the “New” Foreign Legion (today’s Legion) was completely assembled
– the “New” Legion was established in 1836 by a royal decree from December 1835
– the original Foreign Legion (est. in March 1831, now called the “Old” Legion) was handed over to Spain in July 1835
– it fought there until 1838 and was disbanded in January 1839
– in late December, the “New” Legion deployed to Algeria to be based there

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 seize it and to clean it from the Viet Minh
– the French considered to use the valley as a fortified strongpoint for the decisive battle with the Viet Minh, which became known as the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954)

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, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) in the Philippeville region of north-eastern Algeria
– 30 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 1st Battalion, 6e REI during a military operation in Tunisia, 1954

6e REI - 6 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Tunisia

 

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, in north-western Algeria, Demi-Battalion A was constituted
– composed of two companies of young legionnaires from Saida and Mascara, doing their basic training there, the new combat-ready unit would participate in restoring order in the Aures mountains of the Biskra region, Algeria
– Demi-Battalion A, commanded by Captain Fournier, was one of the provisional units established between August and November 1954 to eliminate growing rebel activities in North Africa, while the vast majority of combat units of the Legion were still stationed in French Indochina, South Asia
– in late December 1954, the unit was disbanded and young legionnaires returned to 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 + 3 legionnaires were killed

– in the very rare image, young legionnaires from Demi-Battalion A in the Aures Mountains, Algeria, November 1954

1er REI - 1 REI - Demi-Bataillon A - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: November 23

1952, Battle of Na San started
– a ten-day battle between the French and the Viet Minh in the Son La region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Na San was a French stronghold surrounded by 30 smaller armed positions
– the French had 11 battalions (including 4 Legion battalions) + 6 artillery batteries placed there
– they were attacked by 9 Viet Minh regiments
– that day, 3rd Battalion, 5e REI killed 64 Viet Minh attackers, but it had also 5 legionnaires killed + 19 wounded or missed

1959, during an operation at Djebel Bechar of western Algeria, legionnaires from 2e REI got involved in fierce fighting with a large group of local rebels
– 23 rebels were killed

1960, a three-day-long military operation ended for legionnaires from EMT 1 (Task Force), 2e REI near Spissifa, in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria
– during the operation, 13 rebels were killed

1976, having left Corsica, first enlisted volunteers and young legionnaires from Legion’s training units arrived at Caserne Lapasset in Castelnaudary, southern France to continue their basic instruction
– the training units of the Foreign Legion have been placed in this town for 40 years already

– a 1979 Kepi Blanc magazine cover shows legionnaires at Caserne Lapasset, Castelnaudary

Castelnaudary - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1979 - Caserne Lapasset

 

French Foreign Legion: November 24

1858, a military operation started for legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– the four-week-long operation was launched to restore order in the Collo region of north-eastern 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 4th Sqadron of 1er REC
– they defended the Rashaya citadel 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
– over 400 rebels were killed
– over 50 legionnaires were killed or wounded

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

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

– in the picture, 2e REI legionnaires in the Ain Sefra region, Algeria, around 1959

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 25

1885, a military operation ended in the Bac Ninh region of Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam), French Indochina
– 3rd Battalion of 1er RE took part in
– the operation was launched to search and eliminate pirates (of Vietnamese and Chinese origin) in the region

1955, near Taberdga in the Aures Mountains of north-eastern Algeria, a two-day clashes with local rebels ended for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– Captain Genet from 13e DBLE + 18 rebels were killed

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

1964, 3e BMLE (Foreign Legion Task Force) was disbanded
– an engineering unit formed in Algeria in August 1962 with men from 3e REI
– 3e BMLE helped to establish the Legion’ HQ in France and Corsica, after it had to leave North Africa
– it built the new headquarters of the Foreign Legion at Aubagne

– in the photo, 3e BMLE during construction of Quartier Vienot in Aubagne, 1963

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 26

1849, Siege of Zaatcha ended
– after four months, the siege of an important fortified rebel village of Zaatcha (north-eastern Algeria) ended and French soldiers, including legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now), seized the village
– during the siege, 85 legionnaires died and 175 of them were wounded

1853, a military operation at Dhaya in the Sidi Bel Abbes region, north-western Algeria against local rebels
– two elite companies from 3rd Battalion, 1er RLE took part in

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

1949, close to the Cho Bo outpost in the Hoa Binh region in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Company, 5e REI got involved in 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)
– one legionnaire was killed

1956, Foreign Legion Madagascar Detachment (DLEM) landed in Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– DLEM became BLEM (Battalion) in 1957
– BLEM (1957-62) was the only combat unit of the Legion being not stationed in Algeria and not participating in the Algerian War
– BLEM was transformed into the new 3e REI in Madagascar in 1962

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

DLEM - BLEM - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Madagascar

 

French Foreign Legion: November 27

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

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

– in the image, 1er REC legionnaires with their Crabs (M29 Weasel) during an operation in French Indochina, 1953

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 28

1914, 3rd Regimental Combat Team of the 1er RE left Rueil, Paris to join the Western Front of WWI in northeastern France

1947, General Leclerc’s plane crash
– famous French General Philippe Leclerc + several French high-ranking military personels crashed in the Sahara desert of Algeria and died
– he commanded the Free French Forces, including the 13e DBLE, in North Africa during WWII
1re CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) was immediately sent to discover and secure the crash site
– legionnaires picked up the bodies and took them to the nearest military hospital of Colomb Bechar

1953, Operation Ventoux in the Bac Giang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina for legionnaires from 2e REI, 3e REI and 5e REI

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

– in the photo, 2e REP parading at Batna, north-eastern Algeria, 1956

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 29

1956, during a military operation, legionnaires from 6e CP (Motorized Company), 3e REI got involved in clashes with local rebels near Mac Mahon, in the Batna region of north-eastern Algeria
– 25 rebels were killed

– also in 1956, in the Tlemcen region of north-western Algeria, during a military operation, legionnaires from 3rd Company, 5e REI attacked a group of local rebels
– 4 rebels were killed

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

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

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

 

French Foreign Legion: November 30

1884, 3rd Battalion of the Foreign Legion took ship at Oran, Algeria to be deployed to French Indochina, Asia
– two battalions of the Legion were already stationed in Indochina

1952, during the Battle of Na San in the Son La region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the Viet Minh launched a severe attack on French positions
– after many hours of fighting, the attack was stopped and the enemy was fought off
– four Legion battalions + Mortar Company participated in the battle

1955, 3e REP (Parachute Regiment) was disbanded
– ex-3e REP legionnaires consolidated with 2e REP, established on December 1, and 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 north-eastern Algeria
– 18 rebels were killed

1963, the original 5e REI was disbanded
– the reduced unit remained stationed in Algeria, while 5e RMP (Pacific Mixed Regiment, est. October 1), having adopted the 5e REI’s traditions and formed with ex-5e REI legionnaires, it was already serving in French Polynesia at that time
– 5e RMP became 5e RE in 1984 and was finally disbanded in 2000

– in the photo, legionnaires and the standard of 5e REI during one of the last regimental ceremonies in Algeria, 1963

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1963 - 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