Foreign Legion events: November 21 – 30

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between November 21 and November 30. 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 a picture.

To see all historical events, go back to: French Foreign Legion – Historical Events


French Foreign Legion: November 21

1953, Operation Castor
– an airborne operation in then French Indochina
– during the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the operation occurred in Northern Vietnam
– to seize the valley of Dien Bien Phu
– two Foreign Legion units participated
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
1re CEPML (Heavy Mortar Parachute Company)
– the valley would be successfully seized
– a few months later, a decisive battle took place there
– 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu

1954, in central Tunisia, a skirmish with local rebels
– at Djebel Sidi Aich, in the Gafsa region
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 6e REI were involved
– the rebels were successfully fought off

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– in the Philippeville region
2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– a platoon from 3rd Company
– Lieutenant Brehier and his 18 legionnaires
– they faced a large group of rebels
– during the battle, 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, in then French Indochina, a military operation
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– close to Nhuan Duc
– in the Saigon region, Southern Vietnam
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– Lieutenant Henri Durlet was killed

1954, Demi-Battalion A constituted
– in Algeria, Demi-Battalion A was constituted
– a Foreign Legion provisional operational unit
– commanded by Captain Fournier
– composed of two companies
– formed with fresh legionnaires
– still doing their basic training
– they would operate in the Aures Mountains
– in the Biskra region of eastern Algeria
– to search and eliminate local rebels
– a response to growing rebel activities in North Africa
– they started in late 1954
– the activities escalated to the Algerian War (1954-62)
– Demi-Battalion A was dissolved in late December
– its legionnaires rejoined their basic training

1960, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– aimed at local rebels
– at Djebel Saifoun, in the Bou Saada region
2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) took part
– 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 week battle in then French Indochina
– between the French and the Viet Minh
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it occurred in the Son La region of Northern Vietnam
– the battle became an important French victory
– Na San is a valley with an important airstrip
– the French rebuilt it into a stronghold (hedgehog)
– it was composed of 30 strongpoints
– 11 French battalions and 3 artillery batteries were placed there
– including 4 Legion battalions and a Legion mortar company
Na San was attacked by 9 Viet Minh regiments
– the Viet Minh would be defeated
– the enemy would lose up to 3,000 men killed or wounded

1959, in western Algeria, clashes with rebels
– at Djebel Bechar, in the Ain Sefra region
– legionnaires from 2e REI were involved
– 23 rebels were killed

1960, in western Algeria, a military operation ended
– a three-day military operation aimed at local rebels
– near Spissifa, in the Ain Sefra region
– EMT1 (Task Force, ex-battalion), 2e REI took part
– during the operation, 13 rebels were killed

1976, First legionnaires in Castelnaudary
– that day, first legionnaires arrived in Castelnaudary
– a town in southern France
– GILE members doing their basic training
– Foreign Legion Training Group
– GILE left Corsica after 14 years spent there
– the unit would be stationed at Caserne Lapasset
– an old barracks in the town center
– in 1977, GILE became RILE (Training Regiment)
– in 1980, RILE became 4e RE (Foreign Regiment)
– in 1986, 4e RE moved to a new barracks

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

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


French Foreign Legion: November 24

1858, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation started
– to restore order in the Collo region
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE participated
– the successful operation took four weeks

1925, Battle of Rashaya ended
– a fierce battle in today’s Lebanon
– part of the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-27)
– the battle occurred at Rashaya
– between November 20-24
– a heroic defensive action
– carried out by 4th Sqadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– led by Captain Landriau
– they defended the famous citadel of Rashaya
– attacked by about 3,000 Druze rebels
– the legionnaires refused to surrender
– they fought to the last bullet, then with bayonets
– finally, 4th Sqadron received a reinforcement
– the Druze rebels were fought off
– during the battle, around 400 rebels were killed
– over 1,000 rebels were wounded
– the squadron also suffered losses
– from some 100 men, 12 legionnaires were killed
– 34 officers and legionnaires were wounded
– 4th Squadron gained a mention in dispatches

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

1955, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with rebels ended
– the two-day clashes occurred near Taberdga
– in the Khenchela region of the Aures Mountains
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated
– 18 rebels were killed
– nonetheless, Captain Robert Genet was also killed

1959, in western Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– in the Ain Sefra region
– HQ + 1st Motorized Company, 2e REI participated
– 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

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– at Djebel Djebria, in the Tebessa region
– aimed at local rebels
2e REP (Parachute Regiment) participated
– 23 rebels were killed

1964, 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force dissolved
– in France, 3e BMLE was dissolved
– the Legion’s little-known engineering unit
– formed in Algeria in August 1962
– in fact, a reduced 3e REI (its HQ + 2 companies)
– because of that, the unit kept the number 3 in its title
– 3e BMLE’s mission was to install the Legion in France
– they built the Legion’s new headquarters in Aubagne
– with the well-known large “Place d’Armes” (Place-of-arms)
– they also built the Legion’s installations in Corsica

– 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
– an action during the Pacification of Algeria (1847-1903)
Zaatcha is a fortified village with an oasis
– in the Biskra region, northeastern Algeria
– the then village was occupied by hundreds of local rebels
– a French composite task force was sent to attack them
– 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE participated
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– 600 legionnaires led by Major de Saint-Germain
– the French task force was led by Colonel Carbuccia
– the then 2e RLE’s commanding officer
– the siege took long four months
– that day, Zaatcha was finally seized
– the 2e RLE’s flag would be inscribed with the battle honor
– during the siege, 85 legionnaires were killed
– 175 legionnaires were wounded

1915, Battle of Sidi Abd El Kahman
– a battle between French troops and Moroccan rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle occurred at Sidi Abd El Kahman
– in the Fez region
– Mounted Company, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– including long-serving Adjudant-Chef Werner

1956, DLEM landed in Madagascar
– that day, DLEM landed in Madagascar (Indian Ocean)
– Foreign Legion Madagascar Detachment
– a unit organized in Algeria in early November
– its mission was to maintain order in Madagascar
– the island was part of the then French colonial empire
– legionnaires returned to the island after five years
– in early 1957, DLEM became BLEM (Madagascar Battalion)
– an abroad unit made up of men with a prescribed two-year stay
– BLEM wouldn’t participate in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– as the only operational unit of the Foreign Legion
– also the only such Legion unit being not based in Algeria
– between the years of 1958-1962
– in 1961, BLEM legionnaires deployed to TFAI (today’s Djibouti)
– as the very first Legion elements since the end of WWII
– in 1962, BLEM would be reinforced and redesignated
– it became a new 3e REI
– the new 3e REI served in Madagascar between 1962-73
– then, it moved to French Guiana

– 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, in Morocco, a severe battle with local rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle took place at El Kelaa, in the Taza region
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– 10 legionnaires were killed
– 20 legionnaires were wounded

1953, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– in the Thai Binh region of Northern Vietnam
– 12th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– Lieutenant Jean Fabre was killed
– several legionnaires were also killed

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

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


French Foreign Legion: November 28

1947, General Leclerc’s plane crash
– that day, a plane crashed in the Sahara desert of Algeria
– it transported several French high-ranking military personnel
– between them, General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
– all of them were killed
– a Foreign Legion unit was sent immediately there
1re CSPL (Legion Saharan Motorized Company)
– to discover and secure the crash site
– then, the legionnaires picked up the bodies
– they took them to the military hospital of Colomb Bechar

– General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
– he became well-known during WWII
– when commanding the Free French Forces (FFL)
– during fights in North Africa
– FFL were part of the British Army
– between them also 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)

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

1970, Operation Picardie ended
– a military operation in Chad
– a country in Central Africa
– part of Operation Limousin (1969-72)
– the operation took place in the Ennedi region
– close to Harambourou
– it was aimed at local rebels
– two Legion units participated
– Support & Reconnaissance Company, 2e REP
– CMLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company)
– during five days, 47 rebels were killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed
– 14 legionnaires were wounded

1990, Deployment to Chad for 2e REP
– an important deployment to Chad
– part of Operation Epervier (1986-2014)
– to protect and evacuate French nationals
– threatened by local rebel groups
– also to repatriate Libyan prisoners
– 2e REP legionnaires were involved
– almost the whole regiment
– the deployment would end in late December

– in the first 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

– in the second photo, 2e REP legionnaires supervising the repatriation of Libyan prisoners during a little-known operation in Chad, late 1990
– these Libyans were imprisoned in Chad mainly in 1986-87, due to their military support of local rebels

2e REP - 2 REP - Chad - Libyan prisoners - 1990


French Foreign Legion: November 29

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– near Mac Mahon, in the Batna region
– 6th Motorized Company, 3e REI were involved
– 25 rebels were killed

– also in 1956, in northwestern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– the clashes occurred in the Sebdou region
– legionnaires from 5e REI took part
– 15 rebels were killed

1959, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation ended
– the three-day operation took place at Djebel Damouss
– close to Ouenza, in the Tebessa region
– it was aimed at Algerian rebels
– legionnaires from 4e REI participated
– 30 rebels were killed
– 14 rebels were 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

1955, 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment dissolved
– in Algeria, 3e REP was dissolved
– a little-known Foreign Legion airborne unit
– also the shortest-living regiment of the Legion
– ex-3e BEP (Battalion), established in Algeria in 1949
– in mid-1955, 3e BEP became 3e REP
– 3e REP participated in military operations in Algeria
– during the first year of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– in December, its men would help to establish a new unit
– 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP)
– ex-3e REP legionnaires formed its 3rd + 4th Company

1956, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Djebel Zitouna, in the El Tarf region
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– that day, 18 rebels were killed

1963, 5th Foreign Infantry Regiment dissolved
– in Algeria, the original 5e REI was officially dissolved
– activated in then French Indochina in 1930
– the only Legion regiment constituted in Asia
– the regiment took part in several campaigns
– in the Franco-Thai War (1940-41)
– in fighting with the Japanese in 1945
– in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in the Algerian War (1954-62)

– two months earlier, a new 5th Regiment had been established
– 5e RMP (Mixed Pacific Regiment) in French Polynesia
– to build and guard a new French nuclear testing site there
– 5e RMP was a composite military engineering unit
– consisting of legionnaires-sappers and French engineers
– it took over the original 5e REI’s flag, number and traditions
– in Polynesia, the new 5th Regiment was 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 1950s

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


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: November 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: December 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history