Foreign Legion events: December 01 – 10

The most interesting events in French Foreign Legion’ history. See important campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units. Discover the significant events of the Legion which occurred between December 01 and December 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: December 01

1871, in Saida (Algeria), 5th Battalion of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) was disbanded
– around 1,200 French members of the battalion left the Foreign Regiment and joined the regular French units serving in Algeria

1945, 64th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company was established in Mascara, Algeria, to participate in the First Indochina War in then French Indochina
– the unit became 2nd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company in 1949 and was disbanded back in North Africa in late 1955

1952, in the evening, a heavy attack launched by the Viet Minh during the Battle of Na San (Nov 23 – Dec 2), a ten-day battle between the French and the Viet Minh in the Son La region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during the night, over 580 Viet Minh attackers were killed in front of the positions occupied by legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now), 3e REI, 5e REI and CMLE (Mortar Company, later 2e CMMLE)

1953, during a military operation in Laos, French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh
– 5 legionnaires were killed

1955, in Algeria, 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) was established
– composed of ex-2e BEP (Parachute Battalion) + ex-3e REP legionnaires, the new regiment was stationed at Caserne de France of Philippeville, north-eastern Algeria

– in the photo, 2e REP and its standard during 2016 Saint Michael Day

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Calvi - Saint Michel

 

French Foreign Legion: December 02

1833, a military operation against Abd El Kader, a famous Algerian rebel leader
– the operation took part at Tazerouna near Oran, north-western Algeria
– 5th Battalion (Italians) of the Legion participated in

1952, Battle of Na San ended
– 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
– the French successfully won the battle
– the Viet Minh lost around 3,000 men

1955, Operation Pujade for legionnaires from 21e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company, later part of GPLEA) at Oued Haneche in the Negrine region of north-eastern Algeria
– several local rebels were killed

– in the image, French superiors during a visit the fortified hill of Na San, December 1952

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Na San - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: December 03

1870, Battle of Artenay
– a battle between French and Bavarian forces during the Franco-Prussian War
– the battle took place near the town of Artenay (near Orléans, north-central France)
– three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) participated in

1941, 6e REI returned to Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Legion) in Algeria
– the famous regiment established in Syria and Lebanon in 1939
– it participated in the 1941 Syria–Lebanon Campaign to defend the French controlled countries against the British invasion

1946, in the Cao Lanh region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a patrolling group from 12th Company, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– 3 legionnaires were killed

1960, Djebel Beni Smir resistance
– during an operation conducted by 2e REI against local rebels at Djebel Beni Smir, a mountain range in western Algeria, Sergeant Sanchez-Iglésias + 4 legionnaires (Corporal Galejski + legionnaires Gerlich, Hortzkow, Dahrnen) from 1st Motorized Company, were cut off
– they had to resist a large group of rebels all day long
– Sergeant Sanchez ordered not to surrender and fight till the finish
– his group resisted for more than 12 hours
– then a reinforcement came to help the legionnaires
– the rebels were fought off
– that day, during the 2e REI operation, 63 rebels were killed

1999, 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) received its standard during a ceremony in Laudun, the garrison of the regiment in southern France

– in the picture, Sergeant Sanchez-Iglesias (right) and his legionnaires, the heroes of Djebel Beni Smir, December 1960

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Djebel Beni Smir - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: December 04

Saint Barbara Day (Sainte Barbe in French)
– Saint Barbara is commemorated as the patron of military engineers within the Foreign Legion
– 1er REG and 2e REG (Engineer Regiments) celebrate her feast day as their own holiday

1870, Battle of Cercottes
– a battle between French and Bavarian forces during the Franco-Prussian War
– the battle took place near the small town of Cercottes (near Oréans, north-central France)
– three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) participated in
– during the two days (Battle of Artenay on Dec 3 and the Battle of Cercottes), the three foreign battalions lost over 1,200 men and were reorganized into 7 companies

1952, during Operation Bretagne, legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh in the Nam Dinh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 3e REI had 2 legionnaires + 6 local Vietnamese auxiliaries (serving with the battalion) killed

1960, a two-day-long military operation ended for 3 companies from 2e REI at Djebel Beni Smir, western Algeria
– during the operation, over 70 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 2e REG celebrates 2013 Sainte Barbe Day at its base of Saint Christol

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2013 - Sainte Barbe

 

French Foreign Legion: December 05

1859, Colonel Martinez took the command of the 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)
– he was a former Carlist (a member of the Spanish traditionalist and legitimist political movement) who fought against the original Foreign Legion (1831-38, called “Old Legion” now) during the First Carlist War in Spain
– after the war, between 1839-40, hundreds of Carlists left Spain and joined the “New” Foreign Legion
– Colonel Martinez spent all his previous Legion career in the 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e REI now)

1914, in the Taza region of Morocco, 6th Battalion, 1er RE got involved in fighting with the Brenes, a local rebel tribe, in the Innaouen valley
– 5 legionnaires were wounded

1942, Autonomous Group, 1er REC (GA/1er REC) was established in Morocco
– composed of two combat squadrons, it took part in the 1943 Tunisian Campaign against the Africa Corps of Marshal Rommel
– GA/1er REC was dissolved in March 1943

1952, during Operation Ceinture, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh in the Thai Nguyen region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Viet Minh had about 300 men killed
– 3e REI had 8 legionnaires killed + 11 wounded

2013, Operation Sangaris started in the Central African Republic
– an operation to restore order in the former French colony
– French forces had to stop fighting between Séléka elements and Christian self-defence militias called anti-balakas
– a few days later, a squadron with the 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) deployed to the CAR to join the operation, as the first unit of the Legion
– Operation Sangaris was inactivated in October 2016
– hundreds of legionnaires took part in

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires during Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic, 2015

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 - Operation Sangaris - Central African Republic

 

French Foreign Legion: December 06

1952, during a military operation near Noi Thon in the Thai Binh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in fierce fighting with the Viet Minh
– 9 legionnaires were killed + 12 were wounded

– also in 1952, in the morning, the Yen Cu Ha outpost was lost after the night of heavy fighting between legionnaires and the Viet Minh
– the outpost, located in the Phat Diem region of northern Vietnam, was defended by 8th Company, 5e REI
– many legionnaires were killed, wounded or imprisoned

1956, legionnaires from 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a military operations against local rebels in the Tlemcen region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operations, 4 legionnaires + over 40 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 5e REI legionnaires with a rebel captured during a military operation in north-eastern Algeria, 1956

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: December 07

1870, during the evening, the French were attacked by Prussian forces near the small town of Salbris (near Oréans, north-central France), during the Franco-Prussian War
– 7 companies of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) participated in the fights
– the attackers were fought off

1915, Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) was attacked by Bulgarian soldiers near Kalkovo in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia) during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– the enemy was fought off
– 12 legionnaires were killed + 62 legionnaires were wounded

1956, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) at Djebel Bou Guergour in the Laghouat region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 34 rebels were killed + 30 rebels imprisoned
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

1957, Battle of Timimoun ended
– a month-long large operation near Timimoun, in the desert area of south-central Algeria
– the operation was launched to search and eliminate a group of 60 Méharistes (local camel cavalry loyal to the French) who killed their French superiors, deserted and joined Algerian rebels
4e CSPL and other French units based around Timimoun took part in
– over 40 Méharistes were killed, 6 were captured

1963, 5e RMP (Pacific Mixed Regiment) landed in Tahiti, French Polynesia
– created October 1, it took over the history and traditions of the 5e REI (disbanded in Algeria a few weeks later, on November 31)
– the main mission of the 5e RMP was to built and guard the French nuclear test site based at Mururoa, Tahiti
– 5e RMP became 5e RE in 1984 and was dissolved in 2000

– in the photo, 5e RMP legionnaires in Tahiti, 1963

5e RMP - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1963 - Tahiti - Polynesia

 

French Foreign Legion: December 08

1838, Old Foreign Legion dissolution
– in Spain, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the original Foreign Legion (created March 1831, now called “Old Legion”) has to be disbanded
– the original “Old Legion” (around 4,100 legionnaires) was handed over to Spain in June 1835 to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– its 223 survivors returned to France and were officially dissolved in early January 1839
– dozens of these veterans joined the “New Legion” (today’s Legion), established in 1836 to serve in Algeria

1865, fighting between a group of legionnaires (commanded by Captain Vigneaud) from 4th Battalion of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) and local rebels near Matehuala, central Mexico
– the rebels were fought off, many of them were killed

1948, during Operation Pegase, legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) were attacked by the Viet Minh close to Yen Trinh, in the Lang Son region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Second Lieutenant Chabot + one legionnaire were killed

1953, 1st + 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half Brigade) + 13e DBLE’s HQ were based at Dien Bien Phu, a large valley in northern Vietnam
– in several weeks, they will take part in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– both battalions will be annihilated during the battle
– 13e DBLE’s HQ (including Lt Colonel Gaucher) + 3rd Battalion were the first units attacked and destroyed during the first day of the battle

2015, Operation Yawasisi ended
– a ten-week-long joint military operation taking place deep in the jungle of French Guiana
– the operation was aimed at illegal gold-diggers
– legionnaires from 2nd + 3rd Company, 3e REI were involved in

– in the image, 3e REI legionnaires during Operation Yawasisi in French Guiana, 2015

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 - Operation Yawasisi - French Guiana

 

French Foreign Legion: December 09

1915, during the Serbian Campaign of WWI, an order was placed
– Allied troops, including legionnaires from Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Team, a provisional mixed unit) had to leave the country and return back to Greek

1951, in the Tonkin Delta of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, 4th Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by two Viet Minh battalions
– the attackers were successfully fought off

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

– in the picture, 2e REP legionnaires equipped with a FM 24/29 light machine gun during an operation in north-eastern Algeria, 1957

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: December 10

1881, an operation against 2,000 Algerian rebels started near Ain Ben Khelil, in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria
– two Foreign Legion companies were involved in
– two platoons composed of mules also took part in
– it was the very first military operation for legendary French mounted units
– the rebels were forced to flee across the border with Morocco

1915, in the Taza region of Morocco, 6th Battalion, 1er RE got involved in fighting with the Magraia, a local rebel tribe, at Djebel Bou Mehiriz
– Lieutenant Ekdal + 1 legionnaire were killed + 6 legionnaires wounded

1946, during a military operation in the Ba Tri region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 7th Company, 3e REI got involved in clashes with the Viet Minh
– 2 legionnaires were killed

– in the photo, Mounted Company in south-central Algeria in the 1900s

Compagnie Montee - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Mounted Company - Algeria - 1900-10

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: November 21 – 30
Foreign Legion events: November 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: November 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: October 21 – 31
French Foreign Legion history