Foreign Legion events: December 01 – 10

On this day. Explore the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between December 01 and December 10. 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 an image.

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

 

French Foreign Legion: December 01

1945, 64th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company
– in Algeria, 64e CRALE was established
– a Foreign Legion vehicle maintenance and repair unit
– it would participate in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in Indochina, the company was redesignated two times
– finally, it became 2e CMRLE (Medium Repair Company)
– the unit was disbanded back in Algeria in late 1955

1952, in then French Indochina, a heavy Viet Minh attack
– during the Battle of Na San (Nov-Dec 1952)
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the heavy Viet Minh attack occurrred at Na San
– a fortified valley in the Son La region, Northern Vietnam
– it was aimed at Foreign Legion positions
– held by several Legion units
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now)
3e REI
5e REI
– CMLE (Mortar Company, later 2e CMMLE)
– the Viet Minh attackers were successfully fought off
– that night, over 580 attackers were killed

1955, 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
– in Algeria, 2e REP was established
– a Foreign Legion airborne unit
– formed by two dissolved Legion airborne units
2e BEP (Battalion), constituted in 1948
3e REP, constituted (as a battalion) in 1949
– 2e REP is currently the only airborne unit of the Foreign Legion
– probably the world’s most famous unit of the Legion
– its men participated in several campaigns
– in Africa, Middle East, Europe or Afghanistan
– the unit was popularized by the 1978 Battle of Kolwezi
– when its men liberated some 2,000 Europeans in then Zaire
– the regiment has become known worldwide since then
– today, 2e REP is based in Corsica

– in the photo, 2e REP legionnaires parading at Camp Raffalli, Corsica, September 2017

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2017 - Calvi - Camp Raffalli

 

French Foreign Legion: December 02

1833, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– aimed at Abd El Kader
– the then famous Algerian rebel leader
– the operation took place at Tazerouna near Oran
– 5th Battalion (Italians) of the Legion participated

1892, Legion Sudan Company
– in Algeria, Legion Sudan Company was established
– to participate in the Campaign of French Sudan (1892-93)
– a campaign in West Africa
– taking place in then Wassoulou Empire
– in the region bordering three present-day countries
– Mali, Ivory Coast and Guinea
– the Empire was ruled by Samori Toure, the emperor
– the Legion company consisted of 123 men
– led by Captain Destenave
– in February-March 1893, 14 battles with Samori Toure‘s troops
– the unit would cover 600 miles (around 950 km) in 36 days
– Legion Sudan Company left Sudan in May 1893
– dissolved back in the Legion’s HQ in Algeria

1952, Battle of Na San ended
– a ten-day 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 as a French stronghold (hedgehog)
– it was composed of 30 strongpoints
– 11 French battalions + 6 artillery batteries were placed there
– including 4 Legion battalions + a Legion mortar company
– Na San was attacked by 9 Viet Minh regiments
– Viet Minh would be defeated
– the enemy would lose about 3,000 men

1955, Operation Pujade
– an operation during the Algerian War (1954-62)
– aimed at local rebels
– it took place at Oued Haneche
– in the Negrine region of northeastern Algeria
– 21e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company) participated
– several rebels were killed
– 21e CPLE would become part of GPLEA

1960, Operation Alex
– an operation during the Algerian War (1954-62)
– aimed at local rebels
– the operation occurred at Djebel Chelia
– in the Khenchela region of northeastern Algeria
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– during the operation, a fierce battle with rebels
– that day, 10 legionnaires were killed

– in the image, a senior corporal of the 3e REI at Na San, December 1952

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Na San - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: December 03

1870, Battle of Artenay
– a battle during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– it took place near the town of Artenay
– close to Orléans, north-central France
– French and German (Bavarian) forces faced each other
– Provisional Foreign Regiment participated
– its three battalions
– the battle took all day
– the regiment suffered important losses

1946, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– it took place in the Cao Lanh region of Southern Vietnam
– aimed at a patrolling group from 12th Company, 3e REI
– during the attack, 3 legionnaires were killed

1960, Djebel Beni Smir resistance
– an action during a military operation in western Algeria
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the operation took place at the Djebel Beni Smir range
– in the Ain Sefra region
2e REI men participated
– the legionnaires were searching local rebels
– during the operation, a small group was cut off by rebels
– men from the 1st Motorized Company, 2e REI
– Sergeant Sanchez-Iglésias + Corporal Galejski + legionnaires Gerlich, Hortzkow, Dahmen
– they had to resist a large group of rebels all day long
– Sergeant Sanchez ordered not to surrender
– they were ready to fight to the finish
– the group resisted for more than 12 hours
– then a reinforcement came to help the legionnaires
– the rebels were fought off
– that day, 63 rebels were killed

– 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 the patron of military engineers
– Saint Barbara Day is the regimental holiday for 1er REG and 2e REG (Engineer Regiments) of the Foreign Legion
– every year, all Foreign Legion combat engineers and pioneers commemorates their patron

1870, Battle of Cercottes
– a battle between French and Bavarian forces
– part of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– it took place near the town of Cercottes
– near Orléans, in north-central France
– three Foreign Legion battalions participated
– when forming the Provisional Foreign Regiment
– the battle took all day
– the regiment suffered important losses
– during a battle of the previous day and during this battle, the Legion battalions lost over 1,200 men
– between the killed, Captain Auguste de Labarriere

1946, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– during a patrol near Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– held by legionnaires from 3rd Company, 13e DBLE
– Staff Sergeant Martin + 3 legionnaires were badly wounded

1960, in western Algeria, a military operation ended
– a two-day operation at the Djebel Beni Smir range
– in the Ain Sefra region
– 2e REI participated
– over 70 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 2e REG legionnaires commemorate 2016 Sainte Barbe Day at their base of Saint Christol

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Sainte Barbe

 

French Foreign Legion: December 05

1914, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the clashes took place in the Innaouen valley
– in the Taza region
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– 5 legionnaires were wounded

1942, Autonomous Group, 1er REC
– in Morocco, GA, 1er REC was constituted
– an operational task force
– composed of HQ + two combat squadrons
– designated for the 1943 Tunisian Campaign
– to face Marshal Rommel‘s German Africa Corps
– the unit would take part in several actions
– GA, 1er REC was dissolved in March 1943

1952, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– in the Thai Nguyen region, Northern Vietnam
– during Operation Ceinture
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– 1st Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– about 300 Viet Minh men were killed
– 8 legionnaires were also killed
– 11 legionnaires were wounded

2013, Operation Sangaris started
– a French military intervention
– in the Central African Republic (CAR)
– to restore order in this former French colony
– to stop fighting between local rebels groups
– to protect civilians and maintan order in the region
– within a few days, the first Legion unit arrived
– a squadron of the 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– finally, hundreds of legionnaires from different units took part
– Operation Sangaris was inactivated in October 2016

– 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, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– near Noi Thon, in the Thai Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– 9 legionnaires were killed
– 12 legionnaires were wounded

– also in 1952, in then French Indochina, a fierce Viet Minh attack
– aimed at the Yen Cu Ha outpost
– in the Phat Diem region, Northern Vietnam
– defended by 8th Company, 2nd Battalion, 5e REI
– the following battle took all night
– the legionnaires were hopelessly outnumbered
– in the morning, the oupost was overrun
– many legionnaires were killed, wounded or imprisoned

1956, northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– at Djebel Tefatisset, in the Tlemcen region
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI participated
– 40 rebels were killed

– in the picture, a lieutenant (khaki kepi) and his 5e REI legionnaires with a captured rebel in Algeria, in late 1956

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

 

French Foreign Legion: December 07

1915, in then Serbia, a battle with Bulgarian soldiers
– part of the Serbian Campaign (Oct 1915 – Jan 1916)
– a campaign during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– the battle occurred at the Riccio hill, near Kalkovo
– around 10 miles (16 km) north of Gevgelija
– in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia)
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA were involved
– African Regimental Combat Team (a composite unit)
– the legionnaires faced Bulgarian soldiers
– Bulgarians were part of then Central Powers
– alongside Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire
– Battalion Legion fought fiercely
– Bulgarians were fought off
– however, the battalion suffered heavy casualties
– 12 legionnaires were killed
– 62 legionnaires were wounded

1956, in northern Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels
– at Djebel Bou Guergour, in the Laghouat region
2e CSPL were involved
– Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Company
– 34 rebels were killed
– 30 rebels were imprisoned
– Adjudant Moreno (a platoon leader) was also killed

1957, Battle of Timimoun ended
– a large four-week military operation
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– it took place near Timimoun
– in the desert area of south-central Algeria
– the operation was aimed at a group of deserters
– some 60 Méharistes
– local camel cavalry loyal to the French
– in mid-October, they killed their French leaders
– then deserted and joined Algerian rebels
4e CSPL took part in the operation
– Legion Saharan Motorized Company
– alongside French paratroopers
– over 40 Méhariste deserters were killed
– 6 deserters were captured

– also in 1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– at Djebel Bou Djellal, in the Tebessa region
– aimed at local rebels
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) participated
– during the operation, 106 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 2e REP legionnaires parade in Tebessa, December 1957

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

 

French Foreign Legion: December 08

1838, Old Foreign Legion dissolved in Spain
– that day in Spain, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed the dissolution of the original Foreign Legion
– today called the “Old Legion”
– created in France in March 1831 to serve in Algeria
– handed over to Spain in 1835
– to fight in the First Carlist War (a civil war, 1833-40)
– in support of Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– the war in Spain reduced significantly the Old Legion
– from original 4,100 men, only 222 survivors returned to France
– they would be officially dissolved there in early January 1839
– tens of these original legionnaires would join the “New Legion”
– the current Legion, formed in 1836 to serve in Algeria

1865, in Mexico, clashes with local rebels
– near Matehuala, central Mexico
– during the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– a group of legionnaires (Captain Vigneaud) were involved
– from 4th Battalion, Foreign Regiment
– then title for the Foreign Legion
– having been deployed to Mexico since 1863
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– a number of rebels were killed

1948, First operational casualties for 1er BEP
– Foreign Parachute Battalion (later 1er REP)
– that day in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– close to Yen Trinh, in the Hanoi region, Northern Vietnam
– during Operation Pegase
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– Second Lieutenant Christian de Chabot was killed
– also German legionnaire Neuhauser
– the very first KIA casualties of the 1er BEP
– the unit landed in Indochina only three weeks earlier

– 1er BEP was created in North Africa in July 1948
– in Indochina, 1er BEP would be two times annihilated
– the first French airborne battalion ever lost in action

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

– 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

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

1957, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Djebel Fedjoudj, in the Khenchela region
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– 69 rebels were killed

1992, Operation Oryx started
– a French humanitarian operation in Somalia
– a country in the Horn of Africa
– the operation was part of Operation Restore Hope
– the US-led Unified Task Force (UNITAF)
– 3rd Company, 2e REP took part
– 2e REP men were the first troops to arrive
– to take control of Mogadishu (the capital)
– they would stay there until January
– later, another two Foreign Legion would arrive
– 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, 1er REG now)

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

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

– in the second picture, a 2e REP legionnaire observing Mogadishu, Somalia, December 1992

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1992 - Mogadishu - Somalia

 

French Foreign Legion: December 10

1881, Legion mounted units’ first operation
– that day, an operation against 2,000 Algerian rebels started
– near Ain Ben Khelil, in the Ain Sefra region of western Algeria
– two Foreign Legion companies participated
– alongside them, two freshly constituted mounted platoons
– both of them composed of legionnaires
– the very first operation for legendary Legion mounted units
– the companies equipped with mules for faster movement
– each mule was shared by two legionnaires
– they took turns riding the mule which carried their gear and food
– mounted companies equipped with mules were seen as elite units within the Foreign Legion until the 1920s
– the last Foreign Legion mounted unit disappeared in 1950
– being also the last mounted company of the French Army
– it became Motorized Company, 4e REI
– however, a mounted platoon served within it yet in 1951
– the last mule left the Legion in the early 1960s

1915, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the clashes took place at Djebel Bou Mehiriz
– in the Taza region
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– Lieutenant Einar Ekdal (a Danish officer) was killed
– also a legionnaire was killed
– 6 legionnaires were wounded

1946, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– in the Ba Tri region of Southern Vietnam
– 7th Company, 3e REI were involved
– 2 legionnaires were killed

– in the photo, a Mounted Company of the Legion in Morocco in the 1930s

Compagnie Montee - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Mounted Company - Morocco - 1930s

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: November 21 – 30
Foreign Legion events: December 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history