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, 5th Battalion dissolution
– in Algeria, 5th Battalion of the Foreign Regiment was dissolved
– Foreign Regiment was then title for the Legion
– the battalion took part in the Franco-Prussian War 1870-71
– it was also involved in restoring order in Paris in May 1871
– around 1,200 French conscripts of the battalion left the Legion
– they joined regular French units serving in Algeria

1945, 64th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company
– in Algeria, 64e CRALE was established
– it would participate in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in Indochina, the company was redesignated in 1949
– it became 2e CMRLE (Medium Repair Company)
– the unit was disbanded back in Algeria in late 1955

1952, during Battle of Na San in then French Indochina, a heavy Viet Minh attack
– the attack took place in the Son La region of Northern Vietnam
– it aimed at Legion positions
– they were successfully managed to defend
– during the night, over 580 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– the positions were occupied by legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now), 3e REI, 5e REI and CMLE (Mortar Company, later 2e CMMLE)
– Battle of Na San was a ten-day battle between the French and the Viet Minh
– it lasted from late November until early December
– the French successfully won the battle
– the Viet Minh lost around 3,000 men

1955, 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
– in Algeria, 2e REP was established
– formed by men of two dissolved Legion airborne units
– 2e BEP (Battalion), constituted in 1948
3e REP, constituted in 1949
– 2e REP is currently the only airborne unit of the Foreign Legion
– probably world’s most famous unit of the Legion
– its men fought in Indochina, Africa, Middle East, Europe or Afghanistan
– the regiment became known worldwide for its fast and successful participation in the Battle of Kolwezi in 1978
– 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, a military operation against Abd El Kader, the famous Algerian rebel leader
– the operation took part at Tazerouna near Oran, north-western Algeria
– 5th Battalion (Italians) of the Legion participated in

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

1952, Battle of Na San ended
– a ten-day battle between the French and the Viet Minh
– the battle took place 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 + 6 artillery batteries placed there
– between them, four Legion battalions and a mortar company
– Na San was attacked by nine Viet Minh regiments
– the French successfully won the battle
– the Viet Minh lost around 3,000 men

1955, Operation Pujade
– it took place at Oued Haneche, in the Negrine region of northeastern Algeria
– legionnaires from 21e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company, later part of GPLEA) participated in
– several local rebels were killed

1960, Operation Alex
– a military operation at Djebel Chelia, in the Khenchela region of northeastern Algeria
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved in
– during the operation, a fierce battle with local 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 of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– it took place near the town of Artenay near Orléans, north-central France
– French and Bavarian forces faced each other
– three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) participated in

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

1960, Djebel Beni Smir resistance
– an action during a military operation in western Algeria
2e REI units were searching local rebels at the Djebel Beni Smir range
– a small group of the 1st Motorized Company was cut off by rebels
– Sergeant Sanchez-Iglésias + Corporal Galejski + legionnaires Gerlich, Hortzkow, Dahrnen
– they had to resist a large group of rebels all day long
– Sergeant Sanchez ordered not to surrender and fight until 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, 63 rebels were killed during the 2e REI operation

– 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
– Saint Barbara Day is the regimental holiday for legionnaires from both, the 1er REG and 2e REG (Engineer Regiments)
– every year, all Foreign Legion sappers and pioneers commemorates its patron

1870, Battle of Cercottes
– a battle of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– it took place near the town of Cercottes near Orléans, north-central France
– French and Bavarian forces faced each other
– three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) participated in
– during a battle of the previous day and during this battle, the Foreign Regiment battalions lost over 1,200 men

1946, during a patrol near Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia, then French Indochina, a platoon of Lieutenant Pelissonnier from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) was attacked
– during following fighting, Staff Sergeant Martin + 3 legionnaires were badly wounded

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

1960, a two-day-long military operation ended for three companies of the 2e REI at Djebel Beni Smir, western Algeria
– during the operation, 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 the Taza region of Morocco, clashes with a local rebel tribe
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE got involved in
– the Brenes attacked the battalion in the Innaouen valley
– 5 legionnaires were wounded

1942, Autonomous Group, 1er REC constituted
– in Morocco, GA of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment was constituted
– a task force designated for the 1943 Tunisian Campaign
– composed of two combat squadrons
– the unit would face the German 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
– the battle took place in the Thai Nguyen region of Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Viet Minh had about 300 men killed
– 3e REI had 8 legionnaires killed + another 11 wounded

2013, Operation Sangaris started
– a French military intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR)
– its aim was to restore order in that 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 of 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 from different units 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, a Foreign Legion outpost was seized by the Viet Minh
– the Yen Cu Ha outpost was lost after heavy fighting between legionnaires and the Viet Minh that lasted all the night
– the outpost was located in the Phat Diem region of Northern Vietnam
– it was defended by the 8th Company, 2nd Battalion, 5e REI
– many legionnaires were killed, wounded or imprisoned

1956, a fierce battle with Algerian rebels
– it took place at Djebel Tefatisset, in the Tlemcen region of northeastern Algeria
– legionnaires from 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in
– in the battle, 40 rebels were killed

– in the picture, a lieutenant (Khaki kepi) and his 5e REI legionnaires with a rebel captured during a military operation in northeastern Algeria, in late 1956

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

 

French Foreign Legion: December 07

1915, an attack during the Balkans Campaign of WWI
– legionnaires from Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) were attacked by Bulgarian soldiers
– Bulgarians were part of Central Powers, alongside Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire
– the attack took place near Kalkovo, around 10 miles (16 km) north of Gevgelija, then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia)
– the enemy was fought off
– nevertheless, 12 legionnaires were killed
– 62 legionnaires were wounded

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

1957, Battle of Timimoun ended
– a large four-week operation near Timimoun, in the desert area of south-central Algeria
– the operation was launched to search and eliminate a group of some 60 Méharistes (local camel cavalry loyal to the French)
– in mid-October, they killed their French leaders, then deserted and joined Algerian rebels
– the day before the battle started, the deserters and local rebels attacked and imprisoned French oil engineers and local workers during an oil exploration mission deep in the Sahara’s desert, including a security team of 5 legionnaires from 4e CSPL (Legion’s Saharan Motorized Company)
– 4e CSPL and French regular paratroopers took part in the operation
– over 40 Méhariste deserters were killed, 6 were captured

– in the photo, 4e CSPL legionnaires in south-central Algeria, 1957

4e CSPL - 4 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

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 there in early January 1839
– dozens of these veterans joined the “New Legion” (today’s Legion), established in France in 1836 to serve in Algeria

1865, clashes 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 successfully 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, Hanoi, in Northern Vietnam of then French Indochina
– Second Lieutenant de Chabot + a German legionnaire were killed
– they became the first members of the 1er BEP killed in action

2015, Operation Yawasisi ended
– a ten-week-long joint military operation
– it took place deep in the jungle of French Guiana, South America
– the operation 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 northeastern Algeria, a military operation against local rebels
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in
– that day, 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, first military operation for legendary French mounted units
– that day, an operation against 2,000 Algerian rebels started
– it took place 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
– mounted companies equipped with mules were seen as elite units within the Foreign Legion until the 1920’s

1915, heavy fighting with the Magraia, a Moroccan rebel tribe
– the fighting took place at Djebel Bou Mehiriz, in the Taza region of Morocco
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE got involved in
– Lieutenant Ekdal + a legionnaire were killed
– 6 legionnaires were 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, a Mounted Company of the Legion in Morocco in the 1930’s

Compagnie Montee - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Mounted Company - Algeria - 1930's

 

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