Foreign Legion events: December 21 – 31

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 December 21 and December 31.

 

French Foreign Legion: December 21

1942, Autonomous Group (GA), 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) left Guercif, Morocco
– it deployed to Tunisia to participate in the 1943 Tunisian Campaign against German troops of Marshal Rommel

1952, in the early morning in the Ninh Binh region of northern Vietnam, the Van Bong outpost occupied by a platoon from 2nd Battalion, 5e REI was heavily attacked by the Viet Minh
– after several hours of heavy fighting, the outpost was lost

1957, legionnaires from 1st + 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) took part in a military operation in the Bir Gabsia region, northern Algeria

– in the picture, 1er REC legionnaires and their freshly received AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) armored cars in 1943

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1943 - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: December 22

1864, a recce operation around Oaxaca (Oajacca in several French books), a fortified city in south-western Mexico
– battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Foreign Legion) took part in
– the French attacked the city in January 1865

1947, legionnaires from 64e CRALE (Foreign Legion Auto Repair Company), an independent Foreign Legion military logistics unit tasked with vehicle recovery missions, were attacked by the Viet Minh during an operation near Ca Na, in central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2 legionnaires from 64e CRALE were killed

1956, Anglo-French Task Force had to finish withdrawing from Egypt, after the Suez Crisis (the invasion of Egypt) ended
1er REP (Parachute Regiment) + 2nd Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) took part in the operation

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

– in the photo, 64e CRALE legionnaires during a 1948 parade at Nha Trang, their garrison in central Vietnam, French Indochina

64e CRALE - 64 CRALE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1948 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: December 23

1883, an order to deploy to French Indochina in Asia for 2nd Battalion of the Foreign Legion
– the battalion will reinforce the 1st Battalion already based in Indochina
– it left Algeria four days later

1947, in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a convoy guarded by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI was heavily attacked by the Viet Minh
– 11 men were killed, 26 wounded

1958, a week-long military operation ended for legionnaires from 3rd + 5th + 6th CP (Motorized Company), 2e REI
– the operation took place in the Oued El Kebir region of Algeria

– in the image, a 2e REI legionnaire during a military operation in Algeria, in the late 1950s

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

 

French Foreign Legion: December 24

Noël (Christmas Day)
– together with Camerone Day (April 30, marking the 1863 Battle of Camerone), Noël is the most celebrated day within the Foreign Legion
– today, on December 24, all officer, non-commisioned officers and legionnaires stay together in their military bases or outposts to celebrate Christmas Eve with gift-giving and sharing a traditional meal as a family
– as a long-living tradition, the “crèche” (Nativity scene) with a Legion theme is produced by every platoon of legionnaires to present it on Christmas Eve

– in the photo, an example of the traditional Christmas “Creche” created by legionnaires (here with the 2e REG)

Christmas- Noel - Creche - Foreign Legion Etrangere

 

French Foreign Legion: December 25

1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, many men from the Provisional Foreign Regiment (composed of non-legionnaires in the majority since mid-December) were found frozen to death at their field camp near Vierzon, central France

1946, the city of Hai Duong of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, located near Hanoi and occupied by the Viet Minh, was liberated by 1st Battalion, 2e REI
– several legionnaires were killed and wounded during this action

1947, in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, an outpost occupied by legionnaires led by Sergeant Grimault from 6th Company, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– after heavy fighting, the attackers were fought off

– in the picture, 3e REI legionnaires in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: December 26

1849, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment) took part in a military operation being aimed at rebels from the Aures Mountains of northern Algeria

1914, during WWI, 4th Regimental Combat Team (nicknamed Garibaldi Legion, composed of Italian volunteers) of the 1er RE launched an attack on German positions at Bois de Bolante of the Argonne region, north-eastern France
– it was the first fighting for the Garibaldi Legion
– that day, the unit lost 161 men
– 30 of them were killed, including their commander Bruno Garibaldi

1946, in the Tra Vinh region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– Second Lieutenant Richard + 2 Sergeants + several legionnaires were killed

1952, during Operation Bretagne in the Nam Dinh region of northern Vietnam, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 2e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh close to Tam Thum Phuong
– after heavy fighting, 148 Viet Minh attackers were killed

1958, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) at Djebel Groun in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 15 rebels + 1 legionnaire were killed

– in the picture, 2e REI legionnaires parade in the streets of Nha Trang, their garrison town in then French Indochina, 1952

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Nha Trang - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: December 27

1864, another recce operation around Oaxaca (Oajacca in several French books), a fortified city in south-western Mexico
– battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Foreign Legion) took part in
– the French attacked the city in January 1865

1883, first legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Legion left Oran, Algeria for French Indochina, Asia
– the battalion, commanded by Lt Colonel Duchesne, will reinforce the 1st Battalion already based in Indochina

1957, clashes with rebels for legionnaires from 1er REC at Djebel Necissa, northern Algeria
– during the operation, Captain De Laffon + Lieutenant Daeuble were seriously wounded

– in the image, 1er REC with its Panhard EBR armored cars in Algeria, 1957

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: December 28

1871, 4th Battalion of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Legion) left Saida (north-western Algeria) to take part in military operations in the region
– the battalion returned to Saida in mid-January

1948, during their patrols in the Dong Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were two times attacked by the Viet Minh
– Lieutenant Le Pelletier De Woillemont was killed + 5 legionnaires were wounded

1959, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REC in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 10 rebels were imprisoned

2012, 3rd Company, 2e REP arrived to Bangui, Central African Republic to take part in a mission launched to secure French diplomats and citizens
– earlier in November, a coalition of rebel groups took over towns in the northern and central regions of the country

– in the photo, 3rd Company, 2e REP having landed at Bangui, Central African Republic on December 28, 2012

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2012 - Central African Republic

 

French Foreign Legion: December 29

1951, Operation Noel ended
– it took part in the Tra Vinh region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires from 1st Autonomous Group, 1er REC participated in
– 2 Viet Minh rebels were killed, 21 of them were imprisoned

1955, 2nd Battalion, 4e REI left Fez to participate in a military operation in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco to retake the Bou Oulid outpost seized by group of local rebels
– next day, the outpost was seized and the rebels were fought off

1957, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI took part in a military operation at Oued Souf in the Tlemcen region of north-western Algeria
– during the operation, a group of rebels was killed

2011, during the War in Afghanistan in the Tagab Valley, two legionnaires (NCOs, 19 and 7 years of service) serving with Mountain Commando Group, 2e REG (Engineer Regiment) were killed by a Taliban firing with a sub-machine gun

– in the picture, 2e REG pays tribute to the two legionnaires killed in Afghanistan on December 29, 2011

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2011 - Paying Homage - Saint Christol

 

French Foreign Legion: December 30

1840, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Foreign Legion has to devide into two parts
– in April 1841, two Foreign Legion regiments (1er RLE, 2e RLE) were formed

1848, 2e RLE (2e REI now) received its regimental standard, prescribed by a 1844 royal decree

1951, during the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 1951 – Feb 1952) in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, 12th Company, 2e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh near the Mount Bavi
– the company was almost annihilated
– 2e REI had over 90 legionnaires killed, wounded or missed

1958, a military operation for legionnaires from 1st + 4th Squadron, 2e REC at Djebel Senalba in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 12 rebels were killed + 16 rebels imprisoned

1959, Operation Sylvestre for legionnaires from 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) in the Oued El Kebir region of northern Algeria

– in the image, 13e DBLE legionnaires with a twin M2 Browning during a miliatry operation in Algeria, in the late 1950s

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: December 31

1916, during the Balkans Campaign of WWI, the Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) was attacked by Bulgarian troops at Orizari, Monastir (today’s Bitola) in then Serbia (today’s southern Macedonia)
– Lieutenant Barite was killed

1941, 6e REI was dissolved
– the most controversial unit of the Legion in France’s WWII history
– formed in 1939 in Syria and Lebanon, it fought bravely in the 1941 Syria-Lebanon Campaign, facing the invasion of the British Army (supported by a small number of De Gaulle’s Free French Forces, including 13e DBLE elements) into the French-controlled countries
– during this campaign, 6e REI lost hundreds of legionnaires
– the regiment left the Middle East in August 1941 for France
– it returned to Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Legion) in Algeria in December
– its legionnaires re-formed the 1er REI (1er RE now)
– 6e REI was re-created in Tunisia in 1949 and finally disbanded in June 1955

1949, Mounted Company of 4e REI was disbanded
– the last mounted company (its history started in the mid-1900s) of the French Army was designated to be motorized
– next day, it became Motorized Company, 4e REI
– French mounted companies, equipped by mules (1 mule for 2 legionnaires), were established in Algeria in December 1881
– they became most prestigious, elite units of the Legion between 1900-1939
– since 1944, only this last Mounted Company had served with the Legion
– nevertheless, Motorized Company, 4e REI kept a number of mules even in 1951

1955, 2e + 3e CMRLE (Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company, vehicle recovery units established in 1945 and 1946) + 2e CREBLE (Foreign Legion Armored Vehicle Repair Company, established in 1951) + 76e BGL (Engineers-Legion Battalion, a mixed unit established in 1951) were disbanded
– these units serving in French Indochina supported French forces during the First Indochina War (1946-54)

1958, a three-day-long Operation Couronne II ended for legionnaires from 1er REP near Berrouaghia in the Medea region of northern Algeria
– 129 rebels + 5 legionnaires were killed

– in the photo, a platoon leader (right) and his legionnaires (manning a grenade launcher) from 3rd Company, 6e REI during a military operation in Tunisia, 1954

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

 

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