Foreign Legion events: January 01 – 10

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between January 01 and January 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 a picture.

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


French Foreign Legion: January 01

1862, Foreign Regiment establishment
– in Algeria, the Legion was reorganized
– 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e RE, currently 2e REI) was redesignated
– it became Foreign Regiment
– the unit had to incorporate legionnaires from the 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE), dissolved by an imperial decree
– Foreign Regiment took part in the French intervention in Mexico and in the Franco-Prussian War
– it would be renamed to Foreign Legion in 1875

1885, 1st + 2nd Foreign Regiments re-created
– in Algeria and Indochina, Foreign Legion was reorganized
– in effect, it was a single regiment with that designation
– that day, the regiment (composed of six battalions) was devided
– two foreign regiments were re-created again

1946, 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment reactivation
– in Algeria, RMLE-EO (Far East Regimental Combat Team, est. 1945) was redesignated
– it became 2e REI, a unit established in 1841 and deactivated in 1943
– ten days later, the 2e REI left Algeria for French Indochina
– it was the first Foreign Legion regiment to leave Africa to take part in fresh military operations in then French Indochina

– also in 1946, 723rd Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company
– in Algeria, 723e CRALE was established
– an autonomous vehicle recovery unit
– it would participate in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in Indochina, the company became 1re CMRLE (Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company) in 1951
– the unit was dissolved back in Algeria in 1956

1951, Foreign Airdrop Company
– in Northern Vietnam, CERA was established
– a short-living airborne mixed unit
– composed of 140 para-legionnaires + French supply train elements + local Vietnamese auxiliaries
– tasked with airdropping of supplies to French troops during the First Indochina War
– there exists a possibility that the company served as a provisional placement for remaining men of the annihilated 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, officially dissolved the previous day, future 1er REP)
– legionnaires left the unit in August 1951
– it became CRA (Airdrop Company) in September

1961, 1st Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Squadron
– in Algeria, 1re CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company, est. 1940) was redesignated
– 1er ESPL was established
– one of the Legion’s four autonomous Saharan motorized units
– it participated in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– as a little known fact, the squadron took part in the Generals’ Putsch in Algiers in April 1961
– a failed coup d’état to overthrow French President Charles de Gaulle
– the squadron is also known for an incident of August 1962, in which Lieutenant Gelas and three legionnaires have become the last men of the Legion killed in Algeria
– 1er ESPL was dissolved in Algeria in 1963

1971, 61st Engineer-Legion Mixed Battalion
– in France, 61e BMGL was established
– an engineering mixed unit
– consisting of legionnaires and French sappers
– its main task was to build up Camp Canjuers, the largest military training area of Western Europe
– the battalion was dissolved in late 1982

– in the rare picture, 1er ESPL legionnaires with their traditional Saharan parade uniform during a ceremony in the desert of Algeria, 1962

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1er ESPL - 1 ESPL - 1962 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: January 02

1954, in then French Indochina, fighting with the Viet Minh
– it took place in the Thakhek region of Laos
– legionnaires from 9th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in
– during the fighting, 2 legionnaires were killed

1961, a military operation in northeastern Algeria for legionnaires from 5e REI
– it took place near Bir El Ater, in the Negrine region
– during the operation, 9 rebels were killed

1987, a mission started for 5e RE (ex-5e REI) legionnaires on the Futuna Island
– the island (part of the Wallis and Futuna Islands) is located between New Caledonia and Tahiti (over 1,800 miles / 3,000 km west from Tahiti), South Pacific
– legionnaires-sappers had to help rebuild local infrastructure, devastated by a tropical cyclone
– their mission finished in mid-May 1987

– in the image, 5e RE legionnaires during a rescue mission in the South Pacific, 1987

5e RE - 5 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1987 - Pacific


French Foreign Legion: January 03

1846, in northwestern Algeria, a two-day military operation aimed at local rebels ended
– it took place in the Sidi Bel Abbes region
– 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now) was involved in

1954, Operation Achille
– an operation in the Moung Khoua region of Laos, then French Indochina
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 6th Company, 3e REI took part in

2012, 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment decorated
– that day, the regimental standard of the 2e REG was decorated with the Military Valor Cross for the unit’s well-conducted actions in the War in Afghanistan
– between 2008-12, the 2e REG lost Captain Dupin + 4 legionnaires in Afghanistan

– in the photo, Defense Minister Gérard Longuet decorates the 2e REG’s standard with the Military Valor Cross on January 3, 2012

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2012 - Military Valor Cross


French Foreign Legion: January 04

1886, in Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam), an attack to size a rebel fortress was conducted by legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now)
– the fortress was located at Hong Son Thai Du, in the Thain Nguyen region
– it was successfully seized
– a rebel group defending the fortress was annihilated

1948, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in
– the battle occurred in the Quang Nam region of Central Vietnam
– about 50 men of the Viet Minh were killed

1990, Operation Salam ended for 6e REG
– the operation took place between Sep 1989 – Jan 1990 in Pakistan
– it was launched in the Peshawar region, to provide demining instruction to Afghan refugees, after the Soviet–Afghan War ended (Feb 1989)
– a detachment of 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, currently 1er REG), led by Captain Rittimann and Lieutenant Beaumet, was involved in

– in the image, a sergeant from the 6e REG conducts a demining instruction during Operation Salam in Pakistan, late 1989
– note the legionnaire’s mustache, widely used in then 6e REG

6e REG - 6 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Operation Salam - 1989 - Pakistan


French Foreign Legion: January 05

1831, Hohenlohe Regiment dissolution
– that day in France, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Hohenlohe Regiment has to be disbanded
– the French or naturalized officers, NCO and soldiers of the regiment were transferred to the 21st Light Infantry Regiment, created the same day
– the non-naturalized foreigners serving with the Hohenlohe Regiment were allowed to join Foreign Legion, created two months later, in March 1831
– Hohenlohe Regiment was established in 1815 as Royal Foreign Legion, composed of foreigners
– since 1816, the unit had been commanded by Colonel Louis Aloysius, Prince of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Bartenstein, a German prince fighting for France between 1792-1814
– Foreign Legion took several traditions of the Hohenlohe Regiment, including the 88 steps/minute marching speed (French regular units march 120 steps/minute)

1915, on the Western Front of WWI, 4th Regimental Combat Team (called Garibaldi Legion, composed of Italian volunteers), 1er RE got involved in fierce fighting with German troops
– the fighting occurred at Lachalade and La Harazee, northeastern France
– Garibaldi Legion suffered heavy casualties
– however, 114 Germans were imprisoned

1948, during a patrol in then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh
– the attack happened in the Ninh Hoa region of central Vietnam
– Lieutenant Jean de Sesmaisons was killed

1956, a military operation in northeastern Algeria for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the operation took place at Djebel El Fedjouj of the Guelma region
– 22 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 2e REP legionnaires lined up to a review inside their barracks in Philipeville, Algeria, 1956

2e REP - 2 REP - 1956 - Philipeville - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: January 06

1853, in northwestern Algeria, a Foreign Legion task force returned to Sidi Bel Abbes, their HQ
– the task force was made up of legionnaires from 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now)
– they took part in a two-month operation to maintain order in the region

1947, in then French Indochina, legionnaires from 4th Company, 3e REI reinforced French units to take part in the Siege of Nam Dinh (Dec 1946 – Mar 1947)
– a city in the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam
Nam Dinh was besieged and attacked by thousands of Viet Minh rebels
– that day, 8 legionnaires were killed + another 7 seriously wounded

1950, in then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2e BEP (Battalion, later 2e REP) got involved in clashes with the Viet Minh
– the clashes occurred in the Dong Hoi region of Central Vietnam
– 4 legionnaires + several Viet Minh rebels were killed

2012, a three-week recce operation ended for legionnaires of the 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– the operation took place in the Faya-Largeau region of northern Chad
– the legionnaires made part of GTEFT (Ground Task Force)

– in the photo, 1er REC legionnaires in Chad in 2012

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2012 - Chad


French Foreign Legion: January 07

1950, during a patrol in then French Indochina, a group of 14 legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) was heavily attacked by the Viet Minh near Dong Hau in the Chau Doc region of Southern Vietnam
– 7 legionnaires were killed

1952, during the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 1951 – Feb 1952) in Northern Vietnam, the outposts located at Xom Pheo were attacked by a Viet Minh regiment
– the outposts were occupied by 5th + 7th Company, 13e DBLE
– after 10 hours of fighting, the outposts were successfully defended
– Viet Minh lost about 800 men

1957, Battle of Algiers started
– military operations to restore order in the capital of Algeria
– a response to growing activities of the FLN (Liberation Front) rebels
– a rising number of terrorist attacks in Algiers
– these attacks with explosives were aimed at civilians
– that day, first elements from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) arrived in Algiers
– next week, 1er REP as a full regiment took part in the battle
– Battle of Algiers continued until October 1957

– in the image, two 1er REP legionnaires are looking at Algiers, 1957

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


French Foreign Legion: January 08

1838, Disciplinary Platoon of the Foreign Legion
– in Algeria, the first disciplinary unit of the Legion was established
– it served for the “incorrigible men to be occupied by the most exhausting work…”

1918, on the Western Front of WWI, RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) launched an attack on German positions near Flirey, northeastern France
– the Germans suffered hundreds of soldiers being killed or wounded
– around 110 German soldiers were imprisoned

1952, during the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 1951 – Feb 1952) in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the outposts located at Hoa Binh were severely attacked by the Viet Minh
– the outposts were occupied by the 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– after heavy fighting, they were successfully defended
– however, 63 legionnaires were killed, wounded or missed

– in the photo, RMLE legionnaires during an instruction in France, 1917

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1917 - France


French Foreign Legion: January 09

1945, during the Liberation of France of WWII, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team) got involved in fighting with German troops near Obenheim, eastern France, on the border with Germany
– later that year, RMLE became the 3e REI

1954, in then French Indochina, a military convoy to supply the 4th Battalion, 2e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– the attack occurred on Colonial Road 9 in the Quang Tri region, Central Vietnam
– after the attack, 2e REI legionnaires conducted counter-attacks
– 95 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1956, during a military operation in northern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the fighting took place near Taberdga, in the Khenchela region
– a legionnaire was wounded

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires during an operation in French Indochina in the 1950’s

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1950's - Indochina


French Foreign Legion: January 10

1841, in the Cherchell region of northern Algeria, a military operation aimed at the Beni-Menour rebel tribe
– the operation was conducted by Major Gautrin and his 4th Battalion, Foreign Legion
– during the operation, Major Gautrin was killed

1946, 2e REI left Algeria for French Indochina
– that day, 2e REI left North Africa for Southeast Asia
– as the Foreign Legion’s first regiment deployed to Indochina after WWII, it would join local military operations
– later that year, the operations resulted in the First Indochina War (1946-54)

1954, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI placed at Dien Bien Phu
– in then French Indochina, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI arrived in the Dien Bien Phu valley of Northern Vietnam
– the battalion was stationed at Isabelle, a strongpoint consisting of several fortified outposts
– three months later, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu would begin
– the Isabelle strongpoint will become the last strongpoint to be taken over by the Viet Minh
– the 3e REI legionnaires continued to resist even after the battle was officially finished

– in the picture, a sergeant of the Foreign Legion in Algeria in the early 1840s, by André Marcy

Legionnaire - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1840 - Andre Marcy


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: December 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: January 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history