Foreign Legion events: January 11 – 20

See the most interesting events of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Important campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Get to know the Legion’s significant events which occurred between January 11 and January 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: January 11

1943, Capture of Foum Es Gouafel
– during the Tunisian Campaign, 1st Battalion, 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Team, composed of 3e REI legionnaires in the majority) + Autonomous Group, 1er REC seized Foum Es Gouafel in the Sbikha region, northern Tunisia
– about 200 German soldiers were imprisoned

1952, Operation Speculum started
– the operation took place in the Hoa Binh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 1951 – Feb 1952)
– legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) + 2e BEP (2e REP now) got involved in
– a Viet Minh regiment was successfully forced to leave the sector

1960, Operation Sylvestre ended for 3e REI legionnaires in the Oued El Kebir region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 11 rebels were killed

2013, Operation Serval started
– France dispatched troops to aid government forces in the Northern Mali conflict (or Mali War)
– among first troops sent to Mali were legionnaires from 1er REC
– during next months, hundreds of legionnaires took part in the operation
– in July 2014, Operation Serval ended and was replaced by Operation Barkhane

– in the photo, an AMX 10 RC of 1er REC in Mali, during Operation Serval, 2013

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2013 - Mali

 

French Foreign Legion: January 12

1846, in the Mascara region of north-western Algeria, a week-long military operation aimed at Djafra tribe rebels ended
– 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now) took part in

1918, on the Western Front of WWI, the Germans launched a chemical attack (mustard gas/yperite) at the positions of RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) near Flirey, northeastern France

1953, in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the Cau Xa outpost of the 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) was attacked by the Viet Minh
– legionnaires successfully managed to defend their outpost
– 12 rebels were killed

1954, during an operation in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) got involved in severe clashes with the Viet Minh
– 5 legionnaires were killed + 33 wounded

– in the picture, Captain Cabiro and his legionnaires from 4th Company, 1er BEP in the Dien Bien Phu valley during a military operation, December 1953

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: January 13

1943, Attack of Spot height 658
– during the Tunisian Campaign, 3rd Battalion, 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Team) received an order to attack Spot height 658 near Djebel Chemamef, northern Tunisia
– the spot height was occupied by German troops
– during the attack, Captain Forde + 6 legionnaires were killed
– another 69 legionnaires were wounded or missed

1947, in the Saigon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, future NCOs from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE were attacked by the Viet Minh, during an exercise
– 11 legionnaires were killed

1949, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) left Algeria for French Indochina
– created in October 1948, the battalion served in the First Indochina War until 1954
– it returned to North Africa in late 1955 to form 2e REP

1959, legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in fighting with local rebels during a military operation near Charef in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 3 rebels were killed + 14 rebels imprisoned

– in the image, the color guard of 2e REC during a ceremony in Algeria, 1959

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

 

French Foreign Legion: January 14

1956, 1er REC + two battalions of 5e REI left Indochina for North Africa
– only 2nd Battalion, 5e REI stayed in Indochina, as the last Foreign Legion unit (it left Asia two months later)

1978, legionnaires from 5e RMP (Pacific Mixed Regiment, ex-5e REI) were sent to Nuutania (the biggest prison in French Polynesia) to calm down the rebellion

1988, 6e REG (the very first engineering regiment of the Legion, created 1984, titled 1er REG now) lost its first legionnaire during a military operation
– Staff Sergeant Stevo Panic (born 1950, ex-Yougoslavia) was killed by an IED detonation during Operation Epervier in Chad (Central Africa)

– in the photo, Staff Sergeant Stevo Panic (with the Famas bearing the company fanion) and the 1st Company, 6e REG during a ceremony in Chad, late 1987

6e REG - 6 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1987 - Stevo Panic - Chad

 

French Foreign Legion: January 15

1871, during the Franco-Prussian War, 1st + 2nd Battalion of the Provisional Foreign Regiment (composed of non-legionnaires in the majority since mid-December) got involved in an ambush with German troops near Sainte-Marie, the village located close to Clerval, eastern France

1954, during an operation in the Peksane region of Laos, then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh for 4th Battalion, 3e REI
– Captain Moneuse + two legionnaires were killed

– also in 1954, near My Loc in the Quang Binh region of central Vietnam, a severe battle with the Viet Minh for legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI
– during the battle, many rebels were killed
– 3 legionnaires were also killed

1956, legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved in fighting with local rebels during a military operation near Saint-Antoine in the Philippeville region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 2e REP (created six weeks ago, Dec 1955) had its first legionnaire killed in action, Sergeant Kuntz
– 22 rebels were also killed

– in the picture, 2e REP legionnaires being transported by a helicopter in Algeria, 1956

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: January 16

1941, Battle of Phum-Preav
– during the Franco-Thai War, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a severe battle with the Thai Army at Phum Preav, western Cambodia, on the border with Thailand
– legionnaires faced Thailand’s aircrafts, modern tanks and armored cars
– however, the Thai forces were stopped
– Captain Chalvidan + Lieutenant De Gros Peronnard (of Dannish origin, sometimes also De Cros Perronard) were killed
– 3rd Battalion lost also 33 legionnaires (the majority of them were killed)
– for this action, the battalion was mentioned in the order of the Army

1956, a military operation in the Batna region of north-eastern Algeria for legionnaires from 1st Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 6 rebels were killed

1959, Operation Sud Benelle for legionnaires from 2e REP in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria
– at least 4 rebels were killed

– in the image, 5e REI legionnaires in French Indochina in the early 1940s

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: January 17

1839, Old Foreign Legion dissolution
– in France, the original Foreign Legion (created March 1831, now called as the “Old Legion”) was dissolved
– 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
– in Spain in December 1838, this Legion was officially disbanded
– its 223 survivors (63 officers + 159 legionnaires) returned to France on January 10
– in France, “Old Legion” officially ceased to exist on January 17
– 64 legionnaires joined the “New Legion” (today’s Legion), established in 1836

1855, 2nd Foreign Legion establishment
– that day, an imperial decree was issued
– it prescribed that the 2nd Foreign Legion have to be established
– 2nd Foreign Legion was commanded by General Ochsenbein, a Swiss officer and a close friend of Napoleon, then French Emperor
– it consisted of two foreign regiments, just as the original Legion (1st Foreign Legion since that day)
– 2nd Legion was open for Swiss legionnaires only and was nicknamed Swiss Legion
– 2nd Foreign Legion (Swiss Legion) was dissolved in June 1856 and became 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE), Foreign Legion
– 1st Foreign Regiment consisted exclusively of the Swiss until 1859

1956, the military outpost of Ferkane, north-eastern Algeria was attacked by dozens of local rebels
– the outpost, occupied by 21e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company) was defended and the enemy was fought off
– later that year, 21e CPLE became part of GPLEA (Algerian Motorized Group)

– in the picture, a member of the 2nd Foreign Legion (Swiss Legion) around 1856

Swiss Lwgion - 2e Legion - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1856

 

French Foreign Legion: January 18

1871, during the Franco-Prussian War, 2nd + 5th Battalion of the Provisional Foreign Regiment (composed of non-legionnaires in the majority since mid-December) got involved in a battle with German troops near Montbéliard, eastern France

1916, close to Sidi Lamine in the Khenifra region of Morocco, 2nd Battalion, 1er RE was attacked by the Ait Affis, a local rebel tribe
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– 2 legionnaires were wounded

1943, Battle of Oued El Kebir
– during the Tunisian Campaign, 2nd Battalion, 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Team) got involved in a severe battle with Africa Corps heavy tanks of Marshal Rommel near the Oued El Kebir dam, at Djebel Mansour, northern Tunisia
– during the battle, the battalion was annihilated
– that day, hundreds of poorly-equipped legionnaires were killed, wounded or missed

1947, in the Binh Thuan region of south-central Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were severely attacked by the Viet Minh
– Captain Delin + Lieutenant Audibert + 14 legionnaires were killed

2016, Petit Argentier accident
– 14 legionnaires from 2e REG (Engineer Regiment) were caught by an avalanche while crossing a saddle of the Petit Argentier in the French Alps, during a mountain warfare basic training
– 5 legionnaires were killed immediately
– the sixth legionnaire died from his injuries a week later
– together with the 1976 Djibouti helicopter crash, it remains the second deadliest incident for the Foreign Legion since the Algerian War ended (1962)

– in the photo, 2e REG pays tribute to the six legionnaires killed by the avalanche, late January 2016

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Petit Argentier - Saint Christol - Homage

 

French Foreign Legion: January 19

1855, during the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–55), Crimean War, Russian troops launched an attack near Fort Quarantaine, aimed at the trenches occupied by 2nd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now), led by Major L’Hériller
– legionnaires launched a successful counter-attack with fixed bayonets, defended their positions and fought off the enemy
– 4 legionnaires were killed

1863, in Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria, Colonel Jeanningros, the commander of Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion), received an order to prepare two battalions for the Campaign in Mexico

1950, during a patrol in the Haiphong region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a group of legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– 5 legionnaires were killed

– in the image, two legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI, equipped with an FM 24/29 light machine gun, during a military operation in French Indochina in the early 1950s

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Indochina

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French Foreign Legion: January 20

1943, during the Tunisian Campaign, 3rd Company (led by Captain Lemeunier), 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Team) got involved in fierce fighting with German troops close to Bit El Arbi, northern Tunisia
– 17 legionnaires were killed, another 55 men were wounded or missed

1949, near Dong Khe in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 11th Company, 3e REI got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– Captain Puiroux (company commander) + 5 legionnaires were killed

1956, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in clashes with local rebels during a military operation at Djebel Ahmar Kraddou in the Aures mountains, northern Algeria

2012, inside the military base of Kapisa, Afghanistan, an Afghan soldier launched an attack with his machine gun at French troops
– 4 French soldiers were killed + 15 French soldiers were wounded, 8 of them seriously
– betwen the killed men, a Ukrainian legionnaire (Staff Sergeant, 10 years of service) from 2e REG

– in the photo, legionnaires in Afghanistan, 2011

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2011 - Afghanistan

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: January 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: December 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: December 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: December 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history