Foreign Legion events: January 21 – 31

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between January 21 and January 31. 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 21

1945, Battle of Strasbourg ended
– a battle (Jan 5-21) between the Allies and German troops
– an action during Operation Nordwind (Jan 1945)
– a German offensive on the Western Front of WWII
– in eastern France, at the border with Germany
– the battle took place in Strasbourg
– an important French border town
– two Foreign Legion units participated
– RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, later 3e REI)
13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– Germans were successfully fought off

1950, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– the fierce battle between legionnaires and the Viet Minh
– it occurred in the Tra Vinh region, Southern Vietnam
– 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– during the four-hour battle, 40 rebels were killed
– 45 rebels were imprisoned
– several legionnaires were also killed
– Lieutenant Pierre Bulteaux was fatally wounded
– he lost his left arm during a battle in Indochina in the 1940s
– still, he asked to serve with an operational unit
– fatally wounded, he died the next day

1958, Battle of the Borders started
– that day in Algeria, the famous battle started
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– a series of military operations
– under the command of General Vanuxem
– they took place in the Guelma region, northeastern Algeria
– close to the border with Tunisia
– aimed at rebels crossing the border regularly
– five French airborne regiments took part in the battle
– in the first place, 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the legionnaires were chasing the rebels alongside the border
– until late May, almost 1,200 rebels were killed by the 1er REP
– for that action, the 1er REP was praised
– named “the most elite regiment within the French Army”
– unfortunately, the 1er REP lost his commander in the battle
– Lt Colonel Pierre Jeanpierre
– a legendary officer of the Legion
– killed two days before the end of the battle
– 111 officers and legionnaires of the unit were also killed

1960, in northern Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels
– at the Gadet Meglires, a mountain in the Djelfa region
2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– 62 rebels were killed
– 2 rebels were imprisoned

– in the picture, a 1er REP legionnaire equipped with an AANF1 (AA-52) machine gun, Algeria, 1958

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 22

1947, in then French Indochina, a battle the Viet Minh
– the battle took place near Mytho
– in the Sadec region of Southern Vietnam
– 11th Company, 3e REI were involved
– Second Lieutenant Christian Lajouanie was killed
– 13 legionnaires were also killed
– including Staff Sergeant Jakubec

1958, in western Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– the skirmish occurred at Djebel Tamedda
– in the Ain Sefra region
– 5th Motorized Company, 2e REI were involved
– several rebels were killed
– Second Lieutenant Jean Ballot was also killed
– 10 mentions in dispatches, 5 times wounded

1960, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– near Melaab, in the Tissemsilt region
– carried out by legionnaires from 5e REI
– during the operation, 9 rebels were killed

– in the image, Second Lieutenant Jean Ballot, killed on January 22, 1958
– he belonged to the 5th Motorized Company, 2e REI, which named its camp in Ain Sefra after him later that year
– note that during operations in North Africa until late 1959, the Foreign Legion officers used a light-khaki cover for their black kepi, as did their legionnaires for their white kepi

2e REI - 2 REI - Jean Ballot - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 23

1866, in Mexico, a successful military operation
– during the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– the operation occurred near Saltillo, northern Mexico
– conducted by 1st Battalion, Foreign Regiment
– led by Major Saussier
– aimed at an important group of rebels
– around 40 rebels were killed
– about 100 rebels were wounded

1916, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the clashes occurred near M’Rirt, in the Khenifra region
– 6th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– however, the Legion suffered casualties
– Lieutenant René Bruyant + 7 legionnaires were killed

1953, in then French Indochina, a two-day operation started
– it took place at Lai Tri and Thuong Phu
– in the Thai Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– carried out by legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI
– 170 rebels were killed

1959, in western Algeria, a rebel attack
– the attack happened at Djebel Megress
– in the Géryville region
– aimed at a command car of 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI
– immediately, five members of the crew were killed
– Lieutenant Gilbert Arnoux de Maison Rouge
– also his 4 legionnaires
– a Legion counter-attack followed
– another 2 legionnaires were killed
– Lieutenant Gilbert Arnoux de Maison Rouge was a son of General Marie Bernard Arnoux de Maison Rouge, the 5th baron of Arnoux de Maison Rouge

– in the photo, 2e REI legionnaires from a Motorized Company during an operation in Algeria in 1959 + Lieutenant Gilbert Arnoux de Maison Rouge from 2e REI, killed on January 23, 1959

2e REI - 2 REI - Lieutenant Gilbert Arnoux de Maison Rouge - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 24

1945, in France, clashes with German troops
– an action during Operation Nordwind (Jan 1945)
– a German offensive on the Western Front of WWII
– in eastern France, at the border with Germany
– that day, clashes near Illhaeusern
– 2e BLE (Foreign Legion Battalion) were involved
– future 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 2e BLE suffered heavy casualties
– 37 men were killed + 142 men were wounded

1952, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– during the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 51 – Feb 52)
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the firce battle occurred in Northern Vietnam
– in the Hoa Binh region
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) were involved
– during the battle, a Viet Minh battalion was annihilated

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– during the Battle of the Borders (Jan-May 1958)
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
– the operation took place near Mahouna, in the Guelma region
– aimed at local rebels
– carried out by 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– that day, 67 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 1er REP legionnaires during a military operation in northeastern Algeria, January 1958

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 25

1885, in Formosa, a French offensive started
– Formosa is today’s Taiwan in Southeast Asia
– the offensive was aimed at Chinese troops
– it was part of the Keelung Campaign (1884-85)
– a campaign during the Sino-French War (1884-85)
– the week offensive started near Keelung
– an important trading port city in northern Formosa
– 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– led by Major Vitalis
– part of a French task force led by Colonel Duchesne
– during the first two days, 5 legionnaires were killed
– 17 legionnaires were wounded
– during the week offensive, a Legion officer was also killed
– Lieutenant Weber, a long-serving German legionnaire
– other legionnaires were killed or wounded
– hundreds of Chinese troops were also killed
– however, a heavy rain stopped the operation

1915, in northeastern France, a German attack
– on the Western Front of WWI
– the attack occurred near Craonnelle
– a commune in the Aisne department
– the attack was aimed at 2e RM, 2e RE (2e REI now)
– 2nd Regimental Combat Team
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1949, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– near Dong Khe, in the Cao Bang region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at a patrol group from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– Lieutenant Jean Potet + a legionnaire were killed

– in the image, legionnaires on the Western Front of WWI, France, 1915

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1915 - France

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 26

1885, in Tonkin, a Chinese attack
– an action during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (1884-85)
– part of the Sino-French War (1884-85)
– a conflict during the Tonkin Campaign (1883-86)
Tuyen Quang was a French fortress in Tonkin
– then title for Northern Vietnam
– an important square masonry citadel
– each of its walls was 300 yards (275 m) long
– defended by two Foreign Legion companies
– 390 men, led by Captain Cattelin
– that day, the citadel was heavily attacked
– by Chinese rebels from the Black Flag Army
– some 4,000 men
– the attackers were successfully fought off
– the siege and attacks would continue until March
– then, the legionnaires won
– even today, their defence is seen as heroic

1954, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– in the Thai Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– during Operation Gerfaut II
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI participated
– 68 Viet Minh men were killed
– 94 Viet Minh men were imprisoned

1957, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with rebels
– at Djebel Troubia, in the Tebessa region
2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– that day, 15 rebels were killed

– also in 1957, in northwestern Algeria, a battle with rebels
– a fierce battle with a large group of local rebels
– it occurred near Marnia, in the Tlemcen region
– legionnaires from 5e REI were involved
– that day, 92 rebels were killed
– 8 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, 5e REI legionnaires parade in Algeria, early 1957

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 27

1882, in then western Algeria, a battle with rebels
– near the Chott Tigri, a wetland close to Bouarfa
– in today’s eastern Morocco, near the Algeria-Morocco border
– a battle the Beni Guill rebel tribe
– a Foreign Legion mounted company participated
– a freshly established unit equipped with mules
– during the battle, 53 rebels were killed

1906, Cheikh Bouamama’s group annihilated
– a Moroccan Berber rebel group of Cheikh Bouamama
– annihilated during a fierce battle
– with a French column led by Major Pein
– 3rd Company, 1er RE participated
– the rebel group suffered heavy losses
– 700 camels of the rebels were also captured

1948, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– it occurred near Cu Chi
– in the Hoc Mon region of Southern Vietnam
– aimed at 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 4 legionnaires were killed

1950, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– the battle took place near Pho Trach
– in the Quang Tri region of Central Vietnam
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) participated
– 2 legionnaires were killed

1959, in northern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– it occurred in the Tenes region
– with the group of rebel leader Menouar
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– over 20 rebels were killed
– two weeks later, the rest of the group would be annihilated
– also by 1er REP legionnaires

– in the picture, a Belgian staff sergeant and a German sergeant, both from the 2e BEP, during an operation in Vietnam in the early 1950s
– the German sergeant was killed in a skirmish a few weeks later

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1951 - Indochina

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 28

1918, in central Morocco, fighting with local rebels
– at Djebel Bou Araar, in the Tadla region
– 1st Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– they faced a large number of local rebels
– the legionnaires launched four counter-attacks
– performed with fixed bayonets
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– however, 4 legionnaires were killed
– another 5 legionnaires were wounded
– for this action, the battalion was mentioned in dispatches
– in the order of the Army (the highest mention)

1947, in then French Indochina, two skirmishes
– the skirmishes with the Viet Minh in Southern Vietnam
– the first skirmish took place near Chau Doc
– in the An Giang region
– 10th Company, 3e REI were involved
– Lieutenant André Troussard + several legionnaires were killed
– the second skirmish occurred near My Tho
– 11th Company, 3e REI were involved
– Second Lieutenant Christian La Journie was killed

1952, Operation Mars started
– an operation to restore order in Tunisia
– then French protectorate in North Africa
– affected by bloody riots led by Habib Bourguiba
– two Foreign Legion units participated
– 3e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 3e REP)
6e REI (the only unit stationed in Tunisia at the time)

1956, Attack of Taineste
– that day, a severe rebel attack in Morocco
– during the ongoing Algerian War (1954-62)
– the attack happened at Taineste, in the Taza region
– it was aimed at 3rd Battalion, 2e REI
– a former 1st Battalion, 6e REI
– attacked by hundreds of Moroccan rebels
– the battalion suffered heavy casualties
– Lieutenant Roger Schmidt was killed
– a long-serving legionnaire
– 17 legionnaires were also killed
– at least 42 rebels were killed too

– for the Legion, the event has remained as the bloodiest attack conducted by rebels in Morocco after 1934, when the Pacification of Morocco was over

1959, in northern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Djebel Sahari, in the Djelfa region
2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– that day, 34 rebels were killed

2013, 2e REP jumped over Timbuktu
– that night in Mali (West Africa), an operational jump
– the first French operational jump since 1978
– carried out by 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– two hundred legionnaires participated
– they jumped over Timbuktu
– an ancient trading city in Mali
– also an important point controlled by rebel groups
– within a few hours, the city was seized

– in the first photo, the 2e REI legionnaires killed during the Attack of Taineste in Morocco, January 28, 1956

– in the second photo, 2e REP legionnaires in Timbuktu, Mali, late January 2013

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Morocco - Attack of Taineste

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2013 - Mali

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 29

1954, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– the battle occurred Northern Vietnam
– in the Nimh Dinh region
– 2nd Amphibious Group, 1er REC were involved
– 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment
– during the battle, several legionnaires were wounded

1961, in northeastern Algeria, military operations started
– in the regions of Bougie, Djidjelli and El Milia
– aimed at local rebels
– the operations would be over in mid-April
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) participated
– almost 200 rebels would be killed, wounded or imprisoned

– in the image, legionnaires from 2nd Amphibious Group, 1er REC disembarking an LVT-4 (called Alligator) amphibious landing craft during an operation in French Indochina, 1954

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 30

1945, in eastern France, clashes with German troops
– an action during Operation Nordwind (Jan 1945)
– a German offensive on the Western Front of WWII
– in northeastern France, on the border with Germany
– that day, clashes along the Rhone canal
– 3e BLE (Foreign Legion Battalion) were involved
– future 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 3e BLE suffered heavy casualties

1948, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at the Na Let outpost
– located in the Cao Bang region, Northern Vietnam
– held by a platoon of the 1st Battalion, 3e REI
– during the attack, 2 legionnaires were killed

– in the photo, during the Liberation of France of WWII, men from the future 13e DBLE parade in Dijon, 1944

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1944 - Dijon - France

 
 

French Foreign Legion: January 31

1920, Battle of Mahagibat
– a battle with Moroccan rebels
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle occurred in the Khenifra region
– a detachment of the 1st Battalion, 1er RE was involved
– the legionnaires faced hundreds of local rebels
– the rebels were successfully fought off

1955, 1st Amphibious Group dissolution
– in French Indochina, a Legion unit was disbanded
-1st Amphibious Group, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– a semi-autonomous cavalry unit
– serving during the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the group was established in 1951
– composed of 2nd + 3rd + 12th + 13th + 17th Squadron
– equipped with Landing crafts LVT 4 (called Alligator)
– also by M29 Weasel tracked vehicles (called Crab)
– the squadrons were disbanded to this date too

1961, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with rebels started
– the two-day cklashes occurred at Douar Arres
– close to Mila, in the Djidjelli region
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– during two days, 21 rebels were killed

1968, 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment deactivation
– in southern France, 2e REI was deactivated
– the longest-serving unit of the Foreign Legion
– the last Legion regiment to leave North Africa (Jan 1968)
– the regiment would be reactivated in Corsica in 1972

– in the picture, the 2e REI color guard during the regiment’s deactivation ceremony in Aubagne, January 1968

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1968 - Aubagne - France

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: January 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: February 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history