Foreign Legion events: February 01 – 10

Explore the most interesting data in French Foreign Legion’ history. Significant campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Discover the important events of the Legion which occurred between February 01 and February 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: February 01

1915, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) was established
– a French mixed task force, composed of two colonial native battalions + a Legion battalion
– its mission was to fight against Turks and Bulgarians, during the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Macedonian Front (also Salonica Front) of WWI
– the very little-known Legion Battalion suffered heavy casualties and received a Fourragere in 1917, as the only second unit of the Legion, for its two mentions in the order of the Army
– reduced to a company, the Legion unit was dissolved back in Africa in April 1919

1945, during the Liberation of France of WWII, CC5 (Combat Command 5), the combined task force which included 1st Battalion, RMLE (Legion’s Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) captured Urschenheim in the Colmar Pocket of north-eastern France, on the border with Germany

1946, in Aubagne (today’s HQ of the Legion), France, 65e CRR was created
– the company was attached to the 3e REI (stationed in Aubagne at that time)
– thereafter, in French Indochina, the company was redesignated to 65e CRALE in 1947 and, finally, to 3e CMRLE in 1951
– it was one of the five independent medium repair companies of the Legion serving during the war in French Indochina (1946-54)
– 3e CMRLE was disbanded in December 1955

1949, 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) was constituted
– it served in Libya (1949-55, as the only Legion unit) and in Algeria (1956-63), during the Algeria War
– in 1963, the company was dissolved and its platoons consolidated with 4e REI

– in the rare image, 3e CSPL legionnaires in front of their HQ in Libya, Fort Leclerc

3e CSPL - 3 CSPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Libya - Fort Leclerc

 

French Foreign Legion: February 02

1846, 1st Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now), 450 men led by Lt Col d’Autemarre, left Guelma as part of the French task force to restore order in the Bou Saada region of northern Algeria and to pacify the local rebel tribes

1945, Battle of Colmar ended
– a battle around Colmar in the Alsace region of north-eastern France (known also as the Colmar Pocket), during WWII
– that day, the Allied forces, including 3rd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), liberated Colmar

1951, during an operation, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh at Tan Phu Trung, Saigon, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Viet Minh had 15 men killed, 20 rebels were imprisoned

1958, a two-day military operation started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 81 rebels were killed

2005, in Afghanistan, Operation Pamir 10 started for legionnaires from 2e REI and 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) in the region of Kabul
– the operation lasted until June

– in the photo, a 2e REI legionnaire in Afghanistan, 2011

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2011 - Afghanistan

 

French Foreign Legion: February 03

1885, Lang Son Campaign (Feb 3-13) started in northern Vietnam
– a major French offensive in northern Vietnam during the Sino-French War (Aug 1884 – Apr 1885)
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE + 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– the successful campaign was aimed at the Chinese troops and to capture the important town of Lang Son

1956, a military operation for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) in the Khenchela region of northern Algeria
– 4 legionnaires were wounded

1982, Mont Garbi accident
– in Djibouti, a French aircraft crashed into Mont (Mount) Garbi
– on board, all passengers died, including 29 men from the French Foreign Legion
– Captain Philipponnat + 26 legionnaires were from the 2nd Platoon, 4th Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– Captain Chanson + Corporal Lauriol served with 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– for the Foreign Legion, it remains the most tragic day since the end of the First Indochina War (1954)

– in the image, the ceremony at Camp Raffalli, Calvi, held for the killed 2e REP legionnaires of the Mont Garbi accident, late February 1982

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1982 - Calvi - Camp Raffalli - Mont Garbi accident

 

French Foreign Legion: February 04

1849, near Djidjelli, northern Algeria, around 300 legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now), led by Major Boudville, took part in a military operation aimed at the Beni-Hassen, a rebel tribe
– the rebel leader was imprisoned

1885, Battle of Tay Hoa
– a successful battle of the Lang Son Campaign (Feb 3-13) in northern Vietnam, during the Sino-French War (Aug 1884 – Apr 1885)
– two French brigades fought against Chinese troops
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE + 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– that day, the Legion had 2 officers + 5 legionnaires killed and 1 officer + 57 legionnaires wounded

1917, in the Khenifra region of Morocco, 1st Battalion, 1er RE got involved in clashes with the Ait Affis, a local rebel tribe
– the enemy was fought off
– Sergeant Aurada was killed + 11 legionnaires were wounded

1943, during the Tunisian Campaign, 10th Company, 3e REIM (Regimental Combat Team) got involved in fierce fighting with German troops at Djebel Mansour, northern Tunisia
– only one long-serving Adjudant-chef + 26 legionnaires (16 of them seriously wounded) survived the fighting

1954, in the Muong Khoua region of Laos, then French Indochina, the 2nd Battalion, 3e REI suffered heavy losses during the fighting with the Viet Minh
– between January 30 and February 4, the battalion lost some 230 legionnaires, two thirds of its strength

1957, clashes between local rebels and legionnaires from 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) + 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) in the Messad region of northern Algeria
– 10 rebels were killed

1976, Loyada Hostage Rescue Mission
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) and 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade), alongside a French GIGN group, were involved in the rescue of 31 French children
– the mission took place in Loayada, a village on the border between today’s Djibouti and Somalia
– the children were kidnapped a day earlier by four rebels from the Somali Coast Liberation Front

– in the picture, a legionnaire observing the site with the hijacked bus (extreme right) in Loyada, February 4, 1976

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1976 - Loyada Hostage Rescue Mission

 

French Foreign Legion: February 05

1865, Capture of Oaxaca
– during the French intervention in Mexico, on February 4, the French conducted a successful major attack, to seize Oaxaca (Oajacca in several French books), a fortified city in south-western Mexico (besieged since December)
– in the morning, on February 5, the city was seized
– three battalions of the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Foreign Legion) took part in the siege and in the successful attack
– during the siege, 55 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1948, in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in clashes with the Viet Minh
– that day, 3e REI had 17 legionnaires killed + 15 were wounded or missed

– also in 1948, during Operation Vega, legionnaires from 1st + 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated in several battles with the Viet Minh
– the operation took place in the region of Plaine des Joncs, southern Vietnam
– that day, 13e DBLE had 11 men killed + 17 wounded
– Viet Minh had 156 men killed + 73 rebels were imprisoned

1976, GOLE (Foreign Legion Task Force, assigned to 2e REI) left Corsica for Djibouti, Africa
– the mission followed the successful hostage rescue operation in Loyada
– it was the first overseas action for GOLE
– three months later, six of its legionnaires were killed (1976 Djibouti helicopter crash)

– in the painting, made by A. Rosenberg (a former legionnaire), a legionnaire in Mexico in 1863

Andre Rosenberg - Legionnaire - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1863 - Mexico

 

French Foreign Legion: February 06

1841, the Kabylians (the largest Berber tribe of Algeria) attacked Djidjelli, a town in northern Algeria and then garrison of the 3rd Battalion, Foreign Legion
– a company led by Lt Col Picouleau conducted a fierce counter-attack with fixed bayonets
– the Kabylians suffered heavy casualties and were fought off

1946, 2e REI landed in Saigon, then French Indochina
– it was the first regiment of the Legion to take part in military operations aimed at the Viet Minh

1949, during an operation close to Go Cong, Tien Giang region, southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– that day, nearly 100 rebels were killed

1950, in the Tourane region of central Vietnam, a convoy of the 1st Battalion, 2e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Major Le Toulec (battalion commander) + several legionnaires were killed
– in the following counter-attack, around 100 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the image, the crabs (M29 Weasel tracked vehicle) of 1er REC in French Indochina, during an operation
– note the cavalry legionnaires wearing white berets

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

 

French Foreign Legion: February 07

1844, elite companies of 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now) left Bone, their garrison in north-eastern Algeria
– they moved to Constantine to take part in a large military operation in the Aures mountains, aimed at 2-3,000 rebel Kabylians, a Berber tribe
– the companies returned to Bone in late May
– during the operation, Captain Espinasse + 2 legionnaires were killed, 24 legionnaires were wounded

1914, near the Gia Mue hill in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, close to the border with China, a company of legionnaires from 5th Battalion, 2e RE (currently 2e REI) got involved in a fierce battle with Chinese rebels
– 8 legionnaires were killed

1954, close to Tuy Hoa in the Phu Yen region of south-central Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 21st Company (Legion Company), 71e BG (Engineer Battalion) were attacked by the Viet Minh
– the enemy was successfully fought off

– in the photo, legionnaires in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, before World War I

Tonkin - Foreign Legion Etrangere - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 08

1947, close to My Luong in the Mekong Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a boat occupied by legionnaires from 10th Company, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI was attacked
– during a large explosion, Lieutenant Dubouchet + 12 legionnaires were killed, including a long-serving Adjudant-Chef Gasperini

1952, during Operation Begonia, close to Ke Sat in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, legionnaires from 9th Company, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh
– during the battle, Lieutenant Le Roch + several legionnaires were killed

1955, 2e REI + 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) left French Indochina to take part in military operations in North Africa
– 2e REI was the first regiment of the Legion, which took part in operations in Indochina in 1946

1961, during Operation Dordogne, severe clashes with local rebels started for legionnaires from 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) in northern Algeria
– during next two days, about 100 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 13e DBLE legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, in the early 1960s

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 09

1863, Colonel Jeanningros with two battalions (some 1,400 legionnaires), HQ Company and the Music band of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) left Algeria for Mexico to take part in the French intervention in Mexico

1885, Attack of Deo Quao
– an action of the Lang Son Campaign (Feb 3-13) in northern Vietnam, during the Sino-French War (Aug 1884 – Apr 1885)
– the small French outposts on the Deo Quao mountain were attacked by Chinese troops
– 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) defended the outposts
– the Chinese were successfully fought off
– that day, the battalion had 1 legionnaire killed + 5 legionnaires wounded

1953, an operation close to Hanoi, in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, for the 5th Battalion, 3e REI
– the battalion comprised local auxiliaries in the majority, led by Legion’s officers and NCOs
– during the operation, the battalion got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh
– 17th Company suffered heavy losses
– Lieutenant Benoistel (company commander) + Sergeant Von Hanxleden were killed
– 57 auxiliaries of the company were missed
– two months later, the battalion joined the pro-French Vietnam National Army

1956, 1er REC + 5e REI landed in Algeria, North Africa
– they returned from French Indochina, where the regiments participated in the First Indochina War
– created in 1930 in Indochina, the 5e REI will be stationed for the first time outside Indochina (and outside Asia)

– in the rare image, the color guards of 1er REC and 5e REI in French Indochina in late 1955, a few weeks before they left Asia for Africa

1er REC - 5e REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 10

1930, Yen Bay mutiny
– that night, in Yen Bay of northern Vietnam of then French Indochina, about 50 Vietnamese soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Tonkinese Rifles Regiment turned on their French leaders and massacred 2 officers and 3 NCOs
– the event was planned and supported by the Vietnamese Nationalist Party
– 34th Company, 9th Battalion, 1er REI (currently 1er RE) was sent immediately to Yen Bay to successfully end the rebellion
– a few days later, sporadic rebellions affected also the Phu Tho region, northern Vietnam
– the companies from 4th + 9th Battalion, 1er REI were sent to restore and maintain order there
– later in September, these 1er REI battalions formed the 5e REI

1948, in Madagascar, Indian Ocean, a military operation at Sahanimira
– legionnaires from 4e DBLE (Half-Brigade, ex- and also future 4e REI) were involved in
– that day at Sahanimira, 21 rebels were killed
– several months earlier, 4e DBLE sent a task force (a battalion) to Madagascar to restore order in the then French colony, at the time of the ongoing war in French Indochina
– within a year, legionnaires successfully restored order on the island

1952, 5th Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh close to Khanh My, in the Thai Binh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– the battalion was composed of Legion leaders and local auxiliaries
– during the attack, Lieutenant Antoine De Lattre + 4 legionnaires (3 Sergeants + 1 Corporal) + several auxiliaries were killed

1954, in Laos, then French Indochina, the last survivors of the 2nd Battalion, 3e REI reached Muong Sai
– led by Major Cabaribère, the legionnaires had marched to the town since January 29
– during their march in the Muong Khoua region of Laos, they were constantly attacked by the Viet Minh
– the battalion suffered heavy losses
– between January 30 and February 4, the battalion lost some 230 legionnaires, two thirds of its strength
– Major Cabaribère was killed two months later, in northern Vietnam

– in the very rare photo, 4e DBLE legionnaires with local citizens in Madagascar, around 1948

4e DBLE - 4 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1948 - Madagascar

 

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