Foreign Legion events: February 11 – 20

Discover important data in French Foreign Legion’ history. Significant campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Explore the most interesting events of the Legion which occurred between February 11 and February 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: February 11

1855, during the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–55) of the Crimean War, Russian troops launched an attack aimed at the trenches occupied by 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now), led by Major Bounetou
– the legionnaires launched a successful counter-attack with fixed bayonets, defended their positions and fought off the enemy
– 4 legionnaires were wounded

1954, during an operation close to Isabelle, a strong point in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 10th Company, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in clashes with the Viet Minh
– during the clashes, 4 legionnaires were killed

– in the picture, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI in French Indochina in early 1954

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 12

1885, during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885), the citadel of Tuyen Quang located in northern Vietnam was attacked by Black Flag Army (Pavillons noirs) Chinese rebels
– that day, two Foreign Legion companies (390 men, led by Captain Cattelin), occupying and defending the citadel during the siege, launched a counter-attack
– at least 30 rebels were killed

1953, Operation Vendee ended
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated in
– the operation took place in the Hoc Mon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 21 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1957, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) at Djebel Bou Gaffer in the Tebessa region of north-eastern Algeria
– over 40 rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Mennesson (1st Company, 2e REP) was also killed

1961, legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in fighting with local rebels during a military operation near Bou Saada in the M’Sila region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 25 rebels were killed

– in the image, 2e REP parades in Algeria, 1957

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 13

1885, Lang Son Campaign (Feb 3-13) ended
– 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 Chinese troops and to capture the important town of Lang Son, seized on February 13
– during the campaign, the Legion had 2 officers + 6 legionnaires killed and 1 officer + about 65 legionnaires wounded

1933, Motorized Company of 1er REI (1er RE now) was created in Morocco
– stationed at Bou Denib, Morocco and, later, at Tabelbala in Algeria
– it became CSPLE (Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Company) in 1940 and 1re CSPL in 1946
– the unit was dissolved in 1963

1947, near Gia Loc in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh
– 3e REI had 4 legionnaires killed (including Adjudant Edel)

1951, legionnaires from 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh close to An Lo, Quang Tri region, central Vietnam
– during the fighting, 21 rebels were killed

1958, at Seguiet El Hamra in Mauritania, during the Ifni War, 2e GCP (Motorized Companies Group, ex-GPLEM – Moroccan Motorized Group, 1944-56), 4e REI took part in a military operation aimed at a large group of Saharan rebels
– alongside French legionnaires, the Spanish Foreign Legion participated also in the operation
– the rebel group was completely annihilated, dozens of rebels were killed
– two months later, the 2e GCP moved to Algeria, as the last Legion unit of North Africa not yet participating in the Algerian War

– in the rare photo, 2e GCP (ex-GPLEM), 4e REI in Mauritania in 1958

4e REI - 2 GCP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Mauritania

 

French Foreign Legion: February 14

1834, 4th Battalion, Foreign Legion was disbanded
– composed mostly of Spanish legionnaires
– stationed at Oran, Algeria since 1831
– some 440 Spaniards were repatriated to Spain to join the First Carlist War
– 7th Battalion (composed of Polish legionnaires and stationed at Bougie, Algeria) moved to Oran and became the new 4th Battalion

1952, close to Hong Doi in the Quang Binh region, central Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 5th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– during the battle, 292 rebels were killed + 37 rebels were imprisoned
– for this action, the 5th Squadron was mentioned in the order of the Army

1958, a three-day military operation started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) near Fedj Zezoua in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 163 rebels were killed
– 12 legionnaires were also killed

– in the picture, 1er REP legionnaires in the Guelma region of Algeria, February 1958

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

 

French Foreign Legion: February 15

1843, in the Bougie region, north-eastern Algeria, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now) conducted a military operation aimed at the village of Erza, which supplied Kabylian tribe rebels
– during the operation, a legionnaire was killed + 15 legionnaires were wounded

1918, in Morocco, 1st Regimental Combat Teams were disbanded
– they were assigned to the 1er RE and 2e RE (2e REI now)
– composed of 1st + 2nd + 6th Battalion, 1er RE and 3rd + 6th Battalion, 2e RE and three Mounted Companies
– since that day, these battalions and companies became administratively independent units
– the teams were established in 1913 to take part in the French Pacification of Morocco
– they fought in this country during WWI

1944, GAA (Autonomous Artillery Group) was disbanded
– established in Morocco in 1943, composed of three motorized artillery batteries
– stationed in Fez, GAA was administratively assigned to the 3e REI

1954, during a military operation in the Dien Bien Phu valley in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st + 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were severly attacked by the Viet Minh
– Lieutenant Michel + 8 legionnaires were killed
– over 70 legionnaires were wounded
– in few weeks, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu will begin
– during the battle, both battalions will be annihilated

1957, legionnaires from 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI took part in a military operation at Djebel Nekrif in the Khemis region of northtern Algeria
– 28 rebels were killed

– in the image, 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE in French Indochina in 1954

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 16

1846, 1st Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now) arrived at Daya, north-western Algeria
– the legionnaires led by Major Charras will construct the road to Sidi Bel Abbes, the then French fortified military base and the future garrison and HQ of the Foreign Legion (until 1962)

1951, 1st + 2nd Transportation & Headquarters Companies established
– in then French Indochina, 1re CTQG + 2e CTQG were established
– logistics support mixed units
– composed of legionnaires and French regular personnel
– stationed in Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– the companies were assigned to the 1st and 2nd Division of Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– their main task was to supply French outposts in Tonkin during the First Indochina War
– 1re + 2e CTQG were disbanded in November 1954

1re CTQG + 2e CTQG - 1 CTQG + 2 CTQG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1951 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 17

1937, BSLE (Foreign Legion Statistics Administration) was established
– the unit provides verifying the candidates enlisted in the Legion
– BSLE has been well-known for its unofficial title “Gestapo
– in 1996, it was redesignated and became DSPLE

1952, during Operation Crachin, in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI and 8th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– during the battle, about 150 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1962, legionnaires from 5e REI took part in a military operation near Ain Djadja in the Tlemcen region of north-western Algeria
– several rebels were killed

– in the photo, 5e REI legionnaires during an operation in Algeria

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 18

1867, following the end of the French intervention in Mexico, first legionnaires from the Foreign Regiment (then title of the Foreign Legion) boarded ship for Algeria, North Africa
– over 1,900 officers, NCO and legionnaires died in Mexico between 1863-66

1946, the very first serious action for 2e REI in French Indochina
– in the Phan Rang region of south-central Vietnam, a patrol of legionnaires from 1st Company, 2e REI got involved in a battle with the Viet Minh
– 5 rebels were killed

1947, close to the Cai Mon outpost in the Ben Tre region of northern Vietnam, a landing craft assigned to the HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Captain Picquart was killed
– 2 officers + 5 legionnaires were wounded

2013, Battle of Adrar des Ifoghas started
– a battle against jihadist rebel groups in Mali
– it lasted between Feb 18 – Mar 31
– part of Operation Serval
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in
– during the battle, 3 French soldiers were killed
– the very first killed soldier was a legionnaire, Staff Sergeant Harold Vormezeele from the GCP (Commandos) of 2e REP, killed during the second day of the battle
– about 120 French soldiers were wounded
– over 200 rebels were killed

– in the image, Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian with 2e REP legionnaires (green berets) in Mali, March 2013

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

 

French Foreign Legion: February 19

1952, during a military operation in the Hoc Mon region in southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were attacked by the Viet Minh close to Xom Hung
– 14 rebels were killed, 11 rebels were imprisoned

1954, for its actions in French Indochina, the 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) was awarded the Fourragère of Military Medal in yellow-green colors
– in three months, the battalion will be annihilated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu

1956, Operation Oscar Alpha ended for legionnaires from 13e DBLE
– the week-long operation took place in the Khenchela region of northern Algeria
– over 40 rebels were killed

1959, legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved in clashes with local rebels during a military operation at Djebel Faidja in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 90 rebels were killed + 17 rebels imprisoned

– in the picture, 2e REC legionnaires with 75 SR cannons, Algeria, in the late 1950s

2e REC - 2 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 20

1940, a battalion was formed in Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Foreign Legion), Algeria, to take part in the Winter War in Finland (later the mission was changed to the Norwegian Campaign of WWII)
– reinforced by another battalion formed in Morocco a few days later, they will constitute the 13e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade) in France, later 13e DBLE

1950, for its actions in French Indochina, the 13e DBLE was awarded the Fourragère of Military Medal in yellow-green colors

1959, Operation Sylvain for legionnaires from 5e REI
– the operation took part in the El Melah region of north-eastern Algeria
– during the operation, 21 rebels were killed

1961, legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) got involved in fighting with local rebels during a military operation in the Bou Saada region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, over 20 rebels were killed

– in the photo, the 13e DBLE color guard, bearing the Fourragère of Military Medal in yellow-green colors, 2016

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Drapeau

 

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