Foreign Legion events: February 21 – 29

See the most interesting data of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Important campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Discover the Legion’s significant events which occurred between February 21 and February 29.

 

French Foreign Legion: February 21

1864, Foreign Regiment reinforcement landed in Mexico
– that day, the reinforcement for the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) landed in Mexico, having left Algeria in North Africa
– 3rd Battalion (674 men, led by Major Rolland) + Regimental Depot of the Foreign Regiment
– the regiment had been participating in the French Intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– the previous year, out of the original 1,400 men deployed to Mexico in early 1863, some 800 legionnaires died (mostly of yellow fever/black vomit)

1961, Battle of El Ardja
– a fierce battle with local rebels during the Algerian War (1954-62)
– it took place in the palm grove of Teniet Ben Saied, close to El Ardja, on the Algeria-Morocco border
– motorized companies of the 2e REI got involved in
– 96 rebels were killed
– 50 rebels were imprisoned

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires during a ceremony in Algeria, in the early 1960’s

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1962 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 22

1821, Hohenlohe Regiment
– that day, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed the Hohenlohe Legion to be reorganized and redesignated
– the unit would become Hohenlohe Regiment
– Hohenlohe Legion was activated in 1815 as Royal Foreign Legion
– based at Bastia, Corsica
– composed of foreigners (mainly German-speaking)
– since 1816, the unit was commanded by Colonel Louis Aloysius, Prince of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Bartenstein, a German prince fighting for France between 1792-1814
– Hohenlohe Regiment consisted of three battalions
– it was dissolved in January 1831
– two months later, a new Foreign Legion was established
– many ex-Hohenlohe legionnaires joined the new unit
– the current Foreign Legion kept several traditions of the Hohenlohe Regiment, including the 88 steps/minute marching speed

1885, in Northern Vietnam, the citadel of Tuyen Quang was attacked
– an action during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885)
– the citadel was heavily attacked by Black Flag Army Chinese rebels (Pavillons noirs)
– it was occupied by two Foreign Legion companies (390 men), led by Captain Cattelin
– the legionnaires managed to defend the citadel
– nevertheless, 2 officers + 44 legionnaires were killed or wounded

– in the picture, an officer of the Hohenlohe Regiment by André Rosenberg

Foreign Legion Etrangere - Hohenlohe Regiment - André Rosenberg

 

French Foreign Legion: February 23

1885, Battle of Dong Dang
– a battle during the during the Sino-French War (1884-85)
– fought between French troops led by General Négrier and Chinese troops
– the battle took place at Dong Dang, in the Lang Son region, Northern Vietnam
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE + 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– the town of Dong Dang was successfully captured
– the Chinese were fought off
– during the battle, 5 legionnaires were killed
– an officer + 23 legionnaires were wounded

1952, Retreat from Hoa Binh started
– an operation in then French Indochina
– in the Hoa Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– part of the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 1951 – Feb 1952)
– an ordered evacuation of French troops from Hoa Binh, the town successfully captured by them in late 1951
– 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) + 1st Battalion, 5e REI were involved in
– during the following two-day march to the Tonkin Delta, the legionnaires were permanently attacked by the Viet Minh
– 5e REI suffered 2 legionnaires killed + 22 legionnaires wounded
– 13e DBLE suffered 17 legionnaires killed + 76 legionnaires wounded or missed

1955, 2e REI landed in Tunisia, North Africa
– that day, 2e REI landed in Tunisia, North Africa
– the regiment returned from Indochina
– it participated in the First Indochina War (1946-54) there
– 2e REI would stay in Tunisia until late 1955
– thereafter, it would move to Morocco
– the unit would be stationed in Algeria in mid-1956
– it would take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– 2e REI was the very first unit of the Legion to leave North Africa for Indochina (January 1946)

– in the photo, an officer of 13e DBLE (wearing a brown beret, maintained within the unit since 1940) during the Battle of Hoa Binh, early 1952

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 24

1940, in Morocco during WWII, a battalion was formed
– in Algeria a few days earlier, another battalion was also formed
– both battalions would be consolidated into a new unit
– 13e DBMLE (Provisional Demi-Brigade), later 13e DBLE
– currently, the 13e DBLE is the only French Army unit bearing the title Demi-Brigade

1953, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– it occurred during Operation Nice, close to Doa Thon, in the Bac Ninh region of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 2e REI got involved in
– during the battle, 34 rebels were killed
– however, Lieutenant Pierre Giorgi was fatally wounded

1961, in northern Algeria, a two-day military operation started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– it took place near Kherrata, in the Bougie region
– during the operation, 38 rebels were killed
– one of the last actions of the regiment
– it would be dissolved two months later

1991, Ground phase of Operation Daguet
– that day in Iraq, the ground phase of Operation Daguet started
– part of the Gulf War (1990-91)
– 2e REI, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, now 1er REG) + Commandos from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in
– French troops faced Iraqi troops
– the main objective was the Iraqi military base of As-Salman and an airfield nearby
– within two days, the French seized the base and the airfield
– over 2,900 Iraqi troops were captured

– in the picture, Commandos from 2e REP at As-Salman, Iraq, late February 1991

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1991 - Operation Daguet - As-Salman - Iraq

 

French Foreign Legion: February 25

1885, in Northern Vietnam, the citadel of Tuyen Quang was attacked
– an action during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885)
– the citadel was heavily attacked by Black Flag Army Chinese rebels (Pavillons noirs)
– it was occupied by two Foreign Legion companies (340 men), led by Captain Cattelin
– the legionnaires managed to defend the citadel
– nevertheless, 4 legionnaires were killed + 12 legionnaires wounded

1940, 12th Foreign Infantry Regiment
– in France during WWII, 12e REI was established
– organized at Camp La Valbonne
– composed of three battalions (some 2,800 men)
– a provisional unit for the war period
– it consisted of French reservists (officers + NCOs, having previously served with the Legion), Spanish republicans (30%), German-speaking Jews (30%) and foreigners living in France
– about 400 legionnaires-volunteers from regiments serving in Africa also joined the unit
– 12e REI participated in the Battle of France in May-June 1940
– in late June 1940, the regiment had no more than 180 combat-ready men and had to be disbanded

1955, 1er BEP landed in North Africa
– that day, 1er BEP landed in Algeria, North Africa
– the unit returned from Indochina
– it had participated in the First Indochina War (1946-54) since 1948
– 1er BEP would be stationed in Algeria to take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– later that year, the battalion would become regiment, 1er REP

1957, in northern Algeria, heavy fighting with local rebels
– legionnaires from HQ, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved in
– the fighting occurred at Djebel Amour, in the Bou Saada region
– during a joint military operation
– 64 rebels were killed + 10 rebels imprisoned

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– the operation took place in the Draa Tameroun range, in the Jijel region
– 29 rebels were killed

– in the image, 12e REI parades at Camp La Valbonne, France, 1940

12e REI - 12 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: February 26

1884, in Northern Vietnam, the Sept Pagodes post was attacked
– an action during the Tonkin Campaign (1883-86)
– the post was attacked by Black Flag Army Chinese rebels (Pavillons noirs)
– located near Pha Lai, in the Hai Duong region of Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam)
– it was occupied by 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion
– the legionnaires managed to defend the post
– Captain Bergounioux was wounded

1958, in northeastern Algeria, severe clashes with local rebels
– they occurred near El Magroun, in the Guelma region
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved in
– 149 rebels were killed

1991, Operation Daguet ended
– part of the Gulf War (1990-91)
– it took place in Iraq and Kuwait
– 2e REI, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, now 1er REG) + Commandos from 2e REP were involved in
– during the operation, the French captured over 2,900 Iraqi troops
– the French suffered 10 men killed + 33 men wounded
– between the killed, at least 3 legionnaires

– in the first photo, 2e REP legionnaires march through a burning land in the Guelma region, Algeria, 1958

– in the second photo, an Adjudant-Chef from 1er REC waiting for deployment to Saudi Arabia, to join the Gulf War, September 1990

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1990 - Gulf War

 

French Foreign Legion: February 27

1862, 1st Foreign Regiment official dissolution
– in Algeria, 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE) was officially dissolved
– the dissolution came after an imperial decree of December 1861 (including the order to dissolve the unit) had been issued
– its legionnaires consolidated with the Foreign Regiment (ex-2nd Foreign Regiment, now 2e REI) in late January 1862
– 1st Foreign Regiment was created in 1856 by reorganization and redesignation the 2nd Foreign Legion (Swiss Legion, 1855-56)
– the 1er RE was reactivated 23 years later, in early 1885

1867, Last legionnaires to leave Mexico
– that day in Mexico, 3rd + 4th Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) boarded a ship to return back to Algeria, North Africa
– since 1863, the legionnaires had participated in the the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67), in support of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico
– over 1,900 officers, NCO and legionnaires died in Mexico between 1863-67
– the vast majority of them died of yellow fever/black vomit
– also in Mexico, the famous Battle of Camerone took place in 1863

1885, in Northern Vietnam, the citadel of Tuyen Quang was attacked
– an action during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885)
– the citadel was heavily attacked by Black Flag Army Chinese rebels (Pavillons noirs)
– it was occupied by two Foreign Legion companies (330 men), led by Captain Cattelin
– the legionnaires managed to defend the citadel
– nevertheless, 3 legionnaires were killed + 9 legionnaires wounded

1940, Foreign Legion Light Mountain Demi-Brigade
– in Sidi Bel Abbes of Algeria, DBLMLE was constituted
– composed of two battalions
– a mountain warfare unit
– determined to fight in Finland against the USSR
– later, the mission was changed to Norway to face German troops
– in early March 1940, the demi-brigade would leave Africa for France
– it would be stationed at Camp Larzac to be trained in mountain warfare
– in late March at Larzac, the unit would be redesignated
– it became the 13th Demi-Brigade
– 76 years later, in 2016, the 13e DBLE returned to France to be stationed at Camp Larzac again
– currently, the 13e DBLE is the only French Army unit bearing the title Demi-Brigade

– in the picture, legionnaires of the freshly established Light Mountain Demi-Brigade in Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Legion), Algeria, early March 1940

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 28

1933, Battle of Bou Gafer
– one of the last important operations of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– aimed at the last rebel stronghold in Morocco
– occupied by thousands of Moroccan rebels
– located in the Djebel Sagho mountain range, central Morocco, between Ouarzazate and Erfoud
– two French combined task forces took part in
– between them, several Legion units
– 2nd Motorized Company, 1e REI (now 1er RE) + Mounted Company, 2e REI + Mounted Company, 3e REI + Artillery Battery, 4e REI
– after two weeks of artillery shelling, the French launched a frontal attack
– however, mounting and attacking the rocky mountain under a rebel fire was difficult
– in the front lines, Moroccan auxiliaries and the legionnaires
– the French suffered heavy casualties
– 4 French officers + 60 French soldiers (including legionnaires) were killed
– 115 French officers and soldiers (including legionnaires) were wounded
– a number of Moroccan auxiliaries were also killed and wounded
– between the killed officers, Captain Henry de Bournazel
– nicknamed “Red Devil” by Moroccan rebels, he led the auxiliaries
– between the other three killed officers, two from the Legion
– Captain Paul Faucheux, who commanded the Mounted Company, 3e REI
– Lieutenant Emile Brencklé from Mounted Company, 2e REI, assigned that day to the 2nd Motorized Company, 1e REI
– within a few months, all the rebels from Djebel Sagho would be killed or imprisoned

1954, in then French Indochina, a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– it occurred in the Dong Lieu region, Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in
– Viet Minh suffered heavy losses
– 76 rebels were killed + 57 rebels were imprisoned

– in the rare image, legionnaires carrying a fellow fighter after the Battle of Bou Gafer, Morocco, late February 1933

Bou Gafer - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1933 - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: February 29

1940, Lt Colonel Prince Aage, Count of Rosenborg died

  • Prince from the Danish royal family
  • he served in the Legion between 1922-25 and 1935-40
  • born 1887 in Denmark
  • in 1922, he joined the Foreign Legion
  • assigned to the Mounted Company, 2e REI in Morocco
  • it was his dream, because in this company served Lieutenant Selchauhansen, the Danish officer killed at El Moungar in 1903
  • Prince Aage served with 2e REI as an officer 1922-25, several times wounded
  • 1925-35, War school in France, French diplomacy and military career
  • in 1935, he rejoined the Legion and was assigned to the 3e REI in Morocco
  • he took the leadership of the 1st Battalion, 3e REI in 1937
  • on February 29, 1940, Prince Aage died in Taza, Morocco
  • he and his battalion were moved by train to take part in a military exercise
  • he was buried in Morocco and later (in 1947) at Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Legion), Algeria
  • in 1962, his remains were brought to the Legion’s new HQ in France (together with the remains of General Rollet, the “Father of the Legion” and legionnaire Zimmermann, the last killed man of 1er RE in the Algerian War)
  • during his French career, Lt Colonel Prince Aage received several military awards, e.g. the Legion of Honour award, two War Crosses or the Colonial Medal

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Prince Aage - Morocco

 

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