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, 3rd Battalion (led by Sergeant Major Rolland) + Regimental Depot of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) landed in Mexico
– these 650 legionnaires had to reinforce their comrades having participated in the French intervention in Mexico since March 1863
– during the previous year, from the original 1,400 men, 800 legionnaires died

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

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, in the early 1960s

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1963 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: February 22

1821, Hohenlohe Regiment
– an royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Hohenlohe Legion (est 1815 as Royal Foreign Legion, composed of foreigners), based at Bastia, Corsica, have to be reorganized and redesignated
– the Legion will become Hohenlohe Regiment, comprising three battalions
– since 1816, the unit was commanded by Colonel Louis Aloysius, Prince of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Bartenstein, a German prince fighting for France between 1792-1814
– the regiment was dissolved in 1831, two months before the Foreign Legion was established
– the Foreign Legion took many traditions of the former regiment, including the 88 steps/minute marching speed

1885, during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885), the citadel located in northern Vietnam, two Foreign Legion companies (390 men, led by Captain Cattelin), got involved in fierce fighting with Black Flag Army (Pavillons noirs) Chinese rebels
– the Chinese rebels attacked the citadel, occupied and defended by legionnaires
– 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 between the French led by General Négrier and the Chinese troops at Dong Dang, Lang Son region, northern Vietnam
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE + 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– the town was successfully captured and the Chinese were fought off
– during the battle, the battalions had 5 legionnaires killed + 1 officer and 23 legionnaires wounded

1952, in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, the retreat from Hoa Binh started
– 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) + 1st Battalion, 5e REI had to left Hoa Binh, the site of the Battle of Hoa Binh (Nov 1951 – Feb 1952)
– during the two-day march to the Tonkin Delta, the legionnaires were permanently attacked by the Viet Minh
– 5e REI had 2 legionnaires killed + 22 legionnaires wounded
– 13e DBLE had 17 legionnaires killed + 76 legionnaires wounded or missed

1955, 2e REI landed in Tunisia, North Africa
– it returned from French Indochina, where the regiment had been stationed since February 1946 and participated in the First Indochina War
– 2e REI was the very first Legion regiment sent to Indochina after WWII

– also in 1955, 6th Company, 3e REI got involved in a battle with local rebels near Arris, north-eastern Algeria
– 2 legionnaires + several rebels were killed

– 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, a battalion was formed in Fez, Morocco, to take part in the Winter War in Finland (later the mission was changed to the Norwegian Campaign of WWII)
– together with another battalion, formed in Algeria four days earlier, it will form the 13e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade), later 13e DBLE

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

– in the picture, 2nd Battalion, 2e REI parades in French Indochina, 1954

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: February 25

1885, during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885), the citadel located in northern Vietnam, two Foreign Legion companies (some 340 men, led by Captain Cattelin), launched a counter-attack against Black Flag Army (Pavillons noirs) Chinese rebels
– the Chinese rebels attacked the citadel, occupied and defended by legionnaires
– 4 legionnaires were killed + 12 legionnaires wounded

1940, 12e REI was organized at Camp La Valbonne, France
– composed of 3 battalions (2,800 men)
– a provisional unit for the war period, it consisted of French reservists (officers + NCOs, having served with the Legion), Spanish republicans (30%), German-speaking Jews (30%), foreigners living in France and also 400 legionnaires-volunteers from regiments serving in Africa
– 12e REI participated in the Battle of France in May-June 1940
– in late June, the regiment had no more than 180 combat-ready men and was disbanded

1955, 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP) landed in Algeria, North Africa
– it returned from French Indochina, where the unit had participated in the First Indochina War since 1948

1958, a military operation for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) in the Draa Tameroun range, Jijel region, north-eastern Algeria
– 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, the Sept Pagodes outpost, located near Pha Lai in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, was attacked by Black Flag Army (Pavillons noirs) Chinese rebels
– the outpost was occupied and defended by the 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– Captain Bergounioux was wounded

1885, during the Keelung Campaign in northern Formosa (today’s Taiwan), the French troops led by Lt Col Duchesne, got involved in a battle with the Chinese troops
– 4th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now) took part in
– during the battle, Lieutenant Weber (a long serving legionnnaire) + several legionnaires were killed

1958, severe clashes between local rebels and legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) near El Magroun in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria
– 149 rebels were killed

1991, Gulf War (Operation Daguet) ended
– the operation lasted between September 1990 – February 1991
– its mission was to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi troops
1er REC + 2e REI + 6e REG (1er REG now) as full regiments + commandos from 2e REP were involved in

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

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

 

French Foreign Legion: February 27

1862, in Algeria, 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE) was officially dissolved, following up an imperial decree of December 1861
– its legionnaires were incorporated into Foreign Regiment (ex-2nd Foreign Regiment, now 2e REI) in late January
– Foreign Regiment will become Foreign Legion in 1875 and won’t be devided into two regiments until 1885

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

1885, during the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885), the citadel located in northern Vietnam, two Foreign Legion companies (some 330 men, led by Captain Cattelin), launched a counter-attack against Black Flag Army (Pavillons noirs) Chinese rebels
– the Chinese rebels attacked the citadel, occupied and defended by legionnaires
– 3 legionnaires were killed + 9 legionnaires wounded

1940, DBLMLE was constituted in Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
– a light mountain half-brigade, composed of two battalions
– its base task was to fight in Finland against Soviet troops, during the Winter War
– following up the end of the war, its new mission was to fight in Norway against German troops
– the following month, in France, the unit becomes 13e DBMLE (future 13e DBLE)

– in the picture, legionnaires of the newly established Half-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

1866, during the French intervention in Mexico, two companies (some 180 men) from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title of the Foreign Legion), led by Major De Brian, were attacked by about 1,900 Mexican rebels at the Santa Isabel hacienda near Parras, northern Mexico
– resisting till the finish, Major De Brian was killed and the companies were annihilated

1933, Battle of Bou Gafer
– Mounted Companies (CM) from 2e REI + 3e REI took part in
– Motorized Company (CA) from 1er REI (future 1re CSPL) also participated in
– the battle was part of operations in the Djebel Sagho
– Captain Faucheux, the commander of CM/3e REI, was killed
– 17 legionnaires of his unit + several legionnaires from CM/2 and CA/1 were also killed

1954, during an operation in the Dong Lieu region of the Red River Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– Viet Minh had 76 men killed + 57 rebels were imprisoned

1955, 38e CCB (Dump Truck Company) was disbanded
– created in July 1947 as an independent transportation Foreign Legion unit
– the company supported Legion engineering units during the conflict in French Indochina

– also in 1955, 22e BGL (Engineer-Legion Battalion) was disbanded
– a military engineering mixed unit composed of French engineers and Legion pioneers (half-half)
– established in 1952 in French Indochina
– it supported French forces during the First Indochina War

– in the rare image, legionnaires with a wounded comrade after the Battle of Bou Gafer, Morocco, 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