Foreign Legion events: March 01 – 10

Explore important historical events in French Foreign Legion’s history. Significant campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units. See the most interesting events of the Foreign Legion which occurred between March 1 and March 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: March 01

1866, Battle of Santa Isabel
– a battle during the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– it took place near Parras, northern Mexico
– 3rd + 4th Company (some 180 men together) of the 2nd Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title of the Foreign Legion) were involved in
– the two companies (led by Major De Brian) were attacked by about 1,900 Mexican rebels at the Santa Isabel hacienda
– Major De Brian was killed and the companies were annihilated
– over 100 legionnaires were killed, around 40 legionnaires were seriously wounded

1915, Battalion Legion was constituted in Algeria
– it helped to form the 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team)
– 1er RMA was 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 Battalion Legion 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

1948, Lt Colonel Gabriel Brunet de Sairigné was killed in then French Indochina
– a commanding officer of the 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) at that time, he was killed during a Viet Minh attack on a French convoy
– Brunet de Sairigné had served in the Legion since 1939
– as lieutenant, he joined the 13e DBLE in 1940 and had never served with another unit of the Legion since then
– when he took the leadership of 13e DBLE, he became the youngest commanding officer within the French Army (in 1946, aged 33)

1955, in Morocco, 4e REI was re-established
– it took part in operations against Moroccan rebels in 1955-56
– in 1957, as the last Legion unit, 4e REI left Morocco for Algeria
– the unit was disbanded in 1964

1956, near Sidi Aich in the Bougie region of north-eastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 16 rebels were killed

– in the photo, Lt Colonel Gabriel Brunet de Sairigné in then French Indochina, 1948
– he was killed the same year

Lt Colonel Gabriel Brunet de Sairigné - 13 dble - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1948 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: March 02

1866, during the French intervention in Mexico, a company (Captain Achilli) of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) attacked a group of Mexican rebels at Santiago
– 30 rebels were killed

– 1885, Battle of Hoa Moc
– the most fiercely fought action of the Sino-French War (Aug 1884 – Apr 1885)
– French forces against Chinese troops and allied Black Flag Army (Chinese rebels)
– the two-day battle took place northwest of Hanoi, northern Vietnam
– it helped to end the Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885)
– two companies of the 1st Battalion, 1er RE were involved in
– the Chinese were defeated
– 1 legionnaire was killed + 14 legionnaires were wounded

– 1946, Battle of Tuan Giao
– a battle with the Viet Minh took place in northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 18 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– it was the first battle for BM5 (Task Force 5), a unit composed of the surviving legionnaires of the original 5e REI, a unit disbanded in China in June 1945 after fierce fighting with the Japanese

– 1954, Battle of Trai Ngoai Khu
– in the Ninh Binh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI (re-created in 1949) got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– that day, 5e REI had 182 men killed, wounded or missed

– 1956, at Sidi Mejbeur, in the Taza region of Morocco, a convoy of 3rd Battalion, 2e REI was attacked by a strong group of local rebels
– Lieutenants Monin + Pons and 6 legionnaires (including Staff Sergeant Schuster) were killed, several legionnaires were wounded

– 1959, in the Souk Ahras region of north-eastern Algeria, severe clashes with local rebels ended for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– during two days, 47 rebels were killed

– in the picture, legionnaires of the 2nd Battalion, 5e REI during an operation in French Indochina, 1954

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: March 03

1885, Siege of Tuyen Quang (Nov 1884 – Mar 1885) was broken
Tuyen Quang is a town with a citadel located in northern Vietnam
– the citadel was occupied by two Foreign Legion companies (around 390 men led by Captain Cattelin)
– it was attacked by over 10,000 Black Flag Army (Pavillons noirs) Chinese rebels
– French reinforcements helped to broke the siege and fight off the enemy
– during the siege, 1 officer + 31 legionnaires were killed
– 6 officers + 120 legionnaires were wounded

1949, near Yen Lap in the Viet Tri region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from Parachute Company, 3e REI (the very first airborne unit of the Legion) got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– 30 Viet Minh rebels were killed

2004, Operation Carbet started
– its task was to restore order in Haiti, a country in the Caribbean
– legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI were involved in
– it has been the first deployment for 3e REI since being stationed in French Guiana
– the operation ended in late June

– in the image, the 1885 Siege of Tuyen Quang

Siege of Tuyen Quang  - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1885

 

French Foreign Legion: March 04

1885, during the Keelung Campaign of the Sino-French War, new operations started
– that day, a highly successful offensive against the Chinese positions was launched
– it took place at Keelung, Taiwan (called Formose by the French at that time)
– a French task force, led by Colonel Duchesne (who served in the Legion), was involved in
– 4th Battalion, 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e REI now) made part of the task force

1948, near Na Fac in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a patrol consisting of legionnaires from 3rd Company, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Lieutenant Viard + 1 legionnaire were killed

1956, in the Djebel Ahmar Kraddou of the Batna region, north-eastern Algeria, legionnaires from 5th Company, 3e REI got involved in a fierce battle with a large group of local rebels

– in the photo, 3e REI legionnaires in Algeria, 1956

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: March 05

1885, during the Keelung Campaign of the Sino-French War, another successful offensive against the Chinese positions was launched
– it took place at Keelung, Taiwan (called Formose by the French at that time)
– a French task force, led by Colonel Duchesne (who served in the Legion), was involved in
– 4th Battalion, 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e REI now) made part of the task force
– Second Lieutenant Bacqué + 2 legionnaires were killed
– 2 officers + 25 legionnaires were wounded

1915, 4th Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE was dissolved
– nicknamed Garibaldi Legion (after Giuseppe “Peppino” Garibaldi, its commander), it was composed of Italian volunteers in the majority
– since late 1914, it had participated in battles on the Western Front of WWI
– during the battles, the unit lost over 560 men

1961, near Sidi Djillali in the Tlemcen region of north-western Algeria, close to the border with Morocco, Adjudant-Chef Kamencei and his legionnaires (future NCOs) from Leaders Training Company, 1er RE got involved in a severe battle with local rebels
– 2 legionnaires + 24 rebels were killed

– in the very rare picture, Lt Colonel Giuseppe “Peppino” Garibaldi (center) and his officers from 4th Regimental Combat Team, 1er RE (Garibaldi Legion) in 1914

Garibaldi - Garibaldi Legion - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1914 - France - WWI

 

French Foreign Legion: March 06

1871, Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) ended
– 1st + 2nd + 5th Battalion of the Provisional Foreign Regiment (est. Oct 1870, composed of non-legionnaires in the majority since mid-December) were involved in

1928, Foum Zabel Tunnel (Tunnel of Legionnaire) was finished
– at 04:30 PM (16h30), after 5 months of hard working, the famous tunnel in Morocco has been dug through the 62-meter-long (203 feet) solid rock of granite by a platoon of legionnaires, led by Adjudant (Master Sergeant) Michez
– the platoon belonged to the Sappers-Pioneers Company (CSP), 3e REI
– the famous tunnel bears the title Tunnel of Legionnaire
– it is located on the Ziz road between Midelt and Arfoud, north-eastern Morocco

1950, Operation Tonneau ended
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI participated in
– the operation took place in the Hai Duong region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during two weeks, about 250 Viet Minh rebels were killed, 37 rebels were imprisoned

1957, at Djebel Es Sif, in the Tebessa region of north-eastern Algeria, on the border with Tunisia, severe clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 42 rebels were killed

1970, a battle with local rebels in the Tibesti region of north-western Chad for legionnaires from 1st Company, 2e REP
– 78 rebels were killed
– Captain-Medic De Larre de La Dorie (2e REP) was also killed

– in the image, the 3e REI’s CSP legionnaires in front of the Foum Zabel Tunnel (Tunnel of Legionnaire), March 1928

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Foum Zabel Tunnel - Tunnel of Legionnaire - 1928

 

French Foreign Legion: March 07

1885, during the Keelung Campaign of the Sino-French War, a fierce fighting with Chinese troops
– it took place at Keelung, Taiwan (called Formose by the French at that time)
– a French task force, led by Colonel Duchesne (who served in the Legion), was involved in
– 4th Battalion, 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e REI now) made part of the task force
– that day, 7 legionnaires were killed + 30 legionnaires were wounded

1953, during Operation Sable, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh near Dong Cuong, in the Hanoi region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2 legionnaires were killed

1958, at Djebel Besbessa in the Souk Ahras region of north-eastern Algeria, a two-day operation ended for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– during the operation, 21 rebels were killed, 14 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, 1er REP legionnaires in north-eastern Algeria in 1958

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

 

French Foreign Legion: March 08

1921, Tunisian detachment of the Legion was established at Sousse, Tunisia
– next year, the Detachment will be redesignated to the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1er REC)

1940, during WWII, two battalions of future 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were placed at Camp Larzac, France
– during next three weeks, the legionnaires will be trained in mountain warfare to be ready to take part in the Norwegian Campaign (May-June 1940) of WWII
– 76 years later, in 2016, the 13e DBLE was stationed at Camp Larzac again

2013, Attack on Camp of Rocks
– during the Battle of Adrar des Ifoghas in the Kidal region of northern Mali (part of Operation Serval), a rebel camp hidden in the rocked moonscape of the massif of Adrar des Ifoghas, called Camp of Rocks, was attacked by 3rd Company, 2e REP + French soldiers from 17e RGP (Parachute Engineers) + GCPs (Commandos) from 2e REP and 17e RGP
– several rebels were killed, 1 rebel was imprisoned

– in the photo, a GCP (Parachute Commando) member from 17e RGP (right) talks to a 2e REP member before the Attack on Camp of Rocks, March 8, 2013

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2013 - Adrar des Ifoghas - Mali

 

French Foreign Legion: March 09

1831, Foreign Legion establishment approval
– that day, a new law was issued
– adopted by France’s Chamber of Deputies and signed by the king
– in France, the law gave permission to a potential establishment of a legion composed of foreigners
– in French colonies, the law gave permission to a potential establishment of units composed of natives or foreigners
– since January 1831, any units composed of foreigners were forbidden within the French Army

1945, Japanese coup d’état in French Indochina (Operation Bright Moon)
– during the last year of WWII, the Japanese were afraid of an Allied invasion of Indochina
– they decided to attack and overrun French garrisons (including those of the 5e REI, a Legion regiment) all over the colony
– during that night and the next day, a lot of legionnaires were wounded, killed or massacred
– to get the government, the Japanese replaced French officials
– French Indochina ceased to exist
– thereafter, French units (including surviving 5e REI legionnaires) received from France an order to leave the country to be regrouped in China
– in next 93 days, legionnaires had to march almost 1,250 km (800 miles) through the jungle and fought against the Japanese

1947, in the Binh Dai district of the Ben Tre region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in fighting with the Viet Minh
– 6 legionnaires were killed

1948, near Dai Lanh in the Nha Trang region of south-central Vietnam, then French Indochina, a convoy of the 3rd Battalion, 2e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Medic-Captain Dumas + Lieutenant Vie + 5 legionnaires were killed

1950, during an operation, eight platoons from 1st + 4th Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh near Xom Moi, in the Hoc Mon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 54 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 13e DBLE had 4 men killed (including Lieutenant Renaud) + 27 men wounded

1956, 1er REC and 5e REI landed in Algeria, North Africa
– having left French Indochina, they will join the Algerian War (1954-62)
– for 5e REI, the regiment established in Indochina in 1930, it was the first time this unit entered North Africa

– in the image, a new state law signed by King Louis-Philippe I on March 9, 1831, giving permission to a potential establishment of a legion of foreigners in France

Foreign Legion establishment approval - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1831 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: March 10

1831, Foreign Legion establishment
– that day, a royal decree was issued in France
– in the decree, King Louis-Philippe I ordered the establishment of the Foreign Legion
– the Legion had to be composed of seven battalions
– each battalion had to be composed of eight companies
– each company had to comprise the men of the same nationality, speaking the same language
– the candidate had to be between 18-40 years old, with the minimal height of 155 cm

1855, during the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–55), Crimean War, Russian troops launched an attack near Fort Quarantaine, aimed at the trenches occupied by legionnaires
– Captain Adin of the Legion was killed

1946, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) landed in then French Indochina to take part in military operations against the Viet Minh

1947, near Rach Tra Bung in the Sa Dec region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a patrol of the 12th Company, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Second Lieutenant Lenoir + 11 legionnaires were killed

1956, clashes with local rebels during a military operation for legionnaires from 13e DBLE near El Kelaa in the Khenchela region of north-eastern Algeria
– 34 rebels were killed

– in the image, Louis-Philippe I, King of the French during the July Monarchy (1830-48), who ordered the establishment of the Foreign Legion on March 10, 1831

Louis-Philippe I, King of the French - Foreign Legion Etrangere - France

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: February 21 – 29
Foreign Legion events: February 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: February 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: January 21 – 31
French Foreign Legion history