Foreign Legion events: April 01 – 10

On this day. Explore the Legion’s most interesting historical events which occurred between April 01 and April 10. Learn about famous operations, campaigns, battles, activations or dissolutions of units and other important Foreign Legion historical events which happened from 1831 to these days. Every day is supplemented with an image.

To see all historical events, go back to: French Foreign Legion – Historical Events

 

French Foreign Legion: April 01

1841, Foreign Legion regiments
– that day, Foreign Legion devided into two parts
– two Foreign Legion Regiments were formed
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (1er RLE, 1er RE now)
– composed of three battalions
– stationed at Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– Colonel Mollenbeck became its commanding officer
– born in Germany, in French service since 1805
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (2e RLE, 2e REI now)
– composed of two (later three) battalions
– stationed at Bone, northeastern Algeria
– Colonel Senilhes took command

1943, Legion Autonomous Artillery Group
– in Fez, Morocco, GAAL was constituted
– a little-known artillery battalion of the Legion
– composed of three motorized batteries
– formed in Morocco in the 1930s
– initially serving with 2e REI and 4e REI
– GAAL was administratively assigned to 3e REI
– the artillery unit would be disbanded in 1944

1946, Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Companies
– in Algeria, CSPL was reorganized
– Legion Saharan Motorized Company (1940-46)
– the company was devided into two parts
1re CSPL + 2e CSPL
– 1re CSPL (ex-CSPLE) was stationed in Ain Sefra
– in 1961, it would become 1er ESPL (Squadron)
– 2e CSPL was stationed in Ouargla
– both unit would take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– they were dissolved in 1963
– in the 1950s-60s, four CSPLs served in Algeria

1948, Parachute Company of 3e REI
– in then French Indochina, a new unit was established
Parachute Company, 3e REI
– the very first airborne unit of the Legion
– based in Hanoi, Northern Vietnam
– Lieutenant Jacques Morin took command
– it took part in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– a year later, it merged with the 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)

1949, 6th Foreign Infantry Regiment reactivation
– in Tunisia, the legendary 6e REI was reactivated
– initially formed in Syria and Lebanon in October 1939
– nicknamed as Regiment of Levant
– it took part in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign (June-July 1941) of WWII
– facing the British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon
– the unit fought bravely and suffered heavy casualties
– 6e REI was deactivated in December 1941
– during 1949-55, the reactivated 6e REI served in Tunisia
– 6e REI maintained order there, as the only Legion unit
– it also served as a training and transit unit at the time
– in 1949, one of its battalions was involved in the First Indochina War
– in 1955, 6e REI consolidated with the 2e REI

1957, in northeastern Algeria, severe clashes with local rebels
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– the clashes took place at Oued Abiod, in the Batna region
– 25 rebels were killed

– in the rare photo, 6e REI legionnaires parade in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, 1952

6e REI - 6 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Tunisia

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 02

1858, Battle of Takitoun
– a battle with local rebels in northeastern Algeria
– it took place at Takitoun, in the Setif region
– the fort of Takitoun was attacked by the Beni Selah, a rebel tribe
– the fort was held by a company of the 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– led by Captain Rembert
– the fierce battle took seven hours
– the enemy suffered heavy casualties and was fought off

1913, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the clashes took place near Nekhila, in the Taza region
– several attacks and counter-attacks took place
– finally, the enemy was fought off

1952, in then French Indochina, military operations aimed at the Viet Minh
– the operations took place in the My Tho region, Southern Vietnam
1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– 1st + 2nd + 6th Squadron
– 34 rebels were imprisoned

1954, Battle of Huguette 7 ended
– an action in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– then most outlying strongpoint of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– held by a 2e REI company
– around 100 men, led by Lieutenant Spozio
– they saw a series of severe Viet Minh attacks
– carrying out by an entire Viet Minh regiment
– the severe battle took 36 hours without interruption
– by the end of the battle, only 12 combat-ready legionnaires left
– ran out of ammunition, they were called off
Huguette 7 was seized by the Viet Minh

1961, in northeastern Algeria, a sad accident
– during a military operation at Djebel Groun
– a mountain situated close to Maafa, south-west of Batna
– a helicopter crashed into the ground
– 6 legionnaires were killed
– members of the 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)

– in the picture, 1er REC legionnaires with their Alligator (LVT 4) in French Indochina, early 1952

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1952 - Indochina

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 03

1946, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– a platoon led by Lieutenant Eymard
– the skirmish took place in Central Vietnam
– near Thien Hoa, in the Phan Thiet region
– the enemy was fought off
– however, Lieutenant Jean Eymard was killed
– several legionnaires were wounded

1948, First paratrooper badges for legionnaires
– in then French Indochina, first legionnaires awarded with the Paratrooper Badge
– members of the Parachute Company, 3e REI
– the very first airborne unit of the Foreign Legion
– a platoon led by Lieutenant Arnaud de Foiard
– future General, he commanded the 2e REP in 1965-67 (Algeria, Corsica)
– he and his legionnaires successfully finished their instruction in Hanoi, Northern Vietnam

1958, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with a group of local rebels
– for legionnaires from 3rd + 6th Company, 4e REI
– the clashes took place in the Biskra region, at the Tunisian border
– 18 rebels were killed

– in the image, a Dodge of 4e REI during an operation in Algeria, 1958

4e REI - 4 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 04

1945, Capture of Karlsruhe
– an action during the final stage of WWII in Europe
– to seize Karlsruhe
– an important town in southwestern Germany
– two Legion units were involved
– 1st Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 2nd Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI)

1950, in then French Indochina, military operations ended
– the week-long operations were aimed at the Viet Minh
– they occurred close to Tra Vinh, Southern Vietnam
– two Foreign Legion units were involved
– 2nd Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP)
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 45 rebels were killed
– 2nd Company, 2e BEP would be mentioned in dispatches
– in the order of the Army (the highest French mention)

1951, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– they took place near An Hoa
– in the An Giang region, Southern Vietnam
– 32 rebels were killed

1954, Battle of Eliane 2 ended
– a French successful defensive action (Mar 31-Apr 4)
– in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
Eliane 2 was a strongpoint of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– a fortified hill east of the French HQ
– held by French and Legion paratroopers
– no more than 300 men together
– they saw a series of severe Viet Minh attacks
– accompanied by persistent heavy shelling
– the battle lasted 107 hours without interruption
– carrying out by a reinforced Viet Minh regiment
– some 1,200 Viet Minh men were killed
– tens of French soldiers were also killed
– between them, at least 29 legionnaires
– members from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
– about 50 legionnaires were wounded
Eliane 2 would remain in French hands for next four weeks

– in the first photo, French troops at Dien Bien Phu, northwestern Vietnam, late 1953

– in the second, rare photo, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu at Eliane in April 1954, well-known Lieutenant-medic Patrice de Carfort with a wounded (most probably) Algerian, who defended this French stronghold together with para-legionnaires and airborne colonial troops

Dien Bien Phu - 1953 - Indochina

Dien Bien Phu - Lieutenant-medic Patrice de Carfort - 1954 - Indochina

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 05

1945, Capture of Koenigsbach
– an action during the final stage of WWII in Europe
– to seize Koenigsbach
– a town in southwestern Germany, close to Karlsruhe
– a Legion company participated
– 6th Company, RMLE
– Regimental Combat Team (future 3e REI)
– around 200 German soldiers were imprisoned

1951, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attck
– aimed at a Legion outpost
– at Bai Thao, in the Quang Ninh region of Northern Vietnam
– occupied by legionnaires from 9th Company, 3e REI
– the fierce battle took several hours
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– about 80 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– 15 legionnaires were also killed

1954, Attack on Huguette 6 ended
– a severe two-day Viet Minh attack
– in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
Huguette 6 was a stronghold of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– then most outlying stronghold, located north of the French HQ
– held by legionnaires from 2e REI and 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– less than 250 men, led by Lieutenant Rastouil
– they saw series of severe Viet Minh attacks
– accompanied by persistent heavy shelling
– the legionnaires were supported by French paratroopers
Huguette 6 was saved and the enemy fought off
– about 800 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– about 200 French soldiers, including legionnaires, were also killed

1960, in northwestern Algeria, a two-day operation started
– carried out by legionnaires from 5e REI
– 16 rebels would be killed

– in the image, RMLE legionnaires parading in Paris, early April 1945

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1945 - Paris

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 06

1845, in northwestern Algeria, a two-day military operation started
– aimed at local rebels
– the operation took place in the Orleansville region
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE participated
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (1er RE now)
– led by Colonel De Saint-Arnaud
– 211 local rebels would be killed or wounded
– about 500 rebels were imprisoned

1917, in Morocco, a successful operation
– to seize a rebel field camp of Abd El Malek, a rebel leader
– located in the Taza region
– 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE were involved
– the camp was successfully overrun
– however, 5 legionnaires were wounded

1918, in Morocco, a battle with local rebels
– Mounted Company, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– led by Captain Cattin
– the battle took place near Tahala, between Fez and Taza
– 4 legionnaires were killed
– 8 men were wounded
– between the wounded, Captain Cattin

1956, in northwestern Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels
– 2nd + 9th Company, 5e REI were involved
– the battle occurred in the Nedroma region
– the first such serious battle for 5e REI in Africa
– 50 rebels were killed
– 10 rebels were imprisoned
– however, 7 legionnaires were also killed

1960, in western Algeria, two-day severe clashes with local rebels ended
– part of Operation Promethee
– it took place in the Geryville region
– two Legion units participated
– 2e REI + 4e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– 52 rebels were killed
– 11 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, 2e REI legionnaires during Operation Promethee in Algeria, 1960

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Operation Promethee - Algeria

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 07

1871, in France, a battle with armed radical socialists and anarchists
– during the Paris Commune (March-May 1871)
– a revolutionary government occupying the capital
– after the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– Provisional Foreign Regiment participated in the battle
– a provisional Foreign Legion unit
– having been formed to participate in the previous war
– the battle took place near the Neuilly brige (Pont du Neuilly)
– a five-arched structure built in 1774, situated west of Paris
– that day, a legionnaire was killed
– 2 officers + around 20 legionnaires were wounded

1954, in then French Indochina, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– at Quong Kien, in the Phu Ly region of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI were involved
– the fierce battle took several hours
– about 250 Viet Minh attackers were killed or wounded
– 29 legionnaires were also killed
– 80 legionnaires were wounded or missed

– in the picture, 3rd Battalion, 5e REI legionnaires in French Indochina, 1954

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

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 08

1918, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– it took place at Djebel Halib, in the Taza region
– 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE were involved
– a legionnaire was killed
– 3 legionnaires were wounded

1941, Capture of Massawa
Massaoua in French
– an action during the East African Campaign of WWII
– Massawa is an important port town on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea
– then held by around 10,000 Italian troops
– attacked by the British and the Free French
– between them, 14e DBMLE (Provisional Half-Brigade, 13e DBLE now)
– in the afternoon, Italian forces surrendered
– the Allied force took 9,590 prisoners
– in 1944-45, 13e DBLE was (re-)integrated into the Legion

1953, in then French Indochina, a military operation
– the operation was aimed at the Viet Minh
– it took place in the Viet Tri region, Northern Vietnam
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now) participated
– over 50 Viet Minh rebels were captured

1957, in northern Algeria, an operation ended
– the two-day operation was aimed at local rebels
– it occurred at Kef Haouas, a ridge west of Djelfa
– carried out by 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– 6 rebels were killed + 2 rebels were captured
– 1 legionnaire was also killed, however
– 5 legionnaires were wounded

– in the image, members of the 2e BEP in French Indochina, around 1953

2e REP - 2e BEP - 2 REP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Indochina

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 09

1945, in southwestern Germany, clashes with German troops ended
– they took place at Grossglattbach and nearby Serres, Enzkreis region
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– a peloton (platoon) led by Lieutenant Janvier
– it belonged to a squadron led by Lieutenant Bocquet
– during two days, 23 Germans were imprisoned
– however, 2 legionnaires were killed
– 7 legionnaires were wounded

1954, 2e BEP jumped over Dien Bien Phu
– that night, the first half of the 2e BEP jumped over Dien Bien Phu
– 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2e BEP, future 2e REP)
– led by Major Liesenfelt
– to reinforce the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– a battle in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 2e BEP legionnaires jumped over in two waves
– during the nights of April 9-10 and April 10-11
– that night, 2e BEP had 6 legionnaires killed or missed
– they landed behind enemy lines

1958, Legionnaires to leave Mauritania
– that day, a Legion unit left Mauritania
– a country bordering with then Spanish Sahara
– Western Sahara now
– the legionnaires participated in military operations there
– during the Ifni War (also Forgotten War)
– a conflict between France + Spain and Saharan rebels
– a Franco-Spanish combined force participated
– including legionnaires from both Legions
– French Foreign Legion
– Spanish Foreign Legion
– French Legion was represented by 2e GCP, 4e REI
– 2nd Motorized Companies Group (1956-58)
– ex-GPLEM (Moroccan Motorized Group, 1944-56)
– alongside them, three Spanish Foreign Legion battalions
– that day, 2e GCP (100 Jeeps and Dodges) left the region
– the unit moved to Algeria to join the Algerian War (1954-62)
– as the very last operational unit of the Foreign Legion

– in the very rare photo, 1er REC legionnaires with their AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) in southwestern Germany, April 1945

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1945 - Germany

 
 

French Foreign Legion: April 10

1875, Foreign Legion
– that day, Foreign Regiment (the title since 1862) was redesignated
– it became the Foreign Legion
– the Legion consisted of some 3,000 men
– comprising four battalions
– the Legion continued to serve in Algeria (North Africa)
– since 1875, the Legion has never been retitled again

1913, in Morocco, clashes with local rebels
– they took place near Nekhila, in the Taza region
– 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– Captain Doreau + 6 legionnaires were killed
– Lieutenant Grosjean was seriously wounded

1950, Battle of Ha My
– in then French Indochina, a fierce battle with a Viet Minh regiment
– at Ha My, in the Quang Tri region, Central Vietnam
– 4th Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) legionnaires supported them
– a platoon of 4th Squadron, led by Lieutenant Alexandrowicz
– the fierce battle took two hours
– Viet Minh suffered heavy losses
– however, Lieutenant Alexandre Alexandrowicz was killed
– Second Lieutenant René Thomas (2e REI) was also killed
– a number of legionnaires were killed too

1954, Recapture of Eliane 1
– a French successful action
– in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
Eliane 1 had been a lost strongpoint of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– a fortified hill east of the French HQ
– that day, successfully recaptured by French paratroopers
– supported by Legion paratroopers
– from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)
– also from 2e BEP (2e REP now)
– however, Captain Charles Delafond was killed
– a commander of the 7th Company, 2e BEP
– Lieutenant Dominique Fragonard (2e BEP) was also killed
– 47 legionnaires were killed, wounded or missed
– the hill would remain in French hands until early May

– in the picture, 1er RE legionnaires wounded in Morocco, in front of the military hospital of Sidi Bel Abbes, then Legion’s HQ in Algeria, in 1913

Foreign Legion Etrangere - legionnaires - 1913 - Sidi Bel Abbes - Algeria

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: March 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: April 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history