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 around Algiers, northwestern Algeria
– Colonel Mollenbeck (born in Germany, in French service since 1805) became its commanding officer
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (2e RLE, 2e REI now)
– composed of two (later three) battalions
– stationed around Bone, northeastern Algeria
– Colonel Senilhes took command

1943, Autonomous Artillery Group
– in Fez, Morocco, GAA was created
– a little-known artillery battalion of the Legion
– composed of three motorized batteries
– previously serving with the 2e REI and 4e REI (since the 1930’s)
– GAA was administratively assigned to the 3e REI
– the unit would be disbanded in 1944

1946, Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Companies
– in Algeria, CSPLE (1940-46) devided into two parts
1re CSPL + 2e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Companies)
– 1re CSPL (ex-CSPLE) was stationed in Ain Sefra
– later, 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

1948, Parachute Company of 3e REI
– in then French Indochina, Parachute Company, 3e REI was established
– 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 consolidated with the 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 1er REP)

1949, 6th Foreign Infantry Regiment reactivation
– in Tunisia, the legendary 6e REI was reactivated
– born 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, reactivated in Tunisia
– 6e REI maintained order there, as the only Legion unit
– it also served as a training and transit unit
– in 1949, one of its battalion 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) got involved in
– 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
– it was held by a company of the 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– led by Captain Rembert
– the fierce battle lasted 7 hours
– the enemy suffered heavy casualties and was fought off

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

1952, in then French Indochina, military operations aimed at the Viet Minh
– 1st + 2nd + 6th Squadron of 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved in
– the operations took place in the My Tho region, Southern Vietnam
– 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 stronghold of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– held by a 2e REI company (about 100 men) led by Lieutenant Spozio
– they saw 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
– ran out of ammunition, they were called off
– Huguette 7 was seized by the Viet Minh

– 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 got involved in
– 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
– legionnaires from 3rd + 6th Company, 4e REI got involved in
– the clashes took place in the Biskra region, on 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 last days of WWII in Europe
– to seize Karlsruhe
– an important town in southwestern Germany
– two Legion units were involved in
– 1st Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 2nd Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI)

1951, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in
– 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 stronghold 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 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 last days of WWII in Europe
– to seize Koenigsbach
– a town in southwestern Germany, close to Karlsruhe
– a Legion company participated in
– 6th Company, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI)
– around 200 German soldiers were imprisoned

1951, in then French Indochina, a Legion outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Bai Thao outpost, 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
– to be 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
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now) would participate in
– 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 was involved in the operation
– 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) got involved in
– 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 got involved in
– it took place 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
– legionnaires from 2e REI got involved in
– it took place in the Geryville region
– 50 rebels were killed
– 2 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, during the Paris Commune, a battle with armed radical socialists and anarchists occupying the capital
– Provisional Foreign Regiment was involved in
– the battle took place near the Neuilly brige (Pont du Neuilly)
– a legionnaire was killed
– 2 officers + around 20 legionnaires were wounded
– between November-March, the regiment had participated in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) in France
– composed of non-legionnaires in the majority since mid-December 1870, because of heavy losses during the war
– at the same time, 3rd + 4th Battalion, Foreign Regiment (composed of German legionnaires in the vast majority, not allowed to fight in France) served in Algeria

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 got involved in
– 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
– legionnaires from 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE got involved in
– a legionnaire was killed
– 3 legionnaires were wounded

1941, Capture of Massawa
Massaoua in French
– part of the East African Campaign of WWII
Massawa is an important port town on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea
– 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 integrated into the Legion

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

– 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 near Serres, Enzkreis region
– legionnaires from 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 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
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– 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, 2e GCP, 4e REI left Fort Trinquet, Mauritania
– that day, 2e GCP, 4e REI left Mauritania, West Africa
– 2e GCP (Motorized Company Group)
– ex-GPLEM (Moroccan Motorized Group, 1944-56)
– the unit participated in the Ifni War (also Forgotten War, 1957-58)
– in Western Sahara, a Franco-Spanish joint operation aimed at Saharan rebels of a Liberation Army supported by Morocco
– alongside French troops and legionnaires, Spanish Foreign Legion (three battalions)
– an important, large rebel group was annihilated
– 2e GCP, 4e REI (100 Jeeps and Dodges) left Mauritania and moved to Algeria
– it became the last Legion unit of North Africa joining the Algerian War (1954-62)

– 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 4 battalions
– it was composed of some 3,000 men
– 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
– it took place near Nekhila, in the Taza region
– 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 1er RE got involved in
– 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 got involved in
– a platoon of 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) supported them
– 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
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
Eliane 1 was a lost stronghold of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– a fortified hill east of the French HQ
– 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
– 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