Foreign Legion events: April 11 – 20

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 notable events of the Foreign Legion which occurred between April 11 and April 20.

 

French Foreign Legion: April 11

1954, in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954), the Viet Minh continued in attacking French strongholds and points d’appui (points of support)
– near Huguette 1 (point d’appui), 4th Company, 2e REI got in a severe battle
– Lieutenant Bourges (company commander) + a complete platoon were missed
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) and 2e BEP (2e REP now) were involved in defending Eliane 1, another French point d’appui (point of support)
– after fighting all the day and all the night, both battalions had 47 legionnaires killed, seriously wounded or missed

1956, near Fellaoucene in the Tlemcen region of north-western Algeria, legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a severe battle with a large group of local rebels

2011, 3rd Company, 2e REI was sent to Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, to maintain order in the streets because of an ongoing operation to arrest Laurent Gbagbo (ex-president)

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires parading at Abidjan, Ivory Coast in April 2011

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2011 - Ivory Coast

 

French Foreign Legion: April 12

1916, in the Khenifra region of Morocco, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE got involved in a battle with local rebels
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 3 were wounded

1947, an outpost held by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) was attacked by the Viet Minh in the Quang Nam region of south-central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 67 Viet Minh attackers were killed + 10 attackers were captured
– 13e DBLE had 5 legionnaires killed + 9 wounded

1952, an operation ended for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI participated in
– the operation took place in the Tonkin-Delta of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during a week, about 200 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1954, in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954), the Viet Minh continued in attacking French strongholds and points d’appui (points of support)
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) defended Dominique, a French stronghold
– that day, the battalion had 17 legionnaires killed + 44 seriously wounded

– in the photo, 13e DBLE legionnaires with a wounded comrade in French Indochina, in the late 1940s

13e DBLE - 13e DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1948 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: April 13

1948, in the Quang Ngai region of central Vietnam, then French Indochina, 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– Viet Minh had 80 men killed + 20 men imprisoned
– 3 legionnaires were also killed

2015, an operation in the Salvador Pass of northern Niger ended
– it was launched to search and eliminate drug and arms trafficking gangs in this Saharan region located on the Niger’s border with Libya and Algeria
– legionnaires from 1st Company, 2e REP were involved in
– the operation started on April 7, when 2e REP legionnaires conducted a night combat jump over the Salvador Pass

– in the picture, one of the platoon leaders of the 1st Company, 2e REP is reviewed before the night combat jump over the Salvador Pass, April 13, 2015

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 - Niger

 

French Foreign Legion: April 14

1947, in then French Indochina, the 3e REI was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Unit Citation (Presidential Unit Citation today) with a blue streamer embroidered Rhine-Bavarian Alps for its actions in 1944-45, during WWII (under the title of RMLE, Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team)

1954, an aircraft accident at Muong Sa, in northern Laos of then French Indochina
– 11 legionnaires from 7th Company, 2e REI were killed during the accident

1956, near the Col de Tizougarine of the Batna region, north-eastern Algeria, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI got involved in a fierce battle with a group of local rebels
– 22 rebels were killed

1959, near Zenzach of the Djelfa region in northern Algeria, a battle with local rebels for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– several rebels were killed, 6 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, the color of 3e REI, one of the two most decorated flags within the French Army
– on the left, the blue streamer of the Distinguished Unit Citation embroidered Rhine-Bavarian Alps

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Regimental color

 

French Foreign Legion: April 15

1954, Operation Condor started in northern Laos, then French Indochina
– 2nd Battalion, 2e REI was involved in
– the battalion was part of a French composite Mobile Group North (GM Nord)
– the group’s task was to reinforce the encircled French troops in the valley of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam
– the group (over 3,000 men) had to march through the jungle
– before they can fulfil their task, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu ended
– the group had to return back
– during the operation, several legionnaires died from exhaustion

1957, at Djebel Tamaser in the El Milia region of north-eastern Algeria, two platoons (led by Lieutenant Anzanel) from 2nd Company, 3e REI got involved in a severe battle with around 250 local rebels
– the battle lasted six hours
– with coming reinforcement, the enemy was finally fought off
– Lt Colonel Maurice Brochet de Vaugrigneuse, the deputy commanding officer of 3e REI, was killed in a helicopter when doing a reconnaissance
– as a French officer, he served in the Legion in 1933-45 and 1956-57
– during the battle, 11 legionnaires were also killed (including Staff Sergeant Holzendorf)

– in the image, 3e REI legionnaires during the funeral of Lt Colonel Brochet de Vaugrigneuse, April 1957

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Brochet de Vaugrigneuse - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: April 16

1856, Foreign Legions’ dissolution
– that day, an imperial decree was issued
– it prescribed that the 1st Foreign Legion + 2nd Foreign Legion (nicknamed Swiss Legion, est. Jan 1855) have to be disbanded and their legionnaires have to form new regiments
– later that year, the 2nd Foreign Legion formed 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE, composed of Swiss legionnaires in the vast majority until 1859) and the 1st Foreign Legion (the original Legion, est. 1836) formed the 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e REI now)

1941, General Paul-Frédéric Rollet died
– as a French officer, he served 33 years with the Foreign Legion
– General Rollet became the most famous figure of the Foreign Legion, called “Father of the Legion”
– in 1931, he took the command of the Foreign Legion Inspection (today’s Foreign Legion Command, COMLE)
– as the very first Legion’s Chief, he changed many things to the better and launched several traditions, e.g. Camerone Day or a cult of Sappers-Pioneers
– General Rollet also ordered to build the famous Foreign Legion War Memorial (finished in 1931, now placed at the Legion’s HQ of Aubagne) and built a home for Legion veterans
– his remains are buried at the cemetery of the Legion at Puyloubier near Aubagne, southern France

1943, 1st Foreign Infantry Regimental Combat Team (1er REIM) was formed in Tunisia
– composed of two battalions of 4e DBLE (est. 1941 under the flag of 4e REI to serve in Senegal) + a battalion of 1er REI (1er RE now)
– the unit will successfully participate in fighting against the German Africa Corps of Marshal Rommel during the Tunisian Campaign of April-May 1943

1954, legionnaires from 2nd + 3rd Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh in the Nam Dinh region of the Red River Delta, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 18 legionnaires were killed + over 70 men were wounded
– more than 150 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– also in 1954, in the Pleiku region of central Vietnam, then French Indochina, 4th Battalion, 2e REI (composed of local auxiliaries in the majority, led by Legion leaders) got involved in a fierce battle with four battalions of the Viet Minh
– the battle took several hours
– 2e REI had 14 men killed + 58 men wounded or missed
– tens of Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the photo, General Paul-Frédéric Rollet, the Father of the Legion

General Paul-Frédéric Rollet - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Father of the Legion

 

French Foreign Legion: April 17

1871, in north-western Algeria, a French mobile task force was attacked by a large group of local rebels, near Madourah in the Mascara region
– 6th Company (over 210 enlisted volunteers doing their basic training, led by Captain Kaufmann), 4th Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) took important part in
– the attackers were successfully fought off

1917, Battle of the Hills of Champagne started
– a severe battle on the Western Front of WWI
– the major part of the battle started near Auberive, eastern France
– it lasted four days
– the French were attacking German positions
– legionnaires from RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) took part in
– Lt Colonel Duriez, the commander of RMLE, was deadly wounded the first day of the battle, on April 17
– for this action, RMLE was mentioned in the order of the Army

1958, at Beni Malleille near Boudaroua in the Guelma region of north-eastern Algeria, an operation for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 14 rebels were killed

– in the picture, Lt Colonel Duriez, the commander of RMLE, killed on April 17, 1917

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1917 - Lt Colonel Duriez

 

French Foreign Legion: April 18

1916, Bou Denib Mixed Battalion was constituted in Algeria
– a little-known independent unit composed of two companies of legionnaires and two companies of “Bat’ d’Af” soldiers (members of African Battalions, French semi-penal units) to serve in the Bou Denib region of Morocco
– the battalion was disbanded in 1919

1952, during Operation Polo, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 5e REI got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh at Dai Vi Thuong, close to Hanoi, northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– that day and during next two days in the same sector, hundreds of Viet Minh rebels were killed or wounded
– nevertheless, Lieutenants Bouley, Rudloff and Mie + 36 legionnaires were killed, 105 legionnaires were wounded during the operation

1954, in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954), the Viet Minh continued in attacking French strongholds and points d’appui (points of support)
– since previous day, a group of around 300 French troops, including legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) and 1st Battalion, 2e REI had fought at Huguette, a French stronghold
– this evening, the group had 106 men killed + 49 seriously wounded + 79 missed

1956, near Tient in the Nedroma region of north-western Algeria, legionnaires from 2nd + 4th Company, 5e REI got involved in clashes with local rebels
– 6 rebels were killed by 4th Company
– 23 rebels were killed by 2nd Company

1960, at Djebel Chemarikh, western Algeria, hard fighting for legionnaires from 2e REI
– about 30 rebels were killed or imprisoned

– in the picture, 2e REI legionnaires with captured rebels at Djebel Chemarikh, April 1960

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

 

French Foreign Legion: April 19

1859, 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e RE, currently 2e REI) boarded two ships and left Algeria for Italy to take part in the Second Italian War of Independence
– during the war, 2e RE legionnaires excelled in the Battle of Magenta, in which the regiment lost its commanding officer, Colonel De Chabrières

1871, during the Paris Commune, severe clashes with radical socialists and anarchists (occupying the capital of France since March) ended for Provisional Foreign Regiment
– the clashes took place at Neuilly, Paris and lasted four days
– 3 officers were killed (including Captain Girard), 4 officers were wounded
– 140 NCOs and legionnaires were killed or wounded
– until March, the regiment had participated in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– at the same time, the original Foreign Regiment (composed of Germans in the vast majority, not allowed to fight in France) served in Algeria

1913, in the Taza region of Morocco, 1st Battalion, 1er RE got involved in severe fighting with local rebels near Nekhila
– 4 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1927, a company of the 2nd Battalion, 3e REI was attacked by local rebels at Douar Beni Kaoulech, in the Ouazzane region of northern Morocco
– Captain Fontanel (company commander) + several legionnaires were killed

1954, in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954), several attacks on Viet Minh positions near Isabelle, a French stronghold occupied by 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– during the attacks, Viet Minh had around 20 men killed
– 3e REI had 7 legionnaires wounded

1957, a week-long operation started for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) in the Medea region of northern Algeria
– during the operation, 29 rebels were killed

– in the photo, the 1er REP parade at the Champs-Elysées in Paris in 1957, led by Lt Col Jeanpierre, its famous commander (killed the next year)

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Champs-Elysées - Paris

 

French Foreign Legion: April 20

1863, during the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67), near the village of Jamapa, a company of legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) attacked a group of local rebels, led by Antonio Diaz
– legionnaires (led by Major Munier, the battalion commander) killed Diaz and annihilated his group
– the group was attacking the legionnaires during railroad works

1917, on the Western Front of WWI, legionnaires from RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) sized the village of Auberive, northeastern France
– they seized the village after 4 days and 3 nights of severe fighting with German forces
– during the fighting, RMLE lost hundreds of men, including Lt Col Duriez, its commanding officer
– for this action, RMLE received its fifth mention in the order of the Army

1957, at Djerf El Karia, near Fellaoucene in the Tlemcen region of north-western Algeria, legionnaires from 5e REI got involved in a fierce battle with a large group of local rebels
– 73 rebels were killed

1960, in the Djidjelli region, north-eastern Algeria, a military operation for legionnaires from 3e REI
– during the operation, 17 rebels were killed

– in the image, 5e REI legionnaires led by their platoon leader during an operation in Algeria, 1957

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: April 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: March 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: March 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: February 21 – 29
French Foreign Legion history