Foreign Legion events: April 21 – 30

On this day. Explore the Legion’s most interesting historical events which occurred between April 21 and April 30. 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 21

1945, Capture of Stuttgart
– a town in southwestern Germany
– captured during the last days of WWII in Europe
– Legion units played important role in
– 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI)

– also in 1945, Battle of Weil im Schoenbuch
– an action during the last days of WWII in Europe
– a battle between legionnaires and German troops
– part of the operation to capture Stuttgart
– a town 3,5 miles (6 km) north of Weil im Schoenbuch
– Legion units got involved in the battle
– 3rd Squadron, 1er REC
– two companies of the 2nd Battalion, RMLE
– the fierce battle took several hours
– the enemy was defeated
– however, the Legion units sufferred losses
– Captain Liozzon (or Lejeune, commanding RMLE men) was killed
– Lieutenant Henri Panon Desbassayns de Richemont was also killed
– a platoon leader of the 3rd Squadron, 1er REC
– many legionnaires were also killed

1950, in then French Indochina, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– during Operation David
– in the Quang Nguyen region of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) got involved in
– 139 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 29 rebels were imprisoned

1954, in then French Indochina, heavy fighting with the Viet Minh
– near Ban Yen Nhan, in the Hung Yen region, Northern Vietnam
– three companies of the 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in
– attacked by two Viet Minh battalions
– a severe three-hour battle would follow
– eventually, the enemy was fought off
– nevertheless, the battalion suffered heavy losses
– Major Raymond Cabaribère was killed
– the battalion commander
– Captain Pernet + Lieutenant Rigneault were also killed
– 30 legionnaires were killed too
– 108 legionnaires were wounded or missed
– three months earlier, the battalion was annihilated
– then, Major Raymond Cabaribère was among a few survivors
– he had to spend three weeks alone in the jungle to escape the Viet Minh

– in the photo, Major Cabaribère, killed in Northern Vietnam on April 21, 1954
– the second photo was taken two months before his death, after three weeks spent in the jungle to escape the Viet Minh, right after his battalion was annihilated by a Viet Minh regiment

3e REI - 3 REI - Raymond Cabaribère - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: April 22

1847, in northwestern Algeria, fierce fighting with a local rebel tribe
– the fighting took place at Moghrar Tahtani, an oasis in the Bechar region
– legionnaires from 1er RLE (1er RE now) got involved in
– led by Colonel Mellinet
– the rebels were fought off

1859, 2nd Foreign Regiment stationed in Nimes
– that day, 2e RE (2e REI now) was stationed in Nimes, France
– the regiment would be stationed in Nimes until mid-August 1859
– it became its rear base
– the 2e RE would be sent to Italy
– to take part in the Second Italian War of Independence
– 2nd Foreign Regiment returned to Nimes 124 years later
– the unit has been stationed there since 1983

1953, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– at Plaine des Jarres (Plain of Jars) in Laos
– 5th Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) got involved in
– 10 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 5 rebels were imprisoned

1954, in then French Indochina, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– in the Pleiku region of Central Vietnam
– 4th Battalion, 2e REI got involved in
– a unit consisting of local auxiliaries in the majority, led by Legion leaders
– 139 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 2e REI also suffered losses
– 9 men were killed
– 45 men were wounded or missed

– also in 1954, in then French Indochina, an amphibious military operation
– near Qui Nhon, in the Binh Dinh region of Central Vietnam
– the operation was carried out by a unit of the 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 17th Squadron, 7e GEA (Amphibious Squadron Group)
– the legionnaires attacked Viet Minh junks (ships)
– that day, 22 Viet Minh junks were destroyed

1961, Generals’ Putsch in Algiers
– that day in the capital of Algeria, Generals’ putsch in Algiers started
– led by four French Army generals
– aimed at then French President Charles de Gaulle
– seen by putschists as a betrayal of France, French Algerians and the fallen French soldiers in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– because of De Gaulle’s declaration of acceptance of Algerian independence
– the putschists called for French Algeria
– they believed that the Algerian rebels could be defeated
– in the early morning, 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) took part in the putsch
– an elite regiment, led by Major Hélie de Saint Marc (par interim)
– the unit would take control of several strategic points in Algiers
– later, other Legion units would join the putsch
– nevertheless, the putsch would be over four days later
– as a punishment, 1er REP would be immediatelly dissolved
– the regiment has never been re-established

– in the picture, the 2e REI color guard parading at Nimes, 2016

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Nimes

 

French Foreign Legion: April 23

1895, Foreign Legion landed in Madagascar
– that day, Foreign Legion Task Force landed in Madagascar
– a large island in the Indian Ocean
– it would participate in the Second Madagascar expedition
– a French military intervention to make a conquest of the island
– the Legion returned back to Madagascar in 1896
– the legionnaires left the island in 1905
– they didn’t return back until 1947

1954, Counter-attack on Huguette 1
– a French action in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– an attempt to recapture Huguette 1
– a strongpoint of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– five days earlier, it was overrun by the Viet Minh
– a 13e DBLE company was annihilated then
– 2e BEP was assigned to carry out the assault
– Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now
– 380 men led by Major Liesenfelt
– nevertheless, the counter-attack failed
– 2e BEP suffered heavy casualties
– Captain Léonce Picatto + Lieutenant Jean Garin were killed
– tens of legionnaires were also killed or wounded
– Major Liesenfelt would be removed from command
– the battalion would be dissolved

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels
– it occurred in the El Milia region
– 4th + 12th Company, 3e REI got involved in
– 25 rebels were killed
– 4 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, a Foreign Legion color guard in the mid-1890’s
– in 1895, the Legion deployed to Madagascar, for the very first time

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1893 - Sidi Bel Abbes

 

French Foreign Legion: April 24

1836, in Spain, heavy fighting with the Carlists
– an action of the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– the fighting occurred in Pamplona, in the Navarre region
– legionnaires against Carlists
– 4th Battalion, Foreign Legion got involved in
– the fighting took several hours
– about 100 legionnaires were killed, wounded or missed
– about 200 Carlists were killed, wounded or missed
– the original Foreign Legion (now called “Old Legion”, 1831-39) was handed over to Spain in June 1835 to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– in Spain in December 1838, “Old Legion” would be disbanded
– “New Legion” would be formed in 1836 to serve in Algeria

1950, in then French Indochina, a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– an action during Operation Parpaing
– near Vi Loai, in the Dong Trieu region, Northern Vietnam
– 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in
– 75 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1954, Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion
– in then French Indochina, BMEP was formed
– formed at Dien Bien Phu, Northern Vietnam
– during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– consisting of 1er BEP and 2e BEP survivors
– inactivated units, future 1er REP and 2e REP
– they suffered heavy casualties during the battle
– both units merged together
– the new battalion was composed of four companies
– Major Guiraud took command

– in the picture, Foreign Legion paratroopers at Dien Bien Phu
– in the center, Major Maurice Guiraud, who would become the commander of the BMEP on April 24, 1954

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Dien Bien Phu - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: April 25

1926, Capture of Sweida
– an important and successful French operation
– part of the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-27)
– this action helped to calm the rebellion
– Sweida was then capital of Druze rebels
– situated in south-western Syria
– a country in the Middle East
– under the French rule since 1920, together with Lebanon
– Sweida was had been besieged by French troops
– after 65 days of the siege, the town was attacked
– it was successfully captured by 10,000 French troops
– led by General Andrea
– 5th Battalion, 4e REI took part in
– Lieutenant Delaplanche + Lieutenant Granger were fatally wounded
– several legionnaires were killed or wounded

1949, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– aimed at a French supply convoy
– guarded by legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI
– the attack took place near Loung Phai, in the That Khe region, Northern Vietnam
– the French suffered losses
– 11 men were killed + 31 wounded or missed
– the majority of the casualties were legionnaires

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers failed
– that day in the capital of Algeria, Generals’ putsch in Algiers ended
– led by four French Army generals
– aimed at then French President Charles de Gaulle
– seen by putschists as a betrayal of France, French Algerians and the fallen French soldiers in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– because of De Gaulle’s declaration of acceptance of Algerian independence
– Algeria, a country administered for decades as an integral part of France
– thousands of French soldiers, including legionnaires, died for
– the putschists called for French Algeria
– they believed that the Algerian rebels could be defeated
– several Legion units participated in the putsch
– most active between them, 1er REP and 1er REC
– 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– an elite regiment, led by Major de Saint Marc (par interim)
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), led by Lt Col de La Chapelle
– two days later, both commanders were arrested
– in June 1961, Major Hélie de Saint Marc was sentenced to 10 years in prison
– Lt Col Charles Gilbert de La Chapelle was sentenced to 7 years in prison
– tens of Legion officers were also arrested and imprisoned
– as a punishment, 1er REP would be immediatelly dissolved
– in 1958, named as the most elite regiment of France
– the unit has never been re-established

– in the image, Major Hélie de Saint Marc (1er REP) and Lt Col Charles Gilbert de La Chapelle (1er REC) in court in Paris, June 1961

Hélie de Saint Marc - Charles Gilbert de La Chapelle - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1961 - Generals' putsch in Algiers

 

French Foreign Legion: April 26

1836, Battle of Terapegui
– in Spain, a battle with the Carlists
– an action of the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– the battle occurred at Terapegui near Pamplona, in the Navarre region
– legionnaires against Carlists
– the battle took six hours
– the Carlists were successfully fought off
– however, Lieutenant Ferraudy + several legionnaires were killed
– the original Foreign Legion (now called “Old Legion”, 1831-39) was handed over to Spain in June 1835 to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– in Spain in December 1838, “Old Legion” would be disbanded
– “New Legion” would be formed in 1836 to serve in Algeria

1849, Battle of Narah
– in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– it took place in the village of Narah in the Aures mountains, Batna region
– legionnaires from 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 2e REI now) got involved in
– around 400 men, led by Colonel Carbuccia
– 28 rebels were killed or wounded

1882, Battle of Chott Tigri
– in northwestern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– near the Chott Tigri depression, in the Oran region
– the battle took seven hours
– a French military geographic survey party, led by Captain de Castries
– guarded by two companies from 3rd Battalion, 1er RE
– led by Captain Barbier
– attacked by around 800 local rebels and some 1,500 rebel cavalrymen
– after fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off
– nevertheless, the Legion suffered heavy casualties
– Captain Barbier + 2nd Lieutenant Massone were killed
– 49 legionnaires were also killed
– 2 officers + 25 legionnaires were wounded

1918, in France, an attack on German positions
– an action during WWI, on the Western Front
– the attack took place near Hangard, northeastern France
– aimed at well-fortified German positions
– the attack was carried out by RMLE
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI
– the positions were seized, Germans were fought off
– however, the Legion suffered heavy losses
– out of three RMLE battalions, two were annihilated
– that day, RMLE lost more than 800 men
– for this action, the unit received its 7th mention in the order of the Army
– in 1919, RMLE became the most decorated unit of the French Army

1949, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– near Van Gia, in Central Vietnam
– legionnaires from 11th Company, 2e REI got involved in
– 35 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the photo, the color guard of the RMLE (left) parade at the Champs-Elysées in Paris in 1919, led by Lt Col Rollet (center, with a kepi), its famous commander (and the future “Father of the Legion”)
– at that time, the RMLE was the most decorated unit of the French Army

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1919 - Champs-Elysées - Paris

 

French Foreign Legion: April 27

1832, First combat action for the Foreign Legion
– that day, the very first combat action for the Foreign Legion
– at Maison Carree, close to Algiers, the capital of Algeria
– during an operation aimed at the rebel tribe of El Ouffla
– conducted by a French task force
– 300 legionnaires of the 3rd Battalion, Foreign Legion took participated in
– the battalion consisted of Germans and the Swiss
– during the operation, over 70 rebels were killed

1958, in northeastern Algeria, heavy clashes with local rebels ended
– the clashes took place at Beni Sbih, in the Djidjelli region
– they lasted two days
– legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved in
– 199 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 2e REP parades in Philippeville, Algeria, in April 1958

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: April 28

1915, First Battle of Krithia
– the first Allied attempt to advance in the Battle of Gallipoli
– part of the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I
– fought at Cape Helles near Sedd-Ul-Bahr, to seize Krithia
– a village at the Gallipoli peninsula, now Turkey
– held by Ottoman (Turkish) troops
– then Ottoman Empire was in opposition to the Allies
– that day, a large landing operation near Sedd-Ul-Bahr
– after the landing operation, a severe battle started
– between the Allies (Britain + France) and Ottoman (Turkish) forces
– it took almost fourteen hours
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA was involved in
– 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team, formed in early 1915)
– a composite regiment-seized task force
– that day, the Allies suffered heavy casualties
– Battalion Legion lost about 190 men (killed or wounded)
– between the killed, Second Lieutenant Dufrene or Adjudant-chef Ferracci, a long-serving legionnaire

1954, clashes near Huguette 4
– a French action in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– that day, clashes with the Viet Minh near Huguette 4
– a strongpoint of the French camp of Dien Bien Phu
– BMEP legionnaires (led by Captain Luciani) got involved in
– a provisional parachute battalion
– his men surprised approaching Viet Minh groups
– 20 Viet Minh men were killed

2015, Operation Tavara ended
– an operation in French Guiana, South America
– aimed at illegal gold diggers in the Guiana jungle
– close to the Brasilian border
– it occurred between April 8-28
– legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI were involved in

– in the photo, 3e REI legionnaires during Operation Tavara, French Guiana, April 2015

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2015 - French Guiana

 

French Foreign Legion: April 29

1945, Capture of Friedrichshafen
– an action during the last days of WWII in Europe
– to seize Friedrichshafen
– a town in Southern Germany
– close to the borders of Switzerland and Austria
– two Legion units were involved in
– 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 1st Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI)
– some 1,250 Axis soldiers (Hungarians) were captured

1956, Operation Fath
– in northeastern Algeria, a military operation started
– aimed at local rebels
– the operation took place near Douar Ouled Fatma, in the Batna region
– it lasted two days
– carried out by legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 28 rebels were killed
– 3 legionnaires were also killed

1966, Foreign Legion Museum
– in southern France, Foreign Legion Museum was open
– located at Aubagne, within the base of the 1er RE
Quartier Vienot, the HQ of the Legion

– in the photo, then Major of Friedrichshafen and Lieutenant Gautier + his legionnaires with an AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) of the 2nd Squadron, 1er REC in Friedrichshafen, April 29, 1945
– note the fanion of the Lieutenant Gautier’s platoon of the 2nd Squadron, 1er REC, emblazoned with the name of Friedrichshafen, 1945

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1945 - Friedrichshafen - Lieutenant Gautier - Germany

 

French Foreign Legion: April 30

1840, in northern Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels
– led by famous Abd El Kader
– the battle took place near Algiers, the capital
– 1st Battalion, Foreign Legion was involved in
– German and Swiss legionnaires, led by Major Poerio
– 13 legionnaires were killed
– 27 legionnaires were wounded

1863, Battle of Camerone
Battle of Camerone is the most famous battle of the Foreign Legion
– also the most famous symbol of the Legion
– a symbol of fighting until the finish, to the last man
– the battle was part of the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– legionnaires against Mexican infantrymen and cavalrymen
– the battle took place inside a large farmyard of an old hacienda
– situated near El Camarón (Camerone in French)
– the abandoned native village in the Veracruz state, eastern Mexico
– 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, Foreign Regiment got involved in
– 3 officers and 62 legionnaires, led by Captain Jean Danjou
– they faced some 2,000 Mexicans, led by Colonel de Paula Milan
– the battle took more than ten hours
– by the end of the battle, the Legion had only 5 combat-ready men
– 2d Lt Maudet + 4 legionnaires
– they decided to launch the last attack
– they charged with fixed bayonets
– only 3 combat-ready legionnaires left
– a Mexican officer of French origin ordered his troops to cease fire
– he spared the last 3 legionnaires
– they were allowed to keep their equipment and rifles
– when Colonel de Paula Milan saw the last 3 legionnaires in his field camp, he exclaimed: “That’s all what is left?? These aren’t men, they are devils!”
– out of 65 men of the company, only 24 legionnaires survived the battle (being wounded in the vast majority, however)
– Captain Danjou was killed during the first three hours of the battle
– 2d Lt Maudet would die from his injuries a few days later
– at least 300 Mexicans were killed or wounded
– the Battle of Camerone became the most important event in the history of the Foreign Legion and the example of bravery for future legionnaires
– it is commemorated annually on Camerone Day (April 30)

1958, in northeastern Algeria, heavy clashes with local rebels
– the clashes took place in the Souk Ahras region
– legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) got involved in
– 129 rebels were killed

1961, 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment dissolution
– in Algeria, 1er REP was dissolved
– an airborne regiment of the Legion
– ex-1er BEP (Battalion), established in Algeria in 1948
– the unit participated in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– there, the unit was two times annihilated in combat
– it became the first French airborne battalion completely lost in action
– then, it took part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– in late April 1961, 1er REP was involved in the Generals’ putsch
– after the putsch failed, an order to dissolve the regiment
– in 1958, named as the most elite regiment of France
– the 1er REP has never been re-established

1964, 4th Foreign Infantry Regiment dissolution
– in Algeria, 4e REI was dissolved
– nicknamed as Regiment of Morocco
– established in Morocco in 1920
– the unit participated in the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the legionnaires fought under its flag in the 1943 Tunisia Campaign
– during the ongoing war in Indochina, 4e REI legionnaires successfully helped to restore order in Madagascar (1947-51)
– in 1957, it was the last Legion unit to leave Morocco
– then, it took part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– after the dissolution, its men merged with 2e REI
– in France in 1977, its flag, history and traditions were adopted by RILE, a training regiment of the Foreign Legion
– RILE would become 4e RE in 1980

– in the image, the Battle of Camerone painted by E. Detaille + Captain Jean Danjou
– in reality, the legionnaires wore “sombreros” instead of kepis in Mexico in 1863

Battle of Camerone - Captain Jean Danjou - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1863 - Mexico

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: April 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: May 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history