Foreign Legion events: April 21 – 30

Discover interesting data of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Important campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… See the Legion’s significant events which occurred between April 21 and April 30.

 

French Foreign Legion: April 21

1841, 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (2e RLE, 2e REI now) was formed
– it was composed of two battalions and stationed at Bone, northeastern Algeria
– Colonel Senilhes took command
– in reality, the regiment is the longest-serving unit of the Foreign Legion

1945, during the last days of WWII in Europe, legionnaires from 4th Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) and 2nd + 3rd Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) seized Stuttgart, a town in western Germany

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

1954, on the road near Ban Yen Nhan in the Hung Yen region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, three companies of the 2nd Battalion, 3e REI were attacked by two battalions of the Viet Minh
– after a severe three-hour battle, the enemy was fought off
– nevertheless, the battalion suffered heavy losses
Major Raymond Cabaribère, the battalion commander, was killed
– Captain Pernet + Lieutenant Rigneault + 30 legionnaires were also killed
– 108 legionnaires were severely wounded or missed

– in the photo, Major Cabaribère, killed in northern Vietnam on April 21, 1954

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

 

French Foreign Legion: April 22

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

1859, 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e REI now) was stationed at Nimes, France
– three battalions of the regiment will be sent to Italy to take part in the Second Italian War of Independence
– the regiment was stationed at Nimes during the campagne in Italy (until mid-August 1859)
– it returned to Nimes 124 years later, in 1983, to be stationed there again

1953, at Plaine des Jarres in Laos, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 5th Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) attacked a group of the Viet Minh
– 10 Viet Minh rebels were killed + 5 rebels were imprisoned

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 several battalions of the Viet Minh
– during the battle, 139 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 2e REI had 9 men killed + 45 men wounded or missed

– also in 1954, legionnaires from 17th Squadron, 7e GEA (Amphibious Squadrons’ Group), 1er REC were attacking Viet Minh junks (ships) near Qui Nhon, a coastal city in the Binh Dinh region of central Vietnam, then French Indochina
– that day, 22 Viet Minh junks were destroyed

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers started
– the putsch, led by four French generals, was aimed at French President Charles de Gaulle
– De Gaulle was seen by putschists as a betrayal of France, French Algerians and the fallen French soldiers in the Algerian conflict, because of De Gaulle’s declaration of acceptance of Algerian independence
– the putschists believed that the Algerian rebels could be defeated
– in the early morning, legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment), commanded by Major Hélie de Saint Marc, took control of all strategic points in Algiers, the capital of Algeria

– 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, legionnaires from Foreign Legion Task Force landed in Madagascar
– they will participate in the Second Madagascar expedition, a French military intervention to make a conquest of the island

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 took over Huguette 1, a French point d’appui (point of support) occupied by 4th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the unit was completely annihilated
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) had to launch a counter-attack to re-seize Huguette 1 (to control the only runway in the central part of the valley)
– the counter-attack failed
– 2e BEP had 29 men killed (including Captain Picatto and Lieutenant Garin) + over 100 men wounded
– in the night, over 70 volunteers jumped over Dien Bien Phu to support French troops

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

– in the photo, a plane flying over French positions at Dien Bien Phu, 1954

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Dien Bien Phu

 

French Foreign Legion: April 24

1836, at Pamplona in Spain, fierce fighting between legionnaires from 4th Battalion of the original Foreign Legion (now called “Old Legion”, 1831-39) and Carlists
– during the battle, 4th Battalion lost 100 men, Carlists lost 200 men
– the “Old Legion” (around 4,100 legionnaires) was handed over to Spain in June 1835 to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain

1950, during Operation Parpaing near Vi Loai in the Dong Trieu region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– Viet Minh had 75 men killed

1954, Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion
– in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954), 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) and 2e BEP (future 2e REP) were amalgamated into a new unit, because of large losses
– Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion (BMEP) was created, commanded by Major Giraud

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers
– 2e REP (commanded by Major Cabiro) seized an air base in Algiers held by Marine conscripts
– 1er REP (Major De Saint Marc) and 1er REC (Lt Col De La Chapelle) took control over French bases at Blida, close to Algiers
– in the afternoon, 1er REP helped to guard a manifestation of around 100,000 French Algerians recognizing the putschists as their saviors and the saviors of French Algeria
– four French putschist generals, the leaders of the Putsch, talked to the manifestation

– in the picture, the four generals arriving at the Forum of Algiers to speak to a manifestation of around 100,000 French Algerians
– in front of the Forum, 1er REP military vehicles

1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1961 - Forum of Algiers - Generals' putsch in Algiers

 

French Foreign Legion: April 25

1926, Capture of Sweida
– an important and successful French operation during the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-27), which helped to calm the rebellion
– after 65 days of the siege of Sweida, the capital of Druze rebels in southwestern Syria (a country under the French rule since 1920) was attacked and captured by 10,000 French troops, led by General Andrea
– 5th Battalion, 4e REI took part in
– Lieutenant Delaplanche + Lieutenant Granger were deadly wounded
– several legionnaires were killed or wounded

1949, near Loung Phai in the That Khe region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a French supply convoy was attacked by the Viet Minh
– the French had 11 men killed + 31 wounded or missed
– the majority of the casualties were legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 3e REI, guarding the convoy

1961, Generals’ putsch in Algiers failed
– the military coup attempt was launched to avoid an independence of Algeria, a country administered for decades as an integral part of France
– many French soldiers, including legionnaires, died for
– the units participating in the putsch, including the 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) and 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment), returned to their bases
– two days later, Major Hélie de Saint Marc (an interim commander of the 1er REP) and Lt Col Charles Gilbert de La Chapelle (a commander of the 1er REC), were arrested for their participation in Generals’ putsch in Algiers
– 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 for their participation in the putsch
– as a punishment, the 1er REP, one of the most elite units of the then French Army, was dissolved immediately and never 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
– at Terapegui near Pamplona in Spain, a fierce battle between 1,000 legionnaires from the original Foreign Legion (now called “Old Legion”, 1831-39) and 5,000 Carlists
– during the six-hour battle, the Carlists were successfully fought off
– nevertheless, Lieutenant Ferraudy + several legionnaires were killed
– the “Old Legion” (around 4,100 legionnaires) was handed over to Spain in June 1835 to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain

1849, Battle of Narah
– in northwestern Algeria, a mobile task force (composed of 400 legionnaires in the majority) attacked the village of Narah in the Aures mountains, Batna region
– 28 rebels were killed or wounded

1882, Battle of Chott Tigri
– a seven-hour battle near the Chott Tigri depression, in the Oran region of northwestern Algeria
– a French geographic survey party, led by Captain De Castries and guarded by two companies of the Legion, was attacked by around 800 local rebels and some 1,500 rebel cavalrymen
– after fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off
– the Legion had 2 officers (including Captain Barbier) + 49 legionnaires killed
– 2 officers + 25 legionnaires were wounded

1918, on the Western Front of WWI, legionnaires from RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) attacked fortified German positions near Hangard, northeastern France
– the positions were seized, Germans were fought off
– during the attack, two of three RMLE battalions were annihilated
– that day, RMLE lost more than 800 men
– for this action, the unit received its 7th citation in the order of the Army (RMLE became the most decorated unit of the French Army in 1919)

1949, legionnaires from 11th Company, 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were attacked by the Viet Minh near Van Gia in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam, then French Indochina
– legionnaires launched a counter-attack
– 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
– around Maison Carree, close to Algiers (the capital of Algeria), a French task force conducted an operation aimed at the rebel tribe of El Ouffla
– 300 legionnaires of the 3rd Battalion (Germans and the Swiss), Foreign Legion took part in
– over 70 rebels were killed

1958, at Beni Sbih in the Djidjelli region of northeastern Algeria, severe clashes with local rebels ended for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– during two days, 199 rebels were killed

1960, near Ain Zana of the Souk Ahras region, northeastern Algeria, legionnaires from 2nd Motorized Company, 4e REI got involved in a battle with local rebels
– several rebels were killed

– in the photo, decorated 2e REP legionnaires, Algeria, 1958

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

 

French Foreign Legion: April 28

1915, Battle of Sedd-Ul-Bahr
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) was involved in a landing operation near Sedd-Ul-Bahr, a Turkish fortress located in the Gallipoli peninsula of today’s Turkey
– the operation made part of the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I
– after three hours of fierce fighting, the landing successfully ended for French and British troops
– nevertheless, after the landing operation, a severe battle started between the Allies and Turkish (Ottoman) forces
– that day, Battalion Legion lost 8 officers and 180 legionnaires

1954, in the Dien Bien Phu valley of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954), legionnaires from BMEP (Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion) launched an attack near Huguette 4, a French point d’appui (point of support)
– 20 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– BMEP was formed by amalgamating the 1er BEP (future 1er REP) and 2e BEP (future 2e REP) four days ago

1956, at Bou Yakadama of the Taberdga region, northeastern Algeria, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in a fierce battle with local rebels

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

– 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
– in Europe, during the last days of WWII, legionnaires from 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) captured Friedrichshafen, a town in Bavaria, Germany
– later that day, with the help of 1st Battalion, RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI), over 1,200 German soldiers were imprisoned

1956, near Douar Ouled Fatma in the Batna region of northeastern Algeria, Operation Fath started for legionnaires from 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– during two days, 28 rebels were killed

1966, Foreign Legion Museum
– the Foreign Legion Museum was open
– the museum is placed at the 1er RE’s Quartier Vienot (also HQ of the Legion) of Aubagne, southern France

– in the photo, Colonel Miquel (left, the then commanding officer of 1er REC) shows a map to his men in eastern France, near the border with Germany, in 1945
– in the smaller image, a fanion within the 2nd Squadron emblazoned with the name of Friedrichshafen, 1945

1er REC - 1 REC - Colonel Miquel - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1945 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: April 30

1840, in Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels led by Abd El Kader
– the battle took place in the Algiers region, northern Algeria
– 1st Battalion (Major Poerio), Foreign Legion was involved in
– 13 legionnaires were killed + 27 were wounded

1863, Battle of Camerone
– the most famous symbol of the French Foreign Legion
– the battle occurred during the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– it took place inside a large farmyard of an old Spanish hacienda near the abandoned native village of El Camarón (Camerone in French)
– the village is located in the Veracruz state, eastern Mexico
Captain Jean Danjou + 2 officers and 62 NCOs and legionnaires from 3rd Company, Foreign Regiment were attacked by a force comprising some 2,000 Mexican infantry and cavalry, led by Colonel Francisco de Paula Milan
– after more than 10 hours of the fighting, only 1 officer (2Lt Maudet) + 4 legionnaires were combat-ready
– when their ammunition ran out, they decided to charge with fixed bayonets
– a following Mexican fusillade killed 1 legionnaire, seriously wounded 2Lt Maudet (who started his career as a simple legionnaire 15 years ago) and wounded 1 legionnaire
– a Mexican officer of French origin ordered his troops to cease fire and spared the last 3 legionnaires
– they were allowed to keep their equipment and rifles
– when Colonel Milan, the commander of Mexicans, 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
– 2Lt Maudet died from his injuries a few days later
– the Mexican attackers had at least 300 men 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
– the battle is commemorated annually on Camerone Day (April 30)

1958, in the Souk Ahras region of northeastern Algeria, a severe battle with local rebels for legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– that day, 129 rebels were killed

1961, 1er REP was disbanded in Algeria
– active as a parachute battalion since 1948
– the dissolution was a punishment for its active participation in the Generals’ putsch of late April 1961
– an elite and prestigious unit of the Foreign Legion and the French Army, the 1er REP was two times annihilated in combat during its first six years of service
– as 1er BEP, it became the first French airborne battalion completely lost in action (Cao Bang, then French Indochina, October 1950)
– since 1961, the 2e REP remains the only airborne unit within the Legion

1964, 4e REI was disbanded in Algeria
– active 1920-40 and 1946-64, the unit was nicknamed as Regiment of Morocco
– it participated in many conflicts
– during the ongoing war in Indochina, 4e REI legionnaires successfully helped to restore order in Madagascar (Indian Ocean)
– after the dissolution, the majority of its legionnaires consolidated with 2e REI
– in France in 1980, its number, color, history and traditions were adopted by RILE (a training regiment of the Foreign Legion)
– RILE was retitled and became the 4th Foreign Regiment

– 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: April 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: March 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: March 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history