Foreign Legion events: May 01 – 10

On this day. Discover the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between May 01 and May 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 a picture.

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


French Foreign Legion: May 01

1927, Sappers-Pioneers Company, 3e REI
– in Morocco, CSP, 3e REI was created
– stationed at Ksar Es Souk
– an engineering unit of the regiment
– it conducted various construction missions
– the best known – Foum Zabel Tunnel (1927-28)
– also military operations aimed at local rebels
– in 1931, one of its platoons was the first Sapper-Pioneer unit heading a Legion parade (during the 100th Anniversary of the Legion in Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria), the tradition held until nowadays
– the company was disbanded in 1940

1933, Attack of Tizi N’Issoual
– a fierce attack during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– conducted by the Ait Haddidou
– last Moroccan rebels
– aimed at a military post of Djebel Mesdrid
– a mountain of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco
– protecting the Tizi N’Issoual pass
– the post was held by 2e REI legionnaires and local auxiliaries
– they were attacked during Camerone Day celebrations
– Lieutenant Deschamps + Lieutenant Versini were killed
– many legionnaires were also killed

1946, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– a platoon led by Second Lieutenant Ducaruge
– the skirmish took place in Central Vietnam
– at Hau Sanh, in the Phan Rang region
– 15 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– however, Second Lieutenant Yves Ducaruge was also killed

1947, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 3e REI took part
– the battle occurred in Northern Vietnam
– in the Nam Dinh region
– 32 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 8 legionnaires were also killed

1954, Dien Bien Phu – Final Offensive
– that day, Viet Minh’s Third (Final) Offensive started
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– a battle in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– in the evening, the Viet Minh launched its final offensive
– carried out by three Viet Minh divisions
– aimed at French strogpoints
– many of them were held by legionnaires
– a week later, the battle would be over

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a three-day joint military operation ended
2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part
– aimed at local rebels
– the operation took place at Djebel Mouadjene
– in the Souk Ahras region, near the Tunisian border
– at least 54 rebels were killed

– also in 1958, in central Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– it took place near Ksar El Hirane, in the Laghouat region
– two Legion Saharan companies participated
3e CSPL + 2e CSPL
– 29 rebels were killed
Si Larbi (a local rebel leader) was captured
– 2 legionnaires (2e CSPL) were killed

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

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


French Foreign Legion: May 02

1855, Colonel Raphaël Vienot killed
– a Foreign Legion officer, born in France in 1804
– in 1854, he took command of the 1st Foreign Legion Regiment
– currently the 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)
– with his unit, he participated in the Crimean War (1853-56)
– a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia
– during that war, they were involved in the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–55)
– the then capital of Crimea, Russian Empire
– that day, legionnaires launched a fierce attack
– aimed at the trenches occupied by Russian troops
– situated near Fort Schwartz, part of the fortification of Sevastopol
– the successful attack was launched in the evening of the 1st May
– it continued until the next morning
– Russian trenches were seized by legionnaires
– nonetheless, Colonel Raphaël Vienot was killed during that attack
– Captain Demailly + Captain Mokrewski + 44 legionnaires were also killed
– 10 officers (including Major Nayral) + 73 legionnaires were wounded
– Colonel Vienot became the second commanding officer of the Legion killed in action

1915, Non-commissioned officer to command a battalion
– that day, Adjudant-chef Léon took command of a battalion
– his battalion lost its last combat-ready officer
– Foreign Legion Orient Battalion
– part of 1er RMA (1st African Regimental Combat Team)
– a regiment-sized combined task force formed in early 1915
– 1er RMA was involved in the Gallipoli Campaign
– a campaign of World War I in today’s Turkey
– it took place at the Gallipoli peninsula,
– Adjudant-chef Léon was a long-serving legionnaire
– Master Sergeant (US) or Warrant Officer Class 2 (UK)
– four days later, he would be promoted to Second Lieutenant

1954, Loss of Eliane 1 + Dominique 3 + Huguette 5
– French strongpoints at Dien Bien Phu, Northern Vietnam
– attacked by the Viet Minh
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
Huguette 5 was held by para-legionnaires
– a reduced company
– the attacks took about six hours
– only three men of them would survive

– in the image, Colonel Vienot and Quartier Vienot, the Legion’s HQ at Aubagne, France, named after him

Colonel Vienot - 1er RE - 1 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Quartier Vienot - France


French Foreign Legion: May 03

1949, in then French Indochina, a military operation
– carried out by 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– in the Mekong Delta region of Southern Vietnam
– 58 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1950, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– in the Saigon region of Southern Vietnam
– 11th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– 49 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1993, in Cambodia, a battle with Khmer rebels
– in the city of Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia
– 2nd Company, 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, future 1er REG) were involved
– the unit made part of a UN’s Apronuc mission
– several rebels were killed

– in the picture, legionnaires from 2nd Company, 6e REG in Cambodia, 1993
– the badge was created to commemorate the mission

6e REG - 6 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1993 - Cambodia


French Foreign Legion: May 04

1925, Battle of Taounate
– an action in northern Morocco
– part of the Rif War (1920-27)
– the seven-hour battle took place near Taounate
– in the Fez region
– a French task force against 1,500 rebels
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– led by Major Cazaban
– the legionnaires successfully seized rebel positions
– however, 10 legionnaires were killed
– 44 legionnaires were wounded

1954, Loss of Huguette 4
– an action in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– an attempt to recapture Huguette 4
Huguette 4 was a French strongpoint at Dien Bien Phu
– held by BMEP legionnaires (Captain Luciani)
– Provisional Foreign Parachute Battalion
– consisting of 1er BEP and 2e BEP survivors
– units inactivated due to huge losses
– also a Moroccan company
– no more than 220 men together
– they were facing an entire Viet Minh regiment
– one of the heaviest Viet Minh assault
– three hours later, the defenders were overrun
Huguette 4 was seized by the Viet Minh

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– at Djebel Taouzara, in the Djelfa region
– conducted by 3rd Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– several rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, 2e REC legionnaires with captured rebel weapons, Algeria, 1959

2e REC - 2 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: May 05

1915, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– in the Taza region
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– a legionnaire was killed
– another legionnaire was wounded

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– at Djebel Debar, in the Guelma region
– carried out by legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– at least 42 rebels were killed

– in the image, 1er REP legionnaires in the Guelma region of Algeria, 1958

1er REP - 1 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: May 06

1922, Battle of Tizi Adni
– an action during the Rif War (1920-27)
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– one of the most violent military actions of the conflict
– including fights with fixed bayonets and hand-to-hand combat
– the battle occurred at the Tizi Adni plateau
– located near Taddout, close to Skoura, northern Morocco
– 3rd Battalion, 3e REI were involved
– some 300 legionnaires led by Major Nicolas
– attacked by around 1,300-1,500 well-armed Moroccan Berbers
– members of the Ait Seghrouchen tribe
– the severe battle lasted 12 hours
– 17 legionnaires were killed
– 64 legionnaires were wounded
– 18 legionnaires were missed
– they would be tortured and massacred

1925, in northern Morocco, a rebel attack
– an action during the Rif War (1920-27)
– the attack took place at Gara Meziat
– near Ain Aicha, in the Fez region
– aimed at 6th Battalion, 1er RE
– led by Major Cazaban
– the legionnaires successfully fought off the enemy
– however, 5 legionnaires were killed
– 11 legionnaires were wounded

1954, Viet Minh’s Final assault at Dien Bien Phu
– an action in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954)
– that day, the Viet Minh launched the final assault
– part of its Third Offensive (May 1-7)
– at noon, the Viet Minh started to use Katyusha
– the well-known Soviet Union rocket launcher
– the new weapon was destroying the French camp
– also, multiple ground assaults on French strongpoints
– mainly held by legionnaires and French paratroopers
– the camp would survive yet one day

1960, in western Algeria, Operation Col Vert
– at Djebel Mzi, in the Ain Sefra region
– aimed at a rebel battalion
– legionnaires from 2e REI took part
– during two days, 159 rebels would be killed
– however, the 2e REI suffered losses
– Lieutenant Claude Maraine was killed
– 10 legionnaires were also killed
– between them, Sergeant Eulenbach + Sergeant Sorg

– in the picture, 2e REI legionnaires during an operation in the Ain Sefra region, Algeria, 1960

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


French Foreign Legion: May 07

1833, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– it took place in the Oran region
– aimed at the Gharabah, a local rebel tribe
– conducted in the night, by a French column
– 4th Battalion (Spaniards), Foreign Legion were involved
– during the operation, three villages were destroyed and several rebels killed

1954, Battle of Dien Bien Phu ended
– a battle in Northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– seen as the decisive battle of the First Indochina War
– between France and the Viet Minh
– it occurred in the Dien Bien Phu valley
– during March 13 – May 7
– up to 14,000 French troops
– 3,200-3,800 of them were legionnaires
– against more than 55,000 Viet Minh soldiers
– up to 2,300 French troops are known to be killed
– between them, many legionnaires
– more than 11,700 French troops were missed or imprisoned
– six Foreign Legion battalions were lost during the battle
– also three Legion mortar companies

1958, Operation Revanche ended
– a three-day operation in northeastern Algeria
– carried out by 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– it occurred near Khirane, in the Khenchela region
– aimed at a large group of rebels and its leader
– wanted by 13e DBLE for two years
– that day, the rebel leader was killed
– his group was annihilated
– over 80 rebels were killed

– in the photo, a legionnaire during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, 1954

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Battle of Dien Bien Phu - legionnaire


French Foreign Legion: May 08

1845, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– it took place near Medina, in the Batna region
– conducted by legionnaires from 2e RLE
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– they were led by Lt Colonel Mac Mahon
– the operation was aimed at local rebels
– 45 rebels were imprisoned

1945, in Europe, World War II ended
– Second World War, it lasted from 1939 to 1945
– fought between the Allies and the Axis
– in Europe in 1944, a major Allied offensive started
– against German forces
– several Foreign Legion units participated
– RMLE (Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI)
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the legionnaires fought in Italy, France, Germany and Austria

1957, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– at Bouhlou, in the Tlemcen region
– 8th Company, 5e REI were involved
– at least 6 rebels were killed

1960, in central Algeria, an operation aimed at local rebels
– at Oued Empires, in the Laghouat region
2e CSPL legionnaires participated
– 7 rebels were killed
– a legionnaire was also killed

– in the image, RMLE half-tracks parade at Oberstdorf (Bavarian Alps), the southernmost point of Germany, reviewed by General De Gaulle, May 1945

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1945 - Oberstdorf - Germany - Austria


French Foreign Legion: May 09

1871, in Paris, three-day clashes started
– with radical socialists
– 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 clashes
– a provisional Foreign Legion unit
– established to participate in the previous war
– thereafter, the men were sent to Paris
– to suppress the revolutionary government
– the three-day would take place on the western edge of the city
– between the Neuilly brige and the Bois de Boulogne, a large public parc
– 11 men of the regiment would be killed or wounded

– since December 1870, the regiment was composed of non-legionnaires in the majority
– because of heavy losses during the war
– at the same time, 3rd + 4th Battalion, Foreign Regiment served in Algeria
– German and Belgian legionnaires in the vast majority
– being not allowed to fight in France

1915, Second Battle of Artois
– in France, a battle on the Western Front of WWI
– French + British troops against German troops
– the five-week battle started on May 9
– it took place near Carency, northern France
– 1er RE’s 2e RM (Regimental Combat Team) was involved
– later, it would become RMLE (and much later 3e REI)
– the unit was composed of over 3,000 men
– legionnaires and foreign volunteers (enlisted for the war period)
– they were led by Lt Colonel Got
– that day, the unit launched a successful attack
– aimed at the fortified German positions
Francois Faber was killed during that attack
– a Belgian cyclist
– the very first foreigner to win the famous Tour de France bicycle race (1909)
– he fought as a volunteer with the Legion’s 2e RM, 1er RE
– for that action, the unit was mentioned in the order of the Army

– in the rare picture, Francois Faber, the first foreigner to win the Tour de France poses as a member of the 2e RM, 1er RE on May 8, 1915, one day before his death in the Second Battle of Artois

Francois Faber - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1915 - Artois - France


French Foreign Legion: May 10

1854, Foreign Legion to take part in the Crimean War
– that day, an order to take part in the Crimean War (1854-56)
– for both regiments of the then Legion, serving in Algeria
– 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 1er RE)
– 2e RLE (2e REI now)
– French Empire declared war on Russia two weeks earlier

1914, Capture of Taza
– an action during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– to capture an important town in eastern Morocco
– conducted by a French composite task force
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE participated

1940, Battle of France started
– the German invasion of France in 1940 during the Second World War
– in six weeks, German forces defeated Allied forces
– they seized France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
– several units of the Legion took part in the battle
– between them, 11e REI, 12e REI or GRDI 97
– most of them were annihilated
– the battle ended in late June

1954, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– it occurred near the Luong Hong outpost
– in the Phan Tiet region of Southern Vietnam
– the outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– Armored Train 3, 2e REI came to defend it
– 43 Viet Minh attackers were killed

– also in 1954, in Tunisia, military operations to maintain order started
– in the Kasserine and Maktar regions, western Tunisia
– legionnaires from 3rd Company, 6e REI were involved
– the operations were aimed at local rebels
– they took several weeks
– 6e REI was the only Legion unit based in Tunisia during the ongoing First Indochina War

– in the old postcard, 1er RE legionnaires at Taza, Morocco, 1914

1er RE - 1 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1914 - Taza - Morocco


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: April 21 – 30
Foreign Legion events: May 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history