Foreign Legion events: June 01 – 10

Discover the most 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 took place between June 01 and June 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: June 01

1946, Far East Foreign Regiments Disciplinary Company
– in French Indochina, CDRE/EO was established
– a disciplinary unit of the Foreign Legion in Indochina
– based on the Tagne Island, Central Vietnam
– CDRE/EO’s mission was to discipline considerably undisciplined legionnaires of all units serving in Indochina
– after WWII, first Legion units arrived in Indochina in early 1946
– to take part in operations aimed at the Viet Minh
– CDRE/EO was assigned to 2e REI
– the company was dissolved in 1955

1956, Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group
– in Algeria, GPLEA was established
– a little-known, short-lived unit of the Legion
– it participated in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– composed of three motorized infantry companies
– 21e CPLE, 22e CPLE and 23e CPLE
– GPLEA was dissolved in October 1956
– its companies consolidated with 2e REI

1980, 4th Foreign Regiment
– that day, RILE was redesignated
– Foreign Legion Training Regiment
– formed in Castelnaudary (southern France) in 1977
– it became 4th Foreign Regiment (4e RE)
– the unit adopted the number, flag and traditions of the disbanded 4e REI (nicknamed Regiment of Morocco, 1920-64)
– the regiment trains enlisted volunteers and legionnaires

1983, 1er REC landed in Lebanon
– that day, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) landed at Beirut, Lebanon
– it joined the Multinational Force in Lebanon
– an international peacekeeping force created in August 1982
2e REP and 2e REI took part in the Force too
– 1er REC left Lebanon in late September 1983
– during the mission, at least 89 French soldiers were killed
– between the killed, several legionnaires

– in the photo, fresh legionnaires of the 4e RE marching in front of Caserne Lapasset, an old barracks of the regiment in Castelnaudary, France, June-July 1980

4e RE - 4 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1980 - Castelnaudary - Lapasset - France

– below, in the very rare image, Batiment C of the military camp of CDRE/EO disciplinary company on the island of Tagne, French Indochina
– the CDRE/EO insignia bears the latin inscription “Dura Lex Sed Lex” – a strict law, but the law

CDRE/EO - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Disciplinary Company - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: June 02

1837, Battle of Barbastro + Legion’s first commanding officer killed
– one of the most curious battle in the Legion’s history
– fought between two different Legions
– both consisting of German legionnaires in the majority
– the battle occurred at Barbastro
– in the Huesca region, northeastern Spain
– part of the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– a civil war in Spain
– fought between Carlists and Liberals (supported by France and Britain)
– the original “Old” (French) Foreign Legion was involved
– created in March 1831
– reduced to a single battalion at the time
– the Legion was led by Colonel Conrad
– his legionnaires faced another Foreign Legion
– in the service of the Carlists
– according to Carlist officers, many German legionnaires on both sides were old friends talking familiarly together during the battle, before killing each other
– during the battle, both Legions suffered heavy losses
– the Carlists’ Legion had only 160 men combat-ready (out of 900)
– France’s “Old Legion” had Major Meyer + Captain Bazaine wounded
– 100 legionnaires were killed or wounded
– however, Colonel Joseph Conrad was killed
– when leading a counter-attack
– he has been recognized as the first commanding officer of the Foreign Legion killed in action
– his body was saved by Captain Bazaine (Chief of the Staff of the Legion)
– the future Marechal of France
– he joined the Legion as a 21-year-old sergeant in early 1832

– the original “Old Legion” was handed over to Spain in June 1835
– around 4,100 legionnaires
– to fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– in early 1839, “Old Legion” would be dissolved
– tens of its survivors joined the “New Legion” in Algeria
– the current Legion, formed in 1836

2016, 13e DBLE to leave the United Arab Emirates
– Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade
– the unit had been stationed there during 5 years
– it moved to the Emirates from Djibouti, Africa in 2011
– in Djibouti between 1962-2011
– since late June 2016, 13e DBLE has been placed in France
– at Camp Larzac, close to Marseille, southern France
– in 1940, the freshly established unit took basic training there
– between 1940-44 and 1945-2016, the 13e DBLE was stationed outside France

– in the picture, Colonel Joseph Conrad, killed on June 2, 1837, as the first commanding officer of the Legion
– born in Strasbourg in Dec 1788, he was very popular among his men for his friendly character and for his exceptional bravery
– he was nicknamed “The old Fritz” or “The father Fritz” by his legionnaires and “The brave on the white horse” by the Carlists
– after his death, the Legion in Spain stagnated and the next year, it ceased to exist

Colonel Joseph Conrad - Foreign Legion Etrangere

 

French Foreign Legion: June 03

1842, in northeastern Algeria, Djidjelli was attacked again
– the capital of the Djidjelli region
– attacked by around 4,000 local rebels
– the attack took long twenty-two hours
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE defended the town
– Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI
– they were stationed at Djidjelli at that time
– led by Captain Beurmann
– the attackers were fought off
– hundreds of rebels were killed or wounded

1955, in northeastern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– near Bir El Ater, in the Tebessa region
– legionnaires from 21re CP (Motorized Company) were involved
– 21re CPLE (Foreign Legion’s CP) since the next month
– a group led by Sergeant Franz
– several rebels were killed
– the company was created in November 1954
– since 1955, an independent unit equipped with Jeeps, Dodges and AMM8 armored cars
– in 1956, it was integrated into GPLEA
– Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group
– later that year, the GPLEA merged with 2e REI

1959, in northern Algeria, a two-day operation ended
– carried out by legionnaires from 3e REI
– close to Bou Achra, in the Ain Defla region
– the operation was aimed at local rebels
– 6 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 3e REI legionnaires during an operation in Algeria, late 1959

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: June 04

1859, Battle of Magenta + Colonel De Chabrières killed
– an action during the Second Italian War of Independence (1859)
– fought by the French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire
– the battle took place close to the town of Magenta
– in the Lombardy region, northern Italy
– a decisive French-Sardinian victory under Napoleon III
– Magenta was overrun by French units
– both Foreign Regiments were involved in
1er RE + 2e RE (2e REI)
– however, they suffered heavy casualties
– 1er RE losses:
– 14 legionnaires killed
– 5 officers + 30 legionnaires wounded
– 2e RE (2e REI now) losses:
– Colonel Marie de Chabrières was killed
– the then commanding officer of 2e RE
– killed when his legionnaires launched a frontal attack
– also another three officers were killed
– Captain Alavoine + Captain D’Assis + Lieutenant André
– 41 legionnaires were killed too
– 6 officers + 113 legionnaires were wounded
– 2e REI’s regimental flag has been inscribed with the battle honor
– its current barracks in Nimes (France) bear the name of Colonel de Chabrières
– by coincidence, the 2e RE had its depot stationed in Nimes during the war in Italy in 1859

1914, in Morocco, a battle with local rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– it took place in the Taza region
– between Sidi Belcacem and M’Coun
– 1st Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– however, Lieutenant Petersen was killed
– Major Charles Met (battalion commander) was seriously wounded
– his leg had to be amputated
– the legendary officer of the Legion
– he would leave the legion in 1917, after 25 years of service

1915, Third Battle of Krithia – Kérévés Déré
– the third and final Allied attempt to advance in the Battle of Gallipoli
– fought between the Allies (Britain + France) and Ottoman (Turkish) forces
– part of the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I
– then Ottoman Empire was in opposition to the Allies
– the battle took place at the Gallipoli peninsula
– at Cape Helles near Sedd-Ul-Bahr
– the plan was to seize Krithia
– a fortified village north-east of Sedd-Ul-Bahr
– held by Ottoman troops
– at noon, a large attack started
– French troops attacked through Kérévés Déré (a ravine)
– Battalion Legion, 1er RMA were involved
– 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team, formed in early 1915)
– a composite regiment-seized task force
– the legionnaires with fixed bayonetes attacked Turkish defenders equipped with machine guns
– during the attack, Battalion Legion suffered heavy casualties
– Second Lieutenant Charles Caumer + 22 legionnaires were killed
– 2 officers + 76 legionnaires were wounded

1925, Battle of Astar
– an action during the Rif War (1920-27)
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– a battle to retake the military post of Astar
– located at Taounate in the Rif Mountains, northern Morocco
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– led by Major Cazaban
– the battalion defended the post
– however, over 30 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1956, in northern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– near Amourah, in the Djelfa region
– legionnaires from 1re CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company) were involved
– during the battle, at least 22 rebels were killed

– in the image, Colonel Marie Louis Henry de Granet-Lacroix de Chabrières being killed during the 1859 Battle of Magenta, painted by Pierre Benigni

Battle of Magenta - Colonel De Chabrières - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1859 - Pierre Benigni

 

French Foreign Legion: June 05

1956, 2e REP’s Regimental flag
– that day in Algeria, 2e REP obtained its regimental flag
– 2nd Foreign Parchute Regiment
– formed in Algeria in December 1955
– by consolidating the 2e BEP (Battalion) with the 3e REP
– the regiment obtained the flag at Philippeville, its garrison town
– currently based in Corsica, the 2e REP is the only airborne unit of the Legion

1957, in northwestern Algeria, a military operation
– at Djebel Morhad, in the Ain Sefra region
– carried out by 2nd + 3rd + 5th Motorized Company, 2e REI
– aimed at local rebels
– at least 35 rebels would be killed

– in the image, Major Masselot (left), the then deputy commander of the 2e REP, and the color guard with the new regimental flag obtained that day at Philippeville, Algeria, June 5, 1956

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Masselot - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: June 06

1843, in northeastern Algeria, Djidjelli was attacked
– the capital of the Djidjelli region
– attacked by around 3,000 local rebels
– legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 2e RLE defended the town
– Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI
– they were stationed at Djidjelli at that time
– led by Major Petit de la Haye
– the attackers were fought off
– tens of rebels were killed
– however, 14 legionnaires were also killed
– the previous year (1842), Djidjelli was attacked several times

1940, Attack of Soissons
– a violent action in northeastern France
– part of the Battle of France (May-June 1940) of WWII
– 3rd Battalion, 12e REI were involved
– led by Major André
– the unit was defending the seven bridges of the River Aisne
– located in the Soissons sector
– the battalion got involved in a severe, ten-hour battle with German forces
– during the battle, the battalion was annihilated
– it lost the vast majority of its strength
– also, almost all of its officers were killed or wounded
– only one lieutenant was combat-ready
– 12e REI (some 3,000 men) was a provisional unit
– commanded by Lt Colonel Besson
– established in February 1940 in France
– composed of around 400 legionnaires, former legionnaires-reservists, foreign volunteers and mobilized foreigners living in France

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– near Champlain, in the Medea region
– carried out by 3e REI legionnaires
– aimed at local rebels
– at least 37 rebels would be killed

1960, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– near the Chebket El Malleg mountain, in the Djelfa region
– conducted by two motorized squadrons from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– aimed at local rebels
– 30 rebels were killed
– 4 rebels were imprisoned

– in the picture, at Camp of Valbonne in France, Lt Colonel Besson is receiving the fanion of his 12e REI from an unknown civil woman (very unusual for such military ceremonies) on April 26, 1940

12e REI - 12 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: June 07

1846, in northeastern Algeria, a successfull battle with local rebels
– in the Setif region
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE were involved
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– they were led by Major Lafont de Villiers
– however, an officer + a legionnaire were killed
– 17 legionnaires were wounded

1947, in then French Indochina, severe clashes with the Viet Minh
– near Cu Chi, in the Hoc Mon region of Southern Vietnam
– Heavy Company, 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated
– about 150 Viet Minh attackers were killed
– another 100 rebels were imprisoned
– however, Lieutenant Philippe Rouast was killed
– Heavy Company’s commander
– 14 legionnaires were wounded or missed

1951, also in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– close to Duc Hau, in the Ninh Binh region, Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) were involved
– 57 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 5 legionnaires were also killed

1959, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by 1st Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– at Djebel Mahregue, close to Charef, in the Djelfa region
– at least 9 rebels were killed

2010, in Afghanistan, a local rebel attack
– at Shelwatay, in the Tagab valley, Kapisa region
– Commando Group, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were attacked
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– however, a legionnaire was killed
– Sergeant Konrad Rygiel (28, of Polish origin)
– 3 legionnaires were wounded

– in the photo, 2e REP’s Sergeant Konrad Rygiel, killed in Afghanistan on June 7, 2010

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2010 - Konrad Rygiel - Afghanistan

 

French Foreign Legion: June 08

1865, in Mexico, a battle with Mexican rebels
– part of the French intervention in Mexico (1862-67)
– the battle took place at La Carbonera, in the Oaxaca state
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, Foreign Regiment were involved
– a company led by Captain Barutel
– the rebels were fought off
– however, Captain Joseph Fischer (another officer) was killed

1929, Battle of Ait Yacoub
– a battle with Moroccan rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle took place at Ait Yacoub
– in the Gourrama region of northeastern Morocco
– a French task force were involved
– including legionnaires from 3e REI
– a detachment of the 6th Company, 2nd Battalion
– led by Lieutenant Lemarchand
– the task force was attacked by hundreds of rebels
– the French suffered heavy casualties
– that day, 118 men were killed, wounded or missed
– between the killed, Lieutenant Pierre Lemarchand
– he and his legionnaires made “Camerone”
– with bayonets fixed, they fought to the finish

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign started
– the British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon
– an operation of June-July 1941 during World War II
– to seize Syria and Lebanon
– the countries controlled by the French since the early 1920s
– on the British side, Australian and Indian troops in the vast majority
– the French side included the Foreign Legion’s 6e REI (Infantry Regiment)
– although badly equipped for modern warfare, the legionnaires fought bravely and suffered heavy casualties
– the armistice was signed in mid-July
– the French had to withdraw from the Middle East

1949, Operation Jonquille ended
– a week operation in then French Indochina
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– it took place in the Plaine des Joncs region, Southern Vietnam
– 1st + 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) participated
– the 1er REC inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy
– 167 Viet Minh rebels were killed by its legionnaires

1950, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– an action during Operation Foudre
– between My Do and Viet An, in the Nam Dinh region, Northern Vietnam
– 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) successfully took part
– 15 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– 160 rebels were imprisoned

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with a rebel group
– near Bir El Ater, in the Tebessa region
– 23e CPLE (Foreign Legion Motorized Company) participated
– 35 rebels were killed
– 10 rebels were imprisoned
– 23e CPLE was a little-known, independent Legion unit (est. Jan 1955)
– equipped with Jeeps, Dodges and AMM8 armored cars
– in June 1956, the unit helped to form GPLEA
– Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group
– in late 1956, GPLEA companies merged with 2e REI

– in the picture, the color guard of 6e REI, led by Lieutenant de Montfalcon, at Homs, Syria, 1940

6e REI - 6 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - Syria

 

French Foreign Legion: June 09

1846, in northeastern Algeria, another successfull battle with local rebels
– in the Setif region
– legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE were involved
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– they were led by Major Lafont de Villiers
– however, a legionnaire was killed
– 13 legionnaires were wounded
– for the unit, the second battle in three days

1916, in Morocco, a skirmish with Moroccan rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– close to Meski, in the Bou Denib region
– 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE were involved
– a legionnaire was killed
– 6 legionnaires were wounded

1923, Battle of Bou Khamoudj
– a fierce eight-hour battle with Moroccan rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– near Bou Khamoudj, in the Taza region
– 1st Battalion, 3e REI + 1st Mounted Company, 2e REI participated
– they fought with fixed bayonets
– during the battle, Lieutenant Castelani + 10 legionnaires were killed
– 17 legionnaires were wounded

1940, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Lacombe de La Tour killed
– the commanding officer of GRDI 97
– Infantry Division’s Reconnaissance Group, formed in early 1940
– to take part in the Battle of France (May-June 1940) of WWII
– between France and Germany
– GRDI 97 consisted of cavalry legionnaires
– elements from both 1er REC and 2e REC (Cavalry Regiments)
– that day, a severe battle with German troops
– near the woods of Noroy, in the Compiègne region, northern France
– GRDI 97 suffered heavy casualties
– Lt Colonel Paul Lacombe de La Tour was killed
– the commanding officer
– two thirds of its strength (about 400 men of 650) were killed, wounded or missed

1959, in northwestern Algeria, a two-day military operation ended
– carried out by legionnaires from 5th Motorized Company, 2e REI
– at Djebel Bou Saoud, in the Ain Sefra region
– at least 37 rebels were killed

– in the image, 2e REI legionnaires in northwestern Algeria, June 1959

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

– in the image, Lt Colonel Paul Lacombe de La Tour, the killed commander of GRDI 97

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Lacombe de La Tour - Foreign Legion Etrangere - GRDI 97 - GRD 97 - 1940 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: June 10

1925, Battle of Ain Mediouna
– a severe battle with Moroccan rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– at Ain Mediouna, Taza region, northern Morocco
– a French military outpost
– held by a RICM (Colonial Infantry Regiment) platoon
– outnumbered and besieged by Moroccan rebels
– several times attacked
– an operation to liberate the outpost was launched
– by 6th Battalion, 1er RE
– about 60 volunteers chosen for the operation
– led by Lieutenant Guyon
– during the night of June 10, the legionnaires passed through the Moroccan encirclement
– then, a severe battle with rebels started
– including hand-to-hand combat
– it took several hours
– in the morning, only Sergeant Vietorovsky + 4 legionnaires rejoined the battalion
– Lieutenant Jean Guyon + Lieutenant Maurice Beulaygue + Lieutenant Jean Fain + Lieutenant Wablé of the Legion were killed
– over 50 legionnaires were also killed
– Lieutenant Bouscatier and his RICM men were killed too
– for this action of bravery, the 6th Battalion was mentioned in the order of the Army and received the War Cross award

1954, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– close to Qui Nhon, in the Binh Dinh region, Central Vietnam
– 1st Amphibious Group, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– 15 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1957, in northern Algeria, a three-week operation ended
– conducted by legionnaires from 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– in the Kabylie region
– during the operation, at least 34 rebels were killed

– in the photo, Alligators of the 1er REC in French Indochina, June 1954

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: May 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: May 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: May 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: April 21 – 30
French Foreign Legion history