Foreign Legion events: June 21 – 30

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

1841, in northeastern Algeria, a week military operation started
– aimed at the Beni Hamed rebel tribe
– the successful operation was carried out by 2nd Battalion, 2e RLE
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– it occurred between Philippeville and Bone

1915, on the Gallipoli peninsula, a successful attack was launched
– part of the June trench warfare during 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 attack took place near the Kereves spur of Cape Helles
– on the Gallipoli peninsula, the European part of today’s Turkey
– the attack was aimed at the Ottoman (Turkish) trenches
– carried out by Battalion Legion, 1er RMA
– 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team, formed in early 1915)
– a composite regiment-seized task force
– the attack took all the night and the next day
– the legionnaires successfully seized the enemy positions
– however, the battalion suffered several casualties
– Lieutenant Aylaz + Second Lieutenants Ferdinand Gregoire, Jean Taillantou and Beck were killed
– a number of legionnaires were also killed

1916, in northern Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– at Djebel Boulaknine, a mountain range in the Taza region
– a French convoy was attacked by local rebels
– protected by men of the 6th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now)
– the legionnaires had to launch three counter-attacks
– with fixed bayonets, they finally fought off the enemy
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– 2 legionnaires were wounded

1951, Operation Ramadan ended
– a two-day operation in then French Indochina
– carried out by 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– it took place close to An Nhon Tay
– in the Hoc Mon region, Southern Vietnam
– during the operation, around 50 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the picture, French troops, including legionnaires, on the Gallipoli peninsula, 1915

Gallipoli - Dardanelles - Campaign - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1915

 

French Foreign Legion: June 22

1925, in Morocco, a local rebel attack
– an action during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– also a part of the Rif War (1921-26)
– a French column was attacked
– between Oulad Allal and Douaher
– in the Ouezzane region, northern Morocco
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE guarded the column
– led by Major Deslandes
– his legionnaires fought off the attackers
– however, a legionnaire was killed
– an officer + 8 legionnaires were wounded

1940, Battle of France ended
– the German invasion of France in 1940 during the Second World War
– it started in May 1940
– 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
– they suffered heavy casualties
– the battle ended in late June

1950, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– during an operation in Laos
– 1st Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) were involved
– 5 legionnaires were killed

– in the photo, a GRDI 97 legionnaire during the 1940 Battle of France

GRDI 97 - GRD 97 - Legionnaire - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: June 23

1946, Battle of Vinh Loc
– a fierce battle with the Viet Minh in then French Indochina
– it took place near Vinh Loc
– in the Thanh Hoa region, Northern Vietnam
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– around 100 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– another 80 rebels were imprisoned

1958, in northwestern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– part of Operation Bordeaux
– it took place at Djebel Hamza, in the Tlemcen region
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI were involved
– 11 rebels were killed
– a rebel was imprisoned

1962, Foreign Legion in Corsica
– that day, first legionnaires landed in Corsica
– Major Orsini and 2nd Company, GILE
– Foreign Legion Training Group (now 4e RE)
– they left Algeria to be placed in Corsica
– at Bonifacio and Corte
– the Legion’s training units would stay in Corsica until 1976

– in the image, GILE legionnaires marching during their Legion basic instruction at Corte, Corsica in mid-1962

GILE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1962 - Corsica

 

French Foreign Legion: June 24

one of the most significant date for the Legion

1832, Foreign Legion’s first flag
– that day in Algeria, the original Foreign Legion obtained its first flag
– brought by Colonel Michel Combes
– the Legion’s new commanding officer
– Colonel Combes fought alongside Napoleon in Russia in 1812
– later, he emigrated to North America
– he lived in Texas before returning to France
– to take command of the Legion
– the original Legion (1831-39, “Old Legion” now) was handed over to Spain in 1835

1852, in northwestern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– near Marnia, in the Tlemcen region
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RLE were involved
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (now 1er RE)
– the battalion was led by Major Tristan-Legros
– the legionnaires supported a French cavalry squadron
– it was attacked by the Beni Snassen rebel tribe
– Second Lieutenant Nouvelle + Second Lieutenant Mareille were killed
– several legionnaires were also killed

1857, Battle of Icheriden
– in northern Algeria, a fierce battle with local rebels
– at Icheriden near Souk El Arba, in the Tizi Ouzou province
– French troops against some 4,000 local tribe rebels
– 1st + 2nd Battalion, 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) participated
– the battle lasted until the next day
– part of a large French military operation
– to finally pacify the Kabylie region
– during the battle, Captain Bouleyre + 8 legionnaires were killed
– 3 officers + 87 legionnaires were wounded
– hundreds of rebels were killed or wounded

1859, Battle of Solferino
– a decisive battle in the Second Italian War of Independence
– at Solferino, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, northern Italy
– the allied French Army and Sardinian Army against the Austrian Army
– up to 300,000 soldiers fought in the battle
– it was the last major battle in world history
– all the armies were under the personal command of their monarchs
– the French + Sardinians won the battle
– legionnaires from 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) took part
– 6 legionnaires were killed
– 2 officers + 38 legionnaires were wounded

1893, Legion Sudan Company dissolution
– in Algeria, Legion Sudan Company was dissolved
– an operational unit established in December 1892
– 123 men led by Captain Destenave
– taking part in the Campaign of French Sudan (1892-93)
– in then Wassoulou Empire, located in the region of the borders of three present-day countries – Mali, Ivory Coast and Guinea (then West Africa)
– Wassoulou Empire was ruled by Samori Toure, the emperor
– in February-March, the company made 600 miles (around 950 km) in 36 days
– they got involved in 14 battles with the troops of Samori Toure

1923, Battle of El Mers
– the battle took place in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– three battalions of 2e REI participated in
– including Captain Aage, the well-known Danish prince
– over 200 rebels were killed
– Lieutenant Henri Grosdidier + 5 legionnaires were also killed
– 10 officers and legionnaires were wounded
– including Major Barriere

1941, Attack on Jezzine
– an action at Jezzine, southern Lebanon
– part of the 1941 Syria-Lebanon Campaign (June-July) of WWII
– French troops facing a British invasion
– the invasion to seize Syria and Lebanon
– ruled by the French since the early 1920s
– on the British side, mainly Australians and Indian troops
– on the French side, mainly the Foreign Legion’s 6e REI
– that day at Jezzine, 6e REI positions
– held by HQ + 1st Battalion, 6e REI
– they were attacked by the Australian 25th Brigade
– a fierce battle followed
– with fixed bayonets
– a number of Australians were killed or wounded
– Lieutenant Leon Lositzky was fatally wounded
– an officer of Russian origin
– Staff Sergeant Schmidt (of German origin) + several legionnaires were also killed

1959, Battle of Sidi Salem
– in Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– at Sidi Salem, in the Bone region
2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part
– at least 29 rebels were killed
– 18 rebels were imprisoned
– 6 legionnaires were also killed

– in the picture, the very first flag of the Foreign Legion obtained in 1832
– it bears the inscription “The King of the French to the Foreign Legion”
– note the reverse side, which bears yet “Honor and Fatherland” (commonly in French regular units today) instead of “Valor and Discipline” (commonly on Legion flags between the 1840s – 1921) or “Honor and Fidelity” (1921 – present)

Foreign Legion Etrangere - Standard -Flag - 1832

 

French Foreign Legion: June 25

1851, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– in the Bougie region
– a French task force were involved
– including legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE
– Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– the French suffered 6 men killed + 30 men wounded

1916, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– at Oulad Embarek, in the Beni Mellal region
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– Captain Marion + a legionnaire were wounded

– in the old postcard, 1er RE legionnaires in Morocco in the mid-1910s

1er RE - 1 RE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1910s - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: June 26

1835, in northwestern Algeria, a local rebel attack
– during the French conquest of Algeria (1830-47)
– taking place in the Oran region
– carried out by some 10,000 local rebels
– led by famous Emir Abd El Kader
– the attack was aimed at a French military column
– around 2,500 men led by General Trézel
– including 4th Battalion (Poles) + 5th Battalion (Italians), Foreign Legion
– a fierce battle followed
– that day, the French suffered many casualties
– 52 men were killed
– around 180 men were wounded
– including severely wounded Lieutenant Josefowicz
– a Polish officer from the 4th Battalion
– his leg was amputated

1856, 1st Foreign Regiment establishment
– at Camp Sathonay in France, 1er RE was established
– by consolidating the two regiments of the 2nd Foreign Legion
– nicknamed Swiss Legion, created in France in 1855
– its members were Swiss legionnaires in the vast majority
– they continued to keep their green uniform
– the uniform distinguished them from the 1st Foreign Legion
– the original one, formed in 1836
– 1st Foreign Legion became the 2e RE (2e REI now) a few weeks later
– 1er RE was composed of Swiss legionnaires with the green uniform until 1859
– 2e RE legionnaires continued in nicknaming the 1er RE as Swiss Legion

1899, Battle of Ankaramena
– a battle with local rebels in Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– it occurred at Ankaramena
– legionnaires from 5th Company, Foreign Legion Task Force were involved
– a legionnaire was killed
– several legionnaires were seriously wounded by arrows

1946, Battle of Cai Mit
– a battle in then French Indochina with the Viet Minh
– near Cai Mit, in the Ben Tre region, Southern Vietnam
– a group from 8th Company, 3e REI were involved
– led by Sergeant Rock and attacked by the Viet Minh during a patrol
– the legionnaires were heavily outnumbered
– another small group of legionnaires from a nearby outpost went to support the comrades and were also attacked
– after several hours of fighting, the two groups were annihilated
– Sergeant Rock + Sergeant Drzewoszewski + 7 legionnaires were killed
– 3e REI landed in Indochina only two months ago, in late April 1946

1958, Battle of Zarif El Ouar
– a fierce battle with local rebels in northeastern Algeria
– part of the Algerian War (1954-62)
4e REI and 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) were involved
– the battle took place at Zarif El Ouar
– in the Negrine region, close to the border with Tunisia
– 61 rebels were killed
– 54 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, 4e REI’s Jeep (serving as a command car) in Algeria, 1958

4e REI - 4 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: June 27

1857, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebel tribes
– a successful action to finish the pacification of the Kabylie region
– a task force of the 1er RE (Foreign Regiment) took part

2004, Operation Carbet ended
– an operation to restore order in Haiti
– a country in the Caribbean
– 2nd Company, 3e REI were involved
– it was the first deployment for 3e REI since its arrival in French Guiana in 1973
– the operation occurred between March-June

– in the picture, 3e REI legionnaires during Operation Carbet in Haiti, 2004
– in front of the 3e REI’s HQ in Haiti, then French Defence Ministry Michele Alliot-Marie

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Michele Alliot-Marie - 2004 - Operation Carbet - Haiti

 

French Foreign Legion: June 28

1835, Battle of Macta
– a battle in northwestern Algeria
– part of the French conquest of Algeria (1830-47)
– French troops against some 5,000 local rebels
– led by famous Emir Abd El Kader
– they attacked a French military column
– around 2,500 men led by General Trézel
– including 4th Battalion (Poles) + 5th Battalion (Italians), Foreign Legion
– led by Colonel Bernelle
– a fierce eleven-hour battle followed
– along the Macta river, in the Oran region
– that day, the French suffered many casualties
– around 280 men were killed or missed
– over 300 French soldiers and legionnaires were wounded
– between the killed, a number of legionnaires
– also two Foreign Legion officers
– Lieutenant Victor Josefowicz
– a Polish officer losing his leg two days earlier
– Lieutenant Vincent Boldini, an Italian officer born in Spain

– the battle led to a reorganization of the Legion
– ordered by Colonel Bernelle (then Legion’s commander)
– because of the result of the battle
– affected by the bad behaviour of the Legion battalions
– caused by their national-based rivalry
– Colonel Bernelle dissolved the single-nationality battalions
– he ordered to mix all nationalities together within Legion units
– since then, the Legion has maintained this successful strategy

1947, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLEM to land in Madagascar
– that day, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLEM landed in Madagascar
– Moroccan Half-Brigade, later 4e DBLE (and much later 4e REI)
– the unit would restore order on the island in the Indian Ocean
– an action during the ongoing war in French Indochina (1946-54)
– Madagascar was part of the then French colonial empire
– affected by violent rebellion carried out by local rebels
– within a year, the legionnaires successfully helped to restore order there
– nevertheless, the unit and its success have remained little-known
– the battalion left Madagascar in late 1951

1948, in then French Indochina, a week-long operation ended
– conducted by Parachute Company, 3e REI
– the very first airborne unit within the Legion
– the operation was aimed at the Viet Minh
– it occurred in the Quang Uyen region
– in Northern Vietnam, close to the border with China
– during the operation, 5 legionnaires were killed or missed
– about 20 legionnaires were wounded

– in the ultra-rare photo, a 4e DBLE legionnaire in Madagascar, June 1950
– the NCO bears the insignia of the 4e DBLE Task Force (ex-2nd Battalion)

4e DBLE - 4 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1950 - Madagascar

 

French Foreign Legion: June 29

1835, Foreign Legion handed over to Spain
– that day, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Foreign Legion would be no more a part of the French Army
– the original Legion created in March 1831 (now called as “Old Legion”)
– it had to be handed over to Spain
– the legionnaires would fight in the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– they would support Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– a month later, the Legion left Algeria for Spain
– its men fought there until December 1838
– the significantly reduced Legion was dissolved in January 1839
– in France, another Legion was established in December 1835
– the current one, called as “New Legion”

1899, Battle of Ambararatra
– a battle with local rebels in Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– it occurred at Ambararatra
– legionnaires from 1st + 3rd Company, Foreign Legion Task Force were involved
– while serving as a reconnaissance unit for a French military column
– Captain Guy Delavau was fatally wounded
– 1st Company’s commander
– 2 legionnaires were also killed
– several legionnaires were wounded

1915, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– close to El Kalaa, in the Taza region
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– the enemy was fought off
– a legionnaire was killed
– 4 legionnaires were wounded

2016, 13e DBLE to be stationed in France
– that day, 13e DBLE was stationed at Camp Larzac, France
– 13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade
– the only half-brigade (demi-brigade) of the French Army
– stationed in France after 76 years
– the unit was formed and trained at Camp Larzac in 1940
– in 2011-16, the unit served in the United Arab Emirates
– in 1962-2011, the 13e DBLE was stationed in Djibouti
– as the last Legion unit permanently based in Africa

– in the image, the regimental flag of 13e DBLE at Camp Larzac, June 29, 2016

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2016 - Larzac - France

 

French Foreign Legion: June 30

1955, 6th Foreign Infantry Regiment dissolution
– in Tunisia, 6e REI was dissolved
– the legendary unit, reduced to a single battalion at the time
– created in 1939 in Syria and Lebanon, Middle East
– nicknamed as Regiment of Levant
– a historical term referring to both countries
– it participated bravely in the 1941 Syria-Lebanon Campaign
– redesignated to 1er REI back in Algeria in early 1942
– it took part in the 1943 Tunisia Campaign
– reactivated in Tunisia in 1949
– the only Legion unit based there during the ongoing First Indochina War (1946-54)
– however, its battalion also took part in operations in Indochina
– in 1955, the reduced 6e REI was dissolved
– the next day, its men formed 3rd Battalion, 2e REI
– in 1984, a new Foreign Legion unit took over the history of the 6e REI
– 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, 1er REG now)
– the very first engineering regiment of the Legion

– also in 1955, 40th Dump Truck Company dissolution
– in Southern Vietnam, 40e CCB was dissolved
– the very first post-WWII engineering unit of the Legion
– formed at Camp Garrigues near Nimes, France in October 1945
– mainly consisting of German POWs
– in early 1946, the unit was sent to Indochina
– to support the French troops in the First Indochina War (1946-54)

1960, Operation Mouette
– in northern Algeria, a military operation
– in the Aures mountains
– 3e REI legionnaires participated
– 22 rebels were killed

1984, Foreign Legion Road Building Reinforced Company dissolution
– in France, CRTRLE was dissolved
– a very little-known Legion engineering unit
– established in 1978 to conduct road building tasks
– mainly at Camp Canjeurs, the then largest military camp of Western Europe
– CRTRLE was composed of around 240 officers and legionnaires
– equipped with some 300 engineering engines and vehicles
– the company was said to be the then largest company within the French Army
– next day, its legionnaires formed a new unit
– the very first engineering regiment of the Foreign Legion
– 6e REG (currently 1er REG)

2000, 5th Foreign Regiment dissolution
– in Tahiti, 5e RE was dissolved
– established as 5e REI in then French Indochina in 1930
– nicknamed as Regiment of Tonkin (today’s northern Vietnam)
– 5e REI served in Vietnam between 1930-46 and 1949-56
– its men were the last Legion elements to leave Indochina
– they moved to Algeria to take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– in 1963, the regiment was reorganized
– it moved to French Polynesia
– to build and guard the French nuclear testing site
– also, to fulfil other construction and security tasks
– in 1996, the nuclear tests ended and the regiment was reduced

– in the image, 5th Regiment legionnaires in Tahiti, French Polynesia, in the late 1960s

5e RMP - 5 RMP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1969 - Tahiti

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: June 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: July 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history