Foreign Legion events: June 21 – 30

Find out some important data of the French Foreign Legion’s history. Remarkable campaigns, battles, deployments, operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units… Learn about the Legion’s significant events which occurred between June 21 and June 30.

 

French Foreign Legion: June 21

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

1915, during the Gallipoli Campaign (or Dardanelles Campaign) of World War I, in which French and British troops fought against Ottomans (Turks), a successful attack was launched
– the attack was launched by Battalion Legion, 1er RMA (African Regimental Combat Team) in the Kereves spur of Cape Helles on the Gallipoli peninsula, the European part of today’s Turkey
– Battalion Legion seized the Ottoman fortification
– during the night and the next day, the legionnaires managed to defend their positions
– nevertheless, Lieutenant Aylaz + Second Lieutenants Gregoire, Taillanton and Beck + several legionnaires were killed

1916, a fierce battle with local rebels at Djebel Boulaknine, a mountain range in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– the rebels attacked a French convoy, protected by legionnaires from 6th Battalion, 2e RE (2e REI now)
– during the battle, the legionnaires had to launch three counter-attacks with fixed bayonets to fight off the enemy
– 3 legionnaires were killed, another 2 legionnaires were wounded

1951, Operation Ramadan ended
– a two-day operation for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– it took place close to An Nhon Tay in the Hoc Mon region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 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

1940, Battle of France ended
– the German invasion of France in 1940 during the Second World War
– in six weeks (since mid-May), German forces defeated Allied forces and seized France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
– several units of the Legion (including 11e REI, 12e REI or GRDI 97) took part in
– they suffered heavy casualties

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

– in the photo, a legionnaire with his friend in France, May 1940

Legionnaire - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: June 23

1946, Battle of Vinh Loc
– four days after the Battle of Mat Cat, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) got involved in a fierce battle with the Viet Minh near Vinh Loc in the Thanh Hoa region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– Viet Minh had around 100 men killed, another 80 were imprisoned

1958, during Operation Bordeaux at Djebel Hamza in the Tlemcen region, northwestern Algeria, a battle with local rebels for 3rd Battalion, 5e REI
– 11 rebels were killed, 1 rebel imprisoned

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

– in the image, a 5e REI patrol in northern Algeria, late 1950s

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: June 24

one of the most significant date for the Legion

1832, first standard for the Foreign Legion
– that day, Colonel Combes landed in Algiers (the future capital of Algeria) with the first flag for the Foreign Legion (now called “Old Legion”, 1831-39)
– Colonel Combes also became the new commanding officer of the Legion
– fighting alongside Napoleon in Russia in 1812, he later emigrated and lived in Texas in America before returning to France to take command of the Legion

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

1857, Battle of Icheriden
– a fierce battle with some 4,000 local tribe rebels at Icheriden near Souk El Arba, in the Tizi Ouzou province of northern Algeria
– legionnaires from 1st + 2nd Battalion, 2e RE (Foreign Regiment, 2e REI now) participated in
– the battle, which continued until the next day, was 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
– 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 where 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 in
– 2e RE had 6 legionnaires killed, 2 officers + 38 legionnaires were wounded

1893, Legion Sudan Company dissolved
– established in December 1892, the company was involved in the Campaign of French Sudan (1892-93)
– the campaign took place 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, Legion Sudan Company (123 men led by Captain Destenave), made 600 miles (around 950 km) in 36 days and 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
– 2e REI had 5 legionnaires killed + 10 men wounded, including Major Barriere

1941, during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, the British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon of WWII, an attack at Jezzine
– at Jezzine in southern Lebanon, the positions of HQ + 1st Battalion, 6e REI were attacked by Australian forces
– in a following fierce battle with charged bayonets, the enemy was fought off
– a number of Australians were killed and wounded
– Lieutenant Lezitzki + Staff Sergeant Schmidt + several legionnaires were also killed
– the Syria-Lebanon Campaign was a British operation of June-July 1941 during World War II to seize Syria and Lebanon, controlled by the French since the early 1920s

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

– in the picture, the very first flag of the Foreign Legion obtained in 1832
– it bears the inscription “The King of the French for 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 the early morning, a French task force, including legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI), got involved in a severe battle with local rebels in the Bougie region of northeastern Algeria
– during the battle, the French had 6 men killed + 30 men wounded

1916, at Oulad Embarek in the Beni Mellal region of Morocco, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were attacked by Moroccan rebels
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– Captain Marion + 1 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 the Oran region of northwestern Algeria, a French military column headed by General Trézel was attacked by some 10,000 local rebels led by the famous Emir Abd El Kader
– the column was composed of around 2,500 men, including legionnaires from 4th Battalion (Polish) and 5th Battalion (Italians) of the Foreign Legion
– that day, the French had 52 men killed
– around 180 men were wounded, including severely wounded Lieutenant Josefowicz from the 4th Battalion (he had his leg amputated)

1856, 1st Foreign Regiment establishment
– at Camp Sathonay in France, 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE) was established
– it was formed by amalgamating and redesignating the two regiments of the 2nd Foreign Legion (created 1855, nicknamed Swiss Legion)
– its members were Swiss legionnaires in the vast majority
– they continued to keep their green uniform, which distinguished them from the 1st Foreign Legion (the original one, formed in 1836, which became 2nd Foreign Regiment a few weeks later – 2e REI now)
– 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 at Ankaramena in Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– legionnaires from 5th Company, Foreign Legion Task Force took part in
– 1 legionnaire was killed, several legionnaires were seriously wounded by arrows

1946, Battle of Cai Mit
– a battle with the Viet Minh near Cai Mit in the Ben Tre region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– during a patrol, a heavily outnumbered group of Sergeant Rock from 8th Company, 3e REI was attacked by the Viet Minh
– another small group of legionnaires from a nearby outpost went to support the comrades and was 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, a fierce battle with local rebels for legionnaires from 4e REI and 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) at Zarif El Ouar, in the Negrine region of northeastern Algeria, close to the border with Tunisia
– during the battle, 61 rebels were killed, 54 rebels were imprisoned

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

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

 

French Foreign Legion: June 27

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

2004, Operation Carbet ended for 2nd Company, 3e REI
– the operation took place in Haiti, a country in the Caribbean
– it was the first deployment for 3e REI since its arrival in French Guiana in 1973
– its purpose had been to restore order in Haiti

– 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
– along the Macta river in the Oran region of northwestern Algeria, a French military column headed by General Trézel was attacked by some 5,000 local rebels led by the famous Emir Abd El Kader
– the column and the rebels had already got in a battle two days earlier
– the column was composed of around 2,500 men, including legionnaires from 4th Battalion (Polish) and 5th Battalion (Italians) of the Foreign Legion
– that day during the eleven-hour battle, the French had around 280 men killed or missed
– over 300 French soldiers and legionnaires were wounded
– between the killed, Lieutenant Josefowicz (a Polish officer severely wounded two days earlier) and Lieutenant Boldini (an Italian officer)
– the result of the battle and the bad behaviour of the Legion battalions during the action led Colonel Bernelle (then Legion’s commander) to mix all nationalities together in Legion units since then, instead of the previous single-nationality battalions

1947, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLEM (Moroccan Half-Brigade, later 4e DBLE, and much later 4e REI) landed in Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– within a year, the legionnaires successfully restored order in this part of the French colonial empire, during the ongoing war in French Indochina
– the battalion left Madagascar in late 1951

1948, a week-long operation ended for Parachute Company of 3e REI (the very first airborne unit within the Legion) in the Quang Uyen region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, close to the border with China
– during the operation, the company lost 5 legionnaires
– 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 to be handed over to Spain
– that day, a royal decree was issued
– it prescribed that the Foreign Legion (created March 1831, now called as “Old Legion”) will be no more a part of the French Army
– the Legion has to be handed over to Spain
– the legionnaires will fight in the First Carlist War for Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– a month later in Algeria, the Legion boarded ships and was sent to Spain
– it fought there until December 1838 and was dissolved in January 1839
– in France, another Legion (“New Legion”) was established in December 1835

1899, Battle of Ambararatra
– a battle at Ambararatra of Madagascar, Indian Ocean
– legionnaires from 1st + 3rd Company, Foreign Legion Task Force took part in
– serving as a reconnaissance unit for a French military column, the legionnaires were attacked by local rebels
– Captain Delavau (1st Company’s commander) + 2 legionnaires were killed
– several legionnaires were wounded

1915, in the M’coun region of northern Morocco, 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 1er RE got involved in fighting with local rebels
– Lieutenant Peyre + 2 legionnaires were wounded

– also in 1915, close to El Kalaa in the Taza region of northern Morocco, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were attacked by Moroccan rebels
– the enemy was fought off
– a legionnaire was killed + 4 legionnaires were wounded

2016, 13e DBLE (Demi-Brigade) was stationed at Camp Larzac, France
– it moved there from the United Arab Emirates
– the 13e DBLE had already been placed at the camp
– 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 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 dissolved
– the legendary 6e REI (reduced to a single battalion) was dissolved
– next day, the unit would consolidate with 2e REI
– ex-6e REI legionnaires would form its new 3rd Battalion
– 6e REI was created in Syria and Lebanon in 1939, nicknamed as Regiment of Levant (a historical term referring to both countries)
– the unit fought bravely in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign in 1941, defending the French-contolled area being attacked by British forces (including General de Gaulle‘s Free French)
– deactivated the same year, the 6e REI was reactivated in 1949 and placed as the only Foreign Legion regiment in Tunisia during the First Indochina War
– because of the ongoing war, it was reduced to a single battalion in 1951
– in 1984, the freshly created 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, future 1er REG), the very first engineering regiment of the Legion, adopted its number, history and traditions
– the 6e REI and 1er REP (Parachute Regiment, disbanded in 1961) have remained the most controversial units of the Legion in modern history of France (because of political reasons, both were actively opposing General de Gaulle – 6e REI in 1941 and 1er REP in 1961)

– also in 1955, 40th Dump Truck Company dissolved
– 40e CCB (Dump Truck Company) was dissolved
– the very first post-WWII engineering unit of the Legion
– formed with German POWs at Camp Garrigues near Nimes, France in October 1945
– in early 1946, the unit was sent to Indochina to support the French troops in military operations, which turned into the First Indochina War later that year

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

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

2000, 5th Foreign Regiment dissolved
– the famous 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
– then, it moved to Algeria to take part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– in 1963, the regiment moved to French Polynesia to build and guard the French nuclear testing site and 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: June 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: May 21 – 31
Foreign Legion events: May 11 – 20
French Foreign Legion history