Foreign Legion events: July 01 – 10

Explore important historical events in French Foreign Legion’s history. Significant campaigns and battles, deployments and operations, the establishments or dissolutions of units. See the most notable events of the Foreign Legion which occurred between July 01 and July 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: July 01

1939, 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment established
– in Morocco, 2e REC was established
– based at Midelt, composed of three squadrons
– its legionnaires took part in the 1940 Battle of France
– deactivated in 1940
– reactivated in 1946, it took part in military operations in Madagascar 1949-52, in Morocco 1953-56 and in Algeria 1956-62
– 2e REC was dissolved in late July 1962

1943, Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team established
– in Algeria, RMLE was established
– under the flag of the deactivated 3e REI, it grouped combat-ready infantry legionnaires serving in North Africa to fight alongside the Allies in the Liberation of France in 1944-45
– in 1945, RMLE was retitled and became 3e REI

1948, 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion established
– in Algeria, 1er BEP was established
– it participated in the First Indochina War, where the unit was two times annihilated
– in 1955, it became the 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) and took part in the Algerian War
– one of the most prestigious unit of the Foreign Legion and the French Army, the 1er REP was disbanded in April 1961, as a punishment for its active participation in the Algiers putsch

1949, Captain Miloyevitch killed
– a Foreign Legion officer of Serbian origin
Svetozar Miloyevitch, a former Serbian Cavalry officer and a military attaché in Paris in 1939, he joined the Legion in 1947 with the rank of captain
– when commanding the 1st Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) in then French Indochina, his command Jeep was attacked by the Viet Minh near Binh An, in the Thu Thua region of southern Vietnam
– Captain Miloyevitch was killed and decapitated
– his driver, a German legionnaire, was severely wounded

1984, 6th Foreign Engineer Regiment established
– in France, 6e REG was established
– it was the very first engineering regiment of the Legion
– in 1999, it was retitled and became 1er REG

1999, 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment established
– in France, 2e REG was established
– a “mountain” regiment of the Legion
– 2e REG is the youngest regiment of the Foreign Legion
– its legionnaires took part in the War in Afghanistan and in several operations in ex-Yugoslavia and Africa

– in the photo, 1er BEP legionnaires in French Indochina, in the early 1950s

1er BEP - 1 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: July 02

1947, a truck of 40e CCB (Dump Truck Company, the very first engineering unit of the Legion established after WWII) was attacked by the Viet Minh near My Tho, in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 5 legionnaires were killed

1949, at Ding Banh, in the Bac Ninh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1er BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 1er REP) got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– 6 legionnaires (including Sergeants Souchet + Harbeck) were killed
– 14 legionnaires were wounded

1957, a successful military operation for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) and 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– the operation took place close to Zaccar, in the Djelfa region of northern Algeria
– it was aimed at a large rebel group
– that day, 80 rebels were killed + 10 rebels were imprisoned
– 3e CSPL had Lieutenant De Lavergnolle + Staff Sergeant Rutkowski (both serving as platoon leaders) and 3 legionnaires killed

– in the picture, a 1957 Kepi blanc magazine cover shows a 3e CSPL lieutenant

3e CSPL - 3 CSLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1957 - lieutenant

 

French Foreign Legion: July 03

1866, Siege of Hacienda De La Encarnacion
– during the French intervention in Mexico (1863-67), Hacienda De La Encarnacion, a provisional outpost located near Matehuala, central Mexico was attacked by a large group of Mexican rebels
– the hacienda was occupied by Captain Frenet and his 125 legionnaires from 4th Battalion, RE (Foreign Regiment, then title for the Legion)
– during two days, they successfully managed to defend the hacienda and fought off the enemy
– 10 rebels were killed, another 30 Mexicans were wounded

1941, during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, the British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon of WWII, the siege of Palmyra ended
Palmyra, an ancient city in central Syria, was defended by 15th Company, 6e REI and a light desert company composed of local auxiliaries
– the city was besieged by British troops
– the two companies were heavily outnumbered
– British troops, British artillery and British aircrafts were continuously attacking the French positions
– nonetheless, the legionnaires and local auxiliaries managed to defend the city
– after 13 days of the siege, when the two companies run out of ammunition, Major Gherardi (Palmyra sector commander) surrendered, however
– 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

1948, during an operation near Hoc Mon in southern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) clashed with the Viet Minh
– 19 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1954, during Operation Auvergne near An Xa in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE got involved in a severe battle with the Viet Minh
– Viet Minh had 31 men killed
– in three weeks, the First Indochina War will be over

– in the image, 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE legionnaires in Indochina, 1954
– note the khaki berets worn as a traditional headgear within the 13e DBLE (since the 1940 Norwegian Campaign)

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1954 - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: July 04

1843, a battle with local rebels for legionnaires of the 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 1er RE), led by Colonel Mouret
– the successful battle took place at Zemmora, in the Ouarsenis region of northwestern Algeria

1916, in northern France, during the Battle of Albert, about 2,000 legionnaires and war-period volunteers from RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, led by Major Cot) attacked German positions at Belloy-en-Santerre, 875 yards (800 m) distant
– after many hours of severe fighting, the village was seized, but the combat team suffered heavy casualties
– RMLE lost about 870 men that day (including almost all of its officers and NCOs)
– between the killed, American poet Alan Seeger
– during the night and the next day, over 750 German prisoners will be captured
– for that action, the RMLE was mentioned in order of the Army
– the Battle of Albert comprised first operations of the Battle of the Somme (also Somme Offensive, July-November 1916), the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front

1947, Attack of Ambohiriana
– in Madagascar (Indian Ocean), around 1,200 local rebels attacked the camp of 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLEM (Moroccan Half-Brigade, future 4e REI), based at Ambohiriana
– legionnaires successfully fought off the attackers

– in the photo, American poet Alan Seeger as a member of the RMLE

Alan Seeger - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1916 - France - WWI

 

French Foreign Legion: July 05

1842, a two-week military operation, aimed at a local rebel tribe, started for two battalions of the 1er RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, 1er RE now) in the Oran region, northwestern Algeria
– during the operation, a number of legionnaires succumbed to sun stroke or committed suicide because of the extremely hot weather

1867, Foreign Regiment reduction
– that day, an order was placed
– it ordered that almost 400 NCOs and corporals of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion, some 5,000 men) had to leave the unit
– this decision made bad results for the whole unit in the long term
– later that year, the strength of the regiment was reduced to 3,000 men

1960, a military operation for 4th Squadron, 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) in the Djelfa region, northern Algeria
– during the operation, several rebels were killed

– in the picture, 2e REC legionnaires with their AM-M8 (M8 Greyhound) armored car in Algeria, around 1960

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

 

French Foreign Legion: July 06

1856, 1st Foreign Regiment left France for Algeria
– in France, following the end of the Crimean War, the 2nd Foreign Legion (nicknamed Swiss Legion, created 1855) was reorganized and redesignated to 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)
– its members were Swiss legionnaires in the vast majority
– that day, 1er RE left France to be stationed at Philippeville, northeastern Algeria
– the Swiss legionnaires continued to keep their green uniform, which distinguished them from the 1st Foreign Legion (the original Legion formed in 1836, which became the 2nd Foreign Regiment – 2e REI now)
– 1er RE was composed of the green-uniformed Swiss legionnaires until 1859
– 2e RE legionnaires continued to nickname the 1er RE as Swiss Legion

1941, during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, the British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon of WWII, a severe battle at Damour
– in the early morning, the positions of 2nd Battalion, 6e REI were being heavily shelled by British artillery north of Damour, Lebanon
– then, two Australian battalions launched a frontal attack
– 6th Company had two thirds of its legionnaires killed or wounded (including severely wounded Captain Deluy, their commander)
– 5th Company had many men killed (including Lieutenant Lesueur + Sergeant Major Schmorgounow) but stopped the Australian attack
– 7th Company launched a fierce counter-attack with charged bayonets and the legionnaires successfully fought off the Australians
– Captain Paté (7th Company commander) was badly wounded, however
– that day, 2nd Battalion had at least 70 officers and legionnaires killed
– in mid-August, the Australian officer, commanding his troops at Damour, visited the 6e REI (leaving the Levant for France) and personally congratulated Major Brisset, the 2nd Battalion commander, for the bravely action his legionnaires conducted at Damour on July 6
– 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

1947, during a patrol near Mai Xa, in the Nam Dinh region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina, a group of legionnaires from 2nd Company, 2e REI (led by Staff Sergeant Faucon) was attacked by a Viet Minh company
– Staff Sergeant Faucon and 13 legionnaires were killed
– only 3 legionnaires survived and rejoined their unit
– the Viet Minh company will be annihilated in October 1947

– in the very rare image, 7th Company, 6e REI at Damour on July 6, 1941, when paying homage to the 2nd Battalion legionnaires killed that day

6e REI - 6 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1941 - Damour - Lebanon

 

French Foreign Legion: July 07

1912, two-day clashes with local rebels ended for Mounted Company, 2e RE (currently 2e REI)
– the clashes took place at Souk El Tnine and Moulay Bou Chta, between Taza and Nador, northern Morocco
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 4 legionnaires were wounded

1941, during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, the British invasion of French Syria and Lebanon of WWII, a fierce battle close to Damour
– during the night, 1st + 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 6e REI got involved in a fierce battle with an Australian battalion close to Damour, Lebanon
– the battle lasted several hours
– 6e REI had 10 men killed (including Master Sergeant Atlas and Staff Sergeant Vandale) + 19 men wounded (including Major Ott, a battalion combat medic)
– 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

– in the photo, Mounted Company legionnaires in Morocco, in the early 1910s

Mounted Company - Cie Montee - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1913 - Morocco

 

French Foreign Legion: July 08

1842, in the Kabylie region of northeastern Algeria, the town of Djidjelli was attacked by around 1,500 local rebels
– the attack took twenty-two hours
– a company from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI), stationed at Djidjelli at that time, successfully fought off the attackers

1917, Battle of Skoura
– a battle near Skoura, a small village between Taferdouste and Tilmirate, in the Fez region of northern Morocco
– two French Mobile Groups, including Mounted Company and 6th Battalion, both from 2e RE (now 2e REI), were attacked by two Moroccan tribes
– the enemy was fought off by continuing machine gun fire conducted by Mounted Company (Captain Catin)
– 6th Battalion had 41 legionnaires killed, 29 were wounded
– Mounted Company had 1 legionnaire killed, another 4 were wounded
– for its rapid and effective action during the battle, the Mounted Company obtained its third mention in the order of the Army

1946, Battle of Cay Sop
– a three-hour battle with the Viet Minh in then French Indochina
– it took place near Cay Sop, in the Cu Chi region of southern Vietnam
– a platoon of legionnaires (led by Sergeant Major Sron, a long-serving legionnaire) from 9th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade), and their company commander Captain De Bazelaire were attacked by the Viet Minh
– Captain De Bazelaire + 18 legionnaires were killed
– 10 legionnaires were seriously wounded
– Captain Maurice de Bazelaire spent 5 years (1940-45) as a war prisoner in Germany during WWII
– thereafter, he was assigned to the 13e DBLE
– he landed in Indochina in February 1946, five months before his death

– in the picture, a legionnaire in Algeria in 1842 by P. Benigni

legionnaire - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1842 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: July 09

1851, legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e RLE (Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI), led by Major Meyer, participated in a successful military operation aimed at local rebels
– the operation took place in the El Milia region of northeastern Algeria

1916, Battle of Meski
– a battle with around 400 Moroccan rebels near Meski, in the Ksar Es Souk region of Morocco
– a combined Mobile Group, including 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE and the Bou Denib Mixed Battalion (1916-19, a little-known semi-penal unit consisting of two Legion companies and two African Battalion companies), got involved in
– legionnaires from the Mounted Company, serving as a vanguard, launched an attack with fixed bayonets
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– 1 legionnaire was killed, another 6 were wounded

1918, in Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam) in then French Indochina, the Pha Long outpost, located on the border with China, was attacked by local rebels
– legionnaires from Autonomous Company, 1er RE fought off the attackers
– the company (composed of around 200 German and Austrian legionnaires in the vast majority) had been the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina since 1916
– its detachments occupied several isolated outposts in the troubled Tonkinese region bordering China

1957, close to Mahser Toualil, in the Geryville region of western Algeria, a task force of 2e REI (led by Major Maison Rouge) got involved in clashes with some 200 local rebels
– in the evening, Lieutenant Noack and his 6th Motorized Company, 2e REI reinforced their comrades
– the company launched a successful frontal attack and eliminated the enemy
– nonetheless, Lieutenant Marcel Noack, heading his legionnaires during the attack, was killed

2014, 1er REC left Orange
– after nearly 49 years, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) left its barracks in Orange, France
– it moved to Camp Carpiagne, a large military camp located close to Aubagne, southern France

– in the photo, 1er REC during the leaving ceremony at Orange, on July 9, 2014

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2014 - Orange - France

 

French Foreign Legion: July 10

1857, during a military operation to pacify the important Kabylie region of northern Algeria, a French column successfully attacked the village of Tabana
– a Foreign Legion task force, consisting of 1er RE legionnaires led by Major Lion, was involved in

1925, clashes with local rebels for legionnaires from 6th Battalion, 1er REI (now 1er RE) near Souk El Khemis, Morocco
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 7 legionnaires were wounded

1958, Rescue of Bambi
– a lonely and hungry small donkey was found that day
– it was rescued by harkis (native pro-French muslim volunteers, serving within the French regiments) from 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– the small donkey was found during Operation Mirabelle in the Khenchela region of northeastern Algeria, close to Edgar Quinet, in which the harkis and legionnaires took part
– taken to the base and named Bambi, it quickly became a mascot of 13e DBLE
– the image of a harki carrying the small donkey was published in magazines all over the world
– in November 1958, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the oldest and largest animal welfare organisation in the world, based in London, thanked officially the Legion for that “demonstration of humanity”

– in the well-known photo, a harki from the Harka 8, 13e DBLE is carrying Bambi, the lonely small donkey found during an operation in northeastern Algeria in July 1958

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Bambi - 1958 - Harki - Algeria

 

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