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
– in Morocco, 2e REC was established
– a Foreign Legion cavalry regiment
– based at Midelt, composed of three squadrons
– its legionnaires took part in the 1940 Battle of France
– deactivated in 1940
– reactivated in Morocco 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
– its men consolidated with the 1er REC

1943, Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– in Algeria, RMLE was established
– a Foreign Legion provisional combat unit
– 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 redesignated
– it became the 3e REI again

1948, 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion
– in Algeria, 1er BEP was established
– the first Legion airborne unit formed in Africa
– it participated in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the unit was two times annihilated there
– in 1955, the battalion returned to Africa
– it became the 1er REP (Parachute Regiment)
– 1er REP took part in the Algerian War (1954-62)
– called the most elite unit of the French Army at the time
– the 1er REP was disbanded in April 1961
– a punishment for its active participation in the Generals’ Putsch

1949, Captain Miloyevitch killed
– a Foreign Legion officer of Serbian origin
Svetozar Miloyevitch, a former Serbian Cavalry officer
– also a former military attaché in Paris in 1939
– he joined the Legion in 1947 with the rank of Captain
– 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, Southern Vietnam
– Captain Miloyevitch was killed and decapitated

1984, 6th Foreign Engineer Regiment
– in France, 6e REG was established
– the very first engineering regiment of the Legion
– based at Laudun, southern France
– it adopted the number, history and traditions of the 6e REI
– it served in many military operations
– in Chad (late 1980s), Iraq and Kuwait (1990-91), Somalia (1992), Cambodia (1992-93), ex-Yugoslavia (1990s) and others
– in 1999, it was retitled and became 1er REG

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

– in the photo, the regimental flag of the 2e REG, 2017

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2017 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: July 02

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

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

1957, in northern Algeria, a successful military operation
– carried out by legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) and 3e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– aimed at a large rebel group
– it took place Djebel Taffara, in the Djelfa region
– that day, 80 rebels were killed
– 10 rebels were imprisoned
– however, 3e CSPL lost two platoon leaders
– Lieutenant Martial Fougeras de Lavergnolle + Staff Sergeant Rutkowski
– both platoon leaders were killed
– 3 legionnaires were also 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
– an action during the French intervention in Mexico (1863-67)
– it occurred at Hacienda De La Encarnacion
– a provisional outpost located near Matehuala, central Mexico
– occupied by Captain Frenet and his 125 legionnaires
– from 4th Battalion, RE (Foreign Regiment, then title for the Legion)
– the hacienda was attacked by a large group of Mexican rebels
– the legionnaires would be defending the hacienda for two days
– finally, they fought off the enemy
– 10 rebels were killed
– another 30 Mexicans were wounded

1925, First action for 1er REC
– that day, the 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) was involved in its first battle
– it occurred at Tissouffet, in the Guercif region, Morocco
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– 3rd Squadron, 1er REC took part
– 25 rebels were killed
– 30 rebels were wounded
– 6 legionnaires were also killed or wounded
– between the killed, Brigadier (Corporal) Lubovitzscy
– he became the very first legionnaire of the regiment killed in action

1941, Siege of Palmyra ended
– an action at Palmyra, an ancient city in central Syria
– 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 the Siege of Palmyra ended
– the city was defended only by 15th Company, 6e REI
– with the help of a light desert company of local auxiliaries
– the city was completely besieged by British troops
– the two companies were heavily outnumbered
– British troops, British artillery and British aircrafts were continuously attacking the French
– nonetheless, the legionnaires successfully kept their positions
– after 13 days of the siege, the two companies run out of ammunition
– because of that, Major Gherardi eventually surrendered
– the then commander of the Palmyra sector
– for that action, the 15th Company was mentioned in the order of the Army

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

1954, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– during Operation Auvergne
– near An Xa, in the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– 31 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the very rare images, 6e REI legionnaires in Syria in 1940
– on the right, Poste Weygand, the camp of 6e REI in Palmyra occupied by pro-British Arab auxiliaries after the Siege of Palmyra, July 1941

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

 

French Foreign Legion: July 04

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

1916, Alan Seeger killed
– Alan Seeger was a famous American poet (1888-1916)
– a member of the Foreign Legion
– killed in France, during the Battle of Albert of WWI
– part of the Battle of the Somme (also Somme Offensive, Jul-Nov 1916)
– the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front
– that day, a French attack aimed at German positions
– the attack occurred at Belloy-en-Santerre
– in the Somme region, northern France
– RMLE were involved
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– consisting of about 2,000 legionnaires and war-period volunteers
– between the volunteers, a number of Americans
– the attack resulted in a severe battle
– the enemy positions were taken over
– however, RMLE sufferred heavy casualties that day
– around 870 men were killed, wounded or missed
– including almost all of their officers and NCOs
– between the killed, American poet Alan Seeger
– hit by machine gun fire

– during the night and the next day, clashes with German troops
– over 750 German troops would be captured
– for these actions, RMLE would be mentioned in order of the Army

1947, Attack of Ambohiriana
– in Madagascar (Indian Ocean), a rebel attack
– carried out by around 1,200 local rebels
– aimed at a Foreign Legion camp located at Ambohiriana
– occupied by 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 4e DBLEM
– Moroccan Half-Brigade (future 4e REI)
– having landed in Madagascar only a week ago
– to restore order on the island
– legionnaires successfully fought off the attackers

– in the picture, American poet Alan Seeger

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

 

French Foreign Legion: July 05

1842, in northwestern Algeria, a two-week military operation started
– in the Oran region
– the operation was aimed at a local rebel tribe
– carried out by two battalions from 1er RLE
– 1st Foreign Legion Regiment (now 1er RE)
– during the operation, it was an extremely hot weather
– a number of legionnaires succumbed to sun stroke
– others committed suicide because of being oppressively hot

1867, Foreign Regiment reduction
– that day, an order was placed
– it ordered the reduction of Foreign Regiment
– then title for the Legion
– consisting of about 5,000 men at the time
– almost 400 NCOs and corporals had to leave the unit
– later that year, another reduction
– the strength of the Legion was reduced to 3,000 men
– these decisions made bad results for the whole unit in the long term

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

– in the photo, 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
– 1er RE was established in France two weeks earlier
– 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
– that day, they left France for Algeria
– to be stationed at Philippeville, northeastern Algeria

– the Swiss kept their green uniform
– the uniform distinguished them from the 2e RE (2e REI now)
– formed by consolidating the two regiments of the 1st Foreign Legion
– the original one, formed in 1836
– 1er RE was composed of Swiss legionnaires with the green uniform until 1859
– 2e RE legionnaires nicknamed the 1er RE as Swiss Legion

1941, Battle of Damour started
– an action at Damour, a large town in Lebanon
– part of the 1941 Syria-Lebanon Campaign (June-July) of WWII
– one of the most violent action of the campaign
– 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, Australians from the 21st Brigade attacked Damour
– defended by three companies of the 2nd Battalion, 6e REI
– led by Major Brisset
– they faced two Australian battalions

– the frontal attack was aimed at 6th Company, 6e REI
– 6th Company sufferred heavy casualties
– two thirds of its legionnaires were killed or wounded
– including severely wounded Captain Deluy, their commander

– 5th Company stopped the Australian attack
– but it sufferred many casualties
– between the killed, Lieutenant Jean Lesueur
– Adjudant-chef Schmorgounow was also killed

– 7th Company launched a fierce counter-attack with fixed bayonets
– the legionnaires successfully fought off the Australians
– however, Captain Paté was badly wounded
– the company commander

– that day, at least 70 officers and legionnaires were killed
– between them, at least 11 long-serving NCOs

– in mid-August, Australians visited the leaving 6e REI
– the Australian officer commanding his troops at Damour personally borded the boat with legionnaires to shake hands with Major Brisset
– he congratulated him for the bravery of his legionnaires at Damour on July 6
– then, an Australian company rendered honor to the leaving 6e REI

1947, in then French Indochina, a severe Viet Minh attack
– near Mai Xa, in the Nam Dinh region, Northern Vietnam
– the attack was carried out by a Viet Minh company
– aimed at a small patrolling group
– formed by legionnaires from 2nd Company, 2e REI
– led by Staff Sergeant Faucon
– during the severe attack, the group was annihilated
– Staff Sergeant Faucon + 13 legionnaires were killed
– only 3 legionnaires survived and rejoined their unit
– the Viet Minh company would 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, in Morocco, two-day clashes with local rebels ended
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– they occurred at Souk El Tnine and Moulay Bou Chta
– between Taza and Nador, northern Morocco
– Mounted Company, 2e RE (currently 2e REI) were involved
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– however, 2 legionnaires were killed
– 4 legionnaires were wounded

1941, in Lebanon, fighting close to Damour
– during the Battle of Damour (Jul 6-9)
– 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
– during the night of July 6-7, clashes occurred close to Damour
– they took several hours
– 1st + 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 6e REI were involved
– they faced an Australian battalion
– the – the attack was launched during the night
– the legionnaires were stopped by a violent fire
– 10 legionnaires were killed
– between the killed, Adjudant Atlas
– a long-serving legionnaire, he defended his badly wounded superior
– 19 officers and legionnaires were wounded

– 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

1917, Battle of Skoura
– a battle with local rebels in northern Morocco
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle took place near Skoura, a small village
– between Taferdouste and Tilmirate, in the Fez region
– the Moroccans attacked two French Mobile Groups
– composite task forces
– Mounted Company, 2e RE + 6th Battalion, 2e RE (now 2e REI) were included
– a fierce battle followed
– the enemy was fought off by continuing machine gun fire
– carried out by Mounted Company (led by Captain Catin)
– however, the 2e RE suffered heavy casualties
– 41 legionnaires from 6th Battalion were killed
– 29 men were wounded
– a legionnaire from Mounted Company was killed
– 4 legionnaires were wounded
– for its rapid and effective action during the battle, the Mounted Company gained its third mention in the order of the Army

1946, Battle of Cay Sop
– a battle with the Viet Minh in then French Indochina
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it took place near Cay Sop, in the Cu Chi region, Southern Vietnam
– a platoon from 9th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– led by Adjudant-chef Sron, a long-serving legionnaire
– also Captain de Bazelaire (company commander) took part
– they were attacked by the Viet Minh
– a fierce three-hour battle followed
– Captain Maurice de Bazelaire + 18 legionnaires were killed
– 10 legionnaires were seriously wounded
– Captain 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, the color guard of 13e DBLE parading in Saigon, Southern Vietnam, then French Indochina in the late 1940s

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940s - Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: July 09

1916, Battle of Meski
– a battle with local rebels in Morocco
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– the battle took place near Meski
– in the Ksar Es Souk region
– a French Mobile Group was involved
– a composite task force
– including 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE
– also Bou Denib Mixed Battalion
– a little-known semi-penal unit (1916-19)
– consisting of two Legion companies and two African Battalion companies
– the Mobile Group faced around 400 Moroccan rebels
– Mounted Company launched an attack with fixed bayonets
– the unit served as a vanguard
– the rebels were successfully fought off
– however, a legionnaire was killed
– 6 legionnaires were wounded

1918, in then French Indochina, a rebel attack
– aimed at the Pha Long outpost
– located in Northern Vietnam, on the border with China
– held by legionnaires from Autonomous Company, 1er RE
– the legionnaires successfully fought off the attackers
– the only Legion unit stationed in Indochina since 1916
– consisting of around 200 legionnaires
– Germans and Austrians in the vast majority
– the company’s detachments occupied several isolated outposts in the troubled Vietnamese region bordering China

1957, Battle of Djebel Majouba
– a battle with local rebels in western Algeria
– close to Mahser Toualil, in the Geryville region
– three companies of the 2e REI were involved
– they faced some 200 local rebels
– 6th Company, 2e REI launched a successful frontal attack
– the legionnaires eliminated the enemy
– however, Lieutenant Walter Marcel Noack was killed
– a long-serving legionnaire
– then commander of the 6th Company
– he led his legionnaires during the attack
– he survived WWII and two deployments (4 years) in Indochina
– in 1948, he was among first elements to serve with Armored Train in Indochina

2014, 1er REC to leave Orange
– that day, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) left Orange
– its garrison town in southern France since 1967
– 1er REC moved close to Marseille, southern France
– the unit was stationed at Camp Carpiagne
– a large military camp located near Aubagne, the Legion’s HQ

– 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, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– to pacify the important, rebellious Kabylie region
– a French composite column took part
– a Foreign Legion task force from 1er RE also participated
– led by Major Lion
– that day, the French successfully stormed the rebel village of Tabana

1925, in Morocco, a skirmish with local rebels
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– near Souk El Khemis
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– 7 legionnaires were wounded

– in the picture, legionnaires in Morocco between the two World Wars

Legionnaires - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1938 - Morocco

 

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