Foreign Legion events: July 11 – 20

On this day. Explore the Legion’s most interesting historical events which occurred between July 11 and July 20. 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: July 11

1948, in then French Indochina, a successful night patrol
– carried out by Lieutenant Da Silva and his 8 legionnaires
– from 5th Company, 3e REI
– they discovered a local Viet Minh secret meeting
– at Po Chiem, a village in the That Khe region, Northern Vietnam
– the legionnaires reacted quicly and stormed the site
– 12 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1954, in then French Indochina, the last action for 2nd Battalion, 3e REI
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– it took place near Dong Ly, in the Red River Delta, Northern Vietnam
– 2nd Battalion, 3e REI legionnaires were attacked by the Viet Minh
– 5 legionnaires were killed
– in three weeks, the war would be over

2013, 1er REC + 2e REP to be awarded
– in Paris, two Foreign Legion prestigious regiments were awarded
1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– awarded with the Croix de la Valeur militaire (Military Valour Cross)
– for its actions during Operation Tacaud in Chad in 1978
2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– awarded with the Fourragère in colors of the ribbon of Croix de la Valeur militaire (red & white)
– for its actions in the War in Afghanistan in 2008-12
– since then, the 2e REP legionnaires have been allowed to wear both, the red Fourragère (gained in 1955) in colors of the Legion d’Honneur + the red & white Fourragère

– in the photo, an NCO of the 2e REP with the new Fourragères in colors of the ribbon of Croix de la Valeur militaire during the ceremony in Paris on July 11, 2013

2e REP - 2 REP - 1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2013 - Paris


French Foreign Legion: July 12

1871, in northern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– close to Maollet, in the rebellious Kabylie region
– three companies from 3rd Battalion, RE were involved
– Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion)
– 16 rebels were killed or wounded
– the battalion consisted of German-speaking legionnaires
– they weren’t allowed to take part in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)
– 3rd + 4th Battalion, RE had to maintain order in Algeria

1926, Battle of Tizi Talmlat
– a battle with Moroccan rebels
– the battle took place at Tizi Talmlat, in the Taza region
– 3rd Company, 1er RE were involved
– Second Lieutenant Pierre Holtzapffel was killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

1948, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– near Phu Tong Hoa, in the Bac Kan region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at legionnaires from 2nd Company, 3e REI
– 3 legionnaires were killed
– 15 legionnaires were wounded
– two weeks later, the famous battle of Phu Tong Hoa would take place

1953, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– near Xuan Dai, in the Tourane region, Central Vietnam
– 4th Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– a mixed unit (legionnaires and local auxiliaries)
– up to 200 Viet Minh rebels were killed

– in the rare image, the fanion guard of the mixed 4th Battalion, 2e REI in then French Indochina, around 1953

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - Indochina


French Foreign Legion: July 13

1857, in northern Algeria, a military operation
– to pacify the important, rebellious Kabylie region
– a French composite column took part
– legionnaires from 2e RE (currently 2e REI) participated
– the French successfully stormed the rebel village of Chellata
– this action helped to pacify the region

1955, 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion awarded
– in Vietnam, 2e BEP (now 2e REP) was awarded
– for its six mentions in dispatches in the order of the Army
– gained during the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– the battalion obtained the red Fourragère in colors of the Légion d’Honneur
– the 2e BEP became the most decorated French battalion in Indochina

1956, in northeastern Algeria, Operation 10 started
– carried out by 2e REP (Parachute Regiment)
– in the Oued Kebir region
– during two days, over 20 rebels would be killed

– in the photo, at Camp Chanson of Saigon, General Jacquot decorates the fanion of the 2e BEP, held by Major Masselot (then commanding officer), with the red Fourragère, July 13, 1955

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Fourragère - Indochina


French Foreign Legion: July 14

Bastille Day, French National Day
– every year, the Foreign Legion participate in the Bastille Day Military Parade
– it takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris

1926, Battle of Tizi N’Ouidel
– a severe battle with hundreds of Moroccan rebels
– the battle took place at Tizi N’Ouidel
– near Talzemt, in the Taza region
– Major Le Roch and his 1st Battalion, 1er RE took part
– the enemy was successfully fought off
– at least 90 rebels were killed
– nonetheless, the battalion suffered heavy losses
– Major Julien Le Roch was killed
– Lieutenant Chavarot (Machine Guns Company commander) + Second Lieutenant De Gouttes were also killed
– 127 legionnaires were killed or wounded
– between the wounded, a long-serving Adjudant Nesvadba
– for that battle, the battalion was mentioned in the order of the Army

1939, White Kepis in Paris for the first time
– in Paris, legionnaires paraded with White kepis for the first time
– during the Bastille Day Military Parade
– down the Champs-Élysées
– Music Band + Pioneers + 1er RE detachment
– until 1939, the legionnaires paraded with regular blue-red kepis
– the white-covered kepis were used by Legion units mainly during military operations in Morocco
– that day, they became the official symbol of the Legion

1941, Syria-Lebanon Campaign ended
– that day, Armistice of Saint Jean d’Acre was signed
– it ended the sad Syria-Lebanon Campaign (June-July)
– the little-known campaign 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
– the French side included the Foreign Legion’s 6e REI
– around 2,000 legionnaires
– the legionnaires were badly equipped for modern warfare
– nonetheless, they fought bravely and suffered heavy casualties
– in four weeks, almost 250 legionnaires were killed
– another 600 legionnaires were badly wounded
– Syria and Lebanon were seized by British troops
– the French had to return to France in mid-August

1951, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– in the Dong Trieu region, Northern Vietnam
– aimed at a patrolling group from 3rd Company, 5e REI
– Sergeant Werner + 16 legionnaires were killed
– only one legionnaire survived

– in the picture, the Foreign Legion with White Kepis parade on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, July 14, 1939

Bastille Day - Legionnaires - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1939 - Paris - France


French Foreign Legion: July 15

1951, Commando Leyion established
– created in Vietnam, then French Indochina
– consisting of Legion leaders and local auxiliaries
– the first guerrilla warfare unit of the Legion
– because of that called Commando Leyion (Legion in Vietnamese)
– assigned to the 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now)
– Lieutenant De Preville (also 2e BEP) took command
– in February 1952, renamed to Commando De Preville
– in honor to its commander killed in action
– since then, led by Staff Sergeant Jahnwitz
– a German NCO
– Commando Preville was dissolved in June 1952

1954, in then French Indochina, a battle with the Viet Minh
– during a large military operation
– near Lang Tai, in the Bac Giang region, Northern Vietnam
– 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– 10 legionnaires were killed
– 44 legionnaires were wounded
– the last important confrontation for 13e DBLE
– two weeks later, the First Indochina War would be over

1955, in Morocco, an intervention mission
– in Casablanca
– one of the largest and most important cities in Africa
4e REI legionnaires were involved
– they had to calm down local rebellions
– also, to restore and maintain order in the city

1956, in northwestern Algeria, an important battle with local rebels
– in the Tlemcen region
– 1st Battalion, 5e REI were involved
– over 70 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 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 16

1849, in northeastern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– in the Batna region
– legionnaires from 2e RLE were involved
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– 62 rebels were killed

1886, in Tonkin, a military operation
– to liberate the village of Bat Leon, Tonkin
– then title for northern Vietnam
– the village was occupied by Chinese rebels
– 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, 2e RE (now 2e REI) were involved
– the village was successfully taken over
– 6 rebels were killed

1940, 13e DBMLE dissolution
– in Morocco, 13e DBMLE was dissolved
– 13th Foreign Legion Provisional Half-Brigade
– a Foreign Legion provisional unit (some 2,100 men)
– established in Algeria five months ago, in late February 1940
– to take part in WWII in Europe
– the unit fought in the Norwegian Campaign (April-June 1940)
– as part of the French expeditionary force
– then, the force moved to England
– because of the Battle of France (May-June)
– when the battle ended, the French troops got a choice
– to desert the French Army and to stay in England
– to serve France which signed the Armistrice with Germany
– from around 14,000 French troops, the vast majority asked for serving France
– only some 1,200 French troops asked to serve Britain
– including 900 legionnaires from 13e DBMLE
– mainly ex-Spanish republicans, Poles, Czechs or Jews
– joining the Legion in the late 1930s to fight Germany
– they deserted the Legion and formed the British Army’s Free French Forces
– in 1940-41, Free French Forces would attack and fight France’s territories and French soldiers (including legionnaires) in Africa and the Middle East
– in 1944-45, the regime in France changed
– the ex-legionnaires would be re-integrated into the Legion
– they formed the 13e DBLE

– by the way, another non-regular French Legion fought in WWII
– also for a non-France country, for an “ally”
– LVF (Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism)
– led by a former senior officer of the Foreign Legion
– consisting of many former legionnaires
– with a large number of Russian or Georgian ex-legionnaires
– including a brother of Lt Colonel Amilakvari (the legendary commander of Britain’s Free French legionnaires), a senior NCO with 15 years in the Legion
– they fought along German troops on the Eastern Front, against the Soviet Union
– their remnants would be integrated into the Legion after 1945
– they brought with them several German songs translated into French
– including La Légion marche (Le chant du diable), Képi blanc (La rue appartient) or Contre les Viets (Contre les rouges)

– in the image, 13e DBMLE legionnaires reviewed at Brest before leaving France for Norway, late April 1940
– note the 1940 insignia of 13e DBMLE, designed yet with an operation in Finland in mind (later changed to Norway)

13e DBMLE - 13 DBMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1940 - Brest


French Foreign Legion: July 17

1851, in northeastern Algeria, a skirmish with local rebels
– in the Collo region
– Major Meyer and his 1st Battalion, 2e RLE were involved
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (now 2e REI)
– Second Lieutenant Leclerc + 3 legionnaires were wounded

1923, Battle of Ait Maklouf
– a battle with local rebels in northern Morocco
– part of the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– Major Buchsenschutz and his 1st Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– also Mounted Company, 2e REI
– the legionnaires were attacked
– a fierce battle followed
– the legionnaires fought off the enemy
– however, 9 legionnaires were killed
– 31 officers and legionnaires were wounded

1953, Operation Hirondelle started
– in then French Indochina, a large military operation
– part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– in the Lang Son region of Northern Vietnam
– three Foreign Legion units took part
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, 2e REP now)
– 2nd Battalion, 5e REI
– a bulldozer platoon from the mixed 22nd Engineers-Legion Battalion
– the platoon led a French composite force
– the operation was aimed at the Viet Minh
– to search and destroy Viet Minh supply depots
– the operation was marked by extreme weather conditions
– several French soldiers, including legionnaires, died from heat exhaustion

1958, in northeastern Algeria, a week operation ended
– aimed at local rebels
– it took place in the Guelma region
– 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) were involved
– during the operation, 25 rebels were killed

– in the picture, 2e REP legionnaires in northeastern Algeria, 1958

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1958 - Algeria


French Foreign Legion: July 18

1918, Battle of Soissons started
– a three-day battle on the Western Front of World War I
– between the French (with American and British assistance) and German armies
– RMLE (Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team, future 3e REI) were involved
– the battle took place close to Soissons, northern France
– during the battle, RMLE suffered heavy losses
– 780 men were killed, wounded or missed
– nonetheless, 450 German prisoners were captured
– for this action, RMLE gained its 8th mention in dispatches in the order of the Army

1925, in Morocco, a battle with local rebels
– an action during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– near Teroual, in the Ouezzane region, northern Morocco
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE were involved
– led by Major Deslandes
– during the battle, Major Marcel Deslandes was killed

1946, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– during a patrol in the Ben Tre region, Southern Vietnam
– a platoon from 6th Company, 3e REI were involved
– led by Lieutenant Chauvet
– the platoon was attacked
– Lieutenant André Chauvet was killed
– also Staff Sergeant Venturini (his deputy) + several legionnaires were killed
– 3e REI landed in Indochina three months earlier

2006, Operation Baliste started for 1er REG
– an operation during the 2006 Lebanon War
– to evacuate French citizens living in Lebanon
– during the operation, at least 8,000 French citizens were rescued
– 3rd Company, 1er REG (Engineer Regiment) was the first French Army unit of the operation to land in Lebanon

– in the photo, 1er REG legionnaires (as part of UN forces) with a VAB during Operation Baliste in Lebanon, 2006

1er REG - 1 REG - Operation Baliste - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2006 - Lebanon


French Foreign Legion: July 19

1870, Franco-Prussian War started
– a conflict between the French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia
– the war took place in France between July 1870 – May 1871
– three battalions of the Legion took part in (since October 1870)
– 1st + 2nd Battalion (both composed of non-German legionnaires)
– also 5th Battalion, created in France
– composed of foreign war-period-volunteers (non-legionnaires)
– the battalions fought mainly in the Second Battle of Orléans
– they suffered heavy casualties
– after the war ended, the battalions moved to Paris
– to restore order in the capital
– controlled by a revolutionary government of the Paris Commune

1919, Foreign Legion paraded in London
– in London (England), a military parade
– to commemorate the end of WWI
– the color guard of RMLE participated
– Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– future 3e REI
– the regimental flag of the RMLE became one of the two most decorated flags of the French Army

1949, in then French Indochina, a battle with a Viet Minh battalion
– during a military operation
– near Tam Quan, in the Binh Dinh region, Central Vietnam
– 10th Company, 2e REI were involved
– about 60 Viet Minh rebels were killed

1963, Foreign Legion in French Polynesia
– for the first time, legionnaires landed in French Polynesia, Pacific Ocean
– a detachment of the 5e REI (around 70 men)
– the legionnaires landed in Papeete, Tahiti
– until December, hundreds of legionnaires would land in French Polynesia
– to build and guard a new French nuclear testing site at Mururoa Atoll
– the 5th Regiment remained in Tahiti until mid-2000

– in the image, the first 5e REI legionnaires arriving in Tahiti, French Polynesia on July 19, 1963

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1963 - Tahiti


French Foreign Legion: July 20

1954, Geneva Conference ended
– a conference taking place in Geneva, Switzerland
– it resulted in the 1954 Geneva Agreements
– the Agreements, besides other things, arranged a settlement between France and the Viet Minh
– five ceasefires were negotiated
– ceasefires in North Vietnam, Central Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and in Southern Vietnam
– they went into force between late July and mid-August
– they ended the First Indochina War (1946-54)

1955, in northeastern Algeria, clashes with local rebels
– at Djebel Bosoan, in the Khenchela region
– 10th Company, 3e BEP were involved
– Foreign Parachute Battalion (later 3e REP)

– on the picture, 3e BEP legionnaires during an operation in northern Algeria, July 1955

3e BEP - 3 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Algeria


Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: July 01 – 10
Foreign Legion events: July 21 – 31
French Foreign Legion history