Foreign Legion events: August 01 – 10

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 August 01 and August 10.

 

French Foreign Legion: August 01

1835, Foreign Legion left Algeria for Spain
– that day in Algiers (the capital of Algeria), four battalions of the original Foreign Legion (created March 1831, now called as “Old Legion”) took ship for Spain
– over 4,000 legionnaires were handed over to Spain to join the First Carlist War in support of Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– two remaining battalions left Algeria a few days later
– “Old Legion” served in Spain until December 1838 and was dissolved in January 1839
– meanwhile in France, another Legion (“New Legion”, the current one) was established in December 1835

1836, Battle of Zubiri
– a fierce 18-hour battle against the Carlists near Zubiri, in the Navarre region of northeastern Spain
– legionnaires of the original Foreign Legion (“Old Legion” now, created March 1831) took part in
– the Carlists had more than 1,000 men killed, wounded, missed or imprisoned
– the Legion had Captain Borzewski killed

1945, Far East Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– in Algeria, RMLE/EO was established
– it would fight against the Japanese in the Pacific
– after the end of WWII a few weeks later, its mission was changed
– in January 1946, RMLE/EO became 2e REI (deactivated in 1943) and deployed to French Indochina to take part in military operations aimed at the Viet Minh

1954, Ceasefire in Central Vietnam
– following the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam, part of the 1954 Geneva Agreements, the ceasefire in Central Vietnam went into force on August 1
– the ceasefire in Northern Vietnam went into force in late July

1955, 24th Foreign Legion Motorized Company established
– in Algeria, 24e CPLE was established
– an autonomous unit organized to take part in military operations aimed at Algerian rebels
– six months later, it became 4e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– the unit was dissolved in March 1963

1962, 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force established
– in Algeria, 3e BMLE was established
– an engineering unit to serve in France
– composed of three ex-3e REI companies
– 3e REI in Algeria was reduced and changed its designation
– it had to build new headquarters of the Legion in France
– it also had to build the Legion’s infrastructure in Corsica
– 3e BMLE was disbanded in November 1964

1973, Foreign Legion Comoros Detachment established
– in the Comoros near Madagascar (Indian Ocean), DLEC was established
– an autonomous unit to maintain order and French presence in the region
– ex-2nd Company, 3e REI (leaving Madagascar for French Guiana, South America at the same time)
– in 1976, part of the Comoros became independent
– as a result, DLEC changed its designation to DLEM (Mayotte Detachment)

– in the image, a 3e BMLE legionnaire with his bulldozer during works on the new parade ground (Place d’Armes) at Quartier Vienot of Aubagne, France, 1963

3e BMLE - 3 BMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1963 - Aubagne - France

 

French Foreign Legion: August 02

1949, Operation Origan ended
– the four-day operation aimed at the Viet Minh took place in the Tan An region of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 1st + 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) participated in
– 61 rebels were captured

1978, Foreign Legion Reinforced Road Building Company
– in France, CRTRLE was established
– a little-known engineering unit of the Foreign Legion
– administratively assigned to the 1er RE
– organized at Camp Canjeurs, the then largest military camp of Western Europe
– the unit was composed of around 240 men and equipped with some 200 vehicles and engines
– it became the largest company of the Legion
– in June 1984, the company was placed at Laudun, southern France
– in July 1984, it became 6e REG (Engineer Regiment, 1er REG since 1999)

2011, 13e DBLE officially stationed in the United Arab Emirates
13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) moved there from Djibouti, Africa
– it served in Djibouti more than 49 years
– 13e DBLE was the last unit of the Legion stationed in Africa
– in 2016, 13e DBLE left the Emirates to be placed in France

– in the picture, CRTRLE in the early 1980s

CRTRLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1980 - 1981 - France

 

French Foreign Legion: August 03

1907, French Pacification of Morocco
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE left Sidi Bel Abbes, then HQ of the Legion based in Algeria
– the battalion will be sent to Casablanca, Morocco
– as the first Legion unit, it will take part in Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)

1955, an intervention mission for legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment) in the Naida region of northeastern Morocco
– at that time, several parts of Morocco were hit seriously by anti-French rebellions
– the legionnaires had to restore order in the region
– the next year, Morocco gained its independence and the Legion had to leave the country

1956, a fierce two-day battle with local rebels ended for legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– it took place at Oulhadj near Khirane, in the Khenchela region of northeastern Algeria
– 64 rebels were killed, 8 rebels were imprisoned

– in the photo, 13e DBLE legionnaires during a military operation in Algeria, 1956

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1956 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: August 04

1948, a successful battle with the Viet Minh for 4th Company, 3e REI near Nguyen Binh, in the Cao Bang region of northern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– several rebels were killed

1960, an operation for 4th Motorized Company, 2e REI nearby the Hadjeret outpost, western Algeria
– during the operation, several rebels were killed

– in the image, a rebel captured by a 2e REI legionnaire (equipped with a MAS 36 rifle with an attached grenade), Algeria, 1960

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: August 05

1871, a battle with local rebels near Miliana, in the Ain Defla region, northern Algeria
– three companies of the Foreign Regiment (then title for the Legion) took part in
– 2 legionnaires were killed, 10 legionnaires were wounded

1933, Battle of Djebel Hamdoun
– a severe battle with local rebels in Morocco
– the battle was part of a large military operation at Tizi N’Hamdoun, in the High Atlas range of Morocco, between August 4-7
– Colonel Richert and his 2e REI took part in
– that day, Lieutenant Colonel Bissey was killed during the battle
– 16 legionnaires were also killed
Jean Pierre Bissey was then deputy commander of 2e REI
– during the operation, he headed a task force formed by 2nd Battalion legionnaires
– military barracks at Meknes (then 2e REI’s garrison town), Morocco were named after him (Quartier Bissey)

1936, Regimental insignia for 1er REC
– that day, at Sousse of Tunisia, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) received its first 1,000 distinctive unit insignias
– the insignia was designed by N. Allnikine, an NCO serving with 2nd Squadron, 1er REC
– within the Foreign Legion, the insignia of 1er REC is the oldest distinctive unit insignia still worn by legionnaires
– it is followed by the insignias of 4e RE (since 1937) and 13e DBLE (since 1946)

– in the picture, 1er REC legionnaires at Sousse, Tunisia in 1937

1er REC - 1 REC - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1937 - Tunisia

 

French Foreign Legion: August 06

1914, a military operation for Mounted Company, 2e RE (2e REI now) near Koudiat El Biad, in the Taza region of northern Morocco
– during the operation, clashes with Moroccan rebels
– the legionnaires with fixed bayonets fought off the rebels
– that day, 1 legionnaire was killed

1952, Operation Domino ended
– a four-day operation aimed at the Viet Minh
– it took place in the Boi Loi and Co Trach regions of southern Vietnam, then French Indochina
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated in
– during the operation, 25 rebels were killed

– in the photo, 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE legionnaires in French Indochina, in the 1950s
– note the khaki berets worn as a traditional headgear within the 13e DBLE since the 1940 Norwegian Campaign (until 1959)

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

 

French Foreign Legion: August 07

1907, French Pacification of Morocco started
– on August 7, about 3,000 French troops landed at Casablanca, Morocco, and seized the town
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE took part in, as the very first Legion unit
– the Pacification of Morocco lasted until 1934

1956, a military operation for legionnaires from 3rd Company, 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) at Djebel Zitouna, in the Tebessa region of northeastern Algeria
– during the operation, 29 rebels were killed
– 3 legionnaires were also killed

2000, 4e RE’s August 2000 Road Accident
– that day, an accident occurred near Castelnaudary
– having left a farm for Castelnaudary, the garrison of 4e RE (training regiment of the Legion), a military truck occupied by fresh legionnaires from 2nd Company crashed into a tree
– 5 legionnaires of 4e RE were killed
– another 3 legionnaires were seriously wounded

2011, during a patrol (part of Operation Pamir), a skirmish with local rebels for legionnaires from 2nd Company, 2e REP
– the skirmish took place near the village of Nawrozkhel, in the Kapisa region of Afghanistan
– during the skirmish, 2 legionnaires were killed
– 5 legionnaires were wounded

– in the image, 2e REP legionnaires at their outpost in Afghanistan, around 2011

2e REP - 2 REP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2011 - Afghanistan

 

French Foreign Legion: August 08

1916, in Tonkin (then title for Northern Vietnam) of then French Indochina, the Ba Xat outpost was attacked by Chinese rebels
– the outpost was occupied by legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 1er RE
– legionnaires successfully fought off the attackers
– during WWI, the detachments of the Legion were occupying several isolated outposts in the troubled Tonkinese region bordering China

1960, a two-day military operation ended for 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI
– the operation took place nearby the Hadjeret outpost, western Algeria
– during the operation, around 10 rebels were killed

– in the photo, a 2e REI legionnaire (sergeant) during an operation in Algeria, summer 1960

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1960 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: August 09

1856, 2nd Foreign Regiment established
– in Algeria, 2e RE was established (redesignated to 2e REI in 1922)
– formed by the legionnaires from the two regiments of ex-1st Foreign Legion (the original Legion organized in France in 1836 as “New Legion”), returning from the Crimean War (1854-56) to Sidi Bel Abbes, then HQ of the Legion in Algeria
– Colonel De Lacroix de Chabriere took command
– in France a month earlier, the two regiments of the 2nd Foreign Legion (created 1855, nicknamed as Swiss Legion) were also reorganized and redesignated
– they consolidated into the new 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE)
– its members were Swiss legionnaires in the vast majority until 1859
– just for the record, Colonel de Chabriere of the 2e RE was the first commander of the 2nd Regiment, 2nd Foreign Legion (Swiss Legion) in early 1855
– he was killed in Italy in 1859 while heading his 2e RE legionnaires
– the current barracks of the 2e REI at Nimes are named after him

1918, Battle of Gaouz
– a severe battle between the French Army of Africa troops (being heavily outnumbered) and Moroccan rebels
– the battle took place near Gaouz, in the Ksar Es Souk region of Morocco
– 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE participated in
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion (1916-19, a little-known semi-penal unit consisting of two Legion companies and two African Battalion companies) also took part in
– the fierce battle lasted several hours
– Mounted Company had 47 men killed, including Lieutenant Freycon + Lieutenant Jorel
– 7 men were wounded, including its company commander (Captain Timm)
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion had 1 legionnaire killed + another 3 legionnaires were wounded
– for this action, the 2nd Mounted Company was mentioned in the order of the Army

1962, last legionnaires to be killed by rebels in Algeria
– on August 9, five months after the Algerian War officially ended and one month after Algeria gained its independence, four members of the 1er ESPL (Saharan Motorized Squadron, ex-1re CSPL Saharan Company) were attacked and killed
– the attack took place on the road from Laghouat to El Assafia, central Algeria
– unarmed due to the March 1962 peace accords, Lieutenant Gélas + 3 legionnaires (Pepelko, Roncin, Locca) were killed by a group of FLN National Front members
– officially, they have remained the last legionnaires being killed by local rebels in Algeria

– in the picture, 1er ESPL legionnaires during the funeral of Lieutenant Gélas and the three legionnaires killed on August 9, 1962

1er ESPL - 1 ESPL - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1962 - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: August 10

1835, at Palma, Balearic Islands, the original Foreign Legion (created March 1831, called as “Old Legion” now) assembled as a whole in one place for the first time since its creation
– in late June, the Legion (over 4,000 legionnaires) ceased to make part of the French Army and was handed over to Spain to join the First Carlist War in support of Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– “Old Legion” served in Spain until December 1838 and was dissolved in January 1839
– meanwhile in France, another Legion (“New Legion”, the current one) was established in December 1835

– also in 1835, order to mix the nationalities in the Legion
– at Palma, Colonel Bernelle (then Legion’s commanding officer) dissolved the six single-nationality battalions
– he mixed all of their 48 companies together to make them multi-national units
– this decision was a result of the bad behaviour of the Italian and Polish battalions during the Battle of Macta six weeks ago
– Colonel Bernelle’s new method proved to be successful and hasn’t changed ever since

1896, Second Madagascar Expedition
– in Algeria, two Legion companies formed by legionnaires from 2e RE (now 2e REI) took ship for Madagascar (Indian Ocean) to take part in military operations to restore and maintain order in this recent French colony
– the legionnaires stayed in Madagascar until 1905

1914, Battle of Sidi Omrane
– a fierce battle with Moroccan rebel tribes
– the battle took place at Sidi Omrane, nearby the town of Taza, Morocco
– a French column (including 2nd Battalion, 1er RE) was heavily attacked by hundreds of local rebels
– 21st Company, 6th Battalion, 1er RE reinforced the column
– after several hours of fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off
– 2nd Battalion had Captain Kappler deadly wounded + 3 officers wounded (including Captain Constant)
– 20 legionnaires were killed + 42 legionnaires were wounded
– 21st Company had Lieutenant Sorrensen (its commander) killed
– 10 legionnaires of the 21st Company were killed or wounded

1946, at Siem Reap of Cambodia, then French Indochina, legionnaires from 7th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) helped to fight off local rebels, who stormed the city two days ago and were attacking its European inhabitants thereafter
– during the successful battle, many rebels were killed or wounded
– nevertheless, Second Lieutenant Letang was also killed

1949, close to Bat Deng, in the Phnom Penh region of Cambodia, then French Indochina, two trucks of the 2nd Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) were attacked by local rebels
– the legionnaires launched a successful counter-attack
– 9 rebels were killed

– in the very rare photo, legionnaires in Madagascar, around 1898

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1898 - Madagascar

 

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