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, the original Foreign Legion left Algeria
– created in March 1831, now called as the “Old Legion”
– consisting of six battalions at that time (over 4,000 men)
– the Legion was handed over to Spain by the government
– to join the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– in support of Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– the legionnaires fought there until December 1838
– the significantly reduced Legion was dissolved in January 1839
– tens of its survivors joined the “New Legion” in Algeria
– the current Legion, formed in 1836

1836, Battle of Zubiri
– a fierce 18-hour battle with Carlists in Spain
– it occurred in the Huesca region, northeastern Spain
– part of the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– a civil war in Spain
– fought between Carlists and Liberals (supported by France and Britain)
– the original “Old” (French) Foreign Legion was involved
– the Carlists suffered more than 1,000 men killed, wounded or imprisoned
– the Legion had Captain Borzewski being killed

1945, Far East Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team
– in Algeria, RMLE/EO was established
– a Foreign Legion regiment-sized task force
– formed to fight with the Japanese in the Pacific
– however, WWII ended a few weeks later
– the mission was changed
– the unit would reinforce French troops in Indochina
– to take part in military operations aimed at the Viet Minh
– in January 1946, RMLE/EO was redesignated
– it became a new 2e REI (deactivated in 1943)
– the same month, 2e REI left Algeria for Indochina

1954, Ceasefire in Central Vietnam
– that day, a ceasefire in Central Vietnam went into force
– a result of the 1954 Geneva Agreements
– one of the five ceasefires that were negotiated
– they went into force between late July and mid-August
– they ended the First Indochina War (1946-54)

1955, 24th Foreign Legion Motorized Company
– in Algeria, 24e CPLE was established
– a Foreign Legion autonomous motorized unit
– equipped with Jeeps and Dodges
– to take part in military operations aimed at Algerian rebels
– six months later, the unit was redesignated
– it became 4e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company)
– 4e CSPL would be dissolved in March 1963

1962, 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force
– 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 would be disbanded in November 1964

1973, Foreign Legion Comoros Detachment
– in the Comoros, DLEC was established
– the islands near Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean
– DLEC was an autonomous unit
– to maintain order and French presence in the region
– in 1976, part of the Comoros gained its independence
– only Mayotte (part of the Comoros) remained French
– because of that, DLEC was redesignated in April 1976
– it became 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
– a four-day operation in then French Indochina
– in the Tan An region of Southern Vietnam
– aimed at the Viet Minh took place
– 1st + 2nd Squadron, 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) participated
– 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
– CRTRLE was composed of around 240 men
– equipped with some 200 vehicles and engines
– it became the largest company of the Legion
– also being said to be the largest company of the then French Army
– in June 1984, the company was placed at Laudun, southern France
– it was reinforced and became a new regiment in July 1984
– 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
– the unit served in Djibouti for 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
– that day, the first Foreign Legion unit deployed to Morocco
– to take part in Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– 6th Battalion, 1er RE
– it left Sidi Bel Abbes, the then HQ of the Legion based in Algeria
– the battalion will be sent to Casablanca, Morocco
– eventually, thousands of legionnaires would be killed or wounded in Morocco

1955, in Morocco, an intervention mission
– carried out by legionnaires from 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– in the Naida region of northeastern Morocco
– at the time, several parts of Morocco saw anti-French rebellions
– the legionnaires had to restore order in the region
– nevertheless, Morocco gained its independence the next year
– after 48 years, the Legion had to leave the country

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a fierce two-day battle with rebels ended
– at Oulhadj near Khirane, in the Khenchela region
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) took part
– 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, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam
– 4th Company, 3e REI were involved
– several rebels were killed

1960, in western Algeria, a military operation
– carried out by 4th Motorized Company, 2e REI
– near the Hadjeret outpost, in the Ain Sefra region
– during the operation, several rebels were killed

– in the image, the 2e REI color guard in Algeria, 1960

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

 

French Foreign Legion: August 05

1871, in northern Algeria, a battle with local rebels
– near Miliana, in the Ain Defla region
– three companies of the Foreign Regiment were involved
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– 10 legionnaires were wounded

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

1936, Regimental insignia for 1er REC
– that day, 1er REC received its first 1,000 distinctive unit insignias
– a Foreign Legion cavalry regiment
– based at Sousse, Tunisia at the time
– the insignia was designed by N. Allnikine
– an NCO serving with 2nd Squadron, 1er REC
– within the current Foreign Legion, the insignia of 1er REC has remained the oldest distinctive unit insignia 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, in northern Morocco, clashes with Moroccan rebels
– near Koudiat El Biad, in the Taza region
– Mounted Company, 2e RE (2e REI now) were involved
– the legionnaires with fixed bayonets fought off the rebels
– that day, a legionnaire was killed


– 1952
, Operation Domino ended
– a four-day operation in then French Indochina
– in the Boi Loi and Co Trach regions, Southern Vietnam
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– 1st Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated
– 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
– that day, French troops landed in Morocco
– they seized Casablanca
– the largest and most important city in Morocco
– about 3,000 French troops were involved
– including 6th Battalion, 1er RE
– the Pacification of Morocco lasted until 1934
– thousands of legionnaires would be killed or wounded in Morocco

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

2000, 4e RE’s August 2000 Road Accident
– that day, an accident occurred near Castelnaudary
– a military truck crashed into a tree
– occupied by fresh legionnaires
– assigned to the 2nd Company, 4e RE
– they were leaving their farm for Castelnaudary
– 5 legionnaires were killed
– another 3 legionnaires were seriously injured

2011, in Afghanistan, a skirmish with local rebels
– during a patrol (part of Operation Pamir)
– near the village of Nawrozkhel, in the Kapisa region
– legionnaires from 2nd Company, 2e REP were involved
– 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 then French Indochina, a rebel attack
– carried out by Chinese rebels
– aimed at the Ba Xat outpost
– located in Northern Vietnam, on the border with China
– held by legionnaires from 4th Battalion, 1er RE
– the legionnaires fought off the attackers
– during WWI, Legion detachments held several isolated outposts in the troubled Vietnamese region bordering China

1960, in northeastern Algeria, a two-day military operation ended
– carried out by 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI
– close to the Hadjeret outpost, in the Ain Safra region
– 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’s establishment
– in Algeria, 2e RE was established (2e REI since 1922)
– at Sidi Bel Abbes, the then HQ of the Legion
– by consolidating the two regiments of the 1st Foreign Legion
– created in France in 1835-36, nicknamed as “New Legion”
– the two regiments returned from the Crimean War (1854-56)
– their legionnaires merged into a single unit
– Colonel De Lacroix de Chabriere took command
– at the same time, 1st Foreign Regiment also existed
– since late June 1856
– ex-2nd Foreign Legion (Swiss Legion, 1855-56)

1918, Battle of Gaouz
– a severe battle with rebels in Morocco
– near Gaouz, in the Ksar Es Souk region
– 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE participated
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion also took part
– a little-known half-Legion semi-penal unit (1916-19)
– the fierce battle lasted several hours
– Mounted Company suffered heavy losses
– Lieutenant Arthur Jorel + 2nd Lieutenant Freycon were killed
– 45 legionnaires were also killed
– 7 men were wounded
– including Captain Timm (company commander)
– Bou Denib Mixed Battalion also suffered some losses
– a legionnaire was killed
– 3 legionnaires were wounded
– for this action, 2nd Mounted Company was mentioned in the order of the Army

1962, Last men of the Legion killed in Algeria
– an officer + 3 legionnaires
– attacked and killed by local rebels
– one month after Algeria gained its independence
– almost six months after the Algerian War officially ended
– the killed men were assigned to the 1er ESPL
– Saharan Motorized Squadron (formerly 1re CSPL)
– Lieutenant Pascal Gélas + legionnaires Pepelko, Roncin, Locca
– unarmed due to the March 1962 peace accords
– attacked and killed by FLN National Front members
– between Laghouat and El Assafia, central Algeria
– they have remained the last men of the Legion killed 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, Foreign Legion re-united for the first time
– the original Legion (created March 1831, called “Old Legion” now)
– for the first time, the unit assembled as a whole in one place
– at Palma, Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean Sea
– in late June 1835, the Legion was handed over to Spain
– to join the First Carlist War (1833-40)
– in support of Maria Christina, Regent of Spain
– its men fought there until December 1838
– the significantly reduced Legion was dissolved in January 1839
– tens of its survivors joined the “New Legion” in Algeria
– the current Legion, formed in 1836

– also in 1835, Mixing the nationalities in the Legion
– at Palma, Balearic Islands, mixing the nationalities in the Legion
– ordered by Colonel Bernelle
– the then Legion’s commanding officer
– he dissolved the six single-nationality battalions
– to mix 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
– it hasn’t changed ever since

1896, Second Madagascar Expedition
– in Algeria, legionnaires took ship for Madagascar
– two Legion companies formed by men from 2e RE (now 2e REI)
– to take part in military operations on the large island
– 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 rebel tribes in Morocco
– the battle took place at Sidi Omrane, in the the Taza region
– the rebels attacked a French column
– including 2nd Battalion, 1er RE
– also 21st Company, 6th Battalion, 1er RE
– the attack was carried out by hundreds of local rebels
– after several hours of fierce fighting, the enemy was fought off
– both Legion units suffered heavy losses
– 2nd Battalion, 1er RE:
– Captain Louis Kappler was fatally wounded
– 20 legionnaires were killed
– 3 officers wounded (including Captain Constant)
– 42 legionnaires were also wounded
– 21st Company, 6th Battalion:
– Lieutenant Sorrensen was killed (company commander)
– 10 legionnaires were killed or wounded

1946, in then French Indochina, a battle with rebels
– an action before the Indochina War started (Dec 1946)
– it occurred at Siem Reap, Cambodia
– 7th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– the city of Siem Reap was seized by rebels
– they were attacking local European inhabitants
– during the successful battle, many rebels were killed or wounded
– nevertheless, Second Lieutenant Michel Letang was also killed
– the 13e DBLE landed in Indochina only a few weeks earlier

1949, in then French Indochina, a skirmish with rebels
– close to Bat Deng, in the Phnom Penh region of Cambodia
– 2nd Company, 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, later 2e REP) were involved
– 9 rebels were killed

– in the photo, Second Lieutenant Michel Letang, killed in Cambodia on August 10, 1946

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1946 - Lieutenant Michel Letang

 

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