Foreign Legion events: August 21 – 31

On this day. Explore the Legion’s interesting historical events which occurred between August 21 and August 31. 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: August 21

1903, Attack on Taghit ended
– a French outpost near Figuig, on the Algeria-Morocco border
– held by some 400 French troops
– attacked by about 3,500 Moroccan rebels
– they attacked the outpost during four days
– between French troops inside the outpost, also legionnaires
– a platoon from 22nd Mounted Company, 2e RE (now 2e REI)
– led by Lieutenant Pointurier
– they successfully defended the outpost
– the rebels were finally fought off
– hundreds of rebels were killed or wounded
– the French suffered 9 troops killed + another 21 wounded
– two weeks later, a new battle at nearby El Moungar
– between the same rebels and the same Legion company
– the company would be annihilated

1917, on the Western Front of WWI, two-day French attacks ended
– near Verdun-sur-Meuse, in northeastern France
– successfully aimed at German positions
– carried out by RMLE (Legion’s Regimental Combat Team)
– led by Lt Colonel Rollet
Cumières and Regnéville were liberated
– the unit also captured 680 prisoners
– for that action of August 20-21, RMLE gained a new mention in dispatches
– the sixth mention in the order of the Army
– RMLE would receive the Fourragère in colors of the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honour), the highest French military award
– in 1920, the unit would become 3e RE (3e REI in 1922)

1941, 4th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade
– in Morocco, 4e DBLE was established
– organized at Casablanca, formed by two battalions
– it received the regimental flag of the deactivated 4e REI
– the unit was sent to Senegal, West Africa
– to maintain order there
– it returned to Morocco in early 1943
– to participate in the 1943 Tunisia Campaign

1957, in northeastern Algeria, a military operation
– at Oued Hallail, close to Ferkane, in the Tebessa region
– the operation was aimed at a large rebel group
– 6th Motorized Company, 4e REI + 2e REP (Parachute Regiment) took part
– the rebel group was annihilated
– at least 35 rebels were killed

– in the rare picture, the regimental standard of RMLE at Nancy, France, in 1918
– the standard is held by Lt Colonel Rollet, the then RMLE commander who became the famous Chief of the Foreign Legion in 1931, nicknamed as Father of the Legion

RMLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1918 - Nancy - France

 

French Foreign Legion: August 22

1895, Capture of Andriba
– an action during the Second Madagascar Expedition (1894-95)
– the French successfully captured Andriba
– a town in central Madagascar
– a Foreign Legion battalion was involved

1947, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– at Thoi Lai, close to Can Tho, Southern Vietnam
– 10th Company, 3e REI were involved
– many rebels were killed or wounded
– nevertheless, the company suffered some losses
– Lieutenant André Campenet was killed
– 2 legionnaires were also killed

1959, Pierre du Bois de Dunilac and his wife liberated
– a Swiss writer and painter
– captured in northern Algeria during the Algeria War
– he and his wife were captured by rebels two months earlier
– held in an abandoned village near Azazga
– the hostages were rescued during Operation Jumelles
– by Lieutenant Lambert and his platoon from 12th Company, 5e REI

– in the first image, legionnaires in Madagascar, around 1898

– in the second image, Colonel Favreau, the one-eyed regimental commander of 5e REI, with Pierre du Bois de Dunilac and his wife, August 1959

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1898 - Madagascar

5e REI - 5 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1959 - Pierre du Bois de Dunilac - Algeria

 

French Foreign Legion: August 23

1947, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– close to Bao Trai, in the Duc Hoa region, Southern Vietnam
– Heavy Company, 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) were involved
– Second Lieutenant Buonfils and his two platoons
– 15 rebels were killed
– several legionnaires were also killed

1952, in then French Indochina, a successful operation ended
– in the Phuc Yen region, Northern Vietnam
– carried out by Armored Mobile Platoon, 2e CREBLE
– Foreign Legion Armored Vehicle Repair Company

– in the photo, 13e DBLE men during an operation in French Indochina, in the late 1940s

13e DBLE - 13 DBLE - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1948 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: August 24

1854, First legionnaires to land in Bulgaria
– first Legion elements to take part in the Siege of Sevastopol
– the then capital of the Crimea, Russian Empire
– the siege would open (in September) the Crimean campaign
– the main part of the Crimean War (1853-56)
– eight elite Foreign Legion companies landed at Varna, Bulgaria
– forming a Foreign Legion task force, led by Major Nayral
– the Crimean War was a conflict between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, Ottoman Empire and Sardinia

1955, Operation Remy
– a large airborne operation in then Southern Vietnam
– it took place in the Bau Long region
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) participated
– over 470 legionnaires
– however, the operation wasn’t part of the First Indochina War (1946-54)

– in the picture, 2e BEP legionnaires during an operation in Southern Vietnam, 1955

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1955 - Vietnam

 

French Foreign Legion: August 25

1842, in northeastern Algeria, Bougie was attacked
– the capital of the Bougie region
– attacked by around 5,500 local rebels
– the attack took two hours
– legionnaires from 2nd Battalion, 2e RLE defended the town
– Foreign Legion Regiment, now 2e REI
– they were stationed at Bougie at that time
– led by Captain Carteron
– the attackers were fought off
– around 120 rebels were killed

1952, Operation Sauterelle started
– a five-day operation in then French Indochina
– in the sand dunes of the Quang Tri and Hue regions, Central Vietnam
– aimed at the Viet Minh
1er REC (Cavalry Regiment) + a battalion from 5e REI + a battalion from 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade) participated
– 107 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– over 400 rebels were imprisoned

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a rebel brutal attack
– near the city of Bougie
– aimed at a platoon of legionnaires
– led by Second Lieutenant Hervieux
– they belonged to 2nd Battalion, 13e DBLE
– Second Lieutenant Jacques Hervieux + 10 legionnaires were killed

1973, 3e REI left Madagascar for French Guiana
– a large island in the Indian Ocean, close to Africa
– 3e REI had been stationed on the island since 1962
– in French Guiana, the unit has to protect a new French space center
– its 2nd Company stayed on the Comoro Islands (west of Madagascar)
– the company became DLEC (Comoros Detachment)
– it was redesignated to DLEM (Mayotte Detachment) in 1976

– in the rare image, 3e REI legionnaires are listening to the regimental band during their voyage to French Guiana, late August 1973

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1973 - Madagascar - French Guiana

 

French Foreign Legion: August 26

1946, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– at Cai Beo, close to Cao Long
– in the Sadec region, Southern Vietnam
– the attack was aimed at a Legion river patrol
– the patrol was carried out by 12th Company, 3e REI
– Captain De Belloc de Chamborant and his 20 legionnaires
– the attack was followed by a fierce fight
– Captain Georges de Belloc de Chamborant was killed
– Lieutenant Jacques Rincent + 2nd Lieutenant André Thizon were also killed
– 13 legionnaires were killed too

1949, in then French Indochina, three-day clashes with the Viet Minh ended
– the fierce clashes took place at Thin Tho, Central Vietnam
– 10th Company, 2e REI were involved
– around 90 Viet Minh rebels were killed
– nonetheless, Captain Pachany (company commander) was badly wounded

2013, Helie de Saint Marc died
– a famous Foreign Legion officer
– probably the most controversial officer of the Legion in the 20th century
– the main Foreign Legion figure of the 1961 Generals’ Putsch of Algiers
– he and his 1er REP (Parachute Regiment) were fully involved
– Major De Saint Marc commanded the unit par interim in 1961
– the putschists didn’t agree with the then French pro-rebel policy in Algeria
– the policy constituted by then President Charles de Gaulle
– viewed by putschists as a traitor of France, French soldiers and French residents living in Algeria
– however, the putsch didn’t succeed
– Major De Saint Marc was sentenced to 10 years in prison
– 1er REP was dissolved and never re-established
Helie de Saint Marc served with the Foreign Legion between 1948-61
– he served with several Legion units
– in 3e REI, 3e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 3e REP), 2e BEP (2e REP now), 1er BEP and 1er REP
– during WWII, Helie de Saint Marc was a French Resistance member
– he was imprisoned in a German concentration camp in 1943-45
– with the Legion, he participated in the First Indochina War (three deployments, 5 years in total), the Suez Crisis and the Algerian War
– fully rehabilitated in 1978, he became a writer

– in the picture, 2e REP legionnaires rendering homage to Helie de Saint Marc in front of Lyon Cathedral on August 30, 2013

Helie de Saint Marc - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2013 - Lyon

 

French Foreign Legion: August 27

1951, in then French Indochina, a fierce battle with the Viet Minh
– in the Son Tay region of Northern Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 5e REI were involved

2006, 2e REG to join Operation Baliste
– an operation in Lebanon
– to evacuate French citizens living there
– during the 2006 Lebanon War
– that day, 1st Company, 2e REG arrived in Lebanon
– some 160 legionnaires
– to participate in the operation
– another Legion engineer company had already been there
– 3rd Company, 1er REG
– the first French Army unit to take part in the operation
– it arrived in Lebanon in late July
– during Operation Baliste, at least 8,000 French citizens were rescued

– in the photo, 2e REG legionnaires in Lebanon, September 2006

2e REG - 2 REG - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 2006 - Lebanon

 

French Foreign Legion: August 28

1948, in then French Indochina, a military operation
– near Ninh Hoa, in the Nha Trang region of Central Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– they conducted a successful patrol
– 12 rebels were imprisoned

1953, Operation Claude started
– a two-week operation in then French Indochina
– close to Kien An, in the Hai Phong region, Northern Vietnam
– two Foreign Legion units were involved
– 1er REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP)
– over 60 Viet Minh rebels were killed by 2e BEP
– 2e BEP suffered 11 men killed
– including fatally wounded Lieutenant Yves Comtat

– in the image, 2e BEP legionnaires in French Indochina, 1953

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1953 - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: August 29

1953, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– during Operation Claude
– at Phuong Lai, in the Hai Phong region, Northern Vietnam
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) were involved
– 9 rebels were killed
– 12 rebels were imprisoned

1956, in northeastern Algeria, a rebel attack
– at Djellal, in the Khenchela region
– aimed at 4th Company, 13e DBLE (Half-Brigade)
– 4 legionnaires were killed
– 11 legionnaires were wounded
– 6 rebels were also killed

1957, in central Algeria, a military operation
– in the Ghardaia region
– the operation was aimed at a large local rebel group
– carried out by 2e REC (Cavalry Regiment)
– a number of rebels were killed or imprisoned

– in the picture, 13e DBLE men during a ceremony in Algeria, 1956

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

 

French Foreign Legion: August 30

1914, in northern Morocco, a rebel attack
– during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– that day, local rebels attacked a military camp
– located near Taza, northern Morocco
– occupied by 22nd Company, 6th Battalion, 1er RE
– 2 legionnaires were killed
– the attackers were fought off

1948, in then French Indochina, clashes with the Viet Minh
– in the Phan Rang region of Central Vietnam
– 3rd Battalion, 2e REI were involved
– 11 rebels were killed
– several rebels were imprisoned

1950, Operation Rouleaux started
– a three-day operation in then French Indochina
– aimed at the Viet Minh
– it took place in Southern Vietnam
– in the then Cap Saint-Jacques region (Vung Tau now)
– 2e BEP (Parachute Battalion, future 2e REP) were involved
– during the operation, several Viet Minh camps were destroyed

– in the photo, a Viet Minh rebel captured by 2e BEP legionnaires during Operation Rouleaux, 1950

2e BEP - 2 BEP - Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1950 - Operation Rouleaux - French Indochina

 

French Foreign Legion: August 31

1930, Battle of Bou Leggou
– an action during the Pacification of Morocco (1907-34)
– it occurred in the Ksar Es Souk region
– 2nd Mounted Company, 2e REI were involved
– Captain Fauré and his 200 legionnaires
– a freshly motorized unit
– they were facing some 1,500 local rebels
– the severe battle took three hours
– 21 legionnaires were killed
– 12 men wounded (including Lieutenant Brencklé)
– Lieutenant Emile Brencklé would be killed in 1933
– for this battle, the unit was mentioned in the order of the Army
– it also obtained the War Cross
– in 1940, the company was redesignated
– it became the very first CSPLE
– Saharan Motorized Company (1re CSPL since 1946)

1946, in then French Indochina, a Viet Minh attack
– near My Duc Tay, in the Sadec region, Southern Vietnam
– a platoon of 11th Company, 3e REI was attacked
– during a patrol in the sector
– Second Lieutenant Francois Bertrand was killed
– the then platoon leader

– in the old postcard, legionnaires ready for an operation in the Ksar Es Souk region of Morocco, 1930s

Foreign Legion Etrangere - 1930s - Ksar Es Souk - Morocco

 

Related posts:
Foreign Legion events: August 11 – 20
Foreign Legion events: September 01 – 10
French Foreign Legion history