Documentary: 2e REP and Kolwezi 1978

Watch an old French documentary dedicated to the legionnaires from the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) who participated in the 1978 Battle of Kolwezi in the then Republic of Zaire, Central Africa.

The images of the yet “old-school” Legion are quite interesting and rare. The documentary followed the 2e REP legionnaires (mainly from the 4th “Sniper & Destruction” Company) during their last days in the former Belgian colony, then led by General Mobutu, when they conducted their last patrols, movements, and camping, before their arrival to Lubumbashi, the second largest city of Zaire. There the Legion paratroopers paraded in front of General Mobutu, his military staff, and the local population; they were also awarded with Zairian Shaba medal.

The Foreign Legion appears at 5:03. The images show patrols about 30 miles (50 km) in the southwest of Kolwezi, on a road serving as a rearguard of the Katangese rebels. The legionnaires are moving with old GMC CCKW trucks.

At 7:50, Colonel Erulin, the then commanding officer of the 2e REP. He clarified the tasks of his regiment: to take over Kolwezi, to liberate captured Europeans, to restore order and security in the town and guarantee this security. He pointed out that the success of the mission resulted in the valor of his men and their high-quality training. Follows the 200-mile-long (320 km) movement to Lubumbashi, carried out by the HQ, 2nd and 4th Companies.

At 12:35, near the Lubumbashi airport, a camp of the HQ Platoon, 4th Company. The platoon consisted of 8 Frenchmen, 4 Germans, 2 Belgians, a Portuguese, an Italian, and a Chinese. It should be noted that at the time, the Legion was French in the majority, just like during several decades prior to WWI. A huge difference in comparison to only 8% of Francophones in the Legion in 2018.

At 13:40, Lubumbashi. The local French and Belgians. The 4th Company legionnaires patrolling around the city to search reported rebels. Then, again camping. A German, a Francophone, and a Greek-French legionnaire. A muted sound for a while… At 23:25, arrival of Moroccan troops that would replace the legionnaires in Kolwezi. 24:40, again legionnaires, final preparations before the upcoming military parade. At 27:30, the parade of the 2e REP in Lubumbashi, accompanied by a local….music band…., playing its own version of the Legion’s hymn, Le Boudin. At 28:53, departure for Corsica. Apart from smiling legionnaires who are not-so-proud of their new medal, apart from a legionnaire with a small friend “Mobuto”, we can see an Adjudant, who in fact was deployed to Zaire already in 1959, yet with the Belgian Army. At 30:24, the first legionnaires enter the Camp Raffalli, the 2e REP’s military base at Calvi, Corsica.


Related posts:
2e REP: 3rd Company in New Caledonia
2e REP: 2020 Wessex Storm in England
2e REP: 2020 Exrecise Vent d’Automne
2e REP: 1st Company in New Caledonia 2021