Andrew J. Mitchell: Mafteiu and the Compagnie Montée d’Algérie

In mid-November 2023, a new English-written book dedicated to the French Foreign Legion was released: Mafteiu and the Compagnie Montée d’Algérie, subtitled The obscure history of the little-known French Foreign Legion Mounted Company of Algeria, 1881 – 1939. This is another original work of our friend Andrew J. Mitchell, an Irish amateur historian and a passionate Foreign Legion insignia collector.

Mafteiu and the Compagnie Montée d’Algérie covers the history of the Foreign Legion Mounted Companies, mule-mounted predecessors to modern motorized light infantry and paratroopers, and one of them in particular: the Compagnie Montée d’Algérie (Algerian Mounted Company, CMA). In fact, this was (and remains) the least known and most overlooked of the five mounted companies serving in North Africa from 1914 to 1934. The reason was simple – its Algerian South Oran’s theater of operations was not so “cool” like that one in neighbouring Morocco where intensive combat operations to pacify the country were carried out by the French at the time.

Anyway, Andi got an awesome set of photos showing Lieutenant Mafteiu and the CMA in the early 1930s and decided to make a book where he may share all of these (50+) beautiful and very rare pictures. He supplemented them with a text that, according to him, “…charts the rise of the Compagnie Montée d’Algerie, with the genesis of the first Legion-mounted section created in 1866, amid the dying flames of the Mexican campaign. The reader subsequently follows the formation of the new Montée in 1881, the long desert patrols, and the construction of blockhouses and forts. We witness the sometimes tragic and, at times, heroic part played in subduing the desert warriors of the arid Sud Oranais before laboriously climbing the vast djebels of the High Atlas during dizzying combats against renegade Berbers. Although the complex history of the CMA is concise, the pace is swift, and the fierce combat is often furious…”

The reader will surely appreciate, besides the mentioned rare and well-described photos, also Andi’s colorful narrative in which he is a master.

Important parts of the text are dedicated, among others, to the famous 1882 Battle of Chott Tigri, the 1903 Battle of El Moungar, and the 1933 Battle of Bou Gafer.

Here are some samples (click on to enlarge them):

Andrew J. Mitchell is currently working on the second part of his Foreign Legion Parachute Units Insignia, entirely devoted to the 2e REP. The only civilian member and historian of the A.A.L.E.I., the official association of Irish former legionnaires, he also administrates the Facebook page called Collecting French Foreign Legion Badges.

His new book Mafteiu and the Compagnie Montée d’Algérie is of a smaller format, having only about 50 pages, and thus easy to read in a weekend. If you are interested, you may find it on Blurb, in hardcover or PDF formats. Simply follow the link below:

Mafteiu and the Compagnie Montée d’Algérie

Please, note that the link is NOT an affiliate link to generate money. Thank you.

If you are interested in other works of Andrew J. Mitchell, see our older posts in the section below.


Realated posts:
Andrew J. Mitchell: Collecting French Foreign Legion Insignia – 2nd Foreign Regiment
Andrew J. Mitchell: Collecting French Foreign Legion Insignia – 1st Foreign Regiment
Andrew J. Mitchell: Pictorial History of the French Foreign Legion in Indochina, 1927-1945
Andrew J. Mitchell: The Tigers of Tonkin