80 years ago: Foreign Legion’s last artillery batteries were disbanded

With the conflict in Ukraine, a long-neglected component of Western armies, artillery, has once again stepped to the fore. It might come as a surprise to many Foreign Legion enthusiasts that a 1920 law allowed the Foreign Legion to establish, along with a cavalry regiment, also a separate artillery regiment. Equally surprising might be the fact that, in 1941, the legionnaires probably served in as many as 11 artillery batteries at the same time. The last of these units were disbanded 80 years ago, in 1944.

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70 years ago: A decisive battle ended in French Indochina

In early May 1954, the decisive battle of the First Indochina War between French troops and the communist-led Viet Minh ended. Thousands of legionnaires participated, and many Foreign Legion units were lost during the fighting. The battle culminated in French withdrawal from Southeast Asia after almost 100 years.

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130 years ago: A forgotten campaign in West Africa ended

In February 1894, the last elements of the French Foreign Legion left the Slave Coast in West Africa where they had successfully participated in two expeditions aimed at a local kingdom’s ruler and his forces. Not only did the legionnaires face heat, disease, and supply problems, but they also had to fight local female warriors, Amazons…

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2023 Legion Christmas nativity scenes

For the French Foreign Legion, seen as a traditional pro-Catholic institution in France (unlike the rest of the French Army), Christmas Eve marks the second most important holiday. To celebrate it, legionnaires in all units of the Foreign Legion – regardless of their origin and religious – create nativity scenes (crèches) every year and compete to see which one is the nicest and most original. The scenes can be small, static ones, or performed live with hand-made scenery. This long-standing Legion tradition is unique within the French Army. If you are interested, see some of the nativity scenes created by legionnaires in December 2023.

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1er REC, 2e REI, 1er REG: Exercise BIA 23

This week, on November 27, began an important tactical combined arms maneuver BIA 23 that takes place in the Marne Department in northeastern France, north of Camp Mailly. Organized by the 6th Light Armored Brigade (6e BLB), it is to be the very first French exercise involving a combined arms brigade of the modern SCORPION generation ready for an operational deployment. Among the participating units are the Foreign Legion’s 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1er REC), 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI), and the 1st Foreign Engineer Regiment (1er REG).

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