Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Brunet de Sairigné (1913 – 1948)

On March 1, 1948, on the road from Saigon to Dalat in French Indochina, a French military convoy was ambushed by the Viet Minh. As soon as the first shots were fired, Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Brunet de Sairigné, a popular French Foreign Legion officer, was fatally wounded. In him, the French Army lost one of the youngest commanding officers in its history; he had just turned 35. The following article was written in his memory.

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115 years ago: Foreign Legion’s company decimated by a severe snowstorm

In early February 1908, an unexpected severe snowstorm surprised a Foreign Legion company on the edge of the Sahara, during their march to a remote military post at the Algeria-Morocco border. Within hours, the unmerciful element decimated the unit. Many legionnaires died, others had to undergo amputation of their frozen extremities.

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70 years ago: A successful battle in an entrenched valley in French Indochina

In late 1952, an important confrontation between the French and the communist Viet Minh took place in then French Indochina, in a valley transformed into a well-fortified camp. A direct predecessor to the sad 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu, the confrontation ended with a clear French victory, thanks to a significant role of the French Foreign Legion men.

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40 years ago: A combined battalion which constructed the largest military camp in Western Europe was disbanded

In 1971, a combined battalion was activated to group Foreign Legion pioneers and French Army Engineer Corps sappers to construct the largest military camp in Western Europe. Later, the battalion constructed or modernized other military training areas, before its deactivation in late 1982. Even today, these camps still preserve concrete traces of the remarkable efficiency of the men of the Foreign Legion, who reaffirmed that legionnaires are both elite soldiers and competent builders, just like their ancestors.

Read more40 years ago: A combined battalion which constructed the largest military camp in Western Europe was disbanded

90 years ago: The deadliest accident ever experienced by the Foreign Legion

90 years ago, on September 14, 1932, a disaster occurred in North Africa’s Algeria, home to the French Foreign Legion at the time. A train carrying a detachment of the 1st Foreign Regiment derailed and crashed into a ravine. Dozens of legionnaires were killed in the accident, more than two hundred legionnaires were wounded. Yet, the sad event has almost been forgotten.

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45 years ago: The last operational battalion of the Foreign Legion was disbanded

In 1969, the legionnaires deployed to Chad in Central Africa to carry out their first combat action since 1962, when the Algerian War ended. The events in Chad demonstrated that in the new post-colonial era and with a dramatically reduced army, France still needed forces capable of intervening rapidly everywhere around the world. And that the considerable downsizing the Foreign Legion after the war in Algeria was not the best idea. Thus, a new operational force consisting of legionnaires would be created in 1971 and serve until 1977…

Read more45 years ago: The last operational battalion of the Foreign Legion was disbanded

PHOTOS: 3rd “Camerone” Company, 4e REI

Summer holidays are over and thus it’s time to share again some historical pictures of the French Foreign Legion. This time, those related to the pre-WWII 3rd Company, 4th Foreign Infantry Regiment (4e REI). A direct heir to the famous 3rd Company, 1st Battalion, Foreign Regiment that participated in the legendary 1863 Battle of Camerone.

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60 years ago: A unit helping to install the Foreign Legion in France was created

Following the end of the Algeria War in March 1962, the French Foreign Legion headquarters was forced to leave North Africa for France. Because of that, a new unit had to be formed with a special task: to prepare for the installation of the Foreign Legion in France and Corsica. As a result, a new task force saw its birth 60 years ago, on August 1, 1962.

Read more60 years ago: A unit helping to install the Foreign Legion in France was created