History: 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment

See the history of the last airborne unit of the French Foreign Legion, the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP). The unit was organized in Algeria in late 1955. There, the 2e REP would actively participate in the Algerian War (1954-62). In 1967, the regiment left North Africa as the last French airborne unit. It would be be based in Corsica.

In the next decades, the 2e REP took part in several military operations and conflicts. Between the mid-1960s and mid-2010s, its men fought in Chad, Zaire, Iraq, ex-Yugoslavia, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Mali or Niger. They also deployed to Djibouti, Lebanon, Rwanda, Gabon, Somalia or the Central African Republic.

The 2e REP took over the number, traditions and history of its predecessor fighting in Indochina, the famous 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2e BEP, 1948-55).

2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment - History - 2 REP - 2 BEP - L'histoire du 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes

 
For current information about the 2e REP, click here: 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment

 

UPDATE Sept 2018: Note that the following history-related article (published in 2013) is a little bit outdated now. It should be fully reworked before January 2019.

 
 

2e REP: 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment 1955 – 2013

2e REP: Algerian War 1955 – 1962

1954 – 1955:
Algerian War started
– in North Africa, local rebels intensified military actions
– these actions took part in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria
– they were aimed at French forces presented in these regions
– the main rebel force fighting the French was the FLN
– FLN stands for National Liberation Front
– their clashes with the French started in November 1954
– later in 1955, the operations escalated to the Algerian War

November 1955:
– on November 18, an airborne unit landed in Algeria
2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2e BEP)
– a unit formed in Algeria in late 1948
– in early 1949, it was shipped to Southeast Asia
– to participate in the First Indochina War (1946-54)
– there, it became the most decorated French battalion
– back in Algeria, the battalion moved to Philippeville
– a town in northeastern Algeria
2e BEP would be dissolved there on November 30, 1955

December 1955:
2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
2e Regiment Etranger de Parachutistes (2e REP)

2e REP was established on December 1, 1955
– formed by men coming from two dissolved units
– 2e BEP + 3e REP
– they merged together to create a new airborne regiment, 2e REP
– 2e REP would be stationed at Philippeville, northeastern Algeria
– led by Major Georges Masselot par interim

1956:
– on January 15, the first legionnaire of 2e REP killed in action
– April-June, operations in the Mac-Mahon and El-Halia regions
– on June 5, 2e REP received its regimental flag
– in November-December, operations in the Tebessa region

1957:
– January-Avril 1957, operations in the Tebessa region
– in July, operations in the El Milia and Collo regions
– in August-December, new operations in the Tebessa region
– in October, 2e REP deployed to the Tunisian border

1958:
– March-April, operations in the Djidjelli region
– June-December, operations in the Guelma region

1959:
– March-October, operations in the Constantine, Souk-Ahra, Bugeaud, Nemetchas, El Milia regions
Operation Turquoise (November)
– in December, operations in the Constantine region

1960:
– operations in the Constantine and Aures regions

1961:
– operations in the Collo and Mila regions

– in May, 1e REP was disbanded
– a number of 1er REP legionnaires consolidated with 2e REP

– in December, operation close to Constantine

1962:
– in January, operations in the Djidjelli region

Algerian War officially ended
– Évian Accords treaty, signed on March 18, ended the Algerian War
– on July 5, Independence of Algeria was declared
– however, military operations were conducted until September 1962
– on September 25, the Algerian republic was established

 

2e REP - Caserne de France - Philippeville
2e REPCaserne de France in Philippeville (Algeria)
2e REP - 3rd Company - Caserne de France - Philippeville
3rd Company of the 2e REP is reviewed by officers inside Caserne de France in Philippeville (June 1956)
2e REP - Camp Pehau - Philippeville
2e REP – nearby the sea, Camp Pehau in Philippeville
2e REP - Camp Pehau - Philippeville - Saint Michel Day 1960
Saint Michel Day ceremony in 2e REP‘s Camp Pehau, Philippeville
(September 29, 1960)
2e REP in the El-Halia region in 1956
2e REP during an operation in the El-Halia region
(April 1956)
2e REP received its regimental flag
2e REP has received its regimental flag (June 05, 1956)
2e REP in the Tebessa region in 1957
2e REP during an operation in the Tebessa region (1957)
2e REP in the Tebessa region in 1957
2e REP, Tebessa region (1957)
2e REP parading in Tebessa in December 1957
2e REP parading in Tebessa (December 21, 1957)
2e REP in the Guelma region in 1958
2e REP during an operation in the Guelma region (1958)
2e REP in the Guelma region in 1958
2e REP, Guelma region (1958)
2e REP parade during Camerone Day in Philippeville in 1958
2e REP parading on Camerone Day in Philippeville
(April 30, 1958)
2e REP during Operation Turquoise in 1959
2e REP during Operation Turquoise (November 1959)
2e REP in the Collo region in 1961
Legionnaires of 2e REP during an operation in the Collo region (1961)

 

2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment: 1962 – 2013

1962:
– in April, 2e REP ws fully based in Telergma, Algeria
– in September, 2e REP left Telergma
– it was placed at Bou-Sfer at Camp Commandant Segretain
– Bou-Sfer was a French airbase near Mers El Kebir, Algeria

1963:
– in December, a detached group of 2e REP was sent to Corsica
– its main task was to establish a parachute training center
– in February 1964, the center was activated
Parachute Training Center (Centre d’Entrainement au Saut, CES)
– CES was based at camp near Calvi, Corsica

1964:
– 2e REP companies started to specialize themselves

1967:
2e REP moved to Corsica
– in February, 2e REP started to leave Africa for Corsica
– in June, 2e REP was fully based near Calvi, Corsica
– it was based at Camp Fiume-Secco
– the camp is a former base of the 1er BPC (French regular unit)
– the camp became Camp Raffalli on April 29, 1968

1968:
Exercise Kiwi
– in March, 2e REP participated in Exercise Kiwi
– for 2e REP, it was the very first exercise in continental France
– it was also the first presence of almost the whole regiment in France

1969 – 1970:
Operation Limousin
– April 1969 – November 1970
– the operation in Chad (central Africa) to calm down local rebellion
– on November 13, 1969, legionnaire Depuis was killed in action in Chad
– he was the first 2e REP legionnaire killed since the end of the Algerian War

1974:
– legionnaires of 2e REP deployed to Djibouti for the first time
– they armed a rotational company of 13e DBLE

1976:
1976 Loyada Hostage Rescue Mission
– on February 4, legionnaires from 2e REP and 13e DBLE helped to rescue 30 children
– the mission occurred in Loyada (a Djibouti-Somalia border village)

1977:
– in November, 2e REP (2nd Company) was in French Guiana for the first time

1978:
Battle of Kolwezi
– 2e REP participated in the famous operation in Zaire

1978 – 1979:
Operation Tacaud in Chad

1982:
Mont Garbi aircraft accident
– on February 3, an aviation accident occurred in Djibouti
– 27 men from 2e REP + 3 members of 13e DBLE were killed

Operation Epaulard in Lebanon (August – December)

1984:
Operation Manta in Chad

1986 – 1988:
Operation Epervier in Chad

1990 – 1991:
– operations in Chad, Rwanda and Gabon

1991:
Gulf War
– GCP (a commando group) of 2e REP participated in

1992:
Operation Iskoutir in Djibouti
Operation Oryx in Somalia
– operations in Rwanda

1993:
– mission in Sarajevo, ex-Yugoslavia

1995:
– mission in ex-Yugoslavia

1996:
Operation Almandin in the Central African Republic

1996 – 1999:
– KFOR mission in ex-Yugoslavia

1997:
Operation Pelican in the Republic of the Congo

2000 – 2003:
– Kosovo

2002 – 2006:
– Ivory Coast

2008 – 2012:
War in Afghanistan

2010:
– Ivory Coast

2013:
– operations in Mali

 

2e REP - Camp in Telergma
2e REP – the camp in Telergma
2e REP - Camerone Day in Telergma 1962
2e REPCamerone Day parade in Telergma (April 30, 1962)
2e REP - Camp in Bou-Sfer
2e REP – the camp in Bou-Sfer
2e REP - Camp in Bou-Sfer - Entrance
2e REP – the entrance of Camp Commandant Segretain in Bou-Sfer (1966)
2e REP - a detached group leaving Africa for Calvi
A detached group of 2e REP leaving Africa for Calvi (Corsica), to establish Parachute Training Center (CES) (December 1963)
2e REP - CES - legionnaires jumping over Calvi in 1964
2e REP – CES – legionnaires of 3e Promotion parachuting over Calvi (May 1964)
2e REP - first commandos in 1964
2e REP started to specialize its legionnaires – first combattants supremes (predecessors of today’s GCP) (1964)
2e REP - 3rd Company - amphibious training course
2e REP – 3rd Company – an amphibious training course in Bou-Sfer (1967)
2e REP has been moved to Calvi - 1967
2e REP has been moved to Calvi, Corsica (May 27, 1967)
2e REP - Camp Raffali
2e REPCamp Raffali (Fiume-Secco till April 1968) near Calvi, Corsica
2e REP - its first parade in Calvi - July 1967
2e REP – its first parade in Calvi (July 14, 1967)
2e REP - its first military exercise in France - March 1968
Kiwi exercise – 2e REP and its first military exercise in continental France (March 1968)
2e REP - the operation in Chad in 1969
2e REP – the military operation in Chad (1969)
2e REP - the operation in Chad in 1970
2e REP, Chad (1970)
2e REP - Kolwezi - 1978
Legionnaires of the 2e REP during Operation Bonite in Kolwezi (May 1978)
© Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e REP - 3rd Company and its amphibious exercise near Calvi - 1978
2e REP – 3rd Company – an amphibious exercise near Calvi
(September 1978)
2e REP has received the Famas
Legionnaires of 2e REP with the new assault rifle – FAMAS (1980)
2e REP - Caylus - 11th Division reviewing by French president
Camp Caylus – the 2e REP and the rest of the 11th Parachute division is reviewing by French president (August 1980)
2e REP - snipers of the 2nd Platoon of the 4th Company in October 1981
2e REP – legionnaires of the 2nd Platoon of the 4th Company training in Corsica in late 1981. In three months, the whole platoon will be killed in Djibouti, during the Mont Garbi accident.
2e REP in Lebanon in 1982
A legionnaire of the 2e REP in Lebanon (1982)
2e REP - Operation Oryx in Somalia in 1992
A legionnaire of 2e REP and US Marines in Somalia, during Operation Oryx
(December 1992); © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e REP - Sarajevo -  1993
Legionnaires of 2e REP landed in Sarajevo (January 1993)
© Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e REP - Central African Republic - 2013
Operation Almandin – legionnaires of the 2e REP in the Central African Republic (December 1996)
2e REP - Kosovo - 2000
A legionnaire of 2e REP in Mitrovica, Kosovo (2000); © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e REP - Afghanistan - 2010
Legionnaires of the 2nd Company of the 2e REP patrolling in Afghanistan (2010)
© Photo credit: Adj. A. Karaghezian, SIRPA Terre
2e REP - Mali - 2013
Legionnaires from 2e REP with a French commando (right, sand camouflage) in Mali (2013)

 

For current information about the regiment see 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment.

 

 

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Images source:
Képi blanc magazines
Légion étrangère official website
Ecpad
French Ministry of Defence

Information source:
2e REP official website
Kepi blanc magazines
Ecpad.fr

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See other Foreign Legion airborne units:
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion
3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment
1st Foreign Parachute Company of Heavy Mortars
Parachute Company of 3e REI

 
Foreign Legion disbanded regiments:
2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment
4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
5th Foreign Regiment
6th Foreign Infantry Regiment

 

The page was updated on: September 29, 2018

 

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