History: 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment

The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) is an airborne unit of the French Foreign Legion. It was established in Algeria as 2e BEP (Battalion) in October 1948. It participated in the First Indochina War, Algerian War, Battle of Kolwezi and in other military operations. The 2e REP remains the only active airborne regiment of the Legion, the others were disbanded.

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

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

 

2e BEP: First Indochina War

1945 – 1946:
First Indochina War started
– French Indochina reffers to French colonial territories in Southeast Asia
– in Indochina, a conflict started between the French and Ho Chi Minh
– Ho Chi Minh led the Viet-Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam)
– Viet Minh was a nationalist and (later) pro-Soviet Union movement
– in September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France for Vietnam
– clashes between French forces and the Viet Minh started
– in 1946, first Foreign Legion units landed in Indochina

1948:
2e BEP establishment
– on October 1, a new parachute unit of the Foreign Legion was established
2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2e Bataillon Étranger de Parachutistes, 2e BEP)
– 2e BEP was organized in Setif, Algeria
– it main purpose had been to fight in Indochina

– 2e BEP was composed of:

  • HQ Company
  • 1st Company
  • 2nd Company
  • 3rd Company

– HQ + 1st Company were formed by volunteers from 4e DBLE
– 2nd + 3rd Company were formed by volunteers from DCRE
– DCRE (Foreign Regiments Joint Depot) was based at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
– the town was then garrison for the Legion’s HQ

– in October-December, parachute training in Philippeville, Algeria

1949:
– on January 13, 2e BEP left Africa for Asia
– on February 9, it landed in Indochina to join the war
– 2e BEP was placed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Operation Tiger (March 1949)
first combat jump (March 24, 1949)

Operation Glycine (May 1949)

– in June, 1st Company was sent to Vietnam
– it participated in several operations there

– in September, 3rd Company also moved to Vietnam

Operation Datura (November 1949)

– on December 26, fierce fights at Hieu-Tu (near Tra-Vinh)
– 1st Company (100 men) fought off 3 Viet-Minh battalions

– in December, 2e BEP was fully stationed in Vietnam

1950:
– in January, 2e BEP moved to Tonkin (today’s Northern Vietnam)
– April-July, 2nd Company participated in operations in Central Vietnam
– June-August, 1st Company deployed to Laos
– on September 12, captain Barthélémy “Rémy” Raffalli took the command of 2e BEP

1951:
– during February-March, reorganization of 2e BEP
– March-December, operations in Tonkin

Battle of Nghia Lo
– the battle occurred during October 3-10
– 4 French battalions fought off a Viet-Minh division
– 2e BEP participated in
– Viet-Minh lost over 3,000 men

1952:
– January-February, operations close to Route Coloniale 6 (RC 6, Hanoi to Vientiane)
Operation Turco (April)
Operation Viperine (July)
– on September 10, Major Rémy Raffalli (2e BEP’s commander) died

  • he was fatally wounded in action on September 1, at Chuyen My Trong Ha
  • as a French officer, he served with the Legion since 1949
  • Camp Raffalli of 2e REP (ex-2e BEP) in Corsica is named after him

– in October, reorganization of 2e BEP
– operations close to Route Coloniale 1 (RC 1)

Operation Lorraine (November)

Battle of Na San
– November 23 – December 2
Na San was a French stronghold surrounded by 30 smaller armed positions
– the stronghold has also a complicated trench system, enforced with barbed wires
– the French had 11 battalions + 6 artillery batteries placed there
– they included 2e BEP, 1er BEP, 3rd Battalion of 3e REI, CMLE and 5e REI
– Na San was attacked by three Viet-Minh divisions (9 regiments)
– after two weeks of heavy fighting, Viet-Minh lost around 3,000 soldiers
– the French win the battle, Viet-Minh was defeated

1953:
– in May-June, 2e BEP was involved in operations in Laos
Operation Hirondelle (July)
Operation Brochet (September-October)
– in October, a new reorganization of 2e BEP

1954:
Operation Atlante (January-March)

Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– in April-May, 2e BEP was involved in the battle
– legionnaires from 1er BEP, 3e REI, 13e DBLE, 2e REI, 1re CEPML, 1re CMMLE, 2e CMMLE also participated in
– on 7 May, the battle ended
– the French were defeated
– 2e BEP + units taking part in the battle were annihilated

– on May 24, 3e BEP landed in Indochina
– it left Algeria to reinforce the BEPs at Dien Bien Phu
– on 1 June, 3e BEP became the new 2e BEP

– in July, 2e BEP moved to Saigon (in Southern Vietnam)
– on July 30, the last fights with the Viet-Minh for 2e BEP
– the fights took place near Thu Dau Mot)

First Indochina War ended
– the war in Indochina ended on August 1
– France had to leave northern Vietnam
– in 1956, French troops had to leave the entire Indochina pensisula

1955:
– February, reorganization of 2e BEP
– on 1 November, 2e BEP left Indochina

– 2e BEP lost 32 officers and almost 800 NCOs and legionnaires in Indochina

 

2e BEP - 2e REP insignia
2e BEP2e REP insignia, created in Cambodia in 1949
2e BEP during the Operation Rouleaux in September 1950
A legionnaire of 2e BEP is pulling a Viet-Minh soldier out of his hideout during Operation Rouleaux (September 1950)
2e BEP marching to Nghia Lo during Operation Therese in October 1951
2e BEP marching to Nghia Lo during Operation Therese (October 1951)
© Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
Hungarian legionnaire of the 2e BEP during the Operation Therese at Nghia Lo in October 1951
A Hungarian legionnaire from 2e BEP during Operation Therese at Nghia Lo (October 1951); © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
Spanish legionnaire of the 2e BEP during the Operation Therese at Nghia Lo in October 1951
A Spanish legionnaire from 2e BEP after the battle of Nghia Lo (October 1951); © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
Decorating the legionnaires of the 2e BEP in Nih Giang in October 1951
Legionnaires (NCOs) of 2e BEP receiving awards during a ceremony in Nih-Giang, after the battle of Nghia Lo. Note the para-Legion NCOs wearing Képi blanc with the gold strap + white belt (October 1951) © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
Major Raffali during Operation Therese - October 1951
Major Raffalli, the commander of 2e BEP. Seriously wounded in action, he died from his injuries on September 10, 1952.
© Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e BEP during Operation Brochet in October 1953
2e BEP marching in the Hung-Yen region during Operation Brochet
(October 1953); © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e BEP during Operation Brochet in October 1953
2e BEPOperation Brochet (October 1953); © Photo credit: Ecpad.fr
2e BEP - wounded legionnaire by a trap, during Operation Brochet in October 1953
Wounded legionnaire of the 2e BEP by the Viet-Minh trap, during Operation Brochet (October 1953) © Photo credit of original images: Ecpad.fr

 

2e REP: Algerian War 1956 – 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
– later in 1955, that operations escalated to the Algerian War

1955:
– on November 18, 2e BEP landed in Africa
2e BEP was disbanded to this date (together with 3e REP/ex-3e BEP)
– ex-2e BEP legionnaires were based at Philippeville, Algeria

– on December 1, a new airborne Legion unit was formed
2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e REP)
– 2e REP was formed with ex-2e BEP and ex-3e REP legionnaires
– 2e REP was stationed in Philippeville

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 – 2011:
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.

 

 

2e REP - 2 REP - Tee - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Foreign Parachute Regiment - T-shirt

Click on the image to get the T-shirt in our Foreign Legion Info Store

By purchasing any item in our store, you keep this website running… Thank you.

 

———

 

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

———
 
See other Foreign Legion airborne units:
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
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: February 10, 2016

 

← Back to French Foreign Legion Units

 

↑ Back to Top