History: 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment

The history of 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (3e REI) started on the Western Front during World War I, in November 1915, as a regimental combat team of the French Foreign Legion (RMLE). In 1919, RMLE became one of the two most awarded unit of the French Army. After WWI, the unit shipped to Morocco (North Africa) and was redesignated as the 3rd Foreign Regiment (3e RE) in November 1920 and as the 3e REI (Infantry) two years later.

Participating in the Pacification of Morocco during the period 1921-1934, the regiment became the RMLE again in 1943, during World War II, taking part in the fierce battles in France throughout the fall 1944 and spring 1945. Redesignated as the 3e REI once again in 1945, the regiment was sent to French Indochina and got involved in the First Indochina War 1946-1954. Landed in Africa in 1954, 3e REI joined the Algerian War 1954-1962.

After being stationed in Madagascar 1962-1973, the regiment moved to French Guiana (South America) and has been based there since September 1973, to maintain order in the region, to provide jungle training for the French Army and the elements of foreign armed forces, to conduct operations against illegal gold-diggers and to guard the Guiana Space Centre.

For current information about the regiment, see 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment

3e Régiment Etranger d’Infanterie - 3 REI - 3REI - 3eme REI - History

 

RMLE: Régiment de Marche 1915-1920

1914 – 1918:
World War I
– for France, World War I started on August 3
– the Foreign Legion participated in

September-November 1914:
– four regimental combat teams were established within the Foreign Legion:

  • 2nd Regimental Combat Team of 1er RE (2e Régiment de Marche du 1er Regiment Etranger, 2e RM/1er RE)
  • 3rd Regimental Combat Team of 1er RE
  • 4th Regimental Combat Team of 1er RE (Légion Garibaldienne, composed of Italian volunteers)
  • 2nd Regimental Combat Team of 2e RE (2e RM/2e RE)

– these teams were provisional units
– their task had been to fight on the Western Front of Europe
– they were composed of legionnaires and non-Legion foreign volunteers enlisted in the French Army for the war period (2e RM/1er RE, 2e RM/2e RE) or entirely of foreign volunteers (3e RM/1er RE, 4e RM/1er RE)

 
November 11, 1915:
Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère, RMLE) was activated
– in late 1915, only two combat teams had existed: 2e RM/1er RE and 2e RM/2e RE
– on November 11, they were consolidated into one unit, the RMLE
– RMLE received the flag of 2e RM/1er RE

1915 – 1918:
– RMLE participated in heavy fights on the Western Front
– the most significant fights took place near Somme, Champagne, Verdun and on the Hindenburg Line

May 1917:
– Lieutenant Colonel Rollet took the command of RMLE
– in the future, he will become the Father of the Legion

September 27, 1917:
– RMLE received the Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour) award
– Legion of Honour is the top valor award in France

November 11, 1918:
World War I ended
– an armistice with Germany was signed
– RMLE became one of the two most awarded unit of the French Army
– the regiment received 9 unit citations, mentioned in the name of the Army
– because of that, its legionnaires have been allowed to wear a double fourragère

1919:
– RMLE left Europe for Africa
– the unit was based in Tlemcen, Algeria (Nord Africa)

October 1919:
– RMLE moved to Morocco, Nord Africa
– the unit numbered around 1,000 legionnaires

November 15, 1920:
3rd Foreign Regiment
– the provisional unit became a new regular regiment
– 3rd Foreign Regiment (3e Régiment Etrangère, 3e RE)
– 3e RE’s HQ was based in Fez, Morocco

– Colonel Rollet continued as the regiment commander

  • Colonel Paul-Frédéric Rollet was a French officer
  • he served with the Legion during the 1899-1914 and 1917-1935 periods
  • before WWI, he participated in operations in Algeria, Madagascar and Morocco
  • as captain, he commanded (1909-14) one of that Mounted Companies, the Foreign Legion elite units
  • he rejoined the Legion in 1917, while taking the command of RMLE
  • in 1925, he left the then 3e REI (ex-3e RE) to command the 1er REI (today’s 1er RE)
  • in 1931, he took the command of the Foreign Legion Inspection (today’s Foreign Legion Command, COMLE)
  • General Rollet, as the very first Legion inspector changed many things within the Legion
  • he launched several new traditions, e.g. Camerone Day or a cult of Sappers-Pioneers
  • General Rollet also ordered to build the famous Foreign Legion War Memorial (1931, now placed in Aubagne) and established a home for Legion veterans
  • because of this, he has been called Father of the Legion
  • General Rollet spent 33 years in the Legion; he left the Army in 1935
  • he died in Paris on April 16, 1941
  • his remains are buried at Puyloubier, the cemetery of the Legion

 

RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - 1918
RMLE legionnaires during a campaign on the Western Front
RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - 1916
RMLE legionnaires after receiving awards (1916)
RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - 1917
RMLE legionnaires at Camp Dampierre, France during an exercise with Hotchkiss machine gun (1917)
RMLE - Colonel Rollet - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - 1917
Colonel Rollet with the regimental flag of RMLE (1917)
General Rollet - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment
General Rollet. The Father of the Legion. He served 33 years in the Legion. In 1931, General Rollet became the very first Legion inspector (the head of the Legion) and changed many things within for the better. He died in 1941.

 

3e REI: Morocco 1920 – 1939

1920-1934:
Pacification of Morocco
– the regiment took part in the Pacification of Morocco
– the French had been involved in pacification of Morocco since the early 1900s
– Legion units had actively participated in pacification of Morocco since 1907
– in 1912, the French Protectorate in Morocco was established
– the Legion had 3 of its 4 infantry regiments of Africa based there in 1920-1940
– in 1934, the Pacification successfully ended

1921:
– operations in the Kesmat-el-Khamis and Kassiona regions

March 15, 1921:
– first KIA legionnaire
– legionnaire Kiss became the very first 3e RE legionnaire killed in action

May 6, 1922:
Battle of Tizi Adni
– firce fighting with charging bayonets
– 3e RE lost over 100 legionnaires (17 killed, 68 wounded, 18 disappeared)

June 1922:
3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (3e Régiment Etranger d’Infanterie, 3e REI)
– in June 1922, a cavalry regiment (1er REC) was activated within the Legion
– because of that, the Legion added Infantry to the titles of its infantry regiments
– 3e RE became the 3e REI

– 3e REI consisted of 3 battalions + Mounted Company (Compgnie Montée, CM)
– CM/3e REI mounted company was activated in January 1922

– 3e REI units had been still based in Morocco
– they were stationed in Fez, Meknes, Taza and Bou Denib

1923-1925:
– operations in the northern part of French Morocco
– 3e REI (together with 2e REI) took part in

May 1923:
– operations in the Beni Bouzert region
– 2nd Battalion was involved in

April 1925 – May 1926:
Rif War
– the war had occurred since 1921 in the Spanish part of Morocco (the Rif)
– in the war, Spain fought against Riffian Berber rebels of Abd El Krim
– after having been attacked by 8,000 Riffian rebels, the French joined the war
– 3e REI (together with 2e REI + 4e REI) participated in

May 1926:
– operations in the Ain Aicha region
– 1st + 3rd Battalion (taking part in as a provisional Regimental Combat Team)
– these operations ended the Rif War

July 1926:
– fights in the Djebel Taskert
– Mounted Company was involved in

May 1, 1927:
Sappers-Pioneers Company (Compagnie de Sapeurs Pionniers, CSP) was created
– CSP/3e REI was based in Ksar es-Souk, Morocco

1927 – 1928:
– August 1927 – May 1928:
Ziz Road (Midelt – Ksar es-Souk) construction
– 1st + 2nd Battalion + CM/3e REI participated in
– Ziz Road (+ other roads made by legionnaires) helped to the pacification

October 1927 – March 1928:
Foum Zabel Tunnel
– CSP/3e REI’s platoon was sent at Foum Zabel in the Atlas mountains, Morocco
Adjudant Michez + 3 sergeants + 38 corporals and legionnaires
– their mission had been to dig the tunnel through the solid rock
– the tunnel will be a part of the Ziz Road, constructed by legionnaires
– on March 6, 1928 CSP legionnaires finished the 62-meter long tunnel
– the famous tunnel bears the title Tunnel of Legionnaire

1929:
Battle of Ait Yacoub
– operations near El Bordj and Ait Yacoub
– June 8, a platoon of Ltn Lemarchand (6th Company) made its Camerone at Ait Yacoub
– they fought till the finish against at least 1,200 local rebels
– the whole platoon was killed

1931:
– operations in the Djebel Issaf

April 30, 1931:
– Sappers-Pioneers for the very first time in front of the parade
– a platoon of CSP/3e REI was honored to be that unit in the head of the parade
– this parade took place in Sidi Bel Abbes (100th Anniversary of the Legion)
– Pioneers paraded with their sapper attributes

1932-33:
– operations at Djebel Sagho in the Atlas mountains
– several Legion units (including 3e REI) participated in

February 24-28, 1933:
Battle of Bou Gafer
– Mounted Companies (CM) from 2e REI + 3e REI took part in
– Motorized Company (CA) from 1er REI (future CSPLE) also participated in
– the battle was part of operations in the Djebel Sagho
– Captain Faucheux, the commander of CM/3e REI, was killed
– 17 legionnaires of his unit were also killed
– a number of legionnaires from CM/2 and CA/1 were also killed

1934:
– Pacification of Morocco ended
– 3e REI lost 269 legionnaires between 1920-1934

1934 – 1939:
– after 18 years of fighting, the regiment could take a rest
– 3e REI conducted infrastructure construction missions
– its legionnaires also conducted patrols in the region

 

3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Morocco - Foum Zabel
Foum Zabel – Tunnel of Legionnaire. The famous tunnel has been part of Ziz Road built by legionnaires in Morocco. The 62-meter long tunnel through the solid rock was finished in 6 months by a platoon of the CSP/3e REI sappers company. The plaque at the entrance of the tunnel states: The mountain barred the road. Nonetheless the order was given to pass. The Legion executed it.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Morocco - Fez
During a free time… Legionnaires washing their clothes in Fez, the then headquarters of 3e REI (1931)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Morocco - Mounted Company
An officer (khaki kepi) and his NCOs from the Mounted Company of 3e REI taking a rest during a road construction, Morocco (1935)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Morocco - Ksar es-Souk
Ksar es-Souk, Morocco. The 1st Battalion/3e REI marching during a ceremony in their garisson. The battalion commander, Prince Aage, on the white horse in the left (1939)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Morocco - Erfoud
Erfoud. A legionnaire during a guard duty at the entrance of Quartier Faucheux, the then HQ of Mounted Company/3e REI (1939)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Prince Aage
Lt Colonel Prince Aage, Count of Rosenborg while commanding the 1st Battalion/3e REI (1937-40). The Prince from the Danish royal family. He served in the Legion in 1922-25 and 1935-40.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Morocco - 3e REI insignia 1928
The insignia of 3e REI designed in 1928. It is the very first unit badge/insignia created within the Foreign Legion. It bears a salamander, 3e REI’s Legio Patria Nostra motto (main motto of the Legion now) and the Fourragères.

 

3e REI: World War II 1939 – 1945

September 1, 1939:
World War II (Second World War) started
– France, including the Foreign Legion, participated in

February 24, 1940:
– a battalion was established in Fez, Morocco to fight in Finland
– the battalion consisted of legionnaires sent from 3e REI + 2e REI and 4e REI
– with a Legion battalion from Algeria, they formed a new demi-brigade
– in March 1940, the demi-brigade became the 13e DBMLE (later 13e DBLE)

February 29, 1940:
Prince Aage died

  • born 1887 in Denmark
  • member of the Danish royal family
  • in 1922, he joined the Foreign Legion
  • assigned to the Mounted Company/2e REI
  • he served there 1922-25, several times wounded
  • he joined 3e REI in 1935
  • 1st Battalion’s commander since 1937
  • he was buried in Morocco and later in 1947, in Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria
  • in 1962, his remains were brought to the Legion’s new HQ in France
  • he received the Legion of Honour award + two War Crosses + Colonial Medal

1940:
– Sappers-Pioneers Company of 3e REI was disbanded

June 22, 1940:
– Battle of France (May 10 – June 22) ended
Armistice signed by France and Nazi Germany
– for France, WWII temporarily ended

November 1940:
– Foreign Legion reorganization
– 2e REI + 4e REI amalgamated into new 2e REI

– 1st Motorized Battery of 2e REI was assigned to 3e REI
– it became Motorized Battery (Batterie Portée) of 3e REI
– it was based at Port-Lyautey

– Mounted Company/2e REI was assigned to 3rd Battalion/3e REI
– it became the 12th Mixed Mounted Company (12e Compagnie Mixte-Montée, 12e CMM)
– it was based in Ksar es-Souk

– Mounted Company/3e REI was assigned to 2nd Battalion/3e REI
– it became the 8th Mixed Mounted Company
– it was stationed in Midelt

1940-1942:
– 3e REI conducted infrastructure construction missions
– its legionnaires also participated in exercises and patrols in the region

November 1942:
British-American invasion of French North Africa (Operation Torch)
– landings in Morocco and Algeria on November 8
– all French forces in North Africa received an order to cease resistance
– on November 10, the French in North Africa joined the Allies

December 1942:
– 3e REI was composed of:

  • HQ Company + HQ (Depot)
  • 3 battalions
  • 2 mixed mounted companies (8th + 12th, CMM)

– 3e REI’ HQ had been still stationed in Fez

December 15, 1942:
3rd Foreign Infantry Regimental Combat Team (3e REI de Marche, 3e REIM) was activated
– it was composed of 3 battalions (two battalions of 3e REI, a battalion of 2e REI)
– 3e REIM was under the command of colonel Lambert
– it was assigned to the Provisional Moroccan Division (DMM)
– 3e REIM was sent by train to Tunisia on December 26
– its task had been to fight against the Africa Corps of Marshal Rommel

January 18-20, 1943:
– in mid January, 3e REIM replaced a battalion of 1er REI near the Oued El Kebir dam
– Oued El Kebir is situated south of the Djebel Mansour range, northern Tunisia
– on January 18, Africa Corps launched a large attack with Panzer tanks there
– 3e REIM, having no reliable anti-tank equipment, suffered heavy casualties
– the unit lost hundreds men in one day
– the fighting continued during next two days

April 1, 1943:
Autonomous Artillery Group (Groupement Autonome d’Artillerie, GAA) was established
– it was composed of the 3 motorized batteries
– two of 3 batteries had belonged to 2e REI, a unit deactivated on March 31, 1943
– GAA was administratively assigned to 3e REI and based in Fez
– GAA will be disbanded on February 15, 1944

– 3 motorized companies were attached to the 3e REI
– these were former 4th + 8th + 12th CMP of 2e REI
– CMP stands for Mixed Motorized Company (Compagnie Mixte Portée)
– they became 13th + 14th + 15th Motorized Company (CP) of 3e REI

May 1943:
– 3e REIM participated in the final offensive near Djebel Zaghouan, Tunisia
– on May 13, the Africa Corps capitulated
– 3e REIM was deactivated on May 31, 1943

June 30, 1943:
– 3e REI, as a regiment, was deactivated

– however, in Fez, a depot of 3e REI still existed there
– 3e REI’s mounted and motorized units were also still active
– its legionnaires still wore the 3e REI’s badge and Fourragères
– these units were composed of German legionnaires in the majority

July 1, 1943:
– new RMLE was created
– organized into 3 battalions
– it consisted of legionnaires from the disbanded 3e REIM, 1er REIM, 1er REI, 2e REI
– RMLE was assigned to the 5th Armored Division (5e DB)
– it became its motorized infantry regiment
– RMLE was equipped with Jeeps, GMC trucks, M3 Half-Tracks, Dodge vehicles
– the 3e REI’s regimental flag became the flag of RMLE

July 1943 – September 1944:
– RMLE made its Combat Command tactics training
– legionnaires did also familiarization with new US equipment
– RMLE participated in military exercises in Morocco and Algeria

May 1944:
– reorganization of 3e REI units in Morocco
– 12e CMM Mixed Mounted Company consolidated with the 8e CMM
– 8e CMM/3e REI was based in Khenifra, Morocco
– 3e REI’s depot in Fez was disbanded

June 1, 1944:
Mounted and Motorized Company Group (Groupement des Compagnies Montées et Portées, GCMP) was activated in Morocco
– it consisted of 3e REI’s mounted and motorized companies
– GCMP remained administratively assigned to the 3e REI
– in 1946, GCMP left 3e REI to become an independent unit – GCPLEM
– in 1947, it became the Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group (GPLEM)

September 20, 1944:
– RMLE landed in France
– it was placed in the Provence region
– RMLE will participate in Liberation of France

1944-1945:
Liberation of France and fights against German forces
– French offensive started on November 15, 1945
– RMLE fought near Hericourt, Montbeliard, Belfort, Dannemarie, Colmar
– in January 1945, RMLE fought at Strasbourg, France (together with 13e DBLE)
– in late January, fights in the Colmar Pocket
– in February-April 1945, RMLE saw action in Germany and Austria
– in February 1945, RMLE helped to seize Stuttgart (together with 1er REC)
– in April 1945, RMLE fought at Mulhausen, Herrenberg, Hattingen or Mauenheim
– in May 1945, it was involved in fights in the Vorarlberg region of Austria

May 8, 1945:
World War II ended in Europe
– on May 8, Germany signed the surrender documents
– it officially ended the war in Europe
– however, the Japanese continued to fight

– RMLE lost over 1,800 of its officers, NCOs and legionnaires in 1944-45

July 1, 1945:
– RMLE became the 3e REI again
– it was based in Fez, Morocco
– in late 1945, 3e REI consisted of one battalion entirely
– GCMP group was still assigned to

September 2, 1945:
World War II ended
– on September 2, Japan finally signed the surrender documents
– it officially ended the war

 

3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Legion - Prince Aage 1940
3e REI‘s legionnaires during the funeral of Prince Aage (March 1940)
RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - Legion - 3 REI - Sidi Bel Abbes 1944
M3 Half-tracks of RMLE parading in Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria (Legion’s main garrison) on Camerone Day (April 30, 1944)
RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - Legion - 3 REI - 1945
The flag of the 3e REI (RMLE) in Sainte Odile (February 10, 1945)
RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - Legion - 3 REI - Paris 1945
RMLE legionnaires parading in Paris (June 1945)
RMLE - Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère - Legion - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI insignia 1943
The insignia of RMLE (designed in 1943) and of the re-established 3e REI (distributed in 1945) with “France first” motto

 

3e REI: First Indochina War 1946 – 1954

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

January 1946:
– 3e REI (formed by an entire battalion) left Morocco for France
– it was placed in Aubagne and Carpiagne (today’s garrison of 1er REC)
– 3e REI will receive more than 2,000 of new recruits within three months
2nd Battalion was established at Carpiagne

April 1946:
– 3e REI (2 battalions) landed in Indochina
– it left France on March 31
– 1st Battalion was based at Thu Duc
– its main task had been to control Colonial Road 1 (RC1)

– in May-June, 2nd Battalion moved to the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam
– the battalion was based near Ben Tre

June 1946:
– in May, a recently established 3rd Battalion left France
– in late June, the battalion landed in Indochina
– 3rd Battalion moved to Sadec in the Mekong Delta
– they controlled the region and protected French military convoys moving on RC1
– 3rd Battalion also conducted amphibious patrols along rivers in the Delta
– the battalion also transported troops and material in the Delta

August 1946:
– 3e REI was involved in operations in Cambodia against the Khmer partisans

December 1946:
– 1st Battalion of 3e REI moved to Haiphong, Tonkin
– Tonkin is the northernmost part of today’s Vietnam

March – June 1947:
– operations near Nam Dinh
– 1st Battalion participated in

September 1947:
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion left the Mekong Delta
– they were also based in Tonkin

October 1947:
– 2nd Battalion moved to RC4 (Monkay – Lao Kay)
– it was based near Na Cham, Dong Khe and Cao Bang
– legionnaires were protecting the French convoys
– these convoys supplied the French joint military base at Cao Bang

– 3rd Battalion was based at Gia Lam near Hanoi
– it controlled RC5 (Hanoi – Haiphong)

October – November 1947:
Operation Lea
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion were involved in

October 15, 1947:
Thu Thi outpost was attacked by the Viet Minh
– a platoon from 9th Company, 3rd Battalion, 3e REI was based there
– 7 legionnaires under the command of sergeant Pathé
– they had been resisting for several hours against roughly 100 attackers
– two legionnaires were killed and the rest heavily wounded
– nevertheless, the outpost was defended

January 1948:
– 1st Battalion was based near Bac Kan
– its task had been to control RC3 (Bac Kan – Cao Bang)

February 1948:
– 2nd Battalion was involved in fierce fighting along RC4
– it lost almost 50 legionnaires during two violent Viet-Minh attacks

April 1948:
– 2nd Battalion moved to That Khe region, still along RC4
– 3rd Battalion left the Tonkin Delta
– it was based near Dong Khe, along the RC4

April 1, 1948:
Parachute Company of 3e REI was created
– it became the very first parachute unit of the Legion
– on May 31, 1949, the company will consolidate with 1er BEP

July 25, 1948:
Battle of Phu Tong Hoa
Phu Tong Hoa was an outpost on RC3
– it was occupied by 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 3e REI
– the company consisted of 103 men
– the outpost was attacked by three Viet Minh battalions
– the company commander Cardinal + another officer + 21 legionnaires were killed
– a half of the killed were fresh legionnaires landing in Indochina a week ago
– 34 legionnaires were seriously wounded
– the rest of legionnaires defended the outpost
– after several hours of the fierce battle, Viet Minh withdrew

October 1949:
– 1st Battalion was based at Lang Son and near Dong Khe
– it controlled RC4
– a few months later, it moved to Dong Dang (RC4)

June 1950:
– 3rd Battalion was based at Cao Bang (RC4)

September 15-18, 1950:
Battle of Dong Khe
– Dong Khe was attacked by the Viet-Minh
– two companies (5th + 6th), 2nd Battalion defended the outpost
– they were confronted with two Viet-Minh regiments
– the fights lasted two days
– the 3e REI companies were devastated
– only a few legionnaires survived

October 1950:
Battle of Route Coloniale 4 (RC4)
– it took place in the Cao Bang, Dong Khe and That Khe regions, northern Vietnam
– Viet-Minh attacks of September resulted in French decision to leave the RC4
– but the decision was delayed
– the French units leaving Cao Bang were attacked along RC4
– up to six Viet-Minh regiments were along RC4
– the enemy outnumbered five times the French
– the battle took place mainly near Dong Khe and Cao Bang
– 1er BEP + 3rd Battalion of 3e REI were involved in
– both battalions were annihilated and ceased to exist
– Major Forget, the commander of 3rd Battalion/3e REI, was killed
– Major Segrétain, the commander of 1er BEP, was also killed
– the French lost about 4,000 men in the battle
– 1er BEP became the first French parachute battalion lost in combat

November – December 1950:
– reorganization of 3e REI at Hanoi
– 3e REI was regrouped there

1951:
– 1st Battalion was based at Phu Lang Thuong, then at Dong Trieu
– its HQ was based at Dinh Bang
– 2nd Battalion’s HQ was based at Phu Luu, near Hanoi
– 1st + 2nd Battalion participated in operations in the Tonkin Delta

March 1, 1951:
– new battalions were established in Tonkin
– 1st Provisional Battalion/1er REI became the new 3rd Battalion/3e REI
– 1er REI’s battalion was formed in Algeria in December 1950
– it landed in Indochina in January 1951 and stationed in the Sept Pagodes region
– in April, 3rd Battalion/3e REI moved to the Tonkin Delta

4th + 5th Battalion were also created within the 3e REI
– they consisted of non-Legion Vietnamese volunteers and Legion cadres
– both battalions were based in the Tonkin Delta

April 1952:
Operation Turco in the Bac Ninh region
– 3rd Battalion participated in the operation
– Viet-Minh lost more than 200 soldiers

November 1952:
– 3rd Battalion moved to Na San, in the T’ai region (northwestern Vietnam)
– 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 3rd Battalion/3e REI, 1er BEP, 2e BEP, CMLE and 5e REI

November 23 – December 2, 1952:
Battle of Na San
– 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

December 31, 1952:
– 4th Battalion/3e REI was assigned to the pro-French Vietnamese National Army
– it became the 74th Vietnamese Battalion (74e Bataillon Vietnamien)

March 1953:
– 2nd + 3rd Battalion deployed to Laos
– they were involved in operations in the Plaine des Jarres (Plain of Jars)
2e BEP also participated in

March 25, 1953:
Foreign Legion Heavy Mortar Company (future 1re CMMLE) was established
– the company was assigned to 2nd Battalion/3e REI

April 1953:
– 5th Battalion/3e REI was assigned to the Vietnamese National Army
– it became the 76th Vietnamese Battalion (76e Bataillon Vietnamien)

June-July 1953:
– HQ of 1st Battalion/3e REI left Dinh Bang for Bac Ninh
– 3rd Battalion left Laos in July and moved back to the Tonkin Delta

August 1953 – February 1954:
– 2nd Battalion participated in operations in several regions of Laos

September 1953:
4th Battalion was re-established at Hanoi
– around half of its men were legionnaires
– the rest were non-Legion Vietnamese volunteers
– the battalion moved to Laos in November 1953

January 1954:
– 3rd Battalion was based at Dien Bien Phu

January 31 – February 3, 1954:
– 2nd Battalion/3e REI was involved in fierce fighting
– it was attacked near Muong Khoua (or Muong Sai) in northern Laos
– 2nd Battalion lost the majority of its 325 men and ceased to exist

March 12, 1954:
2nd Battalion was re-established in Hanoi with new reinforcements
– it deployed to RC5 (Hanoi – Hai Duong)

April – May 1954:
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– 3rd Battalion/3e REI + 1re CMMLE participated in
– 3rd Battalion hold the Isabelle strong point
– Isabelle was the last strong point fallen during the battle
– legionnaires from 13e DBLE, 2e REI, 1er BEP, 2e BEP, 1re CEPML, 1re CMMLE, 2e CMMLE also participated in
– French units taking part in the battle were devastated
– 3rd Battalion + 1re CMMLE heavy mortar company officially ceased to exist

April 21, 1954:
– 2nd Battalion lost its commander, Major Cabaribère, on the RC5 road
– Major Cabaribère survived the fighting at Muong Khoua three months ago
– he was killed during fights near Ban Yen Nhan
– his unit was attacked by two Viet-Minh battalions
– 2nd Battalion lost around 70 legionnaires during the fights
– about 70 legionnaires were wounded

June 1, 1954:
– in late May, 4th Battalion left Laos for Tonkin
– on June 1, it became the new 3rd Battalion/3e REI
– 3rd Battalion was based in the Tonkin Delta

August 1, 1954:
First Indochina War ended
– France had to leave northern Vietnam
– in 1956, French troops had to leave the entire Indochina pensisula

August 1954:
– 1st Battalion left Bac Ninh
– it was placed at outopsts alongside RC5

October 1, 1954:
– 3rd Battalion was assigned to the 13e DBLE
– it became 3rd Battalion/13e DBLE

November 1954:
– 3e REI with its two battalions left Indochina for Africa

– in Indochina, 3e REI lost 77 officers, 364 NCOs and 3396 legionnaires
– 3e REI suffered the highest losses among the Foreign Legion units

 

3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina 1948 - Parachute Company
3e REI‘s Parachute Company during a ceremony in Hanoi (1948)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Phu Tong Hoa 1948
Phu Tong Hoa. In late July 1948, the outpost placed near RC3 saw fierce fighting between a hundred of its legionnaires and Viet Minh attackers comprising three battalions. The photo was taken a few days later – the legionnaires reinforcing the outpost were housed outdoor.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina 1949
An outpost occupied by 3e REI legionnaires in French Indochina (1949)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Dong Khe
Dong Khe with the citadel, near RC4. The site, occupied by two companies from 2nd Battalion/3e REI, was attacked by the Viet Minh in September 1950. Only a few legionnaires survived. Next month, the site was attacked again, during the Battle of RC4.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Cao Bang 1950
RC4 road passing the valley between Cao Bang and Dong Khe (September 1950). In a few days, the valley will see the Battle of RC4, in which the 3rd Battalion/3e REI will be destroyed.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Na San 1952
Na San stronghold reviewed by French officials, after the Battle of Na San (Nov-Dec 1952), in which 11 French battalions – including the legionnaires from 3rd Battalion/3e REI and 1er BEP – defended the outpost against 3 Viet Minh divisions.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Na San 1952
Caporal-chef A., an ancien legionnaire from 3rd Battalion/3e REI at Na San, after the battle has ended (December 1952)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Bac Ninh 1953
Bac Ninh. The guard consisting of legionnaires from 1st Battalion/3e REI is reviewed by an officer (September 1953)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Indochina - Insignia - Regimental badge
The insignia of 3e REI in 1946, 1948 and 1950

 

3e REI: Algerian War 1954 – 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

December 1954:
– on December 15, 1954 the 3e REI landed in Africa
– it was placed in Djidjelli (HQ) and Setif, Algeria
– 3e REI conducted operations in the Aures-Nementcha region
– its main tasks had been to eliminate rebels and restore order

February 1955:
– 3e REI was based in Arris, the Aures mountains
– the regiment continued in its main tasks

July 1955:
– reorganization of 3e REI
– two Foreign Legion Task Forces (BMLE) were assigned to the regiment
– BM1LE became the 3rd Battalion of 3e REI
– BM2LE became the Provisional Battalion (BM) of 3e REI
– 4th + 6th Company received Scout cars and Half tracks
– these companies were designated as Motorized

– 3e REI was stationed:

  • HQ Company + HQ – Arris
  • 1st Battalion – Arris
  • 2nd Battalion – T’Kout
  • 3rd Battalion – Khenchela
  • Provisional Battalion – Arris

December 1, 1955:
– BM/3e REI became the 4th Battalion

January 1956:
Operation Extra Bravo in the El Ouldja region
– 3e REI participated in, together with 22e CPLE and 13e DBLE

June 30, 1956:
– 4th Battalion of 3e REI was disbanded
– its legionnaires were assigned to remaining battalions

March 1957:
– 3e REI left the Aures for the El Milia region

  • HQ Company + HQ – El Milia
  • 1st Battalion – El Hanser
  • 2nd Battalion – T’Kout
  • 3rd Battalion – Tissemirane (also known as Bou Hamama)

September 30, 1957:
3rd Battalion was disbanded
– its legionnaires were assigned to remaining battalions

1958:
– 3e REI deployed on the Algerian-Tunisian border
– the FLN rebels crossed the border to supply its fighters
– the main task for 3e REI had been to guard the border

  • HQ Company + HQ – Randon
  • 1st Battalion – Duzerville
  • 2nd Battalion – Mondovi

May 1958:
– operations in the Souk Ahras region

August 1958:
– 3e REI returned on the Algerian-Tunisian border
– 3e REI was placed in the Bone and Lamy region, north-eastern Algeria
– these regions were nicknamed Bec du Canard (Duck’s Beak)
– they are situated next to the Tunisian border
– the regiment guarded alongside the mined, electrified Ligne Morice (Morice Line)
– the border line prevented Tunisian and Algerian rebels from crossing the border

October 1958:
– 3e REI was involved in heavy fights in the Soudan region
– more than 40 rebels were killed

February 1959:
– 3e REI left the Tunisian border
– it moved to the Oran region
– HQ was placed in Nazereg

June 1959:
– fights in the Champlain region
– almost 40 rebels were killed

July 1959:
Operation Etincelle
– 3e REI moved to the Hodna mountains

September 1959:
Operation Jumelles in the Kabylie region

November 1959:
Operation Emeraude
– 3e REI, 5e REI and 13e DBLE participated in

December 1959:
– 3e REI returned to the Tunisian border

April 1960:
– 3e REI launched operations in the Aures mountains
– 5e REI and 1er REC were also involved in

October 1960:
– heavy fights for 3e REI in the Kebach region
– almost 150 rebels were killed

March 1961:
Operation Dordogne in the Orleansville region

May 1961:
– 3e REI moved to the Mitidja region
– its forward operational base was in Bou Zehar
– HQ was based in Souma, at Camp Quatre Fermes

July – August 1961:
– 3e REI deployed to Tunisia
– the purpose had been to control the Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed Air Base
– on 17 August 1961, 3e REI returned to Algeria

1962:
– 3e REI was stationed in the Bou Saada and Djelfa regions
– the regiment comprised HQ + 2 task forces, each headed by an EMT
– EMT stands for Task Force General Staff (Etat-Major Tactique)

  • HQ Company + HQ – Souma
  • EMT1 – Ain Diss, near Bou Saada
  • EMT2 – Zaccar at Bordj Guyot

March 1962:
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

– during the Algerian War, 3e REI lost 268 men

 

3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Algeria 1955 - Scout Car
Algeria. M3 Scout Car, a U.S.-made armored car used by legionnaires from the 4th Motorized Company, 3e REI (1955)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - El Hara 1955
3e REI‘s legionnaires from the 2nd Battalion patrolling in the El Hara valley, Batna region, nord-eastern Algeria (1955)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Arris 1955
Arris. The 3e REI parading during the Fourragère Day celebration (September 14, 1955)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - El Milia 1957
El Milia. The 3e REI, including a motorized company equipped with M3 Half-tracks, during the Camerone Day celebration in its new garisson (April 30, 1957)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Bec du Canard
A 3e REI legionnaire mans a checkpoint in the Bec du Canard region on the Tunisian border (1959)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Bec du Canard 1959
A 3e REI convoy in the Bec du Canard region (1959)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Operation Dordogne 1961
Two 3e REI legionnaires taking action during Operation Dordogne (March 1961)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Mitidja 1961
During an operation in the Mitidja region. An Englishman-like posing legionnaire from 3e REI (May 1961)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Bizerte 1962
The 3e REI landing in Bizerte, Tunisia to take control over the Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed Air Base (July 1961)

 

3e REI: Madagascar 1962 – 1973

April – August 1962:
– 3e REI was completely reorganized
– in Algeria, 3e REI was devided into two separate parts
– the first part formed a new task force of the Legion
– this task force moved to France
– the second part moved to Madagascar
– they reinforced an independent Foreign Legion battalion based there
– the reinforced battalion became the new 3e REI

May 1962:
– in Madagascar, Foreign Legion Madagascar Battalion (BLEM) changed its title
– it became the Provisional Battalion (Bataillon de Marche, BM) of 3e REI

May 13, 1962:
– 6th Company of 3e REI landed in Diego Suarez, Madagascar
– it was redesignated as the 2nd Company of BM/3e REI

June – November 1962:
– three other 3e REI companies (3rd + 4th + 5th) landed in Madagascar
– they helped to form the new 3e REI

August 1, 1962:
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force
– in Algeria, 3e BMLE was established
– 3e BMLE was formed with 3 companies of 3e REI
– HQ Company + 1st + 2nd Company of 3e REI
– 3e BMLE moved to Aubagne, France in late August
– it helped to install the Legion in France

August 23, 1962:
– new 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment was established in Madagascar
– Lt-col Mattei took the command

Armored Squadron (Escadron Blindé, EB) of 3e REI was established
– it was formed by retitling the original 3rd Company/3e REI
– EB was equipped with AM Daimler Ferret armored cars, Jeeps and Renault 4×4 cars

– the new 3e REI consisted of 4 combat companies + 1 squadron

1963:
– 3e REI was based:

  • HQ & Service Company (CCAS) – Diego Suarez (at Camp Mehouas)
  • 1st CompanyOrangea
  • 2nd CompanyCap Diego
  • 3rd CompanyAnkorika
  • 4th Company – Diego Suarez (Camp Lazaret)
  • Armored SquadronTanambao

– 3e REI’s main tasks in Madagascar:

  • to maintain order in the region
  • to build local infrastructure
  • to operate the CID training center

– CID stands for Landing Training Center (Centre d’Instruction au Débarquement, CID)
– CID had been an amphibious and jungle training center in 1961-1973
– it was the predecessor to today’s CEFE jungle training center based in French Guiana
– it was also the predecessor to the CECAP amphibious training center based in Djibouti
– CID was attached to the 2nd Company

– in June 1963, 3e REI started the construction of a new runway at Andrakaka
– it was the main task for the regiment up to September 1964

November 1964:
large reorganisation of 3e REI
– the regiment was reduced
– it was redesignated as an outre-mer (overseas) unit
– that means the legionnaires will serve there for a prescribed period (2 years)
1st Company + 2nd Company + Armored Squadron were disbanded
– 3rd Company left Ankorika for Tanambao
– 3rd Company was retitled and became the new 1st Company
– 4th Company left Lazaret for Sakaramy
– 4th Company became the new 2nd Company
Logistics Company (Compagnie de Base, CB) was created
– it was based at Camp Lubert, Diego Suarez
Armored Platoon (Peloton Blindé, PB) was established
– PB was based in Sakaramy together with 2nd Company

February 1966:
– 2nd Company of 3e REI deployed to the Comoro Islands
– the main purpose had been to maintain order there
– legionnaires were based in Vouvouni
– a platoon was based on the Anjouan island (Camp Hombo)
– in July, it was replaced by 1st Company (based at Moroni)

July – November 1967:
– 2nd Company left Madagascar for the Comoros
– the company will be based there permanently
– its platoons were stationed in Moroni and on the Anjouan island
– part of legionnaires were based also in Dzaoudzi (Mayotte)

November 1967:
reorganisation of 3e REI
1st Company was disbanded
1st Squadron was established
– it consisted of 2 armored + 3 motorized platoons
– the squadron was based at Sakaramy
3rd Company was re-created
– the company was based in Tanambao
– CID was attached to the 3rd Company

August 1973:
– 3e REI had to leave Madagascar for French Guiana
– reorganization of the regiment
Logistics Company was disbanded
– 2nd Company placed on the Comoros became independent
– it formed the Foreign Legion Detachment in Comoros (DLEC)
– in 1976, DLEC became the Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte (DLEM)

August 25, 1973:
– 3e REI left Madagascar for French Guiana

 

3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Souma 1962
Camp Quatre Fermes. The headquarters of 3e REI based in Souma, Algeria the then regiment commander Colonel Langlois is reviewing the 6th Company (May 7, 1962). Next day, the company as the very first 3e REI unit left Algeria for Madagascar.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Andrakaka
Andrakaka. At the site, 3e REI legionnaires are executing their main task of the 1962-1964 period: the construction of a modern runway for cargo aircrafts near Diego Suarez and Cap Diego (1964)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - CID - Cap Diego 1963
CID, Cap Diego. The amphibious and jungle training center, operated by 3e REI in 1962-1973. The predecessor to the CECAP amphibious center of Djibouti and to today’s CEFE jungle training center based in French Guiana
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Tanambao 1967
Tanambao. The 1st Company of 3e REI marching through the entrance of their camp. In November 1967, the 1st Company was disbanded and hasn’t been re-created yet.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Sakaramy 1967
Sakaramy. The entrance of the camp occupied by 3e REI’s 2nd Company and Armored Platoon (PB). In November 1967, the 1st Squadron was based at this camp.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Sakaramy 1967 - Peloton Blinde
The Armored Platoon au complet inside the camp of Sakaramy. At that time (1966), the majority of its men were 1er REC veterans.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Camp Lubert - Diego Suarez 1967
Camp Lubert, Diego Suarez. 3e REI’s Logistics Company (CB) was based there.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Camp Mehouas - Diego Suarez 1967
Camp Mehouas, Diego Suarez. 3e REI’s HQ & Service Company (CCAS) was based there.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Mayotte - Dzaoudzi 1967
2nd Company of 3e REI parading in Dzaoudzi, Mayotte in November 1967. Since 1976, the DLEM has been based in this town.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Madagascar - Grotte - Cave - Cap Diego
3e REI legionnaires singing in the cave situated near Cap Diego, during the 1969 Camerone Day (April 30, 1969). The 3e REI continued in this tradition, established by the BLEM in the 1950s.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Route de l'est 1980
3e REI’s Color guard parading during the 1969 Fourragère Day ceremony in Diego Suarez (September 14, 1969)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - AM Ferret 75 cannon
A curiosity within the French Army. An AM Ferret armored car from 3e REI equipped with a 75 cannon (1969). In 1966, the then Armored Platoon commander made a special demand to equip two of his British-made Ferrets with that cannon (in addition to its original 30 Browning MG) to become more effective in combat.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Madagascar - 1st Squadron 1971
AM Daimler Ferrets from 1st Squadron of 3e REI during the 1971 Fourragère Day parade (September 14, 1971). These AM Ferrets were most likely the last ones used in the French Army.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Madagascar -
A 3e REI legionnaire with AA NF1 machine gun during Boomerang exercise in Madagascar (1972)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Madagascar -
Diego Suarez. 3e REI legionnaires are ready to depart for Guiana (August 25, 1973)

 

3e REI: French Guiana 1973 – present

September 12, 1973:
– 3e REI landed in French Guiana, South America
– the regiment consisted of: HQ Company + 1st Squadron + 3rd Company
– 3e REI was stationed at Quartier Forget, Kourou
– Kourou is located 60 km (37 miles) northwest of Cayenne, the capital

– 3e REI’s main tasks:

  • to maintain order in the region
  • to construct local infrastructure
  • to guard the CSG space center

Guiana Space Centre (Centre Spatial Guyanais, CSG) is France’s main spaceport
– it was built in Guiana in 1966
– CSG has been also based at Kourou

October 1973:
– 3e REI started to build the East Road (Route de l’Est)
– later, the road will become R.N. 2
– the road connects Cayenne, the capital and Saint-Georges-de-l’Oyapock (Brasilian border)
– R.N. 2 is currently the second main road in French Guiana
– the road crosses more than 90 km (60 miles) of the tropical forest
tens of legionnaires died during the works due to accidents and malaria

November 1973:
2nd Company establishment
– the men of 1st Squadron formed the new 2nd Company
– 1st Squadron was disbanded

September 1974:
Camp Szuts was built
– 3e REI started to build the camp in March 1974
– Adjudant Szuts, a 3e REI legionnaire of Hungarian origin, was killed in Algeria in 1959
– the camp will serve as a main base for the East Road construction up to 1986

May 1976:
Jungle Training Camp of 3e REI was established
– the camp was based at Crique Couyou Ouibo near Saramaka
– about 20 km (12 miles) south-west of Kourou
– the camp had served as the jungle warfare training center for 3e REI up to 1986

July 1978:
Heavy Equipment Company (Compagnie d’Equipement, CE) was established
– it consisted of heavy-duty vehicles for executing East Road construction tasks
– the company was based at Camp Szuts

October 1986:
– legionnaires completed main works on the East Road
– Heavy Equipment Company was disbanded
Recce & Support Company (Compagnie d’Eclairage et d’Appui, CEA) was established

September 1987:
Jungle Training Center (Centre d’Entraînement à la Forêt Equatoriale, CEFE) was officially activated
CEFE has been based at Camp Szuts, abandoned by the CE company in 1986
– its mission is to conduct several jungle warfare training courses
– French military personnel + legionnaires + participate in
– since 2004, military personnel from South America and Europe have been able to take part in the courses

1998:
– 3rd Company was disbanded

1999:
– CEA company was disbanded
Rotational Mixed Company (Compagnie Mixte Tournante, CMT) was established

2004:
Operation Carbet in Haiti, a country in the Caribbean
– it has been the first deployment for 3e REI since being stationed in French Guiana
– 2nd Company was involved in
– its purpose had been to restore order in Haiti

2005:
– CMT rotational company was disbanded
– CEA support company was established again

February 2007:
– 3rd Company was re-created as a rotational unit

September 2007:
– CEA became the CA (Compagnie d’Appui)

2008 – present:
Operation Harpie and Operation Titan were launched
– Operation Harpie is a joint operation, conducted by multiple military services
– its main task had been to take action against foreign illegal gold-diggers
– Operation Titan is also a joint operation conducted by combined arms
– its main task had been to guard the CSG space center

2010:
– 3rd Company became the permanent unit
4th Company (Reserve Company) was established
– it is formed with non-Legion personnel

– around 50 legionnaires have died in French Guiana since 1973

 

3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Cayenne 1973
3e REI legionnaires parading in Cayenne, the capital, after their arrival in French Guiana (September 12, 1973)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Camp Szuts 1974
Camp Szuts in July 1974. Based near Regina, it served as a main operational base for the East Road construction. In 1987, the CEFE was established there.
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Camp Szuts 1974
The Legion has a long tradition in breeding pets… A Sergent-chef with his small friend in his hand, during the East Road construction (1974)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Route de l'est 1980
3e REI legionnaires from Heavy Equipment Company (CE) during the East Road construction (1980)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Route de l'est 1980
East Road construction passing through the deep Guiana jungle. Tens of legionnaires died during the works.
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Operation Carbet - Haiti
Operation Carbet. Legionnaires from 2nd Company/3e REI in Haiti (2004)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Operation Titan
A 3e REI legionnaire patrolling alongside the CSG space center (2013). Guarding the Guiana space center remains the main task of Operation Titan launched in 2008
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Operation Harpie 2014
3e REI legionnaires from 2nd Company during Operation Harpie near the Brasilian border (2014). This operation has been conducted against foreign illegal gold-diggers and their equipment, deep in the Guiana rain forest.
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - CEFE - Camp Szuts - 2011
3e REI legionnaires at the CEFE jungle training center, based at Camp Szuts
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - CEFE - Jungle training
An instructor from 3e REI and the participants during a training course conducted by the CEFE in French Guiana
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Quartier Forget - Kourou
Quartier Forget, Kourou. The headquarters of 3e REI in Guiana
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Quartier Forget - Kourou
The 2nd Company in front of their barracks inside Quartier Forget (2014)
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - 100th anniversary ceremony
3e REI commemorating the 100th anniversary of its creation at Quartier Forget (November 23, 2015)
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - 2015 Bastille Day Military Parade
The flag of 3e REI with its color guard during the 2015 Bastille Day Military Parade in Paris (July 14, 2015)
3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Fourrageres
An Adjudant from 3e REI wearing the 3 fourragères of the regiment (July 2015)
3e REI - 3 REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - insignia
3e REI’s insignia homologated in 1987

 

3e REI Regimental Flag decorations

– 3e REI has received 16 citations in the name of the Army of France
– in 2016, it remains the second most decorated flag of the French Army

– the flag of 3e REI bears these military decorations:

  • yellow-green Fourragère of Médaille militaire (Military Medal)
  • double Fourragère of Légion d’Honneur (red) and Croix de Guerre 1914-18 (War Cross, green-red)
  • Knight Cross of the Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honour)
  • Military Medal
  • War Cross 1914-18 (9 citations/palms)
  • War Cross 1939-45 (3 citations/palms)
  • War Cross TOE – Foreign Theater Operations (4 citations/palms)
  • Mérite militaire chérifien (Military Merit Order of Sharif, very rare) from Morocco
  • Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada (Order of the Tower and Sword) from Portugal
  • Medalla de los Voluntarios Catalanes 1914-18 (Catalania Volunteer Medal)
  • Distinguished Unit Citation (Presidential today) from the USA with the blue streamer embroidered Rhine-Bavarian Alps

 

3 REI - 3REI - 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 3rd REI - Flag/color/standard
The awarded regimental flag of 3e REI.

———

 

For current information about the regiment, see 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment

 

3e REI - 3 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - T-shirt

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Images source:
3e REI official website
Képi blanc magazines
Ecpad.fr
Ministère de la Défense – French Ministry of Defence official website
Wikipedia.org


 

Information sources:
Képi blanc magazines
Ecpad.fr (French Army media service)
Defense.gouv.fr – French Ministry of Defence official website
Insignes Legion (FFL insignia & badges)
More-majorum (German legionnaires in the Indochina War)
La Légion au Maroc (Legionnaires in Morocco)
AALEME (Montpellier & Environs Legion’s Veterans)
FSALE (Federation of Legion’s Veterans)
Pierre Soulié: 1901-1935 – La Légion Étrangère au Maroc
Pierre Daillier: Nous étions alors capitaines à l’armée d’Afrique

 
Foreign Legion’s disbanded regiments:
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment
2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment
4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
5th Foreign Regiment
6th Foreign Infantry Regiment

 

The page was updated on: February 14, 2016

 

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