History of the DLEM – Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte

The Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte (DLEM) is the smallest operational unit of the French Foreign Legion, established from the part of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (3e REI) in August 1973. The Detachment has to maintain a French presence in the region and support the French forces operating in the Indian Ocean and the east coast of Africa.

For current information about the Detachment see Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte.

Détachement de Légion Étrangère de Mayotte - DLEM - Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte - History

 

3e REI: Comoro Islands 1966-1973

1962:
3e REI left Algeria
– its part was stationed in Madagascar
– it is an island in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa
– the companies merged with Foreign Legion Madagascar Battalion (BLEM)
– the new 3e REI was born

1966:
– in February, 2nd Company of 3e REI deployed to the Comoro Islands
– the Islands are located north-west of Madagascar

– the company was based at Vouvouni (7 km of Moroni, the Grande Comore island)
– one platoon was placed on the Anjouan island at Camp Hombo
– the company became a rotational unit
– its task was to maintain order on the islands
– after 4 months, the 2nd Company was replaced on the Comoros by the 1st Company
– the companies were deployed to the Comoros for almost a year

1967:
– in July, 2nd Company returned to the Comoro Islands

– in November, 2nd Company was fully stationed there

  • HQ + two combat platoons – Dzaoudzi (Mayotte)
  • one combat platoon – Voidjou, north of Moroni (Grande Comore)

 

2nd Company, 3e REI in Vouvouni in 1966
Legionnaires of 3e REI at Camp of Vouvouni, Grande Comore (1966)
2nd Company, 3e REI in Vouvouni in 1966
2nd Company, 3e REI, during a Camerone Day ceremony in Vouvouni (April 30, 1966)
2nd Company, 3e REI parading in Madagascar in June 1967
2nd Company, 3e REI, during a parade in Diego-Suarez, Madagascar (June 23, 1967)
2nd Company, 3e REI leaving Madagascar in July 1967
2nd Company, 3e REI, leaving Madagascar for Comoros (July 1967)
2nd Company, 3e REI in Dzaoudzi in 1967
2nd Company of 3e REI parading in Dzaoudzi, Mayotte (November 1967)
2nd Company, 3e REI in Moroni in 1967
The entrance of the Camp of Voidjou, in Moroni (Grande Comore), the base to the 2nd Platoon, 2nd Company, 3e REI (November 1967)
2nd Company, 3e REI in Moroni in 1967
Camerone Day at the Camp of Voidjou, Moroni (April 30, 1968)
3e REI in Mayotte - Exercise Orchidee - 1973
Legionnaires of 3e REI during the Orchidee Exercise taking place on Mayotte (May 1973)

DLEC location map

 

Foreign Legion Detachment in Comoros: 1973-1976

1973:
Foreign Legion Detachment in Comoros (Détachement de Légion Etrangère des Comores, DLEC)
– on August 01, 2nd Company became the DLEC
– DLEC was divided into five platoons
– it consisted of around 160 legionnaires in total

  • HQ + 2nd + 3rd + 4th Platoon – Dzaoudzi
  • 1st Platoon – Voidjou near Moroni

– the detachment still fulfils tasks
– it had to maintain order and to keep French presence in the region

– three weeks later, the 3e REI left Madagascar for French Guiana

1974:
– unstable political situation on the Comoro Islands
– calling for independence

1975:
reorganization of DLEC
– it took place on January 20
– DLEC splited into two parts
– HQ & support unit + a new “rotational” combat company

– the rotational company was created within the DLEC
– it was formed in response to the local political situation
– the company was composed of former DLEC combat platoons
– they were reinforced by fresh legionnaires
– the rotational company was assigned to the 2e RE
– it became its 7th Company
– 7th Company/2e RE was placed at Moroni, Grande Comore

Comoros independence
– in July, Grande Comore and the other Comoros islands declared its independence
– only Mayotte refused to join the new republic
– it remained French

– in November, 7th Company left Moroni (after 11 months) for Corsica
– it will join the 2e RE, based there at that time
– 5th Company of 2e RE replaced it
– it became a new rotational company of DLEC

– in December, France accepted the independence of the Comoro Islands

 

Foreign Legion Detachment in Comoros insignia
DLEC insignia, created in 1973
Legionnaire of DLEC in 1974
A legionnaire from the DLEC (1974)
DLEC: 7th Company of GOLE - 2e RE
The freshly established 7th Company of GOLE/2RE during a ceremony on Mayotte (January 1975)

 

Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte: 1976 – present

1976:
– in January-March, the Legion left Grande Comore
– it moved to Mayotte to be stationed there

Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte (Détachement de Légion étrangère de Mayotte, DLEM)
– on April 1, DLEC became the DLEM
– the headquarters of DLEM were placed at Dzaoudzi

1983:
– in March, a non-Legion rotational company served within the DLEM
– it was for the first time

1984:
– DLEM received the flag of the disbanded 2e REC
– it received it to adopt it and to guard it

1992:
– in November, the HQ of DLEM received its title
– the base at Dzaoudzi became Quartier Cabaribère
– Major Cabaribère was a 3e REI officer
– he commanded the 2nd Battalion of 3e REI
– he was killed in April 1954 in French Indochina

1995:
Operation Azalée
– in October, DLEM participated in a operation at Moroni, Grande Comore
– the operation was aimed at the provisional government of the Comoros
– the government was put in power by famed mercenary Bob Denard

 

Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte insignia
DLEM insignia, created in 1976
(Image source: Wikipedia.org)
Legionnaires of the DLEM in 1977
Legionnaires from the DLEM during an exercise in Mayotte (1977)
Legionnaires of the DLEM in 1980
Legionnaires from the rotational company of the DLEM marching in Mayotte (1980)
Legionnaires of the DLEM and Operation Azalee
Operation Azalée – a Képi blanc cover from December 1995
Legionnaires of the DLEM in 2013
DLEM visited by the head of the Foreign Legion (2013)
Legionnaires of the DLEM in 2013
Legionnaires of the DLEM during the Glorieuse exercise (2013)
Quartier Cabaribère of the DLEM
DLEM and its Quartier Cabaribère in Dzaoudzi (Mayotte)

 

Images source (besides that already defined):
Képi blanc magazines
Légion étrangère official website
French Ministry of Defence

Information source:
Kepi blanc magazines
Légion étrangère official website

 

The page was updated on: June 30, 2016

 

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