Contre les Viets

Contre les Viets (Against the Viet Minh) is a song of the French Foreign Legion. It used to be the official song of the Foreign Legion’s 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment (1er REP), a famous airborne unit disbanded in 1961.

The song came from Germany, the melody was originally used in the “Die Dunkle Nacht ist nun vorbei”, written by Werner Psaar and composed by Georg Blumensaat in the 1930s. It was a song of Hitler‘s Storm Troops (Sturmabteilung, SA), the early paramilitary wing of his Nazi Party. Later, the song for modified for the Fallschirmjäger, German paratroopers, and sung under the title “Komm mit, Kamerad“. This paratrooper song was subsequently translated during WWII by members of the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (Légion des Volontaires Français, LVF). These men, who included a number of former legionnaires, volunteered for the Eastern Front to fight there against Stalin‘s Soviet Union, alongside Germans. The then song was known as “Contre les rouges” (Against the Reds).

The Foreign Legion adopted the song in the late 1940s, when it accepted some of these French WWII veterans, and modified the lyrics. In the text, Rouges were replaced by Viets and camarades by legionnaires. It became the official song of the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (1er BEP, 1948-1955) in French Indochina, and then inherited by their successor, the 1er REP.

By the way, another song of the German Fallschirmjäger adopted by the Foreign Legion is Le soleil brille, the official song of all Foreign Legion paratroopers.

O Légionnaires, le combat qui commence
Met dans nos âmes enthousiasme et vaillance
Peuvent pleuvoir grenades et gravats
Notre victoire en aura plus d’éclat.

Contre les Viets, contre l’ennemi
Partout où le devoir fait signe
Soldats de France, soldats du pays
Nous remonterons vers les lignes.

Et si la mort nous frappe en chemin
Si nos doigts sanglants se crispent au sol
Un dernier rêve : adieu à demain
Nous souhaiterons faire école.

Malgré le vent, malgré les obus,
Sous les rafales ou sous les bombes,
Nous avançons vers le même but,
Dédaignant l’appel de la tombe.


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