2nd Foreign Legion Armored Vehicles Repair Company

The 2nd Foreign Legion Armored Vehicles Repair Company (2e CREBLE) was a Foreign Legion logistics unit constituted in then French Indochina in 1951. The company’s main purpose was to support French troops during the First Indochina War (1946-54). The unit carried out materiel maintenance, repair, and evacuation tasks. It was providing maintenance and repairing of military vehicles, mainly armored vehicles and tanks. The 2e CREBLE was inactivated in 1955.

Foreign Legion Repair Companies in French Indochina 1946-54

 

2nd Foreign Legion Armored Vehicles Repair Company

2nd Foreign Legion Armored Vehicles Repair Company
2e Compagnie de Réparation d´Engins Blindés de la Légion Etrangère (2e CREBLE)

2e CREBLE was established on July 1, 1951
– a materiel maintenance unit of the Foreign Legion
– part of the Service du Matériel branch of the French Army
– 2e CREBLE was organized in then French Indochina during the First Indochina War
– formed and stationed at Hai Phong, Tonkin
– Tonkin was then title for northern Vietnam
Hai Phong was an important port city of Indochina

– 2e CREBLE was an administratively independent unit
– it was devided into four platoons:

  • HQ Platoon
  • Mobile Platoon
  • Armored Mobile Platoon (based in Hanoi)
  • Heavy Equipment Platoon

Captain Midy took command

 
– 2e CREBLE served as a logistics unit
– it provided primarily armored vehicle maintenance, repair, and evacuation
– in support of legionnaires and other French troops
– its men maintenaned and repaired vehicles in their ateliers (workshops)
– the legionnaires provided exelent services
– tens of vehicles were repaired every month

– the men provided their important services also during military operations
– the company was equipped with wreckers (mainly Mack trucks)
– to evacuate vehicles damaged in the field during the operations
– by an engine failure or by enemy attacks
– also damaged by explosive devices placed on roads
– the men were often forced to repair vehicles on the spot, under enemy fire
– these tasks were carried out by Mobile Platoon
– or by Armored Mobile Platoon
– the platoon used AMM8 armored cars (M8 Greyhound)

– 2e CREBLE was able to maintain and repair different materiel
– small vehicles, trucks, light armored vehicles
– light or heavy tanks, amphibious vehicles and even military watercrafts
– its men were able to maintain and repair also artillery guns
– in fact, the legionnaires were able to repair all sorts of materiel

– 2e CREBLE legionnaires also repaired armored trains
– going between Hanoi and Hai Phong
– the trains were assigned to the 2e REI
– they were often attacked by the Viet Minh

 

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2e CREBLE: 1951 – 1955

– there are only a few of official data regarding the company
– these small, independent Legion units were very autonomous
– they were far from North Africa, the HQ and archives of the Legion

1951 – 1953:
– in 1952, several military operations
– Armored Mobile Platoon took part

– in March 1953, Captain Marty took command

Operation Rondelle II
– December-January, an important operation
– to assemble ten M24 Chaffee light tanks
– to support units in the Dien Bien Phu valley
– in a remote region of northern Vietnam
– 3rd Platoon, 2e CREBLE was involved
– legionnaires led by Lieutenant Bugeat
– December 16, the platoon moved to Dien Bien Phu
– thousands of French soldiers and legionnaires were placed there

– 2e CREBLE men had six weeks to assemble the tanks
– every tank was dismantled into 180 smaller pieces
– December 24, first two tanks were finished
– January 15, 1954, all tanks were assembled
– two weeks earlier
– the HQ of all repair units in Indochina proposed a vote of thanks to the platoon
– also did the HQ of the French forces in the valley
– January 18, 3rd Platoon left the valley

– the tanks belonged to 1er RCC, a French cavalry regiment
– the unit would use them in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– a decisive battle in the valley between March-May 1954

 
1954:
– January-August, 2e CREBLE got interesting results
– during this period, the unit repaired a lot of materiel
– 2e CREBLE repaired, for example:

  • 16 armored trains
  • 417 light and heavy tanks
  • 1,033 military vehicles

First Indochina War ended
– in August 1954, First Indochina War ended

– after the war, 2e CREBLE continued as a repair company

 
1955:
– in March, Captain Marteau took command

– in early 1955, 2e CREBLE left Tonkin
– it moved to Cochinchina (then title for southern Vietnam)
– the company was stationed in then Saigon
– the men continued in providing their important skills

– as a result of the war, France had to leave Indochina
– all French units had to leave Asia until 1956
– many units were disbanded yet in Indochina

2e CREBLE’s dissolution
– 2e CREBLE was dissolved on December 31, 1955

 

2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1951 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 2e CREBLE, created most likely in 1951. It bears an Asian dragon representing French Indochina. A cogged wheel symbolizing matériel units (maintenance & repair) of the French Army has a tank inside, together with TONKIN, the then name of Northern Vietnam where the unit operated. The backround of the insignia has the Legion’s green & red colors. The insignia also includes the seven-flame grenade of the Legion.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1950s - Hai Phong - Indochina
2e CREBLE during a ceremony at their HQ in Hai Phong, Northern Vietnam, in the 1950s. The photo was provided to the Foreign Legion Info website by Andi Mitchell, who runs the excellent Collecting French Foreign Legion Badges page on FB, and published with his kindly permission.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1950s - Hai Phong - Indochina
2e CREBLE officers and NCOs decorated by a French General during a ceremony in Hai Phong, in the 1950s. Note the non-Legion Captain (left, assigned to the unit from the Materiel Service HQ) and Lieutenant bearing the badge of the French Army’s Service du Matériel branch. The photo was provided to the Foreign Legion Info website by Andi Mitchell.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1954 - Dien Bien Phu - Indochina
Legionnaires of the 3rd Platoon, 2e CREBLE during Operation Rondelle II in the Dien Bien Phu valley to assemble ten M24 Chaffee tanks, early January 1954. Every single tank was dismantled into 180 smaller pieces and had to be carried from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu by six aircrafts.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1954 - M 24 Chaffee - Dien Bien Phu - Indochina
Legionnaires of the 3rd Platoon, 2e CREBLE during Operation Rondelle II in the Dien Bien Phu valley, early January 1954. The unit got six weeks to assemble the ten tanks. However, the legionnaires finished two weeks earlier. Several official authorities, including the HQ of all French repair units in Indochina, proposed a vote of thanks to the unit.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1954 - Hai Phong - workshop - Indochina
A workshop of 2e CREBLE in Hai Phong, 1954. As we can see, the unit repaired also artillery guns.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1954 - Hai Phong - LCM - Indochina
A repaired LMC launched by legionnaires of 2e CREBLE in Hai Phong, 1954. The company had its own team specialized in repairing of amphibious vehicles and watercrafts.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1954 - Hai Phong - workshop - Indochina
An armored vehicle workshop of 2e CREBLE in Hai Phong, 1954. The serviceman in the photo is most likely an assigned specialist from a French armored vehicle unit or an assigned legionnaire-specialist from 1er REC. In Indochina, the light-khaki beret was worn by armored cavalry personnel.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1954 - Indochina
2e CREBLE paying homage to their comrades, Hai Phong, 1954.
2e CREBLE - 2 CREBLE - Armored Vehicles Repair Company - 1951 - fanion - Indochina
The fanion of the 2e CREBLE used in Indochina.

 
 
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Main information sources:

More-majorum.de (Germans in French Indochina 1946-56)
Insignes Legion (Fr)
Fanion Vert et Rouge (Fr)
MATTECH 2012 – Bulletin of the French Army’s Service du Matériel branch (Fr)

 
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See Foreign Legion’s other disbanded repair companies of Indochina:

1st Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company
2nd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company
3rd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company
4th Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company
5th Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

 

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The page was updated on: April 06, 2019

 

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