2nd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

The 2nd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company (2e CMRLE) was a Foreign Legion logistics unit originally constituted in North Africa in late 1945. The company supported French troops during the First Indochina War (1946-54). Its main mission was to carry out materiel maintenance, repair, and evacuation tasks. The 2e CMRLE was dissolved in late 1955.

Foreign Legion Repair Companies in French Indochina 1946-54

 

First Indochina War (1946-54)
– French Indochina reffers to French colonial territories in Southeast Asia
– today’s Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos
– in Indochina in the 1940’s, a conflict started between France and Ho Chi Minh
– Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam)
– Viet Minh was an independence 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

 

64th Automobile Repair Company

64th Automobile Repair Company
64e Compagnie de Réparation Automobile (64e CRA)

64e CRA was established on December 1, 1945
– a military vehicle repair unit of the Foreign Legion
– the company was organized in Mascara, Algeria (North Africa)
– it had to serve in then French Indochina during the First Indochina War
– 64e CRA was administratively assigned to 2e REI

 

64e CRA: 1946 – 1947

– in January 1946, 64e CRA left North Africa
– it was shipped to Indochina, together with 2e REI
– 64e CRA + 2e REI landed in French Indochina in early February
– these were the first Legion elements having landed in Indochina after WWII

– 64e CRA was stationed at Nha Tranh, southern Annam
– Annam was then title for central Vietnam
– 2e REI’s HQ was also based at Nha Tranh

– the company was tasked with regiment’s vehicle maintenance and repair
– however, it also supported other French troops

– January 1947, a skirmish with the Viet Minh
– near the Mount of Tu Bang

– April 30, 1947, 64e CRA left 2e REI to become independent

 
 

64th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company

64th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company
64e Compagnie de Réparation Automobile de la Légion Etrangère (64e CRALE)

64e CRALE was established on May 1, 1947
– ex-64e CRA
– a vehicle repair company of the Foreign Legion
– the company was an administratively independent unit
Captain Zanchetta took command

  • a Foreign Legion officer of Italian origin
  • in 1944-45, Captain Zanchetta took part in the Liberation of France of WWII
  • he led HQ Company, 1st Battalion, RMLE (future 3e REI)
  • in 1947, Captain Zanchetta commanded 64e CRALE
  • in 1949-50, he commanded 1re CISGL
  • in all likelihood, Major Zanchetta died in Southern Vietnam in September 1954

– 64e CRALE would remain stationed at Nha Tranh
– the unit run four mobile detachments
– they were placed at Ban Me Thuot, Dalat, Phan Thiet and Phan Rang

– 64e CRALE provided maintenance, repair, and evacuation of military vehicles
– it was tasked with vehicle evacuation and repair missions throughout Annam
– legionnaires evacuated and repaired damaged military vehicles
– damaged during military operations by engine failure or by enemy attacks
– also by explosive devices placed on roads
– the men were often forced to repair vehicles on the spot, under enemy fire

 

64e CRALE: 1947 – 1949

1947:
– July 4, 1947, a Viet Minh attack
– in the Bien Hoa region, Cochinchina (then title for southern Vietnam)
– 2 legionnaires of 64e CRALE were killed

– in August 1947, Second Lieutenant Bruneau took command

– December 22, 1947, a Viet Minh attack
– in the Ca Na region, Annam
– 2 legionnaires of 64e CRALE were killed

1948 – 1949:
– in January 1948, Captain Drapied took command

– in August 1949, 64e CRALE would be redesignated

 

64e CRALE - 64 CRALE - Repair Company - 1948 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 64e CRALE, designed in 1948 and manufactured in 1949. The company commander received 20 gold badges and 265 ordinary badges in July 1949, three weeks before the company was redesignated… The insignia bears an Asian dragon representing French Indochina, a cogged wheel symbolizing matériel units (maintenance & repair) of the French Army, a rifle and a flash reminding the danger of military operations, and the seven-flame grenade of the Legion. The insignia also includes the Legion’s green & red colors.
64e CRALE - 64 CRALE - Repair Company - 1948 - Nha Trang - Indochina
Legionnaires of 64e CRALE, together with their company fanion, parade at Nha Trang, 1948.
64e CRALE - 64 CRALE - Repair Company - 1948 - Nha Trang - Indochina
The fanion of 64e CRALE between 1947-49.

 

2nd Foreign Legion Repair Company

2nd Foreign Legion Repair Company
2e Compagnie de Réparation de la Légion Etrangère (2e CRLE)

2e CRLE was established on August 1, 1949
– ex-64e CRALE
– an administratively independent unit
– a materiel maintenance company of the Foreign Legion
– part of the Service du Matériel branch of the French Army
– the company would remain stationed in Nha Tranh
Captain Drapied continued as its commander

– 2e CRLE carried out vehicle evacuation and repair missions
– besides that, it was also repairing armored trains assigned to 2e REI
– the company operated in the regions of Nha Trang and Plei Ku

– in April 1951, 2e CRLE would be renamed again

 
 

2nd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

2nd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company
2e Compagnie Moyenne de Réparation de la Légion Etrangère (2e CMRLE)

2e CMRLE was established on April 1, 1951
– ex-2e CRLE
– a materiel maintenance unit of the Foreign Legion
– an administratively independent unit
– the company was still stationed at Nha Tranh, Annam

– 2e CMRLE consisted of more than 190 legionnaires
– the unit was composed of four platoons:

  • HQ Platoon
  • Repair Platoon
  • Car Repair Platoon
  • Store Platoon

Captain Drapied continued as its company commander

 
– 2e CMRLE served as a logistics unit
– it continued to provide vehicle maintenance, repair, and evacuation
– in support of legionnaires and other French troops
– its men maintenaned and repaired vehicles in their ateliers (workshops)
– 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
– these tasks were carried out by Mobile Platoons (since 1952)

– 2e CMRLE was also able to maintain and repair 2e REI’s armored trains
– damaged by Viet Minh attacks and by mines

 

2e CMRLE: 1951 – 1954

– 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:
– in June 1951, Captain Jean-Paul Von Borzyskowski took command
– a well-known long-serving German officer joining the Legion in the mid-1930s
– a former Repair Platoon leader with 1re CSPL in Algeria

– August 1951, a Viet Minh attack
– at the airfield of Phan Thiet
– the enemy was successfully fought off

 
1952:
– two Armored Mobile Platoons were constituted
– the platoons served as armored mobile repair units
– they were placed at Phan Thiet and Hue, central Annam
– the platoons used AMM8 armored cars (M8 Greyhound)

 
1953:
– in January 1953, Captain Compagnon took command

2e CMRLE to move to central Annam
– in March, 2e CMRLE moved to central Annam
– the company was stationed in Hue
– it would serve mostly on RC1 between Hue and Tourane
– only several elements stayed in Nha Tranh

– in September 1953, Captain Bretegnier took command

– in 1953, the unit participated in several important operations
– between them, Operation Camargue or Operation Concarneau

 
1954:
– in 1954, 2e CMRLE consisted of two parts
– one part based at Nha Tranh (HQ + repair platoons)
– the second part based at Hue (mobile repair platoons)

– in 1954, the unit took part in important operations
– in the Hue and Quang Tri regions, Operation Atlante
– in the Dong Ha region, Operation Lotus
– also Operation Flamboyant or Operation Magnolia

 

2e CMRLE: 1954 – 1955

– in August 1954, First Indochina War ended
– after the war, 2e CMRLE continued to serve as a repair company

– in November 1954, Captain Marteau took command

– in August 1955, 2e CMRLE left Annam
– it moved to Southern Vietnam
– the company was stationed in then Saigon

– as a result of the war, France had to leave Indochina
– all French units had to leave Asia until 1956

– in late 1955, the company left Indochina
– it landed in Algeria in December 1955

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

 

2e CRLE - 2 CRLE - 2e CMRLE - 2 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1949 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 2e CRLE, designed in late 1949 and manufactured in 1950. In July 1950, 60 gold badges and 450 ordinary badges were received. The insignia bears the same symbols as the previous one (64e CRALE), only blue leaf springs of the vehicle repair units were added. In 1951, 2e CMRLE adopted the insignia without any changes and used it until 1955.
2e CRLE - 2 CRLE - Repair Company - 1949 - Fanion - Indochina
The fanion of 2e CRLE between 1949-51. Likely, it could be used also by 2e CMRLE after 1951. The ULSM letters stand for Unités de Légion du Service du Matériel (Equipment Maintenance Legion Units), the HQ of all Legion repair units in Indochina.
2e CMRLE - 2 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1951 - Corporals - Indochina
Legionnaires from PEG (Future Corporals) platoon of 2e CMRLE during their course, 1951.
2e CMRLE - 2 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1953 - Mack - wrecker truck - Indochina
A Mack wrecker truck of 2e CMRLE during an operation in French Indochina, around 1953.
2e CMRLE - 2 CMRLE - Repair Company - atelier - 1953 - Indochina
A legionnaire of 2e CMRLE at the atelier (workshop) located at Hué, in 1953.

 
 
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Main information sources:

More-majorum.de (Germans in French Indochina 1946-56)
Insignes Legion (Fr)
Fanion Vert et Rouge (Fr)

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

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

 

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The page was updated on: August 30, 2018

 

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