3e BMLE: 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force

The 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force (3e BMLE) was established in Algeria in August 1962 with men from 3e REI. The main objective of this unit was to help to install the Foreign Legion in France. The 3e BMLE helped to build the new headquarters of the Foreign Legion at Aubagne and it participated in other construction tasks launched by the Legion in France and Corsica. The number 3 reminds the origin of the unit (in fact, it was the only BMLE at that time).

The Poste de Sécurité of the Legion’s HQ at Aubagne, where new volunteers present themselves as their first step to join the Legion, it was built by the 3e BMLE. It also arranged a military camp near Calvi, Corsica for its future inhabitants, the para-legionnaires from 2e REP. Moreover, the unit was involved in construction of the Military Infantry School of Montpellier in 1964. The same year, the 3e BMLE was disbanded.

3e Batallion de Marche de Légion Etrangère - 3e BMLE - 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - History

 

3e BMLE: 3rd Foreign Legion Task Force 1962-64

March 19, 1962:
Algerian War officially ended
– Évian Accords treaty, signed on 18 March 1962, ended the Algerian War
– however, military operations were conducted until September 1962

April-September 1962:
Foreign Legion reorganization in Algeria
3e REI was reorganized
– in Algeria, 3e REI was devided into two separate parts
– one part moved to Madagascar
– it reinforced the Foreign Legion Madagascar Battalion (BLEM) based there
– that battalion became a new 3e REI
– another part formed a new task force of the Legion
– the Legion had to leave Algeria for France
– the task force would help to install the Legion in France

August 1, 1962:
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force (3e Batallion de Marche de Légion Etrangère, 3e BMLE)
– a new task force was established
– 3e BMLE was organized in Algeria
– the unit was formed with 3 companies of 3e REI
– HQ Company + 1st + 2nd Company of 3e REI
– the number 3 reminds the origin of the unit
– 3e REI’s HQ Company became a new HQ Company of 3e BMLE
– 3e BMLE’s main task had been to carry out construction works
– Major Hautecoeur took the leadership

August 29, 1962:
– 3e BMLE landed in Marseille, southern France
– it was based at Camp de la Demande, Aubagne (HQ + 2nd Company)
– this camp will become Quartier Vienot of 1er RE
– 1st Company/3e BMLE was based at Puits d’Auzon, close to Aubagne

September-October 1962:
– in September, 13e DBLE men formed the 3rd Company of 3e BMLE
– in October, 1st Company moved to Puyloubier
Puyloubier is the site of Legion’s Veteran Institution
– the company was involved in construction works there

1963 – 1964:
– 3e BMLE legionnaires were involved in construction works at Aubagne

February 1963:
– 1st Company of 3e BMLE left France for Corsica
– in Corsica, it built a new training camp for GILE at Borgo
– GILE stands for Foreign Legion Training Group

April 1963:
– Major Halftermeyer took the leadership

April 1964:
– in Corsica, 1st Company of 3e BMLE moved to Calvi
– it would arrange an abandoned camp for 2e REP
– 2e REP run a parachute training center there since April 1964
– 2e REP itself was based at the camp in July 1967
– the camp became Camp Raffalli in 1968

May-November 1964:
– 3e BMLE was sent to Montpellier, southern France
– there, it built the Military Infantry School (École Militaire d’Infanterie)
– the school was the main infantry school of the French Army up to 2010
– the works finished on November 15

November 25, 1964:
– 3e BMLE was disbanded

3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE - Insignia
The insignia of 3e BMLE. It was designed by Captain Cristofair in 1962.
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1962
Legionnaires from the 1st Company of 3e BMLE, reviewed by General Lefort (the then Foreign Legion commander) at Puits d’Auzon (September 4, 1962)
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
Legionnaires of 3e BMLE, during a Change of Command ceremony at Aubagne (April 10, 1963)
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
Legionnaires of 3e BMLE during the construction of the Poste de Sécurité at the Legion’s HQ in Aubagne (1963)
1st Foreign Regiment - 1er RE 2015
Poste de Sécurité of the Legion’s HQ in Aubagne in 2015
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
3e BMLE legionnaires during a military exercise in France in 1963
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
1st Company of 3e BMLE during the construction of a training camp at Borgo, Corsica (July 1963)
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
3e BMLE legionnaires marching at Camp Fiume Secco, Calvi, Corsica (April 1964). They were arranging the camp for 2e REP, based there later in 1967. In 1968, the camp will be renamed as Camp Raffalli.
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
Montpellier. An NCO and a legionnaire from the 3e BMLE placing a plaque with the unit insignia on the Military Infantry School (November 1964)
3rd Foreign Legion Task Force - 3e BMLE 1963
Aubagne. The dissolution of 3e BMLE (November 25, 1964). On the extreme left, Major Halftermeyer (3e BMLE’s commander) for the last time reviewing his unit, during a dissolution ceremony.

 

Images source:
Képi blanc magazines
maps.google.com


 

Information sources:
Képi blanc magazines
Insignes Legion (FFL insignia & badges)

 

The page was updated on: February 13, 2016

 

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