3rd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

The 3rd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company (3e CMRLE) was a Foreign Legion logistics unit. Its history started in southern France in early 1946. 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 mainly maintenance and repairing of military vehicles. The 3e CMRLE was disbanded 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

 

65th Regimental Repair Company

1946 – 1947:
65th Regimental Repair Company
65e Compagnie de Réparation Régimentaire (65e CRR)

65e CRR was established on February 1, 1946
– a logistics unit of the Foreign Legion
– it was organized at Aubagne, southern France
– 65e CRR was assigned to 3e REI
– the company was tasked with regiment’s materiel maintenance and repair
– 3e REI was being reorganized at Aubagne at that time
– the unit had to serve in then French Indochina during the First Indochina War
– many logistics specialists were then German POWs
– sent to Aubagne right from prisoner camps

 

65e CRR: 1946 – 1947

– in March 1946, 65e CRR left France
– the company was shipped to Indochina, together with 3e REI
– 65e CRR + 3e REI landed in French Indochina in late April

– 65e CRR was stationed at Gia Dinh
– a district of Saigon, Cochinchina (then title for southern Vietnam)
– 3e REI’s HQ was also based in Saigon

– 65e CRR provided maintenance & repair support
– the company maintained and repaired 3e REI’s materiel and vehicles
– it also maintained and repaired roads used by 3e REI covoys

– April 30, 1947, 65e CRR left 3e REI to become independent

 

65th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company

65th Foreign Legion Automobile Repair Company
65e Compagnie de Réparation Automobile de la Légion Etrangère (65e CRALE)

65e CRALE was established on May 1, 1947
– ex-65e CRA
– an administratively independent unit of the Foreign Legion
– still based in Saigon, Cochinchina

Captain Odinius served as a company commander

 

65e CRALE: 1947 – 1949

1947:
65e CRALE to Cambodia
– in September 1947, 65e CRALE left Saigon (southern Vietnam)
– it moved to Kampong Cham, eastern Cambodia
– Cambodia was also part of French Indochina at that time

– in Cambodia, 65e CRALE supported Cambodian royal troops
– during their military operations aimed at Khmer Issarak
– Khmer Issarak were important local rebels, supported by the Viet Minh

– during these operations, 65e CRALE carried out its missions
– it provided maintenance, repair, and evacuation of military vehicles
– legionnaires evacuated and repaired vehicles damaged during operations
– they were often forced to repair vehicles on the spot, under enemy fire

– in October 1947, Captain Masselot took command of the company

  • Georges Masselot was a well-known French officer, born in Tunisia in 1911
  • as Lieutenant, he joined the Foreign Legion in 1936
  • he would serve with 1er REI (1er RE now), 12e REI, 4e DBLE (later 1er REIM), RMLE, 3e REI (ex-RMLE), 4e REI, 5e REI, 3e BEP (later 3e REP), 2e BEP and 2e REP
  • having fought during WWII in the 1940 Battle of France (seriously wounded), Tunisian Campaign (1943), Liberation of France (1944-45)
  • two deployments during the First Indochina War (1947-49, 1951-53)
  • Major Masselot served with the 2e REP in the Algerian War
  • in 1958, after having commanded the 2e REP par interim, he left the Legion
  • in 1961, he and his 18e RCP (Colonial Parachute Regiment) took part in the Putsch of Algiers which resulted in the dissolution of the regiment
  • Lt Colonel Masselot would spend over 4 years in prison
  • three times wounded during his career, he gained 15 citations

 
1948 – 1949:
– in November 1948, Captain Semichon took command

– in August 1949, 65e CRALE would be redesignated

 

65e CRALE - 65 CRALE - Repair Company - 1947 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 65e CRALE, created in 1947 by Captain Odinius. Based on the insignia of 3e REI with the seven-flame grenade of the Legion and the Legion’s green & red colors. It also bears an Asian pagoda representing French Indochina, waves symbolizing the Mekong river of Cochinchina and a cogged wheel symbolizing matériel units (maintenance & repair) of the French Army.

 

3rd Foreign Legion Repair Company

3rd Foreign Legion Repair Company
3e Compagnie de Réparation de la Légion Etrangère (3e CRLE)

3e CRLE was established on August 1, 1949
– ex-65e 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 Cambodia
Captain Semichon continued as its commander

 
1949 – 1951:
3e CRLE to leave Cambodia
– in September 1949, 3e CRLE left Cambodia
– the unit returned back to Vietnam
– it was placed at Hai Phong, Tonkin (then title for northern Vietnam)
– 3e CRLE would support the 5e REI operating in the Hai Phong region

– in April 1951, 3e CRLE would be redesignated again

 

3e CRLE - 3 CRLE - Repair Company - 1949 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 3e CRLE, created in 1949 by Captain Semichon. A simplified version of the 65e CRALE’s insignia.

 

3rd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

3rd Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company
3e Compagnie Moyenne de Réparation de la Légion Etrangère (3e CMRLE)

3e CMRLE was established on April 1, 1951
– ex-3e CRLE
– a materiel maintenance unit of the Foreign Legion
– an administratively independent unit
– the company was still stationed at Hai Phong, Tonkin

– 3e CMRLE was composed of three mobile detachments/platoons
– they were based at Hai Duong, Tien Yen and Sept Pagodes

 
– 3e 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
– by an engine failure or by enemy attacks
– also damaged by explosive devices placed on roads
– these tasks were carried out by the mobile detachments

– 3e CMRLE was also able to maintain and repair important roads
– they were often damaged by Viet Minh attacks and by mines

 

3e 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

– between 1951-54, 3e CMRLE was led by these officers:
– Captain Pirard (1951-52)
– Captain Mermoz (Jul-Dec 1952)
– Captain Chapey (1952-54)

– in January 1954, 3rd Platoon deployed to Laos
– it returned to Tonkin in December

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

 

3e CMRLE: 1954 – 1955

– after the war, 3e CMRLE would serve as a repair company

– in late 1954, Captain Vidal took command

3e CMRLE to leave Tonkin
– in December 1954, 3e CMRLE left Tonkin
– it moved back to southern Vietnam, its original sphere of activity
– the company was stationed at Bien Hoa

 
1955:
– in June 1955, Captain Blanchard took command

– 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

3e CMRLE’s dissolution
– 3e CMRLE was dissolved on December 31, 1955

 

3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1952 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 3e CMRLE, officially homologated in 1952. The same as the 3e CRLE’s insignia. Only the title was changed.
3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1953 - Hai Phong - Indochina
The HQ of 3e CMRLE located in Hai Phong, 1953.
3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1953 - Atelier - workshop - Indochina
The “3rd Echelon” – an atelier (workshop) of 1st Platoon, 3e CMRLE in Northern Vietnam, 1953.
3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1953 - station service - Indochina
The “station service” of 1st Platoon, 3e CMRLE, 1953.
3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1953 - Hai Phong - HQ - Indochina
Colonel Paul Gardy, the then Chief of the Foreign Legion, during a visit of the HQ of 3e CMRLE in Hai Phong, 1954.
3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1951 - fanion
The fanion of 3e CMRLE used in Indochina between 1951-55.
3e CMRLE - 3 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1951 - fanion - reverse side
The fanion of 3e CMRLE, the reverse side.

 
 
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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
2nd 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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