3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment

The 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment (3e Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes, 3e REP) remains the shortest living regiment (12 weeks) of the French Foreign Legion. The 3e REP was a successor to the 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion (1949-55) and a predecessor to the well-known 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP). The 3e REP was disbanded in November 1955.

The important tasks of this regiment (and primarily the 3e BEP) had been to provide parachute training for fresh legionnaires, to train them for combat duties in Indochina, to back up the other airborne units of the Foreign Legion (1er BEP, 2e BEP) and to be able to restore them.

In practice, the 1er BEP was completly restored by the 3e BEP in March 1951, the 2e BEP in June 1954. The 2e BEP restored by the 3e BEP in June 1954 consolidated with the newly formed 3e REP into a single unit, 2e REP, in December 1955.

Lieutenant Colonel Darmuzai, the very first commander of 3e BEP and the only commander of 3e REP remains the only commanding officer of all three major airborne units of the Foreign Legion: 1er BEP (later 1er REP) in 1951-1952, 2e REP (ex-2e BEP) in 1960-1961, 3e BEP/3e REP in 1949-51/1955.

3e Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes - 3 REP - 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment's History

 

3e BEP: 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion

1945 – 1946:
First Indochina War started
– French Indochina reffers to French colonial territories in Southeast Asia
– in Indochina, a conflict started between the French and Ho Chi Minh
– Ho Chi Minh led the Viet-Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam)
– Viet Minh was a nationalist and (later) pro-Soviet Union movement
– on September 2, 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

1949:
Parachute Instruction Company (Compagnie d’instruction parachutiste, CIP)
– in April, a parachute instruction company was established
– it was based at Mascara, Algeria (North Africa)
– CIP descended from the 7th Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1er REI
– CIP was commanded by Captain Darmuzai

3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion (3e Bataillon Etranger de Parachutistes, 3e BEP)
– on November 15, CIP became the 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion
– 3e BEP was based at Sétif, northeastern Algeria
– in Sétif, the battalion was based at Caserne Chadeysson
– its mission was to serve as a depot unit for 1er BEP and 2e BEP (2e REP now)
– these units participated in the war in Indochina at that time

1950:
– the insignia of 3e BEP was created by its commander, Captain Darmuzai

1951:
– in February, 3e BEP left Algeria for Indochina
– it was composed of 13 officers, 32 non-commissioned officer and 441 legionnaires, headed by Major Darmuzai
– 3e BEP will restore the 1er BEP
– 1er BEP was destroyed in the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 in October 1950

new 1er BEP
– on March 18, 3e BEP changed its title and became a new 1er BEP

1952:
Operation Mars
– January 24 – July 2, the operation in Tunisia, against local rebels
– a new 3e BEP took part in
– 3e BEP cleaned Ksar-Hellal, Sai-Ada, M’Sakem, Médina, Sfax, Gafsa and Monastir

War Memorial (Monument aux Morts)
– in September, War Memorial to the fallen paratroopers of the Foreign Legion was installed
– it was places at Field of Honor inside the camp of 3e BEP in Sétif

1954:
– on May 4, 3e BEP left Algeria for Indochina again
– its task was to support para-legionnaires in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– it landed at Haiphong on May 25
– the battle was already finished
– its new mission is to restore a new 2e BEP
– 1er BEP + 2e BEP were annihilated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu

new 2e BEP
– on June 1, 3e BEP changed its title and became a new 2e BEP

First Indochina War ended
– the war in Indochina ended on August 1
– France had to leave northern Vietnam
– in 1956, French troops had to leave the entire Indochina pensisula

BEPs Depot (Dépôt des BEP)
– June-December, BEPs Depot was formed in Algeria by ex-3e BEP training units

new 3e BEP
– in December, BEPs Depot changed its title and became a new 3e BEP

1954 – 1955:
Algerian War started
– in North Africa, local rebels intensified military actions
– these actions took part in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria
– they were aimed at French forces presented in these regions
– the main rebel force fighting the French was the FLN
– FLN stands for National Liberation Front
– later in 1955, that operations escalated to the Algerian War

1955:
– on January 15, Major Darmuzai took the leadership again
– he led the recreated 1er BEP in Indochina in 1951-52

– on July 20, firefight of the 10th company of 3e BEP with rebels at Djebel Bosoan, Algeria

 

3e REP: 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment

1955:
3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment (3e Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes, 3e REP)
– on September 1, 3e BEP became the 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment
– Major Darmuzai continued as its commander
– 3e REP moved to its forward operating base located in Batna, Algeria

– on September 18, clashes with rebels in the Khenchela region

– on October 1, 3e REP left definitively Sétif to be based at Batna
– for many years, Sétif was the main base of Foreign Legion paratroopers in Algeria
– 3e REP legionnaires wait for being based at Philippeville, Algeria

– in November, military operations at Djebel Amrane and Djebel Maagel for 3e REP

– on November 18, 2e BEP landed in Algeria and was disbanded

2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP)
– on December 1, 3e REP was disbanded
– the same day, 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment was established
– 2e REP was composed of ex-2e BEP + ex-3e REP legionnaires
– the new 2e REP was based at Philippeville

– in January 1956, Major Darmuzai took command of GPLEM

 

Insignia of the 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment
The insignia of 3e BEP and 3e REP, created by captain Darmuzai in 1950.
Image source: Wikipedia.org
The main base of the 3e BEP - 3 BEP - in Sétif in 1953
Caserne Chadeysson. The HQ of 3e BEP in Sétif (1953)
Major Darmuzai and the War memorial in Sétif
Major Darmuzai, the only French officer commanding all the three main airborne units of the Legion… The War Memorial in Sétif in 1955. Later, the Memorial moved with 2e REP (ex-2e BEP + ex-3e REP) throughout Algeria, before being placed at Camp Raffalli, Calvi, Corsica.
3e BEP - 3 BEP - Operation Mars - Tunisia - 1952
3e BEP during Operation Mars in Tunisia (March 1952)
3e BEP - 3 BEP - Setif in October 1952
A ceremony in Setif (1953)
The camp of 3e REP in Batna in 1955
The camp of 3e REP in Batna (1955)
The camp of - 3 REP - 3e REP - in Batna in 1955
The entrance of the camp of 3e REP in Batna (1955)
Free time - 3 REP - 3e REP - 3e BEP - 1955
Young legionnaires of 3e REP during a free-time (1955)
Ready for jumping - 3 REP - 3e REP - 3e BEP - Dakota - 1955
3e REP legionnaires boarding the “taxi” – a Dakota – to conduct a jumping exercise (1955)
Judo - 3 REP - 3e REP - 3e BEP - 1955
Judo training in 3e REP (1955)
Judo - 3 REP - 3e REP - 3e BEP - 1955
Young legionnaires of 3e REP ready for a jump (1955)
Training, waiting and... jumping - 3e REP in 1955
Training, waiting and… jumping. 3e REP in 1955
3e BEP legionnaires at El Mhader - 3e BEP - 3e REP in 1955
El Mhader, Algeria. 3e BEP legionnaires during an operation (August 1955)

 

Information & images source:
Képi blanc
– an official FFL magazine
 

——

 
See Foreign Legion’s other disbanded regiments:
2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment
4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
5th Foreign Regiment
6th Foreign Infantry Regiment

 
See Foreign Legion’s other disbanded airborne units:
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
Parachute Company of 3e REI
1st Heavy Mortar Foreign Parachute Company
CERA – Foreign Airdrop Company

 

 

The page was updated on: July 04, 2016

 

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