4th Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

The 4th Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company (4e CMRLE) was a Foreign Legion logistics unit serving in then French Indochina since 1949. The company’s main purpose was to support French troops during the First Indochina War (1946-54). It provided materiel maintenance, repair, and evacuation services, mainly repairing of military vehicles. The 4e CMRLE was inactivated in 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

 

4th Foreign Legion Repair Company

4th Foreign Legion Repair Company
4e Compagnie de Réparation de la Légion Etrangère (4e CRLE)

4e CRLE was established on August 16, 1949
– a materiel maintenance unit of the Foreign Legion
– part of the Service du Matériel branch of the French Army
– 4e CRLE was organized in then French Indochina during the First Indochina War
– formed and stationed at Lang Son, Tonkin
– Tonkin was then title for northern Vietnam
Lang Son is located on the border with China

– 4e CRLE was an administratively independent unit
– the company consisted of more than 230 legionnaires
– they were equipped with medium wrecker trucks

Captain Duhamel took command

 
– 4e CRLE served as a logistics unit
– it was tasked with vehicle evacuation and repair missions
– in support of legionnaires and other French troops
– 4e CRLE operated along RC4 (Colonial Road)
– mainly to support the units of 3e REI

– 4e CRLE men repaired vehicles in their ateliers (workshops)
– the vehicles damaged during military operations
– by engine failure, enemy attacks or by explosive devices placed on roads
– the legionnaires were often forced to repair vehicles on the spot, under enemy fire

 

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4e CRLE: 1949 – 1951

– 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

– in January 1950, Captain Boulay took command

October 1950:
Battle of Route Coloniale 4 (RC4)
– a battle that occurred in October 1950
– it took place in the Cao Bang, Dong Khe and That Khe regions, northern Vietnam
– the French units were attacked along RC4
– many Viet Minh battalions were based there
– the enemy outnumbered five times the French
– the French lost about 4,000 men in the battle

– because of the battle, 4e CRLE had to leave Lang Son
– the company would be stationed in Hanoi
– the capital of French Indochina, located also in Tonkin
– its detachments were placed at Hai Phong and Phu Long Tuong

– in December 1950, 4e CRLE would be renamed

 

4e CRLE - 4 CRLE - Repair Company - 1950 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 4e CRLE, created in March 1950 by Captain Boulay. It includes a wrecker (recovery vehicle) and the seven-flame grenade of the Legion, with the mountains of Northern Vietnam on the backround. The insignia also bears the Legion’s green & red colors and the blue color of the repair units.

 

4th Foreign Legion Medium Repair Company

4e CMRLE was established on January 1, 1951
– ex-4e CRLE
– a materiel maintenance unit of the Foreign Legion
– the company would be still stationed in Hanoi, Tonkin
– assigned to the 2nd Provisional Tonkin Division (2e DMT, created 1951)

– in February, Captain Beurotte took command

 
– 4e CMRLE continued to serve as a logistics unit
– it kept vehicle maintenance, repair, and evacuation
– in support of legionnaires and other French troops
– 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 Platoon

– 4e CMRLE was able to maintain and repair different materiel
– small vehicles, trucks, light armored vehicles
– also light tanks or amphibious vehicles
– the legionnaires were also able to evacuate these vehicles

 

4e CMRLE: 1951 – 1954

– there are only a few of official data regarding the company
– 4e CMRLE carried out maintenance, repair, and evacuation missions

– a detachment of 4e CMRLE was placed at Nam Dinh
– a city located 60 miles (90 km) south-east of Hanoi

– in October 1952, Captain Maurin took command

 

4e CMRLE: 1954 – 1955

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

– after the war, 4e CMRLE continued to serve as a repair company

– in November 1954, Captain Sontag took command

– in December 1954, 4e CMRLE left Tonkin
– it moved to Cochinchina (then title for 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
– many units were disbanded yet in Indochina

4e CMRLE’s dissolution
– 4e CMRLE was dissolved on May 15, 1955

 

4e CMRLE - 4 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1951 - Insignia - Badge - Indochina
The insignia of 4e CMRLE, created in 1951. It bears an Asian dragon representing French Indochina, holding the seven-flame grenade of the Legion. The insignia also includes the Legion’s green & red colors and blue leaf springs of the vehicle repair units.
4e CMRLE - 4 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1952 - Hanoi - Lieutenant Mermoz
Lieutenant Mermoz in front of the 4e CMRLE during a parade in Hanoi, 1952. Later, he would command the 3e CMRLE.
4e CMRLE - 4 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1953 - Gia Lam - Captain Maurin
Captain Maurin (center, with black kepi and crossed hands) and his men from 4e CMRLE in Gia Lam, 1953. Note the company’s local auxiliaries.
4e CMRLE - 4 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1954 - Kien An - Colonel Gardy - Indochina
Colonel Paul Gardy, the then Chief of the Foreign Legion, during a visit of the 4e CMRLE at Kien An, an urban district of Hai Phong, 1954.
4e CMRLE - 4 CMRLE - Repair Company - 1954 - Kien An - Colonel Gardy - Indochina
A workshop of the 4e CMRLE at Kien An, visited by Colonel Gardy, 1954.

 
 
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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
3rd 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: February 11, 2019

 

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