Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group

The Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group (GPLEM) is a little-known motorized infantry unit of the French Foreign Legion. GPLEM was established in June 1944 under the title of GCMP/3. It had been participating in military operations in Morocco. GPLEM was disbanded in 1956. Later, as a part of the 4th Regiment, it participated in the Ifni War in Mauritania and in the Algerian War.

Groupement Porté de Légion Étrangère du Maroc - GPLEM - Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group History

 

Mounted and Motorized Companies Group 1944 – 1946

1939 – 1945:
World War II (Second World War)
– France, including the Foreign Legion, participated in
– Battle of France (May 10 – June 22, 1940)
– France was defeated
– Armistice signed by Nazi Germany and France on June 22
– for France, WWII temporarily ended
– in November 1942, British-American invasion of French North Africa
– all French forces in North Africa received an order to cease resistance
– the French in North Africa joined the Allies

June 1944:
Mounted and Motorized Companies Group (Groupement des Compagnies Montées et Portées, GCMP)
– in Morocco, GCMP was formed on June 1
– it was composed of companies assigned to the 3e REI 1940-43
– the 3e REI itself was temporarily disbanded in 1943
– the companies continued to be administratively part of the 3e REI
– they consisted of Germans in the majority

– GCMP/3 was composed of:

  • HQ Company, based at Fez (Caserne Fontanel), Morocco
  • 8th Mixed Mounted Company (8e Compagnie Mixte-Montée, 8e CMM), based at Khenifra
  • 13th Motorized Company (13e Compagnie Portée, 13e CP), based at Foum el Hassan
  • 14e CP, based at Taroudant
  • 15e CP, based at Marrakesh

 

8th Mixed Mounted Company
– it originated in 24th Mounted Company (24e CM) of 1er RE
– the company became 2nd Mounted Company, 1er RE in 1908
– it was based at Bou Denib , Morocco
– in 1920, it was assigned to then 3e RE (future 3e REI)
– in 1922, it became the Mounted Company of 3e REI (CM/3REI)
– in November 1940, it became 8e CMM, based at Midelt
– in 1943, it moved to Khenifra
– it was commanded by Captain Fiore
– in May 1944, 8e CMM consolidated with 12e CMM
– 12e CMM was assigned to 3e REI in November 1940
– it was ex-Mounted Company of 2e REI (est. 1913)
– 8e CMM will become the last French mounted company

13th Motorized Company
– it originated in the 1st Mounted Company, 1er RE
– it operated in Morocco 1914-18, based at Taza
– in 1920, it was assigned to then 4e RE (future 4e REI)
– in 1922, it became the Mounted Company of 4e REI (CM/4REI)
– in 1933, it became a motorized unit (CMA, later CA/4REI)
– CA/4REI (Motorized Company) was based at Foum el Hassan
– in November 1940, 4e REI was deactivated
– the company was assigned to 2e REI
– it changed its title to 12e CMP (Mixed Motorized Company)
– on March 31, 1943, the 2e REI was deactivated
– in April 1943, the unit became the 13e CP of 3e REI

14th Motorized Company
– the company was established in late 1930s
– it became 2nd Motorized Company (CA2) of 4e REI
– in November 1940, the company was assigned to 2e REI
– it became its 8e CMP (Mixed Motorized Company)
– in April 1943, it became the 14e CP of 3e REI

15th Motorized Company
– a former 9th Company, 3rd Battalion, 4e REI
– in November 1940, the company was assigned to 2e REI
– it became its 4e CMP (Mixed Motorized Company)
– the company was based at Ouarzazate
– in April 1943, it became the 15e CP of 3e REI
– the company moved to Marrakesh

1945:
World War II ended
– on September 2, Japan finally signed the surrender documents
– it officially ended the war
– Germany surrendered earlier that year, on May 8

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - 4e CMP - 4th Motorized Mixed Company
Insignia of the 2e REI’s 4th Motorized Mixed Company, established in November 1940 and based at Ouarzazate, Morocco. The insignia was created in July 1941. In 1943, the company was assigned to the 3e REI and became its 15th Motorized Company, to maintain order in Morocco during WWII.

 

GCPLEM and GPLEM 1946 – 1956

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 the Viet-Minh
– Viet Minh was a nationalist and (later) pro-Soviet Union movement
– in September 1945, Viet 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

February 1946:
– 15e CP moved to Tinzit, Morocco, on Feb 16

May 1946:
– GCMP headquarters moved from Fez to Camp IV (later Camp Sigmann) in Agadir, Morocco
– it made place for the 2nd Battalion of 4e DBLE (future 4e REI)
– 13e CP also moved to Agadir

September 1946:
Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Companies Group (Groupement des Compagnies Portées de Légion Étrangère du Maroc, GCPLEM)
– on September 3, GCMP became the GCPLEM
– the unit was no more a part of 3e REI
– 8e CMM was attached to the 4e DBLE
– it became its Mounted Company (Compagnie Montée, CM/4) on October 1

July 1, 1947:
Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group (Groupement Porté de Légion Étrangère du Maroc, GPLEM)
– GCPLEM simplified its title to the GPLEM
GPLEM became independent
– 13e CP became the 1st Motorized Company (1re Compagnie Portée, 1re CP)
– 14e CP became the 2e CP
– 15e CP became the 3e CP

1947 – 1956:
– GPLEM was fulfilling its main tasks
– to serve as the motorized patrolling unit of Morocco
– to maintain order in the region
– to serve as an “interchange station”, intermediary training grounds for young legionnaires who had finished their basic instruction, before joining the First Indochina War
– to be an opportunity to rest and recharge for those legionnaires who returned from their necessary two-years-long stay in Indochina

1954:
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

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

March 1956:
Independence of Morocco
– on March 2, 1956, Morocco gained its independence
– all French units had to move to Algeria

November 15, 1956:
– GPLEM was disbanded

 

2nd Motorized Companies Group 1956 – 1958

November 16, 1956:
2nd Motorized Companies Group (2e Groupement des Compagnies Portées, 2e GCP)
– GPLEM units formed the 2e GCP of the 4e REI (ex-4e DBLE)
2e GCP was one of the two motorized groups of the new 4e REI
– 2e GCP was composed of:

  • Task Force Staff (État Major Tactique, EMT)
  • 4th Motorized Company (4e CP)
  • 5th Motorized Company (5e CP)

March 1957 – April 1958:
– 2e GCP was based in Mauritania
– it is a country in the Maghreb region of western North Africa
– 2e GCP was the only unit of the Legion serving there
– it had to participate in operations against Pan-Saharan rebels

October 1957 – March 1958:
Operation Ouragan
– 2e GCP participated in the Ifni War in Mauritania and Spanish Sahara
– the unit fought there alongside the Spanish Legion

April 1958:
– 2e GCP (ex-GPLEM) left Mauritania
– as the last Legion’s unit, it joined the Algerian War
– 2e GCP was stationed in eastern Algeria
– it was disbanded a few months later

GCPLEM insigne - GCPLEM insignia - 1947
Insignia of GCPLEM, created by Lt Col Binoche as a souvenir for former GCPLEM legionnaires in September 1947
GPLEM insigne - GPLEM insignia - 1947
Insignia of GPLEM, created by Lt Col Binoche in March 1947
13e CPLEM - 13e CPLE - 13e CP - 13cp - Morocco 1946
Legionnaires of 13e CPLEM during an exercise nearby Foum el Hassan, one of the warmest French military post at that time (Southern Morocco, 1946)
GPLEM - Camp IV - Camp Sigmann - Agadir
Camp IV (later Camp Sigmann) – headquarters of GPLEM in Agadir, Morocco (1950s); Photo source: Agadir en 1960
GPLEM - Camp IV - Camp Sigmann - Agadir
Caserne Capitaine Morel at Taroudant, Morocco – the headquarters of the 2nd Motorized Company of GPLEM (1956). The company had been based there since the early 1940s.
GPLEM - Dodge WC - Camerone Day - 1955
GPLEM equipped with Dodge WCs, during the Camerone Day (April 30, 1955)
Legionnaires of GPLEM preparing for operation 1955
Legionnaires of GPLEM preparing for operation in the Goulimine region (1955)
A GPLEM commander's jeep 1955
GPLEM commander’s Jeep surrounded by Staff officers. Notice their typical khaki covers of kepi. (1955)
A field camp of GPLEM 1955
A field camp of GPLEM nearby Goulimine, Morocco (1955)
2e GCP (2GCP) of 4e REI nearby Fort Trinquet - Mauritania - 1957
2nd Motorized Companies Group (2e GCP, ex-GPLEM) of 4e REI during a Change of Command ceremony nearby Fort Trinquet, Mauritania
(October 1957)
2e GCP of 4e REI near Fort Trinquet - Mauritania - 1957
2e GCP (ex-GPLEM) of 4e REI during a Change of Command ceremony (October 1957) nearby Fort Trinquet, Mauritania. Major Darmuzai (center-left, hand shaking) is leaving the unit, which he has commanded since January 1956 (as GPLEM, thereafter 2e GCP). Previously, until November 1955, the date of its dissolution, he had commanded 3e REP.

Other GPLEM images & information:
Camp de la Légion Étrangère-Camp IV-Camp Sigmann
Les souvenirs de la Légion étrangère à Agadir

Images & information source:
Képi blanc magazines
Insignes Legion

 
See also:
Foreign Legion Algerian Motorized Group
1st Legion Saharan Motorized Company
2nd Legion Saharan Motorized Company
3rd Legion Saharan Motorized Company
4th Legion Saharan Motorized Company

 
See Foreign Legion disbanded regiments:
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment
2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment
4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
5th Foreign Regiment
6th Foreign Infantry Regiment

 

The page was updated on: August 06, 2016

 

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