13e DBLE: Commemoration of the 80th anniversary at Camp Larzac

In late September 2020, reunited again after having returned from different deployments, the officers and legionnaires of the 13th Foreign Legion Half Brigade (13e DBLE) commemorated together the 80th anniversary of their unit constituted in 1940 in North Africa. See photos.

The ceremony took place at Camp Larzac on 26 September 2020, the base of the regiment which is located in southern France. It was presided by the current French Army commander-in-chief, General Thierry Burkhard, who was serving in the Foreign Legion between 1989-2002 and who only returned to command the 13e DBLE in Djibouti in 2008-10. He was accompanied by General Alain Lardet, the new commander of the Legion, by Colonel Pierre-Henri Aubry, the freshly appointed commander of the regiment, as well as by General Jean-Christophe Bechon from the 6th Light Armored Brigade (6e BLB, which 13e DBLE makes part of; he started his military career with the Legion and is also a former member of the 13e DBLE) and by the Foreign Legion’s former commander-in-chief, General Jean Maurin (2014-18, ex-commanding officer of the 13e DBLE in 2000-2002).

The 13e DBLE was constituted in Morocco and Algeria as a mountain demi-brigade (then a French unit consisting of two battalions only, while three battalions were comprising a regiment already) in February 1940 to be deployed to Scandinavia. Initially to Finland to fight the Soviet Union troops in the Winter War; later the destination was changed to northern Norway to face German soldiers. In March, the half-brigade moved to France to Camp Larzac for the very first time to undergo training and a mountain warfare instruction there. It left the camp a month later to return there only after 76 years, in 2016.

The previous day, on 25 September, the regiment commemorated also the Harkis Day, a day dedicated to an auxiliary Muslim units in support of French troops during the Algeria War (1954-62), assigned to the regiments. The 13e DBLE had its harki unit too at the time. After the war was over, Harkis were often attacked and massacred by anti-French militants within then a freshly independent Algerian republic.

Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
The color guard of the 13e DBLE during the ceremony at Camp Larzac, 26 September 2020.
Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
Colonel Aubry saluting his legionnaires during the 80th anniversary of the 13e DBLE.
Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
80th anniversary’s regimental challenge of the 13e DBLE.
Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
General Thierry Burkhard, the current head of the French Army, is cheering legionnaires during the challenge. He commanded their regiment in 2008-10. As a fresh officer, he started his military career with the 2e REP (1989-1996).
Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
General Maurin is saluting the regimental color. The former head of the Foreign Legion and of the 13e DBLE. He also started his military career with the 2e REP (1983-91).
Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
13e DBLE’s Pioneers during the ceremony.
Camp Larzac - 80 years - 13e DBLE
Young legionnaires having been freshly assigned to the regiment are attending the ceremony.

Photo source & credits: 13e DBLE

Related posts:
13e DBLE: 2020 Change of Command
13e DBLE: 2nd Company in Djibouti 2020
13e DBLE: 4th Company in Martinique 2020