1er REC, 2e REI, 1er REG: Exercise BIA 23

This week, on November 27, began an important tactical combined arms maneuver BIA 23 that takes place in the Marne Department in northeastern France, north of Camp Mailly. Organized by the 6th Light Armored Brigade (6e BLB), it is to be the very first French exercise involving a combined arms brigade of the modern SCORPION generation ready for an operational deployment. Among the participating units are the Foreign Legion’s 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1er REC), 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI), and the 1st Foreign Engineer Regiment (1er REG).

The BIA 23 brigade combined arms maneuver involves about 2,200 personnel and will last until December 8. As for the 1er REC, for example, four of its squadrons take part, including almost 200 vehicles.

The 6e BLB is seen as the most modernized and operational-ready combined arms brigade within the current French Army. It mainly consists of Legion units, including the 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade (13e DBLE). Throughout the last years, it has received the “new generation” equipment (among others the VBMR Griffon and EBRC Jaguar vehicles), following the Army’s modernization program called SCORPION. The latter is to achieve improving information, communication, and cooperation in the fight by the adoption of advanced digital technology before 2025.

While there was already a deployment of a SCORPION-based battalion-sized combined arms task force (called SGTIA in France) in Mali in 2021, Exercise BIA 23 prepares such an operational overseas deployment for a SCORPION-based brigade combined arms formation (several thousands of men).

The 6e BLB brigade is newly commanded by General Seiler, a former commanding officer of the 1er REC. Earlier this year he replaced another long-serving officer of the Legion, General Ozanne. Both generals proudly wear their green beret to show their Legion origins.

PHOTOS: Exercise BIA 23 in northeastern France
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