44 years ago: Deadly accident in Africa

In late May 1976, an air accident occurred during a military exercise in the then French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (TFAI, today’s Djibouti), a country located in the Horn of Africa. A French Army helicopter crashed. Eight men on board were killed, including six legionnaires from GOLE (Foreign Legion Task Force). Another two legionnaires died later. At the time, the incident became the deadliest accident for the Legion since the end of the Algerian War (1962). And it still remains the second deadliest accident for the Legion since 1962. Nevertheless, for unknown reasons, the fatal crash has been completely forgotten in France. Here is the article dedicated to this sad event and to pay homage to the victims.

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42 years ago: Operation in Kolwezi began

On May 18, 1978, in Corsica, legionnaires of the French Foreign Legion’s 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) were alerted and a few hours later, they took off in direction of then Zaire in Central Africa. The next day, May 19, they jumped over Kolwezi, a mining center in the south of the country. The legionnaires would rescue over 2,000 Europeans captured and held by local rebels…

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French Foreign Legionnaires in Southeastern Europe during World War I

105 years ago, in late April 1915, the Allied forces consisting of French, British, Australian and New Zealand troops landed in the Gallipoli peninsula in todays Turkey, to open a new theatre of the First World War. Among the landing French troops, there was also a Foreign Legion Battalion with a strength of more than 1,000 legionnaires. The tormented odyssey of forgotten heroes had started…

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Knut Flovik Thoresen: Narvik 1940

In early April 2020, Knut Flovik Thoresen, a Norwegian military officer and historian, released his another work dedicated to the Foreign Legion. He decided to map the allied expedition in northern Norway in April-May 1940 and, chiefly, the heroic fighting of the Foreign Legion’s 13th Foreign Legion Half Brigade (13e DBLE), which resulted in first allied victories over German forces in WWII.

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66 years ago: A major confrontation with the Viet Minh began

66 years ago, on 13 March 1954, a major confrontation between French troops and the Viet Minh movement began in then French Indochina. The confrontation transformed into a two-month bloody battle that occurred in a remote valley of Dien Bien Phu, situated in northeastern Vietnam. The battle started by a furious assault on a defensive position held by a Foreign Legion battalion. After several hours of severe fighting, the position is overrun… For those interested in this famous battle, see the well-ordered article supplemented with many images and additional information.

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189 years ago: Foreign Legion was born

A royal ordinance of Louis Philippe I, King of the French, was issued 189 years ago, on 10 March 1831. That ordinance ordered the formation of a Foreign Legion with the aim of engaging foreign deserters asking to serve France and, too, foreign soldiers of then the freshly disbanded Hohenlohe Regiment (ex-Hohenlohe Legion or Royal Legion). Until the 2000s, the 10th of March 1831 had marked the official birthday of the current French Foreign Legion which derived its origin from that original 1831 Legion. Nevertheless, the lineage of the current Legion is far more complex. See a more detailed article.

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80 years ago: A Foreign Legion regiment is activated in France

In late February 1940, a little-known Foreign Legion regiment is activated in France, at the beginning of the Second World War. Its legionnaires will participate in the fighting with German forces on the Western Front in May-June 1940. Unfortunately, the provisional regiment will suffer heavy casualties and have to be disbanded.

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