La Legion Etrangere (LLE) , or The French Foreign Legion
, is a branch of the French
Members of LLE are all volunteers from any nation of the world, who fight as professional (mercenary
) troops under the French flag.
La Legion Etrangere was created by King Louis Philippe on March 10, 1831. And has it's history rooted with the many foreign units that fought for France all throughout history. Such as: The Scottish Guards of Charles VII, the Swiss Guards of the Bourbon Kings, and Napoleon's Polish Lancers.
FLL's tour of duty include Algeria in 1831, Crimea 1855, Italy 1859 and in Mexico 1863. In Mexico, it won one of it's greatest claims to fame: On April 30, 1863, at the Camerone Hacienda near Puebla, 3 officers and 62 legionnaires resisted nearly 2000 Mexicans. After a day of heroic fighting the last five survivors fixed bayonets and charged to their deaths.
In World War I
FFL suffered very heavy casualties and was forced to disband several regiment
s, the disbanded regiments were merged into one: the Foreign Legion's "Regiment de Marche" headed by the famous Colonel Rollet, "the Father of the Legion".
During World War II
, the legion fought in France
, and Libya
In Indochina, notable battles include Phu Tong Hoa, the Colonial Road 4, and Dien Bien Phu, where they fought to the last man.
In 1954, LLE was back in Algeria
participating in border guard duties, intervened in battles and handled security in major cities.
The Legion has been involved in many modern conflicts, most notably the Vietnam War
and Desert Storm
Since 1831, 902 officers, 3176 NCO
s, and over 30,000 legionnaires have died for their Legion.
The White Kepi (Hat)
Officially part of the uniform since July 19, 1939, it was first worn in Africa as a kepi cover, with an added neck-protection against the hot sun.
The Legion Grenade
This insignia shows a grenade with a hollow centre bearing seven flames, two of them directed downwards.
The Colors of the Foreign Legion
Green and red were the colors used by Swiss Guards while serving the French Kings.
The Blue Sash
Originaly worn under the clothes as a protection against intestinal disorders, it is now part of the parade uniform.
The Sappers Uniform
For parades, includes a leather apron and an axe.
The Legion Code of Honor
1. Legionnaire : you are a volunteer serving France faithfully and with honor.
2. Every Legionnaire is your brother-at-arms, irrespective of his nationality, race or creed. You will demonstrate this by an unwavering and straight forward solidarity which must always bind together members of the same family.
3. Respectful of the Legion's traditions, honoring your superiors, discipline and comradeship are your strength, courage and loyalty your virtues.
4. Proud of your status as a legionnaire, you will display this pride, by your turnout, always impeccable, your behavior, ever worthy, though modest, your living-quarters, always tidy.
5. An elite soldier : you will train vigorously, you will maintain your weapons as if it were your most precious possession, you will keep your body in the peak of condition, always fit.
6. A mission once given to you becomes sacred to you, you will accomplish it to the end and at all costs.
7. In combat : you will act without relish of your tasks, or hatred ; you will respect the vanquished enemy and will never abandon neither your wounded nor your dead, nor will you under any circumstances surrender your arms.
La Legion Etrangere Today
Since 1962, the headquarters of LLE has been in Aubagne, 5 kilometers outside of Marsielles. The majority of the officers corps is French and about 60% are from LLE and about 40% are other French officers. If you join LLE you will take an oath to serve the legion, but the oath does not include the service of France. You are bound by oath and contract to serve for five years, After three years of service, a legionnaire can obtain French nationality and may also be entitled to a French resident permit if he has obtained a certificate of satisfactory military service. The resident permit is valid for ten years and is renewable.
Your service as a Legionnaire will start in Aubagne with tests and physical checkup. If the recruit passes he will be offered the five-year contract and upon signing assigned to the 4th Foreign Regiment located in Castelnaudary with boot-camp and basic military training. It lasts four months and will probably be fairly dull. You will be assigned many boring duties such as doing dishes, tending gardens, mowing lawns, guard duty etc. The basic training is also very tough; LLE loves
running and fast-paced marches.
After basic training, you are shipped off to your service location.
At the end of the initial enlistment, the legionnaire can extend his career by signing successive contracts of 6 monts, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, until he reaches 15 years of service, or more if he so whises, depending on the rank and his good conduct during service. After 15 years of service he is entitled to a retirement pension payable even in foreign countries.
A legionnaire is clothed, fed, accomodated, and medically cared for and his pay will depend upon his rank, qualifications and time of service, on top of which special bonuses could be paid depending on his mission.
Legionnaire 5500 Francs
/ month .
Corporal 6000 Francs
Chief Corporal 6300 Francs
Units in La Legion Etrangere
1er R.E.C. (1er Régiment Étrangère de Cavalerie)
1er R.E.C. is the Armored regiment of LLE. 1er R.E.C. was established in Sousse, Tunisia 1921.
1er R.E.C.'s HQ is now located in 'QUARTIER LABOUCHE' in Orange, France. This unit also belongs to the French
Division. It is comprised of three Armored squadrons and a motorized infantry company. It is branded as one of the "spearhead forces" of LLE, obvious during Desert Storm when LLE was one of the first units to cross the border of Iraq
2em R.E.I. (2em Régiment Étrangère d'Infanterie)
2em R.E.I. is the mechanized infantry regiment of LLE. Comprised of about 1500 men, it has it's history in Bonifacio - Corsica. The companies in the 2em R.E.I. rotates through commando and other specialist schools and also participates in "Companie Tournant", traveling around the bases of LLE outside of France ( Outre Mer ).
2em R.E.I. established 1841, is now stationed in Caserne QUARTIER VALLONGUE in Nimes, France.
2em R.E.P. (2em Régiment Étrangère de Parachutistes)
2em R.E.P. is based in Caserne QUARTIER RAFFALI close to Calvi, Corsica. It was raised in 1955.
2em R.E.P. is probably the best known unit in the Legion, and serves as the Paratrooper unit. It is the elite unit, and the most applicants try to get into this unit, but only the best will make it.
2em R.E.P. is on 24-hours alert, and will be the first unit to be sent into a crisis zone. C.R.A.P. (Commandos de Recherche et d'Action dans la profondeur) Is the "Special Forces" of the Legion and the 2em R.E.P. Only officers can apply to C.R.A.P.
Departements in 2em R.E.P:
1ere C.I.E. - Urban operations, night operations and anti tank
2eme C.I.E. - Arctic Warfare
, and mountainous terrain combat specialists.
3eme C.I.E. - Amphibious battle specialists.
4eme C.I.E. - Sniping
, sabotage and demolitions experts.
5eme C.I.E. - Equipment maintenance.
C.C.S. - HQ, hospital and maintenance.
C.E.A. - Recon and Support.
C.R.A.P. - one team of "Commandos de Rechercheet d'Action dansle Profondeur", two platoons with MILAN anti tank missiles
, one air defence platoon, and a mechanized recon platoon.
3em R.E.I. (3em Régiment Étrangère d'Infanterie)
3em R.E.I. Is the infantry regiment stationed in French Guyana, South America.
Left Malagasy - Madagaskar
in 1973 for it's current location. If you like snakes, amphibians, bugs and tropical rainforest - apply here.
The primary mission of the regiment is to guarantee the safety of the "E.S.A. Space Centre" - The European space center in Cayenne.
3em R.E.I. was established in 1915 and is now stationed in QUARTIER FORGET in Kourou, French Guyana.
, Green beret
s and SEAL
s do djungle training here "Legion Style".
4em R.E. (4em Régiment Étrangère)
4em R.E. is the regiment for the military academy, and is stationed in Caserne QUARTIER DANJOU in Castelnaudary, France.
New recruits, officers and NCO schools are situated here in Castel. Caserne Quartier Danjou is about 5 km outside. This is where you will serve for four months for your boot-camp before you are moved to the regiment where you are ultimately placed.
5em R.E. (5em Régiment Étrangère)
Used to be 5em R.M.P. (5eme Régiment Mixte du Pacifique).
5em R.M.P. was established in Indochina 1930, but is now stationed in the Mururoa Atoll close to Tahiti, in the south pacific. They have units on Tahiti and Aure, but is not a combat regiment per se
, but more like a R&R
camp for Legionnaires who deserved some quieter service. Their primary duty is to keep the nuclear test-zone secure, together with some engineer
6em R.E.G. (6em Régiment Étrangère de Genie)
6em R.E.G. is the newest regiment, and serves as an engineering regiment - building bridges, clearing/setting mines etc.
6em R.E.G. was established on July 1st 1984, and is stationed in Caserne CAMP ARDOISE in Avignon, France.It is a part of "61:a Battallion Mixte du Genie de la Legion". This engineering batallion was created to build training camps and is comprised of a LLE infantry regiment and a company of French army engineers.
Part of the regiment is also a SCUBA
unit - D.I.N.O.P.S. (Detachement d'Intervention Operationelle Subaquqtique), which serve as the SEAL
s of the Legion. As a new recruit you can't apply here, it is earned.
BAT GEN existed January - May 1996 in Sarajevo,
and all of 6em R.E.G. was installed there.
13em D.B.L.E. (13em Demi Brigade de Légion Étrangère)
13em D.B.L.E. the half-brigade of the Legion, was established 1940 in Sidi-Bel-Abbes, Algeria, North Africa.
Today, they are stationed in Caserne QUARTIER MONTCLAR in Djibouti, Northeast Africa.
This is the Desert Combat Regiment of the Legion, and also house a commando unit.
D.L.E.M. (Detachment Légion Étrangère de Mayotte)
D.L.E.M. Is a small unit, comprised of two companies of 250 men stationed on Mayotte, a volcanic
island in one of the worlds biggest lagoon
s in the archipelago
of the Comores outside Mozambique. The legionnaires here are on basic garrison duty.
In 1976, the Comores decided to stay under the French flag and the Legionnaires have stayed since.