The French Foreign Legion - Mon Dieu, Does That Thing Still Exist?

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Joe Riley, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    What ever happened to the French Foreign Legion?

    "The legion was conceived as a provisional solution to a fleeting problem —the migration of undesirable persons into France in the wake of revolutions throughout Europe in 1830–31."

    "In retrospect, a military remedy to illegal immigration appears both contemporary and imaginative. The July Revolution of 1830 had resuscitated the French Revolutionary concept of a citizen army and led to disbandment of the Swiss Guards and other foreign formations that had enforced Bourbon mastery of such uprisings. To address the resulting coagulation of refugees in French cities, King Louis-Philippe on March 9, 1831, signed into law an act creating a ghetto foreign force within a citizen army. Recruiters quickly enlisted the undesirable aliens and packed them off to Algiers — et adieu, la Légion!"

    "A French general named Ulrich, who in 1861 inspected the 1er régiment étranger at Sidi bel-Abbès, in then French Algeria, warned that if the army failed to disband the legion by decree, it was in danger of dissolving itself from below: “Misdemeanors, serious infractions are very frequent and denote an advanced state of demoralization,” he wrote. “A regiment which counts 648 deserters, in which one does not dare hand out the munitions which each soldier must carry, in which only one pair of shoes per man can be distributed lest they sell them, is far from being a disciplined regiment.”

    Two years later in Mexico those very legionnaires executed the corps’ signature action at Camarón de Tejeda, Veracruz. On April 30, 1863, 62 legionnaires under Captain Jean Danjou— a Crimean War veteran with a wooden prosthetic hand — defended a walled farm called Hacienda de la Trinidad against hundreds of Mexican insurgents. At the end of the day, their ammunition exhausted, the five surviving legionnaires — Lieutenant Clement Maudet, Corporal Louis Maine and Privates Catteau, Constantin and a Prussian named Wenzel — fixed bayonets, fired a valedictory volley and plunged to their deaths in a tsunami of sombreros."


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    A member of the French Foreign Legion salutes American soldiers as they march by during a parade June 4, 2014, in the streets of Carentan, France. The parade was part of the commemorative 70th anniversary of D-Day. (Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington/Army)
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I heard that so much when I was young ....going to join the French Foreign Legion. :)
     
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  3. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  4. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    #4
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  5. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  7. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  8. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  9. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    La Marseillaise Casablanca
     
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  10. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    ...the best gift, I ever got!

    Bill Murray: Replica French Foreign Legion Fort
    “Well, there used to be a show, Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion, that starred Buster Crabbe. He was an Olympic gold-medal winner, went on to play Flash Gordon, and then he had this show, and my parents got me this giant set that was a replica of a French Foreign Legion fort.”
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  11. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    I think somewhere down the line I had some of the FFL soldiers also.
    Wasn’t Buster Crabbe’s son also on the show as Captain Gallant’s son?
     
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  12. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Crabbe's real-life son Cullen Crabbe played the Legion mascot, Cuffy.
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  13. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    There's still time to join up......!
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  14. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    The certificate even has the Heinz 57 seal of authenticity. It must be for real.

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  15. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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  16. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    BY WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE
    DECEMBER 2012

    The Expendables
    It’s the dark romance of the French Foreign Legion: haunted men from everywhere, fighting anywhere, dying for causes not their own. Legionnaires need war, certainly, and Afghanistan is winding down. But there’s always the hopeless battle against rogue gold miners in French Guiana . . .
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    "The word “foreign” in the name French Foreign Legion does not refer to faraway battlegrounds. It refers to the Legion itself, which is a branch of the French Army commanded by French officers but built of volunteers from around the world."

    "Last summer I came upon 20 of them on a grassy knoll on a farm in France near the Pyrenees. They were new recruits sitting back-to-back on two rows of steel chairs. They wore camouflage fatigues and face paint, and held French assault rifles. The chairs were meant to represent the benches in a helicopter flying into action—say, somewhere in Africa in the next few years to come. Two recruits who had been injured while running sat facing forward holding crutches. They were the pilots. Their job was to sit there and endure. The job of the others was to wait for the imaginary touchdown, then disembark from the imaginary helicopter and pretend to secure the imaginary landing zone. Those who charged into the imaginary tail rotor or committed some other blunder would have push-ups to do immediately, counting them off in phonetic French—uh, du, tra, katra, sank. If they ran out of vocabulary, they would have to start again."

    "Eventually the recruits would stage a phased retreat back to their chairs, then take off, fly around for a while, and come in for another dangerous landing. The real lesson here was not about combat tactics. It was about do not ask questions, do not make suggestions, do not even think of that. Forget your civilian reflexes. War has its own logic. Be smart. For you the fighting does not require a purpose. It does not require your allegiance to France. The motto of the Legion is Legio Patria Nostra. The Legion is our fatherland. This means we will accept you. We will shelter you. We may send you out to die. Women are not admitted. Service to the Legion is about simplifying men’s lives."
     
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  17. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    When I was a kid, people would often joke about running away and joining the French Foreign Legion, not that any of them actually did it.
     
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  19. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    It was either that, or the circus.....not sure which was the more dangerous!:rolleyes:
     
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  20. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    WOMEN IN THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION

    "The French Foreign Legion or La Legion Etrangere is one of the world’s elite military forces; it currently has roughly 1,800 members, and all of them are men. Since its foundation in 1831 by King Louise-Philippe, only one woman has ever been allowed in".

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    "Her name was Susan Mary Gillian Travers, who had left London, her birthplace, and joined the French Expeditionary Forces in 1939, just before the Second World War. Her career in the Legion started as an ambulance driver for the 13th Demi-Brigade in 1940, but her remarkable skill in avoiding landmines, rockets, and bullets earned respect among the men, who called her ‘La Miss’. She was named as a General in May 1945 and by the end of the 1990s she had been given the Medaille Militaire, the Croix de Guerre, and the Legion d’Honneur, some of France’s highest military awards".
     
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  21. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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  22. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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  23. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    French Foreign Legion sappers (1939)

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  24. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Sapper

    "A sapper, also called pioneer or combat engineer, is a combatant or soldier who performs a variety of military engineering duties such as breaching fortifications, demolitions, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, preparing field defenses, as well as working on road and airfield construction and repair. They are also trained to serve as infantry personnel in defensive and offensive operations. A sapper's duties are devoted to tasks involving facilitating movement, defence and survival of allied forces and impeding those of enemies. The term "sapper" is used in the British Army and Commonwealth nations, Polish Army and the U.S. military. The phrase "sapper" comes from the French saper (to undermine, to dig under a wall or building to cause its collapse)."
     
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  25. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Seven Heroes of the French Foreign Legion

    Alex Rowe

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    "Alex Rowe was a British child when an injury — a detached retina — prevented him from achieving his lifelong dream of joining the British Forces. He tried anyway, but was turned away. He later joined the Foreign Legion with his mother's blessing. Funnily enough, he was made a sniper.

    Rowe was awarded his fifth medal for bravery in 2010, France's highest military honor, the Légion d'honneur. He has been awarded for shielding a Bosnian mother and child with his body during a gunfight, and was involved in a 360-degree ambush in Afghanistan where U.S. troops and French legionnaires had to fight their way out."
     
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