French Foreign Legion in Africa.

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Christian W.
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French Foreign Legion in Africa.

Post by Christian W. » 15 Sep 2004 17:50

What was the fate of the French foreing legion in Africa during the Africa campaing? I know that some foreing legionstroops were under the command of Vichy gov: and were allies to Germans, but i also heard that some foreing legion troops were allied with Allies? :?
Last edited by Christian W. on 22 Sep 2004 17:43, edited 2 times in total.

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PapageiStaffel
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Post by PapageiStaffel » 19 Sep 2004 00:21

Hi,

After the landing in North Africa, operation Torch, the Legion in North Africa was under the orders of the free France ( to be simple : De Gaulle).
For the other units of the Legion : When a french colony joined the Free France, the legion based over there did the same. Now a special case. The fate of the 5e REI in Indochina : neutral to the japaneses until the 9th march 1945.
In French North Africa : the Legion was neutral as the Vichy governement until november 1942. After the Legion fought with the allies.
In Lebanon and Syria : The Legion fought the Brits and the free french in june/july 1941. After the defeat of the Vichy forces, the units of the Legion were transfered to the french North Africa ( Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco).
But I suppose you wonder before november 1942 and what about Bir Hakeim ? Well, in june 1940 after the french defeat, about 1 000 legionnaires were in England and joined the Free french. They fought with the Brits against the french army of Vichy in Syria in june/july 1941 ( a fraticide combat). They were transfered in Egypt/Libya in 1942 and fought at Halfaya, Bir Hakeim, El Alamein. It was the famous 13e DBLE ( Demi brigade de la Légion Etrangère- Half Brigade of the Foreign Legion).

So long.
P.S : In France, we are not as rich as the roman empire, we have just one and only one Legion.

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Loïc
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Post by Loïc » 19 Sep 2004 06:00

Probably an error with the "legion" of french volunteers against bolchevism :|
There were not French troops "allied" with the Germans.
Regards
Loïc

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 22 Sep 2004 17:42

Well, i meant Vichy troops but you are sort of correct, Ally is wrong word.

Octavianus
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Post by Octavianus » 26 Sep 2004 01:27

This is something I wanted to ask for a long time and namely I was wondering the other day if anyone knows if there has been anything published in France about the operations of the 6th REI in the Syria Campaign 1941? :roll:

Maybe the regiment's regimental history or anything like that. I have heard and seen the other day that the regimental history of 5th REI (Tonkin) has been written and already published. What about other Foreign legion regiments???

MfG,

Octavianus

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Post by Pink panther » 26 Oct 2004 08:31

Chevau-léger wrote:Probably an error with the "legion" of french volunteers against bolchevism :|
There were not French troops "allied" with the Germans.
Regards
Loïc
Maybe " La phalange Africaine" ?

Image

Image



http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=82

:wink:

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PapageiStaffel
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Post by PapageiStaffel » 26 Oct 2004 18:13

Hi,

For the "Phalange africaine", technically speaking it was like the LVF. French soldiers under german command. The "Phalande africaine" fought in the 754 Grenadier Regiment, 334 Infanterie Division of the Heer.

So long.

George Lepre
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Post by George Lepre » 31 Oct 2004 16:10

Octavianus wrote:I was wondering the other day if anyone knows if there has been anything published in France about the operations of the 6th REI in the Syria Campaign 1941. Maybe the regiment's regimental history or anything like that. I have heard and seen the other day that the regimental history of 5th REI (Tonkin) has been written and already published. What about other Foreign legion regiments???
Hi Octavianus -

It is true that regimental histories have been prepared regarding most of the Legion's older regiments; however, none has appeared regarding the 6e REI. I believe the reason for this is because the regiment only existed for a short time. Although Legion units had operated in Syria for a number of years following the First World War, the 6e REI was not formed until 1939 and was disbanded after the Syrian campaign. I believe that upon its disbanding, the regiment's Legionnaires were given the choice of either joining the Gaullist 13e DBLE or returning to Vichy France.

The best book on the 13e DBLE's campaigns during the war is Andre-Paul Comor's L'epopee de la 13e demi-brigade de Légion étrangère 1940-1945.

Best regards,

George Lepre

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Igor Geiller
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Re: French Foreign Legion in Africa.

Post by Igor Geiller » 01 Nov 2004 14:36

Christian W. wrote:What was the fate of the French foreing legion in Africa during the Africa campaing? I know that some foreing legionstroops were under the command of Vichy gov: and were allies to Germans, but i also heard that some foreing legion troops were allied with Allies? :?
During the campaign of Tunisia, 3 units of the Foreign legion fought against Axis forces: 1st and 3rd REI, 1st REC.
REI means Régiment étranger d'infanterie (Foreign regiment of infantry)
REC means Régiment étranger de cavalerie (Foreign regiment of cavalry)
These units suffered from heavy losses, which were not filled thereafter.

egli1
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French Foreign Legion in Africa.

Post by egli1 » 12 Dec 2004 19:06

I never heard nor read that there was any unit from the Foreign Legion fighting side by side with the Germans.

The main force of the Foreign Legion was indeed in Vichy controlled Africa.

Rommels attack on Bir Hacheim on starting June 1st 1942, this place was defended by gen. Koenig who was by nationality French, he faced a sizeable force of allied troops.
They were fighting with the coulors of the Free French, so not Vichy, and in this unit there were two battalions of the Foreign Legion.

As you know the Forgein Legion had all kinds of nationalities, including Germans.

When Hitler noticed this he ordered on june 9th:

the masures to be taken against German political refugees should be extremely harsh. During the fighting it is alowed to slaughter them merciless.

Rommel did not comply!

So, this is the only account of Foreign Legion troops that I know of who were in Allied camp.

Eus

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Re

Post by Semenov » 11 Feb 2005 22:48

Hi,
I know that verstarken Afrika Rgt. 361 & Afrika Art. Abt. was formed from former french Foreign Legion members in June 1941.

Best regards!

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 12 Feb 2005 07:51

Did any Legionnaires come with LeClerc from Chad?

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Luca Rovetta
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Post by Luca Rovetta » 12 Feb 2005 19:38

Hi, some soldiers of the Foreign Legion fought against Americans during operation Torch from 8 to 10 november 1942; but i think that they could not be taken as allied of the german. It was a question of honor and of "fear" that germans could occupy Vichy France if they didn't fought.
I read this in the book "An Army at Dawn" by Rick Atkinson.
Bye

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Igor Geiller
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Post by Igor Geiller » 20 Feb 2005 11:33

Grease_Spot wrote:Did any Legionnaires come with LeClerc from Chad?
Hi

No, all the Free French légionnaires were in the 1st Free French division (which fought in Erythrea, Syria and Lybia).

Regards
Igor

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