2ème Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes
|Honneur et Fidélité|
The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2ème Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes, 2ème REP) is an Airborne regiment in the French Foreign Legion established on the 9th October 1948. It is a part of the 11e Brigade Parachutiste and the spearhead of the French Rapid reaction force. As such, it is typically described as being the French Foreign Legion's Special Forces unit, although it is technically not a part of the French Army Special Forces Brigade.
As a consequence of the successes of the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (1er BEP) in the First Indochina War, the 2eme Battalion Étranger de Parachutistes or 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2ème BEP) was formed on 9 October 1948, at Legion's main cantonment at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria. The battalion was deployed to Indochina in January 1949, where they served as 'sector troops' from February to November.
In 1950, the battalion became a part of the General Reserve in Indochina. Following the French defeat on Route Coloniale 4 in October 1950, the battalion was transported by ship to North Vietnam. The battalion took part in several battles, including the first battle of Nghia Lo (October 1951), the Black River (November-December 1951), and the fight for Route Coloniale 6 (January-February 1952) during the Battle of Hoa Binh.
The battalion made a parachute drop on Dien Bien Phu as reinforcement during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March-May 1954). Fighting without reinforcements, remnants of the 1er and 2e BEP were overwhelmed after a final assault by Viet Minh forces; fewer than 100 legionnaires of the 2e BEP were taken prisoner. On 1 December 1954, after the surviving members of the battalion had returned from captivity after the Armistice, the 2e BEP was later reconstituted with replacements, and returned by ship to French Algeria.
On 5 June 1956, the 2ème BEP was enlarged to a full regiment, and was redesignated the 2ème Régiment Étranger de Parachutistes (2ème REP), or 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment.
In May 1978, a force of gendarmes katangais entered the Katanga province of Zaire from Angola and occupied the mining town of Kolwezi. They began to loot the town and kill government soldiers and civilians (including several Belgian and French employees of a mining company). At the request of the government of Zaire, 2 REP was airlifted to Kinshasa and dropped on Kolwezi. The operation was a success and the town was quickly recaptured with minor casualties in the ranks of the paratroopers. Some 120 civilian hostages died in the occupation.