Camerone

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
I searched like a good little bleu - but could not find a thread referencing the Battle of Camerone, my apologies if it exists.

I know there are various former 2REP etc on Arrse so maybe they can answer this one for me?

@Condottiere ?

On 30 April, the French Foreign Legion earned its fame in the Battle of Camarón (or Camerone in French), when an infantry patrol unit of 62 soldiers and three officers, led by the one-handed Captain Jean Danjou, was attacked and besieged by Mexican infantry and cavalry units numbering three battalions, about 3000 men. They were forced to make a defence in a nearby hacienda. Danjou was mortally wounded at the hacienda, and his men mounted an almost suicidal bayonet attack, fighting to nearly the last man; only three French Legionnaires survived. To this day, the anniversary of 30 April remains the most important day of celebration for Legionnaires.



Are their names and backgrounds known? Where are they commemorated?
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
They are certainly commemorated. Danjou's prosthetic hand is a revered relic.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Yeah, aware of that...and of Camerone Day in FFL lore.....but who were the three survivors? Were any of them French ?

Given the composition of the FFL at that time I'm guessing
- one Russian (who was drunk)
- Guy Sajer's great grandfather
- a former Hussar Subaltern who was known only by his FFL enlisted name Legionnaire 2ieme classe 'Jean Boule'
 
Actually there were more than three who survived.


Paraphrased and translated from the end of the "Camerone Recitation":

There were six left standing as they ran out of ammunition and charged the Mexicans with bayonets having discharged their last round. Sous-Lieutenant Maudet, Caporal Maine and Legionnaires Catteau, Wensel, Constantin and Leonhard. The Sous-Lieutenant and two Legionnaires were killed.​
They Caporal and the other two Legionnaires were about to be massacred when a Mexican Officer stopped it and demanded their surrender. They demanded that they be allowed to keep their weapons and tend to their wounded. This was conceded with the phrase: "One cannot refuse anything to men such as yourselves.".​

So there would have been these three survivors plus any wounded that recovered.
 
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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Thanks Condottiere. What nationality was Caporal Maine before he became French ?
 
So there would have been these three survivors plus any wounded that recovered.

"
3rd Company: Results of the battle
During the battle, the company suffered heavy losses: 2 officers were killed, an officer was badly wounded. As for the men, the figures are not completely accurate (they varied even in 1863). Jean Brunon, a honorable member of the Legion, stated in his Camerone from 1963 that the following numbers (provided by General Zédé in his memories published in the 1930s) should be the most accurate:

– 30 legionnaires killed or fatally wounded during the battle
– 19 legionnaires having died from their wounds
– 12 legionnaires (mostly injured) survived the imprisonment

Drummer Casimir Lai, an Italian legionnaire, was found naked and half dead close to the hacienda on May 1, by a Foreign Regiment column. His body was pierced seven times by a lance or a saber, and two times by a bullet. During the cold night, he woke up to find himself among the dead and decided to crawl away. The only member of the company to escape the imprisonment, he eventually survived."

from 1863 Battle of Camerone | French Foreign Legion Information
 
Thanks Condottiere. What nationality was Caporal Maine before he became French ?
Bottom line is - I don't know. Possibly Belgian or Swiss. Most likely French. There have always been French in the Legion.
 

Chef

LE
I remember reading somewhere possibly 'Our friends beneath the sand' that the battle was largely forgotten about until some years later when it became the focus of the Legion's ethos.

Well deserved in any case.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
@MOzanne

Merci

1576539044438.png


voila Caporal ( Capitaine en fin) Louis Philippe Maine


Guy Penaud, Philippe Maine (1830-1893), l'étonnante saga du Périgourdin héros de Camerone, éditions Ifie, 2016.


from the Dordogne - a Frenchman to his boot heels.

1576539628571.png


well done Arrse :)
 
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