Foreign Legion

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by chiefwiggum, Jun 2, 2005.

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  1. Has anyone had any experience working with the French Foreign Legion?
    It came up in a recent conversation that their personal drills and skills were not so hot. Is this the case?

    Are they the same as the rest of the french armed forces or considered elite troops, looking at their deployments, they seem to be kept well away from the French people!

    Just interested, not looking to join up and forget, al a Beau Geste! Top book and movie by the way.
     
  2. Never worked with them but did spend 4 weeks in the same camp in France! A place called La Courtine, There is a large range area here and a company of Legion Engrs? were there rebuilding the roads. Our lads out on stag one night finds the door to their cookhouse open so go in and next thing the two of them are back down the Gd/room mingin, had to put them to bed they were that pissed. Weall ended up drinkin in their bar us with Tartan and Tennets lager which they kept for the Tennents girls, they were drinkin Rum/Brandy with a shot of coffee and sugar stirred and gulped in one( massive headache). But i always watched them march to the cookhouse for every meal/ and all work singing with that slow swagger. Impressive.
     
  3. A cut above french troops and because they train hard with little leave they tend to be fighting fit. Did some mil freefall with them and was impressed with their fitness. They did not come across as arrogant but were in the main quiet but efficient. My son joined the Legion serving in Chad, Djabouti and other s1htholes. Went from being a troubled disaffected youth to a smart member of the human race full of confidence who had he added advantage of learning a second language and gaining HGV1, Tracks etc.,
     
  4. I have worked with Foreign Legion in Bosnia (on Mt Igman in '95). Mainly their 120mm Mortars, MFCs, FACs and Snipers. They are big upper body guys and look fit. However their drills are not anything to write home about and their COMSEC was shite - they did everything, even fire missions by commercial Motorolla because their issue radios were cr@p (some similarities there then!). There campaign infrastructure was awsome though, shower trailers, toilet trailers, heated tents, log cabbins - they had it all while we were living under ponchos and out of our bergans. We also worked with the Dutch Marine's 120mm mortars and they also had good kit (kevlar skinned LR while we cut about in standard defenders, US camp cots and heated tents). The Dutch were better drilled than the FFL but had less personal discipline.

    At the end of the day give me British soldiers of any capbadge above any foreigners. We may look like Fred Carnot's bloody army on ops but we get the job done. Currently working with Hungarians, Slovaks, Austrians, Croats and Argentineans and none of them are as versatile as our guys.

    Flag waving over1

    UQFEGD

    All in a
     
  5. Was a 'Stageur' with 2 REP many years ago,when they exchanged one of their officers who came to UK,for me.Had to do course at Ecole Parachutisme de Guerre at Pau,and an 'intro' to the French Army,before going to Calvi.I was very struck with the quality and training of the guys,as well as the 'family' nature of the unit.They also 'hate' deserters.One of my earlier tasks was to remand one(a Swede) for the CO!Many of the German SNCOs had left and the Spanish were prominent amongst that group and very good.I understand that E Europeans now form a big part of each unit.

    The officers used to go down in Calvi in service dress in the evening and trap foreign female tourists,which is quite a change from how we do things,but interesting! They had no problem being present at first parade.

    Met them many years later when they were on the airfield at Sarajevo.It was like being amongst friends,and they could not do enough to help.Their officers are,of course,all french,and have to pass out near the top of their training,at St Cyr to get to The Legion.Thus they are well lead.The training and soldiers are first class,in all Legion units that I had anything to do with.At Sarajevo almost the whole of the sniper platoon was made up of Brits ,many of whom had been on Op Corporate.
     
  6. Has any one else read a book called Legionnaire by the chap who started Orange? He joined in the 1960s and his experiences have to be read to believed. All his SNCOS at the time were ex German SS from the last war and to say the discipline was tough was an understatement. He claimed that to desert in the Legion was no big deal but to be caught was the worst offence in the book worse even than murder.
     
  7. When I was in Bosnia, my driver was a Legion deserter, which made working with the quite interesting since he had been in training with some of them!

    QFEGD
     
  8. does any one know how there pay compares against ours by any chance (just out of interest)

    ps legionaire is a brillent book
     
  9. 242

    242 Swinger

    Served 4 REI in the early 80s, pay good, and pension to die for after 15 years, my advice is don't talk about it do it, Je Ne Regrette Rien
     
  10. Legionnaire was a great read. As I recall, desertion was as you say, no big deal unless you took your weapon, in which case the gloves came off and you would be subject to "summary judgement"
    An old school friend of mine joined the legion after failing P Coy. He didnt rate them all that highly in comparison to the British Army, but as a force to maintain order in Frances (ex) colonial empire, they seem capable enough.
     
  11. We used to have a fair number of former Legionnaires in the British Army, and I wouldn't be surprised if the number has risen in recent years. One I knew who did a full tour and then for his own reasons joined the RPC kept a very low profile but was a first-class bloke and seemed to know (genuinely) the wise answers. He left at 22 years as a Sgt.
    Col Tony Hunter-Choate, who was last seen at a Liaison office in (I think) Heidelberg? had been a Sgt in the Legion and imported some of the better traditions.