French Foreign Legion

Are these guys actually any good? saw a programme about them a while ago, the training was pretty tough, although I imagine their bark is alot worse than their bite.

<Insert french joke here>


They can easily outrun the British army so long as they’re running away from the enemy :D
haven't got a french joke for you but there is a channel 4 series being repeated on sky 529 @ 10 p.m called escape to the legion. Am not sure if you know the score on it but its three ex-legionnares running a course for 15 or so civvies , something along the lines of sas-tough enough, does seem quite interesting. One of the sgts from the show was posting on here a while ago,

sgt glen ferguson
I suppose the best that can be said is that the French Foreign Legion certainly used to be very good, and an awful lot bigger than it is today - I recall a figure of some 7,500 all ranks as opposed to 30,000-40,000 at the time of the war in Indochina. There is a certain school of thought - which I partly subscribe to - which believes that the Legion was emasculated by French politicians after the failed putsch in 1961, and has been kept on a short leash since that time, apart from the occasional 'fire brigade' deployment in the former colonies. Its role has also changed, primarily due to its size. I have also heard it said that the influx of so many volunteers from Eastern Europe, the wider former Soviet Bloc, and the Balkans since 1989 has lowered the standard of légionnaire and consequently the Legion itself. It still has the finest esprit de corps and ethos of any French military unit, which granted wouldn't be too difficult when one remembers that a predominantly conscript army has only been phased-out in France of late for the first time since the Revolution of 1789.

The following links are of interest:
Worked with a lad who was ex legion. Basic is 15 weeks before 'white kepi' however a phase two type training is carryed out when you get posted to your unit as each unit has a different role, and thats supposed to be nails as your getting thrashed by your 'on the ground' heads rather than a training team in an RTC.

Phys for basic I think is pretty similar to the like of para/booty type basic, gota knock out a 2.6km run, do a few 6-8 mile load carrys in, 'just before my legs give way' time
My sister in law's cousin is in it (he's Irish). Very strange guy. But he seems to like it. Whatever spins your props I suppose. They do get to visit alot of shitholes but then again, the money is good.
the_matelot said:
My sister in law's cousin is in it (he's Irish). Very strange guy. But he seems to like it. Whatever spins your props I suppose. They do get to visit alot of shitholes but then again, the money is good.
Friend of mine done over 15 years in the Legion. He is a member of the Foreign Legion Association of Great Britian who march yearly at the Cenotaph. I recently toured France and was given a list of former legionnares by him if I wanted to stay out of Hotels. Excellent bunch of guys, very welcoming and friendly.
MY dad sered in the 2REP from 1985 to 1995and was a caporal chef for 10 years after leavin the british forces hes said it was the best and worst 10 years of his life i might join for the fun of it :D
Had to do a bit of FFL research when I threw my Bravo Two Zero Alternative together.

Quite impressive and just the stuff of dreams (or nightmares) for my ex-REME frame of mind.

The only thing wrong with the French Foreign Legion is the the 'French' at the start of it.
Goku said:
They can easily outrun the British army so long as they’re running away from the enemy :D
Bit unfair ... this is the only part of the french army to make a habit of last stands. Admittedly only the officers are supposed to be french, the french politicals tend to use and discard cause they are only foreigners and since the hacienda last stand the regiment seems to like battle honours that include the words 'fought to the last'.
Can't actually out run the british army got into a speed march competition with them in nijamegian if your beaten over the finishing line by stabs. then maybe your as elite as the RAF regiment.
although they looked much harder than us (admitidly not that difficut)
I saw a program about them a while back, they arent as tough as they used to be. I remember the officers used to punch recruits in the face just for not speaking french fluently. They also used be very racist (its the frogs after all).


Book Reviewer
I watched Escape to the Legion when it was on Channel 4 this time last year and found it sufficiently interesting to order three books to read on me holidays. Having recently found and watched ETTL again on The History Channel, I have just finished rereading all three books.

"Legionnaire" by Simon Murray (the old bloke giving his comments on ETTL) is the definitive work on the FFL and relates his time in 2REP (Foreign Parachute Regiment) in Algeria while 1REP were mutinying their way into ingominy and consigning themselves to a footnote in history. After the Algerian War the FFL had to struggle to modernise or be cast away.

"The Making of a Legionnaire" by Bill (?) Parrish describes his time in 2REP in the late 80s.

"Life in the French Foreign Legion" by Evan McGregor gives his slant on 2REP in the early 90s. It is clear from his account that by the time of Sarajevo, the FFL has become nothing more than an arm of the Regular French Armed Forces. He describes 2REP to be similar in concept to 22SAS, with each Compagnie specialising in a particular role. As EM describes it, the FFL tries to maintain its ruthless discipline and image but times have changed and the FFL is no longer the feared organisation it had been. EM makes it quite plain that you don't want to join the FFL now in search of its former reputation: you can be an equally elite soldier elsewhere without all the mindless stuff that other armed forces gave up years ago.
I saw them operate in Bosnia and didn't think much of them. Their basic training is more brutal but doesn't produce good soldiers as an end result.
If you want to learn how to soldier join the British Army, if you want something to big yourself up about in the pub join the Legion.
I read 'The Making of a Legionnaire' recently, and wasn't too impressed.
Though not a bad read, there were a few things he said which didn't really gel with his claimed experiences.

For the first, I don't believe that anyone apart from Marines call tabbing 'yomping' as he does in the book.

He seems to have left the legion after Rwanda (1994), but before the Gulf (1991)!

So it's either been done by a ghost writer who wasn't really listening, or it's just somewhat testicular.

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