How does the 2 REP (FFL) compare to the British Paras?

From the Legion recruitment facebook page, a short clip on the military alpinist course run by the "Rouges" (2 REP, Second Company).

This together with the military skier course combines into the grant of the mountain troops brevet.

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2 REP is part of the French 11th Parachute Brigade, which was recently shown off in Paris at the St. Michel celebrations. Le Figaro ran an article with an embedded official clip (unfortunately only in French) about 1 RTP - Le Premier Regiment de Train Parachutiste - nothing to do with airborne trains but the name of the French Parachute Logistics Regiment which supports the airborne deployments of units within the Brigade including 2 REP.
The French have maintained and increased their airborne force projection capability and have recently regularly utilised it - as per some of the posts above. It is interesting to note that the interviews with both the Brigade Commander and the French Chief of the General Staff both clearly state that this is something that is a recognised, necessary and useful capability which will continue to be developed.

Hopefully I can link to the clip below.

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Armée française : au cœur de l'entraînement des parachutistes

11 DP and 1 RTP Badges

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2 REP Legionnaires in Mali on patrol with local forces in Menaka. Interesting to see that one is armed with the new HK416F and t'other still carries the FAMAS.
About to go on patrol on Op Barkhane in Mali:

Typical Sahelian terrain:
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Posed picture - Looking staunch.
The caption on the 2 REP Twitter feed reads: "Op Barkhane - the Legionnaires are on watch".
RAF Chinooks are supporting French troops on Op Barkhane:

Here are links to two parts of a French programme about Op Barkhane, released in 2016 (in French unfortunately). No Legion units shown here, (though sharp-eyed people can spot a Legion patch on one of the Staff Officers at HQ).
However, what these clips do is show the organisation and structure running the operation as well as give a flavour to the whole Theatre.
What I'd like to underline is that as a Legionnaire on Ops, one is very much an integral part of an efficient first-world military machine with extensive capability across the whole spectrum of warfare.
Opération Barkhane : au coeur de la coopération (1ère partie)
Opération Barkhane : au coeur de la coopération (2ème partie)
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There are those who still maintain that the Legion is institutionally racist. It wasn't when I was in and it certainly isn't now. Here is a Legion mobile recruiting stand from the information centre in Toulouse in mid-October 2018 with an "Adjudant" (WO2 equivalent) recruiter:

What it is also not, is "politically correct"; so there are no quotas or special conditions or regimes. Everyone is treated equally and every recruit will be subjected to the same shit. Everybody is equally victimised :) . Being a different skin colour is no bar to entry or advancement in the Foreign Legion. However, a black woman cannot become a Legionnaire; then again neither can a white one!

2 REP's 3rd Coy have just been running its amphibious specialist course.





(The four above pictures are from a recent 2 REP Twitter post)

The info below may be slightly dated and not completely accurate as it is an amalgam of personal direct knowledge and information from other usually reliable sources on the Legion. All pictures etc. below are historic and sourced from the internet.

The course covers a large spectrum of various skills and has three levels of achievement:

Level 1 – Basic
Small inflatable boat handling (six man Zodiac with 9,5 hp outboard)
Insertion by boat, parachute drop into sea or direct jump from helicopter
Swimming 4000 metres in less than two hours in wetsuit and flippers with ops kit in drybag and weapon.
River crossing reconnaisance and marking.
Basic beach reconnaissance and marking for landing zones.

Level 2 - Intermediate
Small inflatable boat handling (ten man Zodiac with 40-55 hp outboard)
Insertion by boat, parachute drop into sea or direct jump from helicopter
Swimming 8000 metres in less than four hours in wetsuit and flippers with ops kit in drybag and weapon.
Advanced beach reconnaissance and marking for landing zones.
Parachute drop zone reconnaissance and marking.

Level 3 – Advanced (Reconnaissance Swimmer)
Insertion by boat, parachute drop into sea or direct jump from helicopter and infiltration by kayak
Swimming 8000 metres in less than four hours in wetsuit and flippers with ops kit in drybag and weapon.
Advanced individual sea navigation.
Raiding, demolitions, "coup de main" attacks
Advanced beach reconnaissance and marking for landing zones.
Parachute drop zone reconnaissance and marking.
Introduction to military diving
Future candidates identified for the French Army Diver Course (PAT)
Possible potential to later do the French Navy Combat Swimmer Course

When I was serving in Troisieme Compagnie (aka "the Third Herd") in the early eighties there were only two courses - the Small Boat Handlers' Course ("Pilote Motoriste") and the Reconnaissance Swimmers' Course ("Nageur de Reconnaissance" or 'Stage Nage' - pronounced 'stazh-nazh'). If you could swim unaided (in trunks only) across Calvi Bay from the "Centre Amphibie" (across the road from the Camp) to the quayside at Calvi Port, you qualified to start the swimmers' course.

It was the probably the physically hardest course, endurance-wise that I have done.

The courses tend to be run in Autumn or Spring as it is off-peak for tourism in the area and it is when the weather can be bad enough to ensure testing conditions, but not so bad as to affect availability of assets. There are usually air, aviation, surface and sub-surface assets made available for the course by the French Navy, Air-Force and Army Aviation. All methods of insertion are practised and then tested on the final "raid" week which encompasses several swims and route marches between objectives where various types of action are undertaken.

Edited to add a few more (historic) videos and pictures



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In the run up to the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, 4 RE the Legion's training regiment paid hommage to the exploits of the RMLE (Regiment de Marche de la Legion Etrangere) - an ad hoc multi-batallion Legion formation put together for the duration of the war from Legionnaires in the two existing regiments 1 RE and 2 RE and additional new recruits (30,000 foreign volunteers are stated to have signed up for the duration of the conflict). It and the RICM* (Regiment d'Infanterie Coloniale de Maroc) became the two highest decorated regiments in the French Army. It was retained after the war and renamed 3 REI.

(The "bleuet" as the blue cornflower at the base of the above poster is called, is the French equivalent remembrancce symbol to the red poppy of the Royal British Legion.)

One of the current basic training platoons conducted the 60 km Kepi Blanc march (at the end of the first month of training) across Vimy Ridge where the RMLE had fought on 09 May 1915. The Kepi Blanc presentation ceremony (equivalent of British Army "Passing-off the Square") was then held in the town square of Armentieres and 36 recruits gained the right to wear the distinctive white kepi. There was also an hommage rendered to Legionnaires originating from Armentieres who had died on various past operations.

Some of these recruits are likely to end up at 2 REP in Calvi.

*Due to its WW1 prestige, the RICM was retained on the French Army Order of Battle, when colonial regiments were disbanded. Though obviously it could not retain the same name, therefore it was renamed the "Regiment d'Infanterie et Chars de Marine" (Maritime Regiment of Infantry and Tanks) thus retaining the same acronym, albeit somewhat clumsily.

Edited to give a more idiomatically correct translation of the RICM acronym.
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2 REP's 4th Company recently changed its speciality to forest warfare from stay-behind ops (snipers and demolitions) - which was a Cold War throwback. This brought it into line with the other combat (i.e. rifle) companies: 1st Coy - Urban Warfare, 2nd Coy - Mountain (and Arctic) Warfare, 3rd Coy - Amphibious Warfare and the recently created 5th Coy - Desert Warfare. I presume its insignia will change / has changed to refelect this, but I can only find the old ones (official and unofficial beret badge):

Anyway the official 2 REP Twitter and facebook accounts have posted some pictures of recent 4th Coy specialist training in both Corsica and French Guyana (Jungle Warfare) with 3 REI.



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Recent pics of 2 REP Legionnaires on Ops in the Sahel - likely to be Mali:

All from the Foreign Legion Twitter feed.


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Yes but the thing is The Paras might be fitter per se, but as Simon Murray said in his book LEGIONNAIRE that you learn things that you don't get in other armies. I mean in the Paras they don't teach you to kill with a crossbow do they. Christian Jenning in his book MOUTHFUL OF ROCKS reiterates this.
Saying how he learnt how you can kill someone by using the helmet strap of an enemies helmet. The 2REP are Para-Commandos whereas the Paras are merely Airborne troops.
I would say the 2REP would be a better unit to join if you want to be an elite soldier.
............... ??????
Clip from the 2 REP facebook page showing high intensity individual close combat training:
Elements of 2 REP on an Airborne Exercise in Corsica in Nov 18:

Spotters will be keen to note good detail on weapons, kit and clothing.
Also note the typical Corsican vegetation "le maquis".

At the same time other elements of French airborne forces (including 3 RPIMa) are on a multinational exercise in southern France "Falcon Amarante" also involving UK (including 3PARA) and US airborne troops.

Of course, as the French Army official Twitter account stated on Monday 12 Nov: "A bit of rain does not stop play"

They later issued a statement thanking people for all the worldwide retweets, but denying any intended link to events other than French operational and training commitments. Most people made the connection with Tuckin' Frump letting a bit of rain prevent him from visiting a US WW1 Cemetery the previous day.
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Nice shot of a stick dropping at the start of the Camp Raffalli DZ, with the town of Calvi in the background and the edge of Camp Raffalli visible bottom right.
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Also note the typical Corsican vegetation "le maquis".
The French resistance were named after the Maquis as although you can cut it down it is almost impossible to kill.

When on exercise in La Cortine I mentioned this to my boss and this led to a discussion about what the British equivalent would be.

This in turn led to our callsigns for the exercise being changed to “DANDELION CHEF”, “DANDELION ONE” etc. All being spoken in an atrocious fFrench accent of course.

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