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

When GROM was set up (early 90’s) there was a lot of input and cross-training with UK and US SF units. This developed and led to working together in SF TFs on Ops in various places.
Added to which is that Central and Eastern Europeans take violence to whole new levels.
 
Added to which is that Central and Eastern Europeans take violence to whole new levels.
Actually in my experience with all the different nationalities in the Foreign Legion, in general, the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish tended to be the most aggressive and violent when provoked. The “continentals” tended to go through an escalatory process, giving each party progressive options to de-escalate and tended to be surprised when Johnny, Jock, Taff or Paddy went "full on" straight away.
 
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The French Army is going through a modernisation process, which involves the adoption and use of much technically advanced equipment and battlefield digitisation. It has also had a recent increase in size in its combat units which necessitated an increase in recruitment in both quantity and quality. The French Army's previous Chief of the General Staff, General Bosser a former Regular Paratrooper, emphasised that this needed to be achieved without a loss of "fighting spirit".

The Foreign Legion's Commander, General Mistral identified that Legionnaires had to be capable of operating this advanced equipment in the French Language and that necessitated the recruitment of a higher percentage of native French speakers, in order to improve the learning rate and level of non-French speaking recruits and that this also had to be done without a dilution of the Legion's well-established "rusticity", endurance, aggression and "can-do / make-do" mentality. (Covered in a previous post).

There is some angst in the Regular French Army about toning down training and "mollycoddling" the recruits. This has led to some anonymous "leaks" to the Press - most recently in Le Point (Armée : avec les recrues de la génération Sentinelle).

The Foreign Legion is determined to preserve its separate "esprit de corps" and appears to be aiming to attract the French speakers that are searching for something special and thus would accept greater physical and mental burdens placed upon them by the Foreign Legion.

In this month's Kepi Blanc (the Foreign Legion magazine), there is an editorial from General Mistral, GOC Foreign Legion in which he explains "The Foundations Of Our System" (Les fondements de notre système) (Translation follows):
Les fondements de notre système
"La Fabrique Légion étrangère", système singulier reposant sur quatre grands piliers : former le légionnaire, instruire le soldat, employer le combattant et accompagner l'ancien. Sélection égalitaire, amalgame, promiscuité, valeurs, engagement, fraternité, don de soi... tout est passé en revue dans le dernier Képi Blanc Magazine !
La France a fait le choix, il y a cent quatre-vingt huit ans, de se doter d’une Légion étrangère en vertu d’une ordonnance autorisant des étrangers venant des cinq continents à porter ses armes dès le temps de paix. Ni les fondements ni les grandes lignes n’ont été remis en question depuis. C’est une “exception française” et une disposition unique au monde, intégrée à l'armée de Terre et qui lui est intimement attachée.​
Ce qui caractérise par-dessus tout la Légion étrangère, c’est sa cohésion qu’elle affiche devant le chef des Armées et le peuple français, quand, chaque 14 juillet, elle tourne d’un bloc sans se scinder devant la tribune présidentielle. Le sens de cette cohésion n’est pas à prendre comme l’expression insolente de la qualité de la troupe ou de l’autosatisfaction de ses savoir-faire, mais bien comme la garantie que les étrangers qui la composent feront passer leur fidélité au fanion de la Légion et donc, au drapeau français, avant leurs propres intérêts nationaux qui sont aussi variés que les cent quarante sept nationalités présentes aujourd’hui.​
Le dossier du mois du Magazine Képi Blanc est consacré aux fondements de cette cohésion, obtenue grâce à un “système” Légion qui repose sur quatre grands piliers : former le légionnaire, instruire le soldat, employer le combattant et accompagner l'ancien.​
Former le légionnaire.
Troupe combattante, la Légion étrangère sélectionne sans exception ses candidats au recrutement sur les critères sévères de l’infanterie française au plan physique, médical ou psychologique. Une fois sélectionnés, les candidats sont envoyés au 4e Régiment étranger, à Castelnaudary, école et creuset de l'Institution. C’est là qu’ils sauront véritablement s’ils sont vraiment faits pour être légionnaire. La discipline est sévère, les temps libres inexistants, la promiscuité est de mise : il s’agit d’amalgamer ces hommes tellement différents et que parfois tout oppose et de transformer les antagonismes en fraternité d’armes. Regroupés pendant cinq semaines dans une ferme isolée, les futurs légionnaires sont à nu : ils doivent pendant cette période, oublier pays, famille, amis, effets personnels, téléphone mobile et n’ont d’autre choix que de se tourner les uns vers les autres pour surmonter ensemble les efforts individuels et collectifs que l’on attend d’eux et auxquels ils ne sont pas habitués. C’est dans les difficultés et la dureté des premiers pas que prend naissance l’estime de l’autre, quelle que soit sa nationalité ou sa religion, l’amitié et la fraternité d’armes. C’est au terme de cette période en ferme,sous la pression et l’oeil exigeant des instructeurs et après l’épreuve de la marche “képi blanc”, que l’engagé volontaire coiffe le fameux képi, devenant ainsi un légionnaire.​
Instruire le soldat
Instruire le soldat, c’est à cela que sont consacrés les trois autres mois d’instruction initiale accomplis par les jeunes légionnaires à Castelnaudary. Cette instruction repose sur trois grands principes : l’égalité des chances, le travail et le mérite. Concentrés sur l’apprentissage du français, les savoirfaire du combattant et les savoir-être du soldat français, ils savent que de leurs résultats dépendra leur affectation dans le régiment de leur choix. C’est là aussi qu’ils apprennent que nulle spécificité nationale dans le style de commandement, la vie quotidienne ou au combat ne viendra prendre le pas sur un enseignement de ces fondamentaux “à la française”.​
Concentrés sur l’acquisition des cinq cents premiers mots de français indispensables à leur intégration et à l’exécution des ordres, ils n’ont d’autres choix que l’inlassable répétition des gestes du combattant, les relations désintéressées et l’entraide réciproque pour réaliser et prouver que la force du collectif est supérieure à la somme des individualités. À l’issue de leur instruction et forts de leurs résultats à l’examen final, ils sont aptes à rejoindre une unité de combat dans l’un des huit régiments opérationnels de la Légion.​
Employer le combattant
Ces régiments emploient les légionnaires en tant que combattants au sein d'unités où les plus jeunes sont accueillis par les plus aguerris. À l’amalgame des nationalités succède l’amalgame des générations. Le légionnaire expérimenté guide le novice. Certains d’entre eux, après ce temps incontournable en unité de combat, pourront acquérir une spécialité qui orientera leur carrière mais qui n’en fera jamais définitivement des spécialistes car ils resteront avant tout des combattants : le service de la Légion les amènera à faire de fréquents aller-retour entre les régiments dits du “socle” (1er RE, 4e RE, GRLE), les postes spécialisés et les unités de combat. Au cours de leurs opérations, ils côtoieront leurs frères d’armes de l’armée de Terre et combattront à leurs côtés. En devenant plus anciens et experts, ils effectueront leurs stages aux côtés de leurs camarades français des armées. Durant ce parcours, en fonction de leurs capacités, ils pourront postuler pour les spécialités de combat en milieu extrême : commandos parachutistes ou de montagne, plongeurs, spécialistes d’aide à l’engagement, etc. Toujours disponibles, les légionnaires savent que la France peut avoir besoin d’eux maintenant et tout de suite. L’opération Bonite, à Kolwezi en 1978, est bien ancrée dans la mémoire collective et les départs dans l’urgence n’ont pas manqué depuis.​
Accompagner l'ancien
Enfin, la France reconnaissante du service des légionnaires, leur permet de bénéficier de l’ensemble de la structure du Foyer d’entraide de la Légion étrangère. Ce dernier exerce au quotidien une solidarité active au profit de tous les militaires, jeunes ou anciens, servant ou ayant servi sous le statut à titre étranger. L’Institution des invalides de la Légion étrangère, à Puyloubier, en est la pierre angulaire.​
Général de brigade Denis Mistral,​
commandant la Légion étrangère​
(Editorial du magazine Képi-blanc N° 825)​

Here is a quick personal translation with some additions for clarity (apologies for any errors/inconsistencies) :

The Foundations Of Our System

"The Foreign Legion Factory", is a singular system based on four principal pillars: The moulding of the legionnaire, the training of the soldier, the employment of the combattant and the support of the veteran. Egalitarian selection (of recruit volunteers), amalgamation (of personnel), life in proximity to one's comrades), values, commitment, fraternity, selflessness ... everything is reviewed in the latest Képi Blanc Magazine!

France made the choice, one hundred and eighty-eight years ago, to acquire a Foreign Legion by virtue of a law authorising foreigners from five continents to bear arms in peacetime. Neither the fundamentals nor the principal themes (of this) have been questioned since. The Legion is a particular "French exceptionality" and it is globally unique, integrated and intimately attached to the (French) Army

What characterises the Foreign Legion above all else is its cohesion which it demonstrates in front of the (French) Chief of the Defence Staff and the French people when during every July 14 Parade, it wheels in a solid block without splitting itself in front of the Presidential dais (Comment: uniquely of all participating formations). This spirit of cohesion should not be viewed as an arrogant expression of the quality of the troops and their self-belief in their capabilities, but as the guarantee that all the foreigners within it will pass the test of loyalty to the Legion Colours and therefore, to the French flag (and will put those) before their own national self-interests which are as varied as the one hundred and forty-seven nationalities present today.

This month's issue of the Kepi Blanc magazine is given over to the foundations of this cohesion, developed through a specific "Legion system" which is based on four main pillars: The moulding of the legionnaire, the training of the soldier, the employment of the combattant and the support of the veteran.

Moulding the Legionnaire.

A combat force, the Foreign Legion bases the selection of its candidates for recruitment on the strict physical, medical and psychological criteria of the infantry branch of the French Army. Once selected, the recruits are sent to the 4th Foreign Regiment at Castelnaudary, the school and the crucible of the Institution (of the Foreign Legion). It is there that they will truly find out if they have got what it takes to be made into a legionnaire. Discipline is severe, free time is non-existant, life in cosntant proximity to ones peers is constant: it is a question of amalgamating these very different men, sometimes complete opposites and to transform their mutual antagonisms into a sense of military fraternity. Initially grouped together for five weeks at an isolated "farm", the future legionnaires are essentially stripped bare: During this time they have to forget (Comment: forego their attachments) to their countries, family, friends, personal belongings, mobile phones, (etc.) and they are given no choice but to turn to one another, to jointly overcome both their individual and collective trials and tribulations that are thrown at them and to which they are not accustomed. It is in the difficulties and harshness of these first steps that the esteem of the other, whatever his nationality or his religion and thus friendship in the fraternity of arms, arises. It is at the end of this period at the farm, under the pressure and the demanding eyes of the instructors and after the test of the "Kepi Blanc" March, that the volunteer recruit dons the famous kepi, thus becoming a Legionnaire.

Training the Soldier.

The training of the soldier is what the next three months of basic training at Castelnaudary are devoted to. This instruction is based on three main principles: equal opportunities, hard work and merit. Focused on learning the French language, infantry combat skills and French military ethos, the trainees know that a posting to the regiment of their choice will depend on their results. It is there too that they learn that the fundamental tenets of French life and military procedures override any (former) national specifics in command-style, in daily life or in combat.

Concentrating on the acquisition of their first five hundred words of French indispensable to their integration and their execution of orders, the trainee Legionnaires have no choice but to tirelessly practice their basic combat skills, their tolerance of their peer group and their reciprocal mutual aid. Thus realising and proving that their collective strength is greater than the sum of their individualities. Upon completion of their training and their final test results, they are able to be posted to a combat unit in one of the Foreign Legion's eight operational regiments.

Employing the Combattant

These regiments place Legionnaires as combattants in units where the youngest are welcomed by the most seasoned. The amalgamation of nationalities is now followed by a generational amalgamation. The experienced Legionnaire now mentors the novice. Some Legionnaires, after a mandatory period in a combat unit, will be able to acquire a specialisation that will influence their career path but that will never be exclusively specialists because first and foremost they will always remain combat soldiers. Service in the Legion will lead Legionnaires to make frequent attachments and postings between their combat units and the administrative units (1st RE, 4th RE, GRLE) and specialised positions . On operations, they will rub shoulders with their brothers in arms of the French Army and fight alongside them. Gaining seniority and expertise, they will go on professional courses alongside their French service comrades. During thir career according to their abiliities, they will be able to apply for the more specialist combat functions such as: Paratrooper Commandos (GCP), Mountain Commandos (GCM), Divers, Demining/Ordnance Disposal, etc. Always available for rapid deployment, Legionnaires know that France may need them for immediate action. Operation Bonite, in Kolwezi in 1978, is well anchored in the collective memory and since then there has not been a lack of operational opportunity.

Supporting the Veteran.

Lastly, France recognises the service of its Legionnaires. They are entitled to benefit from the support and facilities of the Foreign Legion's support network through the "Foyer d'Entraide" (translates as "the home of mutual help"). This latter exercises daily active solidarity for the benefit of all Legion servicemen, young or old, serving or having served under foreign status. The Institution of Invalids of the Foreign Legion at Puyloubier is a cornerstone of this support.



Brigadier General Denis Mistral,
Commander of the Foreign Legion
(Editorial of the magazine Képi-blanc N ° 825)

1574633359131.png
 
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One of the salient points made by General Mistral in his explanation of the fundamental pillars of the Foreign Legion is that all Legionnaires are treated and provided for equally and expected to conform to set standards based on French national norms. There is no exemption, differentiation or special treatment for Legionnaires, no matter what their individual backgrounds or former national cultural norms are.

Another salient point is that the Legion is an exclusively masculine environment.

And another is the emphasis on strict discipline, communal life and restriction of personal liberties.

These plainly stated facts serve to illustrate the difference between the French Regular Army and the Foreign Legion which has so far reasonably and logically resisted the assault of political correctness.
 
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One of the salient points made by General Mistral in his explanation of the fundamental pillars of the Foreign Legion is that all Legionnaires are treated and provided for equally and expected to conform to set standards based on French national norms. There is no exemption, differentiation or special treatment for Legionnaires, no matter what their individual backgrounds or former national cultural norms are.

Another salient point is that the Legion is an exclusively masculine environment.

And another is the emphasis on strict discipline, communal life and restriction of personal liberties.

These plainly stated facts serve to illustrate the difference between the French Regular Army and the Foreign Legion which has so far reasonably and logically resisted the assault of political correctness.
Logically resisted the assault of political correctness.
If only the British Army could see that last line...
 
Logically resisted the assault of political correctness.
If only the British Army could see that last line...
The Foreign Legion remains a exception in the French Armed Forces. It has successfully argued with the powers that be, that due to its diverse worldwide recruit base, any change to its recruiting criteria, training regime and policy of everyone being treated equally would lead to a severe deterioration of effectiveness.
 
A picture of French Troops currently on Op Barkhane in the Liptako area of Mali. This is taken from the French MoD's website. Parent unit of the troops is not given, but much of 2 REP is deployed on Ops.
1574422675620.png


Alongside this picture was the following comment:
Le 16 novembre 2019 au petit matin, dans le cadre d’une action de reconnaissance menée au cœur du Liptako malien dans la zone d’évolution de l’état islamique au grand Sahara (EIGS), la force Barkhane a mis hors de combat 5 terroristes dans la région d’In Delimane, après une infiltration de nuit à travers un terrain difficile.
Cette opération faisait suite à l’observation de mouvements de groupes armés terroristes dans le Liptako et a été déclenchée sur un campement suspect situé à une vingtaine de kilomètres au sud d’In Délimane. Au petit matin, l’assaut a été donné avec l’appui des hélicoptères Tigre du groupement tactique désert aérocombat, conduisant à la mise hors de combat des terroristes.​
Durant cette action un des commandos a été grièvement blessé. Rapatrié en France, son pronostic vital est toujours réservé.​

Rough Translation:

As part of a reconnaissance effort in the Liptako area of Mali, (which is) a zone where the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara is trying to establish itself. (Elements of the) Op Barkhane forces conducted a night infiltration across difficult terrain in the vicinity of In Delimane in the small hours of 16 November which resulted in five terrorists "put out of action".
This operation was carried out after armed terrorist movements were observed in the Liptako area and an early morning assault with Tiger attack helicopter support was initiated against a camp about twenty kilometres south of In Delimane.
During this operation one of the (French) commandos was seriously wounded. He was casevaced to France, where his prognosis is still uncertain.

Comment:

The picture above and the use of the word "commando" suggests a GCP member was involved and it is possible that this was a 2 REP GCP as they have been active in the area recently.
 
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Papa Fox

Old-Salt
A picture of French Troops currently on Op Barkhane in the Liptako area of Mali. This is taken from the French MoD's website. Parent unit of the troops is not given, but much of 2 REP is deployed on Ops.
View attachment 432079

Alongside this picture was the following comment:

Rough Translation:

As part of a reconnaissance effort in the Liptako area of Mali, (which is) a zone where the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara is trying to establish itself. (Elements of the) Op Barkhane forces conducted a night infiltration across difficult terrain in the vicinity of In Delimane in the small hours of 16 November which resulted in five terrorists "put out of action".
This operation was carried out after armed terrorist movements were observed in the Liptako area and an early morning assault with Tiger attack helicopter support was initiated against a camp about twenty kilometres south of In Delimane.
During this operation one of the (French) commandos was seriously wounded. He was casevaced to France, where his prognosis is still uncertain.

Comment:

The picture above and the use of the word "commando" suggests a GCP member was involved and it is possible that this was a 2 REP GCP as they have been active in the area recently.
According to Jean Marc Tanguy's blog the injured GCP is from 2 REP. Source: Une opération réactive de Barkhane
 

Papa Fox

Old-Salt
The operation mentionned above is related to an attack on a Malian Army position in which 56 Malian soldiers were killed. French Barkhane units were sent in as a QRF.


This picture may be related to the deployment of the QRF as reports mention the support of a RAF Chinook.
1574543161473.png
 
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Thanks @Papa Fox
Let us hope and pray the severely wounded REPman pulls through.
Nous sommes avec toi, Camarade!

Raising a glass to you and wishing you a speedy recovery.
 
The operation mentionned above is related to an attack on a Malian Army position in which 56 Malian soldiers were killed. French Barkhane units were sent in as a QRF.


This picture may be related to the deployment of the QRF as reports mention the support of a RAF Chinook.
View attachment 432498
MERT saves lives.
 
MERT saves lives.
Totally agree, but I am under the impression tha the RAF Chinooks deployed are providing logistic / long-range / heavy lift support an there is no MERT deployed (happy to be corrected).

Again, as far as I know, the French have something similar to a MERT.
 
From the French "Ainsi va le monde!" blog posted on 22 November 2019
1574598003970.png



Translation:

In 2020, The French Foreign Legion will recruit 1750 Legionnaires

It is a standard process. (Many) Legionnaires leave the Legion at the end of their five-year contract and thus must be replaced. Since the upsizing of French combat units (begun in 2014), which (for the Legion) resulted in the reorganisation of the 13th demi-brigade (13 DBLE, now based at Larzac, in the Aveyron) into a full sized regiment and the creation or recreation of a fifth combat sub-unit in all the deployable regiments, the required volume of recruitment has increased. This necessitated a major effort by the 4th Foreign Regiment (based at Castelnaudary, in the Aude) the Legion training unit. Next year, (2020) the Foreign Legion (now 9,000 men strong) will have to recruit 1,750 legionnaires as opposed to 1,250 in 2019.

Faced with this increased requirement, recruiters have stated that they can still pick the best as there are currently seven candidates for each post. Today, 147 nationalities are represented (in the Foreign Legion) and the rate of French nationals seeking to wear the white kepi has increased to 13%. A few years ago, it had fallen to below 10%. The presence of Francophones is crucial for training; during the four months spent in Castelnaudary, they contribute hugely to the learning of French (the working language) by non-Francophone volunteers. The objective of COMLE, General Denis Mistral (the General Officer Commanding the Foreign Legion), is to reach a level of 20% of French Legionnaires over the next few years.

The Internet remains an effective sergeant-recruiter but is not the only tool. This summer, Legion recruiting stands were present on many French beaches. The same process will be carried out in the summer of 2020. In addition, after the additionn in 2017 of a recruitment office in Polynesia, the Legion is likely to open another one in La Réunion (both are French overseas possessions).

Lastly, there has been a very important change in the rules in force: the legionnaire can now have, at his request, a residence permit after three years of service (i.e. he does not need to wait until the end of the initial five year contract for this).

MY COMMENT: This last item will enable Legionnaires to have legally recognised French civil status before the end of their contract and not be subject to many of the Legion's military restrictions. This will make the Legion more appealing for French recruits and it will also likely help in the retention of high calibre recruits.
 
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Totally agree, but I am under the impression tha the RAF Chinooks deployed are providing logistic / long-range / heavy lift support and there is no MERT deployed (happy to be corrected).

Again, as far as I know, the French have something similar to a MERT.
Apologies for quoting myself, but I was just watching a short film on a French video defence journal on European defence cooperation, where the RAF Chinook contribution in support of Op Barkhane / EUTM was mentioned. Look from about 15.20 to about 18.20. The first minute or so concerns the Brit LO to the French. But later there are some good footage of the RAF airframes in support of the French. There is also some very complimentary comment from senior French staff as to the benefit of having this British support.


Earlier on in the clip there is some footage of British soldiers participating in the EUTM training mission. (Look out for the pointy moustache).
 
Totally agree, but I am under the impression tha the RAF Chinooks deployed are providing logistic / long-range / heavy lift support an there is no MERT deployed (happy to be corrected).

Again, as far as I know, the French have something similar to a MERT.
The French don’t do “MERT” as we’d recognise it from HERRICK, for a whole host of reasons.

First of all, Mali is not Helmandshire, so the range and scale of medical care change are very different.

Second, the methodology of injury is not necessarily the same, thus the style of medical care will be different.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the French philosophy of medical care is as national as the UK one. To transpose it to the civilian sector, SAMU/SMUR is not the same as our local Ambulance trust. “Stay and Play” (to use the parlance) is much more entrenched, and thus Doctors are normally much further “forward”. In French Military Medical Doctrine, each Coy Gp will be provided with a fully trained GP (with trauma upskilling) in the RAP, with a Surgical Team much further forward than we’d expect. If your French is good enough, the doctrine can be found at


Have fun!
 

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