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

At the very last knockings of the Cold War, there was a distinct rapprochement between the Army of Rhine and Danube and its NATO partners, particularly in the field of EW.

The French were mounting a major live environment EW exercise, involving both 44 and 54 RT and invited all manner of folk from AFCENT units to visit and chat. I was lucky enough to be on the trip and it was both fascinating and hilarious. I don't think they believed I was a Sergeant and I ended up better accommodated than my three commissioned co-delegates from my regiment.

It didn't hurt that I knew the German senior officer from AFCENT well through hunting.

The French Colonel who was our conducting officer was extremely proud of having served in the LE as a platoon and company commander.
At the time, the (French) First Army and its three Corps commands including the FFA (Forces Francaises en Allemagne) was mainly a conscript force with professional cadres starting at higher SNCO level. The highest conscript rank was at Chef de Groupe (i.e. UK infantry section commander equivalent) level. In the French system a "Sergent" commands a "Groupe" and a "Sergent-Chef" (UK equivalent Staff Sergeant or Colour Sergeant) is a "Sous-Officier Adjoint de Section" (UK equivalent function is Platoon/Troop Sergeant).

A "Sergent" at the time in that part of the French Army was typically a young conscript soldier who had proved himself a little more capable than his peers and had been promoted to be a "Chef de Groupe".

Skilled technical operators would not have existed at "Sergent" rank and would have been either very senior SNCOs (UK Warrant Officer equivalents) or Officers.

Therefore you coming along as a "Sergent" would have totally baffled the French. An INT Corps L/Cpl's duties and responsibilities could induce incredulous meltdown.
 
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At the very last knockings of the Cold War, there was a distinct rapprochement between the Army of Rhine and Danube and its NATO partners, particularly in the field of EW.

The French were mounting a major live environment EW exercise, involving both 44 and 54 RT and invited all manner of folk from AFCENT units to visit and chat. I was lucky enough to be on the trip and it was both fascinating and hilarious. I don't think they believed I was a Sergeant and I ended up better accommodated than my three commissioned co-delegates from my regiment.

It didn't hurt that I knew the German senior officer from AFCENT well through hunting.

The French Colonel who was our conducting officer was extremely proud of having served in the LE as a platoon and company commander.
44 and 54 RT are very busy and at the sharp end.

Their efforts in the past decades have been rewarded last month by the authorisation to now sport their own beret badge instead of the generic "Transmissions" (Signals) beret badge.

1596473766542.png



Its nickname is "chicken and fries"....
 
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Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
At the time, the (French) First Army and its three Corps commands including the FFA (Forces Francaises en Allemagne) was mainly a conscript force with professional cadres starting at higher SNCO level. The highest conscript rank was at Chef de Groupe (i.e. UK infantry section commander equivalent) level. In the French system a "Sergent" commands a "Groupe" and a "Sergent-Chef" (UK equivalent Staff Sergeant or Colour Sergeant) is a "Sous-Officier Adjoint de Section" (UK equivalent function is Platoon/Troop Sergeant).

A "Sergent" at the time in that part of the French Army was typically a young conscript soldier who had proved himself a little more capable than his peers and had been promoted to be a "Chef de Groupe".

Skilled technical operators would not have existed at "Sergent" rank and would have been either very senior SNCOs (UK Warrant Officer equivalents) or Officers.

Therefore you coming along as a "Sergent" would have totally baffled the French. An INT Corps L/Cpl's duties and responsibilities could induce incredulous meltdown.
Yeah, eventually we agreed to think of me as an Adjutant, but.a very dodgy and not-entirely-to-be-trusted one and we all got on famously after that. The EW specialists in 44 and 54 were all professionals and ranged from CC to Major. Their officers all seemed to be either mainstream signallers or iffy, too-damaged-for-further unpleasantness types from the former muscular part of SDECE.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
44 and 54 RT are very busy and at the sharp end.

Their efforts in the past decades have been rewarded last month by the authorisation to now sport their own beret badge instead of the generic "Transmissions" (Signals) beret badge.

View attachment 494309


Its nickname is "chicken and fries"....
Excellent. 'Poulet frites'. or similar, I assume?

I'm looking at a plaque from Station Jacinthe at Bahrdorf while I type this and that badge features prominently. Presented with it in 1988 or thereabouts while LOing with the Bw, inside the French wire.
 
Yeah, eventually we agreed to think of me as an Adjutant, but.a very dodgy and not-entirely-to-be-trusted one and we all got on famously after that. The EW specialists in 44 and 54 were all professionals and ranged from CC to Major. Their officers all seemed to be either mainstream signallers or iffy, too-damaged-for-further unpleasantness types from the former muscular part of SDECE.
Caporal-Chef (C/C) is a strange rank for Brits to understand. It is sometimes a temporary step between "Caporal" and "Sergent", but more often it is a "dead-end rank" for specialist or technical personnel who have little or no command responsibility. The rank has four grades within it and the senior ones are a sort-of "Corporal-Major". In a unit, the Caporaux-Chefs have their own Mess called a "Popote" with their own Mess President.
 
Excellent. 'Poulet frites'. or similar, I assume?

I'm looking at a plaque from Station Jacinthe at Bahrdorf while I type this and that badge features prominently. Presented with it in 1988 or thereabouts while LOing with the Bw, inside the French wire.
Exactement, poulet-frites. It's the EW skill badge in a ring with the T of Transmissions.
 
Caporal-Chef (C/C) is a strange rank for Brits to understand. It is sometimes a temporary step between "Caporal" and "Sergent", but more often it is a "dead-end rank" for specialist or technical personnel who have little or no command responsibility. The rank has four grades within it and the senior ones are a sort-of "Corporal-Major". In a unit, the Caporaux-Chefs have their own Mess called a "Popote" with their own Mess President.
In Simon Murray's book (which I concede is 60 years old now) he says that only the student who graduates first on the caporaux course can be considered for promotion to CC & generally gives the impression that it's a reward for outstanding candidates.
This seems at odds with being a "dead end rank". Has CC changed since the book was written or have I been reading Murray wrong all these years?
(apologies if this is covered elsewhere).
 
Well,it could be for techies who are not seen as being directly involved in combat roles but are valued for their tech skills and have to have a career path of some sort.
 
In Simon Murray's book (which I concede is 60 years old now) he says that only the student who graduates first on the caporaux course can be considered for promotion to CC & generally gives the impression that it's a reward for outstanding candidates.
This seems at odds with being a "dead end rank". Has CC changed since the book was written or have I been reading Murray wrong all these years?
(apologies if this is covered elsewhere).
Dead end is a bit harsh. CCH are happy to be "big among the small ones" and to have the respect of other rankers without, generally, too much responsabilities.

Some CCH can be section commanders in specific conditions even though this is very rare now.
 
Dead end is a bit harsh. CCH are happy to be "big among the small ones" and to have the respect of other rankers without, generally, too much responsabilities.

Some CCH can be section commanders in specific conditions even though this is very rare now.
Agreed. I only used the phrase as it is usually a cul-de-sac regarding promotions.
 
In Simon Murray's book (which I concede is 60 years old now) he says that only the student who graduates first on the caporaux course can be considered for promotion to CC & generally gives the impression that it's a reward for outstanding candidates.
This seems at odds with being a "dead end rank". Has CC changed since the book was written or have I been reading Murray wrong all these years?
(apologies if this is covered elsewhere).
That was. perhaps then at that time and place, an incentive to do well on the "Peloton des Caporaux". It was a specific case and it applied to the Legion course he was on. One usually gets promoted directly from "Caporal" to "Sergent". I knew several "Caporaux-Chefs" as "Chefs de Groupe" (UK Section Commander equivalent). They were usually preferred by the lads to having a young thrusting "Sergent" who might still be only towards the end of his first five year contract and only a little bit more experienced than the men he commands. Whereas the average "Caporal-Chef" who was made a "Chef de Groupe" tended to have bags of experience and be quite a lot senior to his troops.

1596566142662.png

A French "Caporal-Chef" and a Tahitian Sergent both "Chefs de Groupe" from 3eme Cie, 2eme REP taking stock of the situation from a Platoon OP above the Green Line on Op Epaulard 1, Beirut 1982.
 
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That was. perhaps then at that time and place, an incentive to do well on the "Peloton des Caporaux". It was a specific case and it applied to the Legion course he was on. One usually gets promoted directly from "Caporal" to "Sergent". I knew several "Caporaux-Chefs" as "Chefs de Groupe" (UK Section Commander equivalent). They were usually preferred by the lads to having a young thrusting "Sergent" who might still be only towards the end of his first five year contract and only a little bit more experienced than the men he commands. Whereas the average "Caporal-Chef" who was made a "Chef de Groupe" tended to have bags of experience and be quite a lot senior to his troops.

View attachment 494556
A French "Caporal-Chef" and a Tahitian Sergent both "Chefs de Groupe" from 3eme Cie, 2eme REP taking stock of the situation from a Platoon OP above the Green Line on Op Epaulard 1, Beirut 1982.
Thanks for the clarification, I've wondered about that for a while.
 

LepetitCaporal

Old-Salt
Video clip of a couple of French sports-fitness journalists/bloggers undertaking the standard French Army "Parcours du Combattant" obstacle course (500m long and twenty obstacles) in Carpiagne, the camp of 1 REC under the guidance of Major (UK WO1+ equivalent) Gerald from 1 RE, the Foreign Legion's Senior PT Instructor. It is around midday on the 9th July 2020 in the South of France and the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius. They are carrying 22kg weight in the form of helmet, rifle and rucksack.

A point to note is that although the shape of the layout may differ slightly, all French military obstacle courses are identical in length and nature.

Edited to add: Although each Regiment must have such a standard obstacle course and regularly conduct training on it; other "assault courses" can be improvised. I particularly remember one in the early 1980's which combined ground obstacles with aerial ones in the tree canopy in the Jungle Training Centre at Zimba in the Central African Republic. The various obstacle courses in 3 REI in French Guyana are another case in point.

Additional items may also be carried on the obstacle course to make it more "interesting".
View attachment 492381
I think you are meaning, " parcours d' audace"...Tarzan jumps and cable stuff
 

LepetitCaporal

Old-Salt
Caporeau
Caporal-Chef (C/C) is a strange rank for Brits to understand. It is sometimes a temporary step between "Caporal" and "Sergent", but more often it is a "dead-end rank" for specialist or technical personnel who have little or no command responsibility. The rank has four grades within it and the senior ones are a sort-of "Corporal-Major". In a unit, the Caporaux-Chefs have their own Mess called a "Popote" with their own Mess President.
Now it's, Caporal chef 1 st class and then the others
C.T.1 s are gone and replaced by some thing other
 
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Caporeau


Now it's, Caporal chef 1 st class and then the others
C.T.1 s are gone and replaced by some thing other
“Caporal Chef de Premier Classe” sounds like a total abortion! I wonder why they decided to make that distinction and what purpose it serves?

Paging @fantassin for a comment if possible?

As for the CT1 going I had heard that that whole system had been rejigged/replaced/renamed by the French Army.

It used to be that for professional (I.e. not conscripted) non-commissioned personnel there were three levels of military/command (CM) and technical (CT) skills that usually had to be achieved for promotion. The two combined at each level to give the holder a professional military brevet (BMP). The levels were “elementary”, “one” and “two”. So the courses were CME/CTE for BMPE and promotion to “Caporal”. CM1/CT1 for BMP1 and promotion to “Sergent” and CM2/CT2 for BMP2 and promotion to “Sergent-Chef”.

The various professional military trades were given number designations. For example “00“ was general military/infantry skills and every one in the Legion doing a "Peloton des Caporaux" (i.e. a Corporals’ Course) did a combined CME/CTE 00. Then (usually some time later if in an infantry unit) individuals could do another CTE in another trade, in my case I did a CTE 03 which was “Transmissions” (i.e. Signals) and qualified as a Radio Telegraphist.

To advance further up the promotion ladder I could aim for the BMP1 and promotion to "Sergent". For this I could go one of two ways do the CM1 and then either the CT1 00 or CT1 03. Often it happened in the Legion that as the CT1 00 automatically followed on from the CM1, even if someone was looking at specialising in a trade, they would still do the CT1 00 , then later the relevant other CT1. Then they would still have two pathways open to me for further promotion

Or, I could just do the CT1 03 and become a Caporal-Chef specialising in that trade only and progress upwars only through the Caporal-Chef grades.

Of course there were some snazzy badges that went along with each course. :)
 

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