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

The Legion is continuing to ensure maximum publicity in its drive to recruit more French speakers. One of the mainstream French terrestrial TV channels is repeating a recent programme on Legion selection and first part of Basic Training. I think it's been linked to before on this thread, when it was first shown, but worth a repeat:

Some points to note from the clip:

A female Lieutenant is interviewing recruits in Aubagne. There are some female specialist officers and SNCOs attached to Legion units fulfilling certain specific supporting roles. There are still no female Legionnaires, nor are ther plans to change recruiting criteria to enable females to join.

At 12.35 in the clip we are introduced to the Lieutenant who commands the Selection Cell at Aubagne. We can see that he is a highly decorated former Legionnaire (the yellow ribbon of the Medaille Militaire is his first decoration), promoted through the ranks to what is called a "Late Entry Commission" in UK parlance. From his uniform one can tell that he is a former REPman having served in the GCP (Pathfinder Platoon) or its precursor (he wears the French freefall wings) and that he may have served in 2 REPs Third Company or done its Reconnaissance Swimmers Course as a member of the GCP (he wears what looks like the relevant badge on his left breast pocket).

Of the three recruits which are followed through selection, only one makes it to Basic Training at 4 RE in Castelnaudary. Ironically it is the American non-French speaker. The Frenchman was ostensibly precluded for having had his jaw surgically restructured with a metal plaque, but you could see that at interview his interviewer was not impressed with his admitted conduct and past criminal record. The Mauritian was pulled at the last moment because medical tests had shown (from what I understood) that he had a potentially chronic medical condition due to a slipped disc. The American who got through, although he had done seven years jail for various petty crimes, came across as a level-headed bloke with a sense of humour and a certain diffidence that comes from institutionalisation..

In my opinion, If the Legion wants to recruit, train and keep more French speakers and more skilled and capable men in general (especially "First Worlders") in order to maintain professional and technical standards in an ever more demanding and complex military environment, then its main problem is not going to lie in recruiting, but in retention, especially when the hazing and "bullshit" necessary to instil a collective mindset carries on after Basic Training when the new Legionnnaires get to their Regiments. There the continuation training will have to improve as well as the daily employment and use of the new Legionnaires.

I believe that this is particularly true in 2 REP, where as I remember and as @Jean d'Épée has more recently confirmed there remains a lot of it, in archaic practices maintained by the NCOs ostensibly to "test the mettle" of the newbies. Some of which is sometimes taken too far. As I understand it, this was exacerbated by the large intake of recruits from the territories of the former Soviet Union after its fall, as there was a very strong tradition of hazing called "dedovshchina" among all conscripts there.

This should be replaced by more intensive and extensive physical training, more practice in section and platoon combat drills and manoeuvres, including more live firing and definitely more field work. An element of "bullshit" will need to be kept in order to maintain personal standards of uniformity, presentation and hygiene and certain traditions, but this should no longer devolve into "hazing" for the sake of it. JNCOs will have to be reminded of the limits of their authority in this matter. It needs level-headed and dedicated SNCOs and the application of good common sense to make it work.
 
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A 2 REP soldier in typical Corsican field surroundings. Note the dense "maquis" scrub bush around him. What is missing from the picture, but is very present in reality, is the smell. The maquis plants have certain aromatic oils that pervade the air and give it a herbally tint.
 
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Recruits undergoing early morning PT at 4RE in Castelnaudary. The man on the left should be getting rifted any moment now! :)
 
A picture from last year's Exercise Wessex Storm when Second Company of 2 REP was integrated into the 2 PARA Battle Group in the UK: A good shot of a Milan missile just after launch, with the tube being propelled backwards with the recoil.
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The Milan has now been replaced by the MMP in 2 REP (and the process is in progress across all the French Army) and it seems that remaining stocks of Milan missiles were being fired off on the exercise.
 
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Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
A Russian TV report showing "Alexander," introduced as a former 2°REP member now working for the Wagner PMC in CAR as a French speaking advisor to the local forces.

Over 300 Russians are now deployed in CAR.

2REP were there last year as part of the EUTM mission, but from what I heard it was a bit of a flop with COVID, I understand that the Portuguese got to go out a lot more than the REP.
 
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Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
As a follow on post to the above, as regards the incorrigible “schloukers”, at the time, if a real problem was perceived there was always recourse to the “Stage Limonade” or the “drying out course”. This consisted of a mandated and supervised, usually three-week stay on lockdown at the Regimental Infirmary (Medical Centre). But it didn’t help that the infirmary was just across the road from the “Foyer” (Junior Ranks Club). Regarding being sent on “the course” as I recall, the rule was “three strikes and you’re out”. Pretty lenient, ne c’est pas? Different times, eh!
Could you drink in the foyer? Nowadays it’s just a little supply shop
 
Could you drink in the foyer? Nowadays it’s just a little supply shop
Is this a wah?

Seriously!

The “Foyer du Legionnaire” was primarily what is called “The Junior Ranks Club” in the British Army. It was mainly a large bar with seating areas inside and out. It’s principal sales items were “caisses de bière” crates (boxes) of 24 Kronenbourg stubbies and cartons of cigarettes (Marlboro, Camel, Gitanes or Gauloises) It had a small shop attached where you could buy your daily necessities (soap, underwear, etc.) and some authorised or mandated extra bits of kit. One of the main duties of the Regimental Duty Sergeant was to close the foyer and ensure the disposal of all the drinkers to their relevant Company blocks for “Appel” at 22.00.

Where do the Legionnaires drink on Camp Raffalli now?
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
Is this a wah?

Seriously!

The “Foyer du Legionnaire” was primarily what is called “The Junior Ranks Club” in the British Army. It was mainly a large bar with seating areas inside and out. It’s principal sales items were “caisses de bière” crates (boxes) of 24 Kronenbourg stubbies and cartons of cigarettes (Marlboro, Camel, Gitanes or Gauloises) It had a small shop attached where you could buy your daily necessities (soap, underwear, etc.) and some authorised or mandated extra bits of kit. One of the main duties of the Regimental Duty Sergeant was to close the foyer and ensure the disposal of all the drinkers to their relevant Company blocks for “Appel” at 22.00.

Where do the Legionnaires drink on Camp Raffalli now?
You learn something new every day, sounds like the main regiment bar is now a relic of the past. Every company has its own club, usually each with a unique style/choice of products, and legionnaires/MDR/S-OFFs/OFFs will hang out at their preferred one with their mates. The “small shop” is all that exists now, of course still with cases of beer.
 
You learn something new every day, sounds like the main regiment bar is now a relic of the past. Every company has its own club, usually each with a unique style/choice of products, and legionnaires/MDR/S-OFFs/OFFs will hang out at their preferred one with their mates. The “small shop” is all that exists now, of course still with cases of beer.
The Company Clubs in the same format all existed in my day too.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
You learn something new every day, sounds like the main regiment bar is now a relic of the past. Every company has its own club, usually each with a unique style/choice of products, and legionnaires/MDR/S-OFFs/OFFs will hang out at their preferred one with their mates. The “small shop” is all that exists now, of course still with cases of beer.
Under UNPROFOR the foyer in Pleso was also a small shop, selling various items including, interestingly, Legion marked UN capbadges.

Close by there were hundreds of white corrimechs, stacked two high, all with a large black "UN painted on each side.
Except for the one on the upper level which some Legion wag had very professionally changed to "DEUX"
 
You joke but for some companies it’s interdit to go to the mess at night, this forces everyone to buy dinner/drinks at their local club...
So the Legionnaires and Caporaux are forbidden to use the Réfectoire / Ordinaire (JRM) for their Dinner? That seems to me to be illegal. As I understand it, the Junior Ranks’ Mess has an allocated sum of money per head for feeding arrangements.

While the meagre breakfast at the Ordinaire was always considered optional (apart from for the newbies) with the preference being to buy proper coffee and croissants from the Company Clubs, they in no way substituted for Lunch and Dinner except for exceptional cases and Company Commanders were expected to ensure that Legionnaires were adequately fed.

I remember when as a new arrival, I had been given some arduous “corvées” (duties). I and some others had been rinsing sea jump parachutes in the Fiume Secco river all day and we had returned late and missed the dinner parade. The “Sergent de Semaine” just put us to work raking the gravel on the Parade Square. The Company Commander is leaving the block, spots me and asks me if I had a good dinner. When I told him that we hadn’t eaten, he went back inside, rifted the Company Duty Sergeant and had us marched over to the cookhouse for dinner. This Officer (a hard man) was absolutely loved by his troops.
 
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