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

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Let's not derail this brilliant thread with all manner of nonsense.

@Shitting dog - if you have the form you claim, you'll know that gobby crows get hassle. You got chopsy, you got hassle. That's how things are.
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
That is just ridiculous! And I would hazard a guess contrary to French Army Regulations (paging @fantassin ).

The post of mine that you quoted included all Company Junior Ranks (less Caporaux-Chefs) who for Lunch and Dinner would be marched singing to the "Ordinaire/Refectoire" by the Caporal de Semaine (Company Weekly Duty Corporal). And everyone would make their way back in their own time (which admittedly could be limited for the most junior who had some corvees to fulfil during the lunch break).

Each Company had a designated time slot in order to avoid a pile up in the meal queue, though sometimes they might coincide then you had the funny Monty-Pythonesque sight of the march tempo being increased so that one might beat the other to the door of the cookhouse!

The food was generally of good quality, cooks were encouraged to plan and produce meals based on their country of origin's cuisines and there was easily sufficient quantity and there were always two choices: Take it or leave it. Usually if you didn't like it you took it as there was always someone out of your mates who would want to eat what you didn't and it it would be reciprocated in due course.

The food allocation was completely subsidised for Junior Ranks, in that we did not see any deduction from our pay for it. I understood that this was still the case.

It looks like there may be some shenanigans going on here!

Edited to add: I particularly recall that meals at weekends in the Ordinaire/Refectoire tended to be good, that's when the wine drinkers tended to make sure that the non-wine drinkers took their allocated share as well - it was a 75cl bottle between four as I recall.
Weekends is 100% a no no for everyone. Unless you’re on service you can’t get food in the ordinaire on the weekends. The food is generally not terrible and can range from quite decent to fairly bland but definitely edible. There is also a culture in 2REP (maybe the other regiments as well, I don’t know) that seems to be to not eat a lot of food. Most 2REP legionnaires and corporals don’t seem to eat their full portions ever. The meals are decent sized but people will prefer to have maybe a side of the meat with a bit of the vegetables and then leave. Some prefer to have one meal a day. I don’t understand why it’s like this or if this is comparable to other militaries. I know that eating in 2REP is something that is supposed to be done quickly and there is definitely no time to “enjoy your meal”.
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
I kept my own name, which could have been a given Legion name as it confused most people! :)
There was a brief period a few years ago where apparently applicants were allowed to do this! And then it stopped again. I wish I had passed this or was able to pick my own name. RSM is a big hassle and when you come in they instantly want you to change your name back so that you can go on OPEX. It’s a lot more complicated if you’re using your legion name if you’re deployed.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Weekends is 100% a no no for everyone. Unless you’re on service you can’t get food in the ordinaire on the weekends. The food is generally not terrible and can range from quite decent to fairly bland but definitely edible. There is also a culture in 2REP (maybe the other regiments as well, I don’t know) that seems to be to not eat a lot of food. Most 2REP legionnaires and corporals don’t seem to eat their full portions ever. The meals are decent sized but people will prefer to have maybe a side of the meat with a bit of the vegetables and then leave. Some prefer to have one meal a day. I don’t understand why it’s like this or if this is comparable to other militaries. I know that eating in 2REP is something that is supposed to be done quickly and there is definitely no time to “enjoy your meal”.
Certainly not a culture I've ever come across in the British service and haven't noted it in the foreign forces I've served with, either - generally soldiers look to eat whenever they can, sleep whenever they can and avoid as much pointless nugatory work as possible.

Some nations have a different approach, of course - woe betide if you're with a German unit and don't make up your lunch from the stuff put out at breakfast, because it's a long time until dinner in the cookhouse.
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
I remember doing corvee in the officers canteen and robbing some very good food and wine ,working hard for the chef (cook) could result in a steak and egg dinner , the best food I ever had was in Mayotte , once there was fresh swordfish.
Are you even a jeune legionnaire if you don’t go to the sous-officer’s mess to serve/clean up and come back red faced from a couple of bottles of Aubagne’s finest? ;)
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
I remember doing corvee in the officers canteen and robbing some very good food and wine ,working hard for the chef (cook) could result in a steak and egg dinner , the best food I ever had was in Mayotte , once there was fresh swordfish.
Mayotte? Every legionnaire’s dream posting. Although most want to go there after they’ve accumulated a bit of service.
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
Interesting comments on French military food but what's specifically on the menu ? Is it similar to the stuff in ration packs ?

You can find the contents online if you search google. It’s nothing special, basically fatty carbohydrates in the meal and sugar/salt concentrated products.
The favourite is usually Mexican chilli con carne, and all of the rations taste better hot. Whenever you’re out in field the morale booster is finding someone who brought a clove of garlic so you can cut it up and have a nice warm and spicy meal while the rest of your body is suffering from frostbite.
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
French military food mirrors standard French fare. A lot of fresh bread (in baguette form) is eaten.

As I recall, regulation breakfast in the “Ordinaire” / “Réfectoire” i.e. Cookhouse / Dining Hall (Junior Ranks Messing Facility) was served early (from 06.00) and consisted of sweet black coffee or drinking chocolate which was served in a bowl. You got half a baguette of bread, butter, jam or honey or sometimes chocolate spread. Traditionally the bread was dipped in the beverage bowl.

Lunch was at Midday. It usually consisted of a salad and pate starter (with bread) followed by a simple main dish of meat/fish accompanied by a carb of some sort (potatoes/rice/pasta/couscous etc.) and a vegetable.

Dinner usually had a soup or broth for a starter (with more bread). Another main consisting of meat/fish, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable. Often thick stew or casserole type dishes like “cassoulet” or “choucroute garnie” were served. Dessert was fruit or maybe a cake or tart or cheese.

I’m open to being corrected or amended by others who were there at the time, as it was a long time ago and memories change.
Yes this is very much the same now.
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
I missed out again because a condition of my going was that I extend my contract (despite the fact that two months remained of my original contract after the scheduled end of the tour). As far as I was concerned that was “ar$e about face” as a tour abroad would likely encourage a contract extension. As it was it disillusioned me further.
As far as I understand this, I’ve been told that you have to have at least 12 months left on your contract before you are allowed to leave on a mission. The reasoning behind this is something like you have 4-6 months on mission, then 2 months admin allowed for your end of contract, and 2 months obligatory vacation for the end of your contract, ~10 months which is roughly 12 months. If you don’t have enough until the end of your contract you will be refused the mission or will have to sign on again (1 year) to go.
 
As far as I understand this, I’ve been told that you have to have at least 12 months left on your contract before you are allowed to leave on a mission. The reasoning behind this is something like you have 4-6 months on mission, then 2 months admin allowed for your end of contract, and 2 months obligatory vacation for the end of your contract, ~10 months which is roughly 12 months. If you don’t have enough until the end of your contract you will be refused the mission or will have to sign on again (1 year) to go.
It’s just a way to get you to sign on again with “tournantes” as an excuse. If they really need you on an Op they will cut through the red tape and you will go even if you haven’t signed on again.
 
You can find the contents online if you search google. It’s nothing special, basically fatty carbohydrates in the meal and sugar/salt concentrated products.
The favourite is usually Mexican chilli con carne, and all of the rations taste better hot. Whenever you’re out in field the morale booster is finding someone who brought a clove of garlic so you can cut it up and have a nice warm and spicy meal while the rest of your body is suffering from frostbite.
He was asking about the food in the Ordinaire. :)
 
There was a brief period a few years ago where apparently applicants were allowed to do this! And then it stopped again. I wish I had passed this or was able to pick my own name. RSM is a big hassle and when you come in they instantly want you to change your name back so that you can go on OPEX. It’s a lot more complicated if you’re using your legion name if you’re deployed.
Strange. When I joined it was no problem to keep your own name, in fact it was positively encouraged, unless you needed to go under “anonymat”.
Many of the men I served with kept their own names, especially the Brits.
 
Weekends is 100% a no no for everyone. Unless you’re on service you can’t get food in the ordinaire on the weekends. The food is generally not terrible and can range from quite decent to fairly bland but definitely edible. There is also a culture in 2REP (maybe the other regiments as well, I don’t know) that seems to be to not eat a lot of food. Most 2REP legionnaires and corporals don’t seem to eat their full portions ever. The meals are decent sized but people will prefer to have maybe a side of the meat with a bit of the vegetables and then leave. Some prefer to have one meal a day. I don’t understand why it’s like this or if this is comparable to other militaries. I know that eating in 2REP is something that is supposed to be done quickly and there is definitely no time to “enjoy your meal”.
That sounds highly irregular. “La bouffe” was a highlight of a Legionnaire’s day. The old saying of “A la Legion, la vie est dur, mais la gamelle est sur!” was held in high esteem. At Fort de Nogent when I joined, I was taken straight to the réfectoire and given lunch!

In 2 REP people tended to eat well as they were undertaking lots of strenuous physical exercise all the time.
 
I think, and I don’t know exactly so @fantassin may be able to clarify, that it is still 1 year, it’s just that you won’t be able to receive it or something until 2 years of service because of paperwork or something. I don’t remember the clause exactly.
Probably Regimental bollocks as I am led to believe that the regulations concerning the award of the basic (Bronze) version of the Medialle de la Defense Nationale award have not changed.

It was designed and issued (in 1982) so that a thrusting and well-noted conscript could get the medal by amassing enough qualifying points for it by the end of his twelve months service. You got a bar for each category you qualified in. The first bar came with the medal and was named for the Arm of Service or Corps that you served in.

All Regular Professional French Army Soldiers (especially those in the Force Action Rapide which included all the Legion, Marine/former Colonial and most of the Airborne troops) easily amassed enough points to earn the medal by the end of one year's service barring some disciplinary issues (which were amended favourably for Legionnaiires).

Mine was chucked at me (and so was everybody else's in our Platoon bar a couple of new arrivals) in the Platoon corridor in November or December 1982. I received it complete with three bars: "Legion Etrangere", "Troupes Aeroportees" and "Missions d'Assistance Exterieure".

The Silver and Gold versions of the Medal were introduced later, as pretty much everybody in the Professional Troops had it and they needed to distinguish particularly effective service.
 
You can find the contents online if you search google. It’s nothing special, basically fatty carbohydrates in the meal and sugar/salt concentrated products.
The favourite is usually Mexican chilli con carne, and all of the rations taste better hot. Whenever you’re out in field the morale booster is finding someone who brought a clove of garlic so you can cut it up and have a nice warm and spicy meal while the rest of your body is suffering from frostbite.
In my time, most of us had/carried in the field some extras like garlic, onions, herbs/spices, sauces. Sometimes dried sausage, decent cheese and fresh bread. As well as a few stubbies of Kronenbourg (at least to begin with). On bigger exercises that went through the countryside, it was usual to privately resupply by purchasing vittels from local farmers/villagers including bread, cheese, honey, dried sausage, wine. Corsican artisanal produce was very good (though the wine could be a bit ropey).

On the ranges at mealtimes, each platoon had a “caisse popote” for extra foodstuffs to make meals more agreeable and someone designated to be the “popotier”. At Company and higher levels, it could be a more elaborate set up, where the Officers and “Adjudants” (WO equivalents) had folding tables and chairs and plates and cutlery. Sometimes this was carried on down at platoon level, where the platoon commander, platoon sergeant (usually a “Sergent-Chef”) and section commanders (usually “Sergents”) ate at table.

Just to re-explain for any newcomers to this thread. In the French Army a “Section” is the equivalent to a Platoon in the British Army. Whereas what we call a Section in the British Army is called a “Groupe” in the French one and these are further split into two Équipes” with a “Caporal” in charge of each.

The term “Peloton” is used in Cavalry/Armoured units to designate what the British Army calls a Troop. (The Corporals’ cadre course is also called “Le Peloton”). French cavalry rank terminology is also different from the rest of the Army, but I won’t elaborate here.
 

LepetitCaporal

War Hero
As regards food and drink in general, my five years in the French Foreign Legion was a bit of an eye-opener. I discovered the joys of good French food and wine while in the Legion (the basics in the Legion itself, the rest frequenting some great restaurants as and when I could with my significant disposable income.

I grew up in inner London in the sixties and seventies. Even considering that London was a bit more cosmopolitan than most of the rest of the UK, food across the board tended not to be very inspiring. I had a broader palate than most because I was brought up in a Polish immigrant family and went to Catholic schools where most of the other kids were Irish, Italian or Polish (in that order). I also lived in a part of London where there was a substantial Cypriot community (mostly Greek Cypriot at the time). As a family we did not eat out very often (perhaps a couple of times a year). The choice of food available in the restaurants and shops tended to be far more limited then.
Islington?
 
Upper Holloway in The London Borough of Islington! Before it became the “People’s Republic” under the Looney Left and before it went gentrified. I remember “The Gunners” parade down the High Street by the Town Hall when they’d won the Double!
 

LepetitCaporal

War Hero
Will get back to you on this one
2019 / 20 I read an on - line article about the french rations being voted the best in the world (compared to other armies)
Casse croûte (breaking the crust...slang is, casse dalle or breaking the slab (breaking the slab, I learned that on here some where)
We, would stop our activities at 10 am to break the slab, usually pâté de campagne, (spam or sardines / mackerel) bread, it was free
You remember our foyer, (naffie) and how run down it was?
It got renovated and named the, Oasis
food and drink... like a modern day fast food store and of course paying
 

LepetitCaporal

War Hero
Upper Holloway in The London Borough of Islington! Before it became the “People’s Republic” under the Looney Left and before it went gentrified. I remember “The Gunners” parade down the High Street by the Town Hall when they’d won the Double!
I remember the day you told me
Small world indeed
We pished it up together at times in the Queens Beer.. remember?
 

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