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

An acquaintance of mine joined the Rep in 85 and left the Legion 13DBLE in 2016/17 ( British). Great going!
Yes it is. There are a few British and Irish who have made very successful long term careers out of it. When I arrived in 3rd Company, 2 REP in 1982, there was a young Scotsman who had recently been promoted to Caporal and had joined about two years before. I remember him being a decent, fair, level-headed and serious bloke who quickly made "Sergent" thereafter. if I remember correctly, he was unable to join the British Army because of a conviction for something. He ended up in the early 2010's (I think) as the "Major" (Senior Warrant Officer equivalent) at the GRLE Recruiting and Transit unit at Fort de Nogent on the outskirts of Paris.
 
On the Official Foreign Legion Recruiting Facebook site, there is a flashback to 2019 with a short video clip showing 2 REP's 1st Company (green recognition flashes) on exercise at the Camp des Garrigues (2 REI's backyard stomping ground) in mainland France. Can't remember if there was a link posted to this video at the time, so here goes:
 
According to the Offical French Army website, teams from the French 11th Parachute Brigade's combined GCP (pathfinder platoon concentration from all the units in the Brigade possessing one, which then forms a Brigade level Tier 2 SF unit) have recently undertaken precision shooting training/refresher training at the Caylus Camp Ranges in preparation for a forthcoming deployment,

The training was enhanced by a specialist instructor from the French Army's School of Infantry.
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The GCP's primary precision rifle is the SAKO TRG-42 in .338 Lapua Magnum calibre

In addition to the usual training serials, further training included precsion shooting from light helicopters in flight.
 
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The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the Legion's recruiting and retention, some interesting data becoming apparent:

The constraints of the pandemic have restricted travel to France and thus overall numbers turning up at the recruiting centres. There is a marked shortfall of candidates arriving from abroad notably from South America. But despite the difficulties, the Nepalese have continued to arrive in similar numbers to before the pandemic.

In addition, due to the increased uncertainties of the outside world there has been an increase in retention and thus any shortfall in recruiting for 2020 was adequately covered and 1200 posts were filled. But In 2021 there is a need to fill 1400 posts and this cannot be done by increased retention alone, so a major localised effort is being undertaken.

This is leading to a "Europeanisation" of recruiting patterns including an increase in French candidates which has not been seen for many years (My Comment: probably since the early eighties). The proportion of French being recruited has reached 14% and it is something that the Legion has consciously aimed for. The recently set up infromation post in French Polynesia has yielded eight successful candidates and there are sixty more in the pipeline. A similar information post is currently being set up in La Reunion. (My Comment: This is now in direct competition for recruits with the "Troupes de Marine" which may lead to some rivalry)
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the Legion's recruiting and retention, some interesting data becoming apparent:

The constraints of the pandemic have restricted travel to France and thus overall numbers turning up at the recruiting centres. There is a marked shortfall of candidates arriving from abroad notably from South America. But despite the difficulties, the Nepalese have continued to arrive in similar numbers to before the pandemic.

In addition, due to the increased uncertainties of the outside world there has been an increase in retention and thus any shortfall in recruiting for 2020 was adequately covered and 1200 posts were filled. But In 2021 there is a need to fill 1400 posts and this cannot be done by increased retention alone, so a major localised effort is being undertaken.

This is leading to a "Europeanisation" of recruiting patterns including an increase in French candidates which has not been seen for many years (My Comment: probably since the early eighties). The proportion of French being recruited has reached 14% and it is something that the Legion has consciously aimed for. The recently set up infromation post in French Polynesia has yielded eight successful candidates and there are sixty more in the pipeline. A similar information post is currently being set up in La Reunion. (My Comment: This is now in direct competition for recruits with the "Troupes de Marine" which may lead to some rivalry)
Am I right in thinking that there was a 'No French' (except officers) policy for many years? Leading Frenchmen to enlist as 'Swiss' or 'Canadian'?
 
Am I right in thinking that there was a 'No French' (except officers) policy for many years? Leading Frenchmen to enlist as 'Swiss' or 'Canadian'?
Historically, officially the Foreign Legion was not able to recruit Frenchmen and thus a subterfuge was used in that they were allocated a foreign but French-speaking nationality. Belgian and Swiss were favourites. Between 1871 and 1918 “Alsacien” and “Lorrain” were others as Alsace-Lorraine were annexed by Germany. In the 20th century Canadian was added. I’ve seen Luxembourgeois and Monégasque as well.

Without a modicum of French speakers, the Legion would not be able to function, especially as warfare was becoming more technical. So that a blind eye was turned and Frenchmen have always been accepted.

When I was serving in the early eighties, I estimate that between a fifth and a quarter were “Francophone”. I understand that Frenchmen charged with minor delinquencies and crimes were allowed to opt for a five year contract with the Legion instead of a jail sentence. One such person explained this to me in basic training

it was also quite usual for former French servicemen who had blotted their careers one way or another, to be able to redeem themselves by starting from scratch in the Legion. After five years they could regain their former pensionable seniority and any awards and decorations (but not their previous rank). I knew of several excellent soldiers in this category.

The open recruitment of Frenchmen has been formalised in recent times, but in order to align them with all the other recruits, the old rules still apply and unlike when joining the regular French Army they are subject to the general civil restrictions applied to all Legionnaires during the first contract.
 
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Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
I imagine it's quite hard to compete for the cohort of young Frenchmen the Legion wants, against the lure of the Troupes de Marine, who are just as committed to overseas operations, have a fantastic range of career options, including, for the adventurous, airborne and SF units - and treat their folk somewhat better than the Legion does.

I assume the Legion is going to be reliant on the 'rehabilitation' and prison avoidance cohort of Frenchmen, going forwards, if they can't attract enough young French dudes to be beasted.
 
I imagine it's quite hard to compete for the cohort of young Frenchmen the Legion wants, against the lure of the Troupes de Marine, who are just as committed to overseas operations, have a fantastic range of career options, including, for the adventurous, airborne and SF units - and treat their folk somewhat better than the Legion does.

I assume the Legion is going to be reliant on the 'rehabilitation' and prison avoidance cohort of Frenchmen, going forwards, if they can't attract enough young French dudes to be beasted.
That’s about right.

I reckon that in any case, the Legion will have to change quite a bit in the near future to be able to attract the right calibre of recruit for 21st century soldiering in a modern first world army.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
A cynical old pal of mine, retired Chef de Bataillon (the hard way, via Major) in Metropolitan units) has a theory that the Legion will be the French Gurkhas by 2030 if the current recruiting demographic continues.

Interesting that a small place like Nepal can export hundreds of thousands into the Indian Army - Gorkhas, Assam Rifles and the like - hundreds to the Singapore Police and Brunei, thousands to the British Army and (currently) hundreds to the LE.
 
A cynical old pal of mine, retired Chef de Bataillon (the hard way, via Major) in Metropolitan units) has a theory that the Legion will be the French Gurkhas by 2030 if the current recruiting demographic continues.

Interesting that a small place like Nepal can export hundreds of thousands into the Indian Army - Gorkhas, Assam Rifles and the like - hundreds to the Singapore Police and Brunei, thousands to the British Army and (currently) hundreds to the LE.
Personally I doubt it very much. There is a historic principle not to rely too much on one nationality (including Germans, despite the exception of the large numbers post WW2 sent to the meat-grinder in Indochina),
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Personally I doubt it very much. There is a historic principle not to rely too much on one nationality (including Germans, despite the exception of the large numbers post WW2 sent to the meat-grinder in Indochina),
In an ideal world, there'd be a major economic collapse in Russia, all those highly educated, smart young folk looking for work....
 
In an ideal world, there'd be a major economic collapse in Russia, all those highly educated, smart young folk looking for work....
......... and citizenship.
 

LepetitCaporal

War Hero
Let me tell you a story...
The initial contract in the Legion is for five years
5 years living in France was the minimum requested for foreigners to request citizenship, (Légion or civvy) at least the legionnaires weree fed and bed
Name changing.... okay for the fugitives but for the the french, it's mostly to avoid married french being taken to court for abandonment de famille and pay out
Nationalities, keep the dosage right
Condo and I served when Brits were rife
It can be tiresome when you do not speak decent / passable french
The french who joined the Legion at our time were, in general, low life, mf, some good but rare
Then we had the Berlin wall that dropped
Over night, thousands...came our way
The french, French, hardly make the attempt any more
(Reason why they are opening recruitment posts in over seas terrorists and department's)

Bureaucraties and shisse (opportunities and sacrifice)
A french man joining the Legion will work more than a french PARA or RIMA, fud
Even if the Legion has suppressed working Saturday mornings, in recent years
Can marry when he wants to
Live out of barracks
Have a car
Do what he wants with his dosh and can vote
Post Schitum
Engagez vous (dans la Légion and learn how to speak perfect Russian)

..
 
Let me tell you a story...
The initial contract in the Legion is for five years
5 years living in France was the minimum requested for foreigners to request citizenship, (Légion or civvy) at least the legionnaires weree fed and bed
Name changing.... okay for the fugitives but for the the french, it's mostly to avoid married french being taken to court for abandonment de famille and pay out
Nationalities, keep the dosage right
Condo and I served when Brits were rife
It can be tiresome when you do not speak decent / passable french
The french who joined the Legion at our time were, in general, low life, mf, some good but rare
Then we had the Berlin wall that dropped
Over night, thousands...came our way
The french, French, hardly make the attempt any more
(Reason why they are opening recruitment posts in over seas terrorists and department's)

Bureaucraties and shisse (opportunities and sacrifice)
A french man joining the Legion will work more than a french PARA or RIMA, fud
Even if the Legion has suppressed working Saturday mornings, in recent years
Can marry when he wants to
Live out of barracks
Have a car
Do what he wants with his dosh and can vote
Post Schitum
Engagez vous (dans la Légion and learn how to speak perfect Russian)

..
A good summary, thanks. All as I thought except for the perfect Russian. I doubt that the Russian Legionnaires use the tongue like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky or Pushkin. ;);):)
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
A good summary, thanks. All as I thought except for the perfect Russian. I doubt that the Russian Legionnaires use the tongue like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky or Pushkin. ;);):)
The very few Russian ex-legionnaires I've met here and there in the last few years were proper rough low-life types. One, at least, had a full set of criminal gang tattoos.
 
The very few Russian ex-legionnaires I've met here and there in the last few years were proper rough low-life types. One, at least, had a full set of criminal gang tattoos.
As I understand it, although there are exceptions as usual, the lower end of the spectrum is well represented.

After the Soviet Empire imploded and the Russians started joining in droves, I think that most had been through conscription in the Rodina and they unfortunately brought the mentality of “Dedovshchina” with them.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
As I understand it, although there are exceptions as usual, the lower end of the spectrum is well represented.

After the Soviet Empire imploded and the Russians started joining in droves, I think that most had been through conscription in the Rodina and they unfortunately brought the mentality of “Dedovshchina” with them.
Not something the Russian Armed Forces are going to get rid of in less than a generation, it's so ingrained - and they still haven't managed to create a proper NCO class, so the lads are essentially self-regulating when not directly under a praporshchik or officer's eye. Add to that the fact that the middle and upper classes have largely abandoned service in the Armed Forces, even while conscription was still in force, they played things like the academic or medical exemption card as hard as they could, certainly as far as service in the Ground Forces was concerned.
 
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The eyes say it all: "Sod this for a game of soldiers!" :)
 

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