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

Jean d'Épée

I have said it before on here I think....a bit of combat engineering in the mountains. Sounds superb. Oh to be 20 years(30) younger. They look a very good regiment to spend some time in.
I just talked to a CCH who joined in 2000 when it had just formed. He told me that there were a significant amount of deserters in the first 3-4 years because the regiment had just started and was becoming operational. They got posted to the regiment, ramassed to no end, hazed, punished, built a large amount of the base with their hands, and didn’t deploy until 2003 I think to Djibouti. If you joined to become SF from the beginning I think it was a rude shock.
Thing is I think a lot of the slang is not even French, which makes it harder.

Boule de feu “ball of fire” meaning “great/fantastic”
Tu percutes “you crash into” meaning “you are smart/innovative”
Gazé “your dreaming, you’re head is in the air, not concentrating”
Je suis schtaiffe, German for “erect”, meaning “I am drunk”
Tama tama - meals
Finex - fin d’exercise, but you can just use it for anything being finished

Loads of Russian/Slavic words, that was just off the top of my head

In my time (81-86) the only one I remember from the above list is "Schteif" which I understood to be a German slang word for drunk. "Finex" like the English "Endex" in the British Army was also used but not so often out of context. I cannot recall any Slavic-based slang, because although there were quite a few Yugoslavs (of various flavours) and some Poles, there were hardly any men representing nations from the former USSR.

Is "(faire un) banane" = "(to do a) banana , meaning "(to) f@ck up" still used often? As well as "Bananier" = "Banana tree", meaning "someone who f@cks up a lot".

Jean d'Épée

In my time (81-86) the only one I remember from the above list is "Schteif" which I understood to be a German slang word for drunk.
Apparently not to them! I’m not a German speaker so someone else may shed some light on this but a Hungarian ADC I know was telling me a story (he joined in 1993, so this would have been mid-90s) where he dated some German girl and visited her on the beach with her friends, they offered him a drink and after a few he declined saying “je suis schteif”, and of course cue the shocked responses.

Is "(faire un) banane" = "(to do a) banana , meaning "(to) f@ck up" still used often? As well as "Bananier" = "Banana tree", meaning "someone who f@cks up a lot".
Of course, this is textbook legion terminology.
Your prize for coming in the top 5 in Castel is not taking the “semaine” (company bureau/organisation duties) when you return to regiment. Was it the same before?
No as I recall people returning from their promotional cadre courses (for "Caporal" and "Sergent") at Castelnaudary were allocated the "Semaine" ("week", i.e. weekly duty) as soon as they had their rank up.

As an explainer all Legion (and I presume French Regular Army but I stand to be corrected on this) sub-units (i.e Companies and Squadrons) have a designated Company Duty Sergeant and Company Duty Corporal who take up residence for a week in a designated office in the Company block and carry out basic Company administration duties under the Company Sergeant Major. They are on call 24/7 and sleep in the block as well.

To our British readers who might be a bit perplexed by the possible frequency of such duty, it should be noted that in the French Army a "Sergent" commands a "Groupe" (UK Section) and there are four of them in a "Section" (UK Platoon) and there are four of them in "Compagnie" (UK - well, if you can't figure that one out .... :) ); so there are at least sixteen "Sergents" in a "Compagnie" with maybe a couple of more such as the Company Office Admin Sgt and possibly the Company Signals Cell Commander (although that is usually a Caporal-Chef) . As for the "Caporaux" there are usually two in each "Groupe" as "Chefs d'Equipe" (UK - team/group/brick leaders). So there are at least thirty-two in a Company with a few more due to their roles as medics, signallers, etc.

For our readers not familiar with the British Army, there are usually only three Corporals plus three Lance-Corporals (one of each per each of the three Section) and one Sergeant per Infantry Platoon with only three Platoons per Company. So there are fewer JNCOs and SNCOs available for duties. Also fewer opportunities for promotion.

This continues with the next level up, UK Colour Sergeant (which is what generally the Staff Sergeant rank is called in the Infantry), there is only one in an Infantry Company and fulfils the job of Company Quartermaster Sergeant. While in the French Army a "Sergent-Chef" does that too, but also the role of "Platoon Sergeant" or Platoon Second in Command (in French "Sous-Officier Adjoint" or "SOA" de "Section"). So if there are four Platoons in a French Infantry Company, there will be usually five "Sergent-Chefs". It narrows down a bit with the next level up. In the UK a Warrant Officer Class 2 takes up the appointment of Company Sergeant Major. In the French Army the equivalent rank is "Adjudant" and while an "Adjudant" also serves as the "Adjudant Compagnie", one of the four "Sections" (i.e. Rifle Platoons) in it is also usually commanded by an "Adjudant".

As for the next level up of duties at Regimental/Batallion level, the "Sous-Officier de Permanence" and the "Officier de Permanence", respectively the Duty Orderly Sergeant and the Duty Orderly Officer are carried out in the French Army by "Sergents-Chefs" for the first and "Adjudants", "Sous-Lieutenants" and "Lieutenants" for the second.
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Jean d'Épée

That prompts me to wonder how the quality of life differs for an homme du rang between the - seemingly - very austere and quite harsh day-to-day in the REP, through the various REI and REG, to the REC. Particularly in the REG and REC, where one assumes that most folk have some sort of technical role, is normal jogging as rough as elsewhere in the Legion?
The day to day life is a running meme within the legion, and I think it’s comparable to the British army as well. Paras > Infantry > cavalry/engineers

Within the legion, 2REP seems to be the undisputed “hardcore” regiment that everyone either wants to go to or doesn’t want to, there doesn’t seem to be an in-between. The stress levels are higher in 2REP compared to maybe 2REI/13DBLE and the guys from 1REG/1REC are usually regarded as the most “chilled”. You asked about REC and REG, their mentality seems to be stay within the lines of the “sketch” (the bull****) but don’t add anymore and focus on the technical work. Seems like a decent idea, and for the most part it is, until a situation arises where stress is induced and there is a need to remain calm and act effectively. I saw the cavalrymen and some génie guys flounder on these type of exercises. Sport is usually a lot more in infantry as well for obvious reasons.
Come to that, are there discernible differences in culture - and do folk swap back and forth between para-infantry-engineer-cavalry, or do they tend to stay in their lane? I'm think here specifically of Sergents and above, I assume les Caporaux and the others hommes du rang tend to stay where they're put, for at least their first term.
Yes, there are transfers as you said from NCO ranks to other regiments. However it seems to be a little bit difficult and many find it difficult. For example, there are not many REPmen these days that transfer to cavalry or the engineer regiments. For the NCOs to transfer they have to change their speciality and build it up with all the regiment’s courses which will take ages. So it doesn’t happen much. More likely if you’re REP you can transfer to REI or DBLE, which seems to happen a lot, due to injuries, bananes, fatigue, etc. Then there’s the regiments that see a lot of ‘sejours’ by NCOs. Many NCOs throughout their career will spend 2-4 years in a regiment like Castel, Aubagne, GRLE, DLEM and 3REI (2 years there). Not exactly sure of the reason why but it seems to offer a variety of positions for future promotion and frees up placements, etc. then they will come back to their parent regiment.

For LEG/1CL/CPL it’s a lot more difficult. You don’t have much leeway.

Jean d'Épée

If they are not, it can turn brutal very quickly. When I was in Kourou, a dispute which had started during a course ended up with a drunk Légionnaire cutting up his Caporal with his tramontina jungle knife in his bed as payback for several weeks of misery a few months before. The Caporal survived but he was in a very bad state from what I heard.
While it may sound shocking to some here, there are things and punishments in the legion that are not talked about and I would wager that karma caught up with that caporal. If so, no sympathies.

There are still psychopaths in every regiment

Jean d'Épée

Posted on the official Regimental Instagram page:
View attachment 566713
2 REP on exercise. Looks like good terrain to encounter some wild boar
Definitely at Vergio (Base for 2CIE exercises), although these are just pigs


Jean d'Épée

To be clear it's actually:

Rabattez les sièges
Serrez vers l'avant
Numéro 1, en position

And then the role of the dispatcher is generally more to slow down the rate of exit than anything else...
“Regardez le largueur directement dans les yeux”
“Donnez bien votre SOA au largueur à le main”
“On cours pas dans l’avion”

Jean d'Épée

Not many Brits and Herman's these days, then?
The last 3 Brits I saw enter the regiment have promptly deserted. One of them ex Para regiment. Another one from the Paras has joined but he is still fresh…let’s see how he goes. If he stays he will be one of a total of 3 Brits I’ve seen make it through to 5 years (out of maybe 11)

Jean d'Épée

No. Even when I was serving (1981-86) there weren't that many Germans. I was expecting more having read Simon Murray's "Legionnaire". But that generation had died out and West Germany was politically stable, economically strong and had stopped producing youth with a martial bent, so the three main reasons for becoming a Legionnaire were not present. East Germany was a prison.

At that time, there were more (real) French, Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, some from various other western European nations (the Brit and Irish wave only started in about 1983 and peaked quite quickly). Eastern Europe supplied few for the same reason as East Germany (that changed from 1989). The rest of the world saw more from former French North and West Africa than anywhere else really. Ony smatterings from the Americas, Asia, Oceania. It was primarily manned by Europeans. All changed now.

The Legion recruits from the global village.
As an update, I don’t know what’s happening in Germany and Austria right now but a lot of recruits have started pouring in from there. There’s at least a few German speaking legionnaires in each company compared to maybe 15 in the whole regiment 3 years ago.

Jean d'Épée

Good news for Real 2
Do you know the company's involved ?
Btw, the Caporal involved in the Neo Nazis thingy has been kicked out... still no word about the Sargent from the REP but no surprise there
Probably will be held in his current rank and advancement delayed, no info given to the press of course on his sort
The sergeant from REP got a bit of taule and a slap on the back because he’s GCP and tbh it’s more of a “pas vu, pas pris” situation, seeing as he was caught, he did his time and now it’s back to work as usual. Nazism in the legion and REP goes a long way. It’s condoned by a minority unfortunately.

Jean d'Épée

As previously mentioned upthread, the Legion is running a very active campaign targetting French nationals for recruitment. It appears that the following poster is being selectively directed at three French component "minorities" that have demonstrated martial prowess in the past. Of course further down in smaller print, in order not to be discriminatory, the offer is extend to the inhabitants of various other French regional provinces and all Frenchmen. If I was Corsican, I would be a tad offended to have been left out!View attachment 558130

To remedy the above gros faux pas:
View attachment 558131View attachment 558133

Or I wonder if the French MOD nixed it because the Moor's Head on the Corsican flag was deemed a tad racist?
I knew one Corsican in 2REP, fairly nice guy but a complete bananier, always in and out of taule. Finally after over 4 years of service he deserted. I occasionally see him on the train, still with his military backpack. Seems to have suffered no consequences by deserting and so close to the regiment.

Jean d'Épée

A Légionnaire from the 13°DBLE has been expelled from the FFL for having made a Nazi salute and put the video on a social network. He had been in "la 13" for three weeks and had a background as a member of the extreme-left "black blocks".

Another Légionnaire from the 1er REG is under investigation.

This follows a report from the Left leaning media Mediapart which claims it has found evidence of about 50 "Neo-nazis" in the French forces.

I recall at least 5 perpetrators being from my company. I don’t know what happened to them, one had already deserted by the time they made the documentary and he was the only MDR. The rest were NCOs. Completely normal within 2REP which has had individuals openly racist and some idiots following Nazism or fascism. Not to point fingers but I only saw Italian, Belgian and French legionnaires do this. I’m sure there were other nationalities though.

Jean d'Épée

I’m surprised the B2 didn’t pick up on it as he was being recruited.
To be honest, seeing some of the neurotic individuals that enter, the Gestapo is either not effective or they know exactly what they’re recruiting for.

The legion has always had a lot of sordid and mental soldiers within its ranks.


The last 3 Brits I saw enter the regiment have promptly deserted. One of them ex Para regiment. Another one from the Paras has joined but he is still fresh…let’s see how he goes. If he stays he will be one of a total of 3 Brits I’ve seen make it through to 5 years (out of maybe 11)
What`s the most common reason for desertion in the Rep? I`d have thought an ex Para would have had a good idea of what he was getting into .

Jean d'Épée

What`s the most common reason for desertion in the Rep? I`d have thought an ex Para would have had a good idea of what he was getting into .
They constant BS usually. Coming from a different military is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you are able to adapt easily to the military lifestyle so Castel and basic training should be a walk in the park or at least no surprise. It’s a curse in that (for the westerners) you see how your life was quite good back home and your military was a lot more comfortable in living and maybe better paid.

There was an English CCH who told me he joined with another English guy who had come from the Paras. He said that initially the Para was very good and knew all of his stuff because of his background and the CCH got into a lot of trouble. But when they got to 2REP the ex-Para was apparently always mouthing off to the caporals because he apparently knew how to do something better, and was promptly ganged up on and beaten. After a few times of this he apparently wrapped it and left. The CCH continued to make stupid mistakes but knew when to keep his mouth shut so never strayed too much out of line. He’s in Paris as I understand now.

Some Eastern Europeans (and other nationalities) also don’t like Americans, English, Irish, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders and will make it their personal mission to make them desert

Jean d'Épée

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.
I saw this on Reddit. This video was apparently made in the early 2000s and there are some direct correlations between the types of punishment/hazing and my platoon experiences in my first two years.

Jean d'Épée


Just read a French Online Newspaper Article about a Legionnaire retiring after 41 years service. The picture looked familiar, then I realised it was an old friend from 3rd Company 2 REP in the early eighties. He was already a Legonnaire 1st Class when I arrived, freshly minted off the Para Promo and Castelnaudary. One of the good guys who helped us sprogs avoid the pitfalls of a newbie in the Company. A tall, usually smiling, quite genial bloke from the French Antilles. In those far off non-PC days, his nickname was "Black" and it appeared that he was comfortable with it. When we were on tour in Djibouti, he was a VLRA driver, with his left arm constantly resting on the open window of the truck. He got a bit of the mick taken when he went two-tone, with one arm being a pale brown and the other almost mahogany in colour.

According to the report, after leaving 2 REP he moved around a lot between the Regiments in the Legion, his favourite stint being as an Infantry Platoon Commander in 3 REI in French Guyana in 2000-2002. He finished as a "Major" (the highest non-commissioned rank, sort of UK equivalent of Senior WO1) after refusing the chance of Commissioning as an Officer twice in his career, and his last posting was as 2ic of the Third Recruit Training Company in Castelnaudary.

Well done mate! Felicitations mon ami!
I remember him in Castel, seemed like an alright guy. Obviously we didn’t have much contact.

Jean d'Épée

From the 2 REP Official Instagram Page:
View attachment 550739
A Legionnaire of 2 REP's 3rd Company (black patch on left sleeve) preparing to abseil/rappel from a helicopter.

View attachment 550741
Another Legionnaire of 2 REP's 3rd Company (black triangle on back of helmet) on the Punta Bianca range near Calvi.

View attachment 550743

A 2 REP Platoon on the range. This one appears to be the one called Campanella (if memory serves me well) also near Calvi.

Both ranges can be marched/run to from Camp Raffalli. :cool:
The third photo is not Campanella it’s Casta, looking at the google maps, if you look at the satellite view you can faintly see the legion flame (created by legionnaires from FTS - their infantry training package when they enter the regiment after the promo).


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