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French Foreign Legion

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Legio Patria Nostra


The best wing of the French Forces, so of course it must be made up of foreigners. Much like the Gurkhas, It was often labelled by Press as a Mercenary Force posted to colonies in North Africa and Southeast Asia, but its squaddies swear no allegiance to France, only to the Legion and to each other. Well worth respecting.


La Legion Etrangere was created by King Louis Philippe on 10 March 1831, to support his war in Algeria. Successive Legions were raised for the Crimean War as well for as wars in Italy and in Mexico.

Famous for the trademark last stands that strangely keep happening to this formation (Hacienda Camarón, Mexico 1863; Verdun, WW1 1916; Dien Bien Phu, Indochina 1954). It's funny how few other French units have a similar pedigree!

Present Day

Considered expendable by French politicos, they are generally considered nails - but none too bright and a bit keen on Marche ou crève (March or Die). The second Parachute Regiment (2 REP) is considered especially nails, as it's full of Brits, but don't ask what happened to the 1 REP (disbanded in disgrace after mutiny/attempted coup in Algeria).

Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of French serving, invariably pretending to be Belgians or Canadians. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fallout of the Yugoslavian civil wars many Russians and Eastern Europeans are now in on the game, with a small (but vocal) Brit contingent (known to the French as les fuckings because of the most identifiable word in their vocabulary). A mass number of Irish, Wirralheads and Scousers are said to be serving with the FFL.

Having said that, there are now more foreigners serving in the British Army than in the Legion! No wonder the white Brit can't get served down the NAAFI!

So why not just join the Good Old British Army?

  • Restructuring and Cutbacks (A fair point, the FFL was heaving with Brits for this reason in the 1980s)
  • Its like the Army, but somthing else, which makes it tempting
  • The near-instant application process (simply by walking through the gates)
  • You actually serve for the Legion, rather than patriotism
  • You prefer something nailsy
  • Disturbingly, you think the French are sexy and romantic
  • You get to sing like Frank Sinatra
  • You got the knock because the British Army is too good for you

Regiments of de la Legion Etrangere







Where to enlist

You can enlist for the Legion Etrangere in most French cities but the most well known recruitment posts are in the Fort De Nogent (Paris) and Aubagne (HQ east of Marseille). Just knock on the door/walk through the gates and say Volontaire pour Legion and you will be taken in and given instructions.



Induction and Basic Training

During the 2 week induction, Clothing and Accomodation is provided immediatly. Physical tests are 7 laps on a running track under 12 mins, climbing a 5 meter rope with/without using legs as well as pull/press/sit ups. A well known interview is the Gestapo, which can be in your chosen language for those who dont speak much French. Be honest with this and you have nothing to fear from the interviewers.

Basic Training is 3 months before being assigned to one of the regiments. Although the Legion holds a nailsy reputation, it is claimed to be physically easier than the Royal Marines but harder psychologically for many reasons, but this doesnt mean you're any less of a soldier.

External Links

Also see Spanish Foreign Legion.