|2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
(2e Régiment Etranger de Parachutistes)
Badge of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
1948 – 1955
December 1, 1955 – present
|Allegiance||French Foreign Legion|
|Type||Foreign Airborne Regiment|
• Air Assault
• Urban Warfare (1re CIE)
• Mountain warfare (2e CIE)
• Amphibious warfare (3e CIE)
• Sniping and Demolitions (4e CIE)
• Desert Warfare (5e CIE)
|Part of||11th Parachute Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Calvi, Corsica France|
|Colors||Green & Red|
La Legion Marche(The Legion Marches)
|Anniversaries||Camerone Day (30 April),
Saint-Michael Day (29 September)
|Colonel Benoît Desmeulles|
Paul Arnaud de Foïard
Éric Bellot des Minières
|Insignia of 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment|
The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e REP) is the only foreign airborne regiment of the French Foreign Legion and France. Stationed at Camp Raffalli near the town of Calvi on the island of Corsica, just south of mainland France. It is part of the 11th Parachute Brigade and part of the spearhead of the French rapid reaction force.
The 2 REP is an elite regiment that operates with the same structure of special forces. Because of differences in infantry the 2 REP is composed of companies with specific specializations. However, it is not considered as one because of its foreign status. The 2 REP and other regiments of the French Foreign Legion differentiates from other armies in the world because its recruits are often experienced militaries from all around the world, which brings the best of their knowledge and make the legion a pool of the best international soldiers of all around the world.
When the idea of paratroopers became accepted by the Legion, TAP formations already presented titles of glory on all the lists of battlefields across World War II. Nevertheless, Indochina would really be the crucible in which morale "état d'esprit" and French TAP style would surface. The glory of sacrifice and the nostalgia of a lost cause would entertain the myth.
The Parachute Company of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment, (Co. Para du 3e REI) was created on April 1, 1948. The command of the Para company of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment was entrusted to a young 23-year-old veteran, Legion lieutenant Jacques Morin as Regimental Commander or "Chef de Corps" of the Co. Para du 3e REI from April 31, 1948 to May 31, 1949. Volunteers filled in the ranks from the foreign regiments present already in Indochina. Dependent on the organization of the 3e REI, the raised paratrooper company was operated under the operational missions of the 3rd Indochina Air Infantry Battalion of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, (III/1er RCP). Stationed at Hanoi, the Para company engaged immediately and took part in active airborne operations. Following a series of brilliant combat action operations in the most exposed sectors of the high regions and airborne operations in the Delta, the para company of the 3e REI was dissolved on May 31, 1949. At the time of the dissolve, the para company counted : 3 Legion officers, 14 Sous-officiers, 92 Legion Corporals and Legionnaires, all of whom were transferred to the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion, (1er B.E.P) which just disembarked in Indochina.
The insignia of the Parachute Company of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment was created in 1948 by the Jacques Morin. The combat company insignia represents an eastern dragon, winged and armed with a sword guarding the insignia of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment at the center of legion colors.
The 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion, (1er B.E.P, I formation) was created on July 1, 1948 at Khamisis, in Algeria. The 1er B.E.P disembarked in Indochina on November 12 and was engaged in combat operations in the Tonkin. On June 1, 1949, the Para Co. 3e REI completed its count. On November 17, 1950; the 1er B.E.P (1er B.E.P, I Formation) jumped on That Khé and sacrificed itself in Coc Xa to protect the unfolding of the RC4. Heading and leading tradition was 1er B.E.P battalion commander Chef de Corps du 1er B.E.P, Commandant Pierre Segrétain.
The battalion dissolved on December 31, 1950; was reconstituted on March 1, 1951 (1er B.E.P, II formation) and was seen participating excessively in combat operations at Cho Ben, on the black river and at Annam. On November 21, 1953; the reconstituted 1er B.E.P was parachuted on Dien Bien Phu. In this gigantic battle, the reconstituted (1er B.E.P, II formation) 1er B.E.P counted 575 killed and missing for the second time. Amongst the fatal casualties featured Lieutenants Dumont, Boisbouvier and de Stabenrath, killed in between April 1 and May 13 as well as Sergent-Chef Grimault, killed on March 30. Reconstituted for the third time (1er B.E.P, III formation) on May 19, 1954, the 1er B.E.P left Indochina on February 8, 1955. The 1er B.E.P totaled 5 citations at the orders of the armed forces and the fourragère of the colors of the Médaille militaire. The 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (1er B.E.P, III Formation) became the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment (1er R.E.P) in Algeria on September 1, 1955.
Piror being designate as the 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment 3e REP; the 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion 3e BEP was created on April 1949 at Mascara. The 7th combat company of paratrooper training of the 1st Foreign rejoined Sétif 7 months later, starting November 15, 1949, becoming officially the 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion (3e B.E.P). The mission of the 3e B.E.P was to instruct and form the legionnaires destined to relieve the 1er B.E.P and 2e B.E.P. While mainly formed and created to instruct the Legionnaires, the 3rd Foreign Paratrooper Battalion (3e B.E.P) participated in operations of maintaining order in Tunisia from January to June 1952.
On May 4, 1954; when struggle became of a rage at Dien Bien Phu, the 3e B.E.P made and cleared way to Indochina. On May 25, 1954, the battalion is at Haïphong. On June 1, the count of the men forming the 3e B.E.P was transferred to the 2e B.E.P during the reconstitution of the later. The 3e B.E.P merged with the injured of annihilated foreign battalions while in the meantime, owing to numerous volunteers, the 3e B.E.P was seen reconstituted at Sétif. Back to Algeria, the three foreign paratrooper battalions (1er B.E.P, 2e B.E.P, 3e B.E.P) would be seen filling the ranks of the foreign paratrooper regiment. On September 1, 1955, the 3e B.E.P became the 3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment (3e R.E.P). Based at Batna, the regiment became opeational but then was dissolved on December 1, 1955; the men constituting the regiment were merged with the 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion, (2e B.E.P) to form a new corps, the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment, (2e R.E.P).
Disembarked in Algeria on February 25, 1955, the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion 1er B.E.P became the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment 1er R.E.P on September 1, 1955. Based at Zéralda, the regiment was composed of one command and support company, one assault company and three combat companies. Quite quickly, operations commenced : Nementchas, Tunisian and Moroccan frontiers, Ouarsenis and de Suez. On November 6, 1956; the regiment disembarked at Port-Fouad and operated quickly along the canal. The progression of the regiment was halted by the ceasefire and the regiment was quick to make way to operate around the mountains of Algeria by December 10.
Following the petrol route in the Sahara, combat operations engaged the regiment non-stop in the region of Guelma. The magnificent results were endured by the death of superior French regimental commander Chef de Corps Legion Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Paul Jeanpierre; the legendary Para Legionnaire leading; who fell to the ennemy on May 28, 1958 along with a couple of hundred legionnaires. In 1959, action around the mountains retook course in operations "Jumelles", "Cigales" and "Ariege" in the Aurès, ending in Kabylie. Lory representation of paratrooper legionniares; the reputation of the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment (1er R.E.P) was tarnished with the unfortunate events of the General's Putsch. The regiment was dissolved on April 30, 1961 at Thiersville.
The 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2e B.E.P) was created on October 1, 1948 by execution of a ministerial prescription dating to March 27, 1948. The combat companies of the 2e B.E.P were constituted by the 4th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (4e D.B.L.E) in Morocco and the depot of the foreign regiments in Sidi-bel-Abbès, were assigned by the 25th Airborne Division Element (French: 25e Elément Divisionnaire Aéroporté, EDAP/25). Comprising one command company and three combat companies type fusiliers-voltigeurs, the battalion made and cleared way to Oran on January 19, 1949, destined for Indochina. Disembarked in Saïgon on February 9, the battalion was directed to Kep (Cambodia) by land route. On November 1949, the battalion took base in Quan Thé.
The first combat engagements of the 2e B.E.P have for theatre of operations, Cambodia, Cochinchine and Annam. On October 1950, the 2e B.E.P was summoned to Tonkin. Reinforced by a heavy mortars company, the battalion engaged in all military operations in the Delta, in Thaï lands, Mékong and the plains of Jarres. The impressive series of combat engagements were earned at the battle of Nghia Lo, colonial route N°6 (RC6), Hoa Binh and the defense of the camp by an airborne operation on Langson. Crowned of a magnificent epoque, the 2e B.E.P made and cleared way to Dien Bien Phu on April 9 and 10 of 1954 in the middle of the furnace. Following the couter-attack of supporting point "Huguet", led by a rare determination during the night of the 22 and 23 of April; the 2e B.E.P and the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (1er B.E.P) merged to form a single Foreign Marching Battalion. On May 7, the Foreign Marching Battalion was dissolved and the 2e B.E.P was recreated by members of the 3rd Foreign Parachute Battalion (3e B.E.P). On June 1, 1954, the 2e B.E.P left Asia on November 1, 1955. The colors of the battalion were decorated with 6 citations at the orders of the armed forces and the Fourragère of the colors of the Legion of Honor. The losses of the 2e B.E.P endured 1500 Legion Officers, Sous-Officiers and Legionnaires killed along with their "chef de corps", Legion Commandant Barthélémy Rémy Raffali leading and heading tradition. Returned to Algeria, the 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (2e B.E.P) became the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e R.E.P) on December 1, 1955.
The insignia of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion was created in 1949, in Cambodia. The battalion insignia represents an Eastern winged Dragon making reference to the original implementation in Asia. The three point triangular shape of the insignia represents the form of an open Parachute; centered by the flag colors of the Legion; and is symbol of the perfection that is expected of the men that may serve this regiment. The battalion was commanded at the time by commandant Solnon (1948-1950).
2e R.E.P global campaigns history include and is not limited to:
On December 1, 1955, the 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion, 2e B.E.P was enlarged to a full regiment, and was redesignated as the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e R.E.P). The regiment served throughout the Algerian War and suffered a total of 741 casualties. After the armistice on March 19, 1962 the regiment was moved to Telergma and in September to Mers-el-Kebir. In June 1963 Lt. Col. Caillaud exercised command, regrouped and reformed the R.E.P regiment into an elite para-commando force. In June 1967 the regiment was moved to its current base at Camp Raffalli, Calvi on the island of Corsica. It was assigned to the 11th Division and became part of France's rapid intervention forces.
"Sharping up" for 2e R.E.P takes 12 months of physical, mental and psychological tests across all terrain and weather conditions including special operations training.
2e R.E.P is the only regiment of the 11th Parachute Brigade which trains their own paratroopers. The Legionnaires spend their parachute training in Calvi TAP within the walls of the regiment. All other French Army paratrooper units are trained at the École des troupes aéroportées (ETAP) in Pau.
Commando Group teams of the 2e REP belong to the Commando Parachute Group - Groupement Commando Parachutiste which is a special forces unit of the 11th Parachute Brigade of the French Army. While GCP members of other units wear the parachutist's red beret, the 2e REP GCP members maintains the green beret of the French Foreign Legion.
Except for the Legionnaires of the 1er REG, 2e REG, 2e REP that conserve the Green Beret; the remainder of the French army metropolitan and marine paratroopers forming the 11th Parachute Brigade wear the Red Beret.
The insignia of the Foreign Legion Paratroopers of France represents a closed <<winged armed dextrochere>>, meaning a "right winged arm" armed with a sword pointing upwards. The Insignia makes reference to the Patron of Paratroopers. In fact, the Insignia represents <<the right Arm of Saint Michael>>, the Archangel which according to Liturgy is the <<Armed Arm of God>>. This Insignia is the symbol of righteous combat and fidelity to superior missions.
Chant de Marche : La Légion marche featuring:
La Légion marche vers le front,
En chantant nous suivons,
Héritiers de ses traditions,
Nous sommes avec elle.
Nous sommes les hommes des troupes d'assaut,
Soldats de la vieille Légion,
Demain brandissant nos drapeaux,
En vainqueurs nous défilerons,
Nous n'avons pas seulement des armes,
Mais le diable marche avec nous,
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, car nos aînés de la Légion,
Se battant là-bas, nous emboîtons le pas.
Pour ce destin de chevalier,
Nous sommes fiers d'appartenir
Au 2e REP.
The regimental colors are decorated with:
Compagnie Parachutiste du 3e Régiment Etranger d'Infanterie Tenure (1948-1949)
Tenure ( 1975 - 1995 )
Tenure ( 1995–present )
2e REP mortar team in action during the Battle of Kolwezi, 1978.
2e REP paratroopers roping from a Puma over Calvi.
Camp Raffalli, home to the 2e REP, as viewed from the water tower.
2e REP paratroopers jumping over Calvi Drop Zone.
2e REP paratroopers landing on Calvi Drop Zone during a training course.
2e REP paratroopers jumping from a C-160.