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|2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
(2e Régiment Etranger de Parachutistes)
Badge of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
Bataillon étranger parachutistes
1948 – 1955
Régiment étranger parachutistes
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 Jean de Monicault|
Paul Arnaud de Foïard
Jean Louis Roué
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 airborne regiment of the French Foreign Legion. It was formed to fill the gap left by the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment, dissolved in disgrace for its involvement in the Algiers putsch of 1961.
Since the regiment's arrival from Algeria in 1967, it has been stationed at Camp Raffalli near the town of Calvi on the island of Corsica, south of mainland France. It is one of the four infantry regiments of the 11th Parachute Brigade and part of the spearhead of the French rapid reaction force. The regiment is also equipped with Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé (VAB).
The 2e REP is composed in 2016, of ten companies out of which five combat companies enumerated from 1 to 5 and reserve numbered 6 company.
Descended from the 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion which served in Indochina, it was the regiment that showed capability in Algeria, and more recently in Kolwezi (Zaïre) during Operation Bonite in 1978. Having participated to all the exterior operations since 1970, the regiment was notably projected in Tchad, Lebanon, and ex-Yugoslavia since 1992, at Djibouti, Rwanda, in Central Africa or even Gabon. In 1997, the regiment was engaged in the Congo-Brazzaville during Operation Pelican (French: Opération Pélican). From 2002-2003, at the occasion of the beginning of Opération Licorne (French: Opération Licorne), regiment was engaged in the Ivory Coast. More recently in 2010, the regiment joined the Afghan theatre at corps of Brigade La Fayette (French: brigade La Fayette) (or Task Force La Fayette) as GTIA Surobi, code Battle Group Altor.
The Parachute Company of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment was created on April 1, 1948. The command of the company was given to a 23-year-old Lieutenant, Jacques Morin. He commanded the company 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 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment, the parachute company operated under different battalions. Following a series of combat action operations in the most exposed sectors of the high regions and airborne operations in the Delta, the company was dissolved on May 31, 1949. At the time the company disbanded, it comprised three Legion officers, 14 Sous-officiers, and 92 corporals and legionnaires, all of whom were transferred to the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion which had just disembarked in Indochina. Jacques Morin created the parachute company insignia in 1948.
The 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion, (1er BEP, 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 operational 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).
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.
When the 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion 2e BEP left the Far-East on November 1 1955, the fanion of the battalion counted six palms and the Fourragere with colors of the Légion d'honneur. The battalion had endured the loss of 1500 Officers, Sous-Officiers and Legionnaires out of which one battalion commander. On December 1 the 2e BEP became the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment 2e REP. During the first combat engagement of the foreign regiment, on January 5, the regiment endured the loss of the first fatality, while the outlaws (French: Hors La Loi, HLL) lost 22 of theirs. Regrouped at Philippeville (French: Philippeville), the companies covered the appropriate sectors.
From March to June, tow units operated in the Aurès (French: Aurès). April 30 was marked with hard combat engagements. The regimental colors were received on June 5. In November, the regiment changed sectors. The command post set camp at Tébessa (French: Tébessa). In operational reserve, the regiment had for mission to run surveillance of the Algerian-Tunisian Border. The year of 1956 ended with 900 rebels killed, 500 prisoners and significant war material recuperated. The foreign regiment had endured the loss of 38 men killed in combat.
On April 1957, the regiment returned to Philippeville. On May 30, the regiment left garrison and made way to El Milia (French: El Milia) in order to ensure the security of the almost island looking Collo and the region of Jijel (French: Jijel). In August, the regiment returned to Tébessa for a series of operations on the border where 35 rebels where placed out of combat at the expense of the lives of six Legionnaires. On December 18, the foreign regiment destroyed an opposing battalion size in the Hamimat Guerra. The rebels deplored 45 fatalities. In 1960, the regiment was spread in different garrisons : Chekfa, Tleta, Chahna, Siar and Philipeville at camp Pehau. During the 1st trimester, « Opération Turquoise » occupied the regiment which deplored four fatalities, eight wounded, however, the enemy left 24 outlaws (French: Hors La Loi, HLL), 2 prisoners, 5 defeated escapees, and 17 arrested suspects. One type 20mm cannon recuperated, 1 PM, 10 war rifles and numerous munitions were destroyed. A couple of secondary operations were mounted such as « Saxophone » on January 26 and 27, "Clarinette" (3 HLL killed and one prisoner), « Basson I » on February 20 and 21, « Basson II » on March 8 and 9, (six HLL killed and 24 suspects arrested), « Zacharie » (1 leading figure died committing suicide and 2 defeated escapes) from March 15 to 17, « Victorien » (four defeated escapees), then in the 2nd trimester, « Turquoise » with secondary operations « Poisson » (two HLL killed, eight suspects arrested) on April 1 and 2, « Basson III » (three HLL killed and defeated escapees, on April 19, one Officer and two Legionnaires were killed in an ambush). After « Turquoise », followed « Opaline » in June.
In the first days of 1958, the 2e REP accelerated the rhythms of combats. On April 26 and 27, the foreign regiment placed out of combat 209 HLL (outlaws) in the region of Sbihi, recuperating a strong arsenal out of which 3 mitrailleuses. On the 30, during the celebration of Camarón, a series of locations seals were placed into effect in order to intercept a band of rebels making way towards Ahras. 84 of them were killed. In January 1959, the foreign regiment made way towards Guelma, as operational reserve for the zone East Constantine. On March 1, the foreign regiment annihilated a battalion size force at Gambetta. On June 23, another battalion size rebel force was dismantled. 29 HLL were killed and 10 were made prisoners. During the 3rd trimester, the operations « Pierres précieuses » were launched. West Constantine was racked. The casualty results were heavy: 229 HLL killed, 99 prisoners, and the foreign regiment endured the loss of 11 Legionnaires. In January 1960, the 2e REP, at the corps of the 25th Parachute Division 25e DP operated in the sector of Djidjelli. It's operation "Turquoise" again, secondary operation of operation "Pierres précieuses ". On September 23, the foreign regiment returned to its rear base in Philipeville before rejoining Hammama where operation "Ariège" was commencing and which concerned the regions of Biskra and Kenchela. Before leaving the Aurès, the 2e REP inflicted another defeat on the rebels in Chelia, finishing with 53 HLL killed. On December 28, the foreign regiment made movement towards Oran then Tlemcen where the regiment arrived on December 30.
On May 1 1961, following the dissolution of the brother regiment: the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment 1er REP, the foreign regiment remained the only unit heir of all the para-legion units created since 1948. As much as the Cadres and Legionnaires of the foreign regiment pleasantly say : "The Foreign is Second to None" (French: "Le second de personne").
Placed at the disposition Western Oran zone in reinforcement of the Algerian-Moroccan Barrage, the foreign regiment remained until January 28, date where the later was found in the rear base. The operations, police rounds and presence rounds followed each other in the regions of Calle, Milia, Philipeville until March 18 1962, date of the ceasefire which the foreign regiment learned of at Telergma. In less than seven years, more than 4000 rebels were placed out of combat and nearly 4000 individual arms and more than 200 collective arms were ceased.
The foreign regiment left Constantine, on August 30 1962, after a continuous quasi presence for 6 years in the same region. On September 16, the foreign regiment regrouped at Bou-Sfer in the enclave of the Strategic Base of Mers El Kébir.
Starting 1962 and at the signature of the Évian Accords (French: accords d'Évian), the French military progressively left Algeria to be repatriated in metropolis France. The French Foreign Legion was not exempt of this repatriation and did not escape to this rule. For the first time in Legion history, Legion regiments would be garrisoned in metropolis.
For the 2e REP, this move would be made progressively between 1965 and 1967. From the former new garrison at Bou-Sfer, the last French Base on the Algerian territory, the Regiment would send units to start preparing the new garrison, situated in Calvi, in Corsica. This garrison was the former garrison of the 1st Parachute Choc Battalion (French: 1er bataillon parachutiste de choc) of the 11th Parachute Choc Demi-Brigade (French: 11e Demi-Brigade Parachutiste de Choc), dissolved in 1963.
The complete move would be effective in June 1967 and was seen integrating the ranks of the 11th Parachute Division.
That period, first period of peace in the history of the regiment after 14 years in existence, was accompanied with various challenges, significant for the legionnaires. The latter, strong of their military victories in French Indochina and on the North-African territory, had to face political decisions which were hard to comprehend. On another hand, the dissolution of the "brother regiment", the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment 1er REP, following the generals putsch (French: putsch des généraux), left the regiment in a significant disarray.
In addition, the foreign regiment was in a null phase of operations activity. The Regiment was garrisoned in camp, and stuck with no permission to move out of the designated area while being encircled by the local Algerian army, with whom the foreign regiment led a war against for 8 years. Accordingly, the training and routine affected deeply the esprit de corps of the foreign men (Legionnaires).
It was during this époque, under the impulsion of Colonel Caillaud, that the companies started to specialize in the a particular combat façade: Anti-tank combat (1st company), Mountain combat (2nd company), Amphibious combat (3rd company) and Destruction explosive activities (4th company).
This regrouping reformed the R.E.P 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.
In 1994, the COMPARA (parachute company) which the REP armed in Djibouti (13e DBLE) was dissolved. Nevertheless, the 2e REP continued each year to supply a turning « captive » until the departure of the 13e DBLE on June 13 2011.
The configuration of the REP wouldn't fundamentally evolve until 2010 and the regiment would continue to be engaged on the various exterior theatres of operations, such as Afghanistan, International Security Assistance Force ISAF and Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team O.M.L.T in 2008 and 2012, GTIA (Altor in 2010) and SGTIA (Ba cum in 2011) at the corps of La Fayette (Operation Pamir) (French: Opération Pamir). Two Legionnaires, Pole Konrad Rygiel from 2e R.E.P G.C.P, Slovakian Robert Hutnik from the regiment were killed in action.
A minor reorganization with no impact on the operational capacity of the regiment, the latter continued to be deploy the respective units in mission of short durations in Djibouti (until the departure of the 13e DBLE in 2011), to Gabon, then New Caledonia, and as of 2012, in the United Arab Emirates at the title of infantry company captive of the Legion at the 13e DBLE (alternating with metropolis legion infantry units).
During the night of January 27 and January 28 2013, a company of the 2e REP was parachuted on the city of Tombouctou, within the cadre Operation Serval (French: Opération Serval) in Mali, a first since the Operation Bonite (Kolwezi) in 1978.
In 2015, a fifth combat company was formed, specialized in the actions of desert warfare.
Operation Serval (French: Opération Serval) in Mali having been replaced by Operation Barkhane (French: Opération Barkhane) in the Saharan Sahel on August 2014, 3 combat sections of the regiment parachuted in the North of Niger between April 7 and April 13 2015.
"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.
Consisting similarly to the DINOPS, PCG, GCM of the Legion REGs, the 2e REP operates more specialized action teams, known more recently as the GCP of 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 specialized regular 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.
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