|2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
(2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes)
Badge of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
|Active||9 October 1948 – present|
|Type||Foreign French Airborne Regiment|
• Air Assault
• Urban Warfare (1 CIE)
• Mountain warfare (2 CIE)
• Amphibious warfare (3 CIE)
• Sniping and Demolitions (4 CIE)
|Part of||11th Parachute Brigade|
|Garrison/HQ||Calvi, Corsica France|
|Colors||Green & Red|
La Legion Marche vers le front(The Legion marches towards the front)
|Anniversaries||Camerone Day (30 April),
Saint-Michael Day (29 September)
|Colonel Benoît Desmeulles|
Paul Arnaud de Foïard
Éric Bellot des Minières
|Circle Winged Armed Dextrochere Insignia of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment worn on a Green Berets. This Insignia is also worn by French Army Metropolitan and Marine Infantry Paratroopers backgrounded by an Anchor on Red Berets.|
The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e REP) is the only Foreign French Airborne regiment of the French Foreign Legion, 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.
As a consequence of the successes of the Parachute Company of 3e REI, the Legions' first parachute unit, serving in the First Indochina War it was decided to raise two battalions of Legion paratroops. The 2nd Foreign Parachute Battalion (French: 2e Bataillon étranger de parachutistes, 2e BEP) was formed on October 1, 1948, and based at Setif, Algeria.
The 2e BEP was sent to Indochina on January 13, 1949 and arrived at Saigon on February 8. From then until November they served as 'sector troops'.
In 1950, the battalion became a part of the General Reserve in Indochina. Following the French defeat on Route coloniale 4 in October 1950, the battalion was transported by ship to North Vietnam. The battalion took part in several battles, including the first battle of Nghia Lo (October 1951), the Black River (November–December 1951), and the fight for Route coloniale 6 (January–February 1952) during the Battle of Hoa Binh.
The battalion made a parachute drop on Dien Bien Phu as reinforcement during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (March–May 1954). Fighting without reinforcements, remnants of the 1er and 2e BEP were overwhelmed after a final assault by Viet Minh forces; fewer than 100 legionnaires of the 2e BEP were taken prisoner. On 1 December 1954, after the surviving members of the battalion had returned from captivity after the Armistice, the 2e BEP was later reconstituted with replacements, and returned by ship to French Algeria.
On December 1, 1955, the 2e BEP was enlarged to a full regiment, and was redesignated as the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e REP). The regiment served throughout the war and suffered a total of 741 casualties.
After the armistice on March 19, 1962 the regiment was to moved to Telergma and in September to Mers-el-Kebir. In June 1963 Lt. Col. Caillaud took command with a plan to transformed the now demoralized 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.
Elements of the regiment were deployed to Chad in April 1969 as part of a French force to support the government against two rebel forces. Returning at the end of 1970. Individual companies were deployed again in 1978-79 to protect French lives and again in 1984.
In May 1978, a force of gendarmes katangais entered the Katanga province of Zaire from Angola and occupied the mining town of Kolwezi. They began to loot the town and kill government soldiers and civilians (including several Belgian and French employees of a mining company). At the request of the government of Zaire, 2 REP was airlifted to Kinshasa and dropped on Kolwezi. The operation was a success and the town was quickly recaptured with minor casualties in the ranks of the paratroopers. Some 120 civilian hostages died in the occupation.
2e REP deployed to Afghanistan from January to July 2010, as part of Task Force "Altor". Two Legionnaires, Pole Konrad Rygiel from 2e REP GCP, Slovakian Robert Hutnik from the regiment were killed in action.
Considered the hardest and most intensive paratooper training in the world due to the fact that is, the only regiment around the globe where foreign nationals execute in perfection orders sharply in a language that is not theirs and which they would only have the duration of basic training to understand and apply before deploying to a French ordered operational regiment. "Sharping up" for 2nd REP takes 12 months of physical, mental and psychological tests across all terrain and weather conditions including special operations training.
2nd REP is the only regiment of the 11th Parachute Brigade (France) which trains its 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.
Operational deployments of 2e REP
Many other "classified" operations all over the globe.
Except for the Legionnaires of the 1e 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.
Circled Winged Armed Dextrochere worn on Red Beret of French Army Metropolitan Paratroopers
Anchored Winged Armed Dextrochere worn on Red Beret (Amaranth) of French Army Marine Infantry Paratroopers
Circled Winged Armed Dextrochere worn on Green Beret of French Foreign Legion Paratroopers
The Archangel Saint Michael, patron of the French paratroopers is celebrated on September 29.
The prière du Para (Prayer of the Paratrooper) was written by André Zirnheld in 1938.
Just like the paratrooper Brevet of the French Army; the Insignia of French Paratroopers was created in 1946. The French Army Insignia of metropolitan Paratroopers 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. The French Army Insignia of Marine Infantry Paratroopers is backgrounded by a Marine Anchor.
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:
The attribution of the two citations for the same operation theatre confers the right to wear the fourragère with colors of the Croix de la Valeur militaire (as of July, 2013) and the olive colors of the Médaille militaire for the ensemble of the four conferred citations.
Tenure ( 1975 - 1995 )
Tenure ( 1995–present )
Para Company 3rd REI
2ème REP mortar team in action during the Battle of Kolwezi, 1978.
2ème REP paratroopers roping from a Puma over Calvi.
Camp Raffalli, home to the 2ème REP, as viewed from the water tower.
2ème REP paratroopers jumping over Calvi Drop Zone.
2ème REP paratroopers landing on Calvi Drop Zone during a training course.
2ème REP paratroopers jumping from a C-160.