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2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
(2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes)
2rep.jpg
Badge of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment
Active 9 October 1948 – present
Country  France
Branch French Army
Type Airborne Light Infantry
Role Primary Tasks:
• Air Assault
Other Roles:
• Urban Warfare (1 CIE)
• Mountain warfare (2 CIE)
• Amphibious warfare (3 CIE)
• Sniping and Demolitions (4 CIE)
Size 1,190 men
Part of 11th Parachute Brigade
Garrison/HQ Calvi, Corsica France
Nickname The REP
Motto More Majorum (after the custom (or manner) of our ancestors)
Colors Green & Red
March La Legion Marche (vers le front)
Anniversaries Camerone Day (30 April),
Saint-Michel Day (29 September)
Engagements
*First Indochina War
*Battle of Route Coloniale 4
*Battle of Hoa Binh
*Battle of Na San
*Battle of Dien Bien Phu
*Algerian War
*Shaba II
*Battle of Kolwezi
*Lebanon 1982-1984
*Koweït 1990–1991
*Kosovo
*Ivory Coast
*War in Afghanistan
*Mali
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Benoît Desmeulles
Notable
commanders
Rémy Raffalli,
Paul Arnaud de Foïard
Philippe Erulin
Alain Bouquin
Insignia
Badge of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment worn on Green Berets. This badge is also worn by French Army Paratroopers on Red Berets. Insigne de béret Parachutiste métro et légion.jpg
Abbreviation 2 REP

The 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (French: 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, 2e REP) is an 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[1] and the spearhead of the French Rapid reaction force.[1][2]

History[edit]

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.[3]

Indochina[edit]

Main article: Indochina War

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'.[4]

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.

Algeria[edit]

Main article: Algerian War

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).[5] The regiment served throughout the war and suffered a total of 741 casualties.[6]

After the armistice on March 19, 1962 the regiment was to moved to Telergma and in September to Mers-el-Kebir.[7] In June 1963 Lt. Col. Caillaud took command with a plan to transformed the now demoralized regiment into an elite para-commnado force.[7] In June 1967 the regiment was moved to its current base at Camp Raffalli, Calvi on the island of Corsica.[7] It was assigned to the 11th Division and became part of France's rapid intervention forces.[7]

Chad[edit]

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.[7]

Zaire[edit]

Main article: Battle of Kolwezi

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.

Afghanistan[edit]

Main article: Brigade La Fayette

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.

Mali[edit]

Main article: Opération Serval

A reinforced company of the 2nd REP was parachuted north of Timbuktu on January the 28th, 2013.[8]

Selection[edit]

Main article: Promo Parachutiste

This is the most prestigious and most professional of all the elite regiments,[according to whom?] probably because the 2nd REP is in most cases the first unit to be sent into a combat zone. The relatively high pay, the prestige and the emphasis on honor make the regiment a popular choice for Legionnaires leaving Castelnaudary. However, since it is considered to be the elite unit of the Legion, only the best recruits are accepted there, where recruits get another four months of parachute training before being accepted into the unit.

The initial four months at Camp Rafalli in Corsica are spent on specialized and parachute training. Enhanced training and combat experience will be gained during the first year. Only after that has a Legionnaire earned his right properly in the 2nd REP. Once in the REP, there is much emphasis on physical training on camp. Known[by whom?] as the hardest and most intensive training in the world, "sharping up"[clarification needed] for 2nd REP takes 12 months of physical and psychological tests across all terrain and weather conditions including special operations training.

There are many traditions in the regiment; for example, there are three roll calls a day. The first is the first thing in the morning, the second after lunch and the last at 21:00 in the evening. Another tradition is that a Legionnaire is confined to the island for the first year of the first posting there. It is also traditional for the whole regiment to march across the island from one side to the other once a year. This is a distance of about 200 kilometres (120 mi), which is performed in four days (carrying backpacks weighing at least 50 kilograms (110 lb)).

2nd REP is the only regiment of the 11th Parachute Brigade which trains its own paratroopers. The Legionnaires spend their parachute training in Calvi TAP within the walls of the regiment. All other Army units are trained at the École des troupes aéroportées (ETAP) in Pau.

Organization[edit]

Insignias of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment.

The regiment is composed of around 1140 men organized into 8 companies and a reserve unit of 60 men.[1]

  • Compagnie de commandement et de logistique (CCL) - Command and Logistics Company[9]
  • Compagnie d'administration et de soutien (CAS) - Administrative and Support Company[10]
  • Compagnie d'éclairage et d'appui (CEA) - Reconnaissance & Support Company (recce, anti-tank, sniper & pathfinder sections)[11]
  • 1er CIE - 1st Company (specialises in Urban warfare[12])[13] (a command section and 4 combat sections)
  • 2e CIE - 2nd Company (specialises in Mountain warfare[14]) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
  • 3e CIE - 3rd Company (specialises in Amphibious warfare[15]) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
  • 4e CIE - 4th Company (specialises in sniping and demolitions[16]) (a command section and 4 combat sections)
  • 5e Compagnie de maintenance (5e CM) - 5th Maintenance Company (formed August 1994)[17]
  • 6e Compagnie (6e CIE) - Reserve Unit (founded July 2001 upon the dissolution of the 173rd Infantry Regiment of Corsica)[18]

Some members 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 conserves the green beret of the French Foreign Legion.[19]

Deployments[edit]

Operational deployments of 2e REP[20]

  • Chad (in 1969, Operations Pout, Manta, Sparrowhawk)
  • Djibouti (1976 Loyada, 1992 Operation Iskoutir)
  • Zaire (1978, Kolwezi)
  • Lebanon (1982, Operation Orca,1987)
  • Rwanda (1990, 1992, Operation Noroit)
  • Gabon (1990, Operation Shark)
  • Iraq (1991, GCP, Operation Daguet)
  • Somalia (1992, Operation Oryx)
  • Central (1996, Operation Almandine)
  • Congo - Brazzaville (1997, Operation Pelican)
  • Former Yugoslavia (1993 Sarajevo, 1995 RIF 1996 and 1999 KFOR, Kosovo 2001 and 2003)
  • Koweit 1991, Operation Desert storm
  • Côte d'Ivoire (2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 Licorne)
  • Afghanistan (Various operations from 1960 to 1980, OMLT 2008, GTIA Altor 2010, Red SGTIA 2011, Operation PAMIR).
  • Mali (2013, Operation Serval)

Many other "classified" operations all over the globe.

Commanding Officers[edit]

  • Captain Jean Solnon (1948–1950)
  • Captain Léon Dussert (1950)
  • Major Rémy Raffalli (1950–1952)
  • Major René Bloch (1952–1953)
  • Major Albert Merglen
  • Major Hubert Liesenfelt (1953–1954)
  • Captain Claudius Vial (1954)
  • Major Georges Masselot (1954–1955)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Devismes (1955–1958)
  • Major Georges Masselot (February–April 1958)
  • Colonel Jacques Lefort (1958–1960)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Darmuzai (1960–1961)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Chenel (1961–1963)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Robert Caillaud (1963–1965)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Paul Arnaud de Foïard (1965–1967)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jeannou Lacaze (1967–1970)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dupoux (1970–1972)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Goupil (1972–1974)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Brette (1974–1976)
  • Colonel Philippe Erulin (1976–1978)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Roue (1978–1980)
  • Colonel Michel Guignon (1980–1982)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Janvier (1982–1984)
  • Colonel Raymond Germanos (1984–1986)
  • Colonel Wabinski (1986–1988)
  • Colonel Coevoet (1988–1990)
  • Colonel Gausseres (1990–1992)
  • Colonel Poulet (1992–1994)
  • Colonel Bruno Dary (1994–1996)
  • Colonel Benoît Puga (1996–1998)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Prevost (1998–2000)
  • Colonel Alain Bouquin (2000–2002)
  • Colonel Emmanuel Maurin (2002–2004)
  • Colonel Paulet (2004–2006)
  • Colonel Brice Houdet (2006–2008)
  • Colonel Eric Bellot des Minières (2008–2010)
  • Colonel Francois Plessy (2010–2012)
  • Colonel Benoît Desmeulles (2012- )

Notable Officers and Legionnaires[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Monument commemorating the Service of Fallen Legionnaires around the globe; headquarters of the French Foreign Legion at Aubagne

Battle honours[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Les compagnies du 2e REP". Legion Etrangere. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  2. ^ The Special Forces, A History Of The World's Elite Fighting Units By Peter MacDonald, Paperback: 256 pages, Publisher: WH Smith (1987) ISBN 0-603-03895-6
  3. ^ Windrow, Martin (1985). French Foreign Legion Paratroops. p. 7. 
  4. ^ Windrow, Martin (1985). French Foreign Legion Paratroops. p. 12. 
  5. ^ Windrow, Martin (1985). French Foreign Legion Paratroops. p. 17. 
  6. ^ Windrow, Martin (1985). French Foreign Legion Paratroops. p. 22. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Windrow, Martin (1985). French Foreign Legion Paratroops. pp. 27–28. 
  8. ^ Lignes de Défense, "La Légion saute sur Tombouctou" 2013/01/28 (French)
  9. ^ "Compagnie de Commandement et de Logistique". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Compagnie d'Administration et de Soutien". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  11. ^ "Compagnie d'Eclairage et d'Appui". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  12. ^ "1ère Compagnie – Le combat en zone urbaine". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  13. ^ Originally specialised in Night and Anti-tank warfare.
  14. ^ "2e Compagnie – Le combat en montagne". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  15. ^ "3ème Compagnie – Le combat amphibie". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  16. ^ "4e Compagnie – Le combat d'usure". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  17. ^ "5e Compagnie – Maintenance des matériels". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  18. ^ "6e Compagnie – La réserve du régiment". Foreign Legion. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  19. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpGQmFguGis
  20. ^ "Historique du 2ème REP". Legion etranger. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  21. ^ Camerone is a Battle Honour shared by all Foreign Legion Regiments, no matter when it was formed.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°33′13″N 8°48′02″E / 42.5536°N 8.8006°E / 42.5536; 8.8006

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