Did France ever declare war on the Legion?

Hawkeye47

Active Member
#1
I was wondering if this ever happened before, I remember watching a documentary and I remember, seeing how a fallout happened and the legion split from France.
Is this wrong?

Thanks again.
Alex
 
Last edited:
#2
Did France declare war IN the Legion or ON the Legion? The question is a bit confusing.

France never declared war on the Legion, the Legion isn't a country, but the Legion had a unit that joined the ‘putsch’ (coup/rebellion) by certain top French officers that happened when De Gaulle decided to give Algeria independence. It's too much to go into in a single post, but there are lots of sites and books and even videos about it and there are many posts on here about that time as well. You might get a good breakdown from Wikipedia as well if you want a good summary.

The Legion also fought against itself in WW2 when Free French units that included some Legion went against Vichy French units that also included other Legion units. I think it was the 13DBLE on the Free French side and the 6REI (later 6REG, then 1REG) on the Vichy French side.
 

Hawkeye47

Active Member
#3
Did France declare are IN the Legion or ON the Legion? The question is a bit confusing. (...)
*On is what I mean to say brother, my mistake.

Yeah, that's pretty interesting, I thought it was around or after Vietnam something similar happened like that, but I may be wrong...
Thanks again
Alex
 
#4
Yes, you are thinking of the 1961 putsch in Algeria, that happened after the French war in Indochina (Vietnam). The 1REP joined with the rebelling generals and was disbanded and the 2REP kept in Corsica, some say to keep that at a distance... mitigating the risk of a repeat event so to speak.

Generals' Putsch of 1961

Also this article from the Vanity Fair talks about the Legion's involvement halfway through the article:

The Expendables: The Dark Romance of the French Foreign Legion
 

loustic

Banned
Banned
#5
(...) France never declared war on the Legion, the Legion isn't a country, but the Legion had a unit that joined the ‘putsch’ (coup/rebellion) by certain top French officers that happened when De Gaulle decided to give Algeria independence. It's too much to go into in a single post, but there are lots of sites and books and even videos about it and there are many posts on here about that time as well. You might get a good breakdown from Wikipedia as well if you want a good summary. (...)
The Legion had two paratroopers regiments before the coup in Algeria, 1 REP and 2 REP. Both did “bad thingsâ€￾ against De Gaulle during the coup. The men obeyed the orders, but the officers and some of the NCOs made the wrong (?) political choices. 2 REP was sent back to its barracks but 1 REP was disbanded. In 1 REP, the simple legionnaires were sent to other regiments and separated from one another (and they did not have internet to communicate), the officers were judged and sent to prison and then thrown out of the Army, the NCOs suffered the most dreadful treatment: they were sent for a time to a special unit of the Legion, known as Section d'épreuve which was in fact a hard labour camp. They also lost their rank. This has left bad memories until now!
 
#7
Yeah I know simon muzza's book talks a bit about it as he was serving at this time. 1960-1965 I believe. Coup was '62' yeah? Good read.
 

voltigeur

Legionnaire
Former Moderator
#8
The Legion had two paratroopers regiments before the coup in Algeria, 1 REP and 2 REP. Both did “bad thingsâ€￾ against De Gaulle during the coup. The men obeyed the orders, but the officers and some of the NCOs made the wrong (?) political choices. 2 REP was sent back to its barracks but 1 REP was disbanded. In 1 REP, the simple legionnaires were sent to other regiments and separated from one another (and they did not have internet to communicate), the officers were judged and sent to prison and then thrown out of the Army, the NCOs suffered the most dreadful treatment: they were sent for a time to a special unit of the Legion, known as Section d'épreuve which was in fact a hard labour camp. They also lost their rank. This has left bad memories until now!
The 1er REC was also part of the putsch. Lt-Col de la Chapelle served 7 years in prison. There were several other regiments poised to participate, however the putsch lasted only a few days. The 1er REC was send for a spell to the Sahara about 100 km south of Colomb-Béchar.
 
#9
(...) Coup was '62' yeah? Good read.
No. It started in the night of April 21 to 22, 1961, with 1er REP taking control of all the strategic points in Algiers (airport, radio, government buildings, etc.) and lasted 3 days. Not enough units having decided to follow the four generals, led by Gen Maurice Challe, they eventually decided to stop everything. Challe surrendered, the three others decided to go underground, but were all eventually captured and tried.
 
O

Ossie O

Unregistered
#10
The Winds of Change were well and truly blowing over Africa when British PM McMillan gave his famous speech in Cape Town Feb 1960. McMillan's conservative gov't was worried about the effects of violent confrontation with African nationalists in the Belgian Congo and French Algeria spilling over into British colonies. After President De Gaulle declared an Algerian Algeria in 1960, plots on his life followed fast and furious. Some were attended to bad luck, some were farcical, some were betrayed (the OAS was riddled with spies). With hindsight, by 1961 the French position in Algeria had become untenable. The vast majority of the French people were tired and disillusioned with the war. The Generals putsch/revolt was doomed from the start. The biggest error was De Gaulle was still alive in mainland France (you don't cut off a snakes tail to kill it).
The old man died watching TV in 1970!
 

dusaboss

Hyper Active Member
#13
Don't think so. Looks like event in book is based on real assassination attempt organized by OAS

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/citroen-helps-de-gaulle-survive-assassination-attempt

Heresay have it that there was several assassination attempt on De Gaulle. One with it FFL sniper is separate event during time of putsch. My source of information is one of FFL documentaries I guess so. They said that there was a plot, but it was never realized because failure of putsch.
 
#14
(...) Hearsay have it that there were several assassination attempts on De Gaulle. (...)
It's not hearsay, it's reality. As mentioned by Ossie, De Gaulle escaped a number of attacks between, say 1961 and 1965. The closest call was the so-called attentat du Petit-Clamart (attack at Petit-Clamart, a suburb town, south of Paris) on Aug 22, 1962, when his car was machine-gunned while he was en route to Vélizy-Villacoublay military airport. It's a quasi-miracle that nobody was hurt. When the motorcade finally reached the airport (with at least 2 flat tires on the presidential Citröen DS) the legend says that De Gaulle's first comment was a flegmatic “Et en plus, ils tirent comme des cochonsâ€￾ (and they can't even shoot properly, it's a pig's ear).
Mrs. Yvonne De Gaulle was accompanying her husband and was transporting live chickens in the trunk of the car. Another legend has it that her first question was “comment vont les poulets ?â€￾ (how are the chickens doing?) and that was misinterpreted as “how are the cops doing?â€￾ (poulet is also French slang for policeman). The policemen escorting the President were very honoured that the First Lady was inquiring about their well-being, while she was actually worried about her chickens... :D
The head of the plot at Petit-Clamart, Lt-Col Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry, a military scientist, who had worked on the French nuke bomb program, was eventually arrested, tried and executed.
 
M

Martin Scott

Unregistered
#15
The 1er REC was also part of the putsch. Lt-Col de la Chapelle served 7 years in prison. There were several other regiments poised to participate, however the putsch lasted only a few days. The 1er REC was send for a spell to the Sahara about 100 km south of Colomb-Béchar.
Meet a few anciens in Orange at Camerone and St Georges Day told some stories hard times for all of them.
 

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