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Foreign Legion 13th DBLE


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#1 Skipper

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 08:57 AM

It is doubtful that any other military unit had a more peripatetic journey through World War II than the 13th Demi-Brigade of the French Foreign Legion (13th DBLE). The Legionnaires fought from the frozen fjords of Norway, around Africa, in the searing deserts of the Middle East, in the mountains of Italy, in France and finally during the grim push into Germany. Along the way, they fought just about every kind of enemy thrown at them — and on a couple of occasions each other. Formed originally to fight the Russians, the unit included the only woman legionnaire ever and was commanded by a czarist prince out of Beau
Geste.


French Foreign Legion’s 13th Demi-Brigade Fought in World War II » HistoryNet

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#2 Skipper

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:01 AM

Something about a great Legionnaire who fought in both wars

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Marc Volokhoff was a Tsarist officer before he joined the French Foreign legion. Commissioned in the 3e Régiment de Marche/1er Régiment Etranger in December 1914, he fought in the Dardanelles and the Balkans from August 1915 to September 1916; in 1917 he qualified as a military pilot. Joining the RMLE in February 1918, he was badly wounded and won the knight's cross of the Légion d'Honneur while leading a machine gun platoon in the night attack on the Dommiers plateau on 18th July, 1918. In 1923-25, while a lieutenant he was on detached flying duty with the 37th Aviation Regiment in Morocco. A captain from March 1925, being wounded again and twice decorated; one citation mentions his gallantry in low-level bombing runs over Bibane on 13th May. Granted French citizenship, he retired in 1930 but was recalled in 1939 and sent to Bacarès to help form the 22e RMVE. Dismissed early in 1941, he was arrested for Resistance activities in January 1943, but survived the war and died aged 93 in 1979.

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#3 C.Evans

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:36 PM

Great stuff Skipper. Also, wasn't the 13th the Legion unit who half of it's men fought for the Allies-and the other half for the German? I read somewhere many years ago-that a Legion unit basically split into halves-and that they even actually opposed each other in the Desert. I can't remember where I read thi story--perhaps in WWII Magazine? and about 15-20 years ago??
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
:snoopy: :ww1ace:
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#4 A-58

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 08:52 AM

Does anyone have information concerning the "questionable" behavior of Foriegn Legion troops in the Norweigian Campaign? I saw some mention of it in another thread, but figured since this thread was dedicated to the Legion it would be best to inquire here. Any help would be appreciated.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#5 Skipper

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:27 PM

Great stuff Skipper. Also, wasn't the 13th the Legion unit who half of it's men fought for the Allies-and the other half for the German? I read somewhere many years ago-that a Legion unit basically split into halves-and that they even actually opposed each other in the Desert. I can't remember where I read thi story--perhaps in WWII Magazine? and about 15-20 years ago??


from the same source as above:

There, the demi-brigade split: 31 officers and 636 men elected to return to North Africa, and Magrin-Vernerey, 28 officers and 900 men signed up with Charles de Gaulle’s Free French — for six months. “I knew I had enough in the paychest to keep the men going for six months,” explained Magrin-Vernerey, who thereafter fought under the nom de guerre of Monclar to protect his family in France.

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#6 Skipper

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:32 PM

Does anyone have information concerning the "questionable" behavior of Foriegn Legion troops in the Norweigian Campaign? I saw some mention of it in another thread, but figured since this thread was dedicated to the Legion it would be best to inquire here. Any help would be appreciated.


I have mention of 2 Legionaires who were shot at a fire squad at Narvik, but no further details.

same link as above:


"Blizzards drove temperatures down to 60 degrees below zero. One Legionnaire shrugged it off with “snow is like sand, but cold.” French Corporal Charles Favrel had a rather different reaction when he found a Spaniard frozen to death, eyes open, still in his firing position. Favrel would soon have the even grimmer experience of leading to the firing squad and helping to execute for desertion two brothers from Luxembourg. The demi-brigade made a second landing south of Narvik on May 28. For five hours the men were pinned down by artillery and machine gun fire until Magrin-Vernerey came ashore, grabbed a submachine gun and led the charge up the slopes. Outnumbered 3-to-1, the 1,500 Legionnaires drove the Germans out of Narvik".

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#7 C.Evans

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:21 PM

from the same source as above:

There, the demi-brigade split: 31 officers and 636 men elected to return to North Africa, and Magrin-Vernerey, 28 officers and 900 men signed up with Charles de Gaulle’s Free French — for six months. “I knew I had enough in the paychest to keep the men going for six months,” explained Magrin-Vernerey, who thereafter fought under the nom de guerre of Monclar to protect his family in France.



Hi Skipper, thank you for confirming that I wasn't delusional about that ;-)) I have high respect for those Gents as well as the all-German Battalion in Indochina.
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
:snoopy: :ww1ace:
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