Consequently, training is often described as not only physically challenging, but also extremely psychologically stressful. History The French Foreign Legion was created by Louis Philippe, then King of the French, on March 10, 1831. The direct reason was that foreigners were forbidden to serve in the French Army after the 1830 July Revolution. The purpose of the Legion was to remove disruptive elements from society and put them to use fighting the enemies of France. Recruits included failed revolutionaries from the rest of Europe, soldiers from the disbanded foreign regiments, and troublemakers in general, both foreign and French. Algeria was designated as the Legion's home; as the colony was proving to be a very unpopular posting with regular regiments in the French Army, the introduction of the Legion was well received. In late 1831, the first Legionnaires landed in Algeria, the country that would be the Legion's homeland for 130 years and shape its character.
The early years in Algeria were hard for Legionnaires because they were often sent to the worst postings, received the worst assignments and were generally uninterested in the new colony of the French. The Legion's first service in Algeria came to an end after only four years, since it was needed elsewhere. Composition Previously, the Legion was not stationed in mainland France except in wartime. Until 1962, the Legion headquarters were located in Sidi-Bel-Abbès, Algeria. Nowadays, some units of the Legion are in Corsica or overseas possessions, while the rest is in the south of mainland France. Current headquarters are in Aubagne, France, just outside Marseille. There are nine regiments and one independent sub-unit : * Mainland France o 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1er REC), based in Orange (armoured troops), o 1st Foreign Regiment (1er RE), based in Aubagne (legion headquarters), o 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI), based in Nîmes, o 4th Foreign Regiment (4e RE), based in Castelnaudary (training); o 1st Foreign Engineer Regiment (1er REG), based in Laudun; o 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment (2e REG), based in St Christol; * Corsica o 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP), based in Calvi, Corsica; * French Overseas Territories and Overseas Collectives, o 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (3e REI), based in French Guiana, o Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte (DLEM); * Africa o 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade (13 DBLE), based in Djibouti. The Legionnaire's Code of Honour Every Legionnaire must know by heart the "Legionnaire's Code of Honour".
The Legionnaires spend many hours learning it, reciting it, and then getting the vocal synchronization together: 1. Légionnaire, you are a volunteer serving France with "Honour and Fidelity". 2. Every legionnaire is your brother-in-arms, regardless of his nationality, race, or religion. You will demonstrate this by strict solidarity which must always unite members of the same family. 3.
Respect of traditions, devotion to your leaders, discipline and comradeship are your strengths, courage and loyalty your virtues. 4. Proud of your status as legionnaire, you display this in your uniform, which is always impeccable, your behaviour always dignified but modest, your living quarters always clean. 5. An elite soldier, you will train rigorously, you will maintain your weapon as your most precious possession, you are constantly concerned with your physical form. 6. A mission is sacred, you will carry it out until the end respecting laws, customs of war, international conventions and, if necessary, at the risk of your life.
(Changed in November 2000) 7. In combat, you will act without passion and without hate, you will respect the vanquished enemy, you will never abandon your dead or wounded, nor surrender your arms. Marching step Also notable is the marching pace of the Legion. In comparison to the 120-step-per-minute pace of other French units, the Legion has an 88-step-per-minute marching speed. This can be seen at ceremonial parades and public displays attended by the Legion, particularly while parading in Paris on 14 July (Bastille Day).
Because of the impressively slow pace, which Legionnaires refer to as the "crawl", the Legion is always the last unit marching in any parade. The Legion is normally accompanied by its own band which traditionally plays the march of any one of the regiments comprising the Legion, except that of the unit actually on parade. The regimental song of each unit and "Le Boudin" (commonly called the blood sausage or black pudding song) is sung by Legionnaires standing at attention. Also, because the Legion must always stay together, it doesn't break formation into two on parade, as other French military units do to in order to preserve the symmetric sight of the Bastille Day parade. Contrary to popular belief, the adoption of the Legion's slow marching speed was not due to a need to preserve energy and fluids during long marches under the hot Algerian sun.
Rather, it was the marching speed of their Swiss predecessors in the French army of the 1820's - the Légion (and later - regiment) Hohenlohe, many of whom joined the Légion Étrangère when it was created in 1831, the Swiss having been disbanded prior to the revolution of 1830.[citation needed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_foreign_legion Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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