French Foreign Legion


French Foreign Legion
(Légion étrangère)
   A unit of the French army, comprising volunteers of other nationalities, the French Foreign Legion, or Légion étrangère, legally bars Frenchmen from joining as enlisted men (most officers, however, are French). The Foreign Legion was established in 1831, during the reign of louis-philippe i, as a regiment trained for service in Algeria. The main function of this unit has been to keep order in the French overseas possessions, but it may be sent wherever needed. Until 1962, the legion's headquarters were in Sidi Bel Abbès, in Algeria. They are now located in Aubagne, France. Physically fit nationals between the ages of 18 and 40 from any country other than France may enlist. Their backgrounds are not investigated and, except for minors, no identification papers are required. War criminals, murderers, and deserters from the armed forces of allies of France, however, are rejected. The initial enlistment term is five years, after which the legionnaire is eligible for French citizenship and promotion to officer. After serving in Algeria, the legion took part in campaigns in many French colonies, including those in North Africa and Indochina. It fought in the Crimean war (1854-56), in Italy against the Austrians (1859), in Mexico in support of emperor Maximilian, and in the franco-prussian war (1870-71). During World War I, it served with distinction on many fronts and was the most decorated unit in the French army. The legion fought in Norway and in France at the beginning of World War II. In 1940, many legionnaires joined the Free French forces of General charles de gaulle. In 1942, the legion's heroic defense of Bir-Hakeim brought the unit many honors. Reorganized after World War II, the legion later saw active service in Indochina, North Africa, and Korea. After 1945, large numbers of German war veterans enlisted in the legion.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • French Foreign Legion —    Officially named the Régiment Étranger, the French Foreign Legion was the most storied and durable mercenary force attached to a regular army. France had a long history of employing foreign mercenaries before the creation of the legion; of 102 …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • French Foreign Legion — noun a former foreign legion in the French army that was used for military duties outside of France • Hypernyms: ↑foreign legion …   Useful english dictionary

  • French Foreign Legion (Chanson) — French Foreign Legion est une chanson populaire dont la musique est de Guy Wood et les paroles de Aaron Schroeder. La version la plus connue est celle qui fut chantée par Frank Sinatra en 1958. Elle a pour un sujet un jeune homme qui menace de s… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • French Foreign Legion (song) — French Foreign Legion (chanson) French Foreign Legion est une chanson populaire dont la musique est de Guy Wood et les paroles de Aaron Schroeder. La version la plus connue est celle qui fut chantée par Frank Sinatra en 1958. Elle a pour un sujet …   Wikipédia en Français

  • French foreign legion (chanson) — French Foreign Legion est une chanson populaire dont la musique est de Guy Wood et les paroles de Aaron Schroeder. La version la plus connue est celle qui fut chantée par Frank Sinatra en 1958. Elle a pour un sujet un jeune homme qui menace de s… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • French Foreign Legion (chanson) — French Foreign Legion est une chanson populaire dont la musique est de Guy Wood et les paroles de Aaron Schroeder. La version la plus connue est celle qui fut chantée par Frank Sinatra en 1958. Elle a pour un sujet un jeune homme qui menace de s… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • French Foreign Legion (song) — French Foreign Legion is a popular song.The music was written by Guy Wood, the lyrics by Aaron Schroeder. The song was published in 1958. It is best known in a version sung by Frank Sinatra …   Wikipedia

  • French Foreign Legion in popular culture — Beyond its reputation of the French Foreign Legion as an elite unit often embroiled in serious fighting, its recruitment practices have also led to a romantic view of it being a place for a wronged man to leave behind his old life to start a new… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the French Foreign Legion — The French Foreign Legion have had a long and unique history amongst the units of the French Army. OriginsThe French Foreign Legion was created by Louis Philippe, then King of the French, on March 10, 1831. The direct reason was that foreigners… …   Wikipedia


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