Monday, August 8, 2011

The 2e REP French Foreign Legion Paratroopers

At the end of WWII, the Foreign Legion was a famous and versatile Corps de Troupe, which no longer had to make a reputation. The war which had just finished had also added some laurel leaves to its crown. From Narvik to Bir Hakeim, and from the Levant to the Vosges, the legionary had shown that he was still a shock infantryman "par excellence". However, a new type of soldier had covered himself with glory during the conflict, the paratrooper, overrunning the enemy by dropping from the sky. The old Legion did not have any paratroopers, whereas there was a pressing need for soldiers with this qualification in Indochina. Despite the argument of the General Staff, who opposed the rigour and the heaviness of the Legion to the versatility of the paratroopers, the 3e REI set up a parachute company in 1949, under the command of Lieutenant Morin. The die was cast and this new type of soldier entered the legend.: the Legion Parachutist. At almost the same period, the BEP (Batalliori Etranger de Parachutistes) was created at Khami-sis in Algeria, on 1 July 1948, under the command of Captain Segr�tain. The 2e BEP was created on 1st October 1948 at S�tif. A 3e BEP was set up in April 1949 at Mascara and installed itself shortly afterwards at S�tif where it became the d�p�t for the Legion Parachutists committed in the Far East. It was the time of the French Army without means. The paratroopers jumped from US Army surplus Dakotas and Junkers 52s which had survived the war. A lot of these Legion Parachutists were former together with men from all over Europe. Many fell for France in Indochina.