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"French Foreign Legion and Chasseurs d'Afrique " Topic

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2,056 hits since 9 Dec 2012
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2012 8:49 p.m. PST

Those miniatures in 28mm looks very good!.
Very intersting that the Legionnaires mount in mules.



From main page

Hope you enjoy!.


mghFond09 Dec 2012 9:13 p.m. PST

Yes, the Legion had a couple of mounted companies who used mules but no actual horse cavalry, that job was left to the Spahis, goumiers, and others.

Personal logo Chuckaroobob Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2012 9:54 p.m. PST

Oh sure, get me interested! I've had some mule companies from Falcon for years, never got 'em to the front burner. Maybe their time is near….

Richard Baber09 Dec 2012 11:19 p.m. PST

mghfond – thats rubbish!!!! There were infact 2 regiments of actual Legion Cavalry.

The 1st was formed in Tunisia in 1921 and was comprised of many white Russians who had escaped the Revolution (as well as the usual germans and other adventurer types). The Regiment was specifically formed to make use of those Russian volunteers. 1REC still serves today as part of the French 6th Brigade.

They fought at motorised/mechanised recce in WW2, Indo-China and Algeria.

The Legion mules companies are interesting 1 mule per two men, the mule carried the bulk of the equipment, thus allowed the unit to move faster then a "regular" Legion company.

Chassuers d`Afrique were formed as mounted infantry in the 1860s, they are not traditional cavalry.

CooperSteveOnTheLaptop10 Dec 2012 3:24 a.m. PST

'Legionnaires mount in mules.'

That sounds very very wrong in English!

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 4:03 a.m. PST

Bleeped text?

Chasseurs d'Afrique
created in 1831 (2rdt) 4 rgts in 1841
proper cavalry and more or less elite troops (due to esprit de corps and their "police" work that kept them more or less occupied all the time (seeing the elephant so to speak,)
1st rgt crimea some say they actually saves the famous light brigade…
in 1870 the only division that knew its job in recce and dismounted work + the one famous charge at Sedan.

You absolutely need to have dismounted troops as a lot of their wok (as for most colonial ops) needs dismounted firing.

There are many changes from 1870 to 1930 incl. in dress.
It seems many colonial players and manufacturers mix up everything in one big lot.
Besides it is a bit tiring to have so much about the legion when they (hollywood n'en déplaise!) had only a small part in many ops. The actual wargamer fort on the "confins du desert" in one of "tache" (stains on map= independant/ un controlled zone) would be meharistes for example.
In black Africa it would mostly be "Senegalese" tirailleurs and spahis + colonial infantry ( troupes de marine) etc.
Too bad it would need a real job to dig out many of the sources leading to interesting / historical scenarios.

Richard Baber10 Dec 2012 5:24 a.m. PST

Jcfrog – my apologies, Chasseurs were indeed formed in the early 1830s (5th Regiment formed in 1889) – thank you for correcting my error.

Still they weren`t "real" cavalry and suffered from a serious inferiority complex about it. Several senior officers committed acts of outrageous almost suicidal bravery to win laurels and merit to their commands throughout the colonial conquest period in Africa. We`ve used them quite a bit (though limited to the 1900-1935 period) as I do mostly C20th periods. I do have units for WW2 and post war too.

Your also quite right about the over hype given by wargamers and manufacturers to the Legion. The Senegalese, Tirailleur Algerian/Tunisienne/Marocaine/Malanche/Indo Chinese plus Troupes de marine saw far more actio in many more countries.

I have several very good French histories which cover these less documented colonial units, well worth getting, there are quite a few good tabletop actions to be gleened fromthe texts.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 10:34 p.m. PST

From our friends at Wikipedia:

The Chasseurs d'Afrique (literally Huntsmen of Africa) were a light cavalry corps in the French Armée d'Afrique (Army of Africa). First raised in the 1830s from regular French cavalry posted to Algeria, they numbered five regiments by World War II.

For most of their history they were recruited from either French volunteers or French settlers in North Africa doing their military service. As such they were the mounted equivalent of the French Zouave infantry. The other major cavalry element in the Armee d'Afrique were the Spahis—recruited from the indigenous peoples of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco with mostly French officers.

In addition to numerous campaigns in North Africa, these colorful regiments also served in the Crimean War, Franco-Prussian War, Indochina, France's invasion of Mexico and both world wars.

The Chass. d'Af. distinguished themselves by securing the flank of Lord Cardigan during the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade. On this and other occasions they used their characteristic African tactic of advancing rapidly in open order, in contrast to the rigid lines of the Light Brigade.

Seven regiments of Chasseurs d'Afrique were transferred to France between 1914 and 1918. The 1er and 4e RCA ended the war in the Middle East fighting against the Turks, while the 5e RCA detached squadrons to serve in the Balkans.

Major Actions:

1854 Balaclava, 1843 Smala, 1863 San Pablo del Monte, 1870 Mars-La-Tour, 1870 Sedan, 1944 Toulon, 1944 Rhone Valley, 1944 Burgundy, 1944 Alasce and 1944-45 the Black Forest.

Known today as the 1er Regiment de Chasseurs d'Afrique.


Gazette des Uniformes, Juillet-août 2005.
R. Huré. L'Armée d'Afrique 1830–1962. Paris: Charles-Lavauzelle, 1977.
Sicard, Jacques and François Vauvillier. Les Chasseurs d'Afrique. Paris: Histoire et collections, 1999. ISBN 2-908182-87-4.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 10:48 p.m. PST

Legionaries were almost always mounted on mules. Horses were reserved for the cavalry. The Chasseurs d'Afrique were a proud unit and would take umbrage to being described as "not real cavalry." They certainly considered themselves real cavalry with a distingused military record.

Richard Baber10 Dec 2012 11:12 p.m. PST

I don`t want to start an argument, you have your opinion of Chasseur d`Afrique (whom I admire hugely). But never quote Wiki as a sourse

I`ve read –
Sicard and Vauvillier`s book (very, very good)

But also (to name a few)-
Douglas Porch – "The Conquest of the Sahara" & "The Conquest of morocco"
Clayton`s – "France, Soldiers and Africa"
Walter Harris` – "France, Spain and the Rif" & "Morocco that was"
Ashmead Barett – "The passing of the Shereefian Empire"
Vice Admiral C.V Osbourne – the Conquest of Morocco
Lavauzelle – Les Troupes de Marine
Bergot`s – La Coloniale du Rif au Tchad

And about 30+ other books on French and Spanish colonial Africa, do some Googling on the legion cavalry, you may be surprised.

Patrice Inactive Member11 Dec 2012 10:10 a.m. PST

Ooooh I'll enquire about this disagreement on the Chasseurs d'Afrique, I also believed them to be very good cavalry.

'Legionnaires mount in mules.' That sounds very very wrong in English!
Yes… in French public opinion the Legionnaires were traditionally associated with goats :)

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2012 12:21 p.m. PST

But never quote Wiki as a sourse

That is why I stated that Wiki was the source instead of just posting it. I never said it was correct. Take it as you want. Don't shoot the messenger. It was quick and I don't want to get all my books out for a TMP post.

Anyone with an interest in this topic have either read or partially read all the books you listed. At least the English sources. I have read both Porch's and Clayton's works and some other minor sources.

By the way it's "not your father's wiki anymore." It stills carries the stigma from the very early days. If your working on a book or a paper or even putting together a scenario always have a least three sources.

But Wiki has improved substantially and a look at their contributors, references and sources is as good as any I have seen. They will even flag an entry if it is not supported with footnotes and sources. No doubt a dozen Wiki inaccuracies will be posted as examples, but overall it is not as bad as it was.

brunet Inactive Member11 Dec 2012 1:21 p.m. PST

according to this site

chasseurs d'afrique were light cavalry

This is the link to their creation date 17 novembre 1831 as light cavalry (cavalerie legere)


mghFond11 Dec 2012 10:01 p.m. PST

Richard – Sorry, I was wrong. I never claimed to be an expert. I was just referring to something I had read from another writer but I believe he was discussing the Legion up to WW1.

Cuirassier12 Dec 2012 7:10 a.m. PST

Chasseurs d'Afrique… Definitely light cavalry.

They were created as light cavalry and fought as light cavalry throughout the 19th century. Take a look at their cavalry charges at Balaclava (1854), Chernaya – Traktir Bridge (1855), Solferino (1859), San Pablo Del Monte (1863) and Sedan (1870).

They were also trained to fight as dismounted troops and excelled at that also.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2012 10:11 a.m. PST

Cuirassier meu caro amigo, feliz em ouvir de você novamente no fórum.
Rumo a um tempo desde que eu li nada de seu.

Um grande abraço

Cuirassier20 Dec 2012 6:10 a.m. PST

It's very good to "talk" to you again, Armand.


You always bring good stuff to us. Keep them coming.

Take care my friend e um grande abraço para você.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 11:32 a.m. PST


Good to hear from you again, it's been too long.

I have no opinion to offer on the Chasseurs d'Afrique. Not my area of expertise.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 11:59 a.m. PST

Muito obrigado meu amigo e boas festas.!


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