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"The Hard Truth About the Foreign Legion" Topic


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939 hits since 9 Oct 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2018 9:44 p.m. PST

"The world contains more misfits, sadists, masochists, and people who enjoy fighting than we sometimes like to suppose. How else can one explain the fact that the French Foreign Legion is heavily overrecruited? In an age when most of the world's armies strive to make military service a less bestial and more enlightened experience than it used to be, the Legion still drives its trainees to scrub floors manically, fold kit and uniforms with obsessive precision, and march, march, march.

Nothing much about its culture has changed since the German recruit Erwin Rosen, quoted by Adrian Gilbert in Voices of the Foreign Legion, wrote in the early 1900s:

It is always being drummed into the legionnaire that he is intended for nothing else in this world except for marching. If the pangs of hunger are gnawing at his stomach or thirst parches his tongue, that is so much the worse for him, but it is no reason for his not marching on! He may be tired, dead tired, completely exhausted—but he must not stop marching. If his feet are bleeding and the soles burn like fire, that is very sad—but the marching pace must not be slackened. The sun may burn till his senses are all awhirl, he must go on…."
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Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 1:26 a.m. PST

And now theyget E' U. Ofgicial papers after 3 years, get a lot of OPEX ( ecternal ops) where they are paid 2-3 times more.
This money in Ukraine,central Asia, etc.helps much start a life.
So rather than misfists psychoes you rather get tough guys who want to start a life in Europe with a good deal of money, or get trained and back elsewhere to use, for example into the big market for contractors.
They don't get so much fighting anyway.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 1:31 a.m. PST

And now theyget E' U. Ofgicial papers after 3 years, get a lot of OPEX ( ecternal ops) where they are paid 2-3 times more.
This money in Ukraine,central Asia, etc.helps much start a life.
So rather than misfists psychoes you rather get tough guys who want to start a life in Europe with a good deal of money, or get trained and back elsewhere to use, for example into the big market for contractors.
They don't get so much fighting anyway.

After WW 2 lots of ex Nazi forces, Germans as all their youth was just army, and no jobs, starving at home, ex soviets, to escape Stalin's retribution. One clever German batallion commander offered his entire outfit to the legion, who took it, half a year later to Indochina. Saved them from being sent back to CCCP.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 3:50 a.m. PST

The world has lots of violent malcontents. Would you rather have them in the FFL, or wandering around unsupervised?

And we have a steady stream of soldiers of lost causes--White Russians, Spanish Reds, Nazi Germans. I for one would rather have them put to use by a democratic state than fighting guerilla wars or planning coups.

Some days, I think we need a Foreign Legion of our own. The French one may be as large as the French need, but it's not big enough to absorb the recruit pool.

Lion in the Stars10 Oct 2018 6:00 a.m. PST

the Legion still drives its trainees to scrub floors manically, fold kit and uniforms with obsessive precision, and march, march, march.

Crud, the US Navy does that!

The wars of all nations with volunteer armies are fought mainly by their underclass. This helps to explain why, on shedding their uniforms, so many veterans lapse back into poverty, psychological problems, or even criminality.

Wow. What waste of oxygen wrote and thinks that?!?

I trust the men I served with with my very life. That's what the Dolphins mean, that the Captain Himself trusts me with his life.

I don't trust most civilians anywhere near that much.

Legion 410 Oct 2018 7:00 a.m. PST

Vive' le Legion' !


Some days, I think we need a Foreign Legion of our own.
the FFL should be the UN "Shock Troops" … Not to be wasted in garrison, manning check points, etc. But when "there is a job that needs to be done" … "Take care of business" so to speak …

Wow. What waste of oxygen wrote and thinks that?!?
Yes this author, like many, don't really know what he is taking about. Like many in the media, who find the military is a burden on social programs, etc.


I don't trust most civilians anywhere near that much.
thumbs up

Legion 410 Oct 2018 7:02 a.m. PST

Vive' le Legion' !


Some days, I think we need a Foreign Legion of our own.
the FFL should be the UN "Shock Troops" … Not to be wasted in garrison, manning check points, etc. But when "there is a job that needs to be done" … "Take care of business" so to speak …

Wow. What waste of oxygen wrote and thinks that?!?
Yes this author, like many, don't really know what he is taking about. Like many in the media, who find the military are a burden on social programs, etc.


I don't trust most civilians anywhere near that much.
thumbs up

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 7:27 a.m. PST

The UN??!! What sane man would trust the UN with lethal weapons, let alone an army? My "we" extends no further than the Anglosphere, and I only trust us within limits.

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

+1 to both comments by Robert although the Anglo part doesn't come out as intended, I hope?

The Legion has been upgrading their capabilities. I think of them as Spec Ops more butI assume regular grunts are still present?

As to the criminals part, much better rehab in the Legion than sitting in a jail with a resultant lack of rehabilitation.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

The world has lots of violent malcontents. Would you rather have them in the FFL, or wandering around unsupervised?

I thought that was what professional sports was for?

ScottS10 Oct 2018 1:14 p.m. PST

In an age when most of the world's armies strive to make military service a less bestial and more enlightened experience than it used to be,

The Marine Corps just laughed out loud at this.

Legion 410 Oct 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

The UN??!!
Yeah, only send the FFL when you mean to "terminate with extreme prejudice" … Otherwise the other non-Western members can stand around and guard check points, polling places, etc. evil grin


I thought that was what professional sports was for?
+1 Waco !!!! thumbs up


In an age when most of the world's armies strive to make military service a less bestial and more enlightened experience than it used to be,
No US Military units that I know of … "less bestial" ????!?!!!? WDF !!!! huh? An academic intellectual PCer at the very least …

Wolfhag10 Oct 2018 11:55 p.m. PST

Our unit did some training with the FFL 2nd Para on Corsica in 1974. They were older than us and carried more gear and seemed to be WWII type equipment like ours. IIRC they had G3 rifles. They had a small bottle cognac in their field rations.

They caught one of our guys and tied him from a tree branch hanging upside down. On a night assault, we were defending on a hillside. I heard them coming up and we started rolling bowling ball sized boulders down on them shouting expletives. They retreated.

Our CO (Capt German) seemed to hit it off with their CO who was a German WWII vet that lost his thumb in France and an eye in Indo-china – real crusty guy. After the op was over, they sent a cadre to our carrier and we had a ceremony where they pinned a ribbon on our guideon making us honorary Legionnaires.

When they went into Kolwezi they did "terminate" and ended it pretty quickly.

Wolfhag

Legion 411 Oct 2018 9:18 a.m. PST

thumbs up Now that is a real war story and it's true !!!!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Alas, Waco Joe, I have only to hit my new feed to see how inadequate the supervision of professional athletes is.

Thinking of which, does anyone know software which will completely erase sports and "celebrity" news of all sorts from my feed? I used to care--a little--about actors, but now I can go weeks without recognizing a name in the gossip magazines in the grocery checkout.

Wolfhag11 Oct 2018 8:16 p.m. PST

The FFL is around for one reason and one reason only – to keep the French influence in their former colonies.

Many African countries use the CFA for a currency backed by French banks. In more than 70 years, the CFA franc has come under a lot of criticism. Opponents of this common currency believe that it is proof of a "colonial survival".

The economist Kako Nubukpo denounces the "monetary servitude" resulting from the obligation for African countries to deposit 50% of their reserve in the French Treasury."

The insurance mechanism offered by the French Treasury to the franc zone is a mechanism that makes it possible to insure against the failures of economic and political governance in Africa. This is not a mechanism that can allow Africa to start its structural transformation. So, this question of the monetary sovereignty of Africa is a crucial question. "

It increases the need for imports (benefiting the French) and penalizes them for exports making them less self-determined and more dependent on the French.

Any rebellion to change things means the FFL goes in.

When I trained with them most were from Eastern Europe. There were a few from England. I'm pretty sure all officers and cadre are French citizens but French citizens cannot enlist, hence the term "Foreign" but that may have changed.

Wolfhag

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 11:24 a.m. PST

In the 90s lots of Z.A.
French can enlist, pretending they are Swiss traditionnally.
It is also a washing machine as it does not ask too much about your past, sort of erases it and allows a new start.

When ops in Africa, by far not always and only the F!L. Going there.

The Franc CFA story make me smile if coming from the $ which, if peopke, between themselves, far from the US. Use it for trade ( which for oil for ex is nearly compulsory) they put themselves under a forced jurisdiction of a foreign state ( and its tribunals!) the USA. Something never seen in history, the forfeiting legal independance.
Just a bit like the Russian meddling in US election trembling for a country that oh never meddled into politics of other states. Never.

Richard Baber13 Oct 2018 4:14 a.m. PST

Jcfrog

Yep, Troupes d`Marine (the French overseas army) do far more work outre mer (overseas) than The Legion.

Legion 413 Oct 2018 7:53 a.m. PST

AFAIK I've seen FFL, French Paras[both FFL and other French units] and "Marine" type forces deployed in Africa and elsewhere. As well as some armor, both FFL and other French armor units …

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