Introduction                                   1
History                                        3
Joining .                                      10
The Language Problem                           13
Aubagne and Selection .                        14
Castelnaudary - Basic Training                 24
Your Instructors                               27
The Numbers                                    30
The Songs                                      34
La Present                                     36
Bel-Air .                                      39
Presentation of the Kepi Blanc                 41
Le Code D'Honneur                              43
A Typical Day                                  46
Time Off                                       50
Guard Duty                                     54
La Legion C'est Dur Mais Gammel    C'est Sur   57
Le Raid.                                       60
How Hard?                                      62
Brutality                                      63
The Contract                                   64
Life in Jail                                   70
Camerone Day                                   72
Legion Rules                                   74
Regiment Postings                              76
Trades within the Legion                       83
Dress & Equipement            84
Christmas Time                89
Format of a Regiment          91
Weapons of the Legion .       93
Pay in the Legion             97
The Ranks                     100
Leave / Holidays              102
Desertion                     104
Useful Phrases                105
A few helpful words           107
Appendix                      109
Recruiting Centres in France  121
Bibliography                  126
                      THE FRENCH FOREIGN
                    (La Legion Etrangere)
There  are  those  in  life  that  dream  of doing  things and
those  that  turn  dreams  into  reality.  The  French Foreign
Legion today,  is alive  and kicking  and as  always, actively
recruiting.  It  is an  army surrounded  by romance,  myth and
intrigue,  with  over  a  hundred and  fifty years  of history
and a reputation  that's a  tough one  to beat.  It is  one of
those  things  that  most  people  only  hear  about or  had a
friend of a friend who actually went and did it.
But  for  some  who have  bought this  book -  it will  not be
enough  to  just  read through,  and put  down. You  will take
it  upon yourselves  to make  the dream  become a  reality. It
may  be  that  you  are  merely  in  search  of   adventure  -
perhaps  you  are  trying to  escape your  past, or  maybe you
feel  that  you  are  in  some real  danger. Many  people join
the  French  Foreign  Legion  because they  think they  have a
problem  and  they  come  to  the  Legion  to   overcome  that
problem - it  is up  to you  to decide  whether the  Legion is
the  right  solution  to  that particular  dilemma. Sometimes,
not an easy decision to make.
And  then  there  are  those  from  the  former  eastern block
countries, or for that  matter absolutely  any country  in the
world,   who   seek   a   new  life   in  the   western  world
accompanied  by  the  French   passport.  (On   completion  of
the first five year contract). For these people it is a golden
The Legion, if it does  decide to  take you  into its  fold, will
provide  you  with  a  new  identity  and  will protect  you from
your  past  if  necessary.  Your  time  served  with  the Foreign
Legion  will  certainly  take  you   on  many   adventures.  From
the  moment  you  join,  the  Legion  is   your  home   and  from
then  on  it  is  your  family.  (The   Legion  motto   -  "Legio
Patria  Nostra"  means  exactly   that  -   The  Legion   is  our
home)   There   are   Legionnaires    who   have    served   many
years   of  service   and  have   only  revisited   their  native
country  once  or  twice  in  all  their  years of  service. They
find  that  they  are  happier  and   more  contented   to  spend
their   time   in  France.   One  thing   that  should   be  said
however  is  that  it  is an  experience in  life that  cannot be
explained  or  learnt  from  tales  recounted  or  books  read  -
no  matter  how  many.  To  understand   the  Foreign   Legion  -
it  has   to  be   done.  An   ex-Legionnaire  with   five  years
service  could  sit  you  down  and  talk to  you for  five years
and  a  similar  Legionnaire  with  fifteen  years  service could
sit  you  down  and  talk  to  you  for fifteen  years -  but you
still  would  not  really  know what  it is  like until  you have
actually  been  there  and  done  it  yourself.  This book  is no
different in that respect, but what it  tries to  do, is  to give
you  the  information  required  to  get  you  into   the  French
Foreign  Legion,  to  equip  you  with  the  knowledge   of  what
to  expect  and  what  not  to  expect,  how  best  to  get along
and  how  to  make  the  most  of  your   time  in   the  Legion.
Perhaps  how  to  prepare  you  for  some  of  the   times  ahead
which    may   lead    you   to    frustration   for    lack   of
understanding. It can be a bewildering experience
learning the ways of the Legion during the first year.
More often than not though, there  is method  in their
The  decision  to  join  is  rarely  made  on  the  spur  of  the
moment  -  at  very  least  it  has  been  in  the  back  of  the
"engage  volontaire  's  " (recruit's)  mind for  some time  - if
not  many  years.  The   potential  Legionnaire   has  probably
read  books  about  the  Legion  and   talked  to   people  who
have been there and done it. If  they do  decide to  join, they
will  experience  adventures  which  are  second to  none, meet
friends that will last a  lifetime. They  will travel  all over
the  world  and  carry  with  them  memories  that   will  stay
with  them  till  their  last  dying  breath.  Make  no mistake
however,  that  serving  five  years  in  the   French  Foreign
Legion  is  not  easy.  Rest assured  that all  Legionnaires at
sometime during  their contract  feel at  their wits  end, they
feel like  a prisoner  in a  cell, they  sink to  their deepest
depths  of  depression  and  doom.  It  will  not  be   easy  -
especially  from  the  mental  point  of  view.  Few  who  join
the  French  Foreign  Legion  know  what   to  expect   -  some
find it so hard mentally  to adjust  to their  new way  of life
that they try  to desert  - and  some take  it to  even greater
lengths  and  try  to  dispose  of  their life  altogether. The
longer  you  serve  in  the  Foreign Legion  - the  easier life
becomes.  With  promotion  and  time  served  comes  it's  just
rewards  as  it  does  in  any  army.  The one  great advantage
in  the  French  Foreign  Legion  is  that  promotion  can come
relatively quickly for those that are deserving.
History of the French Foreign Legion.
Formation: 9' March 1831.
The French Foreign Legion was formed on the 9 of
March  1831.  It's  authority  was  signed by  Louis-Philippe -
the  King  of  France.  His  position  as  King  was  weakening
and  the  Legion  was  readily  formed  in  order  that  Louis-
Philippe could maintain his position on the throne.
The oAicers were gathered in from Napoleon's Grande
Armee and the men were recruited from Italy, Spain,
Switzerland and other European countries. There were
also some Frenchmen recruits who were trying to escape
the attention of their local Police.
Sebastopol 1853 - 1856.
It was the aim of France to assist Turkey  in their  fight to
win   over   free   passage   of   the   Black   Sea   to   the
Mediterranean.  After  a  brief  victory  the  1  ere  and 2eme
RE's  final  attempt  to win  the town  of Sebastopol  ended in
a  blockade  which  lasted  a  year. After  suffering a  year of
horrendous  weather  and  illness,  the  Legion  could  wait no
longer  and attempted  to take  the town  but failed  badly and
took  heavy  casulaties.  They  tried  again,  but  it  was not
until  their  third  attempt  on  the  8  September  1855  that
they succeeded.
Camerone 1863.
On the 30 April 1863 the 3eme company of the RE in
Mexico  were  given  a  mission  - to  ensure the  safe arrival
of  vital  supplies  down  the  road from  Vera Cruz  to Puebla
in  Mexico.  This  would  assist  in  the  blockade  of Puebla.
Before  they  had  time  to  arrive  at their  destination they
were  attacked  by  nearly  a  thousand  Mexican  troops.  They
had  just  stopped  for  a  morning   coffee  when   they  were
attacked.  Capitaine  Danjou  started  to  reposition  his  men
in   a  derelict   building  they   had  passed   only  minutes
earlier.  He  knew  this  would  afford  them  some  cover from
enemy  fire.  Before  they  could get  there, the  cavalry were
charging.   They   staved   off   the   attack   and  continued
towards   the  building.   They  had   barely  arrived   and  a
second  wave  arrived.  There  were  sixty   five  Legionnaires
to  fight  the  ensueing  hoards  -  numbered  at   nearly  two
thousand.  Quickly  they  prepared  a  hasty  defence  and were
greeted   by   a   Mexican  messenger   who  offered   them  an
honourable  surrender.  On  top  of  the  roof  lay   a  Polish
legionnaire   Sergent   who   told   the  Mexicans   what  they
could  do  with  their  surrender.  The  cavalry  charged  once
more,  but  the  Legionnaires  beat  them  back yet  again. Not
without  loss  however  -  the  Capitaine  Danjou  had been
badly injured. Before he died though, he  made all  his men
promise that they would never surrender.
By  mid  morning  the  Legionnaires  were  almost   out  of
ammunition.  They  had  no  food  and  no water.  Again the
Legionnaires refused to surrender.
By late that afternoon there were just  twelve Legionnaires
leA and  no more  ammunition -  It then  turned to  hand to
hand  fighting and  soon there  were just  five Legionaires
who  remained  to  face  two  thousand.   The  Legionnaires
advanced  towards  the  enemy.  Two of  the five  were shot
down as they advanced.
At that point  - the  Mexican Colonel  arrived and  saw the
situation - he again offered a surrender.  The Legionnaires
agreed - but  only if  they could  keep their  weapons. The
Mexican  Colonel  agreed  saying "I  can refuse  nothing to
men like you". The Legionnaires  had indeed  achieved their
mission - they  had made  safe the  passage of  supplies to
Puebla   by   alerting  nearby   troops  of   the  hoarding
Mexicans  and  had  occupied  the enemy  for nearly  a full
Every  year,  on  the  30  April, in  every quarter  of the
French  Foreign  Legion  -  this day  is remembered  and is
known  simply  as  Camerone  Day.  It  is  celebrated  with
great  zealousness  and  pride.  At  Aubagne,   the  wooden
hand  of Capitaine  Danjou is  paraded before  the Regiment
and all its privileged guests.
Mexico 1863-1867.
The Legion continued fighting in Mexico for a further
four years before being ordered back to France to deal
with more pressing matters at home. The Mexicans were
now being  backed by  the Americans  and there  was little
chance   of  victory.   Besides,  France's   security  was
threatened  and  that  was  far  more  important  than any
foreign  soil.  The  Legion  had however  made a  name for
themselves and so assured their own future existence -
All was not lost. Had it not been for the war in Mexico -
perhaps the Legion would not be here today.
Tonkin 1883.
Tonkin  was  a  French  Protectorate  in  Indo-China  overrun
by   pirates.   The   French   Commander,   Admiral   Courbet
attacked  the  Fort  Son  Tay  and  Fort  Bac  Ninh  and then
had  the  task  of  defending  the  Fort  Tuyen   Quang.  For
nearly  two  months  the  Legion  held  out  against constant
attacks from the Chinese  but eventually  help arrived  - The
Legion  had  however lost  a third  of its  company strength.
To the North  a battle  was going  on but  came swiftly  to a
close  and  a  treaty  was  signed  on  1"  April  1885. From
thereon  the  Legion's   role  was   to  promote   peace  and
tranquility and rebuild the damage done.
Madagscar 1895.
Following a disagreement between the Queen of
Madagascar   and  the   French  Republic,   an  expeditionary
force  was  sent  to  Dahomey  and  then  on  to  Madagascar.
The  Legionnaires immediately  started to  build a  road from
where  they  docked  to  the  objective  -  a   place  called
Tananarive.  A  distance  of  250   miles.  They   built  and
fought  their  way  to  the objective  and when  they finally
arrived, after three  and a  half months,  the enemy  gave up
without a fight.
The 1" World War 1914-1918.
In  1914  the II/1"  RE saw  action at  the battle  of Artois
where  heavy  losses  were  taken.  (nearly  two  thousand in
all).  They  were  reformed  and one  month later  were again
heavily  defeated  at  Givenchy.  They were  finally defeated
so badly that  they had  to be  disbanded in  September 1914.
As  a result  of this  the RMLE  was formed  (French Foreign
Legion  Marching  regiment)  whose  job  it  was   to  preceed
any troops into battle.
The  RMLE  took  part  in  many   battles  around   France  and
took  many  thousands  of  casulaties.  Their   most  memorable
was the  skilful soldiering  which took  place in  the trenches
of   Rheims.   They   cleared   over   four   miles   of  enemy
trenches, with just  their rifles,  bayonets and  grenades. The
next  great  feat  was in  the Verdun  sector where  the Legion
succeeded  in  its  mission  of  recapturing  many  of  its old
positions.  This they  did in  double quick  time and  with few
losses.  Swiftly,  the  Legion  was  shifted  to   Amiens  where
they   again  took   heavy  casualties   and  were   forced  to
retreat. It was  not long  before they  were again  diverted to
hold  shut  the  passageway  to Paris.  Again they  succeeded -
but  only  after much  blood letting  of it's  own men.  In July
1918  the  French  made  their  offensive  and   despite  still
further  heavy  losses,  much  progress  was  made.  For nearly
two  weeks  the  Legion  battered,  clawed  and   fought  their
way through the Hindeburg Line.
For  their  efforts  in the  first world  war the  Legion had
become highly decorated.
     World War 1939-45
In June 1940 the 11 REI was almost entirely wiped out
by  a  German  division  in  Verdun.  The  remaining  men  were
captured  but nearly  all of  them managed  to escape  to fight
again.  The  Regiment  was  however  disbanded.  In   the  same
year   the   13DBLE   was   sent   to   Norway   to  ultimately
capture  Narvik  from  the  Germans.  On  the  way   to  Narvik
they   caused   much   damage   and   destruction   to   German
forces   and   aircraft.   Due   to   German   advances  towards
Paris,  the  Legion  had  to  quickly  re-deploy and  assist in
the  defence of  the Parisien  quarter. It  was not  long after
the  troubles  had been  qwelled in  the Parisian  region, that
the Legion's  services were  again required.  It was  this time
the Italians in Eritrea, Africa who required their attention.
Indo-China 1940-1954.
Thailand  attempted  a  takeover  of  Cambodia  in  1940 but
were  briefly  prevented from  doing so  by the  Legion. The
Legion's efforts  were wasted  however, and  as a  result of
conciliation   Cambodia  was   handed  over   anyway.  There
was really only one unit of  the Legion  that was  now based
here,  that  being  the  5REI.  Again  the   Legion  avoided
combat in the South, due to further  negotiation -  but this
was not to be  for long  and the  Legionnaires based  at the
garrison   at   Ha   Giang   were   soon    massacred.   Two
battalions  remained  and  started  a  death  march  towards
Before  arriving  in  China  the  war  had  ended   but  was
quickly  replaced  by another,  this time  with Ho  Chi Minh
and  his  communists.  This  war would  last nine  years. In
1945 the 5REI left to be replaced by a  long line  of legion
Regiments - The 2 REI, 13DBLE, 1 REC and the 3 REI.
In the meantime the 3REI remained to  fight in  other areas.
In 1948 they too suffered  heavy losses.  In 1950  access to
the  border  with  Indo-China  was  granted  to  the Chinese
People's  army.  In  1950  the  3 REI  were ordered  to move
location  but  were  caught  up  in  a massive  ambush which
almost  completely  wiped  out  the  French  forces  in  the
region.   The  13DBLE   had  more   luck  however   and  saw
many  victories  during  1951.  The  3REI  which   had  also
been reformed saw victory  also in  1952 at  Strongpoint 24.
Soon  afterwards  the   1BEP  jumped   into  Dien   Bien  Phu
and took  the area  and quickly  installed a  garrison. They
were attacked  and despite  support provided  by the  2 BEP,
were all but completely  wiped out.  For the  Legionnaires in
Indo China the war was now over.
Algeria 1953 - 1961.
Before  they  could  so  much  as  go  on  Permission,  they
found themselves back  in Algieria,  ready to  fight another
war.  This  time  against  the Algerian  National Liberation
Army.   Although   the  Legion   had  deployed   nearly  twenty
thousand  men to  the region  they were  to come  across little
more   than   enthusiastic   skirmishes   in  the   years  that
followed.  These   were  to   deteriorate  to   petty  guerilla
tactics after not too long.  Let down  by the  politicians, the
Legion   were    ordered   home    in   1961.    There   losses
amounted  to  little  more  than  a  thousand men.  Feeling let
down  -  there was  a mutiny  and the  1 REP  was, as  a result
Kolwezi 1978.
As a result of an attempted takeover by Angolan Tiger
Rebels,  Kolwezi  in  Zaire,  was  seized.  They  violated  the
town,  raping  and  pillaging  wherever  they   pleased.  There
were  many  Europeans  caught  up  in the  crisis -  some taken
hostage.  A  distress  signal  was  sent  out  requesting  help
from  Europe,  to  which  the  2  REF  was  activated.  After  a
lightning  deployment,  the  2  REP   dropped  in   after  only
fifteen  hours.  After  a  solid  week  of  fighting   and  close
quarter  battles  the Legionnaires  had all  but wiped  out the
Tiger  rebels  and  freed  the  petrified   European  hostages.
This  was  one  of  the   Legion's  most   successful  missions
which earnt them recognition all over the world.
Lebanon 1982 - 1983.
It was again the 2REP who were chosen in this
peacekeeping  role,   accompanied  later   by  the   2REI,  1RE
and  the  1  REC.  Like  many  peacekeeping  roles  it  was not
an  easy  job,  but  one  which, as  usual, the  Legion carried
out meticulously and without complaint.
Gulf War 1991.
In September 1990 the 2REI, the 6REG and the 1 REC
were  sent  to  the  Gulf  in  anticipation of  Saddam Husseins
threats  against  the  world.  After  six  long  months waiting
and  a  build  up  of  world  forces  which  had not  been seen
since  World  War  Two,  the  war  began. The  air offensive
was  won  first  -  this  took four  weeks, after  which the
coalition forces penetrated deep into Iraq. It  was referred
to  as  a   Blitzkrieg  (Lightning   war)  and   only  three
Legionnaires  died.  Al  Salman  airport  was  taken  by the
Legion forces with little resistance. The Legion's  task was
then to safeguard any  retreat by  the Republican  Guarde to
the West.  Very light  casualties were  taken and  after one
hundred hours fighting on the ground the war was over.
Mogadishu 4k, Bosnia 1992-96.
More  recently  the  Legion  was  again  asked to  carry out
peace keeping roles  in war  torn areas  of the  globe. Under
the direction of  the United  Nations, the  2 REP  were kept
on  a tight  leash in  Mogadishu but  the 2  REI accompanied
by  the  1  REC  managed  to  carry out  various clandestine
operations  in  Bosnia  in 1992-1995.  The Legion  were able
to  make  use  of  the  mother  tongue  of  its men  in such
scenarios  to great  effect. Casualties  were light  in both
areas of conflict.
L'Engagement- Joining.
Joining  the French  Foreign Legion  is a  relatively simple
task. In simple  terms all  that is  required is  to present
yourself in front of the gates of the French  Foreign Legion
and  inform  the  guard that  you wish  to enlist.  To enter
France  from Great  Britain there  are ferry  crossings from
Plymouth,   Portsmouth   and  Dover.   There  are   also  of
course  the  airports  which  will  connect you  directly to
France's main cities. Some flights  are extremely  cheap and
it is worth shopping around  when at  the airport  itself or
nowadays  you can  use the  teletext service  on television.
The  routes  into France  and the  direction from  which you
come are many and varied,  and none  of this  is any  more a
problem than it would be for an everyday tourist.
When  you  arrive  at  the  gates of  one of  the recruiting
centres (All of  which are  listed towards  the end  of this
book)  most  people,  wherever  they  come  from,  manage to
mumble  a few  words to  express a  wish to  join -  some of
which  include  Legion  Etrangere.  The Legionnaire  on duty
knows  exactly  what  you've  come  for  -  particularly  if
you've  got  a bag  over your  shoulder. If  you want  to be
more  precise  in  your  initial  approach  you   could  say
something like this:
"Bonjour  -  Je  suis  Anglais, Je  suis venus  pour joindre
La Legion Etrangere".
Pronounced as follows:
"Bonjoor,  -  Jer  sweez  Onglay, Jer  swee venoo  poor joo-
wondre La Lejon Ay-tranj-air. "
This little parole may initially work against you since they
may assume that  you speak  a reasonable  level of  French -
and then you're all of a sudden,  going to  go all  quiet on
them. But they will at least get the message loud  and clear
that you want to join.
Once in France however  there are  17 recruiting  centres to
choose from; situated in most of the  major cities.  For the
most  hassle  free  route  into the  Legion you  should make
your  way  down  to  Aubagne  near  Marseille in  the south.
This approach will cut  out 2-3  days administration  at one
of the other "sub recruiting centres". If you are  stuck for
cash though, and want to get in  quickly, the  northern most
recruiting centre is Lille. Some centres are  more difficult
to find than others but the local Gendarme will help  you if
you have difficulty. It is illegal for France to advertise a
career in the Foreign Legion in any  other country  than its
own,  but  you  will  see  posters  all  over  France saying
"Regarde  la  Vie  Autrement"  promoting  you  to   "Have  a
look  at  the  alternative  life"   -  images   of  hardened
Legionnaires  stood in  their Tenue  De Garde  gazing across
the desert sands.
When you first arrive they  will take  your details  and kit
you out with  a track  suit. Apart  from an  initial medical
and the signing of a provisional five year contract there is
little to do here. Your time  will be  spent working  on the
Quartier (Camp) doing  any jobs  that are  in need  of being
done  until  a  reasonable  number  of  engages  volontaires
have turned  up. Once  you have  been at  the sub-recruiting
centre for a few days and there  are enough  recruits ready,
a  Caporal  Chef  or a  Sergent will  accompany you  down to
Aubagne itself to start the three week  selection procedure.
This journey is nearly always taken by train.
The  age  limits  are  officially  18-40.   Candidates  over
seventeen  and  one  day  are  accepted  but  must   have  a
written consent from either parent, made out in front  of an
official  witness.  All expenses  to get  to France  must be
paid for by yourself. On arriving in France  - Lille  is the
closest recruiting  office. Anybody  who is  ex-forces would
be well advised to take a photocopy of their  certificate of
discharge  with  them.  (Any members  of British  forces who
are  found  to  be  still serving  under HM  are immediately
refused entry). Although the recruiting ages will  extend to
forty years of  age -  they will  expect you  to be  in good
shape if you are  of that  vintage. If  the Legion  does not
think that you look like you're going to be up to it  - they
can turn you away  without even  giving you  a crack  at the
first test.
Once  you  have  walked  through  the  Legion gates  you are
allowed no further contact with the outside world  - neither
by phone or by mail, for at least three to four months.
Le Langage - The Language Problem.
There really is not a problem in this area -  it is  an area
which most people dread  and feel  will present  the biggest
problem  of all,  and it  is true  to say  that there  is no
requirement  to speak  any level  of French  at the  time of
joining.  Having  said that  - any  time spent  learning the
French  language prior  to joining  will pay  dividends very
quickly once  you have  arrived. Even  a basic  knowledge of
verbs, nouns and tenses will set you in good stead  with the
rest of the Section. It is certainly not something  to worry
about however - Even if you don't  have the  time or  are in
a rush to  join, the  language comes  very quickly  for most
English  speaking  people.  The  ones   who  find   it  most
difficult  are  undoubtedly  the  Japanese, the  Chinese and
those  who  come  from  countries  whose  language   is  far
removed from the  French language.  Initially there  will be
somebody of  your own  tongue to  help explain  the contract
and  to  fill in  the forms  during the  first few  weeks at
Aubagne.   Likewise   the   "Gestapo   interview"   is  also
carried   out   by   somebody   of   your  own   tongue.  As
mentioned  previously,  if  you  take  a  small  phrase book
with a built in dictionary,  it will  speed up  the language
learning  process  no  end.  Mixing  with  the   French  and
talking  French  will also  accelerate your  learning curve.
The  sooner you're  speaking fluent  French and  are classed
as  a  "Francophone"  (French  speaking  person)  the sooner
life becomes easier - You don't have to  rely on  the French
members  of  your  Section  or  Groupe  to  translate  after
every  assembly.  It  will  also  mean  less  press-ups  and
running    around    because    of    misunderstood   orders.
Remember  that  the  top  dogs  during  basic   training  are
given  a  choice  of  which  Regiment  they  are  sent  to on
completion  of  "L 'Instruction"  (Basic  training).  If you
are deemed to  be a  good enough  recruit they  will probably
offer   you   a   place   as   a   Caporal    (Corporal)   at
Castelnaudary.  This  assessment  will  depend  very  much on
the  standard  of  your  conversational  French  as  well  as
your  soldiering  skills.  The  written  side  of  the French
language  is  not  so important  at this  stage and  will not
become  really  important  until  much   later  on   in  your
Aubagne and the Selection Procedure:
(Centre de Selection et Incorporation - CSI)
Aubagne is situated about  an hour's  train journey  north of
Marseille and it is  here that  you will  begin and  end your
service  with  the  French  Foreign  Legion.  It is  also the
home  of  the  ler  REI  and the  Legion Band.  The guartier
(Camp)  is  sometimes  known  as   the  Mother   regiment  of
the Foreign Legion.
The  Legion  must  now  decide  for  sure  whether or  not to
take you into the fold. It is  here that  they will  find out
about  your  past,  they will  test you  mentally, physically
and  psychologically.  You  will  be  assessed   and  watched
very  closely.  Any  misconduct  (Particularly  fighting  and
ill-discipline) will leave you standing on the outside of the
Qguartier  gates.  The  Legion  are  not looking  for nutters,
psychopaths  or  macho men.  They will  also attempt  to find
out  any  details about  any crimes  that you  have committed
in  the past.  They work  very closely  with Interpol  and if
you happen to be on their wanted list  you can  expect little
refuge in the  Legion. You  will be  handed straight  over to
the  Gendarmes.   Similarly,  anybody   found  to   be  still
serving  with  a  foreign army  will be  denied entry  to the
Foreign  Legion.  It  is therefore  advisable to  carry your
discharge papers if you  have recently  left the  forces and
have  the appearance  of having  had a  military background.
In  days gone  by the  Legion used  to accept  almost anyone
into  their  fold.  Today  however,  the  story is  a little
different  and  they  are much  more choosy  as to  who they
accept.  About  two thirds  of those  who arrive  at Aubagne
will  go  on  to  commence  basic training  at Castelnaudary
(The centre for instruction for the French  Foreign Legion).
Although the Legion is more  choosy they  are still  keen to
recruit and if you are  in reasonable  shape, not  wanted by
Interpol and pass all the tests which are  put before  you -
(None  of which  are extremely  difficult) then  the chances
are that they will  snap you  up. Because  there is  so much
mis-information   about   the   Foreign  Legion   there  are
sometimes  men  who  resemble   little  more   than  beggars
who turn up at  the Legion's  gates to  join -  people whose
teeth  are  rotting,  are  grossly  overweight or  have vile
infections - they are all turned away.
On  arrival  at  Aubagne  your  belongings  will  be removed
and deposited  in a  plastic bag  with a  record of  all its
contents put on file. If  during the  first three  weeks you
decide  to  leave (And  you are  allowed to  do this  at any
time  prior to  "La Declaration"-  a solemn  declaration of
fidelity to serve the French Foreign  Legion) or  are deemed
to  be  unsuitable  for  service  with  the  French  Foreign
Legion they will all be returned to you.  The only  items of
kit that may  be retained  by you  are toiletries,  a watch,
underwear   and   socks   and  a   French  dictionary/phrase
book.  If  however  you  are  accepted  into the  Legion the
clothing is lost forever - do  not therefore  wear expensive
clothing when you come  to enlist.  Your passport  will also
be removed until you either  opt to  leave within  the three
weeks selection or at the end of your contract.
For  these  first  three  weeks you  will assigned  to duties
around  the  Quartier.  They  may  be   cleaning,  gardening,
administration,  loading  or  unloading  of vehicles  or just
helping in the stores. In fact  you can  be assigned  to just
about  anything. Even  here you  are being  watched and  if a
bad attitude is shown it will be  noted. There  will probably
be  up  to  about  fifty  or  sixty  engages  volontaires  at
Aubagne  at  any  one time,  all at  various stages  of their
three  weeks  selection.  A  coach   load  of   new  recruits
arrives  every  couple  of  days  and  likewise,  every  day,
some  are  rejected.  Once  every  couple  of  weeks  a coach
load  of  the  successful  E.V's  (Engages  volontaires)  are
taken  down  to  the  train  station  to  make  their  way to
Castelnaudary to begin their basic training.
During  your  first  few  days  you  will  be  amazed  at the
diversity  of   nationalities  that   have  managed   to  get
themselves  all  the  way  to  France  -  people  from China,
Japan, America,  Africa, Iceland.  In fact  - any  country in
the  world.  There  are  approximately  ninety  to  a hundred
different  nationalities  serving   in  the   French  Foreign
Legion  at  any one  time. Officially  however, there  are no
Frenchmen   in   the   Foreign   Legion   (Apart   from   the
Officiers). Any French  people who  join have  their identity
changed  along  with  their  nationality  to  one  of  French
Canadian   or  French   Swiss  for   the  purpose   of  their
records.  They  have  no  choice  in  this matter.  There are
some  people  amongst  you  though,  who  have  had   a  very
colourful life - some have been terrorists, drug traffickers,
mercenaries  -  you  name  it  they've done  it. But  for all
these people the same rule  applies that  if they  are wanted
by Interpol - it's no go.
If  for any  reason you  want your  identity changed  and you
are open and honest with  the interviewer,  it is  nowadays a
very   simple   step   to   take   and   probably    80%   of
Legionnaires  choose  to  take this  road. For  some it  is a
very  serious  business  and if  ever they  have inadvertedly
had their picture taken  by swarming  journalists (As  in the
Gulf war)  and are  aware of  it they  will very  quickly see
their  Section  Lieutenant  to  arrange  a  quick  change  of
identity. (Normally if any  journalists are  known to  be in
the area, the Legionnaires present are asked it they  have a
problem with journalists - if they do -  they are  taken out
of that area and kept well out  of the  way until  the media
have left.
If,  during  your  stay  at   Aubagne  any   relatives  come
looking for you they  will be  kept at  the main  gates. You
will be asked if  you wish  to see  them and  if you  do not
they will be told  politely you  are not  in the  Legion and
asked to leave.
After  a  minimum  of three  years service  in the  Legion a
legionnaire  is  allowed to  rectify his  name -  meaning to
revert  back to  his original  name or  to confirm  that the
name  being   used  is   correct.  Once   this  is   done  a
Legionnaire  is  allowed  to wear  any foreign  medals earnt
in a previous  army, he  may also  leave the  country during
For the first week you will be in a  track suit  and thereby
identifiable  as  having  just  arrived.  During  the second
week you will be issued  a set  of combats  and will  wear a
green flash on  the shoulders.  In the  third week  you will
wear  the  same  combats  but  wearing  a  red flash  on the
epaulettes.  When  you  depart  for  Castelnaudary  you will
be  wearing  the  uniform  that  has offically  been issued,
which includes the Legion beret.
There are five main areas that  you will  be tested/assessed
on during the three weeks. They are as follows:
   Physical health.
   Psychotechnical Test.
   Security clearance.
   Physical fitness.
   Two interviews.
Physical   Health.   (Infirmier    -   Medicaux    -   Visite
d'Incorporation  -  Bilan)  (Medical  assistant  -  Doctors -
Recruitment examination - Results)
You  will  pass  before the  doctors at  Aubagne and  given a
full  medical.  Tests  will  include  good all  round general
health, bone structure, flexibility of  limbs and  all bodily
movements,  heart  and  lungs,  eyesight, hearing,  ear, nose
throat  inspection,  drug  tests,  blood tests,  urine tests.
Every area  that is  imaginable will  be inspected.  If there
are any areas  that require  further investigation,  you will
be  taken  to  the  Hospital  in  Toulon.  You will  be asked
various  questions  on  your  medical  history  with  someone
of  your  own  tongue.  If  your  eyesight  is  only slightly
defective  then  you will  probably still  be allowed  in and
glasses  will  be  provided  for  you  at  Castelnaudary. The
glasses  are  specifically  designed  for  use  with  the NBC
(Nucleaire, Biologique, et chimique) respirator.
Pschotechnical Test.
(Groupe D'Evaluation Psychotechnique)
This is broken down into two parts. The two parts will
examine the aptitude of the candidate, the level of
intelligence and the psycholgical stability.
Niveau General et Niveau Culturel.
These written tests will be taken in  a classroom  with other
engages  volontaires.  They  are  done  to  try and  find out
what  you  trade  or  skill  you  might be  suited to  in the
Foreign  Legion.  You  might  be  technically minded  or have
a   mechanical   way   of  thinking.   The  test   will  show
diagrams  of  pulleys  or  levers  and  you  may be  asked to
work  out  which  one   would  be   the  most   effective  at
carrying out the task illustrated in the diagram.
Another  part  of  the  test  takes  the  standard form  of a
mathematical questions. This test of intelligence test is not
particularly hard and most pass  without any  real problem.
Some  of  the  questions  may  be  using shapes  and asking
which  one  fits  into the  other or  working out  the next
number in a sequence.
A final written test done in the classroom are in  your own
tongue and will pose questions of  an opinionated  nature -
perhaps  requiring  some  form  of  self  assessment.  Your
answers  will  be  assessed  by  a  specialist  afterwards.
Questions  may  seem  bizarre  to  you  -  they   could  be
something like: Do you like nature?  Are you  considered to
be  a  hard  man  in  your  home town?  Do you  prefer male
company  to  female?  This  test  will  take  about  twenty
minutes.  Depending  on your  score -  you will  be allowed
entry into the French Foreign  Legion. The  scores achieved
will  also determine  whether or  not you  will be  able to
progress higher up the rank structure at a later date. (The
tests are repeated throughout you career however)
Security  Clearance.  (Beaureau  Des  Statistiques   de  la
Legion Etrangere - BSLE)
Here, it is up to the Legion  to decide  whether or  not to
accept you into their fold from the security point of view.
But they will make every  effort to  find out  every detail
about you starting from the year dot. The  information will
be  gathered  by  means  of  a  personal  interview between
yourself and someone of your  own tongue.  This is  part of
the  French  Foreign Legion  Intelligence service  and they
are very good at  their job.  They are  referred to  as "Le
Gestapo" by the Legionnaires.
Although  the   Legion  will   accept  people   of  various
backgrounds they will  not accept  murderers or  those they
consider  to be  of a  dangerous nature.  They have  in the
past  accepted former  terrorists and  people caught  up in
the troubles of  their country.  For these  people it  is a
chance to  to escape  any danger  they might  be in  and to
start life again. The interview will  take about  two hours
and they will delve into every minute detail of  your life;
your  family,  your schooling  - your  previous jobs  - why
you want to  join. They  will ask  you about  your friends,
where you have been  in the  world. And  if they  feel they
are not happy  with your  story they  will invite  you back
again  for further  interviews until  they are  happy. Your
fingerprints will also be taken during this stage  and held
on record.
Physical Fitness. (La Forme Physique)
These tests are done to ensure that you are in a reasonable
condition  to  take  on  the  tasks   that  lie   ahead  at
Castelnaudary. As well as various upper  body tests  in the
form of pull-ups and sit ups there is a  2600 metre  run to
be completed  in twelve  minutes. If  you take  longer than
the time allowed then you will have failed selection. (this
equates to just over a mile and a half in  12 mins  or just
over eight minute miles). Failures are allowed  to re-apply
in three months time.
Interviews. (Les entrevues)
There will be a  brief interview,  probably with  a Caporal
Chef  and  a   second  interview   with  the   Major.  Both
interviews will take on a similar line of questioning - Why
do  you  want  to  join?  What  have   you  done   in  your
previous  life?  Have  you done  much physical  training in
your life?  Do you  know and  understand what  the contract
means?  Soon  after  you  have  had  your  second interview
you  will  be  informed  of  whether or  not you  have been
accepted into the French Foreign Legion.
At  Aubagne  the  days  will  start  early, probably  at about
5.00am, firstly with Le  petit dejeuner  (breakfast) -  a bowl
of  hot  coffee  or  chocolate  with  some  bread,  butter and
jam.  The  coffee will  be served  in a  bowl which  you drink
from.  This  is  France  now   and  you   will  learn   to  do
everything   the   French   way.  As   you  become   known  to
more  and  more Legionnaires  you will  quickly learn  that it
is also customary to shake  hands first  thing in  the morning
or  for  the first  time you  meet them  during the  day. This
happens every day.
There  is  much  to  do  during  the  three weeks  at Aubagne,
so you  will quickly  be marched  back to  the block  to start
cleaning. After this the days' activities will begin. It could
be any one of the tests  previously mentioned  or it  could be
something  more  mundane  like  cleaning  or  helping  out  in
the kitchens.
Throughout  each  day  you  will  be working  in one  place or
another,  getting  called away  to carry  out another  test or
interview and then returning  to your  present job.  If you're
not doing either of these things then you  will be  getting to
know  the   other  engages   volontaires  in   a  sort   of  a
recreational area at the back of the  building. Here  there is
a  pull up  bar and  trees to  sit under  and relax.  The days
are long and they can be tiring but it is also  an interesting
time  for  you. You  are on  the edge  of an  unknown quantity
- about  to embark  on a  great adventure  - with  some fairly
bizarre  and  adventurous  members  of  your planet.  You will
probably  come across  those that  like to  pull up  a sandbag
and tell tall stories - take the things you hear with  a pinch
of salt. Especially when it comes to what lies ahead.
You  are  essentially  now  in the  French Foreign  Legion and
it is  a tough  army with  a tough  lifestyle. You  must stand
up  for  yourself  and don't  get walked  over. But  be warned
that if you  are caught  fighting and  causing trouble  - then
you  will  be  turned  away.  At  Castelnaudary  they  will be
more lenient - and it is sometimes required  in life,  to earn
some  respect,  not  least  of  all  in  the   French  Foreign
Legion.  Here,  however  -  if  they  see  you  as  a  trouble
maker  then  you will  soon find  yourself packing  your bags.
There  will  probably  be  two  days  out  of the  three weeks
that will be spent  at one  of two  Legion camps  helping out:
Malmousce and Puyoublier.
Malmousce  is  a   small  Legion   complex  situated   on  the
seafront close to Marseille. It is an idyllic setting and it's
purpose  is  to provide  for Legionnaires  who have  no family
or  friends,  a  place  for  them  to  spend  their Permission
(Holiday).  They  will go  here or  alternatively to  "Fort De
Nogent" in Paris.
As  an  engage  volontaire  you  will  more  than   likely  be
taken  here  to  Malmousce  to  carry  out  any jobs  that are
necessary  -  such  as  odd  jobbing  or  helping  out  in the
kitchens.  There  will  probably  be  about  ten   to  fifteen
Legionnaires there at any one time, all  at various  stages of
their  contract.  For  them,  during  the  weeks   they  spend
there,  life  is  easy  and  they will  probably be  more than
happy  to  tell you  about life  in the  Legion and  what's in
store for  you. The  food is  normally of  a high  standard as
it is on most Legion camps.
The  other place  that you,  as an  engage volontaire  will be
likely  to  visit  is  Puyoublier.  This is  the home  for the
former  Legionnaires  who  have  completed  more   than  three
contracts  in  the  Legion.  In  the   Legion  such   men  are
known  as  "Les  Anciens ".  Most  of  them  have  seen action
on  more  than  one  occasion   during  their   careers.  Some
have  seen  a  lot  of  action  in some  of the  Legion's most
memorable  battles.  They  are  friendly  people and  only too
happy  to  talk  to  "Les   Jeunes  "(The   in-experienced  or
latest  to  arrive).  At  Puyoublier  the  men make  their own
wine  and work  the land.  There are  livestock to  look after
and even a  crafts centre  where they  make souvenirs  to sell
to tourists. It is their home - they eat  well -  have company
they can relate to - and they of course  drink well.
Puyoublier continues to give them a purpose in life.
Your  job  whilst  there will  again be  to help  out wherever
needed.  By this  stage you  will be  beginning to  learn what
hard work is all about.
During  your  time  at  Aubagne  you  will  be getting  paid a
small  amount  of  money.  This  will  amount  to  about  F100
per  week.  With  this  money  you  will be  allowed, probably
once  a  week,  to  go  to the  Foyer (A  bar with  small shop
attached  -  There is  one on  every guartier)  - you  will be
allowed  an  hour  or  so  to  have  a  beer  or  two  and buy
anything you need such as razors, cigarettes etc.
It will be very  noticeable how  all the  nationalities gather
together in  groups of  their own  tongue -  non more  so than
the   British.   With   the   "Brits",   will   be  Canadians,
Australians,  Scandinavians  (who  often  speak  English)  and
Americans.    Whenever    the    English    speakers    gather
together  they  are  known   as  "La   Mafia  Anglaise   "  or
sometimes   if   they   are   British   "Les    Hooligans   ".
(Individually,   you   may   find   yourself    being   called
"Johhny"  from  time  to time,  particularly by  Les Anciens).
But  you  will  notice  the   Spanish  and   Brazilians  stick
together,  the  Eastern block  countries will  stick together.
The French will  be in  their little  group and  so on.  It is
important to make an effort  to mix  - if  not with  the other
nationalities - at least with the French. It is after all, the
French  that  you  will be  relying on  to learn  the language
and, during  the initial  stages, to  translate what  has been
said by the Caporal or Sergent.
As well as various lectures  and videos  covering life  in the
French  Foreign  Legion  and  the  postings that  exist, there
will  also  be  a  visit  to the  Legion Museum.  Probably one
of the most impressive  to be  seen. You  will be  given about
an hour to wander around during an afternoon and
examine some of the Legion's past.
At  some  time  during  the  three  weeks  you will  also be
interviewed  (albeit  it  in  a very  casual manner)  on the
subject  of  music.  That  is  whether  or  not you  play an
instrument  or have  any inclination  to become  a musiciain
and  any  desire  to  play  in the  Legion band.  The Legion
band is always keen to recruit  - any  hint of  interest and
you will be encouraged all  the way  in this  direction. No-
one is ever forced to  join the  band however  - but  if you
are an experienced musician  and definitely  do not  want to
work in the Legion band then  it is  probably better  if you
tell  them  you  are  destined  to  be  in  the  2  REP  and
wouldn't  know  one  end  of  a  trumpet  from   the  other.
(There are some perks  to the  job of  being a  bandsman and
the  Legion  band  does  travel  worldwide every  year). All
bandsmen   go   through   French   Foreign    Legion   basic
training just the same as any other Legionnaire.
After a long three weeks of  cleaning, tests  and interviews
you  will  finally  be  told  whether  you  have  passed the
selection  procedure  or  not. The  successful ones  will be
issued  with the  Legion haircut  and be  taken down  to the
stores  to  be  kitted out  with Le  Paquetage. This  is the
equipment  that  you  will  take  with you  to Castelnaudary
and last  you through  your contract.  It will  be contained
within  a  large  green  sausage bag  called a  Sac Moraine.
When  you  have   been  issued   your  paquetage   you  will
know  that  very  soon  you  will commencing  basic training
with the French Foreign Legion.
At this stage there is only one more thing left to do - that
is the solemn declaration  of honour  and fidelity  to serve
the French Foreign Legion.  For this  you will  be assembled
in a large room which  oozes tradition.  Thirty to  forty of
you  will  be  assembled to  form three  sides of  a square.
There will be  a short  speech by  the Major  declaring that
you  have  been officially  accepted into  the ranks  of the
Foreign Legion,  with whom  you will  serve for  five years
with honour  and faithfulness.  The Major  will then  go up
to  each  engage  volontaire,  call his  name out  and hand
him   his  contract.   The  Legionnaire   will  acknowledge
receipt  of  the  contract  by  coming  to  the gardez-vous
position  (attention  position)  and  calling  out "Present
At  approx   5.00  am   the  next   morning  you   will  be
assembled ready for pick  up by  coach to  be taken  to the
Aubagne train station. There you will board a train to take
you  to  Castelnaudary.  The  Sergent  and the  Caporal who
escort you in  the morning  will be  part of  your training
team during the four months that lie ahead.
Castelnaudary -
L 'Instruction - Basic Training.
"Quite singly  the best  way to  get on  during instruction
is  not to  get noticed,  keep your  head down,  work hard,
don't  moan,  mix with  the French  and start  learning the
language.  It  will  come  amazingly  quickly  and  if  you
can speak French, you'll get less hassle".
This  is  the  real beginning  of your  time in  the French
Foreign  Legion.   Everything  so   far  has   been  merely
selection. It is  now that  the real  work begins.  You are
brand  spanking  new  to  the  system  and  are   about  to
embark on a very steep learning curve....
Basic training is not  aimed at  producing elite  soldiers out
of you. It is aimed at bringing  you all  into a  military way
of  thinking  and to  start instilling  some form  of military
discipline.  Coupled with  this, they  must start  getting you
to   grips   with   learning    the   French    language   and
conditioning  you physically  to the  rigours that  lie ahead.
There  is  therefore  a lot  of work  to be  done by  both the
training  team  and  the  recruits  during  the   four  months
basic training.
It is after basic training that soldiering skills are taught in
depth at  the Regiment  that you  are posted  to. That  is not
to say that you are  not taught  military skills  during basic
training - only that the  skills may  not be  so in  depth and
so  well  honed  at  this  stage.  Remember  that   there  are
people   from   all   over   the  world,   Japanese,  Chinese,
Rumanians,  Czechs,  Polish  all  with  a   totally  different
outlook  on  life.  The  Western  world  is  naturally  a very
disciplined culture and one  which adapts  well to  a military
environment  -  many  other  cultures  around  the  world  are
not so orderly in their thinking.
This  four  months basic  training will  also be  teaching you
one more thing - and certainly the hardest  element of  all to
an  engage  volontaire  -  and  that  is  the  "Legion  way of
doing  things".  It may  not be  the most  logical way  or the
simplest  way,  it  may  seem like  the most  stupid, ridiculous
method in the world  - but  it is  done that  way and  you are
going to do it that way - even if it takes  all night  and all
the next  day. They  may send  one man  to do  the job  of ten
or  ten  men  to  do  the  job of  one. It  will drive  you to
insanity  at the  time but  what it  is doing  is re-affirming
military discipline into  your very  new way  of life.  If you
can  prepare  yourself  for  this  and  accept  their  way  of
getting  the  job  done,  then  you're  well  on  your  way to
becoming   a   "Bon   Legionnaire".  This   is  the   part  of
Foreign Legion life that is most difficult to adapt to.
Physically the Foreign Legion is not that hard -  mentally it
can crack you  down the  middle -  especially those  from the
Western  world.  It  may  take  you  the  whole of  your five
year  contract  to  become  fully  at  home  home  with  this
mentality and the Legion way of doing things.
A "Section" consists of 40 men each broken down into
4  "Groupes".   The  Section   is  commanded   by  a
"Sergent-Chef" and is known as the "Chef de section"
but  is  addressed  us "Sergent-chef".  Likewise the
Groupe is commanded by a "Sergent"  and is  known as
the "Chef de Groupe" but  addressed as  "Sergent" by
the Legionnaires.
Vos Instructeurs - Your Instructors.
The  training  team  is  made  up of  four Caporaux  (One man
is  referred  to as  Le Caporal  - more  than one  Caporal is
referred  to  as  Les  Caporaux),  four  Sergents,  a Sergent
Chef and a Lieutenant.
The  Caporaux  at  Castelnaudary  will  be   made  up   of  a
combination  of  Caporaux  from  other  Regiments   and  what
is   known    as   "Fonctionnaire-Caporal"    (Shortened   to
Caporal  Fut-Fut). This  is a  term applied  to a  select few
Legionnaires    who    have    been    offered    accelerated
promotion  due  to  a  good performance  during their  own in
basic  training  -  they  therefore, have  only served  a few
months more than yourselves in the Legion.
You  may  find  that  there is  a Caporal  or Sergent  of the
same  nationality  as  your  own.  Often  they  will  be more
friendly  to  their  own  nationality  and keep  you slightly
more  informed  as  to  what  is  on  the  agenda  during the
coming  days.  Tread  carefully  in  this  area  however  and
assume nothing.
On  arrival  at  Castelnaudary  railway  station you  will be
picked  up  by  a  Legion  coach  and  taken to  the Quartier
(guartier  Capitaine  Danjou).  You  will  at  all  times  be
accompanied   by   the    Caporaux   or    Sergents.   Having
unloaded  all   the  Sacs   Moraines  (Long   sausage  shaped
green bags) into the corridor,  there will  be a  briefing by
one  of  the  Caporaux  telling  you  what  is  next  on  the
agenda.  The  first  day  will  be  spent unpacking  bags and
getting you into the routines that  will very  quickly become
a way of life.
Depending  on the  training team  - and  they all  have their
own way of doing  things -  your first  day will  probably be
even more  stressful than  usual. In  most armies  around the
world there is a routine of traumatising the  recruits during
their  first  days  -  creating as  big a  shock for  them as
possible.  One  regiment  in  the  British forces  would make
the  recruits  run  for four  miles with  the whole  of their
equipment  immediately  on  getting  off  the  coach  at  the
Depot, shouting and screaming at them all the way.
Likewise  in  the  French  Foreign  Legion they  must instill
discipline into the Section as soon as possible and this will
be  done  by  whatever  means  is  deemed   necessary.  There
will be silence in the  corridoors when  lined up.  Feet will
be exactly in line with the second row of floor tiles.
Anybody  talking,  whispering  or  behaving like  a civilian
will be reprimanded in the most extreme manner
probably in the form of  a good  dig to  the body.  Head and
eyes to the front and best you keep it  that way.  For those
that come from Eastern block  countries this  is not  at all
easy.   They   have  come   from  backgrounds   far  removed
from  the  culture  of  the West.  They are  inherently less
disciplined and prone to being the target of  the enthusiasm
of the  Caporaux. You  may well  find yourself  doing press-
ups on account of them.
Throughout  the  day  they  will  run  you  through  what is
known as the "Apel". This is a routine of  lining up  in the
corridoor and calling out from left to  right a  number. The
number  starts  at  one  and  continues  up to  however many
there are of you. You  may all  be lined  up in  a different
order every time you come out  into the  corridor, so  it is
important  that  you  learn  very  quickly  how to  count in
French.  Whatever  you  are  doing  in  the  room  -  it  is
dropped  immediately  and   you  must   get  out   into  the
corridor and  line up  against the  wall before  the Caporal
has reached the count of four.
The Apel is always done first thing in the morning  and last
thing at night, but initially you will do it  perhaps twenty
or thirty times in a day. This is purely to teach you how to
count  and  as   a  method   of  asserting   discipline  and
authority  upon you.  In the  2 eme  REP based  in Corsica,
there are three apels per day - one after lunch as  well. At
some time during basic training there  is sure  to be  a low
count  in  the  morning  when  a  Legionnaire  or  two  have
decided that they've had  enough and  tried to  desert. They
are nearly always caught.
Les Numeraux - The Numbers.
Listed below are the numbers that you must learn:
French number - (Pronounced as) - English number
Un - (Urn) - One
Deux - (Durgh) - Two
Trois  -  (Twar)  - Three
Quatre  -  (Cart)  - Four
Cinq - (Sank) - Five
Six - (See) - Six
Sept - (Set) - Seven
Huit  - (H'eet)  - Eight
Neuf - (Nerf) - Nine
Dix - (Dees) - Ten
Onze - (Onz) - Eleven
Douze - (Dooz) - Twelve
Treize - (Trays) - Thirteen
Quatorze - (Catorz) - Fourteen
Quinze - (Canz) - FiAeen
Seize - (Says) - Sixteen
Dix-Sept  -  (Dees  set)  - Seventeen
Dix-Huit  -  (Dees  weet)  - Eighteen
Dix-neuf  -  (Dees nerf)  - Nineteen
Vingt - (Van) - Twenty
Vingt et une - (Vant ay oon) - Twenty one
Vingt deux - (Van der) - Twenty two
Vingt trois - (Van twar) - Twenty three
Vingt quartre - (Van cart) - Twenty four
Vingt Cinq - (Van sank) - Twenty five
Vingt six - (Van see) - Twenty six
Vingt sept - (van set) - Twenty seven
Vingt  huit  -  (Van  weet) -  Twenty eight
Vingt  neuf  -  (van  nerf) -  Twenty nine
Trente - (Tron) - thirty
Trente et une - (Tront ay oon) - thirty one
Trent deux - (Tron der) - Thirty two
Trente trois - (Tron twar) - Thirty three
Trente Quatre - (Tron cart) - Thirty four
Trente cinq - (Tron sank) - Thirty five
Trente six - p'ron sees) - Thirty six
Trente sept - (Tron set) - Thirty seven
Trent huit - (Tron weet) - Thirty eight
Trente neuf - (Tron nerf) - Thirty nine
Quarante - (Carront) - Forty
Quarante et une - (Carront ay oon) - Forty one
Quarante deux - (Carront der) - Forty two
Quarante trois - (Carront twa) - Forty three
Quarante quatre - (Carront cart) - Forty four
Quarante Cinq - (Carront sank) - Forty five
Quarante six - (Carront sees) - Forty six
Quarante sept - (Carront set) - Forty seven
Quarante huit - (Carront weet) - Forty eight
Quarante neuf - (Carront nerf) - Forty nine
Cinquante- (Sankont) - Fifty
It will not  obviously stop  everybody else  making mistakes
and you will still be going in and  out of  the room  like a
yo-yo. But at least you will get it right and it's  one less
thing for you to have to learn. When you later have  to line
up for  a Company  parade you  will have  to learn  the rest
of the numbers  in French,  but this  is not  worth worrying
about at the moment.
There  are  two  other  reasons  for  needing  to  learn the
numbers as  soon as  possible. Firstly;  you will  have been
issued  a service  number and  there will  also be  a number
for  your  FAMAS.  Your  service  number  is  known  as your
"Matricule"  and  is  a  six figure  number. You  must learn
how to say it in French and  learn it  by heart.  The number
is not however read out as single  numerals but  as follows:
Cent  soixante  trois,  trois  cent  onze  (One  hundred and
sixty  three  -  three  hundred  and  eleven). This  is more
difficult  to  commit  to  memory  than simply  learning: Une-
six-trois,  trois-une-une.  (One-six-three  -  three-one-one).
The  Caporaux  will  teach  it   to  you   and  you   will  be
expmted to know it by heart after a week or two.
It will not be  very long  before you  are introduced  to your
FAMAS   assault   rifle   -   This   number   must   also   be
committed to memory.
If  you  can  learn these  numbers quickly  then you  will not
be the one that feels the might of  a size  ten boot  when the
Sergent  has  been  calling  out the  weapon number  six times
at the armoury doors (Le Magasine).
Apart   from  learning   your  numbers   there  will   be  the
allocation  of  beds and  lockers and  a demonstration  by one
of  the  Caporaux  on  how  to  arrange  your  Paquetage  into
the  armoire (locker)  in the  correct way.  There is  a right
way  and  a  wrong way  to do  everything in  the Legion  - if
the kit is not placed in the correct place it will soon end up
on the floor. There is no  food to  be kept  in the  locker at
any time and there is a  very small  shelf which  is allocated
for  personal  belongings.  (Of  which  you  will   have  very
As  an engage  volontaire you  will be  assigned to  another -
he  will be  referred to  as your  "Binome". It  is up  to you
to help each other. If he's French -  he can  help you  a lot,
and he will be expected to.
"It  goes  without  saying  that  as   a  recruit   you  must
always  carry  a  pen  and  notepad. Carry  three pens  - One
for  yourself,  one  for when  it stops  working and  one for
the binhome next to you who has forgotten his"
For the first  two weeks  there are  only a  few items  of kit
that you have to worry about.  The first  is the  boots. These
must be well polished and there is  plenty of  opportunity to
do that.  If nothing  is happening  - i.e.  between lectures,
then  the  Legionnaires  will  gather  downstairs  and polish
their  boots.  You  may  well  find  yourself  polishing  the
boots  five,  six  or  even  seven  times  a  day.  The green
combat uniform that is worn on  a daily  basis is  not ironed
in the Legion. Neither is the  Tenue de  Sport (PT  kit). But
it  must  be  clean  at  all  times.  There  are  no  washing
machines in basic training so all the kit is cleaned  by hand
with  a  block  of  Savon  Marseille   (Soap)  in   the  wash
basins. Then  hung out  to dry  on the  clothes lines  of the
balconies  attached  to  each  room.  (The clothes  lines are
below  balcony  level  and  therefore  not  visible  from the
outside of the building).
The beret  that has  been issued  to you  will last  only two
weeks  before  being  replaced  with  a  smaller  neater  one
which sits much more neatly on the head.
The tassle at the back of the beret should lie  directly down
the centre of the  back of  the head.  The Legion  badge will
then sit slightly to the right of the right eye.  Unlike some
armies where a blue beret is issued  until training  has been
completed - in the Legion it is the Kepi  that you  earn. The
beret issued in the Legion is green in  colour from  day one.
The flap being folded down to the left.
If you wish to shape  the beret  to your  head, you  can make
it wet and then squeeze it until  damp, then  put it  on your
head for shaping to  the exact  shape and  position required.
You  will  be  paid  approximately  F1500  per  month  during
L 'Instruction (basic  training) (About  X200). This  will be
paid   into   your  CNE   account  which   is  held   by  the
L 'Adjudant de Section.  When you  are allowed  to go  to the
Foyer  (Like   a  Naafi   or  canteen   with  a   small  shop
attached)  -  you  will  be  given  some  money. This  is not
likely  to  happen  very  often  during  the  four  months of
Instruction.  Everything  will  be  provided  for  you during
basic  training,  even  down  to  your  toothbrush, toothpaste,
razors  etc.  At  some  time during  your Instruction  you will
be allowed to  go into  the town  for a  few hours.  Here again
you  will  be  paid  about  F200-F300  to have  a beer  and buy
anything  you  need.  Once  you  have   been  posted   to  your
regiment,  the  foyer  will  become a  regular watering  hole -
chosen  in  preference  to  going  through  all  the  hassle of
preparing  your  tenue  to  exit the  Quartier. No  formal dess
need  be  worn  in  the  Foyer  -  even   Tenue  de   sport  is
Les Chants - The Songs.
It will not take long for the instructors  to introduce  you to
the  singing  which  forms  an  integral  part  of  the  French
Foreign   Legion's   tradition.   The   Legion  sings   on  the
march,  at  the  Gardez-vous  (attention  position),  sometimes
on  the  run  as  a  section,  and  around  camp fires  when on
non-tactical excercises at the end of a long day.
You  will  probably  first  be  taught  Le  Boudin  along  with
Le Chant (de la) Companie plus Le Chant Du Regiment.
There  may  be  as  many  as  fifteen  or  twenty  songs  learnt
during   the  four   months  basic   training.  How   many  you
learn  depends  very  much  on  you  all  as  a   Section.  The
more  French  speaking  people  there are  in the  Section, the
easier it is to learn, and so  the more  songs you  will learn.
If  there  are  only  a   few  Francophones   (French  speaking
people) in  the section  the songs  may well  be taught  to you
phonetically.  What  this  means  is  that  a German  will read
out  the  words  as  they  should  sound  in  German   and  you
will  write  them down  as they  sound to  you in  your tongue.
Le  Boudin  is  probably  the  most  famous  of all  the Legion
It is also the only  song that  must be  sung at  the Gardez
vous position. All the  rest may  be sung  on the  march. Le
Chant   (de   la)   Compagnie  wi11   vary  from   company  to
company and could be one of many songs.
The first verse of Le Boudin is often all that is  sung, for
example prior to eating a meal. It goes like this:
Le Boudin:
Tiens. Voila du Boudin, voila du boudin, voila du
Pour les Alsaciens, les Suisses et les Lorrains,
Pour les Belges y en a plus, pour les Belges y en a plus,
Ce sont des tireurs au coup,
Tireurs au coup.
There are many different understandings of the meaning
behind the words but here is a literal translation:
Well there's sausage, there's sausage, there's sausage,
For the Alsatians, the Swiss and the Lorrainers;
There's none left for the Belgians, there's none left for
the Belgians,
They are malingerers;
There's none left for the Belgians, there's none left for
the Belgians;
They are malingerers
You will undoubtedly hear of other versions whilst in the
The songs  are not  just sung  in French  but in  many other
languages  such  as  Yugoslavian,  German  and  English. The
first  few  weeks  singing  will  undoubtedly result  in some
very sore arms. This will be through  all the  press-ups that
you  will  be doing  in a  bid to  get you  to sing  in tune,
deeper  (Plus  has)  and louder  (Plus fort).  It may  seem a
pain singing hour after hour, sometimes late into  the night,
but when a level of skill has  been achieved  - it  will look
and  sound  very  good. There  is nothing  like the  sound of
40  plus  Legionnaires  (better  still  a  company   of  150)
singing  in tune,  on the  march, with  Kepis on  their heads
and red epaulettes on their shoulders.
Songs  will  be  sung  initially in  the classroom,  and then
later, when the  words have  been learnt,  on the  march. The
songs  that  you will  learn are  not what  you are  used to.
They are sung slowly,  in unison  and in  a deep  voice. They
have to be sung slowly  in order  to be  in keeping  with the
pace  of  the  march.  (In  the  French  Foreign  Legion  the
marching  is  done  at  80  paces  per  minute as  opposed to
120 in the British army).
There are a  collection of  Legion songs,  most of  which you
will  be expected  to learn  during basic  training, situated
towards the back of the book in the Appendix section.
La Presentation - Presenting Yourself.
It is tradition in  the Legion  that when  addressing someone
of a senior rank Le Presente is carried out. It is a  form of
recital  and  until  you  have  attained some  rank yourself,
this will initially mean saying it  to everybody,  except the
other "Engages" (recruits).
It is also said when you  recieve your  pay or  when entering
a room occupied by anyone of any senior rank.
Actions: Knock - wait - enter - salut - beret off....
"Engage Volontaire Antoine,
Deux mois de service,
Deuxieme Compagnie,
Section de Lieutenant Souzla,
A vos ordres Caporal/Sergent/Sergent chef/etc. "
"Recruit Antoine,
Two months service,
2nd Company,
Lieutenant Souzla's section,
At your orders Corporal/Sergeant. "
The words in italics will have to  be changed  for whatever
details are  applicable to  you. Once  inside the  room the
Sergent or whoever that you are talking to, will then say,
"Mets-toi au repos. "
Meaning - Put yourself  into the  position of  "Repose". (A
bit like the "Stand at ease" position in the British army).
You must then reply,
"Je me-mets au repos a vos ordres Sergent".
Meaning: I go to the position of Repose as you order
When the senior rank has finished with you he will say,
"Tu peu dispose"
Meaning: "You may now leave"
You must then reply, "Je peu dispose, a vos ordres
Meaning: I am now leaving as you have ordered Sergent.
(Actions: Beret on - Salut - About turn - exit room).
This is  carried on  throughout your  careeer in  the Foreign
Legion and holds true even  in war.  It is  said particularly
when  talking  to  ranks that  are more  than one  rank above
you  or  if  they  are  unfamiliar.  After  some time  in the
Legion  or  in  times  of   war  the   Le  presente   may  be
shortened to,
"Legionnaire Antoine, a vos ordres Sergent"
To which the sergent or whoever would probably reply,
"Oui, qu'es-ce que tu veux? (Yes, what do you want?)
Each room is responsible  for its  cleanliness. There  is not
an excessive  emphasis on  the rooms  but they  are inspected
on a  daily basis.  They are  also walked  around at  the end
of  the day  by the  Caporal Chef/Sergent  who is  taking the
evening Apel.
There  is  no  smoking  allowed in  the building  but engages
will  often  try  to  sneek  one  on  the balcony.  Smoking is
however  allowed,  but  downstairs  and   outside.  Everyday,
first thing in the morning and after  lunch before  being fell
in  there  is the  daily Corvet  Quartier. This  comprises of
the  Company  forming   a  line   and  walking   very  slowly
around  the  building.  At  each corner  of the  building the
line is stopped and reformed to face  a new  direction. Since
the  buildings  at  Castelnaudary are  in an  "L-shape" there
are six  straight lines  to form  before progressing  in each
new direction.  All the  time you  are looking  for cigarette
ends, litter or  rose petals  that have  fallen in  the wind.
There  are  constant  yells  of  Đ¿Silence  by the  Caporal du
Jour which often  fall on  deaf ears  and inevitably  ends up
in everybody doing press-ups.
This  ritual  of  Corvette Quartier  will continue  until you
have  reached  Caporal  status  or  above.  (About  two years
In  each  building  there  are  two Sections  of Legionnaires
undergoing  basic training.  The older  Section will  be able
to  socialise  with  you  almost  everyday   when  downstairs
polishing  boots   or  smoking   cigarettes.  As   you  might
expect they will try to fill you full of horror stories about
what lies  ahead. They  will more  than likely  exaggerate to
the  extreme.  So  take  anything  you hear  with a  pinch of
salt. Most of it will be rubbish.
Bel Air, La ferme - Bel Air, the fame
The  big  horror  story  you  will  undoubtedly   hear  about
from  day  one  is  Bel Air.  This is  a large  farm building
situated   in   the   countryside   about   ten   miles  from
Castelnaudary.  All  the Sections  go to  Bel Air  aAer about
four  weeks for  a period  of three  weeks. Whilst  there you
will  undergo  training  in  weapons  handling, (Particularly
stripping  and  assembly  of  the  FAMAS),  weapon  cleaning,
physical  fitness,   navigation  (By   compass  and   by  the
stars),  French  language,  an  introduction   to  fieldcraft
(setting  up  bivouacs,  camouflage  and  concealment, target
indication,  first  aid,  fire  control  orders,  patrolling,
ambushes),  drill  and  arms  drill,  marching and  of course
lots of singing.
As  mentioned  previously  -  they  are not  out to  make you
into elite soldiers at this stage -  more to  get you  into a
military  way  of  thinking,  improve  your  physical fitness
and  to  try  to get  you talking  in French.  The soldiering
skills are honed later on in your career.
There  will  be  pressures  placed  upon  you and  these will
take the form of sleep deprivation,  keeping you  as stressed
and  traumatised  as  possible  by  shouting   and  requiring
everything  to  be done  in double  quick time.  Coupled with
that there will be very little to eat. The days will  be long
and  you  will become  very, very  tired. Still  the pressure
will  be  on  you.  Here  there will  be many  inspections of
your  equipment,  your boots  (Polish the  whole of  the boot
whilst at Bel Air - the  underside as  well). Also  mark them
well,  as  they  may  be  thrown  out  of  the   window  with
everyone else's (even if your's are clean). Ideally, you will
want  the  same  pair  back  when you  go to  recuperate them
at the end of the night.
Each  day  at Bel  Air will  start early,  at around  5.00 am
and by six o'clock  you will  be doing  the morning  Sport or
Le Petit-footing. This will  take about  an hour  and because
there  are  varying  degrees  of  fitness  amongst  you,  the
Section  will  normally be  divided up  into three  groups of
varying ability.
You will all do the same training - just that you will all be
pushed  to  the  maximum.  There  will be  four to  five mile
runs,  un-armed combat,  sit-ups, press  ups, pull  ups, rope
climbing  (No  legs  allowed), firemans  carry and  any other
games  the  training  team  can  devise  to  get   the  blood
flowing faster.
Although the running will tend to get  faster over  the three
weeks the upper body strengthening excercises may not
achieve  as much  since the  food intake  is limited  and the
pull  ups,  press  ups  and  rope  climbing   excercises  are
carried  out  as much  as two  or three  times a  day. Before
each  meal  the  Caporaux  will  gather  you round  and there
will be what is referred to as the L 'Aperitif - a  series of
three  or  four  of  the above  excercises which  are carried
out.  When  so  much work  is placed  on a  particular muscle
group the  muscles have  little time  to recover  and benefit
from the work done.
Each  day  the  kit  worn  will  be  washed  by  hand  in the
basins, then  hung out  to dry  for the  next day.  Make sure
the kit is well marked.
The three weeks at Bel  Air culminates  in a  fifty kilometre
non   tactical   march   with   Sac   a  Dos   (Rucksac)  and
FAMAS.  You  have  three  days  to  complete  the  march  but
it is normally done in two. This is the only test  before you
receive   your   Kepi   Blanc.   It   is   often   argued  by
Legionnaires  that  the  Kepi Blanc  should only  be received
after the Le Raid at the end  of basic  training when  a much
longer march is carried out.  This thirty  miler is  not hard
and  by  this  stage  you  will  already  have  marched  many
times from Bel Air back to the Quartier.
If you have been a soldier in any army  prior to  joining the
Legion,  you  will  have  heard  of  many  methods of  how to
harden  your  feet.  Examples  may  be  rubbing  white spirit
into your feet, urinating  on them,  switching them  from the
hottest  water  you  can bear  to the  coldest water  you can
bear. Most  people find  that the  best way  to wear  in your
feet is to march a lot -  and that  you will.  And preferably
in boots that are well  worn in.  Legion boots  generally are
not  a  bad  fit  anyway, even  when new.  There may  be some
truth  in  the notion  that submersing  bad fitting  boots in
water when new and going for a couple of miles on a run
will help wear them  in quicker,  but you  are unlikely  to be
in a position to put this method into practise in  the Legion.
Feet  do  heal very  quickly and  there is  always a  foot and
body inspection after  every march.  Do not,  if you  have the
chance  however  rip  the skin  off a  blister to  expose open
flesh. Any  insertion into  a fluid  filled blister  should be
made  with  a  sterilised  needle  merely  to drain  the fluid
inside the blister out. The foot should  of course  be cleaned
before   such  action.   Do  not   bother  with   ointment  or
dressings unless it's  really bad;  just put  a clean  pair of
socks on. Before you know it  you will  have different  set of
blisters to worry about.
La Remise Du Kepi Blanc -
The Presentation of the white Kepi.
Throughout  the  weeks  leading  up  to  Bel  Air  and  during
your  time   there,  you   will  all   be  learning   Le  Code
D  'Honneur.  This  is  -  as  it  sounds -  a code  of honour
which is  learnt be  heart by  all Legionnaires.  Together you
must recite it in unison  at the  end of  your three  weeks at
Bel Air. You will spend many hours,  learning it,  reciting it
and then getting the vocal  synchronisation together.  It will
be  said  by  you at  the Remise  Du Eepi  Blanc (Presentation
parade) prior to donning the famous white Kepi.
If you can learn it by heart  before you  get there,  you will
be one very large stride ahead. It goes as follows:
                    Le Code D'Honneur.
"Legionnaire,  Tu  ex  un  volontaire  servant   la  Erance
avec bonheur et fidelite. "
(Legionnaire,  you  are  a  volunteer  serving  France with
honour and faithfulness)
"Chaque  Legionnaire  est  ton  frere  d'arme,  quelle  que
soit  su  nationalite,  sa  race,   sa  religion.   Tu  lui
manifestes toujours la solidarite etroite qui doit unir les
membres d'une meme famille. "
(Every  Legionnaire  is  your  brother in  arms, regardless
of nationality, race or religion. You  show him  always the
close  solidarity  which  must  unite  the  members  of the
same family)
"Respectueux  des  traditions,  attache  a  tes  chefs,  la
discipline et la camaraderie sont ta  force, le  courage et
la loyaute tes vertus. "
(Respectful  of  the  traditions  held  by   your  seniors,
discipline  and  camaraderie  are  your  strength,  courage
and loyalty your virtues)
"Fier de ton  etat de  legionnaire, tu  le montres  dans ta
tenue   toujours   elegante,   ton   comportement  toujours
digne mais modeste, ton casernement toujours net. "
(Proud to be a Legionnaire,  you show  this in  your dress;
it is always elegant, you are  always dignified  but modest
in the way  that you  behave and  your quarters  are always
in order)
Soldat d'elite, tu t'entruines  avee rigeur,  tu entretiens
ton  arme  comme  ton  bien  le  plus  precieux,  tu  as le
souci constant de ta horme physique. "
(As an elite soldier, you train with rigour, you look after
your  weapon  as  your  most  precious possession,  and you
always take care of your physical fitness.)
"La  ndssion  est  sacree,  tu  l'executes jusqu'au  but, a
tout prix. "
(The mission is sacred, you execute it to the very  end, at
all costs).
"Au  combat,  tu  agis  sans  passion  et  sans  haine,  tu
respects  les  ennemis  vaincus,  tu  n'abandonnes  jamais,
ni tes morts, ni tes blesses, ni ter armes. "
(In  combat,   you  fight   without  passion   and  without
hatred, you respect  the defeated  enemy always,  you never
abandon   your   dead,   nor   your   wounded    nor   your
You are not actually at any  time during  instruction asked
to  translate the  Code D'Honneur  into your  own language,
but it is included here for your interest.
At  the  Remise  Du  ICepi  Blanc  there  will  be  another
Section from Castelnaudary to act in  a supporting  role as
part   of   the   Remise.   The   Chef   de   Corps   (Camp
Commandant)  will  present  the  Legionnaires with  a small
badge which signifies that they are now officially accepted
as  part  of  the  4eme  RE.  He  will  pin  that  to  each
Legionnaire's chest.  The formalities  will be  followed by
big  eats,  some  singing,  and  a   photo  session   by  a
photographer  hired  by  the Legion  for some  formal group
shots. Depending on how good or bad the singing is - will
depend  on  whether  you march  back to  the Quartier  or are

taken back by camion (lorry).
When  handling  the  Kepi  make  sure  that  you  touch  only
the  black  peak  and not  the white  parts. The  white cloth
stains very easily, and if you don't handle  it by  the peak,
you'll  end  up  scrubbing it.  After Bel  Air, Castelnaudary
will  seem  like  a hotel.  The camp  was modernised  in 1985
and is extremely plush  considering the  sort of  images that
most  people conjure  up in  their mind  when they  hear talk
of  the  French   Foreign  Legion.   La  Place   D'Arme  (The
Parade  square)  is  of  an  oacre  type  tarmac  finish with
roses  all  around  the  inside of  its perimeter.  These are
carefully  maintained   by  the   prisoners  and   any  spare
recruits. Any petals that fall in the wind are swiftly picked
up  by  the  Corvet  Quartier who  sweep around  the building
twice a day.
Once    back    at    "Castel"    (Abbreviated    term    for
Castelnaudary)  you   will  soon   be  back   into  lectures,
running  and  once  every  couple  of weeks  a trip  onto the
terrain for  some patrolling  (Normally about  20 kms  or so)
and practise of  fieldcraft skills.  Temperatures can  get up
to  a  hundred  degrees  in  the summer  and there  are often
reports in the local press of locals dying whilst out  in the
heat  of  the  day  or over  doing it.  The Legion  has great
experience of working in hot conditions  and takes  this sort
of weather very  seriously. If  the weather  is too  hot then
certain  excercises may  be cancelled  or postponed  until it
is cooler.  Many of  the recruits  will not  be used  to such
weather  -  some may  not have  even acclimatised  from their
native country  yet. You  will quickly  be taught  that water
should be  treated like  gold in  these conditions.  When out
on  excercise  the  training  team  will  be   watching  very
closely who has the discipline in them to conserve water
from their Bidon (water bottle). If you  take small  sips of
water throughout the  day, as  opposed to  great gulps  - it
will last you longer. On top of that, the  more you  drink -
the  more  you  sweat.  But  if  you  want  to  earn smartie
points - be the one with half a bottle of water left  at the
next water stop.
"Do  not  drink  water  from  the rivers  in France.  If you
do -  it will  make you  very ilL  For a  week you  will not
know  whether  you're  coming  or  going.  Even  sterilising
tablets added to water are not safe in certain rivers. "
A Typical Day.
6.00 am: the Section assembles in line in the  corridoor for
the  morning  Appel.  After  a  quick shave  and a  wash you
will get  into Tenue  de Sport  (PT Kit).  The room  must be
tidied  and  the beds  made. The  beds are  not made  in the
normal  way  however.  In  the  Legion  the bed  is stripped
every  day  and  the blankets  folded to  an exact  size and
placed one on top of another. These will sit  at the  end of
the  bed  with  the Couverture  (Top cover)  underneath. The
sheets are folded and rolled in  an exact  manner to  form a
sort of  tube. These  are then  laid diagonally  across each
other on top of the blankets to form  a cross.  This routine
does not stop at the end of basic training but continues for
as long as you reside on a Legion  Quartier -  regardless of
6.20am:  The  Section  will  be  either  marched  or doubled
across to the refectoir for Le Petit Dejeuner (Breakfast).
This consists of a glass bowl of  black coffee  or drinking
chocolate. With this you receive half  a baguette  each and
some  jam  or  marmalade.  You   will  always   carry  your
issued Opinel (Pen-knife) which you use for breakfast.
You  may only  have ten  minutes to  eat this  before being
assembled  outside  to  to  return  to  the block.  You may
again either march  or run  back -  dependant upon  what is
on the agenda for the day and the schedule of timings.
6.30am: Corvet Quartier  is next  on the  agenda. (Straight
line  sweep  around  the  building  done  by  the  complete
Company to pick up cigarette  ends etc.)  At the  same time
as this, anybody wishing to go sick, reports to the Caporal
Chef down in the Company office. If the  rooms are  not yet
finished  then  one  or  two  Legionnaires  per  room  will
remain  behind to  finish them  off. There  will also  be a
couple of Legionnaires left behind to carry out  the Corvet
Chiot (Toilet cleaning duties).
7.00am:  Rassemblement  (Assembly)  by  Section, or,  if it
is  a   Monday,  it   will  be   as  a   complete  Regiment
(Reglementaire).  The  Caporal  Du   Jour  will   hand  you
over to  the Sergent  and then  if there  is a  senior rank
present you will  be handed  over to  the most  senior rank
present.  From  here  you  will  normally  go  for  a  run.
Distance   varying   from   four   to   eight   kilometres.
(Incidently,  you  will  always talk  in Kilometres  in the
Legion.  There  are  approximately 1.6kms  to one  mile. Or
0.6  miles  to  one  kilometre.  Therefore, as  an example;
eight kilometres equals approx. five miles).
Runs in the Legion never start very fast - a great emphasis
is put on warming up for  at least  the first  kilometre or
two, and then it gradually gets faster. At  the end  of the
run  there  are  usually  exercises, rope  climbing (always
without  the  use  of  your  legs), pull  ups and  sit ups,
followed by stretching.
Periodically  the  Sergent  will  have you  all straightening
each  others  spines. The  method used,  does, for  the first
time sound like a very painful  process. It  can be  a little
disconcerting  when  you  hear  your  spinal  column cracking
into line and the man doing it has only learnt  the technique
thirty   seconds   previously.  It   is  however   a  genuine
technique which was once used by osteopaths.
8.30am:  Section  arrives  back  at  the  block.  The  Senior
rank will dismiss  you into  the building  where you  can get
showered   and   changed   ready   for    the   Casse-scroute
(Snack). This will be probably  a quarter  of a  baguette and
some  pate. The  Section will  now be  in Tenue  verte (green
combats) for the rest of the day.
9.30am:  There  will  now  be  a lecture  on postings  in the
French  Foreign  Legion. This  may be  taken by  the Sergent,
Sergent Chef or the  Lieutenant. The  period will  last about
one  hour.  After  which you  will be  allowed outside  for a
cigarette break for fifteen minutes.
10.45am:  A  second  lecture will  follow on  French language
taken by the Lieutenant.
12.00am:  The  boots  will  be taken  downstairs for  a quick
polish  before lunch.  There will  also be  time for  a quick
Aperitif before lunch.
1230:  The  Section  will  assemble   ready  to   be  marched
across to the refectoir  for lunch.  The Section  will almost
always  march  and  sing  their way  across the  Place D'arme
(Parade  square).  There  may  well  be other  Sections doing
the same thing.
1250:  Feeding time  in the  Legion is  a very  well executed
procedure.  The  Legionnaires  form  a  long  line  from  the
doorway up to the servery with a Caporal at the head of
the queue controlling the passage of troops. When the
head Chef calls out the word "Quatre" - the next four
Legionnaires  walk  past the  servery, picking  up a  dish of
food  each. Since  all the  tables are  laid before  the meal
with plates and all the cutlery, there remains only  the food
to  be  collected.  This  makes  for  a  very  rapid  feeding
system.  In  the  space  of  only  a  few  minutes  literally
hundreds  of  Legionnaires  can  be  seated and  eating their
food without the  hassle of  a fifteen  minute queue.  At the
end  of  the  meal the  plates are  left on  the tables  to be
cleared  away  by  the  Legionnaires  on Corvet.  (Which will
at sometime be you).
1330:  March  back  to  Le Batiment  (Building) to  carry out
the  Corvette  Quartier  once  more.  The  rooms   will  also
have  to  be cleaned  once more  if they  require it  and the
boots polished.
1400:  The  Section will  be assembled  and the  Sergent will
brief you on  what is  happening in  the afternoon.  Today it
consists  of  being  taken  over to  the Infirmerie  for some
tests. These may  be urine,  blood, a  chat with  the Medecin
(Doctor), chest X-rays or whatever.
1530:  Lessons  in  drill. Droit  droit (Right  turn), Gauche
gauche  (Left  turn)  and the  demi-tour droit  (About turn).
There may also be further lessons on La Presente.
1650:   The   Compagnie  will   assemble  together   for  the
march   across  for   the  Repas   du  soir   (Evening  meal)
sometimes  known  as  La  Soupe.  Again  you will  sing. This
may again be preceeded by an  Aperitif in  the form  of pull-
ups, press-ups and sit ups.
1700: La Soupe. (Evening meal)
1800:  Les  Chants  de  La  Legion  (Songs  of  the  Legion).
For  several hours  you will  be in  a classroom  singing and
reciting  Le  Code  D'Honneur.  There  will  be  breaks every
hour   or   so.   For  this   you  will   go  out   into  the
corridoor/veranda outside and can smoke.
2100:  Apel  du  soir.  This  will  be  carried  out  by  the
Sergent. If he is  happy with  the rooms  and the  turnout he
will  say  Bonne  Nuit  (Good  night)  which  everyone shouts
back in  unison -  Bonne nuit  Sergent! You  can then  get to
Qaurtier Libre - Time off down the town.
At  some  time  before  the  Section  departs  for   a  weeks
training  in  the  Pyrenees  there  will  be  guartier  Libre
(Time off down the town) -  Assuming that  is if  the Section
has  performed  reasonably well  up till  then. For  this you
will  be  allowed  four  hours  out  down  in  the   town  of
Castelnaudary  and  you will  be given  about F200  francs to
spend.  The  Section  is  transported  in  Tenue   De  Sortie
(uniform  for  going  out in)  by camion  (Lorry) to  the old
Quartier   -  Quartier   Lepasset,  again   in  Castelnaudary
where  basic training  used to  take place.  You are  on your
own whilst out in the  town, but  there are  Police Militaire
(PM's)  everywhere  and the  rules are  strict. Nobody  is to
eat in public, drink or be  loud. Most  Legionnaires go  to a
bar  and  get drunk  and then  try their  best to  act sober.
Most  of  them do  a pretty  good job  and the  training team
does  not  really  mind  so long  as the  Legionnaires behave
This is prime time to get  ahead. Spend  the first  two hours
sorting  out  your  admin  - i.e.  getting anything  you need
and making  phone calls.  (A paintbrush  is worth  buying. It
can  be  used  for  weapon  cleaning and  is invaluable  as a
cleaning  tool  for  the  likes  of  the  magazines  and  the
bayonet. (There is  a brush  in the  weapon cleaning  kit but
the bristles are too thick). A bottle of iodine is also worth
getting, for sterilizing infections or blisters). Most of the
things that you need on a day to day  basis are  available in
the  Foyer  back  at  the  Quartier,  but  there   is  always
something  you  might  need and  it may  be some  time before
you're  allowed  out  again.  This  will  also be  your first
opportunity  to  make  a phone  call. The  number to  get out
of  France  is  0044  followed  by your  area code  minus the
first zero.
For  example,  if  the tel.  no in  England were  0171 123456
the   whole   number   from  France   would  be   dialled  as
follows:  0044  171  123456.  Trying  to  get help  or advice
from  the  French directory  enquiries can  give you  a major
Mal a  la tete  (headache) so  try and  get a  francophone to
help  you  if you  have problems.  If you  want them  to ring
you  back  they  must  dial  0033  to  get  out  of  England,
followed  by  the digit  "4" for  Castelnaudary and  then the
eight figure digit marked on the telephone in the kiosk.
You   may   also   find   that   because   there   are  forty
Legionnaires all trying to get a telephone, there  are queues
outside every  phone kiosk.  Try going  to a  hotel -  if the
people you are ringing want to ring back,  it will  be easier
for them to get  the number  from international  enquiries if
they have any problems.
Lager is served in half pints in France and is referred to as
"Demi  "  or  "Pression  ".  It  is  also quite  expensive in
France  and  especially  so  in  the  nightclubs   where  the
equivalent of  a full  pint would  cost you  F100. Nightclubs
however, will come later on in your career.
The   Camion   will   meet   you   at   a   pre-arranged   RV
(Normally   the   old   Legion  quartier   in  the   town  of
Castelnaudary)  to  take you  back to  the Quartier.  You are
left to your own devices  for the  next few  hours and  it is
not unknown for the Legion to allow  you to  sleep it  off on
arrival   back   at   the   guartier    afterwards.   Anybody
fighting, getting rowdy  or mouthing  off goes  straight into
the slammer for ten days.
If there  has not  been too  much trouble  on the  first trip
then  a  second  trip  may be  allowed about  a month  or two
later. There is also a town called  Carcassonne not  very far
away  from  Castelnaudary  which  is  the  home  town  of the
French  Paras.  The  Legion is  reluctant to  allow engages
there due to the trouble that normally ensues.
When  you  arrive  at  your  regiment  you  are  allowed to
leave the Quartier in the  evening aAer  work and  stay out
until   six   o'clock  the   next  morning   assuming  that
everything is in order and ready for the next day. You will
pass  before  the  Bureau Compagnie  who will  inspect you.
Then you must present yourself before the  Chef de  Post at
the main gate - who will decide whether or  not to  let you
out or not. Quartier Libre on a Regiment refers to a thirty
six hour period  over the  week end.  Not every  weekend is
Quartier libre allocated. The same routine applies  when it
is granted however.
Shortly after having been on guartier Libre, there  will be
a trip into the Pyrenees - a small village  called Camurac.
An  idyllic  farmhouse  setting  in  beautiful  countryside
where  you  will  be  continuing  your  training  but  in a
slightly more relaxed atmosphere. There  will be  the usual
Petit footing (Running) at some  time of  the day  but most
of your time  will be  spent marching  in the  Pyrenees. It
may be tactical or non-tactical, depending on  the training
team.  There  will  be  an  introduction  to  climbing  and
abseiling at some stage during the week's stay. At  least a
few evenings will be spent in  the mountains  drinking wine
around the camp fire singing Legion songs. (The  fires that
the  Legion make  are not  small bonfires  - but  more like
mini Guy  Fawkes nights).  It is  a slightly  more relaxing
time than usual - but as always assume nothing.
On  arrival  back  at  Castelnaudary  it  will  be   back  to
business as usual and  this, if  it hasn't  happened already,
could well  take the  form of  the La  Piste De  Cornbat (The
assault course). This  pleasure is  experienced about  once a
month  and  is  located  about  five  kilometres up  the road
from Castel. It must be said that this is one of  the hardest
assault courses in the world and in total, makes up a
length  of  about  five hundred  metres; an  internal circuit
followed by  an external  circuit. All  the obstacles  have a
certain amount  of technique  required and  they will  all be
shown   to   you   by   the   training   team.   Although  no
equipment  is worn  it is  very, very  knackering, but  it is
Now  that  the  greater  half of  your training  is completed
there   is  now   a  large   proportion  of   training  which
comprises  of   Guarde  and   Corvet  around   the  Quartier.
This is, in a way - a sort of training for what to  expect at
your  Regiment.  Every day,  or for  at least  a few  days of
each week, some or  all of  the Section  will be  involved in
such  tasks  as  corvet  mess   officiers  (Working   in  the
Officers  mess),  corvet mess  sous-officiers Working  in the
Sergents  and  above  mess),  Le  Garde  (Guard  duty  on the
main    gate)    Corvet    refectoire    (Working    in   the
Legionnaires  mess)  or  Corvet  Foyer   (  working   in  the
Foyer).  None  of these  jobs are  particularly hard,  but it
will  certainly  teach  anybody  who  doesn't   already  know
what  a  good  days  work is  all about.  You will  work long
hard days - and that is  life in  the French  Foreign Legion.
If  you  are  working  in  the  refectoire, mess  ogiciers or
mess sous-officiers  you will  have the  bonus of  extra food
during the  day. All  this will  be done  when you  arrive at
your  regiment  as  there  is  always  a Compagnie  de Corvet
responsible for the chores and  the guard  to be  done around
the  Quartier. Each  company takes  it in  turn to  carry out
these tasks.
Le Garde - The Guard Duty.
The one task that  does require  intensive preparation  is Le
Garde  -  this  is a  privileged position  of responsibility.
Although  under  the  direction  of   the  Sergent   and  the
Caporal du Jour,  you are  the front  line in  the Quartier's
defence.  You  will  be  armed  with  FAMAS  and   have  live
rounds in the magazine.
For  the  Guarde there  will be  six Legionnaires,  a Caporal
and  a Sergent.  There will  also be  a "Clairon"  (a buglar)
allocated  to  your Groupe.  The guard  takes place  from six
in  the  morning  until  six  o'clock the  following morning.
The  preparation  is  just  as important  as doing  the Guard
duty  itself.  The  weather  can  vary  enormously throughout
the  year  but in  the summertime  temperatures can  reach up
to  a  hundred  degrees  Fahrenheit.  The  Tenue de  Garde is
worn,  which  in  summertime  means  fifteen  creases  in  the
shirt. If it is wintertime then the brown jacket and trousers
are worn. This is easier to iron and there is not the heat to
contend  with.  Whatever  uniform  is  worn,  the  Epaulettes
de Tradition are also worn on the shoulders.
The  FAMAS  (Personal  weapons)  are   drawn  early   in  the
morning  and  wiped  thoroughly  to  remove  any  excess oil.
Even the slightest mark  will stain  the summer  shirt badly.
Make  sure  you  have  a  hanky with  you. There  is normally
an  assistant  attached  to each  group of  six to  assist in
tucking up the  trousers under  the elastics  to make  a neat
finish and to fetch and  carry. They  are basically  there to
perform  any  other  tasks  necessary  to  ensure   a  smooth
operation  of  the  Garde.  Although  the  Legion   does  not
normally  bother  too  much  about  bullshit  and  ironing of
the normal working  uniform -  in this  area of  turnout they
really do excell themselves. The boots  are still  not bulled
however,  but  the  ironing  must be  spot on.  It is  also here
that  you  will  wear  the  "Centurion  Bleu"  -  the  wide blue
band  that  is  worn  underneath  the  combat belt.  Because the
blue band is so  long (about  six feet)  it requires  two people
to put it  on, one  holds it  out straight  and the  other holds
the start of the band to his side  and turns  his body  until it
is  wrapped  tightly  around  his  waist.  The  blue  sash  must
end  with  the  tail at  the front  of the  body in  the centre,
folding  itself  over  to  form  a   neat  finish.   The  normal
working  day  belt  (Le  centurion) is  the positioned  over the
top.  This  item  is  again  worn  whether   it  is   winter  or
summer.  All  the idiocyncrocies  of getting  it right  are also
the  responsibilty  of the  Caporal and  the Sergent  in charge.
(The  Sergent  is referred  to as  the "Chef  De Poste"  on this
day).  If there  is one  man whose  turnout is  a mess,  then it
is not only he  who will  go to  jail but  also the  Caporal and
the Sergent, since the culprit is their  overall responsibility.
The  duty  starts  at   6am  when   you  replace   the  previous
night's  guard  from  another Section.  This is  in itself  is a
ceremonial  procedure.  It  will  only  take  about  ten minutes
to  do,  but  in  this  time  the  Chef Du  Corps will  have had
brief  words  with  everyone   taking  up   the  new   shift.  He
nearly  always  has  a  friendly disposition  and is  a likeable
character.  He  will  ask  you  questions  like,  What  did  you
do  before  the  Legion?  Are  you  enjoying  the  Legion?  What
did  you  do  in  training  this  week?  and  Are  you  in  good
spirits?  These  questions  obviously  are  all asked  in French
but   he   is   not   un-used   to   encountering  communication
problems. By the  time you  are doing  a stint  of guard  in the
Legion    you    will    probably    have    no    problems   in
understanding   and   answering  any   of  these   questions  in
French.  Once  the  Chef  Du   Corps  has   had  his   say,  the
Garde  commences,  two  men  on  duty  at  a  time.   The  shift
works  on  a  two  hours  on,  four  hours  off  basis.  But the
four hours off is not totally relaxed since  it is  forbidden to
sit down (In case it creases the  trousers), coffee  may be
drunk but woe betide the man who spills it on  his uniform.
There  are  usually magazines  to read  in the  guard room.
The Sergent may let you  sit on  two stools  one on  top of
another with a blanket on  top. (To  lessen the  chances of
creases appearing on the trousers).  The meals  are brought
to you by the current  prisoners, who  will also  take away
your dirty plates etc.
For the two that are on guard it is a  long two  hours. One
of the two guards has a  FAMOUS slung  across the  front of
the chest in the traditional manner. Although  it is  not a
particularly  heavy weapon  it does  become that  way after
two   hours   standing   motionless.   The   only  movement
permitted by him  is to  come to  the "Gardez-vous"  and to
"Presente arme"  when a  Sergent or  senior rank  passes or
drives through the gates of the camp.
The man facing him and  who operates  the barrier  does not
have a weapon, and  has the  luxury of  being able  to move
slightly more often.
During the shift you are not  allowed to  wear a  watch and
there are  no clocks  in view.  For two  hours you  are not
permitted  to  move  a  muscle.  You  are  on show  for the
French Foreign  Legion and  must show  absloute discipline.
The time passes hideously slowly. The ability to  judge the
two hours does come after  a fashion,  but there  are times
when you're out there and you're  certain without  a shadow
of a doubt that your relief  is late.  They never  are. The
other duties of the Guard are to raise  and lower  the flag
on  the  Place  D'arrne  in  time  with  the  Clairon. This
happens at the beginning and at  the end  of each  day. The
flag  must  be  lowered  in exact  time with  the Clairon's
tune. The lowering starts when the  tune starts  and should
end  when  the  tune  ends. There  are numerous  threats on
route to the flagpole by the  Sergent to  shoot you  if you
mis-time the procedure - but it rarely happens.
As evening  approaches you  are allowed  back to  the block
to  get  changed  into  Tenue  de  Combat  (Normal  working
green  uniform).  This  is  worn  from 2000Hrs  onwards and
comes  as  a  great  relief for  everyone. From  hereon you
patrol the area in front of the gates with a riot  baton in
hand. Check peoples ID cards as  they come  in and  get the
Chef  de  Poste  out  of the  guard room  if there  are any
In   the   morning   the  guard   goes  through   the  same
ceremonial changeover with  the next  shift and  you return
to your Section. There is no time  off for  working through
the night - you go straight into  the next  day. It  is the
Section's responsibility to collect your petit dejeuner.
Whilst you have been doing the guard  duty there  will have
been  another  Groupe  that  will  have  been  acting  as a
"Force  d'Intervention  Rapide" to  react to  any potential
threat to the Quartier.  They however  have a  much cushier
time  and apart  from a  practice run  for a  call-out they
spend most of their time resting,  watching TV  or reading.
Their shift starts at the same time as yours but  they will
wear Tenue de Combat at all times.
La Legion  c'est Dur  - Mais  Gamelle c'est
sur( - The Legion is hard - but food is for
sure I
The quality of food in the Legion varies  considerably from
Quartier to Quartier (camp to camp). In  some, the  food is
of  an  exceptionally  high standard,  probably as  good as
you  would eat  in many  a restaurant.  In other  camps the
food is of a much lower standard. If you  have any  ideas of
eating anything really disgusting - don't worry, none  of it
is  that bad.  What the  different camps  do have  in common
is the fact that there is rarely enough to eat;  leaving the
Refectoir  feeling  really  full  is  a rare  experience. At
Castelnaudary the  food is  of the  highest standard  I have
ever seen on a  military camp  anywhere in  the world  - but
again there  was not  enough to  feel completely  full. Most
people  would probably  agree that  they would  rather leave
the refectoir having  enjoyed the  meal and  slightly hungry
than full to the brim of some sludge that the duty  cook has
thrown together in a pot out the back. Food  is after  all, a
morale booster and you will  always look  forward to  in the
The  feeling  of  hunger  however  is  one  you  will become
accustomed to during basic training. It is,  if you  like; a
feeling  which  goes  hand  in  hand  with  being  an Engage
It is worth remembering that when in  the field  and rations
are  issued,  it is  vital that  you eat  the food  hot. The
difference between  eating hot  and cold  food can  mean the
difference  between  passing  and  failing  a march  or run.
Likewise,  chocolate  and  cakes  will  not  give   you  the
stamina and energy that a full meal  in the  refectoir will.
Do  not  therefore  pack  your  Sac  a  Dos  with  Mars bars
thinking that this will carry you through Raid Marche.
There really is enough  food supplied  by the  refectoir and
the ration packs during  your training  to get  you through,
but when you join  your Regiment  and you  are able  to miss
a  meal and  slope off  to the  Foyer, remember  that proper
hot food will serve your body better.
Before making  ready for  Le Raid  there will  be a  few days
spent  at one  of the  French army  camps towards  the centre
of France. Here you will undergo training in the firing  of a
variety   of   APILAS   (Armour   Piercing   Infantry   Light
Armour  Systems)   and  various   small  arms.   The  weapons
fired  include  the  RAC112,  the  LRAC89,  the  FAMAS  rifle
grenade  and the  two inch  mortar. There  will of  course be
various  shoots  done  using  your  personal  weapon   -  the
FAMAS,  one  of  which  will  be  a  night shoot.  There will
also be an introduction to explosives  as well  - how  to put
together  a  charge  and  each  Legionnaire  will  experience
firing  a  small  charge  in  a  controlled  environment. You
may also be given  the chance  to throw  a grenade,  of which
there  are  two   types  -   Offensive  and   Defensive.  The
Defensive  grenade  is  the  more  powerful  of the  two. The
trip will last about  five days  and you  will be  staying in
French  army  accommodation.  There  will  of  course  be  Le
petit  footing  done  in  the  morning  or when  time permits
during the stay.
In  the  lead  up  to  Raid  Marche  there  will  be  further
lectures  on  the  differences  between  the   Regiments  and
what  to  expect  in  the  line of  Regimental roles  and the
lifestyle to be expected after basic training. As regards the
system for allocating which  recruits go  where, it  works on
the basis  that those  that perform  to the  highest standard
during L 'Instruction are given the first choice as  to which
Regiment  want  to  serve  in.  If  anybody  is deemed  to be
good  enough  they  may  be  offered  a  position  as Caporal
Fut  Fut.  (To  achieve this  - a  reasonable command  of the
French language is important).
Le Raid - Raid March.
The  final  week  of  basic  training is  when Le  Raid takes
place and the  Section will  be taken  up into  the mountains
and dropped off at Perpignan  near the  coast to  start their
long   march   back   to   Quartier  Capitaine   Danjou.  The
Section   marches   about   150   kms   in  three   days  and
culminates in a  series of  tests which  will certify  you as
fully trained legionnaires. This final test  is known  as the
CTE/00.  The  test  will  examine   your  ability   at  voice
procedure on the radio (Le PPll), first aid,  fieldcraft and
personal weapon handling.
The  march  is tactical  and apart  from crossing  open areas
of  ground  in  a  tactical  manner,  hard  targeting (Moving
quickly)  and  pepper  potting  (One  covers  -  one  moves),
you can  expect to  be ambushed  at any  time. You  will pass
through  villages  and  small holdings  in the  country which
must  likewise  be  approached  and   negotiated  as   if  in
combat.  The  Caporaux  and  Sergents  will  map  read during
the  week.  Evenings  however will  take a  non-tactical line
and there  will be  the customary  wine drinking  and singing
of Legion songs in front of a camp fire.
The route  is very  hilly to  start with  but as  the Section
nears Castelnaudary it begins  to level  out more.  This will
be  the  longest  march  that  you  will  have  done  in  the
Legion.  If  you  are  hoping  to  go  to the  2REP (Regiment
Etranger Parachutistes) then this will be taste of  things to
come. (it is tradition in this Regiment  to march  across the
island of Corsica,  where they  are based  once every  year -
a  distance  of  over  two hundred  kilometres). By  the time
that  you  do  Le  Raid  your  feet  will  be  well  used  to
marching and the boots will be well worn in.
The night before the Section is due to re-enter  the Quartier
the  Capitaine  Compagnie  will  join you  and there  will be
plenty  to  eat  and  drink.  The  following  day  the Section
continues  the  remainder  of  the  march  straight   back  in
through  the  camp  gates, where  you will  be looked  upon by
any  other  passing Sections  with envy  and respect.  This is
the point  at which  most Legionnaires  believe that  the Kepi
Blanc should be issued - when the job is done.
However  hard  you  might  have  found  the  march,  the  lack
of sleep, the sudden ambushes -  there is  still more  work to
be  done  before  you  can  relax.  It is  a tradition  of the
Foreign  Legion  to prepare  the equipment  for return  to the
stores immediately on return  to the  guartier after  the final
march.  Since  this  is the  end of  your basic  training, ALL
the  equipment   must  be   immaculate.  Tables   are  brought
outside  into  the morning  sun, all  the Section  weapons are
cleaned to the extent that there is no trace of oil, grease or
dirt  anywhere.  You  may  well  be  using  pure   alcohol  to
remove  all  such  traces.  Likewise  the  Le  Brouillage (The
webbing)  is  scrubbed,  scrubbed  and  scrubbed   again.  The
Section  will  be  cleaning, scrubbing  and polishing  for the
following  twenty  four  hours  non-stop  after  arriving  back
at the Quartier. Your feet  will be  blistered and  bleeding -
you will be so  tired that  you are  delirious. Only  once the
work has been done can you start to relax.
This is undoubtedly the  hardest part  of L  'Instruction, and
you  will  by  now be  looking forward  to your  first posting
more than ever.
There  are  always  foot  and  body  inspections  after  every
march or excercise in the Legion. If  it is  just a  matter of
minor blisters or  ailments then  one of  the Caporals  in the
training  team  will  see  to you.  Anything more  serious and
you  will  become  a  subject  for  the  Infirmiers   who  are
undergoing  their  training  at  Castelnaudary  to  deal with.
Castelnaudary   is  also   where  the   "Infirmiers"  (Medics)
undertake  their  training  and who  better to  practice their
new found art on than a Section of EV's.
Within  a  few  days  Chef  De  Corps  will  have   you  all
assembled  on  La  Place  O'Arme  for  a  final  talk before
sending  you  back  to  Aubagne  for Regiment  selection. As
mentioned previously - the priority of choice goes  to those
that  worked and  performed best  during basic  training. It
will  also depend  on whether  or not  there are  the spaces
available  at  the  Regiment that  have been  requested. The
most   popular   choices   are   the   2eme  REP,   13  DBLE
Djbouti  and  the 3eme  REI in  French Guyana.  (See section
on  Regiment  postings).  There is  various paperwork  to be
done  at  Aubagne,  and it  is here  that anyone  wishing to
leave the  Legion has  the right  to do  so. (They  can give
notice that they wish to leave but  cannot actually  get out
of  the  Legion  until  the  end  of  the  sixth  month. Any
remaining  time  waiting  for  the  leaving  date  would  be
spent carrying our menial tasks around the Quartier)
How Hurd?
Passing  French  Foreign  Legion  training  is   within  the
capability of most men in a reasonably  fit condition  - (in
mind and in body). Physical training  in the  Foreign Legion
is taken at a gradual pace and, like basic training  in many
armies,  will be  governed somewhat  by the  overall ability
of  the  Section  under  instruction.  The  hardest  part of
training that you will experience, from the physical side of
things will be the Piste de Combat and Le Raid.
From  a  mental  point  of  view,  the  Legion   does  apply
considerable   pressure    on   recruits.    Whatever   your
expectations  are  when you  walk through  the gates  of the
Foreign Legion for the first  time -  you can  be guaranteed
that  it  will  not  be  what  you  expect.  Things  will be
sometimes  done  in   a  way   which  seems   illogical  and
unnecessary.  If  you  can  accept  that  it  is  being  for a
reason,  then  you  will  not  have  a  problem.  In  order to
instill military discipline into a batch of raw  recruits from
a wide variety of cultures - it is  necessary that  they learn
not to question authority,  but to  obey it  - no  matter what
they  might think  of the  concept or  method. It  is unlikely
that you will find the physical side  of things  your greatest
obstacle in becoming a "Bon Legionnaire ".
Yes,  the  Legion can  be a  violent place,  but as  time goes
by, the Legion  is finding  itself coming  more and  more into
line  with  the  French  army  and  with  it,  French military
law.  The  cases  of  violence   subjected  on   recruits  are
nothing  like they  were even  ten or  fifteen years  ago. The
worst  brutality  you  will  hear  about  will probably  be on
your  ears  at  the  Selection  centre   where  you   will  be
bombarded  with  "War  stories"   by  other   Legionnaires  or
"engages  volontaires"  (Raw  recruits)  in  the  Aubagne sick
bay. Don't listen to stories; most of it is rubbish.
Sometimes  a  guy  will get  a beating,  but he  will probably
have deserved it. It  may not  be by  an instructor,  it could
well be by one of the other Legionnaires in the Section.
Standard  corporal   punishment  consists   of  a   "Stick"  -
which  is  the  palm  of  the  hand  (normally  fairly  large)
smacked  against  the  back  of  your  shaven  head   with  as
much  force  as  possible.  This  example  however, is  a sort
of controlled brutality if  you like  and is  dished out  as a
formal punishment (Not really  in a  sinister way  either). It
is not as if the recipient is being beaten  to a  pulp through
uncontrollable  rage.  A  "Stick"  will  sometimes  makes  you
feel momentarily dizzy but rarely  does it  knock you  out. It
just  stings  a bit.  The other  punishment which  is ritually
dished  out   in  a   formal  manner   is  the   "Marche  (en)
Canard".  For  this  the individual  or group  responsible for
their crime will march a distance  in the  squatting position,
with or without  equipment with  their hands  on top  of their
heads.  It  is  a little  uncomfortable but  that is  all. The
people  who  receive  most  of  the  physical  abuse  in basic
training   are   the   Eastern   block   engages  -   a  large
proportion  of  whom  have joined  ultimately for  a passport,
good  food  and  a  wage.  Since  the  Berlin  wall  came down
the  Legion has  been inundated  with Eastern  block recruits.
Most  of  them  are  quite  open  and  honest  about  why they
are  there.  For  this,  they  tend  to  get  more   stick  at
Sooner or  later there  will come  a time  in the  Legion when
you must stand up for  yourself. If  you are  weak -  then you
will  be  walked  over.  The Legion  is a  tough army  and you
must abide  by it's  unwritten rules.  Respect is  earned, not
only as a soldier, but also as an individual - as in all walks
of life.
Le Contrat - The Contract.
The  contract  in  the Legion  is commonly  thought to  be for
a fixed five  years. In  actual fact  there is  a probationary
six  month  period.  If the  Legion decides  that you  are not
suitable to  be a  Legionnaire then  they will  discharge you.
Likewise, you  too have  a choice,  but not  until the  end of
the six month  period. If  at the  end of  the six  months you
no longer wish  to be  in the  Legion you  have the  option to
leave.  At  the  end  of  the  six months  the Legion  has the
option,  if  it  so  desires  -  to  add  a further  six month
probationary period to the  contract. This  will only  be done
if they consider you are still not quite up to the  grade in
all  areas.  (This  is almost  unheard of  however). Anybody
who  is  deemed  unfit  to  be  a  Legionnaire  is  normally
extracted before the end of the  three weeks  selection, and
if not then - during the four months at Castelnaudary.
Bear  in  mind  that  after  three  weeks  at Aubagne  and a
further  four  months  at Castelnaudary  you will  then have
one month to go before signing  the final  binding contract.
It is the case however that  after basic  training everybody
is  sent  back  to  Aubagne   before  departing   for  their
respective  Regiments.  Here  you  are asked  which Regiment
you would like to join and it is also here that you have the
option to leave the Legion. But not  for another  five weeks
or so. If you decide  to get  out, then  there will  be five
weeks  of  menial  tasks  and  corvet  found  for you  to do
around the guartier.
When it comes  to signing  your contract  you will  not have
the paper work in front of you translated. You will  be told
that the contract is for five years and  given the  paper to
sign. There  is little  time for  questions and  answers and
neither will it  be written  in your  mother tongue.  You do
however have the  option to  leave at  any time  during your
first  three  weeks  at  Aubagne  without   obligation.  The
Legion  will  normally  donate   F500  towards   any  travel
expenses  to  get  you  home.   (Same  amount   applies  for
whichever  country  you   have  come   from).  Below   is  a
translated  example  of  what will  be presented  before you
when  you  sign  at  the  end of  the three  weeks selection
                     ACT OF ENGAGEMENT
               in the name of (1) JONES David
            as a foreigner in the Foreign Legion
In   the  year   nineteen  hundred   and  ninety   five,  the
eighteenth  of  May  at  1000Hrs,  presenting  himself before
us was(2):
Mr  JONES  David  aged:  23 years  professional in
the trade of: carpentry living in Bath District of
Avon in the Country(3) Great Britain.
Son  of(4)  Steven  and   of(4)  Jane   nee  Smith
living in Leeds .
Hair: Chestnut brown Eyes: Brown Eyebrows:
Heavy j oined
Chin:Divided   Nose:Concave   Teeth:   CM90%
Face: Oval Additional Features: Scar r. arm,
L.  leg  Height:  1m  94  Weight:  91Kgs Any
additonal marks: Tattoo r.upper arm,
who has  declared his  wish to  serve as  a foreigner  in the
Foreign Legion, and to this effect has presented us with:
l.  A  certificate  dated  on this  day 18.05. 95  by(5) the
French   Army   Doctor  BUCHENNET,   Doctor  in   charge  of
the 1 ere RE, Aubange.
and certifies that the applicant suffers no disablity and has
reached  all  the  physical   and  height   requirements  for
service in the Foreign Legion.
2.His birth certificate and proof of  identity(3) certifying
that   he   was   born   on   19.08.72   in   London  (GREAT
BRITAIN) and is of British Nationality.
3.Authorization has been recieved from his legal
4.  (7)  After  having  verified  the   documents  presented
before us, he has  read articles  (8) 6,7  and 13  on Decree
No.  77-789  as  on  1st  July  1977  relating   to  foreign
military personnel.
The applicant has been informed that:
1.His services are effective as of the  date of  his signing
this present contract.
2. The present contract carries a probationary period of six
months  eventually  renewable  one  time  (une fois)  by the
military authorities. The  probationary period  takes effect
from the date of signature on this present contract.
                   PROBATIONARY PERIOD.
3.During the  initial probationary  period the  contract can
be terminated:
3.1 Either at the request of  the recruit  as agreed  by the
military  authorities for  reasons of  a personal  or social
nature or as a result of serious difficulties in  adapting to
the Foreign Legion during the first four months  of service.
In this case the final decision must  have been  notified by
the military authorities before the end of the probationary
Or at any time, by the military authorities because of:
- a pre-existing condition prior to engagement.
- an inability to adjust to work which the the job entails or
to serve in the ranks of the Foreign Legion.
- an inability to adjust to a military way of life.
4.  During  the  renewed  probationary  period  this contract
can  be terminated  by the  military authorities  for reasons
of unsuitability for  work or  any inability  to adjust  to a
military way of life.
5.  At  any  time  during  the  service  the contract  can be
terminated according to the conditions  laid down  in article
32   of  FLM   no.  2500/DEF/PMAT/EG/B   as  modified   on  4
July 1978 - notably:
- on the request of the recruit for reasons of  a justifiable
and urgent nature, the  details of  which have  occured since
the date on which the contract was signed:
- by reason of physical inability,
   by the military authorities regarding insufficient
professionalism or as a disciplinary measure.
-  Considering  these  details  the  candidate has  agreed to
serve  with  honour  and  faithfulness for  a period  of five
years as of this  day and  undertakes in  the course  of this
contract  not  to  take  advantage  of  French   services  or
qualifications previously held.
The recruit has promised  equally to  serve within  the ranks
of  the   Foreign  Legion   wherever  the   government  might
deem it necessary to send him, and after having read the
present act has enjoined his signature;
        Recruit's signature.                       Signature
of the administration Officer
                                             of the French
Army or the Deputy Admininstrator.
Probationary period renewable on                  for a period
of  six  months  starting  from  the  date of  confirmation as
decided  by  the  the  Commanding   Officer  of   the  Foreign
Contract:  annuled -  terminated -  cancelled(3) -  as decided
by(9)                      on 19
Contract became effective on 19                     (3)
Administration Officer for the
Army or the Deputy Administrator.
(1) Name and surname of recruit.
(2) Name of the commissioner of army ground forces or
his acting local representative.
(3) Delete as appropriate.
(4) Once the details are known.
(5) Name, rank and position of the officer signing the
(6) If the recruit id less than 18 years old.
(7) If the recruit is French and is not yet satisfied of his
legal obligations, the ministry authorise engagement under
a changed name.
(8) If the recruit does not speak French, he will be given a
reading in his language on the clauses in this act.
(9) Indicate the reason.
If you feel that  the French  Foreign Legion  way of  life is
for  you,  further contracts  can be  signed with  the Legion
after  the initial  five years.  These can  be for  either six
months, one year,  eighteen months,  two years,  three years,
four  years  or  five  years.  Whether  or  not   the  Legion
accepts  you  for  further  service  is  dependant   on  your
conduct during the previous years.
La Vie En Tolle - Life in Jail.
As a Legionnaire it is  unlikely that  you will  experience a
stretch  jail  during  your  basic  training.  Once  you have
been  posted  to  your  respective  regiments   however,  you
will  find  that  it does  not take  any great  crime against
humanity to be sentenced to ten days  in jail  (The statutory
period  for  minor  offences  is a  ten day  period). Offences
which might  earn you  a ten  day spell  in the  slammer might
be arriving late on camp after  a night  on the  town, failing
to  top  up the  electrolyte in  the vehicle  batteries, being
badly   turned   out   for  guard   duty.  For   more  serious
misdeeds,  the  period  of  time  becomes  longer,  up   to  a
maximum   period   of  forty   days.  Desertion   carries  the
maximum  Legion  penalty  of  forty  days  but  if  the  crime
were  really  serious,  then  you  would  do  the  forty  days
followed by a  period in  a French  civilian jail.  This could
be many years - if the crime were serious enough.
Initially  you  would  be  paraded  in  front  of the  Chef Du
Corps, who will be examining  your case.  It is  up to  him to
decide  whether  or  not  your  are  to  go  to  jail.  He may
decide  that  a  period  of  "Consignes"  is  more appropriate
in the case.  (A period  of time,  normally between  three and
ten  days,  when  extra  corvet  duties  are  allocated during
your  spare  time  and you  are restricted  to the  Quartier -
apart from  that you  would work  a normal  day like  the rest
of  the  section.  This might  be awarded  for having  dirt on
your   weapon   during   an  inspection,   generally  speaking
more menial offences).
If  the  Chef  Du  Corps decides  that you  are going  to jail
then all of your kit issued, and and all of your  personal kit
is  listed,  item  by  item  and  put  away  ready   for  your
release. During  the period  in jail,  you will  wear overalls
and  a  dayglow  orange  waistcoat,  and  a  forage  cap. This
identifies you as  a prisoner  to everyone  on and  around the
Quartier.  The  laces  from  your boots  will be  removed. (To
prevent  you  from  injuring  yourself)  Every  morning  there
will be  some form  of physical  training done  - to  the tune
of  a  five  kilometre  run   with  Sac   a  Dos   around  the
quartier.  The  rest  of  the  day will  be doing  corvette or
painting   curb   stones,   gardening  around   the  quartier,
sweeping  leaves  and  waiting  on  the Legionnaires  that are
doing the guard duty.
It is tradition in the Legion that your medals are  pinned to
the  door  of  your  cell.  Whatever  medals  you  have  been
awarded during your  years of  service in  the Legion  - they
must also have been  awarded to  the inspecting  officer. For
example,  if  the  medal  is of  a some  valour; such  as the
Legion  D'Honneur  -  then the  inspecting officer  must also
hold  that  medal  -  even  if it  means coming  from another
In days gone by the Legion jail was the  last hell  on earth.
Legionnaires  would  break  rocks in  a quarry  all day  - or
march through the  jungle for  one year  solid in  a straight
line cutting and  thrashing their  way through  dense jungle,
always  under  the  direction  of the  Gardes de  Tolle. They
would  sleep  on  concrete  slabs  with  no  roof  over their
heads.  Even  ten  years  ago it  was a  brutal place  to be.
Prisoners would be  beaten on  a regular  basis and  lived in
fear of the Garde de tolle. Today it is still not a fun place
to  be.  The  days start  at 5.00  am and  end at  8.00pm and
they  are  long  and  hard.  Prisoners  are  not  allowed  to
smoke,  work  like  dogs  and are  kept on  tenterhooks until
the day of their release.
Cumerone - Camerone Day.
On   the   30   April  every   year  the   Legion  celebrates
Camerone  Day.  It  was  on  this  day   in  1863   that  the
Legion's  show  of  bravery  was   marked  down   in  history
forever.  Battle  weary  and  with  their  numbers  being cut
down  until  there  were  only  ten  men left,  no ammunition
and  in  a  foreign  country,   a  handful   of  Legionnaires
refused  surrender  against  odds  of  nearly  two  thousand
marauding   Mexicans.   The   Capitaine   Danjou   had  made
them  promise  not  to   surrender,  shortly   before  dying
himself.  The  men  were  slowly  being  killed  one  by one
until there were  only three  Legionnaires left.  They faced
the  enemy  with  bayonets  and  prepared themselves  to die
with   honour.   The   Mexicans  did   not  kill   them  but
persuaded a surrender under the Legionnaires terms.
It is as a result  of this  bravery that  the 30th  April is
celebrated  with  such  enthusiasm  every year.  Camerone is
as important as Le Noel - if  not more  so. It  matters not,
wherever the Legion is in  the world  - the  30 of  April is
always celebrated.
The  preparation  for  the  festivities  begins   months  in
advance.  Stands  are  built,  games  are  devised, marquees
errected. The day is not just for Legionnaires but  also for
a select number of family and friends of  the Legion.  It is
the one day of the year that the Legion  opens its  doors to
outsiders.  Only  the  very  leanest  and   meanest  looking
Legionnaires  will  have  the  honour of  being on  guard on
this  day.  Their  uniforms  being  prepared with  even more
care and attention than usual.
The day begins with the roles reversed  in every  section of
the  Quartier.  Le  Legionnaire  le  plus  jeune  (The  most
recent  legionnaire  to  join   the  section)   becomes  the
Caporal du  Jour for  the day.  It is  he who  allocates the
corvette  duties,  and  marches  the  section onto  La Place
D 'Arrne. And it is the Sous officiers and the Officiers who
do the corvet. They will clean the toilets, the showers, the
corridors   -   every   job   normally   allocated   to  the
The day will initially start with the Sous o/iciers bringing
the  Petit  dejeuner  to  the  Legionnaires in  their rooms.
They will serve the Legionnaires their  cafe and  bring them
their croissants (pastries). After which they will start the
corvette as directed by the Caporal  du jour.  The tradition
is  warmly  welcomed  by the  Legionnaires and  no-one is
Each  Regiment  may  run the  day differently  according to
the wishes of the respective  Chef Du  Corps. It  may start
with  a  run,  ending  with whiskey  and black  pudding and
Legion  songs.  On  returning  to the  Quartier there  is a
parade  by  the  Legionnaires  in  full  Tenue  de  Parade,
followed by the  festivities which  have been  so carefully
prepared. Much wine  is drunk  and food  consumed. It  is a
relaxed day  and enjoyed  by all.  At Aubagne  the Legion's
Anciens  (Former  members)  come to  relive their  past and
to  pay hommage  to their  family. On  this day  every year
the  wooden  hand  of  Capitaine  Danjou  is   on  display,
paraded  before  the  Legion  and  its  guests.   This  act
epitomizes the spirit of the French Foreign Legion.
If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in  jail towards
the end of April - you could be  in for  a reprieve.  It is
tradition  in the  Legion that  if less  than ten  days are
remaining  on  your  sentence  on  Camerone  Day,  then you
are released as  a form  of amnesty  in remembrance  of all
the Legionnaires who died at Camerone in Mexico.
Legion Rules.
There are many rules that  apply in  the Legion  which have
been carried on from tradition. Below are listed but a few:
1. As a Legionnaire you are not allowed to leave the
    "Quartier" in civilian clothing except when going on
2. Marriage is only  permitted when  the rank  of Sergent
     is achieved.
3.  Legionnaires  are  not  permitted  to live  off camp.
     (Although some do). They go home in the  evening and
     return by 6.00am. It is normally the Caporaux who do
     this since Legionnaires generally don't  earn enough
     money, especially in France.
4. You are not allowed to own a car  or a  motorbike. You
   may  own  a  push bike  if you  join the  Legion Cycle
   club.  If  you  do  this  you may  only exit  the camp
   wearing the correct Legion cycle wear. These  rules do
   not apply to Caporaux chefs, Sergents or above.
5. You are not allowed to  own a  bank account  or to
     borrow money off others.
6.  Legionnaires  should be  addressed by  their Surnames
   not their Christian names.
7. If allowed out for the evening - you  must be  back by
   6.00am  the following  morning. If  you are  late; the
   punishment is a statutory 10 days in jail.
8. During the first 3 years you are not allowed  to leave
   the  country   during  permission.   (Legionnaires  do
   however   go   abroad   using   only    their   "Carte
   O'Identite"   (ID   card)   and   their   "Titres   de
   Permission" (Leave papers). An  extra rule  applies to
   the  "Deuxieme  REP"  (2nd REP)  at Corsica:  they are
   not allowed to leave the island for the first  year of
   their  first  tour  at  Calvi where  they are  based -
The Regiment Postings in the Legion.
There  are  eight  Regiments  in  the French  Foreign Legion
plus  half a  brigade based  in Djbouti,  Africa. On  top of
this there are other detachments situated around  the world.
At  present  the  Legion  strength amounts  to approximately
ten thousand men.
1 er REC. (Regiment Etranger de Cavalerie)
ORANGE - France.
This  is situated  next to  a beautiful  town in  S. Eastern
France. It is a Regt for  those who  like a  slightly easier
life. Their role is to service and maintain the tanks  - the
AMX  10's.  They  were  used  extensively  during  the  Gulf
war and proved  extremely reliable.  Operating in  three man
teams, a less stressful life is to be had in  this Regiment.
There is a more relaxed  atmosphere here  plus there  is the
advantage of actually being able to  see a  bit of  France -
which   for  some   people  never   happens  in   the  whole
contract due to the hectic schedule of their regiment.
The  1  REC  forms  part of  France's Force  d'Action Rapide
along with the 2 REI and the 6 REG.
4 erne Regiment . (Regiment D'Instruction)
CASTELNAUDARY. Nr Toulouse - France.
This  is where  you will  carry out  your basic  training. A
small town situated close  to Toulouse.  Not that  you would
see a lot of it during your first stay here. A railway track
runs through the centre of the town and that is where you
will arrive before being picked up  by a  coach to  take you
to the guartier.  There are  two quartiers  in Castelnaudary
-  the  new  Quartier  was  built  around  1985 and  is very
plush.   The   old    camp   in    Castelnaudary   (Quartier
Lepasset) is where many  of the  Legion courses  take place.
The  Caporaux  courses  (CT1),  the  Sergents  courses  (CT2)
etc.   At   Quartier   Capitaine   Danjou  there   are  three
companies  of  E.V's  and  one  company  for   trained  ranks
who  are  undertaking  courses   in  the   technical  trades,
mechanical trades and signals.  It should  be noted  that the
medics who do their  training here  will be  practicing their
new  found  skills on  you, should  you become  injured. (Not
advisable). The camp  is one  of the  most modernised  of all
the Legion quartiers and is an impressive set-up. It  is also
situated  near  a  town  called  Carcassonne,  home   of  the
French Paras  where there  is sometimes  a ban  on visitation
due   to   the   trouble   that   has   ensued   between  the
Legionnaires  and  the   Paras  over   years.  The   food  at
Castelnaudary is of a very high standard.
lere Regiment. (Regiment De Selection et
AUBAGNE. Nr Marseilles.
This is the  Mother Regiment  of the  Legion. You  will start
your time in the Legion here and you will  end it  here. This
regiment   deals   predominantly   with   administration  and
support  as  well  as  personnel  movements  and  maintaining
all aspects of the Legion's contact  with the  outside world.
It  is  also  the  home of  the Legion  Band and  the museum.
The  Quartier  (guartier  Vienot) is  close to  Marseilles so
there is a fair bit to see  and do  if you  have the  time. A
large  proportion  of  the community  in Marseille  are Arabs
who  have  immigrated  from   Tunisia,  N.Africa.   Again  the
same  sort  of pay  as Castelnaudary  but unlikely  that this
would   be  a   first  posting   for  a   "non  Francophone."
(Someone  who  does  not  speak  French).  On   entering  the
Legion  the  Band  is  always  keen  to  recruit   new  blood
especially  anyone  with  a  musical background  - so  if you
have  played a  musical instrument  but don't  want to  be in
the band keep quiet about your past.
2 eme REP. (Regiment Etranger des Parachutists)
CALVI - Corsica
This is  the most  prestigious and  most professional  of all
the  Regiments.  The  only  Regt  in  the  Legion to  have an
Airborne capability. It is here that you will also  find "Les
Groupe    de    Commandos    Paracutistes    (Formerly    Les
C.R.A.P  's  -  Commandos  de  Recherche  et  D  'Action dans
la  Profondeur)  -  This  is  the  creme de  la creme  of the
Legion - A sort of recce troop specialising  in a  wide range
of special forces ops. They have a  reputation for  being the
best in the  Legion. The  REP is  made up  to a  large extent
of Brits and Germans. With this built in  cultural discipline
there  is  firm  ground  for quality  soldiering to  be built
For  their professionalism  and their  parachuting capability
they are paid one  of the  highest salaries  in the  Legion -
around  about  E650  per  month  for  a  Legionnaire deuxieme
classe.   (Everything   is   however   very    expensive   on
Corsica).  There  are  frequent  fracas  with the  locals and
plenty  of  good  looking  German and  Italian talent  on the
beaches in the summertime.
This  is  also the  Regiment most  renowned for  bullshit. In
the 2eme REP  there are  three "Apels"  per day.  First thing
in the morning, after lunch and at 9.00pm in the evening.
The  island is  however a  very beautiful  one and  if you're
into physical training then  maybe this  is the  Regiment for
you. Along  with the  relatively high  pay, the  prestige and
the  emphasis  on  sport  -  this  is  a  popular  choice for
Legionnaires  leaving   Castelnaudary.  The   uniform  sports
the  Deurieme  REP   cap  badge   (The  winged   dagger)  and
the  Fourragere  (Lanyard)  is  red.  This  all  adds  to the
attraction  of  the   2eme  REP.   The  contract   will  last
probably  2 yrs  before being  posted, but  many opt  to stay
longer.   This   particular  Regt   is  frequently   away  on
detachments;  normally  for  four  months  at a  time. Places
such  as  Djibouti,  Central Africa.  French Guyana
S.America. Promotion is slow and courses are harder
since the competition is tougher.
If you are out to be the  best then  the 2eme  REP has  a lot
to  offer.  On  arriving  at  Camp Rafalli  in Corsica  - the
initial four months or so are spent  on further  training and
doing  the  "Jumps course"  - until  you have  completed this
you  cannot  be  effected  to  a  fighting  company  and  are
consequently  not  regarded  as  a  trained rank.  Indeed you
will  probably feel  exactly the  same as  if you  were still
under  instruction.  Further  fieldcraft training  and combat
experience  will  be  gained  during  your  first  year. Only
after  then  can  you  consider yourself  to have  taken your
place  properly  in the  2 REP.  Once in  "The REP"  there is
much  emphasis  on  physical  training  and there  are plenty
of  clubs  on  camp,  Kick   boxing,  Cycling,   Clay  pigeon
shooting etc etc.
It is tradition in this regiment to be confined to the island
for the first year  of the  first posting  there. It  is also
tradition for the whole regiment to  march across  the island
from  one  side  to the  other once  a year  - a  distance of
about 200kms (Very hilly, barren and rugged country).
3 REI. (Regiment Etranger D'Infanterie).
F. GUYANE - S.America
This  Regiment  is either  loved or  hated. Based  in Kourou,
French  Guyana,  it  is   a  unique   world  of   action  and
adventure.  The  pay  is not  the greatest  in the  world but
there are plenty of stories to be told after  a two  year tour
here.  A lot  of  the  Legion's  work here  is run  from boats
hollowed out of  trees known  as "pirogues",  as are  used by
the natives of the country. The  role of  the Legion  in this
area  is to  protect the  rocket sight  "Ariane", to  man the
surveillance  posts  between  Brazil   and  Surinam   and  to
ensure   the   safety   of   the  regional   headquarters  at
Martinique.  There  has  been  a  war  going  on   in  nearby
Suriname  for  some  years  and  every now  and again  a body
is  seen floating  down the  river as  a result  of mercenary
operations   that   go   on.   French   Guyana   consists  of
hundreds  of  square   miles  of   tropical  jungle   and  is
extremely  hot  and  humid.  You  are  permanently   wet  and
fungal infections  are rife.  The jungle  is full  of natural
dangers and whether it is animal or vegetable it  will either
bite you or  sting you.  The constant  noise of  birdsong can
also  drive  you  to  insanity.  The  hardest part  of jungle
training is often considered  to be  the assault  course which
has to be one of the toughest in the world.
Pay  for this  Regiment is  about F4500  per month.  The beer
is cheap and there was, until recently a  brothel run  by the
Legion on camp (this  was the  last Regiment  to run  its own
brothel).  Their  were  four  local  girls  who  were changed
once every couple of months.
13 DBLE (13eme Demi-Brigade de la Legion
DJBOUTI - NE Africa.
This unit is re-inforced by  a rotating  company of  the 2eme
REP  or  the  2eme  REI.  It's  duties  are to  guarantee the
defence,  territorial  integrity  and  independence   of  the
Republic   of   Djbouti.  Geographically   the  13   DBLE  is
situated in a very strategic position - It has instant access
to  the  Indian  ocean  and  is  close  enough  to facilitate
control  of  the   Red  Sea   and  the   Suez  canal.   As  a
Legionnaire  posted  in  Djbouti  you  can  expect  to  be on
bush   tours   and   nomadisation   exercises   as   well  as
amphibious  training.  Soldiering  in  Djbouti  can  be tense
and  tribal  friction  is  commonplace.  There  are  constant
patrols  along  the  northern frontier  of the  Ethiopean and
Eritrean borders.
Normally   Legionnaires   are   posted  to   Quartier  Gabode
after several  years of  service. This  is the  only regiment
where there is a lot of  money to  be made.  Not only  do you
earn a lot more money here but you have  little to  spend it
on, everything is cheap in this  part of  the world  and you
have  no  Permission during  your time  in Djbouti.  (You do
have a big  back-log of  permission after  the tour  though -
so  you  can  end up  with several  thousand pounds  in cash
plus three months leave after a two year stint in  Djbouti -
even as  a Legionnaire.)  On top  of that  every legionnaire
recieves a bounty of twenty  thousand Francs  at the  end of
his  tour.  A  Sergent  can be  putting away  many thousands
of   Francs   away   each   week   whilst  in   Djbouti.  On
completion of his two years posting he  will have  accrued a
lot of money.  There are  normally about  one or  two places
allowed per Section after basic training -  if you  are good
enough in basic training,  you could  be sent  here directly
aAer Castelnaudary. Prostitution  is rife  in the  towns and
the beer is cheap. In fact everything is cheap  and anything
can  be bought.  Life is  a little  more relaxed  in Djbouti
since there are very few that are fresh out of training.
Since  the  area  is of  Muslim faith  the Legion  also pays
heed to the local traditions  and work  is done  on Saturday
and  Sunday  whilst Thursday  and Friday  takes the  form of
a  weekend.   Every  legionnaire   who  serves   in  Djbouti
recieves   a   bounty   of   twenty   thousand   Francs   on
completion of the tour of duty.
5 RE (5eme Regiment Etranger)
Mururoa - Tahiti, S.Pacific.
This  is  where  the Legion  are responsible  for overseeing
the nuclear testing grounds and  for representing  France in
the furthest corner of French Polynesia. It is a very small
detachment   made   up   of   the   Legionnaires   of   some
experience. The money  is not  particularly great  and there
are long journeys at sea as well as isolation and  little to
occupy  yourselves.  They  concern  themselves  mainly  with
building and road construction, security  of the  test site,
maintaining a clean water supply and good
communications link.
DLEM (Detachement De La Legion Etrangere De
Mayotte - Indian Ocean.
This small  detachement's main  duties are  in construction,
supply  and  security.  It  is  run  and  maintained  by Les
Anciens   (Legionnaires  with   many  years   service  under
their belt). It is for those who have done plenty of service
and can enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.
6 REG (6 eme Regiment Etranger Genie)
Avignon - France.
This regiment is based in another  beautiful area  of France
and their job is that of engineering, bridge  building, mine
clearance  and  demolition.   They  were   used  extensively
during  the Gulf  war to  deal with  mines and  booby traps.
They  have  been  involved  in   almost  every   theatre  of
conflict  that  the Legion  has been  assigned to  in recent
years.  The  6  REG  forms part  of France's  Force d'Action
Rapide along with the 2 REI and the 1 REC.
2 REI (2 eme Regiment Etranger D'Infanterie)
Nimes - France.
A large proportion  of this  regiment is  made up  of French
men. Life in the  2 REI  is hectic  as detachments  away for
four months  at a  time are  commonplace. (Either  in French
Guyana, Djbouti or as has more recently  been the  case on
longer  operations  around  the  world. This  regiment was
used extensively in the  Gulf war,  Bosnia and  in Africa.
The  troops  are  supported  by the  vehicle known  as the
VAB (Vehicule avant  Blindee -  meaning vehicle  that goes
in  front  of  the  armoured  vehicles)  A  superb wheeled
vehicle which carries ten men. With  the 6  REG and  the 1
REC   this   regiment  forms   part  of   France's  "Force
d'Action Rapide".
Les Metiers de la Legion - Trades of the
Once basic training has been completed a period of time is
normally spent as a combat soldier before specialising in
any trade or even taking up further soldiering skills.
Listed below are some of the trades that can be taken up,
normally after some years in the Legion.
Administration: Secretary, typist, accountant,
- Signals: Radio operator, radio mechanic, Exchange
 operator, teletypist,
- Transport: Drivers of light vehicles, lorries, buses and
 tracked vehicles,
- Engineers: Heavy equipment operator, designer,
- Building: Bricklayer, plumber, electrician, carpenter,
  painter etc.
- Maintenance: Engine mechanic, vehicle electrician,
  welder, small arms repair,
- Miscellaneous: Musician, medic, cook, photographer,
cartoon designer, sports instructor, computer operator,
Military Police, any trade in connection with the printing
Other specialist skills can be learnt whilst  still operating
as a combat soldier which will not alter the normal
soldiering life.  As a  Legionnaire you  may specialise  as a
Tireur  D'elite,  Milan,  Mortiers,   Conducteur,  Infirmier,
Commando. These short courses are known as "Stages ".
La Tenue et L 'Equipement - Dress and
Normal  working  uniform  is  not ironed  in the  Legion, not
even in basic training. The  only uniform  that is  ironed is
the  "Tenue  de   Garde"  (Uniform   worn  on   guard  duty),
"Tenue  de  sortie".  (Uniform  worn  when  allowed  into the
town)  and  the   "Tenue  De   Parade"  (Uniform   worn  when
on parade). The ironing  of these  items of  clothing appears
daunting at first but once it has been done a few times it is
really  not  too  bad.  The  reason being  is that  there are
fifteen creases to be ironed into the shirt; three  above each
top pocket,  two down  each arm,  two across  the top  of the
back  and  three  more  which run  vertically down  the back.
Trousers  are  ironed  in  the  more conventional  manner. The
first time you iron your shirt - it will  probably take  you a
good hour, but once the creases are in, it is a  fairly simple
process  to run  over them  again. (Even  after the  shirt has
been  washed  the creases  lines are  evident). This  makes it
all the more important  to make  sure the  creases are  in the
correct place to start with.
Shoes are polished but not bulled - footwear is never
bulled in the Legion (unless you want to of course).
If  it  is  winter  then  Tenue  D'Hiver  (brown   jacket  and
trousers)  are  worn.  These are  pressed in  the conventional
way.  There  will  probably  only  be one  iron for  every ten
men during basic training though, so  bear that  in mind  - If
the iron is  free don't  go and  have a  shower. It  should be
noted  that  once  you   have  been   issued  your   kit,  any
damaged  or  worn   sports  clothing   must  be   replaced  by
you.   Likewise   the   Kepi   and   your   beret    is   your
responsibilty.  These  can  all  be  bought  from  the  Foyer.
There are two variations of  colour that  the beret  comes in.
Both  are  green  but  one  is  slightly  lighter.   Both  are
acceptable unless your Chef De Section says otherwise.
Le Kepi Blanc - The White Eel
The Kepi Blanc is the identifying symbol unique to the
Legion.  Many  other   Regiments  wear   Kepis  too   but  not
white.  Similarly  not  all  Legionnaires  wear  white  Kepis;
Sergents  and  above  wear  black  with  a  red  top.   As  do
Caporal  Chefs  with  more  than  10  years  service.  All the
ranks can  be distinguished  by subtle  changes in  their Kepi
(apart  from  legionnaires  and  Caporaux).  But  only  in the
Legion   is   there  a   "Grenade  a   Sept  Flammes"   -  An
exploding  grenade  with  SEVEN  flames.   The  rest   of  the
French  Army  have  only  six. The  Kepi is  worn most  of the
time   except   during    excercises   and    active   working
Many   Legionnaires   carry   pictures   of   girlfriends  or
offspring in the inside base of the Kepi  - this  is accepted
as part of the Legion tradition and is not frowned upon.
Most  of the  Legionnaires also  carry packets  of cigarettes
or a wallet inside the Kepi - resting on the  head. Basically
you can keep whatever you like in  there so  long as  it does
not affect your external appearance.
When a  Legionnaire is  paid it  is always  in a  set manner.
This  is  in  the  form of  La Presente.  The money  - always
cash, is paid onto a table where it is swept off the table by
the palm of your hand and into  your Kepi,  the Kepi  is then
swung  up  onto  the head  in one  fluid movement  - followed
by a salute. Although it does  get dirty  easily; it  is also
easy  to  clean,  using  "Savon Marseille"  (A lump  of soap)
and  a  scrubbing  brush.  There is  also a  monthly magazine
issued &ee  to all  serving Legionnaires  known as  the "Kepi
Blanc" which has details of what  is going  on in  the Legion
around  the  world.  The  magazine  can also  be sent  to you
after you have left the Legion for an annual fee.
Le Foulard - Company shoulder signature cloth.
This  is  a  shaped  piece of  cloth which  sits on  the left
shoulder.  It's  colour  identifies  each  Legionnaire  as to
which  company  he  belongs  to.   The  colours   remain  the
same   throughout   the   various   Regiments   and   are  as
1er Companie - Blue.
2eme Companie - Red.
3eme Companie - Yellow.
4  eme Companie  - Green.
Le Companie de Commandement et des Services (CCS) -
Le Companie d'Eclarage et d'Appui (CEA) - Black.
La Fourragere - The Regimental Lanyard.
This is a lanyard  which is  worn on  the left  shoulder with
the  Tenue  de  Guarde,  Tenue  de   Sortie  and   Tenue  de
Parade.  A  different   colour  represents   each  different
regiment and with each regimental  lanyard is  indicates the
number of citations won by that particular regiment.
Le Beret - Beret.
The beret you are  issued with  at Aubagne  will be  green -
you do not earn the beret as you do in  some of  the British
forces; it is the Kepi that you earn. The first beret issued
to you will be quite large but after three or four  weeks you
will be issued with a smaller one which has a much
smarter  appearance.  They  can  also  be  bought  from  the
"Foyer"  (Like  a  Naafi  Or American  PX store).  There are
two very subtle colour alternatives available -  people wear
La Tenue De Combat Vert - Uniform (Green)
Before  you  leave  Aubagne  your  measurements  are  taken
and  kit  is  issued  to  your exact  size by  the storemen.
Watch  your  kit like  a hawk,  name it  and rename  it when
the ink is wearing out. If you  can mark  it in  some subtle
way so that you can recognise it from the outside -  then do
it. That way, if anyone robs it, you  can wander  around the
Section  quietly  and  find the  culprit. Strange  though it
seems, the Legion pays little attention to  personal turnout
of normal daily uniform  in basic  training. The  uniform is
not ironed during basic training and any inspection  is very
cursory. You will be picked  up for  dirty clothing  and the
boots must  be highly  polished at  all times.  The training
team will not tolerate any slackness in these areas.
Les Rangers - The Boots.
The Boots issued in the  Legion are  very good,  fitting well
in   most   cases.   The   only   drawback   is   the  buckle
arrangement  which  makes  loud  "Chinking"  sounds   as  you
walk.  (These  are  normally  quietened  by  either threading
the buckle  back through  itself or  securing it  with tape).
The boots  are an  item of  clothing which  receive a  lot of
attention  in  basic  training.  They  are   always  polished
downstairs and probably three or more times a day.
Le Sac a Dos - The Rucksac.
There  is  little  carrying  capacity  and  no  waist support
straps  to  take  the  load on  the hips  rather than  on the
shoulders. There are two straps which hang down the
front  and  are  very handy  when on  non-tactical operations
to slip  the nose  and arse  end of  the weapon  through. The
weapon  then  hangs  down  in  front  of  your  chest.  Apart
from that the Sac a Dos is  really pretty  much as  it's name
suggests  -  a  sack  hanging  from  your  back.  It  is  not
waterproof so  anything inside  should first  be placed  in a
large plastic bag.
(As  you  might  have guessed  wet weather  is not  such a
problem in the French Foreign Legion).
S3P - Nuclear Biological and Chemical warefare
clothing. (Disposable).
Standard  carbon  filled  clothing  for   protection  against
Biological  and  Chemical  agents. Like  all NBC  suits there
are  patches  for  placement   of  biological   and  chemical
detector paper.
ANP - Respirator.
For those that don't know a respirator  is an  airtight face
mask fitted with a canister which facilitates safe breathing
in  a hazardous  air environment.  The "ANP"  is for  use in
Nuclear,   Biological   and  Chemical   warfare  conditions.
This item of kit  was issued  during the  Gulf war  and sits
normally in a haversack on the left thigh secured by  a long
strap which goes around the leg and  hooks back  onto itself
by means of two quick release  clips. The  respirator itself
is   of   brown   rubber   and   looks   pretty  antiquated.
Thankfully it was not put to the test  during the  Gulf war,
except   during    training   excercises.    Canisters   and
accessories are also  supplied with  the respirator  and are
replaced  by  the  Chef  de   Groupe  when   required.  Make
sure yours is not damaged or dented.
Le Noel - Christmas Time.
All  Legionnaires  regardless  of  rank   must  be   on  the
guartier  on  Christmas  day  -  even   if  you   have  just
returned  from  war.  The Legion  is your  home and  that is
where you should  be on  Christmas day  - with  your family.
This  applies  to  all  ranks  including Sergents  and above
who  may be  married. The  wifes of  the Sous  officiers and
above understand the traditions of the  Legion. As  is often
the  case  in  the  Legion,  there   is  much   emphasis  on
preparation. This will include things like  "La Creche"  - A
model type scenario  of a  scene made  out of  papier mache,
wooden  and  plastic  -  whatever.  There  may  be backdrops
and  lighting  used to  enhance the  effects. The  scene may
depict  a  combination  of   biblical  and   Legion  history
intertwined,  accompanied  by a  voice over  made by  one of
the  Legionnaires  in  the  Section.  There  then  follows a
competition to see which  Section has  made and  created the
best Creche.
The day is relaxed and there  is plenty  of food  and drink.
All  Legionnaires receive  a present,  presented to  them by
the  Capitaine  de  Compagnie.  The  presentation   is  made
after  a  feast  of  food  and  wine  on Christmas  Eve. The
present  may  be  something  like  a  watch,  a  walkman,  a
radio or a tracksuit. (A Legion tracksuit that  is -  no one
may  wear civilian  tracksuits). Sometimes  there is  a gift
given to a Legionnaire which  is worth  more than  any other
- that is the right to wear civilian clothes when out on the
town.  (This would  only be  a gift  to a  Legionnaire since
Caporaux  with  over  five  years  service  and  ranks above
Caporal already have the right). It is  rarely given  and if
ever it is, it will only be to one Legionnaire per Regiment.
There will then follow a round  of jokes  told by  all ranks
followed   up   closely  by   Legion  songs   and  Christmas
carols.  Well  known  carols  such  as  Silent Night  may be
sung in up to ten different languages that evening.
There  is  always  some  form  of sporting  competition held
during  the  Christmas  period.  This  is  known as  Le Jour
Du  Sport.  It  comprises  of  inter-company  sports  events
such  as  the  one  and  the  four  hundred   metre  sprint,
volleyball,  football, swimming,  netball and  boxing. There
is   also   always   the   Regimental   run    which   every
Legionnaire  takes  part  in  on  Christmas  day  - normally
about 10 kilometres, with Sac a Dos.
The Chef du Corps makes it his  job to  see in  person every
Legionnaire  in  his  Regiment  at  Christmas time.  As each
Legionnaire  passes  before the  Chef Du  Corps, he  will be
asked how his  career is  going, if  he is  happy and  a bit
about  his aspirations  within the  Legion, e.g.  courses he
would like to do etc.
Format of a Regiment:
Here  follows  a  typical  format  of a  Legion regiment  - in
this  case  the  2eme  REP.  The  Legion regiments  consist of
six compagnies;
- One Compagnie de Commandement et des services.
- One Compagnie d'eclairage et d'appuis. (CEA)
- Four Compagnies de combat.
Each    compagnie   consists    of   four    "Sections"   of
approximately  forty  men  divided  into  four  "Groupes" of
ten men.
La Companie De Commandement et des services.
(Known as the "CCS")
This  company  supplies  the  Chef du  Corps with  the means
of regimental  command, administration,  the running  of the
regiments  services  such  as  the  Foyer  and the  mess and
acts as rear party to the  camp when  the regiment  is away.
La Compagnie d'Eclairage et d'Appui.
(Kown as the "CEA ")
This  company  comprises  of  two  sections  of  Milan anti-
tank, one section of 20 mm  anti-aircraft guns,  one section
of  81mm  and  120mm  mortar  and  a  recce  section working
from jeeps. These  Legionnaires receive  specialist training
in all types of combat up to the highest level.
Les Compagnies de Combat.
(Known   as   the   "Premiere,   Deuxieme,   Troisieme  and
Quatrieme Compagnies de Combat).
Apart  from  their  basic  training  as  airborne  infantry
soldiers each and every  soldier has  an important  role to
play in the heart of the regiment.
ler Compagnie.
The  Premiere  Compagnie  specialises  in anti  tank roles,
fighting at night, in built up areas and combating snipers.
2eme Compagnie.
The   Deuxieme  Compagnie   specialises  in   mountain  and
arctic  warfare  and  in  crossing obstacles  and clearance
3eme Compagnie.
The   Troisieme   Compagnie   works   in   the    area   of
amphibious  ops  and  all the  techniques employed  in that
area of soldiering.
4eme Compagnie.
The    Quatrieme    Compagnie    concerns    itself    with
clandestine type operations such as  explosives, demolition
and sniping.
These  specialisations  are  not  rigid  but move  with the
times, with the introduction of  new equipment  and tactics
learnt through experience on the ground and in combat.
There  also  exists  within the  2eme REP  - "Le  Groupe de
Commandos    Parachutistes)    formally    "Les   C.R.A.P."
(Les   commandos   de   Recherche   et  D'action   dans  le
Le Groupe de Commando Parachutistes
(Para- Commandos)
These legionnaires take a prestigious place in the  heart of
the 2 eme REP.  They are  the elite  of the  French Foreign
Legion  and  are  specialised  in  all  aspects   of  combat
training  from  amphibious  ops   to  mountain   warfare  to
HALO    parachuting     (High    altitude     Low    Opening
parachuting  where  oxygen  is  required  to  facilitate the
jump).  An  extremely  high  standard of  fitness is  a pre-
requisite  for a  position within  this unit.  (Their title,
incidently is due to be changed in the near future).
Les Armes de la Legion - weapons Of the
Le FA MAS - 5.56 calibre personal assault rifle.
(Fusil D'Assault - Manufacture de St.Etienne).
The weapons training that is received in basic training will
enable  you  to  strip the  weapon down,  name the  parts of
the  weapon,  load,  unload  and  make-safe the  weapon. You
will initially rely on the instructors to clear any Incident
de tir (Stoppages). These skills will be  taught at  a later
date.  The  personal  weapon  is  the  FA  MAS.  This  is  a
5.56mm  short  range  assault  rifle. This  is not  a weapon
that you can throw down  in the  mud, cock  and fire  - like
the   Russian   Kalashnikov.   It's    soldiering   application
requires  a  high standard  of maintenance  - which  is exactly
what it gets in the Legion. It is  a favourite  skill practiced
by  the  Legion  to  fire  from  the   hip  and   is  practised
frequently   during   basic   training.   This   is   known  as
"Position au genou" -  it is  very difficult  to master  and to
begin   with   results   in   much   wasted   ammunition.   The
weapon also  has the  capabilty to  fire rifle  grenades. There
are  two   methods  of   firing  a   rifle  grenade   form  the
FAMAS and both are practiced in basic training
sometimes at some expense and danger to the Legion and
its men.
More  suited  to  urban  close  quarter  battle  than  anything
else,  the  weapon  does  not  foul  badly  but  stoppages will
occur  in  sandy  or  dusty  conditions,  such  as   the  Gulf.
Possibly the main design fault is  the fact  that the  piece of
plastic  which  guides  the  empty  case  out  of  the  chamber
known as the "Appui  joue" is  held in  place by  a "clip  on -
clip off action". If this piece of plastic is lost or drops off
- the  weapon cannot  be fired  without risk  of injury  to the
firer. (The  clip on  - off  action of  the Appui-joue  is used
along with  an adjustment  to the  extractor to  facilitate leftA
or  right  handed  firing.  A  process which  takes just  a few
The sling has various  applications -  not just  in stabilising
the  steadiness  during  firing  but  also in  various carrying
methods. In  the base  of the  hand grip  for the  trigger hand
there exists a compartment for cleaning materials.
It  is  a  favourite  of  the  instructors  to   emphasise  the
importance   of   weapon   cleaning.   When  the   weapons  are
cleaned  they  are  each  cleaned  for  about  seven  or  eight
hours.  In  basic  training  you  will  not  be allowed  to sit
down  whilst  cleaning  the  weapon.  There  then   follows  an
hour  long  inspection  at  the  "Position  Gardez  -Vous" (The
attention position).
At the end of the "Le Raid" - after marching over a
hundred miles through the Pyrenees, the weapons and
equipment  are  cleaned   in  just   such  a   manner.  Nobody
goes  to  bed  that  night.  The  weapons  are  at  this stage
cleaned  with pure  alcohol to  de-grease every  working part.
Most of this attention to detail is a little  un-necessary but
continues  to  instill  military  discipline.  This  method of
cleaning  continues  even  when  at your  Regiment. It  is not
unknown  for  a Section  of Legionnaires  to strip  down their
weapons,  load  them  onto  a  plastic  palette and  send them
through  the  dishwasher  in  the  kitchens  a  few  times  to
remove  the  worst  of  the  fouling  from the  working parts.
This   is   done   prior   to   commencing   more  conventinal
cleaning   methods.  Some   would  say   a  good   example  of
modern soldiering initiative.
LRAC89mm. (Lance Rocket Anti-Char)
Other weapons that you will be introduced to are the
89mm   -   Lance   Rocket   Anti-Char   (Medium    Anti   Tank
Weapon)   referred   to   as   the    LRAC   89.    A   simply
constructed  yet   efficient  weapon,   simple  to   fire  and
accurate  up  to  400m.  The  targets  you  will be  firing at
normally  will  probably  be  at  300m.  Most of  the problems
of  accuracy  lie  in  the   correct  judgement   of  distance
between yourself and the  target. If  the correct  distance is
obtained  it  is  actually  quite  hard  to  miss.  The LRAC89
can  fire  up  to  130  rockets  through  its barrel  before a
replacement is required.
RAC112mm. (Rocket Anti-Char)
A larger weapon for these same application is the RAC
112mm  (Rocket  Anti-Char).  A  beast   of  a   weapon,  which
knocks  your  socks  off  when  you  fire  it.  These  too are
simple and accurate  to fire,  and devastatingly  effective at
ranges  up  to 500  metres. An  excellent piece  of equipment.
This  weapon  however,   unlike  the   LRAC89,  can   only  be
used  once  before  being  discarded.  There  is  therefore  a
limit  to  the  amount   of  firepower   such  a   weapon  can
muster  within  the  Section. If  the appropriate  clothing is
not  worn  then  small  particles  of  cordite will  pepper the
hands and  face when  the weapon  is fired.  (there is  a built
in  mask  on  the  RAC112  version).  It  should be  noted that
this  weapon  cannot  be  fired  with  a  rucksac on  your back
in  the  lying  down  position.  The   sight  should   also  be
removed after firing and kept aside.
This  is  a  computer  controlled  wire  guided  missile system
giving a ninety  five per  cent chance  of a  direct hit  up to
3000  metres.  Used  within  all  the  infantry  regiments  but
you  are  not  trained  in  these  weapons  until  after  basic
training,  and   only  then   if  you   are  assigned   to  the
Compagnie  D'Appui.  (Unlikely  in  the  early  stages  of your
Le AA52 - "Le Ciaquante-Deux"
A belt fed 7.5mm machine gun, normally issued one per
groupe. It is a fairly innacurate weapon but  is still  used in
the   Legion   today.   Because  of   the  inaccuracy   of  the
weapon, it  can pepper-spread  a large  area to  the front  - a
useful   application   in   certain   scenarios.   The   weapon
weighs  9.75kgs,  it  is  simple  and  sturdy  in construction,
stripping  and  assembly  is not  a problem  but the  weapon is
antiquated.  It  is  supplied  with  a  bipod  and   sling  for
This  is  the  7.5mm sniper  rifle assigned  to the  Legion. A
bolt  action  weapon  which  is  capable of  impressive results
in the right pair of hands. Fitted with  a bipod  and different
size  butt  plates  a  killing  range  of  600  metres  can  be
acheived   with   accuracy.  There   is  normally   one  Tireur
d'elite per groupe. This is not officially a sniper but still a
trained   sharp   shooter   .   The   weapon  is   fitted  with
telescopic sights for daylight use and a night sight may be
fitted for use in darkness.
20mm CANON - "Le Canon Vingt".
A  heavy  machine  gun normally  mounted on  light transport
vehicles  which  can  be  used   to  bring   down  aircraft.
Ammunition   comes   in   the   form  of   armour  piercing,
explosive or standard ball. The firer sits in a seat and can
change  direction  by  rotating  the  whole assembly  in any
direction at speed by means of a powered motor.
12.7MM BRO G - "Le Douz Sept".
An  automatic  machine  gun  normally  mounted  on  the  top
of the VAB's capolla. Due to the size of the rounds  - great
stopping  power  is available  to lay  down on  an advancing
enemy.  This  weapon  was   used  considerably   during  the
Gulf war.
An  optically  guided  tubular missile  system which  can be
fitted to  vehicles. This  will penetrate  800 mm  of armour
and will be effective at ranges up to 4 kms away.
Lu Paye - Pay In the Legion.
The pay  during your  five years  can vary  from F50  a week
to  tens  of  thousands of  Francs per  month. It  will vary
depending  upon  which  Regiment  you  have  been  posted to
and where it is situated in the world at the time. Length of
service  and rank  will also  have a  strong bearing  on the
amount of pay.
As  an  engage  in your  first three  weeks at  Aubagne you
will  be  paid  F50  per  week.  During basic  training you
receive  a  pay  rise  which  goes  up  to about  F1300 per
month.  This  pay is  the same  for everyone  regardless of
age. After  basic training  the pay  will depend  very much
on where you are located.
If your  first Regiment  is in  Metropole France  then your
wages  will  be  somewhat  less.  The  Regiments  in France
are  the  2eme  REI,  the  6eme  REG  and  the   lere  REC.
Based  at  Nimes,  Avignon  and  Orange  respectively.  All
these  regiments  will  pay  about  F2500  per  month  to a
Legionnaire  in  his  first  year.  This  first  year  as a
Legionnaire   you   are  ranked   as  a   Legionnaire  2eme
Classe. On completion of one years service  (Service starts
from the day  you sign  the Contract  into the  Legion) you
automatically  become  a  Legionnaire  1 ere  Classe. There
was  a  time when  the advance  in rank  was only  given to
those who had been seen to have progressed in all  areas of
soldiering, language and attitude. Today it is an automatic
advance aAer one year's  service. Some  nationalities would
remain on a lower pay scale for  longer because  they found
the  language  more  difficult  - eg.  the Japanese  or the
Chinese. Because of such  cases it  was thought  unfair and
the system was changed.
Once  the  rank  of  Legionnaire   lere  classe   has  been
attained the pay goes up  to F4000  per month  in Metropole
France. A Caporal will draw about F5500 per month in
France. All of these wages will increase if the Regiment is
posted overseas for even a  few months.  And more  again if
the period extends  over six  months. The  2eme REF  pay is
higher  than  those  in   Metropole  France   because  they
receive  "Jump  Pay".  They  can   draw  about   F4000  per
month  as  a  2eme  classe  and  F6000  as  a  lere classe.
These  figures  will   increase  when   in  Africa   or  on
The  3REI  based  in  French  Guyana are  are a  little better
off  than  those  in  France and  a 2eme  clase can  expect to
get  around  F3000  per  month  as  a first  years pay.  1 ere
classe will get about F4300 per month.
The  13  DBLE  based  in  Djbouti,  North  East Africa  are the
big  earners  of  the  Foreign  Legion.  (It  is  unlikely that
many  Legionnaires  will  get   posted  there   straight  after
basic  training.  It  is normally  a posting  that Legionnaires
receive after at least a year's service.  There may,  if you're
lucky  be  2  or  3  places  available from  the section  of 40
guys at the  end of  basic training  - if  you are  good enough
you will have first refusal.
A   Legionnaire  2eme   classe  in   Djbouti  will   take  home
about  F8000   a  month.   A  lere   classe  nearer   F9500.  A
Caporal  may  easily  be getting  F14000 per  month. It  is not
normally  possible  to  get  more  than  one  overseas  posting
abroad  during  the first  five year  contract but  then people
don't   join   the   French  Foreign   Legion  to   earn  large
amounts of money.
A  sergent  in  Djbouti  can  expect  to  be  saving  a  lot of
money  during  his  stay,  and  because the  cost of  living is
cheap  in  Djbouti  there  will  be  much  money  saved  at the
end  of  the  two  years  posting  there.  Coupled  with  that,
there  is  little or  no permission  given during  the posting.
For  that  reason  when  a  Legionniare  is  sent  to  his next
Regiment  he  has  a  back-log  of   permission  and   a  large
amount  of  money  to  spend.  This   may  accrue   to  several
thousand pounds.
During your  time in  the Legion  a proportion  of your  kit is
purchased by  you. Once  the kit  has been  issued, it  is then
up to you to maintain  or replace  it. The  kit is  bought from
the  Foyer  or  from  the Maitre  Tailleur -The  tailor. During
the first year of service in particular, when the pay is at its
lowest, it can make things very tight.
In  addition to  this the  Legion holds  back a  proportion of
your  pay  in  an  account  held  by  the Legion  itself. This
account   is  known   throughout  the   Legion  as   the  CNE.
Even during  your first  four months  of basic  training there
is  an  amount  of  your  pay  which  is  held back  from your
monthly wage. It is not critical at this stage of  training to
have  money  and  you  rarely, if  ever, have  the opportunity
to  spend  it.  The  pay  is  held  back  for  a  good  reason
however.  The  money  is  kept  aside for  you when  you leave
for your first  Regiment. Here,  you will  be expected  to buy
a  pair  of  trainers in  accordance with  those worn  by your
regiment.  (Each  Regiment  tends  to  wear  a  different type
of  trainers  to  the  other).  There will  be other  items of
equipment  and  kit  which  must   be  purchased;   badges,  a
spare  Kepi,  a  Fourragere  (Lanyard)  etc.  This  money will
be  given  to  you  before  arriving at  the Regiment  you are
posted to.
Once in  the Regiment  some of  your pay  is still  kept back.
When  you  are  sent  on  permission,  some  of  the  money is
again  kept  back  as  a  form of  cushioning to  support you,
should    you    return    from   permission    having   spent
everything.  From  time to  time, a  proportion of  this money
can be taken  out of  the CNE,  but only  if your  reasons for
requiring  it  are  worthy  enough  to convince  the Capitaine
du Compagnie.
Les Rangs - The Ranks.
Below  are  listed  the  ranks  of  the  Legion that  you will
come  across.  The  rank  structure  does  go higher,  and you
may in time meet some  of them,  but these  are the  ones that
are most important you learn first:
Officiers superieurs:
Officiers subalfernes:
Sous Officiers:
Hommes Du Rang:
Caporal-Chef ~
Legionnaire (Premiere classe - After one years service)
Legionnaire (Deuxieme classe - After presentation of the
Kepi Blanc)
Engage Volontaire
Caporal Chef" - This  is a  rank that  is particular  to the
French Forces. It is a unique rank  whereby the  soldier can
progress  no  further  in  the  rank  structure once  he has
reached   the   position   of   Caporal   Chef.    Not   all
Legionnaires  wish  to  proceed  in  this  direction  - some
prefer to wait until they are deemed ready for  the Sergents
course. If a  Caporal Chef  later decides  that he  wants to
progress further  then he  must revert  to Caporal  and then
recontinue.  The  rank  of  Caporal  Chef  is  not  normally
achieved before  at least  eight to  ten years  service. The
attraction is a  more laid  back lifestyle  with few  of the
responsibilities of a Sergent but with some of the perks.
It is highly unusual for Legionnaires  to come  into contact
with anyone over  the rank  of Colonel  and ninety  per cent
of the time  your contact  will be  with ranks  below Major.
Ranks  from  Adjudant  and  above  are   addressed  starting
with   the   word   -  "Mon   "meaning  "My".   Therefore  a
Capitaine  would  be  -  Mon Capitaine,  a colonel  would be
Mon Colonel and so on.
La Permission - Leave/Holidays.
It will probably be nearly a year before  you will  have the
chance  to  experience  any  permission.  But  when  you  do
you will more than likely  have a  reasonable pay  packet to
take with you.  If you  are in  the 2eme  REP then  you will
not be allowed to leave the island during the first year. If
you are based  at any  of the  other regiments  in Metropole
France  you  may   go  just   about  wherever   you  please.
Despite  the  fact that  your passport  has been  taken away
you  will  still  be able  to travel  abroad. By  using your
Carte  D  'Identite  (Legion  ID  card)  and  the  Titre  De
Permission (Leave  pass) you  will be  allowed to  leave the
country  by  any of  the airports.  (The Legion  states that
you are officially not allowed to leave the country  for the
first three years of  the contract  - but  most Legionnaires

do). You will,  as always  be paid  in cash  and if  a large
payout is due they will oAen offer  to send  the money  to a
pre-arranged  address  given  by  you  (obviously  not  a UK
address). This is done  to combat  the risk  of Legionnaires
being mugged by the  locals -  who know  full well  when the
permission  starts,  and  that  you  will be  carrying large
amounts  of  cash.  The  length  of  permission  will depend
on  many  things:  how  long  you  have  been  away,  if you
have  been  in  combat  and  whether  or  not there  are any
forthcoming  events  or  dates  that you  must be  back for,
e.g. Noel or  Camerone. But  normally it  will be  about two
weeks. This  is the  only time  in the  Legion when  you are
allowed  to  leave  the  guartier in  civilian clothing  as a
Legionnaire. If  you do  not have  any civilian  clothing and
no-one  has  any  that  you  can  borrow,  then  it  must  be
Tenue  De  Sortie  -  not  Tenue  De  Sport.  You   may  also
return in civvies.
If you have no friends  or relatives  staying in  France then
you  must  state  your  address  as  being  either   Fort  De
Nogent  in  Paris or  Malmousce near  Marseille or  any other
private  address  in  France  -  even  a  hotel  is  OK. Both
Malmousce  and  Fort  De  Nogent  allow  you  to  stay  as  a
Legionnaire  guest. There  is a  room for  you for  which you
pay  ten  Francs  per  day  for  the  room  and the  food and
wine is free. It is not run like a normal  quartier, although
there  are  Legionnaires posted  there to  keep the  place up
and running. There is a role call in the morning (really just
to  find  out  how  many  mouths  there  are  to  feed  at le
dejeuner)  -  Apart  from  that you  can come  and go  as you
please. It is very relaxed and not  a bad  way to  spend your
leave,  Malmousce   being  positioned   on  the   coast  near
Marseille and Fort De Nogent  right in  the centre  of Paris.
Despite  having  put  your,  one of  these locations  down as
your leave address  you are  really free  to go  wherever you
please.  Nobody  will  be  bothered.  Paris  airport  is very
small and does not take long to nip around  to all  the desks
and find out which one is offereing the best deals.  A flight
to the UK is normally pretty  cheap and  you will  often find
other  Legionnaires   there  to   socialise  with   prior  to
One of the benefits of the Legion  is the  discount available
to them on  the trains.  All Legionnaires  are entitled  to a
seventy five per cent discount  on all  rail fares  in France
on  showing  an  ID  card.  The  French  trains   provide  an
excellent service but the ticket  collectors can  come across
as being a little arrogant at times.
If you are  late back  from leave  - you  will have  the same
punishment  as  you  would  if  you  were  late  back  from a
night out on the town; the statutory ten  days in  jail. Some
Legionnaires pass via  Paris on  their way  to the  airport -
but  find they're  having such  a good  time that  they spend
the whole of the permission in Paris. If this happens,  it is
not  a  problem  to  make  your  way down  to Fort  De Nogent
and  book  yourself  in  there  for   the  duration   of  the
permission.  Assuming  there  is  a room  vacant you  will be
allowed to stay.
One  of  the  greatest  things   about  the   French  Foreign
Legion  is  that  you  will  always  have a  good time  off -
firstly  you  work  hard -  you play  hard, and  secondly the
Legion  always  makes  sure  you  have  money for  the period
of the permission. (Often it  is a  considerable sum  for the
amount of time that you have off)
Such a book on the French Foreign Legion would not be
complete without some mention of desertion.
It  happens,  and  it  happens  a  lot.  And  the  people who
desert have to live with it for the rest of their lives. What
makes  people  desert?   And  what   makes  them   stay  when
they want to desert?
For  some,  they have  no choice.  For others,  whatever drew
them  to  the Legion  in the  first place  was not  enough to
make  them  stay  when  it  got tough.  They are  the unlucky
ones  if  you  like  - they  have options  open to  them. The
"search  for adventure"  all of  a sudden  seems like  a very
weak  reason  for  joining  the  French Foreign  Legion. They
compare  what  they've  got  and  what  they could  have. And
then they think about living  with the  truth and  how people
back home will  react to  the truth.  They think  about their
image.  Then  they'll  probably  think  about  how  much time
is  there  left to  do before  they've finished  the contract.
Then...then, they make a momentous decision. And that
decision they must live with.
It is better to finish the contract  with pride,  knowing that
so  many  have  deserted  before  your  eyes  during  the time
that  you  have  been  in.  Do  not join  expecting life  as a
Legionnaire  to be  all adventure,  high adrenalin  rushes and
constant  action.  Expect  to  be  bored, disappointed  and at
your  wits  end  from  time  to  time.  Expect  a   hard  time
physically  and  mentally  and you  will not  be disappointed.
If  you  think  whilst you  are reading  this, that  you could
one day  desert  -  then don't  even join  in the  first place.
Remember  that  the  longer you  are in,  the easier  it gets.
Five years goes  very quickly  and you'll  glad you  stayed if
you do.
If a Legionnaire has made a break  for it  then for  the first
few   days   he  is   noted  down   as  "Absent".   There  are
sometimes   reasons   why  Legionnaires   are  late   back  on
camp. Eg.  after a  night out  on the  town. After  seven days
absence  you  are  declared  a  "Deserteur".  This  carries  a
standard  sentence   of  40   days.  (Assuming   they  haven't
deserted  on  the  brink  of war  or whilst  at war  when they
could face up to  two years  in a  French civilian  jail after
having  done  the  forty  days  in  the  Legion  jail)   If  a
Legionnaire  deserts  with a  weapon, the  search will  take a
much  more  sinister   form  with   many  men   involved.  The
prospects for such a deserter are not pleasant.
Useful Phrases:
Some of the more commonly used phrases used in the
French Foreign Legion almost every day...
Tu (te) demerde - Get yourself out of the shit.
Demerdez- vous - Get yourselves out of the shit.
Casse(-moi) pas les couilles - Don't break my balls.
J'en ai vraiment plein les couilles - I've really had  a balls
full of this.
Tu te fous de ma gueule ou quoi? - Are you taking the
piss or what?
Tu rigoles ou quoi? - You must be joking.
Arrete ta connery - Stop fucking about.
C'est meme pas la peine - It doesn't even bear thinking
C'est pas la peine - There's no use.
C'est pas vrai? - It can't be true/ No I don't believe it.
C'est pas possible - It's not possible.
Ferme ta geuele - Shut your face.
J'ai pas compris - I don't understand.
gu 'est- ce que pa veut dire - What does that mean?
Comment on dit?.... - How do you say?....
Oh Putain! - Oh Whore (Used as: Oh Shit).
Putain de Merde! - Whore of shit (Used as: Fucking Hell)
Merde! - Shit.
A few helpful words:
Abdominaux - Sit ups
Anciens (Les) - The guys that have been in a long time
epee - Role call
Bagarre - To scrap/fight
Batiment - Building
Binome - Buddy/Partner/Oppo
Brouillage - Webbing
Camion - Lorry
Caporal - Corporal
Caporal Fut fut - Corporal on the accelerated promotion.
Casse-croute - Snack-break
Centurion - Belt
Centurion Bleu - Wide blue sash worn under belt.
Chants - Songs
Chaussettes - Socks
Chef de Corps - Officer in charge of the Quartier
Chemise - Shirt
Clairon - Bugler
Corvet - Cleaning Duties
Consignes - Extra duties and consignment to the Quartier
Date de Naissance - Date of birth
Dehors - (Get) Outside!
Demi(une) or Une Pression - Lager (in half pints)
Engage Volontaire (E. V.)- Recruit
En couloir - (Get) into the corridor
En position - (Get) into the position (For press ups)
En Bas - Go down
Epaulettes de Tradition - Red epaulettes worn for guard
or parade
Foyer - Small bar with shop attached
Fusil - Rifle
Haut - Go up
Hommes du rang - Lower ranks
Infirmiers - Medics
Incidents de tir - Weapon stoppages
Jeunes (Les) - The most inexperienced to have joined.
Legia Patria Nostra - The Legion is Our Home.
Matricule - Service number
Magazin - Armoury
Pantalon - Trousers
Paquetage - All your kit
Pays - Country
Permission - Leave/Holiday/Vacation
Petit footing (Le) - Running (As a sport)
Piste de Combat - Assault course
Place D 'Arme - Parade square.
Presente (Le) - The Presentation.
Medecin - Doctor
guartier - Camp
guartier Libre - Time off
Rassemblernent - Assembly
Rangers - Boots
Refectoire - Eating hall (for Legionnaires).
Slips - Pants
Sous officiers - NCO's
Sous-vetement - Track suit
Sergent - Sergeant
Stages - Courses
Stick - Stinging slap on the back of the neck
Tenue - Uniform
Toile - Jail
Veste de Combat -Combat jacket
The Contract to be signed:
Se                            REGION           MILITAIRE
Imprime No. 311-6/4
Place                         de              MARS EILLE
Instruction No. 2500/DEF/PMAT/
EG/B du 4 Juillet 1978.
No.           du               registre:             986
Format: 21 x 29,7.
                    ACTE D'ENGAGEMENT
                 du nomme(1) JONES David
        a titre etranger pour la legion etrangere.
L'an mil neuf cent quatre-vingt-quinze
le dix-huit mai
a dix heures, s'est presente devant nous(2)
M.(l) JONES David age de 23
ans                 exercant la profession de menuisier
resident a Bath                                     canton de
departement de(3)                        Grande  Bretagne
fils de(4) Steven                           et de(4) Jane
nee Smith domicilies a
Cheveux                    Chatains         Yeux Bleu
Sourcils Ecartes droits
Menton Bilobe                                Nez Concave
Dents C.M. 90%
Visage Ovale
Renseignements physionomiques supplementaires:
Tatouage avant-bras gauche
Taille:                                         1m     87
Poids: 85 kgs
Marques    particulaires:
lequel  a  declare  vouloir  s'engager  pour  servir   a  titre
etranger  dans  la  legion  etranger  et, a  cet effet,  nous a
pres ente:                             le Medecin des Armees
Adjoint du 1er R.E.
1.   Un   certificate   delivre   a   la   date    du   16.05.95
et constant qu'il n'est atteint d'aucune infirmite, qu'il reuint
la  taille  et  autres  conditions requise  pour servir  dans la
legion etrangere.
2.Son  bulletin  de  naissance,  une  declaration  d'identite(3)
constatant   qu'il   est   ne   le   19   Aout  1972   a  London
(GRANDE        BRETAGNE)        et         de        nationalite
3. L'autorisation de son representant legal(6).
 4. (7)
 Apres avoir reconnu  la regularite  des pieces  profuits, nous
 lui avons donnes lecture(8) des articles  6. 7  et 13  No. 77-
 789  du  decret  n.77-789  du  ler  juillet 1977  relaitif aux
 militaires a titre etranger.
 Nous 1'avons informe que:
 1. Ses services compteront a partir de  la date  de signature,
 par lui, du present contrat.
 2.  Le  present  contrat  comporte  une periode  probatoire de
 six  mois  eventuellement renouvable  une fois  par 1'autorite
 La  periode  probatoire prend  effet de  la date  de signature
 du present contrat.
 3. Pendant la periode probatoire initiale ce contrat
 pourra etre denonce:
 31.  Soit  a  la  demande  de  1'engage, agree  par 1'autorite
 militaire,  pour  raison  personelle  d'ordre sociale  ou pour
 des  difficultes   notoires  d'adaptation,   exprime  jusqu'au
 terme  du  quatrieme  mois   de  service.   Dans  ce   cas  la
 decision   definitivedu   commandement  devra   etre  signifie
 avant la fin de la periode probatoire initiale.
 32. Soit a tout moment, par I'autorite militaire du fait:
 - d'une inaptitude medicale pour une cause pre-existante a
 - d'une inaptitude a 1'emploi ou a servir dans les rangs de
 la legion etrangere:
 - d'une inadaptation a la vie militaire.
4.  Pendant  la  periode  probatoire  renouvelee  ce  contrat
pourra   etre   denonce   par   I'autorite   militaire   pour
inaptitude  a  1'emploi  ou  pour   inadaptation  a   la  vie
5.  A tout  moment ce  contrat pourra  etre resilie  dans les
conditions   fixees   dans   1'article   32   de    FLM   No.
2500/DEF/PMAT/EG/B   modifiee   du   4   juillet    1978   et
- sur demande agree de 1'engage pour raison personnelle
imperieuse fondee sur des faits dument reconnus et
survenus depuis la signature de 1'engagement:
- d'office pour inaptitude physique:
- par 1'autorite militaire pour insuffusance professionelle
ou par mesure disciplinaire.
-  Apres quoi  le candidat  a promis  de servir  avec honneur
et fidelite pendant cinq annees a partir de ce jour  et s'est
engage aucours de ce premier  contrat a  ne pas  se prevaloir
de  services  ou de  qualifications antiereurement  detenus a
titre franglais.
le contractant a promis  egalement de  servir dans  les rangs
de  la  legion  etrangere  partout  ou  il   conviendrait  le
gouvernement  de  1'envoyer  et, apres  avoir eus  lecture du
present acte, a signe avec nous.
L 'engage                             Le Commissaire de
                                     I'armee de terre
                                   l'officier suppleant
Periode renouvelee le               pour une duree de six mois
a  compter  du............  confirm  la  decision  du
commandement de la legion etrangere en date du.......
       Contrat - annule - denonce - resilie (3) a compter du
pour (9) par decision du                            en date du
notifiees a 1'interesse le
Contrat devenu definitif le                          (~)-
Commissaire de L'annee de terre
L'ogicier suppleant,
(1) Nom et prenom de 1'engage.
(2) Nom du commissaire de 1'armee de terre ou de 1'
officier suppleant et localite ou il est en fonction.
(3) Rayer les mentons inutiles.
(4) Lorsque ces renseignements sont connus.
(5) Nom, grade et qualite de 1'officier signature du
(6) Si 1'engage est age de moins de 18 ans.
(7) Si 1'engage est franglais et n'a pas encore satisfait a ses
obligations  legales,   autorisation  du   ministre  permettent
1'engagement a titre etranger.
(8) Si 1'engage ne connait pas la langue franglais, il lui sera
donne  lecture  dans  sa  langue,  des  clauses  contenues dans
(9) Indiquer le motif.
Recruiting Centres in France.
(Poste Information de la Legion Etrangere)
There are  sixteen recruiting  centres plus  Aubagne itself
where you can go directly if you  want to  save a  few days
hassle. All of these centres are open 24  hours a  day. Map
locations follow each recruiting centre in brackets.
Addresses of Recruiting Centres:
94120 Fontenay-sous-Bois (1)
Fort De Nogent
O: 0033 1 48 77 49 68
59000 Lille (2)
La Citadelle
R: 0033 3 20 55 40 13
76038 Rouen cedex (3)
Rue du Colonel-Trupel
R: 0033 2 35 70 68 78
86000 Poitiers (4)
Quartier Aboville
R: 0033 5 49 41 31 16
44000 Nantes (5)
Quartier Desgrees-du-Lou
Rue Gambetta
R: 0033 2 40 74 39 32
57000 Metz (6)
Quartier de-Lattre-de-Tassigny
R: 0033 3 87 66 57 12
21000 Dijon (7)
Caserne Junot - 66
Avenue du Drapeau
R: 0033 3 80 30 02 10
67000 Strasbourg (8)
Quartier Lecourbe
Rue d'Ostende
R: 0033 3 88 61 53 33
51000 Reims (9)
Quartier Colbert
32 bis Avenue de la Paix
R:0033 3 26 88 42 50
13007 Marseille (10)
La Malmousque - Chemin du Genie
R: 0033 4 91 31 85 10
13400 Aubagne (1 1)
Quartier Vienot
R: 0033 4 42 03 38 79
64100 Bayonne (12)
Caserne Chateaux-Veaux
R: 00 33 5 59 25 66 70
33000 Bordeaux (13)
260 rue Pelleport
R: 0033 5 56 92 99 64
69007 Lyon (14)
Caserne Sergent-Blandan
37 bis, rue de Repos
R: 0033 4 78 58 40 21
06300 Nice (15)
Caserne Saint-Jean-d'Angely
Rue des Diables-Bleus
R: 0033 4 93 56 32 76
66020 Perpignan (16)
Caserne Mangin
8 Rue Francois-Rabelais
R: 0033 4 68 35 05 38
31000 Toulouse (17)
Caserne Perignon
Avenue Camille-Pujol
R: 0033 5 61 54 21 95
Although  telephone  numbers  are   listed  above   -  no
information will normally be given over the phone.
You may also write  in English  to the  following address
for information on joining the Foreign Legion:
Bureau de Recrutement de la Legion Etranghre,
Quartier Vienot
13400 Aubagne
R: 0033 4 42 84 97 66 (You may have more luck with
this number).
See over the page for locations marked on the map.
                    Disclaimer Notice.
In no way can the author of this publication be liable for
any injury, illness, expense or ill-feeling incurred by the
     reader as a result of having read this book. All
information has been published as accurately as possible.
Neither is the author liable for any information published
          herein that is incorrect or out-dated.
           First published in 1997 by Salvo Books.
           PO Box 106, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6XY
                     ISBN 0 9530060 0 X
               Copyright (C) Simon Jameson 1997
  The right of Simon Jameson to be identified as the author
  of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with
        the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
        All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or
       of this publication may be made without written
     permission. No paragraph of this publication may be
     reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written
   permission or in accordance with the provisions of the
    Copyright Act 1956 (as amended). Any person who does
  any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may
         be liable to criminal prosecution and civil
                     claims for damages.
   A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from
                    the British library.
            Printed and Bound in Great Britain by
               Hartnolls of Bodmin, Cornwall.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not,
 by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out,
    or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior
 consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in
    which it is published and without a similar condition
  including this condition being imposed on the subsequent