2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment

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2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment
(2ème Régiment étranger d'infanterie)
Regimental badge of 2eREI
Active 3 Apr 1841 – 1 Apr 1943
1 Aug 1945 – 1 Jan 1968
1 Sept 1972 – Present
Country  France
Branch French Army
Type Infantry
Role Mechanized infantry
Size 1230 men
Part of 6th Light Armored Brigade
Garrison/HQ Nîmes, France
Nickname 2e Étranger
Motto Être prêt ("Be ready")
Colors Green and Red
March Anne-Marie du "2"
Mascot Tapanar (mule)
Anniversaries Camerone Day (April 30) and El-Moungar day (2 September)
Colonel Eric Ozanne
François Certain Canrobert
Patrice MacMahon
Beret badge of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment Insigne de béret du 2e RE Type 3.jpg
Abbreviation 2e REI

The 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (French: 2e Régiment Étranger d'Infanterie, 2e REI) is an infantry regiment of the French Foreign Legion. It is one of two mechanized infantry regiments of the 6th Light Armoured Brigade[1] It is currently stationed at Quartier Colonel de Chabrières, Nimes in the south of France.[2]

A very mobile infantry regiment, it can be sent to any part of the world through naval or air means. The Regiment has taken on the responsibility of field testing new equipment for the French Army as a whole.[3]


The original 2nd Regiment was raised on April 3, 1841. 2e Régiment Étranger d’Infanterie, 2e REI. The second oldest regiment of the French Foreign Legion. It has been stationed at Quartier Colonel de Chabrières in Nimes, France, since November 1983. With more than 1200 men, it is the largest regiment of the French Foreign Legion.

2e REI was originally created as the 2nd Regiment of the Foreign Legion (2e Régiment de la Légion étrangère, 2e RLE) in April 1841 in Algeria. It became the 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e Régiment Étranger, 2e RE) in 1856 and finally 2e REI in 1922.

2e REI was disbanded in 1943-45 during the WWII and once again in Algeria in 1968. Recreated in 1972 as the 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e Régiment Étranger) in Bonifacio, Corsica. In 1980, it became 2e REI again. In 1983, after an operation in Lebanon, it moved to Nimes, France, where it has been placed to nowadays.

Pacification of Algeria[edit]

From 1841-1907 legionnaires from the 2nd Regiment where deployed in Algeria. In the early twentieth century, France faced numerous incidents, attacks and looting by uncontrolled armed groups, in the newly occupied areas in the south of Oran (Algeria). Under the command of General Lyautey, the French army's mission was to protect these areas newly controlled in the west of Algeria, near the poorly defined Moroccan boundaries.

This loose boundary, between French Algeria and the Sultanate of Morocco, promotes incursions and attacks perpetrated by Moroccan tribesmen.

On 17 August 1903, the first battle of the South-Oranese campaign took place in Taghit, where French Foreign legionnaires were assailed by a contingent of more than 1,000 well-equipped Berbers. For 3 days, the legionnaires repelled repeated attacks of an enemy more than 10 times higher in number, and inflicted huge losses on the attackers, forcing them finally into a hasty retreat.

A few months after the Battle of Taghit, 148 legionnaires of the 22nd mounted company, from the 2e REI, commanded by Captain Vauchez and Lieutenant Selchauhansen, 20 Spahis and two Mokhaznis were escorting a supply convoy, when they were ambushed at 9:30 am on 2 September by 3,000 Moroccans marauders. The half-company had halted to eat, no sentries had been posted and only a few cavalry pickets had been placed.

The first volleys wounded or killed half of the detachment. Both officers and most of the non-commissioned officers were killed in the first stage of the fight. At 10:30 am, Quartermaster Sergeant (sergent-fourrier) Tisserand, who commanded the survivors, sent two spahi cavalrymen to Taghit for reinforcements. They immediately left.

About forty survivors of the French force gathered on a nearby hill and under a scorching sun, on hot sand and without water, fought off the enemy for more than eight hours. Near the end of the battle, Tisserand, wounded, gave over command to Corporal Detz; the highest ranked man still able. At 5 pm, they were relieved by Captain de Sulbielle, who rode from Taghit with his Spahis. At the sight of the approaching French cavalry, the Moroccans retreated in small groups.


On August 1, 1945 a training regiment was raised known as the Régiment de marche de la Légion Etrangère d'Extrême-Orient (RMLE/EO).[4] On January 1, 1946 this was renamed 2e Régiment Étranger d'Infanterie and was committed to action in Indo-China until 1954.[4]


After returning to North Africa, the regiment participated in the Algerian War from 1956 to 1962.[4] It was disbanded in 1968.[4]


A new 2nd Foreign Regiment was formed 1 September 1972 in Corsica.[4] While in Corsica the regiment was garrisoned in Corte (basic training unit) and Bonifacio. The unit was re-designated as the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment on 1 July 1980.[4] In 1986 elements of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment were deployed to Chad as part of Operation Sparrowhawk (Opération Epervier).[5] It has participated in several recent conflicts, most notably in the Gulf War (1991), in Bosnia, Chad and other parts of Africa.[2] In 2006 elements of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment deployed as part of the French contingent of the ISAF.[5]


The regiment is composed of around 1230 men organised into 10 companies, thus making it the largest regiment of the French army.[1]

  • Compagnie de Commandement et de Logistique (CCL) – Command and Logistics Company
  • Compagnie d'Administration et de Soutien (CAS) – Administrative and Support Company
  • 1er Compagnie de Combat (1er Cie) – 1st Combat Company (4 combat sections)
  • 2e Compagnie de Combat (2e Cie) – 2nd Combat Company (4 combat sections)
  • 3e Compagnie de Combat (3e Cie) – 3rd Combat Company (4 combat sections)
  • 4e Compagnie de Combat (4e Cie) – 4th Combat Company (4 combat sections)
  • 5e Compagnie de Combat (5e Cie) – 5th Combat Company (4 combat sections)
  • Compagnie Antichar (CAC) – Anti-Tank Company (4 sections)
  • Compagnie d'Eclairage et d'Appui (CEA) – Reconnaissance and Support Company (3 sections)
    • Section de reconnaissance régimentaire (SRR) – Regimental Recce Section (VBL)
    • Section antichars (SAC) – Anti-Tank Section (Milan)
    • Section de tireurs d'élite (STE) – Sniper Section (PGM 12.7mm)
  • Compagnie de reserve (8 Cie) – 8th Reserve Company


  • Colonel Servanckx (1972–1974)
  • Colonel Gilbert (1974–1976)
  • Colonel Mougin (1976–1978)
  • Colonel Liege (1978-19800)
  • Colonel de Montlebert (1980–1982)
  • Colonel de Lajudie (1982–1984)
  • Colonel François (1984–1986)
  • Colonel Laffly (1986–1988)
  • Colonel Soubirou (1988–1990)
  • Colonel Derville (1990–1992)
  • Colonel de Richoufftz de Manin (1992–1994)
  • Colonel Lecerf (1994–1996)
  • Colonel Verna (1996–1998)
  • Colonel Bontoux (1998–2000)
  • Colonel Bras (2000–2002)
  • Colonel Margail (2002–2004)
  • Colonel de Reviers de Mauny (2004–2006)
  • Colonel Gillet (2006–2008)


Monument commemorating the Service of Fallen Legionnaires around the globe; headquarters of the French Foreign Legion at Aubagne

Battle Honours[edit]




Similar Operating Historical Units[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Structure du régiment". 2e Régiment étranger d'infanterie (in French). Ministère de la Défense. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b http://le.cos.free.fr/2rei.htm
  3. ^ Koelher, Charles (31 March 2006). "LEGIO PATRIA NOSTRA: THE HISTORY OF THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION SINCE 1962". U.S. General Command and Staff College. p. 85. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "La création". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  5. ^ a b "Les campagnes du 2ème REI". 2e Régiment étranger d'infanterie (in French). Ministère de la Défense. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b [1] Campaigns of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (Les campagnes du 2ème REI)


  • Porch, Douglas. The French Foreign Legion. Harper Collins, New York, 1991. ISBN 978-0-06-092308-2
  • Windrow, Martin (1996). French Foreign Legion 1914–1945. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-761-9. 
  • Windrow, Martin (1996). French Foreign Legion Since 1945. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-621-3. 

External links[edit]