3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment

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3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment
(3e Régiment étranger d'infanterie)
Regimental badge of 3e REI
Active 11 November 1915 - present
Country  France
Branch French Army
Type Infantry
Role Light Infantry
Jungle Warfare
Security assistance
Counter-drug operations
Size 675 men
Garrison/HQ Kourou, French Guiana
Colors Green & Red
March Anne-Marie du 3e Etranger
Engagements World War I
World War II
First Indochina War
*Battle of Route Coloniale 4
*Battle of Na San
*Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Algerian War
Francois Marie Guyot
André Lalande
Antoine Mattei
Beret badge of the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment Insigne de béret du 3e RE.jpg
Abbreviation 3e REI
The regiment's troops on a training exercise in the jungle near Kourou, French Guiana.

The 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (French: 3e Régiment étranger d'infanterie, 3e REI) is an infantry regiment of the French Foreign Legion. The regiment is stationed in French Guiana, protecting the Centre Spatial Guyanais.[1]


World War I[edit]

Main article: World War I

When World War I started France received a stream of foreign volunteers that wanted to fight for France. This allowed the creation of four "march regiments" of the Foreign Legion.

In November 1915 the Legion units remaining on the Western Front were reorganised into a single "march regiment" designated Foreign Legion Marching Regiment (French: 1er Régiment de Marche de la Légion Étrangère, RMLE).

The Legion records that 42,883 men served on the western front in the March Regiments of the 1st and 2nd Foreign Regiment and the RMLE. It suffered 5,172 killed in action and around 25,000 wounded or missing, a total of 70% casualties over the course of the war. When the war ended it was the second most decorated regiment in the French Army[2] and the most decorated regiment in the French Foreign Legion.


A battalion of the RMLE was moved to Morocco, and with two Mounted Companies reformed the 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment in November 1919.[3] The regiment took part in the pacification of Morocco from 1919 to 1934.

World War II[edit]

Main article: World War II

With the fall of France the regiment remained in Morocco under Vichy control.[4] In November 1942 the Allies landed in Morocco and after some resistance the French Army of Africa joined the Allies. In January 1943 a unit entitled 3eREI de Marche saw action with heavy losses against Axis forces on the Djebel Mansour.[4] After the Allied victory in North Africa a new RMLE was formed from 2eREI, 3eREI, 4eREI and 6eREI in July 1943.[4] Alongside 1er REC the regiment joined the Allied invasion of Southern France in September 1944. They saw bitter fighting in Alsace and into Germany, ending the war in the Arlberg Mountains in May 1945.[4]


Main article: First Indochina War

The regiment was posted to Indo-China with the 1st and 2nd Battalions arriving in April and the 3rd Battalion in June 1946.[5] The 3rd Battalion was wiped out at the Battle of Route Coloniale 4 (RC4) in October 1950 and after being reformed it was again wiped out at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.[5]


Main article: Algerian War

Participated in the Algerian War from December 1954 to March 1962.[6]


In 1963 it was transferred from Algeria to Diego-Suarez, Madagascar.[7]

French Guiana[edit]

From Madagascar it moved to its current location in French Guiana, South America in September 1973.[7]

Recent Deployment[edit]

The regiment has several roles. The first is to guard the Guiana Space Centre (French: Centre Spatial Guyanais, CSG).[1] From 2008 it has been tasked with fighting against illegal gold mining operations.[1] Thirdly it provides a standby force for operations in the region such as in Operation Carbet, Haiti in 2004.[1] It also runs the French Jungle Training Centre (French: Centre d'entraînement en forêt équatoriale, CEFE) at Regina.[1] Founded in 1986 it has trained more than 35 000 troops from various countries.[1]


The regiment is composed of around 675 men organised into 5 companies.[8]

  • Compagnie de Commandement et de Soutien (CCS) - Command and Support Company
  • Compagnie de Combat d’Infanterie (2e CIE) - 2nd Infantry Company (3 combat sections and a support section)
  • Compagnie de Combat d’Infanterie (3e CIE) - 3rd Infantry Company (3 combat sections and a support section) (reformed 2010)
  • Compagnie d’Appui (CA) - Support Company (air defense) (on 4-month tours)
  • Compagnie de Réserve (4e CIE) - Reserve Company (formed 2010)


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

Battle honours[edit]



The regimental song of the 3rd is "Anne-Marie du 3e Etranger (Mein Regiment, mein Heimatland)," sung in the original German.[10]

Similar Operating Historical Units[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Les missions du 3e régiment étranger d'infanterie". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  2. ^ Windrow, Martin (1999). French Foreign Legion 1914-1945. p. 8. 
  3. ^ Windrow, Martin (1999). French Foreign Legion 1914-1945. p. 12. 
  4. ^ a b c d Windrow, Martin (1999). French Foreign Legion 1914-1945. pp. 34, 35, 36. 
  5. ^ a b Windrow, Martin (1996). French Foreign Legion Since 1945. p. 20. 
  6. ^ Windrow, Martin (1996). French Foreign Legion Since 1945. pp. 31, 32. 
  7. ^ a b Windrow, Martin (1996). French Foreign Legion Since 1945. p. 45. 
  8. ^ "Les unités du 3e régiment étranger d'infanterie". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  9. ^ Camerone is a Battle Honour shared by all Foreign Legion Regiments, no matter when it was formed.
  10. ^ http://3rei.legion-etrangere.com/fr/historique/chant_rgt.php


  • www.legion-etrangere.com
  • 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. 
  • Tu Survivras Longtemps, Antoine Mattei

External links[edit]