13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment

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13e Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes
Insigne du 13° RDP.JPG
Active 1676–1815, 1856–1940
1944–1946, 1948
Country  France
Branch French Army
Type Special Forces
Role Special Reconnaissance
Size One regiment
Part of Army Special Forces Brigade
Garrison/HQ Martignas-sur-Jalle
Motto Au-delà du possible (Beyond what is possible)
Colonel Toujouse
Circled Winged Armed Dextrochere Insign of Badge of the 13th worn on Red Berets. This insign is also worn by French Foreign Legion Paratroopers on Green Berets. Parachutiste métropolitain légion-béret.jpg
Abbreviation 13 RDP
Insigne de La Brigade des forces spéciales terre.gif

The 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment (French: 13e Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes, 13e RDP) is an specialized Airborne Regiment of the French Army. It is one of two regiments in the French Army Special Forces Brigade, which is under the control of the COS (special operations command). The regiment's primary duties are airborne reconnaissance operations.



Marquis de Barbezières raised a dragoon regiment in Languedoc on 4 October 1676. In 1724 the name was changed to dragons de Condé.

Post–World War II[edit]

After World War II, the 13e RDP was transformed into a long-range recon unit. During the Cold War, the main mission of the 13e RDP was to provide intelligence for the 1st Army, while each company of the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (1er RPIMa) should provide intelligence for one Army Corps.

From July 1957 onwards, it was part of the 10th Parachute Division during the Algerian War.

Since the end of the Cold War, the 1er RPIMa has become a direct-action unit while the 13e RDP specialized in reconnaissance/surveillance operations in hostile environment, gathering intelligence for special operations. In a way they're similar to the role of the US Army Long Range Surveillance Detachment or Long Range Surveillance Company.

The 13e RDP took part in the Gulf War. This was highlighted when three operators were captured by the Iraqis in late 1990. The 13e RDP was, along with other French units, heavily involved in the Kosovo War and used tactics and technology to force Serbian armour to attempt to engage Kosovo Liberation Army and other Allied forces in the open, which enabled them to be destroyed by Allied bombing, particularly by the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The 13e RDP also contributed to the capture of Momčilo Krajišnik in 2001 by close range recons.


Its mission is to acquire human intelligence at any time and in any hostile environments (aquatic, cold mountain, equatorial forest, desert), behind enemy lines, using small autonomous and discreet units, able to position itself closer to acquire intelligence, and transmit. For this kind of mission, units of the 13th practice what they call "hideout", that is to say, operations camouflage living areas for observation and transmission, but also evolved into more modern and urban modes of action (installation of cameras / sensors and remote viewing). The regiment is officially in charge of the research of strategic intelligence.

The high level of 13e RDP operatives in special reconnaissance makes that they are often requested by other forces. The Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale keeps a close relationship with the 13e RDP to train its gendarmes in forward recon for hostage rescue operations in hostile environment. The Équipes d'Observation en Profondeur (EOP, forward control teams) of French artillery regiments use the standard operating procedures of the 13e RDP. 13e RDP operators are also reported to be highly requested to join the Service Action of the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE, French intelligence service).


Battle honours[edit]


External links[edit]