1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment

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1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment
(1er Régiment étranger de cavalerie)
Insigne 1er régiment étranger de cavalerie.jpg
Regimental badge of 1er REC
Active 1920 – present
Country  France
Branch French Army
Type Armoured Cavalry
Role Reconnaissance & fire support
Size 900 men
Part of 6th Light Armoured Brigade
Garrison/HQ Camp de Carpiagne (Bouches-du-Rhône) France
Nickname Royal étranger

Nec pluribus impar
A nul autre pareil

(To none other equal)
March La Colonne (The Column)
Anniversaries Camerone Day (30 April), Saint-Georges Day and Christmas

World War II
First Indochina War
Algerian War
Lebanese Civil War 1975-1990

Koweït 1990–1991
Global War on Terrorism (2001-present)

Colonel Valentin Seiler [1]
Beret badge of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment Insigne de béret du 1er REC.JPG
Abbreviation 1er REC

The 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (French: 1er Régiment Étranger de Cavalerie, 1er REC) is the only cavalry regiment in the French Foreign Legion. As of 2009 it is the only armoured cavalry regiment of the 6th Light Armoured Brigade.[2] It has been stationed at Quartier Labouche in Orange, Vaucluse, France since it moved from Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria in October 1967.[3]


Levant and Morocco : The Baptize of fire[edit]

The 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1st REC) was created on March 8, 1921 at Sousse from elements of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment ( the naming of the 1st REC would not be official until January 20, 1922 following decree n°6330-1/11 of January 20, 1922).[4] It was formed by French cadres coming from all the cavalry regiments of France ( in the initial formation, only second lieutenant Antraygue had a previous Legion experience and one Non-commissioned officer was in service at the 1st Foreign Regiment) and a strong contingent of Russian political migrants of the White Army of Wrange ( out of 156 legionnaire at creation, 128 were Russians out of which 30 former flag officers with one general and one colonel; 14 non-commissioned officers, 33 cosaques and cavaliers).[4] Starting 1925, the 1st REC is engaged in Syria ( 4th Squadron ) and in Morocco ( 3rd Squadron ). On these two theatres of operations , the foreign cavalry regiment finds glory, notably in the Levant at Messifre ( September 17, 1925) and at Rachaya ( from November 20 to 24, 1925 ) where the 4th Squadron of Captain René Landriaux forces the admiration of all, the fanion of the 1st REC receives the Croix de guerre des théâtres d'opérations extérieures with 2 palms, the fourragère of the colors of the Croix de Guerre and the 1st class lebanese order of merit medal.[4] From 1927 to 1934, the 1st REC concentrates efforts on Morocco (the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Squadrons), destroying the rebelling bands in close, non stopping and unforgiving combat; then assures the security of development in the sahara terrain under the impulsion of the Marshal Lyautey.[4]

World War II and Indochina War[edit]

In 1940, the 1st REC intervenes in France part of the 97th Infantry Reconnaissance Division Group (97th GRDI) engaged in combat from May 18 at Somme all the way till the Armistice.[4] A citation at the orders of the Armed Forces praises the heroism of the Legionnaires.[4] The rare survivors of the violent assaults of 1940 rejoin the Africa combat theatre.[4] In 1943, the 1st REC is engaged against the Germans in Tunisia.[4] Then in 1944, the 1st REC embarks on the côtes de Provence with a staunching offensive participating in the campaigns of the Liberation of France.[4] Loyal to none but own, the cavalry regiment finds glory and spearheads through German lines, taking the lead of the armored French units.[4] At the end of the World War II, the regimental colors are enriched with 2 new palms and the fourragère of the Croix de Guerre.[4] In 1946, the 1st REC embarks for Indochina.[4] The squadrons and these two autonomes groups that served the colors of the regiment, participated during 9 years to fierce and harsh combats that took place from Cochinchina to Tonkin.[4] 3 new citations and the fourragère of the Croix de Guerre of TOE enriched the regimental colors. From their side, the two autonomes groups earned 6 citations.[4]

Algeria and the modernization of the Regiment[edit]

En route in return to Afirca in 1954, the regiment intervenes in the Pacification of Algeria for 8 consecutive years without release.[4] The regiment would remain following the Évian Accords.[4] Regrouped at the base of Mers El Kebir, the regiment for a first time stations on Metropole on October 17, 1967 at Orange where garrison is held at Quartier Labouche.[4] Reattached 14th Infantry Division (14th DI) on January 1, 1976; the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment will find the terrain of Africa, in the same year also, at Djibouti then Mayotte.[4] In 1978 and 1979, the regiment participates in Opération Tacaud in Tchad where a citation at the orders of the army is warranted.[4] Till 1978, the 1st foreign cavalry regiment self-insturcts and trains at the level of the 14th Infantry Division (14th DI) and throughout the duration period of time while on outremer missions.[4] During this period, the regiment received particularly modern, powerful and performante materials : FAMAS, Milan Missiles, AMX 10 RC and VAB to name a few and this rise in firing power is sealed in performance during 1983.[4] From May to October 1983, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment charges a triple front presence in Lebanon within the ranks of the Multinational Force in Lebanon with a tactical command headquarters stationed in Beirut, in Tchad within the combat deployment cadre of Operation Manta and in Djibouti reaffirming presence amongst the squadrons.[4]

Within the ranks of the FAR and Division Daguet[edit]

The 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment finds presence within the ranks of Force d'action Rapide (FAR) and is at the corps of Division Daguet.[4] On July 1984, the Royal étranger is incorporated to the 6th Light Armoured Brigade (6th DLB) and integrates the FAR, becoming the armored component of force.[4] Fully engaged in operation Daguet starting September 15, 1990; the regiment finds tracks in the Saudi desert on November 6, 1990.[4] The regimental colors are accordingly deployed in the desert starting November 8. Following an intensive preparatory operation phase, the regiment spearheads the lines of Operation Desert Storm.[4] On February 23, 1991; the regiment crosses the Iraqi frontier and reaches the objective within 36 hours and the air base D'As Salman.[4] Victorious, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment intact from personnel or material loss, hangs a new palm on the regimental colors.[4] From December 1992 to June 1993, the regiment finds tracks in Far East within the provisionary authority of the United Nations in Cambodia (APRONUC).[4] This mission, new for the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment and the Legion est executed with brio as part of the traditions.[4]

All azimut operation[edit]

Commemoration of the Battle of Camarón by the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment at the Roman Theatre of Orange.

The presence of the 2nd Squadron in Sarajevo at the corps of the United Nations Force Protection (FORPRONU) from October 1993 to February 1994, then the engagement of the regiment within the cadre of the organization of BATINF from January to June 1995, attested to the capacity of adaptation of the regiment while facing diverse situations. From 1995 to 1996, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment engages part of the regiment in ex-Yougoslavia within the cadre of the force de réaction rapide (FRR) and another part in Tchad within Opération Épervier. From May to September 1996, the 5th Squadron, recreated on July 1993, was first deployed in the Central Africa Republic during Operation Almandin II (being warranted a statisfaction from General Douin CEMA). Outside the areas of operations of the regiment, the 1st REC also participated in relieving the turning units: Guyane, Mayotte and Djibouti. In 1997, while deplyed in Tchad in the cadre of Operation Épervier; the regiment intervened in the Republic of Congo and participated actively in the evacuation of those leaving. In 1999, the regiment participated in operations amongst NATO forces in Kosovo, deploying one armored squadron (5th ESC) in Macedonia, then participating with the éclairage and investigation squadron to security force in Kosovo during which the 4th squadron received a citation at the orders of the brigade. Since then, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment has armed numerous Interarm Tactical Groups (GTIA) within the cadre of Operation Licorne and in Kosovo. Similarly, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment has participated in numerous engagements within the cadre of Operation Pamir in Afghanistan.

In January 2013, an AMX 10 RC unit from the regiment was deployed to Mali within Operation Serval, to counter an Islamist offensive against the government and engaged in battle for control of the town of Diabaly.[5] As of June 2015, with nearly 1000 men and advanced equipment, the Regiment is permanently on stand-by to undertake any mission allocated to it.


The regiment is currently divided into 6 squadrons[2] with an estimated manpower of 600 men.

  • Escadron de Commandement et de Logistique (ECL) – Command and Logistics Squadron.
  • Escadron d'éclairage et d'investigation de brigade (EEI) – Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron. (4 troops)
  • 1er Escadron – 1st Squadron (4 combat troops and a command troop)
  • 2e Escadron – 2nd Squadron (4 combat troops and a command troop)
  • 3e Escadron – 3rd Squadron (4 combat troops and a command troop)
  • Escadron d'Aide à l'Engagement (EAE) – anti-tank squadron


Three squadrons are equipped with the AMX 10 RC, an armoured and wheeled vehicle with a 105mm gun.[2] The EEI is equipped with the Panhard VBL.[2]




Regimental Colors[edit]

Regimental Colors of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment



Battle Honros[edit]

Regimental Commanders[edit]

Tenure ( 1921 - 1939 )

  • 1921 – 1922 : Colonel Perret
  • 1922 – 1923 : Lieutenant Colonel Sala
  • 1923 – 1925 : Colonel Maurel
  • 1925 – 1931 : Colonel Sala
  • 1931 – 1932 : Colonel Burnol
  • 1932 – 1935 : Colonel Bonnefous

Tenure ( 1935 - 1946 )

  • 1935 – 1940 : Colonel Berger
  • 1940 – 1943 : Colonel Levavasseur
  • 1943 – 1945 : Colonel Miquel
  • 1945  : Major Lennuyeux
  • 1945 – 1946 : Colonel Robert
  • 1945 – 1946 : Lieutenant Colonel Marion

Tenure ( 1948 - 1956 )

  • 1948 – 1949 : Lieutenant Colonel Doré
  • 1949 – 1951 : Lieutenant Colonel de Battisti
  • 1951 – 1952 : Lieutenant Colonel Royer
  • 1952 – 1953 : Lieutenant Colonel Deluc
  • 1953 – 1954 : Lieutenant Colonel Hardoin
  • 1954 – 1956 : Lieutenant Colonel Coussaud de Massignac

Tenure ( 1955 - 1975 )

  • 1956  : Commandant Ogier de Baulny
  • 1956 – 1958 : Lieutenant Colonel Spitzer
  • 1958 – 1960 : Lieutenant Colonel Hervé Le Barbier de Blignères
  • 1960 – 1961 : Lieutenant Colonel de la Chapelle
  • 1961 – 1962 : Lieutenant Colonel Barazer de Lannurien
  • 1962 – 1963 : Lieutenant Colonel de Monplanet
  • 1963 – 1965 : Lieutenant Colonel de Froissard de Broissia
  • 1965 – 1967 : Lieutenant Colonel Ansoborlo
  • 1967 – 1969 : Lieutenant Colonel Bart
  • 1969 – 1971 : Lieutenant Colonel Caillard d'Aillières
  • 1971 – 1973 : Lieutenant Colonel Fesneau
  • 1973 – 1975 : Lieutenant Colonel Lorho

Tenure ( 1955 - 1995 )

  • 1975 – 1977 : Lieutenant Colonel Devouges
  • 1977 – 1979 : Lieutenant Colonel Le Corre
  • 1979 – 1981 : Lieutenant Colonel Audemard d'Alançon
  • 1981 – 1983 : Lieutenant Colonel de la Presle
  • 1983 – 1985 : Lieutenant Colonel Ansart de Lessan
  • 1985 – 1987 : Colonel Belloir
  • 1987 – 1989 : Colonel Badie
  • 1989 – 1991 : Colonel Ivanoff
  • 1991 – 1993 : Colonel Yves de Kermabon
  • 1993 – 1995 : Colonel Franceschi

Tenure ( 1995–present )

  • 1995 – 1997 : Colonel H. Clément-Bollée
  • 1997 – 1999 : Colonel Colas des Francs
  • 1999 – 2001 : Colonel Bertrand Clément-Bollée
  • 2001 – 2003 : Colonel Yakovlev
  • 2003 – 2005 : Colonel de Saint-Chamas
  • 2005 – 2007 : Colonel Windeck
  • 2007 – 2009 : Colonel Dupont
  • 2009 – 2011 : Colonel Gilles Jaron
  • 2011 – 2013 : Colonel Jean-Christophe Béchon (2011– 2013)
  • 2013 – 2015 : Lieutenant Colonel Rémi Bouzereau (2013–2015)[10]
  • 2015 - 20** : Colonel Valentin Seiler


  1. ^ [1] Official Website of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment, Section Le Chef de Corps
  2. ^ a b c d "Le régiment". Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  3. ^ Windrow, Martin (1996). French Foreign Legion Since 1945. p. 47. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad [2] Official Website of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment, Section Historique 1er Régiment étranger de cavalerie
  5. ^ Harding, Andrew. "Mali Conflict: 'French Fighting Islamists in Mali'". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Par analogie avec les dispositions intervenues à l'occasion des hostilités qui se sont déroulées entre 1914 et 1918, il est décidé, en avril 1945, de commémorer par une fourragère les actions d'éclat ayant entrainé l'octroi d'au moins deux citations à l'ordre de l'armée aux régiments ou unités formant corps en opérations depuis le 2 septembre 1939. Il ne s'agit pas à proprement parler d'une fourragère nouvelle. En effet la forme et les couleurs de la fourragère 1914-1918 (Il n'existe pas de fourragère aux couleurs du ruban de la croix de guerre 1939-1945 actuellement, mais il y a eu une fourragère aux couleurs de cette dernière, mais qui a été abandonnée au début des années 1950, car elle apportait une certaine confusion, alors pour simplifier, le système des olives a été mis en place) sont maintenues mais il est créé un système d'olives qui placées au-dessus du ferret permettent de différencier l'origine de ces deux fourragères.
  7. ^ article sur le site de la Légion étrangère
  8. ^ Décision n°|12350/SGA/DPMA/SHD/DAT du 14 septembre 2007 relative aux inscriptions de noms de batailles sur les drapeaux et étendards des corps de troupe de l'armée de terre, du service de santé des armées et du service des essences des armées, fr:Bulletin officiel des armées, n°|27, 9 novembre 2007
  9. ^ "Édition Chronologique n°|45 du 29 octobre 2010". Le Ministère de la Défense instruction n°|1515/DEF/EMA/OL/2 du 23 septembre 1983, modifiée, sur les filiations et l'héritage des traditions des unités; décision n°|010318 /DEF/CAB/SDBG/CPAG du 15 juillet 2008 portant création d'une commission des emblèmes. Art 1er. L'inscription "Koweït 1990-1991" est attribuée aux drapeaux et étendards des formations des armées énumérées ci-dessous. 2e R.E.I, 1er R.E.C, 6e R.E.G, 3e R.I.Ma, 1er R.P.I.Ma, 11e R.A.Ma, 4e Régiment de dragon, 1er Régiment de Spahis, 6e Régiment de Commandement et de Soutien, 1er R.H.C, 3e R.H.C, puis les formations de l'Armée de l'Air les 5e, 7e, 11e escadre de chasse, la 33e escadre de reconnaissance et les 61e et 64e escadre de transport. Le présent arrêté sera publié au Bulletin officiel des armées, Hervé Morin.
  10. ^ [3] Official Website of the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment. Section Ancien Chefs de Corps


  • www.legion-etrangere.com
  • Porch, Douglas (1991). The French Foreign Legion. New York: Harper Collins. 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]