The French Foreign Legion in a Nutshell

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The French Foreign Legion (also known as Légion étrangère in French) is service branch within the French Army. The military unit is a decisive fragment of the French military and overall French strategic and security agenda and has been doing so for over two centuries. The Foreign Legion was first established in March of 1831, under the orders of the then-King Louis Philippe I. The first unit of the Foreign Legion mostly included troops from the recently disbanded German and Swiss Armée des Émigrés (Army of the Émigrés utilized before during and after the French Revolution) of the Bourbon Monarchy. The main reason behind the very formation of the French Foreign Legion in its inception was the lack of reinforcements France had been given during the French Conquest of Algeria in 1830. Following a successful conquest in Algeria the Foreign Legion transcended into the official Armée d’Afrique. Though an unofficial term for the unit, the Armée d’Afrique was a portion of the French Military body stationed in French North Africa (specifically in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) immediately following the aforementioned French Conquest of Algeria in 1930 up until the end of the Algerian Independence which followed the Algerian War in 1962. Notwithstanding, the French Foreign Legion was not solely used for executing French colonial interests in Africa which included the Legion to protect and expand the French Colonial Empire. The Foreign Legion has participated in every war that has included France including the Franco-Prussian Was, World War I and World War II. The Legion has continued to be an important and versatile component of the French Armed Forces also including the French Marine Forces throughout all French Republics and continue to be present in almost all conflicts France is a part of today.

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As of today, the French Foreign Legion yet remains an unequivocal branch of the French military. The Legion, as in the past, does not require the volunteer to be a French national. In fact, most of the current members do not hold the French citizenship, in fact only 24% of the total Legionaries held French Passports. The Legionnaires (the members of the Foreign Legion) are exceptionally trained infantry soldiers which are unique not only in their rigorous training systems but also their title as Legionnaires rings bells of fear in many of the regions where the Foreign Legion is deployed by the French Army. This is due to the aforementioned rigorous training strengthened by employing traditional military skills in addition to the establishment of a strong Esprit De Corps, also known as Morale. As men (as of today only men have been Legionnaires. There has been only one woman to join the Foreign Legion, her name, Susan Mary Gillian Travers, she will not be discussed in the entry) who come from various backgrounds, the employment of the Legionary Esprit De Corps in the trainings almost guarantees cohesion between the future troops.

The Foreign Legion is the only body of the French Army that does not swear allegiance to France, but to the Legion itself. French citizenship can be applied to a Legionnaire following his three years of service, however amendments to this can apply. If a soldier becomes injured during a fight for France, ergo, where France deploys its military force, immediately becomes a French citizen under the Français par le sang verse provision, which is translated as French by Spilled Blood. As of today members of the Legion come from over 150 countries. Volunteers for the Foreign legion aren’t only average joes who have simply decided that there is more to life than their monotonous lives. The Legion is also home to many misfits, ranging from ex-convicts to Parisian gang members. Unlike many, they want to make a name for themselves not only in the French Army but in the Foreign Legion as a whole. Following the rigorous trainings, the Legionnaires are prepared to face not the enemy, but mother nature. Through freezing cold and blistering heat, the Legionnaires endure much pain and suffer all throughout. The ones who make it, continue on their five-year-contract journey to become an elite squad of military paramountcy.

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