The History of the French Foreign Legion: From 1831 to Present Day

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Globe Pequot, 2005 - History - 192 pages
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The French Foreign Legion remains one of the world's most enigmatic military forces. Created in France in 1831 by King Louis-Philippe and immediately posted to the scorching deserts of Algeria, it went on to become a unit renowned for its cruel training regime, and its absolute disregard for death in battle. Unlike any other military unit in the world, its ranks are open to foreigners, and traditionally it has received many troubled or criminal individuals fleeing from problems back home. Today much has changed. The Legion now numbers only 8,500 men, and is far more discriminating about who it recruits. Using an aggressive and arduous training program, it has turned itself into one of the world's true elites, a status it has continually proven since its inception in battles of extraordinary courage and bloodshed.

The History of the French Foreign Legion reveals the facts and reality behind this compelling unit. Its history in combat is described in full, from its use in the conquest of Algeria in the 1840s to its role in the war against terrorism today. The ascetic lifestyle of a legionnaire is explored in depth, including first-hand accounts of brutal training, cruel punishments, and adjustments to the French way of life. The myths concerning joining the Legion are dispelled, and there is a full description of the recruitment and selection process. Chapters on specialist training discuss the technical and tactical excellence achieved by the Legion soldiers. Finally, a section is devoted to the superb equipment and weaponry of the Legion units, everything from the famous dress uniform to the Leclerc tank.

Lavishly illustrated and written with detail and energy, The History French Foreign Legion is a fascinating journey into a military unit which is almost unique in the history of men-at-arms.

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History of the Legion
The Modern Legion
Recruitment and Life in the Legion
Training and Skills of the Legion
Uniform and Equipment
Campaigns of the Legion

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About the author (2005)

David Jordan is a lecturer at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Wiltshire, England, where he teaches intermediate and advanced staff courses. He has held posts at the universities of Birmingham, Worcester, and Keele, as well as at the Open University. He holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham. Dr. Jordan has written many books and articles on military subjects.

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