About “la taule” and 17 years of service

thadeusz

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#1
My son is now in 2 REP since more than one year. He seems very happy about it even if he tells me that he has recently be sent to “la taule” as a punishment but he does not say what he had done. Could one of you explain me what la taule means exactly and whether that will hinder him for the rest of his career (he wants to say at least 17 years in the Legion and I don't know why 17 years is a magical number).
Thanks for all the information you can give, maybe by PM?
 

mammikoura

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#2
It's basically the Legion version of a prison. You work at daytime (stuff like gardening, cleaning etc.) and of course in the evenings you aren't allowed to go anywhere. Overall not a bad place to be.
You can get sent there for a million different reasons, the large majority of them are small stuff that will have no further repercussions. So nothing to worry about.
 
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#4
Well now it's 19.5 years to get the pension kurva, and to do even half that time in the Legion is a pretty optimistic thing to say after just one year of service. Don't worry though, your son will have plenty of time to think about that in taule.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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#5
Hi Thadeusz,
As Mammikoura rightly said, la taule is the Legion prison, or any prison for that matter. Can also be spelt tôle. And yes there can be a million and one reasons why you are en taule, more when they need dogs bodies to get the regiment ready for parades such as St Michel, Camerone, 14 July etc..

I spent a year as a garde punis (prison warden) in the REP. There is a massive cell integrated in the guard house. No beds and no toilets, just a bare cell. This little home from home can fit up to 30 legionnaires with their sleeping bags on the floor. I know this because on weekends you got the arrêts simples. Those who received such punishment work during the day in their company and join the prison at night. They can do service and manoeuvres with their section, which count on their time. There are showers and toilets and isolation cells in the prison block.
The prisoners are usually the first to rise and the last to bed - or rather concrete floor. There is no getting out on a weekend, so if your 20 punishment is up on a Saturday morning, you go back to your company on the Monday.

Normally it won't hurt your career at all unless their is a major banane involved. I later went on to being a garde punis in 5RE. And this after a couple of stints of my own en taule notably 30 days in 4 RE as a fut-fut for hitting a legionnaire. That was long.

All prisoners, with a few rare exceptions, are let out over Christmas and Camerone. The old joke ‘it's to make room’.

tnjr2 I believe it's still 17 ½ years to get your retirement. In my day it was 15. It became really hard to re-sign after 15 as the government wanted to cut back on the retirement pay.
 

thadeusz

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#6
Thanks Joseph Cosgrove for this answer.
Someone said "it is not a bad place to stay". Even if you have to sleep on the floor ? Is "la taule" a simple cage open to the wind or are the legionnaires sent there protected from the cold and rain ? My son did not tell me, and he seems quite happy anyway !
There are two things I do not understand : the difference between legionnaires sent to la taule and legionnaires placed on "arrêts simples" ? And does the time spent in "la taule" count for your 5 years contract ?

It is more than a year that my son has left Belgium for the Legion and he did not come back since then, but writes from time to time : is this his choice (not coming back, and we will have to accept it) or is he blocked in his regiment (nor leave or not the right to leave Corsica even during a "permission" ?)

Thanks to all who wrote an answer to my post
 

thadeusz

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#8
thadeusz come on, man. The Legion is rough, but la taule is not medieval dungeon.
Dusaboss, I know that the Legion is rough but that it is far from medieval life... and torture! That much, my son wrote to me.

I also know that one day, taking in account his problems in Belgium and personal private problems, he decided to go to the Legion. He then told me that he had inquired and that he was informed. He was of age, it was his choice, I have nothing to say except that I gave him my benediction.

Remains two questions :
a) what is the difference between “la taule” and “arrêts simples”
b) it is a fact that my son did not come back to Belgium since he left for the Legion, but is this only his choice (which we will accept since he is an adult, sadly accept but accept) or this due to a Legion rule forbidding him to leave Corsica, where his regiment is, even during a "permission"

I could also ask whether as "young legionnaire" having a lot to learn in order to be really molded into an efficient legionnaire, he has any permission at all for the time being ?
 

dusaboss

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#9
What I learned from more experienced than me 1 year time is about when he should get permission to go home. If he was on mainland France he could be able to go home much earlier. It's not my business, but I'm assuming that you and your son are not in great relationship when you're asking here if he doesn't come home because he wouldn't or couldn't.
It's possible that they still don't let him home, especially when you say that he had some troubles there.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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#10
Hi Thadeusz,
The difference between taule and arrêts simples, or, more correclty between arrêts de rigueur and arrêts simples is that during the day he is at the disposition of the Service Général (General Service, in charge of barracks maintenance). They have certain jobs around the camp which must be carried out by the prisoners. It can be anything from painting the chapel to collecting and breaking rocks for an extension to the regiment's museum, to cleaning out the pilots hotel at the end of the camp. That is where the crew stay when they are there during jump weeks. Otherwise it's up to the garde punis to find them work. Over two weekend we turned a waste ground near the Sgt's living quarters into a bar-b-que and pick-nick area. Or weeding out of the backs of companies which are away overseas for four months.

If he received arrêts simples, he does everything that he would normally do in his company and join the jail at 18:00 hours to carry on working with the other prisoners. On a Friday evening they join the prisoners and go back to their companies on Monday mornings (no short-term leave).

The cell is made up of normal building material, i.e. bricks and cement with a normal slate roof. No heating and two metal grids out of reach for aeration. The time spent in jail (nowadays) does not effect your 5 years contract. To make it clear, if you spent 30 days in jail you will NOT do 5 years and 30 days.

Normally in your first year in Calvi you are confined to the island. This basically is up to the company captain. If you are due to go overseas than the captain may allow you 2 weeks off and allow you to go to the mainland. I mean who would be dumb enough to desert before going to Africa for four 4 months? And if they did, they would be quickly replaced. You got all those CCS boys who wanted to get out of a combat company, but miss the extra money and the break in the routine.
 
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thadeusz

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#11
Thanks a lot Joseph Cosgrove for your explanations. I assume that my son got "arrêts de rigueur" since in one of his rare letters he wrote "I have been sent to 'la taule' because I made serious mistake. I think I deserve it and I will not try to do it again.

As far as dusaboss is concerned, he may be reassured : my son and I have always been in good terms. He was educated as the son of a Belgian Army officer and does know what it means to be a soldier, but when he came of age he decided not to join the Belgian Army because he did not want to be "the son of an officer". So he asked us, his mother and me, if we would mind if he tried the French Foreign Legion. In fact we did mind, but we both gave him our blessing since he is a young adult now and must live his own life

This is why I try to know more about the Legion

As far as my son's letters are concerned, there are not many of them but I know that young soldiers have other things in mind than communicating with their parents.

I simply wonder if the Legion might stop him having a leave outside Corsica because he is Belgian and might want to leave France during his leave ?

Greetings and thanks to all of you for accepting me in your group
 

dusaboss

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#12
I'm getting impatient that you communicating with your son only via letters. Do getting phone calls from him?
(...) I simply wonder if the Legion might stop him having a leave outside Corsica because he is Belgian and might want to leave France during his leave ?
It's not because he is a Belgian, it's because he's a young legionnaires. He should be allowed once when they give him his passport back.
 

thadeusz

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#13
No phone calls, no e-mails, only letters. His mother has more than I and he was abandoned by his girlfriend, which was one reason to leave to the Legion. Anyway, in his letters he keeps saying that he is happy. He says that it is rough, but fair and that he likes it. What do you want us (my wife and me) to say about this : our son is happy, so are we !
 
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dusaboss

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(...) He says that it is rough, but fair and that he likes it. What do you want us (my wife and me) to say about this : our son is happy, so are we !
Yep that's what matters most. Still I don't get it why he doesn't call you, but that's not my business.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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#15
Thadeusz, being Belgian, Spanish, German, Swiss or whatever has nothing to do with it. In his first year I believe he only has 15 days that he can put in for. Normally, as I said previously, he will probably be confined to the island. This is just the way it is. It's the REP. Also, in his first year he will still be running around trying to make his place, give him time. If he is not due to go overseas at Camerone, you could always go and see him. The regiment, as do all the others, has two days of "open door" (portes ouvertes). You will be able to see where he lives, what the town of Calvi has to offer, see some jumps, watch legionnaires guzzle beer and so on.
 

Rapace

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#16
A couple of clarifications re this topic :
a/ For the non-francophones and to avoid any potential misunderstanding, la taule in French is a colloquial term meaning prison, in general, regardless of its status (civilian or military). In English, it would be translated as “the nick”.
b/ Officially, the distinction between
arrêts simples and arrêts de rigueur does no longer exist or, more precisely, the notion of arrêts de rigueur has been discarded from the list of possible sanctions that can be given to a military personnel and only arrêts simples remain in force (article R4137-28 du Code de la Défense). It means in practice that a soldier who received x jours d'arrêts (days in ‘prison’), with a maximum of 40 per sentence will, as previously mentioned, execute his work normally, but will not be allowed to leave the barracks (or any other place designated by the hierarchy). That means no leave (and any leave that might have previously been granted is cancelled) and no quartier libre (short-term leave in the evening or during the week-ends). That's it. No more special place where soldiers are locked up, no more chores under the supervision of Service Général. Detention remains possible, but only if a soldier refuses to properly abide by the sanction rules (e.g. leaves the barracks unauthorized), in the case of very serious faults that could eventually result in a sentence in a civilian court, or if the soldier can be a danger to others. The jours d'arrêts belong to the lowest tier of possible sanctions. Depending on the gravity of the fault, there are higher possible sanctions, like for example demotion or contract termination.

Now... This is the law. Not sure how it is in reality applied in the Legion, who has a reputation of “interpreting” it its own way. Check the video below (quite old so, again, things might have change since).

 

dusaboss

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#18
Here is one more video. Looks like they have beds even in solitary. Who knows what Joe did when they made him sleep on the ground? :):rolleyes:

 
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2 REI, Nîmes: in the solitary cells you can touch both walls and they haves no Windows... 1 collective cell and depending on effectifs, 20 +, again no windows = all fresh air comes thru under the thick wooden door. Even a terrorist from the Bataclan gets better conditions (just saying).
Fort de Nogent : solitary cells have no lighting @least during my spell but natural, during the day thru air shafts that reach thru to the bunker over head... hard to imagine but true.

Some of the best days of my career, i hasten to add
 
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voltigeur

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#20
Here is one more video. Looks like they have beds even in solitary. Who knows what Joe did when they made him sleep on the ground? :):rolleyes:

Hehe, the ECS (Escadron de Commandement et des Services) in Khenchela had a hole in the ground that would be covered with planks/wood boards at night. In the old fort you can see in one of my pictures, there was a prison cell that was to low to stand in, to short to lay stretched out and had a stone seat. Mind you, this was only used for those with the standard eight days.

Kreider Camp.jpg

Each regiment and companies thereof had all different accommodations for those en taule.
 

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