About “la taule” and 17 years of service

Joseph Cosgrove

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The last of the 3 REI photos :cry:

landed.jpg

Houston the eagle er whirley bird has landed.

Do you think they brought us a couple of packs of nice cold beer, well do you ? Yes they did actually. The chef de corps came along and was very pleased with the LZ. He said that they would be maintaining it as an emergency pickup point. I can't say that all the hard work that was put in was worth a couple of beers, but I wasn't going to say no.

There were a couple of occasions which lightened up the 30 odd days. While were making the LZ, there was one particular big tree which had to be felled. Someone shinnied up a tree next to it and put a rope around one of it's lower branches. The two chain saws have broken all their chains so it had to be finished off with coup-coups. I was corporal of the day at the time so was not expected to work.

Legionnaires took turns hacking at the tree. This went on for the whole day. When it was just about to topple, I told the legionnaire who had been hacking for the last hour to stop and the 3 pulling on the rope to get ready. I then furiously started hacking for a few seconds when the tree fell. "OK, everyone, that's how it's done. Now get on with !". This is known as the corporal's five minute demonstration of how to do it.
I got the P*ss taken out at me during the sketches at Christmas for that one.

Another occasion was when the Sgt announced to everyone that he was going out hunting and would come back with some fresh meat. We did hear a shot. About half an hour later he came back with a bunch of bananas.

pissed off.jpg

I've been caught off guard here. Boy do I look miserable. The shirt is soaked in sweat and I've called a hold to the lyonneurs (trail makers). I told the guy taking the photo to take another one with me and the compass and map, pointing off into the distance. He said he was saving the film. :eek:

Chef lienneur.jpg

This is the trail cutters pack load. If you look carefully at my Mussette, you will see a rifle fired grenade casing. No we weren't carry anti tank or anti personal rifle grenades with us. That has the sections pennant (flag) inside it. The FAMAS is slung underneath the Musette. We are a lot lighter than those carrying the main bulk of the stores, because we have to move quicker to find the easyist paths to cross without straying too far from the original bearing.
The porteurs had to carry, trans, chainsaws, explosives, medical supplies, cooking pots, food etc.

I'll finish off with this one Bidding time.jpg Another photo of myself on the left and killer Garrett on the right, bidding our time before going on CFC, leave. Boy did I hate the CAPLE. There was one advantage, the Sous officers mess/quarters had a beer machine in it's entrance hall. So during working hours, when everyone was at their offices, half the CAPLE would be up their stocking up on beer. We'd get caught from time to time, but there was never any punishment, Everyone had been through the CAPLE at one point their career.
 

dusaboss

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M8 Greyhound scout car in the background. Pleasure seeing A.G. (memories).
Were they still in use during yours and Joe's time? I really like look of Panhard “EBR” . Apparently design wasn't so efficient so that's why they don't make them anymore. Same with German wheels with tires in a front end full metal tracks in back.
I don't know, but looks to me that France makes less and less its own weapons and buying more weapons from their allies. I mean, why that? France could be major force by itself.
Whether they needed Heckler & Koch assault rifles for whole army? FAMAS was a great rifle at the time, but none from French government (or whoever) wanted to invest one franc in development and improvement. OK they probably did invest something, but obviously not enough to make weapon up to standards.
What is the story about Leclerc tank? Can he parry new Abrams, Armata or Leopard ? I doubt it can. :( As person willing to go in war for France, hopefully become its citizen, those thing really bothers me. Rapace what you say?
 
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No they were long gone. ..mid sixities, i belive, might be wrong
France used them, because they were in abundance. Américain presence etc
After world war 2
It took time to rebuild
There was priorities
The armement and self sufficiency was De Gaule's. ..obsession
 
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Btw, Joe. .Erika/Erica, Eric is a nothern european name (Scandinave /Scottish etc.)
Have a few in my family
Is a tye of Heather (scotland wouldn't be the same with out Heather /Erika)
Usually given to gingers
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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Btw, Joe. .Erika/Erica, Eric is a nothern european name (Scandinave /Scottish etc.)
Have a few in my family
Is a tye of Heather (scotland wouldn't be the same with out Heather /Erika)
Usually given to gingers
Erika, in my Misses case, is German. Her father was Franco German from Alsace. Her Grand parents German.
 
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Google Heather and variétés. ..Erika is one, belive me
Even in France we have Heather (erika)
Like i said, usally reserved for Gingers
Like Sandy (sablé) for fair heads
Sandy not to be mistaken for the dimuntive for Alexander/Alisander. ..dimuntive in Russian is Sacha, scottish is Ecky
Wulliy for William/Liam /Guillaume
 
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Had no where to run to. Btw, I own Nîmes now. When i think about it... Haven't left Nîmes since we were en taule in Aubagne... What year was it? Long time no hear. Hope you are keeping well.
 
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Joseph Cosgrove

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DZ from the guard room.jpg

On the right is the guard room at the entrance to the camp. In the foreground is an old canon, their were two of them, one either side of the flag pole. On at least one Saturday night the Anglais de merdes (as the mafia was refered to) took one of the canons and set it up in the garden ( which is to the left of the camp) facing the foyer. A stupid thing to do really because it means that it has been taken under the guards' noses, wheeled in front of the service general containing the officer de permenance and just left there. Of course heads rolled.

If you think that is stupid, The mafia actually blew up the flag pole. I was a corporal chef at the time and living out on town, but when I went into camp, all hell had broken loose. The main question was where did the explosives come from and was there any more knocking around. Incredible as it may seem, it happened.

Just as a corporal chef from the CCS came into the Cch's popote one Sunday with a live grenade. He was drunk and was threatening to pull the pin. It was an offensive grenade, meaning that there would be no shrapnel but in the confined space there would have been a few dead Cchs to account for, one of them being your's sincerely. The Popote is directly across from the CCS company. So to avoid people being seen going into get a quick beer during working hours, there was a back door.

This time the culprit was a Frenchman. He got kicked out of the legion as did the sergeant chef who was in charge of the TAM (transmission armement et materiel ). The culprit and the chef worked together. The chef is Corsican and stayed in Calvi and opened a judo club.

With all that said, there are parachutes in the background. The REP is quite lucky and unique in that it has a Drop Zone directly behind it's camp. The airport is only 5 Kms away. So at anytime time there is a plane over, you can be told to grab your helmet and get onto the trucks. The REP also has it's own hangars to wash and dry their chutes.

There is a small section of PFATs to repair any chutes and gains. Plus the legion does it's own folding and packing. There is the Centre Amphibie five minutes away on the beach...
To be continued.
 

Papillon

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That photo stirred some good and difficult memories but most off all some top men were still a rare breed in the scale of the population, recruit from any country but if your not rare breed ( enigmas) then you will be turned away you need a bit of swagger to make the move and big balls so be rounded fit, confident, and the mindset to dig deep and keep going i was crap at French but my buddy was good but not the best marcher so I may take a bit of his kit along with the section fridge sorry radio ,it’s about mucking in . It ain’t a 5 year posting on a ship.
 

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View attachment 3640

On the right is the guard room at the entrance to the camp. In the foreground is an old canon, their were two of them, one either side of the flag pole. On at least one Saturday night the Anglais de merdes (as the mafia was refered to) took one of the canons and set it up in the garden ( which is to the left of the camp) facing the foyer. A stupid thing to do really because it means that it has been taken under the guards' noses, wheeled in front of the service general containing the officer de permenance and just left there. Of course heads rolled.

If you think that is stupid, The mafia actually blew up the flag pole. I was a corporal chef at the time and living out on town, but when I went into camp, all hell had broken loose. The main question was where did the explosives come from and was there any more knocking around. Incredible as it may seem, it happened.

Just as a corporal chef from the CCS came into the Cch's popote one Sunday with a live grenade. He was drunk and was threatening to pull the pin. It was an offensive grenade, meaning that there would be no shrapnel but in the confined space there would have been a few dead Cchs to account for, one of them being your's sincerely. The Popote is directly across from the CCS company. So to avoid people being seen going into get a quick beer during working hours, there was a back door.

This time the culprit was a Frenchman. He got kicked out of the legion as did the sergeant chef who was in charge of the TAM (transmission armement et materiel ). The culprit and the chef worked together. The chef is Corsican and stayed in Calvi and opened a judo club.

With all that said, there are parachutes in the background. The REP is quite lucky and unique in that it has a Drop Zone directly behind it's camp. The airport is only 5 Kms away. So at anytime time there is a plane over, you can be told to grab your helmet and get onto the trucks. The REP also has it's own hangars to wash and dry their chutes.

There is a small section of PFATs to repair any chutes and gains. Plus the legion does it's own folding and packing. There is the Centre Amphibie five minutes away on the beach...
To be continued.
Joe, man. It would be nice if you can describe event more precisely. I heard about it on this forum from you and Mike (who decided that we are not good enough for him).

So what really happened there? OK, someone (Anglais de merdes apparently :)) took old cannon under guards noses. Than what? They loaded cannon with some kind of explosive and fired up and that made big boom, So what blowing up the flag pole having to do with that firing of old cannon?
Apparently that happened in same time and place. I mean, I'm a beat confused. Can you describe that in more details for us Joe?

That is really interesting part of legion (unofficial) history and have to be recorded. Here? Yeah, here!
 

mark wake

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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.

View attachment 3314

Each regiment and companies thereof had all different accommodations for those en taule.
I shall let Joe describe that. Ah the merde d'Anglais!
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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The two things were completely different. On one of the occasions the cannon was pointing at the foyer as a symbloic gesture because it was closed for an inventory. No bangs, just dumb thing to do.

The flag pole was another matter. The Gendarmes were called in and sniffer dogs from the air base in Solenzara. In the end the person 'who set the fuse' admitted to it and was given 40 days and thrown out. I can't really say much as it would be second hand information. As I said I was out on town when it happened.

In 3 REI and 13 DBLE (djibouti) it was putting the Union Jack (UK) on the transmission tower. An Anglais de merde as we were affectionately known, usually the drunkest would scale the tower (for want of a better word) and fix the flag to the antenna..

Here's one for le petit caporal. In the foyer in 3 REI, The Mafia has pushed all the tables together and have got the cases of beer piled up. As usual, the Germans follow suite and have got their own tables and beer shrine. We've been recently paid so there's plenty of beer. a few get in quiches and pizzas. There are big overhead fans turning to waft the warm air. Huge open pales spinning like the props of a C130.

Someone has the bright idea to throw a piece of quiche in the air so that we can all have a laugh. A lot of it hits the Germans, nothing dramatic, just having a laugh. So the Germans do the same with a bigger piece of Quiche. This goes on for a while until Killer Garrett, takes it one step further and gets a hold of a full pizza. It's worth mentioning the the walls on the inside of the foyer have been painted by a professional artist. There are various scenes of snakes and big cats, the inevitable Kepi and épaulette, the 3 REI cap badge and so on. There is also one of General Rollet depicting his bust with all his medals and decorations.

The Killer throws up the pizza using both hands to make sure it hits the fan in more or less in one piece. The weight of the pizza slows the fan enough for us to see the pizza spin round and fly toward the wall. This is no word of a lie, most of the pizza spatters over General Rollet. The tables of the Brit Mafia empty in a record time. The beers were grabbed and the Germans soon followed.

One the Brits who was on the table was picked up in his room by the PMs. He was being beaten sh*tless to give the name of the person who threw the pizza at the portrait. Word was going around that he wouldn't say anything but was getting it really bad.The Killer goes to the PMs office and announces in is bad French and heavy N.Irish accent, Je suis ici (sic) pour nettoyer Général Rollet. It took the PMs a couple of minutes to figure out what he was on about.

A beating and jail. That reminds me of another incident involving the Killer. The whole of the Mafia had decided to meet up in a bar on town to celebrate something. I honestly can't remember what. Maybe a going away do? The bar that was chosen was a local creole bar in a dark and shady part of town. Rumor had it that the PMs had gotten word of what was going on. When everyone is there the Killer goes into the toilet and comes back wearing his rain coat. There is nothing untoward except that he's got his rain coat on inside.

Next he slowly undoes the buttons. He's got nothing on underneath except an epaulette covering his loins,

1527995211533.jpeg

tied with a piece of string around his waist. He's also got two trouser legs cut of and held up with strings and his shoes and socks on.
This was to become known as tenue Garrett. At that moment two of the PMs walk in in civvies, as to go in the bars in uniform they have to be invited in. Everyone goes quiet and the Killer discreetly buttons up his rain coat. The PMs have a soft drink and leave.

Which has drawn me away from the main topic of posting the few photos that I have of the REP.
 
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Joseph Cosgrove

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"
With all that said, there are parachutes in the background. The REP is quite lucky and unique in that it has a Drop Zone directly behind it's camp. The airport is only 5 Kms away. So at anytime time there is a plane over, you can be told to grab your helmet and get onto the trucks. The REP also has it's own hangars to wash and dry their chutes.

There is a small section of PFATs to repair any chutes and gains. Plus the legion does it's own folding and packing. There is the Centre Amphibie five minutes away on the beach... "

I forgot to mention that the REP forms it's own paras and those that carry out the 'inspection au sol'. Ok I was at the Centre Amphibie. You have got a diving center and it's own section of IO, which stands for intervention Offensive. There's a big hangar full of flotters, zodiacs if you prefer. So, to the great admiration of the tourists you also have sea jumps. Which is the same as a land jump, only you have to undo your parachute harness before hitting the water. And of course it's softer.:) You are then picked up by the zodiacs and taken back to the CA. Which allows you to go out in the evening and try and pick up the lovely tourists.

So we have training in the camp, DZ right next to the camp;

Entrance to DZ - Copy.jpg One of the camps back gates. These are of course closed up at night times.

Airport 5 Kms away and Sea jumps. The sea jumps are also used during the company's reconnaissance courses. Dropped into the sea, palm to the beaches; all good stuff. The only thing that is missing are the night jumps. Because St Cathrine airport isn't kitted out with landing lights. So the night jumps take place at Borgo, which is just before Bastia.

So Calvi is the perfect place for training. Mountains on one side, sea on the other. The 2nd Company has a chalet in the mountains, Vergio. They host all kinds of courses, from mountain climbing/abseiling to corporal's courses. When the REP had a band they would go up there to practice and form new bandsmen. Now it's just the clairon.
They also do a lumberjack's course. Cross country skiing and snow shoes are a must and it's at the BOI's planning who goes up there.

hitting the roof.jpg This is a guy known as 'cooperman' who has hit the roof of the 2nd Company? can't remember.
If you look closely you will see bars running around the base of the roof. It goes without saying that this is to stop someone from falling off. Even if you fell through your chute is on the other side. Which always made me wonder why we had someone claiming that he had hit the roof, fell off and broke his leg, and then joining the legion reserves.

estroppe.jpg

Cooperman (nothing to do with Marvel comics, perhaps to do with his name?) shouts at me to deflate his chute. Easily done as you just have to pull on one of the para cords. He was more interested in getting the photos I'd taken as a souvenir.
This can happen from time to time. It's happened to me once, I landed near the ordinaire (canteen). When I recounted my exploits in the foyer, another mafia called me an engagé gamelle.

One time the whole of the stick, 20 paras were off the DZ. Most landed in the camp, but on the other side of the fence from the buildings. A few of them landed in a field near the old night club behind the camp. And a few of us landed on the road to Calenzena. This is in Summer and the place is full of tourists. I'm coming down and pulling like mad to get away from the road and looking at all these cars. Luckily they stop and I (by now I;m not interested in what has happened to the others) land in a space between the cars, do my 'roly poly' and get up to loud clapping. The tourists are taking photos of us as if we were the day's main attraction.

Hurt.jpg

This is me in RCA. We went in on operations from Tchad. It's another story, for another time. We'd been in Tchad for about 2 months when the message came through to get ready to fly to Central Africa. I was detached with a section to escort a truck with fuel up north. We had the same amount of time to get back to the base as we had spent getting were we were, roughly 8 hours. I'm chef de bord, in front next to the driver. We go through a small forest at full speed and hit a low branch. We were going so fast that the wind screen support shot back and nearly took my fingers off.

In the end it looked worse than it was and I ended up with cut fingers and two of them broken, the ones seen in the bandage. I was lucky not to have gotten sent back to France with the company's kit. The medical unit was already in RCA when we got there and I was operated on immediately. The 'hospital' was the foyer. As soon as I could I got out and rejoined the company. I was given the job of radio operator. Not really that good as the sections came under fire as soon as they took up positions in Bangui. I've got to note down and and inform the captain, or just go and get him.

One evening, one of the sections came under fire and grenades were lobbed. I rushed to the officer's mess and when I went in, the whole place just stopped breathing. There were officers from the 8 RPIMa, ALAT, COS all waiting to see what I had to say. Talk about being in the spotlight. I just beckoned the captain of the company to follow me.

Because one of the tendons of my fingers was torn, I was declared inapt TAP definitive. I still can't straighten it out or curve it properly. Such is life.

Well that's about it for the REP photos, 2 and a half years in the CEA, a year in the CCS and 5 and a half in the 3rd Cie. Pretty dismal, I know.
 
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dusaboss

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The only thing that is missing are the night jumps. Because St Cathrine airport isn't kitted out with landing lights. So the night jumps take place at Borgo, which is just before Bastia.
Once we had expert for night jumps on board... RIP :(

If you look closely you will see bars running around the base of the roof. It goes without saying that this is to stop someone from falling off. Even if you fell through your chute is on the other side. Which always made me wonder why we had someone claiming that he had hit the roof, fell off and broke his leg, and then joining the legion reserves.
Did he tried to give you explanation on his fall despite safety bars? :)

I'm coming down and pulling like mad to get away from the road and looking at all these cars.
Joe, is there way to steer round type parachute by pulling ropes on one side (I guess)?
 
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Joseph Cosgrove

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Joe, is there way to steer round type parachute by pulling ropes on one side (I guess)?
No, not really you can pull down on your harness straps to pull the canapé against the wind or into it: But it is not like the free fall parachutes. The idea is where you are dropped is where you will land. High up you can steer yourself a little, but as I say it's not like free fall.
 

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Joe, man. It would be nice if you can describe event more precisely. I heard about it on this forum from you and Mike (who decided that we are not good enough for him).

So what really happened there? OK, someone (Anglais de merdes apparently :)) took old cannon under guards noses. Than what? They loaded cannon with some kind of explosive and fired up and that made big boom, So what blowing up the flag pole having to do with that firing of old cannon?
Apparently that happened in same time and place. I mean, I'm a beat confused. Can you describe that in more details for us Joe?

That is really interesting part of legion (unofficial) history and have to be recorded. Here? Yeah, here!
I think Mick and co blew up the flag pole in Kourou.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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Well, we come to last of the photos, Aubagne. None from the 13, except that I've got a video of me going around the piste d'audace a couple of days before leaving the CECAP. Erika has left a box of stuff with a friend in France.
I'm hoping that my Para wings certificate and my état signalétique des services is in there with it. :sick: other wise you'll just have to take my word for it :mad:
As for 5 RE, I only did 18 months as the regiment was disbanded. Not really much to take photos of an atoll stuck in the middle of nowhere, especially as a garde punis. Hao's only claim to fame was that it would serve as an emergency landing strip for the space shuttle if... well if.

And the 1 RE. I'm not knocking it because I had a good job. The last Sunday of my CFC (leave) I went to Aubagne and had a couple of beers in the popote. One of the 3 Cchs I knew from the REP. We got talking and I mentioned that I was a bit worried where I might end up for my last 11 months. One of the other two said that he heard there was a place open in the Museum.

The next day I went in front of the Commandant who assigns the various positions to new arrivals in 1 RE. I said that I'd heard that there was a place in the museum. He asked my why I'd like that. I said because I'd like to have a bit more contact with the civilian population.
He looked at me and said that there was a place for a server in the officer's mess :eek:. Is this guy taking the p*ss or what? I explained how I preferred... etc. and was interested in ... etc. If my nose was made of wood it would have reached Paris by the time I had finished. Anyway I got the museum.

Museum.jpg

When you have done your five years minimum, or more, you line up outside the museum with all the others and have your photo taken with the general on a Friday afternoon. Here the general has been replaced by his deputy, a full colonel. I'm in the back row, the taller of the two képis noirs.

In Front of the monument.jpg

for those who worked in the museum and Képi Blanc magazine, the photo in front of the monument was for free, so why not.

You are also given a hand written letter by the general. By the state of mine you can see it's a major corvée to him. Just to prove that it's authentic you have the Legion eagle as a hall mark on the paper.

letter from the General.jpg

On the corver of the file is a photo of the musique de la LE. I'm not sure what they have to do with it, but on your last Friday in the Legion, who cares?

Musique.jpg
 

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