Clandestine operations

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#1
Greetings all,
Does anyone have research on covert/clandestine FFL units (small sniper units possibly) in operation from the mid seventies to the early 80's, please? These units may have disguised themselves in with or as other units to misdirect attention away from their directive and or objective? Was/is there a CIA-esque sort of branch of the FFL that may have fielded men in places where they weren't supposed to be?
Thanks for all replies!
Joe
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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#2
clemblank, why don't you start by introducing yourself before asking "Was/is there a CIA-esque sort of branch of the FFL that may have fielded men in places where they weren't supposed to be? "
At least that helps us know the type of person asking these sensitive :)ROFLMAO: I'm sorry) questions.
 
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#3
Sure thing, Joe. I'm doing a research paper for college on clandestine operations of both private and military forces, mainly from a historical perspective. I wouldn't expect anyone to divulge information about current ongoing operations. I'm mainly interested if there was even a branch like this within the FFL at some point in history?
 
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#4
clemblank,

Welcome to the forum. It is most unlikely that anyone can answer your question re; FFL. let alone give you any information

I however am aware of both Cdo and SF clandestine ops in some of my old units. However I signed the 'Official Secrets Act'.

I don't think you will get anywhere on this forum for your project.

Good luck.
 
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#5
Thanks for the response. If I may ask just one last small question, please?
So were these units sort of akin to maybe the American JSOC forces such as Delta or Seal units?
Again, I'm not looking for current operations or to expose anyone. My research is more towards a historical perspective.
But I can respect you guys and if you'd like to delete this post, I will certainly understand.
 

Rapace

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#7
Greetings all,
Does anyone have research on covert/clandestine FFL units (small sniper units possibly) in operation from the mid seventies to the early 80's, please? These units may have disguised themselves in with or as other units to misdirect attention away from their directive and or objective? Was/is there a CIA-esque sort of branch of the FFL that may have fielded men in places where they weren't supposed to be?
Thanks for all replies!
Joe
Short reply to a long question : no. This is not a Legion job. The only unit doing such ‘clandestine’ ops for France belongs to the DSGE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), in other words the French Intelligence Agency and is called Service Action.
 

jwaltos

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#9
Although a mis-step you needed to start somewhere. I would recommend that you do less advertising and use a bit of subterfuge yourself. Looking for things that others don't/didn't want found will be challenging for starters but not at all impossible. Sometimes you may find things that are completely different and far more interesting.
 

spooker

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#10
The official parlance is no, but the truth is different.
Was reading a book, French Foreign Legion by Douglas Boyd. By the end of the book he mentions a conversastion that he had with a former SAS operator in a bar in the UK.
The operator mentions to the author that he had came across a 2e REP patrol when he was in West Africa (70s-80s), the author asks the SAS guy as to what they were doing there, the SAS guy said “same as us like.” When the author responds that he didn't understand, he said “don't be daft.”
 

SnafuSmite

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#11
I'm sure the Legion has provided support to SF or clandestine missions,such as securing the perimeter or being a QRF but physically doing the SF job isn't part of the Legion's job description. The closest you'll get is GCP or DINOPS but they are not even classified as SF more comparable to Pathfinders . Most Regiments will have a reconnaissance unit, for example 1REC has the EEI (Escadron d'éclairage et d'investigation de brigade). Tireurs (snipers), also fulfill the recon role. But as for clandestine ops I dont believe the Legion is the place to be.
 

dusaboss

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#12
Snafu line between SF and regular often get blurred in war. I listened many stories from guys being in 90s Balkan wars.
They say that they did absolutely same things as SF guys.Only difference they were poorer equipped and trained and doing job for less (if any) cash. To quote SAS guy "dont be daft". :)
 

Joseph Cosgrove

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#13
The official parlance is no, but the truth is different.
Was reading a book, French foreign legion by Douglas Boyd. By the end of the book he mentions a conversastion that he had with a former SAS operator in a bar in the UK.
The operator mentions to the author that he had came across a 2e REP patrol when he was in West Africa (70s-80s). When the author responds that he didn't understand, he said dont be daft".
Book writers and SAS (o_O) in a bar say it all. If I was to mention how many ex-SAS there are retired here in Thailand you'd say I was exaggerating.

Spooker, do you not think that someone has to authorize these covert operations? And if they do, how do they explain to their comrades.
"By the end of the book he mentions a conversastion that he had with a former SAS operator in a bar in the UK."
"the author asks the SAS guy as to what they were doin there?, the SAS guy said "same as us like" WTF


Who wrote this book 'The Amazing Ryan' ?
 

SnafuSmite

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#14
SF is so varied and different roles for so many different situations even amongst themselves, there are bound to be scenarios where they overlap with conventional troops. I'm not sure if the French military has something similar, but 1 Para of the UK is assigned to UKSF support group to assist SF, however that does not make them SF.
 

spooker

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#15
Book writers and SAS (o_O) in a bar say it all. If I was to mention how many ex-SAS there are retired here in Thailand you'd say I was exaggerating.

Spooker, do you not think that someone has to authorize these covert operations? And if they do, how do they explain to their comrades.
"By the end of the book he mentions a conversastion that he had with a former SAS operator in a bar in the UK."
"the author asks the SAS guy as to what they were doin there?, the SAS guy said "same as us like" WTF


Who wrote this book 'The Amazing Ryan' ?
Was written by Douglas Boyd

seemed credible to me to be honest, the book also had a foreward(the thing at the beginning of the book i think) by Brig Anthony Hunter-Choat, whose name ive seen mentioned here and also the author has been made an honorary ex legionnaire for his book. Doesn't seem to have a reason to make up things.
 

Rapace

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#16
Always the same confusion between ‘special’ and ‘clandestine’ operations. Clandestine operations are those that will not be officially attributed to the government ordering them.
In the case of the French Service Action, for example, during the Algeria war they undertook some assassinations of arms smugglers providing weapons to the FLN (Algerian independentists) in foreign countries, covering them by creating a fake terrorist organisation called La Main Rouge (The Red Hand) that issued false communiqués claiming responsibility for those deaths.
They were also responsible for the botched Rainbow Warrior sinking in Auckland, New Zealand in 1985. Closer to us, SA operators were/are sent to Syria to make sure the most dangerous French jihadists don’t come back to France after the defeat of the Islamic State.
These are what I’m calling clandestine ops. No uniform, no French standard equipment, operators under false Id, no responsibility taken by the government (unless there’s a major fvck-up, like for the Rainbow Warrior). With this definition in mind, I repeat that clandestine ops are not a Legion job.
 

Papillon

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#17
Book writers and SAS (o_O) in a bar say it all. If I was to mention how many ex-SAS there are retired here in Thailand you'd say I was exaggerating.

Spooker, do you not think that someone has to authorize these covert operations? And if they do, how do they explain to their comrades.
"By the end of the book he mentions a conversastion that he had with a former SAS operator in a bar in the UK."
"the author asks the SAS guy as to what they were doin there?, the SAS guy said "same as us like" WTF


Who wrote this book 'The Amazing Ryan' ?
The only way a Legion patrol would have been where they might or should not have been is because they got lost! 😀
 

Papillon

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#18
Remind me of a time I was serving in NI. I went into the mug shot room (full of photos and intelligence of known paddies) where I found two guys that looked like civilians, in their long hair, compared to us soldiers (we did have civi contractors working on the base, Mill house). I went straight to the RSM his response straight out of his office down to the room with me, opens door barges in and gave these two the hairdryer treatment response from two civilians cool a calm then declared their reason mood changes and apologise.
Next thing I know for best part of 5 days I’m driving a land rover around the Falls Road as they needed a face driving that was in Jock uniform also we were the duty regiment on the patch as not to cause any suspicion, in the back was more electronic kit than I had ever seen in my life 4 of them 2x on the kit with headphones 2x riding shot gun and just telling me where to go! At the same time of this operation over their radios totally different channels to our communications 15th of May 1977 the day it was confirmed that Captain Robert Nairac was found dead, mind you by all accounts he was a loose cannon in his own right!
The guys I were driving about were tracking bugged weapons and ammo so I was told, we had quite a lot of time to kill over those few days and they shared a few interesting stories with me that to this day have never felt the need to share quite a privilege for a young soldier!
 
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#20
I was speaking to a Marine some time ago that was stationed in Iraq about his opinion of the foreign Legion. He mentioned he encountered a legion unit deployed in Iraq and spoke on his impression of the unit before meandering about why they were deployed to Iraq. He claimed that one of the soldiers told him they were there to recover documents that incriminated France in violating trade embargoes. The Marine went on to describe recovering French produced weapons later in his operation saying it must have been true.

I don't think it's true though. ;)
 

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