The Legion in the media

Peter Lyderik

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As mentioned before, the Legion is doing their best to recruit Frenchmen to the Legion.

La Légion étrangère fait le tour des plages pour recruter
La Légion étrangère, qui compte quelque 8 000 hommes, cherche à recruter des Français. 1 245 places sont encore à remplir au sein du corps militaire.


 

Rapace

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Interesting article. The Legion has an objective to reach 20-25% of French speaking recruits, vs 16% today (of which ~ 10% French nationals), to transmit the language and the culture. Citing example of foreign legionnaires being served foie gras and spreading ketchup or mayonnaise on it. Foie gras with ketchup!!! Oh my God..! 😨😀
 
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It also said the French tend to fail the tests required, and that doesn’t surprise me because well the ones that most likely would pass join the regular army but I could be wrong. The only Frenchmen I have experience with is Corporal Louis LeBeau from Hogan’s heroes, man I love that little Frenchman.
 

Rapace

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It also said the French tend to fail the tests required, and that doesn’t surprise me because well the ones that most likely would pass join the regular army but I could be wrong. (...)
Yes, true. Apart from the “prestige” of the unit, I see essentially two objective reasons for a French national to join the Legion: if he has a legal record and can’t join the “regular” Army and because the Legion offers a 5-year initial contract, while it’s generally shorter in the regular. One point also is that speaking the language gives them an edge re promotion over foreigners.

(...) The only Frenchmen I have experience with is Corporal Louis LeBeau from Hogan’s heroes, man I love that little Frenchman.
The actor, Robert Clary, from a Jewish family settled in France, is an Holocaust survivor. One of the few actors still living from Hogan’s heroes TV show.
 
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Interesting article. The Legion has an objective to reach 20-25% of French speaking recruits, vs 16% today (of which ~ 10% French nationals), to transmit the language and the culture. Citing example of foreign legionnaires being served foie gras and spreading ketchup or mayonnaise on it. Foie gras with ketchup!!! Oh my God..! 😨😀
Everything is better with ketchup or Catsup if you prefer.
 

Peter Lyderik

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France fears its Legion is too foreign

Adam Sage, Paris

August 19 2019 The Times

New recruits to the French Foreign Legion are expected to learn its seven-point code of honour by heart. Many, however, have no grasp of the French language, nor the slightest idea of the meaning of the words they are reciting when they pledge, for instance, to serve France “with honour and loyalty”.

Indeed, in a recent documentary for French television, a Thai recruit was seen transcribing the code phonetically into his country’s alphabet so that he could reel it off when asked to do so. Its commanding officers have never minded much, just as long as some of the troops were French-speaking and able to help their brothers-in-arms to understand basic orders. Today, however, the Legion is panicking that it has far too few French speakers. Commanding officers have been forced to resort to using drawings and pictograms to communicate basic training.

About 16 per cent of existing members of the Legion are French speakers but only 11 per cent of the newest intake can speak the language. More critically, only a tenth of the force are French. Young Frenchmen tend to view the Legion as too tough and prefer the country’s regular army, which they consider a softer option, according to a former legionnaire. Those who do try to sign up often fail to get through the first day of the Legion’s selection process.

The issue is problematic, given that French remains the Legion’s working language. About 24 per cent of the serving soldiers are from other western nations, 28 per cent are Slavs, 13 per cent Asians, 13 per cent Latin Americans and 12 per cent Africans.

The French Foreign Legion has acquired an almost legendary reputation since its foundation in 1831. An elite force, it has been particularly useful to French governments over the generations because its soldiers are perceived as disposable, reducing the risk to the regular army.

The documentary for the France 2 television channel showed a training session on camouflage. Recruits recited the lesson off by heart, but pictograms were used to make sure they understood the message on the need to avoid bright colours, strong smells or sharp movements, and to melt into the surrounding scenery, for instance. A former legionnaire, from the USA, said: “You are supposed to learn French and you are supposed to communicate in French. If you don’t speak French, you’re going to end up cleaning the toilets.”

The need for the Legion to recruit Frenchmen is set to become more acute, with the army upgrading its IT systems along with its light armoured vehicles, tanks and missile launchers. This will require a better understanding of the French language within the Legion, according to insiders. It wants to ensure that at least 20 per cent of its members are French-speaking by 2025.

It has launched a recruitment drive in France, with temporary stands set up in the country’s main holiday resorts over the summer. Recruiters have been trying to convince the young, single Frenchmen sunbathing on beaches to sign up for a “life of adventure”.

Joining up

Erwin James
Newspaper columnist and convicted murderer who joined the French foreign legion while on the run for killing two men. After serving for two years, seeing action in Africa, he handed himself in to the British authorities in 1984 and served 20 years in jail.

Jean-Marie Le Pen Founder and former leader of the National Front political party who joined the legion in the 1950s, serving as a paratrooper in French Indochina and Algeria. Defended the torture of Algerian rebels in his memoirs but denies taking part.

William Wellman The director and Oscar-winning screenwriter of the original A Star is Born (1937) was known as Wild Bill during the First World War for his gallantry as a fighter pilot. After the war he directed more than 80 Hollywood films.

Cole Porter A picture of the American songwriter and composer has hung in the legion’s museum in Aubagne. It is claimed that he entertained fellow recruits on a portable piano during the First World War but some historians say that he lied about serving to aid his reputation.

August 19 2019 The Times
The Times view on the French Foreign Legion: Le Code de quoi ?

The famous fighting unit is struggling to recruit French-speakers. Quel dommage.

The French Foreign Legion was set up in 1831 by King Louis-Philippe to further his country’s colonial interests. Since then the Legion has acquired a reputation for intensity and skill in battle. It emerged from the First World War as one of the most decorated units in the army.

It is unique in that it accepts foreign recruits: the Legion is now made up of soldiers from more than 140 countries. Yet as we report today, there are fears that the French Foreign Legion could be becoming a tad too, well, foreign. Recruits are expected to learn the unit’s seven-point code d’honneur by heart in French, which is the Legion’s official language. And yet some signing up have such shoddy French that they have no idea what they are pledging to do.

This is concerning, to say the least, because the Legion’s code of honour is demanding. Recruits must swear to train avec rigueur, remain scrupulously élégant at all times and never abandon their slain comrades or weapons. Oh, and they must lay down their lives in battle if needs must. A recent documentary for French television showed a Thai recruit transcribing the code phonetically into his country’s alphabet so that he could reel it off when asked. It would have been better if he had known what he was signing up for.

The Legion is in a bind. It needs its foreign recruits more than ever, as it is struggling to woo francophones. They make up 16 per cent of existing members and 11 per cent of latest intakes. Meanwhile, members of an effective unit must be able to communicate fluently in a lingua franca. The training for the Legion is brutal. By the end, newbies must march 75 miles in three days. Perhaps thereafter, those brawny and brainy enough to make it through this process should supplement their training with equally rigorous French lessons.

1566485050054.png

Article in the link.

 
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View attachment 5393

Article in the link.

Deserters are tracked down and fed to dogs, oh and watch out they will grab you on the beach too drunk to remember the entry process that takes multiple weeks 😂. Dang you Brit’s must really put them back, I’ve been drunk but drunk enough for weeks worth of unknowingly joining the legion, that’s some serious drinking.
 

Surfguy

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Deserters are tracked down and fed to dogs, oh and watch out they will grab you on the beach too drunk to remember the entry process that takes multiple weeks 😂. Dang you Brit’s must really put them back, I’ve been drunk but drunk enough for weeks worth of unknowingly joining the legion, that’s some serious drinking.
That was from the same newspaper that claimed a WW2 bomber had been found on the moon :rolleyes:
 
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That was from the same newspaper that claimed a WW2 bomber had been found on the moon :rolleyes:
I believe that it sounds Plausible, with enough upwards thrust and a stockpile of mre I’m sure the ww2 bomber flight took place. Geez people don’t you know anything 🤣.
 

Peter Lyderik

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Here is the Times article from 12.08.2019, about the Legion and its foreigners.

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The legion is said to need French recruits to “transmit the language and culture”

Ketchup on foie gras? That’s too foreign for the French Foreign Legion

The French Foreign Legion is never short of recruits. They come from more than 140 countries and join in the search for adventure, discipline and a new identity to put aside past troubles. But the French themselves seem reluctant to sign up to what is widely considered to be the toughest branch of the army.

Now the legion has begun a recruitment campaign on France’s beaches in the hope of wooing homegrown candidates. Officers have been driving to the country’s most popular resorts in a van marked: Légion étrangère, rejoins nos valeurs (Foreign Legion, join our values).

Their mission is to try to convince young, single French men that a legionnaire’s life is more attractive than it has been made to seem in novels such as Beau Geste, the 1924 work by the British author PC Wren.

The legion has always incorporated Frenchmen, including General Thierry Burkhard, who was appointed head of the country’s army last month. However, their numbers are falling and less than 10 per cent of the 10,000 or so people who apply to join the legion every year are French.

Sergeant Major Sang-Jin Lee, who is involved in the recruitment drive on the beaches, said that the legion’s foreign recruits are no longer adopting French customs because of the absence of homegrown legionnaires to act as guides. He said that the problem was underlined recently when three foreign recruits put ketchup and mayonnaise on their foie gras. He said that the force, which was founded in 1831, needed French recruits to “transmit the language and the culture”.

The need has been made more acute by the modernisation of the French army’s light armoured vehicles, tanks and missile launchers and their link-up with information technology systems. The programme, codenamed Scorpion, involves an overhaul of equipment and requires a good level of French to understand it, according to specialists.

The legion is struggling because only 16 per cent of its members are from French-speaking countries. Its aim is to increase the proportion to at least 20 per cent by 2025.

A total of 8,900 soldiers belong to the legion, which wants to recruit 1,245 men this year to replace those who will leave its ranks. It does not recruit women, although a handful of female officers belonging to other sections of the French army have been authorised to join it over the past two decades.

Candidates face a medical examination before being asked to perform seven pull-ups and to pass an intelligence test. Those who succeed proceed to a second examination. Only about 10 per cent of candidates end up as legionnaires. The force accepts people with a criminal record and — it has long been claimed — those fleeing prosecution. It says that murderers, rapists and drug-traffickers are excluded.
 

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