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Subject: French Foreign Legion, some additional info
FCUS    11/6/2008 11:43:42 AM
I was watching the Military Channel last night (most biased channel ever) and there was a documentary on the french foreign legion. I heard a tremendous amount of BS, the biggest one being ALL LEGIONAIRES ARE FOREIGN. I also read the same BS in posts on SP. I looked up some numbers and found this. Soldiers, in 2007: - 24% french - 18% from eastern europe and balkans - 15% other western world countries (US, UK, germany, etc) - 14% from the the Slav world (russia, something-istan countries) - 9% Latin America - 9% Asia - 7% Africa - 4% Arab world (i know it's not very precise) NCO: you can become NCO only if you re-enlist and it's not granted. 1 outta 4 legionnaires become a NCO when they enlist. I could not find numbers on their ethnic origins. Officers: 90% of them are from Saint Cyr, 10% are former NCO's meaning about 90% of them are french and around 10% are naturalized french. You have to be a french citizen to be an officer in the FFL. 10% of Legion Officers started as simple Legionnaires meaning they have been in the legion for at least 15 years (!!!). In addition: - your criminal background will be checked, a criminal will not be allowed to enlist - 140 nationalities in 2007, you may apply for french citizen ship after 3 years if you enlisted with your real name. - you can join between the age of 17 and 40, 5 years enlisment contract - the legion today is 413 officers, 1741 NCO's and 5545 legionnaires divided in 11 regimental formations
 
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smitty237    French Foreign(?) Legion   11/6/2008 9:01:27 PM
I don't know why you Frenchies are so sensitive about this whole subject, but we've fought it before on other parts of this board and few of you seem to want to listen.  I've studied the origins of the FFL, and from everything I've read, when the FFL was originally formed French citizens were OFFICIALLY barred from serving in the unit.  The FFL was supposed to be a unit that was comprised of non-French enlisted men and led by French officers.  Once again, I fully realize that Frenchmen have served in the Legion since its inception by claiming to be Canadian, Algerian, Italian, or whatever on their enlistment papers.  This usually wasn't a problem because for most of the Legion's history the background checks on potential recruits was lax at best. 
 
I'm not sure why the French get so upset when this subject gets brought up.  If French citizens can now openly join the FFL, then so be it, but everything I have read about the Legion documents that for most of its history Frenchman were OFFICIALLY prevented for serving in the Legion.  If there has been a change in French law or simply a change in Legion recruitment policy that allows French citizens to openly join the Legion as French citizens then I would love to know when this took place as I have not found anything in any of the English language sources I have researched. 
 
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FCUS       11/7/2008 12:57:01 PM
They don't join as french citizens but as citizens from another french speaking country, and they regain their french citizenship after a year.
Im not very sensitive about the whole subject, I was just a little upset about some of the BS I watched on the military channel (but then again, it's the military channel) and wanted to straight things up
 
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franceOFman       11/7/2008 11:13:27 PM
The French percentage that you talk about are the French officers who TRAIN the recruits..

They create officers out of the foreigners, they do not participate in any of the combat abroad.
 
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FCUS       11/10/2008 12:03:59 PM

The French percentage that you talk about are the French officers who TRAIN the recruits..



They create officers out of the foreigners, they do not participate in any of the combat abroad.



BS!! Source your info cuz im 100% sure they go abroad to fight as well. That wouldn't make sense otherwise. I've seen loads of documentaries with french citizens officers fighting with their troops.
Look some of these videos:
 
*ttp://www.parabellum-media.com/
 
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Godofgamblers       11/10/2008 11:33:50 PM
If I'm not mistaken there are only 7,000 in the FL. In a full-out war with such numbers their influence would be negligeable.
 
Perhaps France should rethink the concept of the FL, base it more on the US Marines, i.e. rapid reaction force, and give them substantial numbers, air force, LCs, etc to make them a formidable fighting force and a political instrument.
 
Right now, they seem to be a bit of an anachronism. Don't get me wrong, if they had a geriatric unit, I would join at the drop of a hat, but their main function seems to be to man bases whose purpose itself is a matter of public debate as to their usefulness.
 
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FCUS       11/11/2008 10:55:17 AM

If I'm not mistaken there are only 7,000 in the FL. In a full-out war with such numbers their influence would be negligeable.

 
Perhaps France should rethink the concept of the FL, base it more on the US Marines, i.e. rapid reaction force, and give them substantial numbers, air force, LCs, etc to make them a formidable fighting force and a political instrument.
 

Right now, they seem to be a bit of an anachronism. Don't get me wrong, if they had a geriatric unit, I would join at the drop of a hat, but their main function seems to be to man bases whose purpose itself is a matter of public debate as to their usefulness.

I totally agree with you, I wish the FFL should be at least 22,000 men so we could have a rapid and owerful reaction force like the USMC is(in a much smaller number of course, but 22,000 legionaires would mean deploy at least 10,000 in one hot zone when necessary). Unfortunatly the government will not put the appropriate budget into our defence (well the white paper allowed the army to save 3billions euros a year for equipement and wages, so thanks to Sarko it might change...slowly) and we find ourselves with the capacity of deploying a maximum of 30,000 troop abroad, all Arms included. It is not much and it's only in theory...
In addition, we probably could not fight a full-out war, 30,000 troops is not much, nor could any other country in this world except the U.S. So I guess there isn't really a point of increasing the Legion's manpower. Plus there are meant to be integrated with the other units of the french army if in a full scale war so that must be another argument for keeping a low number of Legionaires.
 
Well the point of my post is that the french army lacks the equipement to be able to deploy a large number of troop abroad, whatever the units are, and that I wish the government had made the right budgetary choices so our army would not be in such bad shape today. Thanks to the socialists and the Leclerc. Hopefully things are really going to change with Sarkozy...

 
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FCUS       11/11/2008 10:57:17 AM

Oops i forgot to add, the legion is currently 7,650 men. 20% are the "back office", the other 80% the strike force. It's an unbelievably low number of troops for support in my opinion but if they say so...

 
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Godofgamblers       11/11/2008 11:16:27 PM
Why not take it a step further then my friend. Since the Europeans require a Rapid Respnse Force, why not simply use the Legion? The EU can fund it to expand its numbers and even add some troops from participating countries and you would have an effective, well-trained force capable of insertion in any hot spot around the world. Surely a much better idea then starting a force from scratch. No one really has the will or budget to make a Pan European force anyway; better to leave it in the hands of the French, in my opinion.
 
 
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FCUS       11/12/2008 12:44:23 PM

Why not take it a step further then my friend. Since the Europeans require a Rapid Respnse Force, why not simply use the Legion? The EU can fund it to expand its numbers and even add some troops from participating countries and you would have an effective, well-trained force capable of insertion in any hot spot around the world. Surely a much better idea then starting a force from scratch. No one really has the will or budget to make a Pan European force anyway; better to leave it in the hands of the French, in my opinion.

 



If only it could be that easy.
it is true that no one has the budget to fund a truly capable european force. the few thounsands soldiers in Chad are...let's be honest...a joke when you see the logistic problems they had and still have.
 
However I would not say no one has the will. The french government do, probably the germans, and I don't really know about the rest. In the past 6 months the european defense has made tremendous progress, thanks to sarkozy, eventhough it's going to end woth the Tcheks next january because their government is anti european.
 
Let's go back to the legion. We both agree that their numbers and budget should be increased. And I agree it should be used as Europe's strike force because they are probably the force that has seen the most combat among other european countries  (I am NOT including the U-K).
However, I am not sure any government would agree to make them the EU's strike force, not even France, even with an European flag on their shoulder. Why? In my opinion because the Italians/germans/dutch/spanish/etc would not be happy about funding what was/would be a french unit with french equipement the legionnaires have been trained on etc. France would not agree to make the Legion a european unit, you know what french pride is^^.
 
I might I misunderstood your argument of making the Legion Europe's strike force. If I did, please feel free to correct me and explain me what you meant.
 
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FCUS       11/12/2008 12:46:05 PM
might HAVE misunderstood*** sorry
 
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