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22 February 2011

Reginald's Regiments of Renown, Issue #10

Legion Extraterrestriale
1er Demi-brigade


   The Legion Etrangèr or Foreign Legion, was created by Louis Philippe, the "King of the French", on 10 March 1831. The direct reason was that foreigners were forbidden to serve in the French Army after the 1830 July Revolution, so the Legion was created to allow the government a way around this restriction. The purpose of the Legion was to remove disruptive elements from society and put them to use fighting the enemies of France. Recruits included failed revolutionaries from the rest of Europe, soldiers from the disbanded foreign regiments, and troublemakers in general, both foreign and French. Algeria was designated as the Legion's home.

   In late 1831, the first Legionnaires landed in Algeria, the country that would be the Legion's homeland for 130 years and shape its character. The Legion was primarily used, as part of the Armée d'Afrique, to protect and expand the French colonial empire during the 19th century, but it also fought in almost all French wars including the Franco-Prussian War.

   The Legion Extraterrestriale was formed in 1871 from elements of the Foreign Legion for service in the off-world colonies on Mars and Venus. The Legion originally consisted of two demi-brigades of four battalions each, with one DBLE (Demi-brigade Legion Extraterrestriale) assigned to each planet, and a recruiting and training cohort on Earth. In 1875, a third demi-brigade was authorized for service as security in the highport of the three French aetherports and as special aether-equipped boarding parties. 1er DBLE is stationed on Mars, headquartered with the rest of the Armee d'Mars in Nouveau Paris, the capital of the French colony.
   Just as the original Legion accepted anyone, regardless of their nationality, religion, color or, shall we say, less-than-lawful past, so does the new Legion Extraterrestriale. Men who are desperate to escape their past may easily be forgotten, taken off-world to march or die in the service of La Belle France.

Combat History

   The 1er DBLE has been involved in several border clashes with the colony's neighbors, including the British Crown Colony and German Marskolonie. However, the main antagonist for the French are the desert dwelling natives which raid the colony from time to time. In this, the Legion Extraterrestriale has much in common with the Foreign Legion.

   A company of 1er DBLE was involved in the First Battle of Ghola, along with a steam walker for support. The captain of that detachment won the day by personally cutting down the Martian commander of a larger contingent of the famed Emerald Legion and retrieving the priceless antiquities found in the ancient temple at Ghola.

   Other portions of the demi-brigade have been involved in patrolling the frontiers and manning small outposts in remote areas along the edges of the Martian desert. One trouble the legionnaires often must contend with in these isolated posts is le cafard, the 'bug.' The intense psychological strain of such isolation for weeks or months causes some men to lose their minds, commiting acts of desperate violence. Legion units in extended garrison always lose more men to le cafard than to combat. The textbook solution for le cafard is a rifle, and plenty of opportunity to use it.


   The standard uniform of a legionnaire is, in most respects, identical to that of the Foreign Legion, consisting primarily of a white shirt and white fatigue trousers. A blue capote is worn over the shirt, and a light blue sash as well. Cloth or leather gaiters are worn over low black boots.

   The most iconic piece of the Legion uniform is the white kepi. The kepi is a type of cap with a flat circular top and short visor and a neckcloth. The history of the white kepi can be traced back to Africa where it was first worn by French soldiers in their Africa posting to protect them from the hot desert sun. It was adopted by the Legion Etrangèr while they served in North Africa, and passed on to the Legion Extraterrestriale.

   Other than regimental distinctions, the primary difference between the two Legions' uniforms is the badge on the kepi. The Foreign Legion wears a grenade badge with five plumes of flame. The Legion Extraterrestriale's cap badge is a three-plumed grenade on a five-pointed star.

   Officers wear the same uniform as enlisted men with two major distinctions: a red-topped kepi and gold epaulettes. Also, they are equipped with sword and pistol rather than the enlisted man's rifle and bayonet.


   Legionnaire infantry carry the French service rifle, 120 rounds, and a bayonet. Until last year, that rifle was the Fusil Gras Modèle 1874 M80, an 11mm caliber bolt-action rifle. In 1886, the Lebel Model 1886 replaced the Gras. The Lebel is an 8mm rifle with an 8-round tubular magazine and bolt-action, firing a new smokeless powder round. Officers carry the MAS 1873 revolver and the Model 1882 Infantry sword, a straight bladed weapon.

   Legion artillery support is provided by the De Bange 90 mm cannon (Mle 1877). At this time, in large part to the mitralleuse debacle in the last war with Prussia, the French Army has not procured a machinegun for service, although it is considering adoption of the Hotchkiss model.

   It is rumored that the Imperial Ordinance Commission is secretly developing weapons similar to the British Tesla rifle, the reciprocating carbine, and the portable mortar. At this time, no reliable information about these developments exists.


Atom Kid said...

Nice figure! I've always liked the French Foreign Legion, ever since I was a kid.

J Womack, Esq. said...

These are Stone Mountains. I like them. ONe of the things I need to get more of, actually.

The paint job is an early Dip. I actually ruined one figure by dropping it into the Dip I was using. This convinced me to brush the Dip on instead of actually dipping.

Probably painted in 2007? Anyway, one of the first batches of figs when I re-entered the hobby.

Eli Arndt said...

Love the 19th C. French uniforms.

ArmChairGeneral said...

Great job! These french give a good account of what it means to not be French but be French at the same time!

ColKillgore said...

The Question is, Do they accept any one, including aliens?

Martians defending La Belle France?


J Womack, Esq. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Womack, Esq. said...

The Legion does not accept nonhumans. However, La Belle France will be happy to enlist them into the Tirallieurs Martienne.