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Foreign General Partnership Statement of Correction. The captain had a wooden hand, which was later returned to the Legion and is now kept in a case in the Legion Museum at Aubagne, and paraded annually on Camerone Day. It is the Foreign Legion's most precious relic. During the Mexican Campaign, 6, French died. Of these, 1, were from a single regiment of the Legion. According to French law, the Foreign Legion was not to be used within Metropolitan France except in the case of a national invasion,  and was consequently not a part of Napoleon III's Imperial Army that capitulated at Sedan.
The new Third Republic was desperately short of trained soldiers following Sedan, so the Foreign Legion was ordered to provide a contingent. On 11 October two provisional battalions disembarked via sea at Toulon , the first time the Foreign Legion had been deployed in France itself.
It attempted to lift the Siege of Paris by breaking through the German lines.
In January , France capitulated but civil war soon broke out, which led to revolution and the short-lived Paris Commune. The Foreign Legion participated in the suppression of the Commune,  which was crushed with great bloodshed. The battalion played an important role in Colonel Jacques Duchesne 's offensive in March that captured the key Chinese positions of La Table and Fort Bamboo and disengaged Keelung. Simultaneously, the Legion took part to the pacification of Algeria , suppressing various tribal rebellions and razzias.
A battalion, led by commandant Faurax Montier, was formed from two companies of the First Foreign Regiment and two others from the second regiment.
From Cotonou , the legionnaires marched to seize Abomey , the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey. Two and a half months were needed to reach the city, at the cost of repeated battles against the Dahomean warriors, especially the Amazons of the King.
King Behanzin surrendered and was captured by the legionnaires in January In , a battalion, formed by the First and Second Foreign Regiments, was sent to the Kingdom of Madagascar , as part of an expeditionary force whose mission was to conquer the island. The foreign battalion formed the backbone of the column launched on Antananarivo , the capital of Madagascar. Others, like much of the expeditionary force, died from tropical diseases.
From until his capture, Samori Ture , ruler of the Wassoulou Empire , fought the French colonial army, defeating them on several occasions, including a notable victory at Woyowayanko 2 April , in the face of French heavy artillery. Nonetheless, Samori was forced to sign several treaties ceding territory to the French between and A battalion of two companies from the 2nd Foreign Regiment was created in early to pacify the Niger.
The Legionnaires' victory at the fortress of Ouilla and police patrols in the region accelerated the submission of the tribes. The annexation of Alsace and Lorraine by Germany in led to numerous volunteers from the two regions enlisting in the Foreign Legion, which gave them the option of French citizenship at the end of their service .
With the declaration of war on 29 July , a call was made for foreigners residing in France to support their adopted country.
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While many would have preferred direct enlistment in the regular French Army, the only option immediately available was that of the Foreign Legion. On one day only 3 August a reported 8, volunteers applied to enlist in the Paris recruiting office of the Legion. The Foreign Legion was also in the Dardanelles and Macedonian front , and was highly decorated for its efforts. Many young foreigners volunteered for the Foreign Legion when the war broke out in There were marked differences between the idealistic volunteers of and the hardened men of the old Legion, making assimilation difficult.
Nevertheless, the old and the new men of the Foreign Legion fought and died in vicious battles on the Western front, including Belloy-en-Santerre during the Battle of the Somme , where the poet Alan Seeger , after being mortally wounded by machine-gun fire, cheered on the rest of his advancing battalion. While suffering heavy casualties on the Western Front the Legion had emerged from World War I with an enhanced reputation and as one of the most highly decorated units in the French Army. The Legion played a major part in the Rif War of — He was subsequently credited with creating much of the modern mystique of the Legion by restoring or creating many of its traditions.
The Foreign Legion played a smaller role in World War II in mainland Europe than in World War I, though there was involvement in many exterior theatres of operations, notably sea transport protection through to the Norwegian, Syria-Lebanon, and North African campaigns. Reflecting the divisions of the time, part of the Foreign Legion joined the Free French movement while another part served the Vichy government.
E in Later, a thousand of the rank-and-file of the Vichy Legion unit joined the 13 e D. It would have been considered problematic if the men from Alsace-Lorraine did not speak French. These French-speaking former German soldiers made up as much as 60 percent of the Legion during the war in Indochina. Contrary to popular belief however, French policy was to exclude former members of the Waffen-SS , and candidates for induction were refused if they exhibited the tell-tale blood type tattoo, or even a scar that might be masking it.
The high percentage of Germans was contrary to normal policy concerning a single dominant nationality, and in more recent times Germans have made up a much smaller percentage of the Foreign Legion's composition. Although the Foreign Legion distinguished itself in a territory where it had served since the s, it also suffered a heavy toll during this war. Constantly being deployed in operations, units of the Legion suffered particularly heavy losses in the climactic Battle of Dien Bien Phu , before the fortified valley finally fell on 7 May No fewer than 72, served in Indochina during the eight-year war.
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The Legion suffered the loss of 10, of its own men in combat: officers, sous-officiers and legionnaires. While only one of several Legion units involved in Indochina, the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion 1 er BEP particularly distinguished itself, while being annihilated twice. Reconstituted on 1 March , the battalion participated in combat operations at Cho Ben, on the Black River and in Annam. Dien Bien Phu fell on 7 May at While the garrison of Dien Bien Phu included French regular, North African, and locally recruited Indochinese units, the battle has become associated particularly with the paratroops of the Foreign Legion.
During the Indochina War, the Legion operated several armoured trains which were an enduring Rolling Symbol during the chartered course duration of French Indochina. The Legion also operated various Passage Companies relative to the continental conflicts at hand.
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The main activity during the period — was as part of the operations of the 10th Parachute Division and 25th Parachute Division. Both battalions were renamed and their Legionnaires transferred from Indochina on 1 August to Algeria by 1 November Main operations during the Algerian War included the Battle of Algiers and the Bataille of the Frontiers, fought by 60, soldiers including French and Foreign Legion paratroopers.
The image of the Legion as a professional and non-political force was tarnished when the elite 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment 1 er REP , which was also part of the 10th Parachute Division played a leading role in the general's putsch of  and was subsequently disbanded. Coming out of a difficult Indochinese conflict, the French Foreign Legion, reinforced cohesion by extending the duration of basic training. Efforts exerted were successful during this transit; however, entering in December and the revolt the generals, a crisis hit the legion putting its faith at the corps of the Army.
The relics from the Legion's history museum, including the wooden hand of Captain Jean Danjou , subsequently accompanied the Legion to France. The song has remained a part of Legion heritage since.