Legion Pulp: To Hell for the Devil

This month’s pulp is written by Richard E. Wormser who was an American pulp writer who wrote fiction in just about all genres from the early 1930’s until his death in 1977.  When the pulps died out in the 1940’s Wormser kept writing and to his credit has over 200 pulp stories including seventeen early Nick Carter stories and several award winning western novels and novelizations of movies and television shows.  This story appeared in the 01 December, 1934, issue of Argosy and was also included in the first issue (1940) of the short run pulp title Foreign Legion Stories

The story is an oft-repeated one that has the long arm of American law enforcement, in this case Detective Cafferty of New York, reaching into the Legion to solve a cold case mystery.

To Hell for the Devil

(Not my scan but thanks to the original scanner to put this out on the web whose name I do not know.)


Posted in Pulp Fiction Stories | Leave a comment

Wargames Illustrated Foreign Legion Articles

I’ve been a big fan of Wargames Illustrated since it started appearing in my Barnes and Noble bookstore several years ago.  Hard copy is pretty pricey so I only bought the magazine when it had interesting articles on terrain building or colonial adventures.  However, several months ago I became a Wargames Illustrated “Prime” member which allowed me to access “the Vault” which contains digital versions of 350+ back issues of the magazine.  This was really a great bargain just to be able to access these old issues.  I’ve kept my monthly subscription current as it seems the magazine keeps growing and getting better over time.  If you do go the digital route for your Wargames Illustrated, to make your search easier, there are several articles about the Foreign Legion.

#023 Carche ou Crève! What was it really like to March of Die under the blazing Saharan sun? By Greg Foster.

#144 Death in the Sand. Simple rules for wargaming the French Foreign Legion in North Africa by Peter Helm.

#293 Legionnaires in the Dark Continent. The French Foreign Legion south of the Sahara by Chris Peers

#300 “The Legion May Die, But Never Surreners”. The last stand of the Foreign Legion in exotic Mexico–the Battle of Camerone, 1863 by Paul Davies.  Includes instructions for building the hacienda.

#329 Project Showcase: March or Die!  Creating a force for Death in the Dark Continent by Tim Harris.

#334 Theme: Trading Their Kepis for Jump Helmets. Legion Paras in Indochina by Matt Moran.

#350 The Battle of Messifre 1925.  Post WWI colonial action in Syria by Robert Giglio.

Posted in War Games & Rules | 2 Comments

The Foreign Legion and the Fourth Liberty Loan – Pictures!

Here are some more wonderful pictures of that small detachment of about 122 French Foreign Legionnaires (including 12 officers) who traveled to the U.S. in the fall of 1918 to participate in rallies for the Fourth Liberty Loan.   These men, most of whom had also been wounded, were all highly decorated veterans of the trenches.  60 some members of the Legion would travel on the following Liberty Loan Tour itinerary.  Another detachment of around 50 Legionnaires were divided into smaller teams and attached to war-exhibit trains that displayed captured German military equipment throughout the country.

Washington, D. C., September 23
Cleveland. Ohio, September 24
Chicago, Illinois, September 25
St. Louis, Missouri, September 26
Kansas City, Missouri, September 27
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, September 28
Dallas, Texas, September 29 and 30
Houston, Texas., October 01
New Orleans, Louisiana, October 02
Birmingham, Alabama, October 03
Memphis, Tennessee, October 04
Louisville, Kentucky, October 05 and 06
Indianapolis, Indiana, October 07
Cincinnati, Ohio, October 08
Columbus, Ohio, October 09
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 10
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, October 11
New York City, New York, October 12 and 13
Boston, Massachusetts, October 14 and 15
Hartford, Connecticut, October 16
Newark, New Jersey, October 17
Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, October 18
Baltimore, Maryland, October 19

I’ve made several posts about this event over the years and always suspected that there must have been hundreds and hundreds of photographs taken of the Legion detachment simply because of the large number of events held in so many different locations.  All of these were undoubtedly well covered by the press.  Until now, I only found several high resolution pictures at the Library of Congress and nothing much else other than some grainy and faded photos found in newspaper scans.  These new pictures were found using the search page for the National Archives website.  (More specifically they are part of the National Archives at College Park.)   These particular photographs mainly come from events in Louisiana, D. C. and Harrisburg, PA associated with the Liberty Loan Tour.  One picture shows some captured German equipment that was likely from one of the trains.

I had to reformat these in order to blow up the picture while also retaining the press data typed on the form.  These are big files but you can download all 22 pictures at this link.  (I also found a Youtube video of the D.C. Event.)


Posted in Photographs | 5 Comments

Merry Christmas – Joyeux Noël – Fröhliche Weihnachten

Wishing all readers and followers of this blog a very wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Please remember to keep in our prayers those brave men from all over the world who are away from their families and loved ones during this season while serving France in the Foreign Legion.  Lets also not forget those soldiers from the United States and Russia serving in Iraq and Syria as well as those who fight alongside troops from Italy, Germany, Turkey, Georgia, Romania, the UK and 32 other nations in Afghanistan.  These men are what stands between us and the Dark Ages.

One of the many traditions of the Foreign Legion during the Christmas holiday is the unit “creche”, competition.  Units (usually at the company level) compete to build the most meaningful Bethlehem manger dioramas.  Regardless of religion or beliefs each legionnaire gives their best effort in creating something special and unique.  The manger scenes must represent Christmas and the Legion and although there is no real prize involved this does not dampen their efforts to outdo the other units.  The winners are chosen by the commanders, local clergy and prominent citizens.  One will see the Christ child, the adoring Mary, Joseph and the three Wise Men depicted in very strange locations such as Mali, Djibouti, the jungles of French Guyana and even the trenches of WWI To connect the scene to the Legion are white kepis, camouflage netting, military vehicle models, Legion insignia, sand bags, and other props.  

Thank you all for your well wishes during my recent surgery.  I’m on the mend and looking forward to 2018.

Posted in Admin / Blogging / Stuff, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Legion Pulp: Once an Officer

This month’s pulp story comes from Adventure magazine (15 Sep 1932) and once again the author is Georges Surdez.  This is a garrison tale featuring an American Legionnaire sergeant stationed in a forward depot who has to negotiate a volatile situation involving his old friend who is on a self destructive binge, a woman, jealous officers, false charges and the looming specter of prison.

Once an Officer

Posted in Pulp Fiction Stories | Leave a comment

Radio Check

I had my appendix taken out last Sunday.  They performed a laparoscopic appendectomy which means this type of surgery was supposed to be minimally invasive and allow for a speedier recovery.  All I have to say is that my experience was neither of those things and  something that I would not wish on anyone, even a Democrat.  CAT scan indicated an easy procedure lasting maybe an hour but once they got inside the doctor found something quite different and it turned into a three hour ordeal by tiny “roto-rooter” tools, pumped in carbon dioxide gas and other torture devices.  I won’t bore you with the details but thank God I was under general anesthesia.  I was discharged on Monday and placed in the tender care of my wife.  Off work for the next 8 days (until my follow-up) I was looking forward to at least getting lots of stuff done on the computer, lots of reading and of course some Christmas related decorating and wrapping of presents.  Not a chance. I was really out of it the first two days and then, when I started to get more mobile, I just couldn’t bring myself to do more than check emails and vegetate, slack-jawed, to some YouTube videos.   Today I’m felling very much better in all areas so I’m grateful for that and look forward to a full recovery soon.

Prior to my unexpected surgery I was working on some draft posts about the French use of defensive blockhouses in their colonial adventures.  I hope to get back on those projects soon.  Since I am getting much more reading done on the Foreign Legion while convalescing there might be some quick book reviews coming next.

Pic above is related….it’s my doctor and surgical team working on my appendix.  (to be fair I’m sure he did a great job–I just have no experience to compare it to).

Posted in Admin / Blogging / Stuff | 7 Comments

Legion Pulp: The Man from Nowhere

This short story is from the 15 October 1932 issue of Adventure and, yet again, it is from the typewriter of Geroges Surdez.  Much of this story consists of character development.  Surdez builds layer upon layer of detail onto his description of the mysterious but also comical portrait of Legionnaire Mathias Vyanor.  Of course, like legionnaires do, Mathias proves himself worthy in the end by saving the men of his company.  You have to read to the last page to learn the truth of his origins.

The Man From Nowhere

Posted in Pulp Fiction Stories | 3 Comments

After a Hundred Years…this IS the Foreign Legion

This is another fine article on the Foreign Legion from the British Newspaper Archive.  Like other articles posted here it is an account of the Foreign Legion written on or around their 100th Anniversary / Centennial.  It appeared in the July 1931 issue of the illustrated paper known as Brittania & Eve.

I really liked this piece–mainly for the frank and upfront approach of the author, Ferdinand Tuohy, who was a WWI news reporter and post-war foreign correspondent who wrote the book The Secret Corps (1920).  He does not go down the easy path that many other Legion Centennial reporters took and tries his damned best to describe what he believes is the actual Foreign Legion circa 1931.  Even in the first sentences of this article he is calling out the mainstream media for their versions of “fake news”.  Overlooking a couple of glaring factual errors (the “mummified” right hand of Captain D’Anjou and his Under Two Flags reference, for example), Tuohy really nailed it with his claim at the end of the third paragraph that “…if I were asked this moment what is the keynote of the Legion, its outstanding feature, its guiding influence, its leitmotif, I should not reply cruelty, or hardship, or lust (love!), or forgetfulness, or glamour (!), but unhesitatingly–DRINK.”  Similar points made by the author also go against contemporary writers who penned puff-pieces about the Legion during the Legion’s Centennial observations.  These include the perceptions of interviewed legionnaires that only less than 1% of the Legion might have come from “interesting” backgrounds such as professional tradesmen, military officers, priests, doctors, royalty, etc.  The remaining 99% are the dregs and roughest cuts from dozens of countries.  Tuohy also points out in several places that the officer ranks were reserved for Frenchmen only and all other nationalities have to aspire to senior NCO ranks. All in all this is one of the better Centennial pieces.  (.pdf link is below).

This IS the Foreign Legion

NOTE: This is kind a “proof of life” post since I’ve been AWOL for the past three weeks or so.  As I noted in a previous post, I’m working on various research projects,  sorting out and indexing my horde of digital files and indexing my sagging bookshelf in order to revitalize this blog a bit.  Be patient….good things to come.

Posted in Articles | 2 Comments

Legion Pulp: Gold Galons

This month’s Foreign Legion pulp fiction story is again from Adventure magazine (March, 1937).  The author is Frederick C. Painton who was a very prolific pulp fiction writer who had well over 300 stories in multiple genres and dozens of pulp and slick magazines.  Reading through the list of his works on Fiction Magazines Index it looks like he wrote several other Foreign Legion stories in addition this one.  Indeed, Painton is said to have spent time living with the Foreign Legion for a time in order to do proper research on his subject.  Even in this 10 page story, you will find his writing is technically accurate and shows a high degree of preparation and research.

Gold Galons

Frederick Painton was a WWI veteran who turned to fiction writing after a short time with the Stars and Stripes and other newspapers.  During WWII, he was a war correspondent for Colliers and Reader’s Digest covering the campaigns in North , Italy and the Pacific.  At the ripe age of 49, he suffered a heart attack and died on 01 April 1945 on the island of Guam.

Posted in Pulp Fiction Stories | Leave a comment

Grit Gregson: Held to Ransom

I recently found that I have several more of these great Grit Gregson stories squirreled away on my hard drives, so here is another–this one is from the pages of the British comic Lion (23 Jan 1954).  In this story Grit puts himself at great risk to help Captain Leroux who mysteriously disappears in the desert.  (Thanks again to that original usenet poster)

Held to Ransom

Posted in Legion Comics | 2 Comments