Legion Forts: Fort Saganne

O.K.  If you saw the movie you would know that this is not a Foreign Legion fort.  It’s not even a real fort.  It was a movie set constructed for the 1985 movie “Fort Saganne”, which was one of the most expensive French movies made at the time.  It starred Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, and a really young and pretty Sophie Marceau.  It is about three hours long and was filmed “on location” in present day Mauritania.  Depardieu portrays Captain Saganne, a Spahi commander (not Legion) who gets posted way, way out in the fringes of the Algerian Sahara (to keep him away from the Colonel’s daughter of course).   There are several neat scenes depicting French colonial uniforms of the Algerian Spahis, Tirailler Senegalais, and what appears later in the film to be Spahis Saharienne.   Tuaregs and bedouin raiders also make appearances.  Late in the movie you will see the WWI battle scenes and the mustard yellow-brown uniforms of the colonial units fighting in the trenches. The fort looks like it took some effort to construct–all the way out there in the middle of nowhere.  Unfortunately, it does not figure prominently in the movie and there is very little footage of the interior and it’s defenses.  In fact, the Spahi battle against the bedouin does not even take place at the fort.   There is one notable scene where one of CPT Saganne’s sous officers, who has a bad case of cafard,  shoots himself off the wall of the fort.  Fort Saganne still stands but has fallen into ruin.  Posted below are some of the frames from the movie that best depict Fort Saganne.  (I will capture some of the uniforms in a later post.)  I hope it might help any colonial wargamers in constructing their own Saharan fort.

Fort Saganne

About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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