Hodgepodge for May 2014

Well, another month zooms by.  Our rough winter is now a faded memory and spring reigns.  Here is what I stumbled on this month–items with tangential connections to the French Foreign Legion.

1.  How to Join the French Foreign Legion in 19 Easy Steps.  Here is a guide to joining the modern Foreign Legion–complete with cheesy graphics.   I suppose it is technically correct but I just could not stop laughing at the graphics that don’t quite match the gravity of this act of enlistment.

2.  Foreign Legion Wine Bar.  Yep, this sounds like it should be in Sidi Bel Abbes but it’s in the upper Midwest.  Right up the interstate from me is the state of Minnesota and further north, the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis).  In Minneapolis there is a new Foreign Legion themed after hours establishment located in the downtown Soo Line Building.  “Both a Wine & Cheese Bar, as well as a Private Dining Facility for Brasserie Zentral, Foreign Legion is a decadent and unique space tucked within the Historic Soo Line Building.”  For now, judging by the website and limited pictures, it looks Foreign Legion in name only but hopefully they will get with the program soon and put a white kepi or two on display amid green and red silk wall paper.  Their mixed European menu looks good.  Their facebook page.

3.  60th Anniversary of IILE (Institution des invalides de la Légion étrangère).   Here is a nice slideshow of the recent activities of the IILE, an organization for disabled Legion veterans located in Puyloubier, at foot of Saint Victoire Mountain in southern France (45km Northeast of Marseille).  Also their official website is here.

I look at what they do at Puyloubier and shake my head in disgust at the recent scandal affecting our own Veteran’s Administration Hospitals.  I’ve been to our local VA and it is clear to me the whole organization is run for the sole benefit of it’s employees (career bureaucrats and lesser functionaries) and not the patients.  Kind of like our post office who keeps raising prices to cover it’s retirement pensions.



4.  Collecting Foreign Legion Badges.  I have not caught this particular collecting bug yet but God protect my bank account if I ever do.  There are hundreds of collectable badges of Foreign Legion units, sub-units, missions & deployments, exercises, task forces (and other miscellaneous justifications for making a badge) –not too many to be overwhelming and yet not so few that the chase becomes old after a while.  I came across this guys great Facebook page and was immediately impressed by the quality of pictures and the detailed descriptions of each badge.  Another great resource on Foreign Legion Badges is the French website Insignes Militaires Lavocat.  I have a handful of Legion badges and insignia and am always tempted to start an add-one-a-month collection but I know this might turn into something obsessive.  Here is an example of some of these beautiful badges which in this case features an owl, indicating that the unit is military intelligence related–a special Human Intelligence detachment (URH) used in Afghanistan.


5.  Mali Update.  Another Legionnaire lost in Mali counter-terrorism operations on 9 May.  News reports indicated the Slovakian member of the Foreign Legion was killed in an explosion when his vehicle hit a home-made explosive device, which also left two other soldiers injured and subsequently hospitalized.   R.I.P.  

6.  More Action Figures.  This web site, Machinegun Figures, features several modified 1/6 scale action figures in various Foreign Legion uniforms.  There is this hyper realistic Sergent of the 1st Company Saharienne Portée and this modern member of the 13th DBLE.  The amount of detail and ingenuity spent on these figures is amazing.  If you like these you should check out the gallery as there are lots of other Foreign Legion and other interesting figures there.  Probably one of the best 1/6 scale websites I’ve seen.

7.  Foreign Legion Fort.  Last but not least I stumbled on a couple of larger scale miniature Foreign Legion/Desert forts.  The first can be seen here.   A remarkable set up with some of the high end quality Foreign Legion figures.  The other fort is nice in a more rugged way…I can’t remember where I found these however.

FFL Fort 1 FFL Fort 2 FFL Fort 3


About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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3 Responses to Hodgepodge for May 2014

  1. Finnwolf says:

    Hello….The fort in the photos was just sold on Ebay. The description reads-

    Up for auction is a great old fort for Foreign Legion troops. I believe that it is modelled after the movie BEAUI GESTE. I’m not sure of the correct set up–comes in sections…as it stands now it is 2 feet across and the highest tower is 8 inches tall.There is some wear, but it adds to the effect. I’m not sure of the exact material but the unpainted side looks like the material used for clipboards. nice for your diroama–light weight.

    It sold for $124.50 plus $20.54 postage which was too much for me. I am in the process of researching the version of Fort Zinderneuf from the Beau Geste novel and not the movie. I have not found any plans for the book version, which basically was a square fort with towers and a large roof with a tiny courtyard.


    • Jack Wagner says:


      Thanks for the information on that fort–it was very likely eBay that I found the photos. Quite an impressive set up. I don’t think there is much description of the physical layout of Fort Zinderneuf in Beau Geste other than references to the walls and lookout platform. I’ll have to read it again–it has been a while.


  2. Finnwolf says:

    Hello…I first read Beau Geste in a paperback version released for the 1966 Stockwell and Savalas movie. In the early 70’s I sat down with the book and noted every description of the fort. I remember drawing that version but of course that drawing is long gone!

    I recently dedicated a poor copy of the hardback to research by highlighting those portions but am not done yet. Here are some of what I remember-

    Gray color and square
    Flanking towers and lookout platform
    Large roof with a door (leading to stairs going down), which could be seen from outside the fort
    Embrasures around the wall and also somehow around the top of the tiny courtyard

    I will give more details at a later time.



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