The Spirit of the Foreign Legion

SpiritoftheLegionHere’s an interesting article that appeared in the long running U.K. publication The Spectator in August of 1940–the dark days of early World War II.  I’m not sure who P.O. Lapis was but he apparently served as an officer of the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13e DBLE) during the campaign in Norway (9 April and 10 June 1940) and took the time to write about some things he learned about the Foreign Legion.  What I took from the article was what I have felt since I started this blog–that the French Foreign Legion is mainly composed of men who are professional combat soldiers, an elite.  Always has been and always will be.  It is one of the few remaining military organizations that allows for one to be unashamedly looking for a fight.  A corps that has not yet been neutered by political correctness and the nonsensical mambo-jumbo of multicultural social engineers and moral relativists.  The Foreign Legion remains what it has been for almost 200 years.  An organization of tough, well led, hard-bitten, experienced soldiers who are depended upon to do the dirty work of France.


Who is left but the Foreign Legion?  The U.S. Marines maybe plus the Army Rangers and Special Forces and the host of other special operators we have in our military services here in America.  But not for long.   The regular U.S. Army is nothing like what it used to be just 15 or 20 years ago.  It’s now risk adverse and led by zero-defect officers who are nothing but shameless politically correct sellouts. No smoking or drinking allowed.  No tattoos.  No dirty magazines, blue jokes or swearing allowed.  Pink slips for any seasoned combat veteran who is discovered to have a minor infraction on their record from years previous.  Diversity classes and sensitivity training until you can’t stand it any more.  Bending the standards to make them fit the gentler sex.   The Navy and Air Force went down that road years ago and now are nothing but an equal opportunity, gender neutral, jobs and welfare program.  Abroad the Canadian paratroop Regiment was disbanded because of typical north-of-the-border over reaction to the criminal actions of some regimental members.  The German Army is beset with the most idiotic accusations of recruit abuse and racism.  The UK military is similarly dealing with sexual assault scandals and “torture” accusations that never seem to go away.  The Russians?–give me a break; what scumbags they turned out to be in the Ukraine.

We live in challenging times.  The threat of Islamic extremism looms large and future combat operations against them seem more and more likely–the French are still in Mali trying to root out islamist terrorists and it’s been almost a year.  Yet it seems there are also forces actively seeking sap the morale and fighting spirit of our men and woman serving in the Armed Forces.  You hear absolutely nothing of what is happening in Afghanistan right now. If you looked for news about current military operations your browser will fill up with stories of homeless veterans, PTSD, sexual assault in the ranks, gays and gay veterans, problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and never ending stories of our wounded warriors struggling to cope in a seemingly heartless America.  There seems to be no warrior spirit left anymore in this increasingly litigious society.  One false move will have you behind bars for abusing a prisoner or for hate crimes against a religion. It’s a sorry state of military affairs focused only on the idiotic things and not the pertinent issues we need to be prepared for.

Thank God for the French Foreign Legion and the handful of other organizations out there that still have what it takes to shoot hadji in the face in the morning, tell stories about it in the canteen that evening and quietly scratch another notch on the wall were the informal body count is kept before sleeping soundly.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année.

About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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1 Response to The Spirit of the Foreign Legion

  1. Allan says:

    Hi, Jack!

    Just stumbled on your site while hunting any new info on Bennett Doty. My research is stale and goes back two or more decades at this point. Thus far, his career, over and above lawyering, was in WW1, with both the Spanish (removed) and French (deserted & wrote about) Foreign Legions, and the International Brigades in Spain. One of the latter’s histories has Doty killed during the retreats at the end of the SCW. He was under 40 at the time. The late Colin Rickards of Toronto, shared my interest in Camerone & did a book on it as his last effort before his passing. I also met the incredible scholar Wayne Braby of Sta Monica (or was it Santa Barbara) who had collaborated with Martin Windrow, one of the better Legion researchers & writers. Martin wrote to advise he lost contact with Wayne years back. Any info appreciated. Anyhow, let me congratulate you on a fine site. It is refreshing to see how much support the Legion still has, despite the occasional bad press, but the FFL has my vote for some fine, if often unrecognized, fighting against nasty foes, including the latest international thuggery, q.v. Geoffrey Bocca, in his fine book, echoed the view that the FFL did a lot of the dirty-work and got little thanks.

    I’d be happy to hear from you & keep up the good work. Vive la Legion.



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