Hodgepodge December 2014

Happy New Year!  There was too much celebration yesterday at my house to get this posted in 2014.  So, despite a hangover, I’ve finally assembled the odds and ends I found about the Foreign Legion the past month.

1.  The Mysterious Lure of the French Foreign Legion.  An interesting article here about Americans who have recently joined the Foreign Legion.  It seems 2LT Lawrence J. Franks Jr. of the U.S. Army was looking for more action and challenges and found them in the Legion after deserting from the Army in 2009.  The article has two videos as well as several links to associated articles.  The video of the Legion’s Mayotte detachment is well done too as is an article about Simon Bennett, a Georgia man who got cut from the Foreign Legion selection process.  Another Vice article describes the misadventures of a Canadian in the Foreign Legion.  (New York Times article had this picture below of Franks in Mali with has back against the wall).


It should be noted that Franks completed his five year Legion enlistment.  He did well and served as part of the Personal Security Team (PST) for French General Laurent Kolodziej the commander of Operation Serval.  Franks told a military court that he had been struggling with suicidal urges and that the arduous regimen of the legion was the only way to escape his crippling depression, the Times wrote.  “I needed to be wet and cold and hungry, I needed the grueling life I could only find in a place like the legion.”  There are plenty of online news stories about Franks and I really like reading the comments at this article.  I can really sympathize with Franks. It must have been a let down of sorts to graduate from West Point during the Global War on Terror and then given command of a medical platoon.  That would probably have branched him Medical Corps which from my experience those units have some of the worst discipline problems, cry-babies and malcontents than any other unit in the Army.  It’s no wonder he chose to abandon it all for the test and challenge of the Foreign Legion.

2.  Reddit\Foreign Legion.  If you want to read more about the Foreign Legion you can always go to this Reddit page.  Be warned however that Reddit is a notorious time sink.  You can literally spend a couple days browsing this topic and others.

3.  Tom Gunn Foreign Legion Figures.  I’ve mentioned these high-end 54mm scale figures before.  They seem to keep making more of them and I can’t really keep up with how many they have.  The pictures of a couple of new figures are shown below.  See them all for yourself here.

4.  Foreign Legion Memoirs.  I stumbled upon this page written by a Wisconsin college student attending (or who attended) Loyola University of Chicago.  It contains some of his reviews of some classic Foreign Legion memoirs to include G. Ward Price’s In Morocco with the Legion, Christian Jennings’ Mouthful of Rocks, Soldier of the Legion by George Mannington and Hell in the Foreign Legion by Ernst Löhndorff among others.  It seems to be a student’s chronicle of his research as part of an internship with his Professor who is working on a greater project based on written memoirs of men who served in the Foreign Legion.  Of course the focus of college research nowadays is always some left wing flavored contrivance and it appears this project is not different….”The overarching goal of my research is to focus on the stark contrast of the extreme violence done by and undergone by French Foreign Legionnaires, in addition to the everyday mundane activities in the glorious process of building a French Empire overseas.”  Whatever.  I’m sure the professor’s work will be published one day in some obscure irrelevant academic journal that nobody but other academics will ever read.

 5. Legion Etrangere Chants 1967.  Heinz Duthel, former Legionnaire and prolific author of various conspiracy related books, has graciously uploaded some Foreign Legion chants to the Internet Archive here and here.  I can’t recommend anything else you come across by Duthel but these are at least good quality mp3s.

Admin Note:  During the last two months I really went overboard on purchasing books and Foreign Legion related publications.  There were some great finds on ebay and Abe Books and I’ve also mastered making purchases directly from eBay France.  I’ve subscribed to Kepi Blanc and also have made some buys from DelCampe.  I hope to review these books in 2015.   There should be some interesting things happening to the layout as well.  So keep following this blog.


About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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