Kepi Blanc is the official magazine of the French Foreign Legion. Kepi Blanc (KB) was first published in 1947 and continues to this day after 68 years with over 772 issues. It is somewhat the descendent of two other magazines, La Légion étrangère which began in 1912 and later changed it’s name to Vert et Rouge on July 1945. (Vert et Rouge continued to be published until 1959 with a total of about 115+ issues). There were also several other post-WWII periodicals published by the separate Regiments and it was eventually decided that one “good” magazine could make better use of scarce resources and provide information and boost morale to all legionnaires. So, KB was created in Sidi Bel Abbes by Colonel Gautier, the commandant of the Communal Depot of the Foreign Regiments (DRCE) at the time. KB is very similar to many other current armed forces publications; the U.S. Army has Soldiers Magazine, the UK Army has Soldier Magazine. KB‘s focus is, of course, on the French Foreign Legion and provides news and updates on the events for the various Legion units, current operations and exercises, history articles, book reviews, family events, travel tips, and for a while a cartoon section and regular feature on badges and unit crests. I personally like the historical articles that are often illustrated with rare photographs and illustrations from the Foreign Legion archives.
Over the years I’ve been lucky to find good prices on several small hoards of KB here in the U.S. Acquired bid by bid my collection now numbers over 250 issues. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of them (and so I don’t buy too many duplicates). On the MS Excel document below you can highlight the cells in different colors to indicate what you have in your collection. If you look at the legend at the very bottom you will note that I keep track of the digital copies of the covers, any digital copies/.pdf of KB magazines (
which I have never found) and my modest collection of about 251 hard copy magazines. The reference used to create this checklist was KB‘s own cover index. I’m not sure if anyone else who reads this blog collects KB magazines. If you live in the Americas and want to make significant inroads on collecting all 772+ magazines you will have to get used to bidding on Delcampe or eBay.fr. As I slowly improve my French Language skills (a 2015 News Year’s Resolution!) I hope to use KB more often in my future posts.
UPDATE: Juste sous mon nez! Thanks to AALEME (see comment below) for pointing out about 300 Kepi Blanc magazines (1947 to 1997) that are available for your online viewing at this link. http://aaleme.fr/index.php/repertoire/legion-etrangere/comle/kb/xxd
I also updated the two documents here as of 15 Jan 2014 by fixing the missing issues of 1958.
I purchased one of these recently for an article about the Legion’s activities in France in 1870, which was very useful. Do you know if there is any index of articles anywhere? I’d look for more with information on the same period (or 1914).
I’ve not found an index for Kepi Blanc yet. …other than using the covers as a clue to what is inside or browsing the KB website and reading the headers of more recent issues.
There is another series featuring the French Foreign Legion that has recently been published. These are the small 16 page historical supplements that accompany the collectable Hachette “Soldats De La Legion Etranger” figurines. There are over 150 figures produced so far and each comes with a small booklet with various topics about the FFL covered (thats over 2,000 pages of history, uniforms, pictures, weapons, biographies, charts, maps, etc.) I’ll be making a post about this amazing series probably next week. I mention this product because each booklet’s cover shows the three main subjects covered within and can be used somewhat as an index to find articles related to the FFL in 1870 or 1914. Here are a couple of links to show you what these products look like. The good thing is that the booklets can be purchased separately from the figurines. They are also combining the articles into a series of magazines that you can see here: http://www.hommell-magazines.com/magpress/site/hommell/LEGION-ETRANGERE-MAGAZINE/fr/kiosk/title.html Hope this helps.
for history enthusiasts and fans of the French Legion Etrangere:
Thank you so much for pointing out that treasure trove of KB magazines. I had completely missed those somehow.