Legion Pulp: Knaves of Spades

Biribi1Here is a very early work by Georges Surdez that appeared in the 30 July 1925 issue of Adventure.  This is his 21st story for this magazine after first starting to appear there in 1922.  The plot concerns the men in the Bat’ d’Af” or the Battalions of Light Infantry of Africa (Bataillons d’Infanterie Légère d’Afrique or BILA) who served in North Africa.  They were also given the nickname Zéphyrs, Biribi or Joyeux (“Joyous ones”).  These units were composed of hardened men who had a prison record and have not fulfilled their military obligation or who were still in prison at the time of their normal draft for military service.  The majority of the men in these units came from the Paris or Marseilles underground.  The BILA units often fought alongside the Foreign Legion in their various campaigns in Algeria and Morocco and are often mistaken for Legionnaires as they wore fairly similar uniforms (although at one time all their uniforms were dyed brown) and shared a reputation for trouble making.

Knaves of Spades is a very long and somewhat complex story–billed as a complete novel, the story clocks in at 76 pages.  Here are two .pdf documents.  One for printing and a small one for reading on your tablet.

A Knave of Spades

Knaves of Spades_Print

NOTE:  The .pdf print version of this story was updated 17 Feb.  The previous version was missing a page and also had a duplicate page which was removed.

 

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About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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