Well, summer is about over for me–at least for all the home landscape and garden projects, travel and vacations, the visiting relatives and general busy work that needed to be done in the good weather. It’s time for some relaxation and some attention paid to this blog that I’ve neglected for too long. So here is a compilation of randomness that I came across so far this summer.
1. Americans in the French Foreign Legion 1914-1918. This page has a pretty good list of the American volunteers who showed up to fight for France in WWI. Being from a different country the majority of these men were placed in the Foreign Legion along with other foreign volunteers from England, Italy, Spain and dozens of other countries. There are about 175 names here and some have been further identified as having went from the Legion to the Air Service (including the Lafayette Espadrille) or the Ambulance Service (where foreign units were allowed to be formed and operate on the front lines). I would like to one day compare this list to the names mentioned in this book by Paul Rockwell.
2. Beau Geste: Algerian Tuareg Revolt – BATTLE SET. It seems that there is a new product by Italeri (one of the better model makers of 1:72 scale miniatures). This item features a laser cut desert fort packaged with 150 figures (50 Legion and 100 Arab), and several terrain items (3x tents and a well). The fort seems to be comprised of six thin sheets of laser cut board (not sure if it is wood or cardboard) that comes together into eight separate parts of the fort. These eight pieces are then connected to form the full structure. Nice to see something new in this scale again from one of my favorite model makers.
3. Lead Adventure Forum: This is one of my favorite boards on miniatures and this thread has been active lately discussing miniatures and related information for both a Dahomey and Madagascar campaign. You will see several prototype miniature sculpts from Gringo40s for a line of “opposing forces” that might square off against the Foreign Legion. There is a similar informative thread that covers the French Tonkin campaign with sculpts of various Black Flag pirates of the late 1800’s. Early French Indochina in general as well as Dahomey and Madagascar are not well represented in the wargame world so these contributions are very welcome.
4. Some Legion YouTube Videos. Here are a couple of recent videos to be found on YouTube. The first one, “Les coulisses du 14 juillet 2018“, is from the recent Bastille Day march down the Champs-Élysées and shows the Legion contingent preparing for their march. Here is a link to the entire parade (the Legion appears around 1:35:13). The second video is the first part of four videos showing the “Cérémonie de remise des képis blancs” where new recruits are officially inducted into the ranks of the French Foreign Legion. Parts 2, 3, 4, are also available.
5. The French Foreign Legion by George D’Esparbes. This book was originally published in 1901 and was meant to provide the readers with insights into the mysteries of this famed corps. The author, then a Lieutenant, spent a month with the Foreign Legion in Sidi Bel Abbes and apparently learned enough to fill a book. Until recently this book was only available in French but there is now a translated-into-English version available via Amazon in both Kindle (.99 cents) and paperback. Be warned however that D’Esparbes is prone to sensationalize quite a bit of his observances. In any case thanks to Matthew Lynch for translating this book and making it so affordable.
6. John Robb. John Robb (1917-1993) was a British WWII veteran and later journalist and author who wrote several fiction books in the mid-1950’s that featured the adventure, drama and heroics of the contemporary Foreign Legion. They were not pulp fiction but most certainly could have been marketed as such a couple of decades earlier. I noticed that some of his books are now available on Amazon for Kindle or paperback. The books on Amazon that feature the Foreign Legion are Storm Evil (1954), Mission of Mercy (1954), Zone Zero (1954), I Shall Avenge (1954). Other titles he wrote include We – the Condemned, Legionnaire (1953), The Last Deserter, Patrol to Zaruse and Red Radford and the Black Legion (1960).