A little known campaign of the Foreign Legion occurred in 1892 when a mixed 800 man Battalion was sent to fight in the west African country of Dahomey ( present-day Benin). King Behanzin was leading his forces against the French interests there and it was up to Colonel Alfred-Amedée Dodds of the Colonial Infantry and his contingent of 4,000 marines, legionnaires, Senegalese tirailleurs, Spahis and loyal Hausa tribesmen to restore order. Facing the French were a strong force of 4,500 of the kings guard and another 10,000 or so warriors. Among the toughest fighters in Behanzin’s forces were the female warriors nicknamed Amazons “renowned for their marksmanship and feared for their propensity to torture and mutilate anyone who fell into their hands. Once every three years the best families in the kingdom would present their eligible daughters before a sort of royal examination board. The prettiest were chosen for the king’s harem, and the most physically fit were placed in the king’s bodyguard and trained for war.”
This story is one of the few pieces of fiction that I’m aware of that is set in the troubled Dahomey of this time. Of course it was H. Bedford Jones who wrote it for Blue Book Magazine (July 1938) as part of his long running Warriors in Exile series of Foreign Legion tales. I actually found a copy of this on FadedPage so this month’s format is a bit different without the two column pulp format.