The FFL Celebrates The 153rd Anniversary Of The Battle Of Camerone 1038


There are some surprising facts which you probably did not know about the French Foreign Legion. Firstly, they are instilled with an attitude of fighting to the death. Giving up is not an option for them. In a battle between the Mexican Army and the French Foreign Legion in April of 1863 was a display of how ballsy and effective legionnaires really are. With just sixty-five men, the legionnaires fought back against a large force of about three thousand at the Battle of Camarone.

Even though these odds were quite overwhelming, the small patrol of legionnaires created huge losses for the Mexican forces and they would not back down. Their French officers instead called on the larger Mexican force to surrender on multiple occasions. While holed up in a hacienda, just five men were still able to fight, as most were wounded or killed, and they incredibly m mounted a bayonet charge against the opposing army until in the end they ultimately were surrounded and forced to surrender.

The Legion continues commemorates and celebrates this battle in current events, and their commander who was slain, Capt. Danjou, is remembered by his wooden hand, which is most prized possession at the museum for the Legion in Aubagne.

Legionnaires who get wounded become French citizens automatically. Even though troops that serve the Legion hail from over one hundred thirty-eight countries, they can eventually become French citizens. After they serve three or more years in this French military honorably, they can apply for citizenship.

They can, however, have a much faster path if they become wounded on the battle field. Then they become citizens through a provision named Francais par le sang verse, or French by spilled blood. This provision began in 1999.

Over thirty-five thousand foreigners have been killed in action while they were serving with the French Foreign Legion. Through its history, the Legion and its fighters were seen as expendable. Foreigners who keep joining continue to do so while accepting the possibility of their death far from home, in exchange for new life with a purpose. However, meaningless sacrifice gradually became a virtue in itself.

It used to be that the Legion accepted anyone, especially misfits and criminals, without question. However, now there is a strict screening process. Since it was founded in 1831, the Legion was somewhere anyone with haunted pasts could escape. Men with shady business dealings, criminal records, or deserters from the armies of their home countries were accepted with no questions into the ranks of the Legion. Their old identity was stripped from them and they were given a new one.

The Legion still accepts deserters and other minor miscreants, but it is not as simple to join as it used to be. New recruits are taken through a battery of intelligence, physical, and psychological testing before they receive any type of training. Later on, screening of recruits is done to check for motivation so they can weed out those who lack the stamina to make it into the ranks.

Lastly, the pay and benefits are terrible. Even though there is promise of being sent anywhere to fight and a very rough life, thousands keep showing up to join each year.

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