French Foreign Legionnaire, 1890-1914, Martin Windrow

French Foreign Legionnaire, 1890-1914, Martin Windrow

The French Foreign Legion is one of the most famous of all military units, with a reputation for brutality towards its own men along with one as an elite fighting unit. This is one of a series of Osprey's looking at the Legion, and covers the life of the Legionnaire in the quarter of a century before the outbreak of the First World War.

This is the period of Beau Geste, probably the most famous fictional account of the French Foreign Legion. While the novel represents life in the Legion accurately, Windrow's book makes it clear that the desperate siege of an isolate fort seen in the novel, and since parodied endlessly, wasn't representative of the sort of fighting that took place in North Africa. The Legion was more likely to operate in flying columns,  

The focus here is on the life of the Legionnaire rather than on the military activities of the Legion. We follow the individual solder from his original recruitment, looking at the origins of the legionnaires, through his training and on to his equipment, place in the Legion and peacetime existence. Finally we examine a series of typical Legion battles in North Africa and Vietnam, two very different theatres of operations. As a result we get an interesting picture of life in this famous (or infamous) unit, and one that dispels some of the myths that surround the Legion.

Life in Peacetime
Belief and Belonging
Life on Campaign
The Experience of Battle
The Aftermath of Battle

Author: Martin Windrow
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2011

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