Why young men queue up to die in the French Foreign Legion

The French Foreign Legion, which is made up of a small number of 8,000 men, is known for having one of the most difficult working conditions of any military in the world.

The Legion was established in 1831 and is officially a branch of the French Army. However, it is regarded as a distinct entity with a distinct identity and ethos.

Not where the French Foreign Legion fights, but who it commands to do that fighting, is what is foreign.

Criminals, con artists, wanted businessmen, deserters—apparently everyone is welcome. But is this true today?.

The French Foreign Legion, a strictly male-only organization, has served in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, French Guiana, Gabon, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kuwait, Rwanda, and Somalia over the past 20 years. They are a busy bunch of men.

For about 100 candidates applying to serve in the Legion, only 10-15 are accepted.

Recruitment in 2019 and 2020

1,245 young volunteers from 90 different nations began their first contracts with the French Foreign Legion in 2019. This number should have gone up to 1,750 in 2020. However, the FFL probably recruited fewer new legionnaires than anticipated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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If the Legion can’t replace the Legionnaires recruited after the terrorist attacks in 2015, its global headcount will decline in what was a significant year for the entire world. Unless a new contract was signed by the majority of the “Charlie Hebdo” generation Since the 1300 recruits expected in 2021 is 25% less than the number of new legionnaires in 2016 It lets us think of two possible scenarios.

  • More than ever before, the French Foreign Legion is successful at keeping its members.
  • Its headcount going to slowly decrease in the upcoming year

French Foreign Legion hiring plan in 2021

There will only be 1300 new recruits who can join the French Foreign Legion in 2021 and become a legionnaire. It is 26% less than in 2020, but what does this number exactly mean?

Between 8,000 and 10,000 foreigners (and Frenchmen) pass through the French Foreign Legion’s doors each year in the hopes of enlisting. These people attracted by adventure, surpassing oneself, better living conditions, the prestige of the institution and so many other reasons, but only 13-15% actually enlist

The French Foreign Legion continues to be one of the French conventional forces’ most selective units. It’s uncertain at this time how the lockdown will affect this statistic in future years.

Possible regiments to join

The Human Resource Management of the French Foreign Legion (DRHLE) predetermines each year which positions in the combat units need to be filled.

After completing the basic training in Castelnaudary, they predict that only 8 out of 10 chosen candidates will actually enlist in a regiment. To divide this number among the nine options, it will therefore be approximately 1,000 new legionnaires. The following are among them: 1°RE, 4°RE, 2°REI, 2°REP, 13°DBLE, 1°REG, 2°REG, 1°REC, and 3°REI.

There is no place in Mayotte for those who are finishing the basic training in Castelnaudary

French Foreign Legion Acceptance Rate

Another consideration is that approximately 30 former legionnaires will reenlist in the years that follow the conclusion of their term of service. If the Legion follows the same plan as last year, the newly commissioned legionnaires will be distributed as follows:

1°RE 4°RE 2°REI 2°REP 13°DBLE 1°REG 2°REG 1°REC 3°REI
7 65 172 175 157 132 155 107 30

When Legionnaires are finally able to select their future regiment in 2021 at the conclusion of their basic training, the distribution of positions will result in something very similar to this:

1°RE 4°RE 2°REI 2°REP 13°DBLE 1°REG 2°REG 1°REC 3°REI
0 3 9 9 8 7 8 6 0

Although there are technically some openings in 1°RE, they are primarily reserved for musicians or, eventually, for someone who is certain they want to work in an office. These individuals are typically fluent in French, but I believe the majority of my blog’s readers prefer the GCP of 2°REP to an office in Aubagne.

The number of veteran Legionnaires who volunteer to transfer from combat units to Castel determines the number of open positions in 4°RE. Keep in mind that, if you performed well enough during the basic training, your commandment will typically propose you for 4°RE rather than letting you decide for yourself. Those who choose Castel will graduate as corporal quickly and stay for the 8-month training period for new legionnaires. From my point of view, it’s a waste of time. A friend of mine who placed third during basic training chose to remain in 4°RE, which he later regretted. I’ll compare his career path to mine to give you an idea.

My choice of regiment

At the end of my second year, I decided to join the 2°REG, complete my basic engineer and mountain training, the radio course, and return from an OPEX. I became corporal around 2,5 years.

My friend stayed in Castelnaudary during this time, passed corporal, and was required to watch two sections of new volunteers. After serving in the 4°RE for a while and being transferred to the 1°REC, he was unable to select his regiment for some reason.

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Back then, the regiment was relocating from Orange to Carpiagne. He eventually lost motivation, completed no deployments during his contract, and eventually left with a 5-year contract. I was promoted to sergeant, trained as a radio specialist, and deployed twice all at once.

Some info & my opinion

Finally, I didn’t write much about 3°REI. My personal opinion is that French Guyana is the best location for a legionnaire. You might have the opportunity to select 3°REI if you complete your basic training between June and September.

French Foreign Legion Acceptance Rate

There are only a limited number of positions available in Kourou, as shown in the table above, and they will be split between 10 to 12 promotions. It gives 3 places for a platoon.

The benefit of 3°REI is that you can earn a good living while almost constantly doing your real job. The jungle training is exciting in addition to being interesting and helpful. The best time I ever had in the FFL was the six months I spent in French Guyana.

For more information, dont hesitate to visit the official site of the French Foreign Legion

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The French Foreign Legion: Wage , Contracts and Ranks


Is it hard to get into French Foreign Legion?

During their Basic Training at the Fourth Foreign Infantry Regiment close to Castelnaudary in southern France, all applicants become accustomed to the Legion’s culture. Légionnaires call it “The Farm”. Only one in ten of the 1400 men who went through this renowned boot camp in 2021 passed the test.

Does the French Foreign Legion accept anyone?

The legion today Men of any nationality, between the ages of 17 and 40, may enlist in the legion. Recruits must enlist anonymously (the anonymat), but legionnaires have a year to serve before they can ask to use their real names.

Does the French Foreign Legion accept Americans?

The Legion is unique in that it accepts foreign recruits willing to serve in the French Armed Forces. Legionnaires are highly trained soldiers.

Is the French Foreign Legion selective?

The French Foreign Legion continues to be one of the French conventional forces’ most selective units.

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