French Foreign Legion – 4 Basic but frequently asked questions

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Question about the French Foreign Legion

#1 What is the French Foreign Legion?

The French Foreign Legion is an assault troop, an integrated fighting force in the French Army.

With nearly 9,000 men, it represents 11% of the Land Task Force. It also includes operational reserve units and civilian Defense personnel, which brings the volume to some 10,500 people.

#2 Are there any women in the Legion?

If you visit the official Facebook page or site of the French Foreign Legion, it’s not impossible if you see photos of women.

So the answer is yes, BUT they are not making part of the actually fighting forces. Mostly they occupy administrative posts within the regiment, like accountant, lawyer, human environment manager etc.

#3 What is the difference between the French Army and the FFL?

The biggest difference between the French Army and the Legion is that the FFL accepts people from other countries. Not only from France but from all around the world.

Nowadays, there are more than 140 nationalities living and working together. Each legionnaire sign a contract “à titre étranger” (on a foreign basis) and are commanded by French officers.

Legionnaires only can change regiment within the FFL. For example, if you are working as a combat medic, but you want to change your regiment, you can’t go to a French unit like the 1st Infantry Regiment. This small detail could become very important later.

#4 My favourite: does the French Foreign Legion exist?

Of course a lot have changed since I joined, but yes, the French Foreign Legion still exists and goes very well even nowadays.

This notorious part of the French Armed Forces can still be in place because the French nation accepts in a derogatory way that the Legion recruits foreigners to carry the arms of France. After the terrorist attacks in 2015, the FFL was able to recruit more people and fill quickly their ranks up, than the regular French units.

The FFL counts today eleven regiments, which you’ll discover in another post.

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