26.Chapter – Military engineering, Abatis and long distance shooting

4 mins read
Legionnaires preparing for abatis training

These two weeks were one of my favorite moments of my first year in the French Foreign Legion. When I chose 2° REG, I knew they do at least two months of exercise a year in the mountains next to the basic field missions.

But I didn’t know anything about military engineering.

During the “CP-04” which is the basic military engineer training (I already mentioned here), didn’t make me became a fan of this branch… However, during these two weeks I could work with experienced legionnaires, so I could discovered how this work really looks like.

On Tuesday morning, we were the only group wearing a Green Beret. I didn’t meet other soldiers from the regular French units before, so it was something new to see guys with red beret from the 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment for example.

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Our squad leader held us a short briefing about the upcoming days and explained how exactly we are going to assist to a training of new sergeants. The objective of our presence was that the new NCOs could train to command a team during different type of engineer missions.

Right after the meeting, we went out to a zone which was set apart for “abatis” maneuvers.

Abatis is a type of defense,

which consists to make an obstacle by exploding trees placed lengthwise over each other with the boughs pointing outwards. I learned about abatis during the basic engineer module. It’s not something we regularly use during operations, but I’d never done that before in practice, so I found it really interesting.

The next main program was a challenge of long distance shooting with FAMAS against 3 groups of sergeants. This time we were commanded by our squad leader and participated as the 4th group.

Before proceeding to the shooting part, we had to take over a building and once we arrived to the 2nd floor we could open fire on the moving targets. We lost some points on the “maneuver and taking the building over” part, but thanks to the shooting we won the challenge with a score of 16.75/20.

The second group finished with 15.5/20. After lunch, we went to the camp’s bar to drink some beers and as always, the corporals started to talk about their mission they passed together the year before in Afghanistan.

I loved to listen to these stories

but in the same time, it made me a bit jealous because I also wanted to go on operation but I didn’t know about any projection for my company.

During the remaining part of this 2 weeks long field mission I had a chance to shoot with a 50cal Browning, learn how to manipulate with MINIMI, MAG58 and PAMAS. The coolest part was when we made a whole day exercise with special explosives. The sergeants explained how each one works and tried right after on the field.

I loved those 2 weeks because I was finally doing and learning something interesting not only emptying the rubbish and cleaning toilets. During the week after this training we were preparing our stuff for the BAM, the summer module of the mountain course. The last step to become a “whole right” member of 2°REG. 

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  1. Hi Dude! how are you? … I would like to know what is the opinion of the regular French army about the legionaries … Particularly because of your experience in this post… Regards

    • Hey,

      I can’t say that a general opinion exeists about the Legionnaires. Most people like to work with them and respect the FFL, but some say that it’s a bunch of crazy guys doing stupid things. It depends on who you ask 🙂

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