A month left before the end of the basic trainings and our platoon had two goals to achieve.. The raid march and the final tests.
Normally, the raid march is a 3-4 days long mission during which we have to show our tactical skills, ability to work in team and rusticity we earned in the last three months. The total distance was 60 km and we had to accomplish the biggest part at night. We didn’t sleep more than 3 hours a day and we always had to be attentive because the corporals played the role of the enemy. They knew very well where they could find the weak points in our unit.
The exercise started at night.
Everybody had hundred and twenty of blank cartridges. Each group loaded his weapons, which was the origin of the first banane of the exercise. The Italian has fired his FAMAS in rafale mode on a Hungarian’s leg.
Our chef made him to do push-ups and put a rock in his backpack. Just some traditional things, because we didn’t have time. We had to move on.
15km further, we arrived to a point and slept in an old, half-destroyed building. Two of us were on guard with the night vision optics and at 4 AM everyone had to go out to reinforce the night’s watch. We were waiting for the “enemy”, symbolized by a military car with a red flag on the top.
The first who saw it made a sign and the designated person lanced a grenade, everyone else started to fire.
The exercise has officially begun.
The next few days were pretty much the same, marching, shooting, observing and marching again. At the end of the week, everyone was tired and when we arrived back to Castelnaudary, nobody minded to see the regiment’s walls. We needed the whole Friday to clean the weapons, and the weekend we prepared the bags for the test week, we did on the farm of the 4th company (The 4th -green- company is the most legendary in Castelnaudary, because everybody passes there once, at least.
They are training the new corporals and sergeants of the French Foreign Legion). The corporals were telling each other how they were suffering during their 2 months long training in the 4th CIC (Compagnie d’Instruction des Cadres).
During 3 days, we passed many different tests. How to react in nuclear attack, the security measures to take when using explosives, transmission and topography. The two most important parts were the infantry combat in groups, but everyone was noted individually and the knowledge about weapons, especially the FAMAS.
My results were not the best, I could not explain the nuclear things, I was bad at the radio station but I could assemble/disassemble a FAMAS in a short time and I was not bad at combat neither.
We finished the week with a barbecue
Everyone was satisfied, because we only had two weeks left and our future regiment got closer than ever.
At the end of the basic trainings, the legionnaires can choose their future regiment according to their scores they got during the final tests. Those who performed well had more chance to choose their future unit, than the others.
For example, we only had 4 places to 1st REG, but 7 guys wanted to go to Laudan. The bests went there, those who finished back in the classification had to choose another unit.
The places to the regiments aren’t fix
It changes all the time according to the need of the unit.
Our section got
- 8 places to 2° REP,
- 4 places to 1° REG,
- 5 places to 2° REG,
- 8 places to 2° REI and
- 6 places to 1° REC and
- 1 place for 4° RE.
Those who chose to stay in Castelnaudary pass quickly corporal, but have to stay a year (or two) as infantry combat instructor in the regiment.
We did not have any places to 3° REI, 1° RE, GRLE and DLEM. The last three regiments aren’t available for young legionnaires. 3° REI only take people in summer period, which means you have to finish the basic trainings before May to be able to go to South America. Nowadays, since 13° DBLE came back to France, many young legionnaires go there to fill the new companies up.
I finished in the middle of the classification
and was still able to choose 2° REG. I was thinking a lot, which regiment to choose. I didn’t know much things about the specialty of the units, my only goal was to go on a deployment.
During the 4 months, we got a presentation of every regiment by those who were serving there. I decided to go to 2° REG, because in a year they do 2 months in the mountains (at least), 3 months of combat training and each year they send a unit to French Guyana for a 4 months mission.
Now, if I had to change and go somewhere else, I would try myself at 2° REI or 1° REC.