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By John Parker

The concept of escaping from the pressures of lifestyles leads many anguished younger males to the French overseas Legion. even though, the brutality of its education regime and the horror tales of its ruthless NCOs were instructed by means of the millions who've abandoned. This publication tells the tale of these who stayed.

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Extra resources for Inside the Foreign Legion: The Sensational Story of the World's Toughest Army

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The convoy was of particular importance. It consisted of sixty horsedrawn wagons filled with heavy guns, ammunition, supplies and three million francs in gold pieces bound for General Foley, bogged down at Puebla. Two days later, on 29 April, Jeanningros received news from a spy that the convoy was to be ambushed, not by guerrillas but by the Mexican army, anxious to avail itself of the new weapons, and the gold. Several battalions of Mexican regular infantry were already moving into position. Jeanningros detailed the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the Legion to go out on patrol and hopefully make contact with the convoy andlor track the movements of the ambush troops.

A century later, in the mid-1970s, the Communist Party ofFrance was still admonishing what it describes as Foreign Legion mercenaries for their role in the suppression ofthe Commune. Generally, historians seem anxious to record that the majority ofassassinations were at the hands ofFrench soldiers, either in the regular army or temporarily bolstering the Legion's ranks. In the meantime, there was plenty of intermittent action in Algeria to keep the Legion occupied, and by the mid-1870s it had been revamped into five eight-company battalions.

Herbinger ordered that they should be stripped of their arms and equipment and lefr where they lay by the departing forces. The colonel was so intent on getting rid of unnecessary baggage that even the brigade money chest containing around 600,000 francs was dumped into the river, along with unwanted ammunition. 31 INSIDE THE FOREIGN LEGION At his court martial on charges of bringing the French army into disrepute, Herbinger explained that he did not want to distribute the money between the men because they were already laden and, in any event, they would merely have spent it on drink, and so many of them were already drunk.

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