The 2ème Régiment Etrangér Parachutistes is the Legions airborne unit. The unit was founded in Quartier Pehan de Philippeville, Algeria on December 1st 1955 from members of the 2ème and 3ème Bataillon Etrangér de Parachutistes which were disbanded after their return from French Indochina. When Algeria became independent in 1962 the 2ème REP was transfered to a base at Seas el Kebir in Bousfer. From 1963 to 1965 the unit is heavily reorganised with more specialised companies. In 1967 the unit is one of the last of the French armed forces to leave the country. Since that time the unit's headquarters is based in Calvi on the French island of Corsica.
This is the most prestigious and most professional of all the Regiments. This is probably because the 2ème REP is in most cases the first unit to be sent into a combat zone. The relatively high pay, the prestige and the emphasis on sport makes the regiment a popular choice for Legionnaires leaving Castelnaudary. However since it is considered to be the elite unit of the Legion only the best recruits are accepted here. Here recruits get another four months of parachute training before being accepted into the unit. A detail is that the 2ème REP is made up to a large extent of Brits and Germans.
The initial four months at Camp Rafalli in Corsica are spent on specialised and parachute training. Enhanced training and combat experience will be gained during your first year. Only after this a Legionnaire has earned his right properly in the 2ème REP. Once in the REP there is much emphasis on physical training and there are plenty of sportclubs on camp. There are many traditions in the regiment. Par example there are three roll calls a day. The first first thing in the morning, The second after lunch and the last at 21.00 in the evening. Another tradition is that a Legionnaire is confined to the island for the first year of the first posting there. It is also tradition for the whole regiment to march across the island from one side to the other once a year. This is a distance of about 200 kilometres.
The contract will last probably 2 years before being posted, but many choose to stay longer. The Regiment is frequently away on detachments, normally for four months at a time. Promotion is slow and courses are harder since the competition is tougher.
Part of this regiment is a unit known as "Groupe de Commandos Parachutistes". This unit was formerly known as Les CRAP or the Commandos de Recherche et d'Action dans la Profondeur. A sort of reconnaissance troop specialising in a wide range of special forces operations in which only non-commissioned officers can apply. They have a reputation for being the best in the Legion.
Members of the 2ème REP carry the winged dagger cap badge and a red Fourragere (Lanyard). All these items add to the attraction of the 2ème REP.
Besides their own traditions the 2ème REP is also the guard of the traditions of the following units:
- 1er Bataillon Etrangér de Parachutistes
- 1er Régiment Etrangér de Parachutistes
- 2ème Bataillon Etrangér de Parachutistes
- 3ème Bataillon Etrangér de Parachutistes
- 3ème Régiment Etrangér de Parachutistes
- Compagnie Parachutiste du 3ème Régiment Etrangér d'Infanterie
The regiment is part of the 11ème Division Parachutiste.
Legionnaires du 2e REP.
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- Primary mission: Unconventional Warfare
- Secondary mission: Long range reconnaissance, internal security duties.
Raised and Disbanded
- Raised: 2ème Bataillon Etrangér de Parachutistes: October 1948
- Redesignated: September 28th 1942: 1st Special Air Service Regiment
- Redesignated: January 1943: 1st Special Air Service Regiment
- Redesignated: March 1944: Special Air Service Brigade
- Disbanded: October 8th 1945
- Raised: 1947 21 Special Air Service
- Raised: 1952 22 Special Air Service
- Raised: 1959 23 Special Air Service
- Compagnie de Commandement et de Service or C.C.S. (Maintenance company)
- 4 Compagnies de Combat or CC (Combat companies)
- 1er CIE (Specialist company in night combat, anti-tank and urban combat)
- 2ème CIE (Specialist company in mountain warfare)
- 3ème CIE (Specialist company in amphibious warfare)
- 4ème CIE (Specialist company in demolition/sabotage and sniping)
- Compagnie de Base et d'Instruction or CBI (Instruction company)
- Compagnie d'Eclairage et d'Appui or C.E.A. (Support and scouts company)
- Calvi, Corsica, France
Video: 2 Régiment étranger de parachutistes - élite de la Légion