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French Foreign Legion 1914-45 [Paperback]

Martin Windrow , Mike Chappell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 26 1999 Men-at-Arms (Book 325)
In this worthy addition to the Men-at-Arms series, Martin Windrow examines the history and uniforms of the French Foreign Legion from the start of the First World War to the end of the Second World War. The author's knowledgeable text covers such topics as a comprehensive battle history of the Legion on the Western Front 1914-18, the colonial campaigns in Morocco, Syria and Indochina, the Battle of France and campaign in Tunisia. This volume is splendidly illustrated throughout, containing a wealth of contemporary photographs and eight full page colour plates by Mike Chappell.

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Product Description

About the Author

Martin Windrow is series editor at Osprey and an authority on the post-war French army, particularly the Foreign Legion. He is the author of several Osprey books, including MAA 322 The French War in Indochina 1946-54.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In 1914 the Legion Etrangere consisted of the six-battalion ler and 2e Regiments Etrangers, with headquarters respectively at Sidi bel Abbes and Saida, Algeria. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Overview of Fascinating Forces Jan. 23 2002
Format:Paperback
The author has had a long and distinguished career in popular military history for over twenty five years.
Originally raised in the nineteenth century for pacifying the inhabitants of then Algeria, the so-called "romance" of the Foreign Legion has long fascinated the general reader around the world.The reality was much different. Not Beau Geste at all. Before the Great War of 1914, the Legion was composed of long service men most of whom had no other home. Their loyalty was pledged to the Legion not to France, thus they did not forsake their own nationalities. It was a hard and dangerous life but not without its satisfactions to the many hard men who joined it.
When the war broke out in 1914, nationals of many nations not directly involved rushed to enlist in the service of France. The political decision was made to enroll these men in the Legion, not in the French Army. This led to clashes of view between the idealistic new comers and the hard-bitten "old sweats". But this was finally smoothed out and the Legion earned its laurels. One unit was decorated so many times that it wore a double fouraguerre (a braided cord worn on the shoulder as an award of unit valor akin to an individual's award of the Croix de Guerre.) and they were told that if they continued to excell in bravery, the Army would continue to invent new insignia for them.
This work is a splendid example of the new emphasis of the publisher on producing comprehensive works in a handy inexpensive format compared with the earlier broad brush treatments which covered too much in too little detail.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vive la France! May 17 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
After reading this book, I plan to join the French Foreign Legion. For scholars of the time period, this offers a much looked-over perspective of the two world wars and the period between them. The Foreign Legion didn't just hang out in Africa, they traveled all over Europe and Asia as well, and this book is fantastic, as are all of the Osprey Men-at-Arms titles.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not very extensive, almost a childrens book. Aug. 18 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I thought this book would be a little more extensive. It had only a few color photos of hand drawn images from the author and the rest were black and white. It had a good explanation of the Legion's history but again, not as extensive as I thought it would be. Seems almost like a childrens book.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Overview of Fascinating Forces Jan. 23 2002
By El Cutachero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The author has had a long and distinguished career in popular military history for over twenty five years.
Originally raised in the nineteenth century for pacifying the inhabitants of then Algeria, the so-called "romance" of the Foreign Legion has long fascinated the general reader around the world.The reality was much different. Not Beau Geste at all. Before the Great War of 1914, the Legion was composed of long service men most of whom had no other home. Their loyalty was pledged to the Legion not to France, thus they did not forsake their own nationalities. It was a hard and dangerous life but not without its satisfactions to the many hard men who joined it.
When the war broke out in 1914, nationals of many nations not directly involved rushed to enlist in the service of France. The political decision was made to enroll these men in the Legion, not in the French Army. This led to clashes of view between the idealistic new comers and the hard-bitten "old sweats". But this was finally smoothed out and the Legion earned its laurels. One unit was decorated so many times that it wore a double fouraguerre (a braided cord worn on the shoulder as an award of unit valor akin to an individual's award of the Croix de Guerre.) and they were told that if they continued to excell in bravery, the Army would continue to invent new insignia for them.
This work is a splendid example of the new emphasis of the publisher on producing comprehensive works in a handy inexpensive format compared with the earlier broad brush treatments which covered too much in too little detail.
The new emphasis is on sets and volumes covering various national armed forces in as much detail as is available, consistent with the current purpose of the works in the series, which have evolved from an original emphasis on serving the military miniature maker market into works intended to enlighten the general reader in enough detail to satisfy the merely curious and to point the way to further reading.
Most of us, including myself, have little need for, or the patience to read, voluminous studies, often in foreign languages, covering many eras and nations. My main interest is in the US forces, their allies and their enemies in the twentieth century.
That said, these works should be purchased as presented, in sets within the series. Since they are produced as a set, the volumes cover only relevent parts of the general history and the clothing and individual equipment is covered as it appears in each period. The French Army, US Army, British Army, and Italian Army series all have three volumes, covering the major theatres and time periods of the war. The German set has five.
This should be read along with the volumes on the French Army of the same period.
If you want an introduction to the fascinating variety of clothing and equipment of the forces covered, this set is for you.
4.0 out of 5 stars Focus too much on uniforms Sept. 10 2014
By Filipe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A very good book, following the tradition of FFL books on Osprey. It spends too much time covering uniform details, and for me, this is of secondary importance. But the description of the actions in which the légionnaires took part are thrilling and make you want to know more. I belive there is time for Osprey to make another effort on the French Foreign Legion in the period. A Warrior perhaps.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very extensive, almost a childrens book. Aug. 18 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I thought this book would be a little more extensive. It had only a few color photos of hand drawn images from the author and the rest were black and white. It had a good explanation of the Legion's history but again, not as extensive as I thought it would be. Seems almost like a childrens book.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vive la France! May 17 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After reading this book, I plan to join the French Foreign Legion. For scholars of the time period, this offers a much looked-over perspective of the two world wars and the period between them. The Foreign Legion didn't just hang out in Africa, they traveled all over Europe and Asia as well, and this book is fantastic, as are all of the Osprey Men-at-Arms titles.
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