Members of France’s legendary Foreign Legion are currently involved in a huge joint training exercise with Britain’s Parachute Regiment on the rugged French Island of Corsica.
Codenamed “Blue Legionnaire”, the exercise is part of French and British preparations for future bilateral operations following the 2010 Lancaster House Treaties, signed by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The treaties, which included joint training, also controversially committed France and Britain to sharing aircraft carriers.
And even if France’s current president, François Hollande, favours closer military cooperation with Germany, an extensive series of joint French-British exercises are set to carry on through 2014.
In the pictures below, Colchester-based B Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment trains alongside the 2nd Regiment Etranger de Parachutistes (Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment).
The two-week long training is part of an operational partnership between the British 16 Air Assault Brigade and the French 11th Brigade Parachutiste – both of which stand at high readiness to deploy on operations ranging from war fighting to disaster relief.
A French military spokesman told FRANCE 24: “Since deploying in Afghanistan, the French army has become increasingly adept at working closely with our English-speaking allies, and relations between the French and British militaries are at an all-time high.
“These training exercises are vitally important – if the two countries are to work together in future operations, the officers and men need to be familiar with each other’s equipment.
“And if they can get to know each other on first-name terms, that will make them all the more prepared for future success.”
Corporal Chris Hooper of 2 Para (centre) with Legionnaire Oskar Trompakajski (left) and Legionnaire 1st Class Jung Jih (right). ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
Corporal Chris Hooper explains safety drills of the British SA80 A2 rifle to the two legionnaires. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
British paratroopers practice with the FAMAS, the standard French infantry rifle. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
The two-week long training is part of an operational partnership between the British 16 Air Assault Brigade and the French 11e Brigade Parachutiste. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
Exercise Blue Legionnaire has seen the two units train with each other's weaponry and practise fighting together in urban areas and beach assaults. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
Legionnaires storm a beach. The soldier in the foreground is a British paratrooper. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
A Legionnaire (left) and a member of the British Parachute Regiment are put through their paces on a Foreign Legion assault course in Corsica. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
A legionnaire explains the French parachute system to the British soldiers. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
Corporal Oliver Stokes (left) of 2 Para stands with Chief Sergeant Pia Lorenzo (right) of the French Foreign Legion before making a practice jump in Corsica. ©Corporal Andy Reddy RLC
Date created : 2014-01-23