Warriors of the French Foreign Legion

The Discovery Channel
55 minutes

By Richard Moore

The French Foreign Legion has long been the stuff of adventure and romance.

The March or Die heroism of Beau Geste's comrades against the Arabs in North Africa or being the foreign soldiers sent to do the dirtiest and hardest work for France.

Joining recruits leave behind their pasts - ordinary or shady - and begin anew as legionnaires, the toughest of French soldiers.

In Warriors of the French Foreign Legion the Discovery Channel takes cameras into the modern Legion and while weapons and enemies have changed, the outcome hasn't as one in 10 legionnaires will die during their five-year tenure.

For the Legion is still France's first resort in nasty situations and, as the soldiers themselves say, they are sent because if they die "it's only foreigners".

More than 100 nationalities still form its ranks although once they are accepted their only family is the Legion.

Discipline and training is brutal and from the interviews it seems that old hands will do almost anything under orders.

Warriors of the French Foreign Legion is an excellent look at the modern fighting force, although it doesn't go into enough early history - such as the Crimea or North Africa - for my liking. That is, after all, where the legend was born.


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