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French Foreign Legion Serial Numbers?

1958 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Jungles
I recently examined a Berthier M1907/15 rifle and was told it was a Foreign Legion issue due to the serial number block it was in. I am highly doubtful of this for any number of reasons. Does anyone have a positive confirmation on this either way?
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There is no way to say which unit used what weapon by the serial number block ... The only positive way to do this would be paperwork with the weapon and this would not be common at all.

I suspect declaring a French firearm to be "Foreign Legion issue" has the same cachet as declaring a U.S. firearm to be "USMC" issue.

Where was the 'flaming fleur de lis on a ring' stamp, or the bannered 'marche ou creve' motto? If it had been converted to an M.16 five shooter it could not be La Legion Estrange, as command did not want the Tuareg or Berber to have that much fire power after their obligatory massacres of all those lost patrols. (As proof, ask the seller if he has ever seen a Legion compass.)

Have fun with it. You might even get the old boy to laugh at himself. Another soul saved? But, run if he starts taking notes. Better still, offer a low-ball price since he was obviously ripped-off. (No motto, no insignia, and look, no serial number on the receiver! It must be a replacement, so there goes all collectability, if not its legality. You would be doing him a favor.)

Forgive this small attempt at humor. I am weather bound and the truck keys have already been tossed onto the roof. So, before frivolity gives way to sadness, Happy Saint Patrick's Day.
We need to disspel this great myth of weapons used by the Légion étrangère ... La Légion étrangère was during WWI and later regarded as a highly trained unit on par with the Metropolitian units.
They were issued Fusil d'Infanterie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 'Lebel' prior to 1914, sometime in 1915 they went to the Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915, in the 1920's were issued both the Fusil de Infanterie Modèle Modifié 1916 and Mousqueton d'Artillerie Modèle Modifié 1916. You will see loads of pictures of them with these weapons in the North Africa, Middle East, Southern Africa and in Indochine during the 1920 to 1940 period.
They were one of the first units to be issued the Fusil a Répétition de 7,5mm Modèle 1936 when they first came out.

To my knowledge, until WWII, the French Foreign Legion was not rated as a top quality troop in the French Army but rather as second rate, and as a result generally poorly equipped.

In 1939, only one unit of the legion, the 13th DBLE had its standards upgraded and equipped with the same modern gears and weapons (Mas 36 & CR39 )as the Chasseurs Alpin units mobilized for the Finnish front and rerouted to Norway in March 1940.

Even after WWII and the 13th DBLE feats, some units of the FL based in North Africa were poorly equipped and used mostly as construction engineers.

In Indochina it was the same situation until the Legion raised its own standard with the Parachute batallions 1st & 2e BEP.

Today, the FL units are on par with other quality units of the French Army but not to the highest standard, as an example, the best unit of the FL the 2e REP is not rated to the same level as our Special Forces units (COS, Commandement des Operations Speciales) such as the Commandos Marines, the 13th RDP or the 1st RPIMa.

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Thank you all for the replies which confirmed my doubts about this story.
I suspect declaring a French firearm to be "Foreign Legion issue" has the same cachet as declaring a U.S. firearm to be "USMC" issue.
I would also suspect that were Légion étrangère rifles identified with a specific serial number block, fakes would rapidly abound.
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