History of the French Battalion of Korea 156ème RI – Régiment de Corée during the Algerian War from 1955 to 1962
I – The main stages from 1955 to 1962
The French Battalion of Korea left Indochina on July 17, 1955 aboard the Aurélia (Italian liner) heading for Algiers.
- On August 10, 1955, the Battalion landed in Algiers. It was based for a few months in the Orleans barracks in Algiers, then at Souma 45 kilometers from Algiers.
· On November 12, 1955, the Battalion moved into the Constantine area, at the racetracks of Sidi-Mabrouk. · On February 25, 1957, the Battalion moved to Oued-Zenati (sector of Constantine). It participated in many operations including the operation "Taureau III" in May 1958. · On December 10, 1958, the Battalion HQ moved to Ain-Abid (sector of Constantine). It became one of the operational battalions of the sector of Constantine. It ensured order in the neighborhoods, intervened on the electrified fence of the Tunisian border (Morice line) and participated in the major operations of the Challe plan such as the operations "Jumelles (Binoculars)", and "Pierres précieuses (Precious stones)". · On 1st September 1960, by merging with the 2nd Battalion of the 43rd Infantry Regiment, it changed its name and structure, taking the title of "156th Regiment of Infantry - Regiment de Corée (Korea)". The 1st Battalion and the regimental HQ remained at Ain-Abid. The 2nd Battalion settled at Oued-Zenati. · On July 5, 1961, the Regiment de Corée found itself, by a new reorganization of the sector of Constantine, in Djidjelli. The regimental HQ and 1st Battalion moved to Djidjelli's Chevalier camp and the 2nd Battalion took up settlement in Cavallo. · On March 1, 1962, the Regiment de Corée left the sector of Djidjelli and moved again to Constantine where it was attached this time to the Army Corps. · On July 8, 1962, the 1st Battalion was sent with three companies to Camp Péhau in Philippeville. · On October 2, 1962, the Regiment de Corée gathered at the Barraouia base near Constantine. · On November 11, 1962, the Regiment de Corée embarked at Bône for Marseilles. · On November 30, 1962, the 156th Infantry Regiment – Regiment de Corée was disbanded in France at Camp Sissonne.
II – The main missions and operations
· From 1955 to 1962, the missions assigned to the Battalion of Korea and then the Regiment de Corée were to ensure, among other things, the urban and external security of the cities within the sector of Constantine by patrols and by check points. This area of responsibility was part of the Wilaya 2 sector of the rebellion.
· From 1957 to July 1962, while holding the towns and the countryside, the Battalion of Korea and then the Regiment de Corée, remained in search of rebels. It participated in major operations in the Constantine area, on the Tunisian border and also within in Petite Kabylie.
III – The Commanding Officers
- The French Battalion of Korea, then the 156th RI – Regiment de Corée was commanded by the following senior officers:
- • Major Recasens from 26/10/1954 to 03/01/1956
- • Lieutenant-Colonel Jammes from 23/01/1956 to 01/12/1957
- • Lieutenant Colonel de Seze from 16/12/1957 to 22/01/1959
- • Lieutenant-Colonel of Casinière from 22/02/1959 to 31/12/1960
- • Colonel Rollin from 01/01/1961 to 30/03/1962
- • Colonel Blanchard from 01/04/1962 to 01/05/1962
- • Colonel Lucca from 01/05/1962 to 03/09/1962
- • Disbanded on the 30/11/1962
IV – Collective Awards and Ribbon
- Coming from Indochina, reduced to the structure of a battalion, but retaining its prestigious name, the Battalion was engaged in Algeria as an intervention force for the sector of Constantine.
- On November 10, 1955 the flag of the French Battalion of Korea along with the traditional unit of the French UN battalion in Korea received the collective award of the Fourragère with the colors of the ribbon of the Military Medal (Médaille militaire) with an “olive symbol” with the colors of the ribbon of the Cross of War of theatre of external operations (Croix de guerre des T.O.E.).
- On September 1, 1960, the French Battalion of Korea was incorporated into the reconstitution of the new 156th Infantry Regiment. By change of name and structure, the regiment took the title and the double name of:
156ème Régiment d’infanterie - Régiment de Corée
- Regimental military traditions of the new Régiment de Corée were partially merged. Indeed, the inscription “Korea” and the decorations won by the UN French Battalion in Korea were transferred very curiously to the 7th Colonial Infantry Regiment! General Monclar, a famous Foreign Legion war hero and first commanding officer of the UN French Battalion in Korea, would not have appreciated this surprising decision. On the other hand, the Fourragère with the colors of the ribbon of the Military Medal (Médaille militaire) with an olive symbol with the colors of the ribbon of the Cross of War of theatre of external operations (Croix de guerre des T.O.E.)earned by the French battalion in Korea was added into the collective award and ribbon of the 156th Régiment d’infanterie. The Afrique du nord (AFN) Operation was also on the 156th RI flag since the unit was already merged when it was won.
- During the conflict in Algeria, the French Battalion of Korea and then the 156th Infantry Regiment – Regiment de Corée had 53 soldiers killed in action.
Written by Vincent FAUVELL-CHAMPION
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