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Osprey Men-at-Arms 161 : Spanish Foreign Legion

The Spanish Foreign Legion has never been as famous as the French Foreign Legion. One reason for this is that it fought only in the barren and desolate area of Spanish Morocco on the north coast of Africa east of Gibraltar. Another is that few outside of Spain had any interest in it. The world as a whole in 1919 was war weary and the public paid little attention. The Tercio de Extrangeros, 'Regiment of Foreigners' has a rich and eventful history beginning with its formation in 1920. The Foreign Legion was raised from the hordes of restless and ill employed veterans of World War I. Men hardened to fighting and who would not be missed if they perished in the desert wastes. For domestic political reasons conscripts could not be used for such tasks as the Spanish public was not in favour of their use. Under the command of LtCol Millán Astray and Comandante Francisco Franco, the Spanish Foreign Legion developed into a formidable force, led by Astray's belief that 'to die in combat is the greatest honour'. There were some Americans there, Tex O'Reilly who was an officer and whose biography was written both by himself and by Lowell Thomas. Spanish Morocco is where Francisco Franco learned his trade and from whence he came with his troops to begin the Spanish Civil War. This book examines the main campaigns in which the Legion participated, from Melilla in 1921-23 until its withdrawal from the Sahara in 1976. A wealth of contemporary photographs and colour plates detail the uniforms and insignia of the Spanish Foreign Legion. Text by John Scurr with illustrations by Bryan Fosten.

    Contents
  • The Foundation : October 1920
  • Melilla : 1921-23
  • Xauen and Alhucemas : 1924-27
  • Asturias and the National Rising : 1934-36
  • Civil War in Spain : 1936-39
  • Ifni-Sahara : 1957-58
  • End of a Mission : 1961-76
  • The Plates

 

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