04 September 2012

Sound Off! Foreign Legions

Many countries have formed "foreign legions" of citizens from other nations, serving someone else in the military.

Are these thinly-veiled mercenary forces? Or noble guardians of another nation?

Should use of foreign legions be widened? Or should it be discontinued altogether?

Lots of possibilities for you to sound off on in the comments!

By: Brant


besilarius said...

During World War II, there were a lot of german POWs picking peas in america.
Many got really tired of farmwork, and offered tojoin the US military in fighting Japan.
The thought of experienced panzertruppen blitzkrieging through the Kwanto plain near Tokyo made people at the Pentagon drool.
Seemed like a sure win situation, especially after the casualty estimates were done.
However, the concept was vetoed by Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall.
Referring to "Hessians", he firmly came down against the use of mercenaries.

Jack Nastyface said...

FWIW...I've met three FFL guys in my life. Two were borderline sociopaths with a host of mild or minor personality disorders, and one was a normal guy who still suffers from non-combat related PTSD.

I'm not sure that FL's are "veiled mercenary forces" but I believe that they are frequently used to perform operations that national soldiers would not do. IMHO this requires a somewhat "flexible" moral profile, so the ranks of FL's are sometimes filled with fringe personality types.

On a related note...I once asked the "normal" FFL guy which national service arm he thought of most highly. He felt that Royal Marines and Paras, USMC and S. Korea Rangers were some of the best soldiers he had ever seen, but the FFL were the best "warriors". When I asked him to explain the distinction, he replied: "Because they [the aforementioned groups] do what they are ordered, [which makes them good soldiers]...but the FFL do whatever the f**k they want, which make them dangerous."

I also asked if he had ever considered writing down his memoirs. He said no, because a) no-one would believe him and b) it might expose him to legal action or peer retribution.

Dom S said...

Interesting stuff. One advantage of the Gurkhas is that the very best Nepalese recruits can be selected so the troop quality is high. For political reasons they are unlikely to be used as 'cannon fodder' in the way the FFL has occasionally been in the past. The post-colonial political atmosphere and financial reality means their days may be numbered which is a shame IMO