Legionnaire is a 1998 war film set in the year 1925 and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as Alain Lefevre, a French boxer on the run from the Marseilles Mafia for refusing to fix a fight. Lefevre then joins the French Foreign Legion to escape the assassins who are trying to kill him. The decision puts Alain into the middle of the Rif War in French Morocco. The battles shown in the film are based upon real events. Abd-El Krim (Kamel Krifa) was a real-life leader of the Rif/Berber rebels who were trying to force the French out of North Africa. Though the film ends with Abd-El Krim victorious, in real life, after early defeats, the French and Spanish ultimately threw a quarter of a million troops at him and his rebels, and Abd-El Krim was defeated and exiled after a bloody 10 month campaign.
The following weapons were used in the film Legionnaire:
Mle 1892 Revolver
An Mle 1892 Revolver is carried by Capt. Rousselot (Kim Rømer), Lt. Charlier (Anders Peter Bro), and also given to Legionnaire Luther (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) as protection as he tries to sneak through enemy lines.
Colt New Service
The Lebel 1886 rifle is the standard service rifle of the French Foreign Legion. Every Legionnaire carries and fires one, with the exception of officers. Although during the First World War all the colonial troops were equipped with Berthier rifles, the French Foreign Legion demanded and obtained in 1920 to be re-equipped with the Lebel rifle.
Mauser Gewehr 1898
Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk. III*
Berber Horsemen are also seen using Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III SMLE rifles, sometimes in close combat.
Some Berber Horsemen can be seen with Martini-Henry carbines.
Lewis Guns are used in Legionnaire training and mostly by Legionnaire Mackintosh (Nicholas Farrell) during the battles. Pvt. Alain Lefevre (Jean Claude Van Damme) also uses one at the end of the film.
Vickers-Maxim QF 2.95 inch mountain gun
A Vickers-Maxim QF 2.95 inch mountain gun (aka Pack Howitzer) was used by the Berber Tribesmen during the siege of the French Foreign Legion outpost. The Vickers-Maxim QF 2.95 inch mountain gun was used by the British Colonial forces (but not the British Army itself) in Africa, and by the American forces in the Philippines.
A (to be determined) Mortar is used by the French Foreign Legion to emulate the French copy of the successful Stokes Mortar of World War 1. Since the events of the film are set in 1925, any munitions from the Great War are possible. (Note: It is NOT a U.S. Mortar, so it is one of the European versions).
Prologue to the film:
- At the height of its glory, the French Foreign Legion was made up of men widely regarded as the scum of the earth.
- It was a mercenary army posted to colonies in Northern Africa and Southern Asia...
- but its soldiers swore no allegiance to France, only to the legion and to each other.
- The legion asked no questions about a man's past ... nor did it offer much hope for his future.
- It was a hard way to get a second chance in life...