Spanish Foreign Legion - The "fiancés of death".

Légion étrangère espagnole - Les "fiancés de la mort". - Phil Team

Another reason to love Spain is that it has a Foreign Legion, known as the Tercio de Extranjeros or Bridegroom of Death.

This unit was created in the 1920s to help Spain in its African campaigns. It was modeled after the infamous French Foreign Legion.

In post-Franco Spain, the Legion was deployed in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Iraq, and participated in UNIFIL's Operation Libre Hidalgo.

Today, the Spouses of Death largely support UN peacekeeping missions.

Can you join the Spanish Foreign Legion? Yes, foreigners can join, but you must have a Spanish visa or be a Spanish citizen in good standing. Be 18 or under 29 and pass a physical, medical and psychological examination.

History of the Spanish Foreign Legion

  • Founded in 1920 by royal decree of King Alfonso XIII;
  • It went by several names over the years, and by the end of the Rif War it was known as the "Spanish Legion".
  • After operations in North Africa and Morocco, in 1934 the unit was ordered back to Spain to help put down a workers' revolt in Asturias.
  • Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975, was the Legion's founding deputy commander in 1920 and later commanded the entire Legion from 1923 to 1926.
  • After Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the legion was reduced in size and returned to its bases in Spanish Morocco.
  • In 1950, four Tercios of the legion were created.
  • In 1970, legionnaires opened fire and killed 11 demonstrators in Zelma, Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara). The incident influenced the Sahrawi anti-colonial movement. Spain long ago gave up the territory and handed it over to Morocco.
  • In the 2000s, after the abandonment of conscription, the Spanish Legion began to accept foreigners again.

You can watch a very cool old video of Franco's Foreign Legion below. These guys look legit.

Legion Arms

Spouses of Death use a variety of weapons, the most important of which are:

  • the G36-E rifle with a 40 mm grenade launcher as a modular accessory
  • HK MG4
  • AG36
  • MG3 machine gun
  • HK USP 9mm handgun

The special operations unit "The bride and groom of death"

The Spanish Foreign Legion has its own special operations unit called La Bandera de operaciones especiales de la legion (BOEL) which translates to Legion Special Operations Battalion.

Members of the unit are volunteers within the Legion. They are trained in maritime warfare, diving, arctic and mountain warfare, sabotage and demolition, parachute operations, close combat, insertion and extraction methods.

They also follow an equivalent of the SERE school (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape). I have to say, it looks pretty cool to be part of this unit.

Most Legion specialty training takes place at Ft. Bragg, USA. Interestingly, for a short time the special forces unit was attached to the United States Special Operations Command, but is now attached to Spain.

If you enjoyed this little gem of military history, please share and comment below.

¡Viva la muerte! or for you Gringos... " Long live death! "


  • X on

    C’est quoi cette expression imbécile ?

  • Bruno on

    Pourquoi la “… Tristement célèbre Légion Étrangère….”….?…
    Seule la Légion française, peut-être appelée Légion Étrangère,…

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