Wednesday, September 2, 2009
MM Video: The Belgian Legion
The Belgian Legion was a regiment of 2 battalions of Belgian volunteers sent to Mexico to defend their native daughter Empress Carlota. The French sent 300 of them to Tacambaro under Major Tigdal where they fought to the death against 3,000 Mexican republicans who massacred the few who survived. However, the Belgian commander, Baron Van der Smissen, returned the following month and avenged the defeat with a resounding victory. They suffered to some degree because of the animosity of the French Marshal Bazaine to Belgians in general but they served heroically for the duration of the tour of duty. When the Empress Carlota died in Belgium in 1920 the handful of surviving veterans of the Belgian Legion provided the Honor Guard at her funeral.
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Thanks for this. I think Belgians have many episodes of military valor in their past and I am always angered when certain quarters insist on disparaging all these acts of heroism- for instance, I read one nasty Flemish separatist account showering scorn even on General Leman of Liège, found "dazed amidst the rubble," or some such expression.ReplyDelete
Well, I would have nothing but contempt for such an individual. General Leman is one of my favorites; the first hero of the war for the Allies, former military tutor to the King and for someone from my background there is none more revered than the one who refuses to surrender and goes down fighting in a just cause, hopeless or not. I love that when Leman was revived he wanted it made very clear that he had NOT surrendered. Even the Germans were impressed by him and had nothing but admiration for his gallant defense of Liege. The career of the Belgian Legion seems to me to fit in perfectly with that gallant attitude, young Belgians (most of the rank & file of whom were Flemish) going off to Mexico to defend their Princess is old style chivalric fashion.ReplyDelete