La Legion is one of the most decorated military units…

La Legion is one of the most decorated military units in history. Organized by Colonel Millan Astray during the early 20th century, following the model of the French Foreign Legion, it has shared and maybe surpassed the French heroism and “Espirit de Corps.” Both share the same bold and aggressive tactics and both have died in great numbers facing their enemies. The Spanish Foreign Legion nickname, Novios de la Muerte, the “Bridegrooms of Death,” and their motto, Viva la Muerte, “Long Live Death,” reflect their combat attitude.

Their creed reflects their ethics and morale: never avoid confrontation, never leave a comrade behind, and seeking death as the way of defeating any enemy, through superhuman aggressiveness. Its members, regardless of rank, are titled Caballero Legionario, or “Knight Legionnaire,” and since women were admitted, they were titled Dama Legionaria, or “Lady Legionnaire.” Legionnaires wear a special cap called Chapiri and have some traditions like tattoos, long beards and wearing their shirts open to expose their chests. These allowances, part of the Legionnaire mystique are being attacked for the sake of normalization, and may be part of the past soon. Times have changed and decades of politically correct governments and restricting ROEs have tamed that “old school” aggressiveness, but La Legion still mystifies death as a goal, as a way to conquer any enemy.


Sniping is typical Legionnaire job. One that requires a special set of skills: working alone, being aggressive but patient, technical but intuitive and working in harm’s way for the safety of your Bandera, or “battalion.” They eliminate threats and serve as scouts. The sniper assignment has become a very technical one. Sat-Comm, Para, Scuba, SF skills and extreme range ballistics have made advanced military snipers something that takes years to train.

Zeroed In
The Brigade Command is based in Almeria, Southern Spain. Two Legionnaire commanders, Brigadier General Varela and Col. Rodriguez, share the same tactical approach to soldiering, having commanded Special Forces under Spanish and NATO structure. As soon as they took command, they recognized the need for a more technically trained and accurate shooting soldier, who could fight in the 360 asymmetric environments with current Rules of Engagement safely, and with minimum collateral damage. The solution: a training program based around a shooting simulation building and some specialized outdoor ranges. A full-size urban street scenario, a full-size Afghan village, and a known and unknown distance tactical sniper range where built. To add to the training effort, they also use the advanced range system at CENAD Base in Albacete, equipped with state of the art SAAB LOMAH “miss-and-hit” electronic target systems.


In the simulation building, you can train already capable Legionnaires with top marksmanship skills in a controlled environment. The original focus was in training snipers and designated marksmen equipped with scoped HK G36 rifles, but now the program also includes their TALOS artillery command and control system operators in the same simulation building to synchronize the efforts between different combat groups.


It is a crash course, with a yet-to-be-defined duration, on precision shooting and high-tech soldiering that is just starting to take place. Last December saw the opening for the training compound and I was honored to be the first to teach there with a two-day seminar on advanced .50 cal ballistics.

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  • Tom Bender

    These Spanish Snipers are world class shooters. I have followed them for years through various articles. They take their training very seriosly and for good reason.
    Yes, Spain and the UK gave a lot to the World in the area of culture.
    However, China gave more, i.e. brick and gunpowder and of course – The Art of War. Let’s not discount Russia. Russia has one of the greastest museums of art in the world. Rusia and it’s Cossack’s have aslso given the world the art of Systema which is used by their well trained Spetsnaz. Let’s also not forget that the State of California was a 19th century colony of Russia and not Mexico.
    So Russia and China have contributed quite a bit to the World, which we have a tendency to forget.
    If you are wondering, I am of Slavic and Cossack Blood with my grandparents having been Russian Orthodox. That is the Russian Christian faith to the un-educated. You will find many of their Church’s with the Onion Domes and three bar crosses throughout the States.
    There are still remnants of Russian forts/outposts in California !

  • So are you guys allowed to train with the regular us army on us soil as well?


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  • AVG

    Old school rules…. ¡Legionarios a luchar, legionarios a morir!

  • AJ

    those AI rifles are top knotch. I paid damn near $14,000 for the custom one I had them build. Fine piece of hardware.

  • AJ

    Good for them. Let them continue in their old traditions. Bolloks to the politically correct BS. The bad guys know the rest of the world have to play by those rules, so they play outside them. Bs, BS, BS

  • Checheno

    When one knows a little history military Spain, that occurs to account of has been the unique country of the world along with the United Kingdom that has generated a culture global, the one Hispanic and other the British one. And that, must to the great military financed by the Spanish crown like Blas de Lezo, the Duke of Dawn, the great Captain or Head of Cow.

  • A,J.P.

    Who knew Spain still funded a military?