The dragon, a clawed legendary animal with wings and a snakelike tail, used to be the emblem of the small light cavalry groups, which were created under the reign of King Francis I, towards the end of the XV century.
This corps of troops, who fought on foot or on horseback, became an arm under the reign of Louis XIV.
Vedette de dragons sous Louis XV
Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier - Musée Condé - Chantilly
During the 1st Empire, Napoleon continued to deploy them both as cavalry- and infantrymen, and increased their strength considerably to thirty-one regiments, including the Imperial Guard. Dragon regiments participated in all contemporary battles, during which they made spectacular heroic charges for which they will always be remembered.
Under the reign of Napoleon III, at the beginning of the XIX century, Imperial Guard Dragons became christened the Empress’ Dragons regiment, which later on, during the 1870 War, became known as the 13th Dragons regiment.
In the course of the First World War, dragons were involved in the fiercest battles such as the Ypres, in 1914, and the Verdun , in 1916.
During the 1940 campaign, and later on from October 1944, Dragons fought fiercely till the national territory was liberated.
After the Second World War, the Dragons, as a component of the Armoured-Cavalry arm, kept on fighting and consolidating their legend. In 1952, the 13 th Dragons regiment became a parachutist unit called the 13th Parachutist Dragons regiment, the famous 13th RDP.
Equipped with armoured cars, the 13th RDP took part in the Algerian War, particularly in Kabylia and in the East of Constantinois.
Les commandos du 13e RDP "Au-delà du possible"
Since 1958, the 13th Parachutist Dragons regiment has been based at Dieuze, in Lorraine . It has the special duty of carrying out the most daring and risky missions of going across enemy lines to gather vital information for the Command.