If only I had read the remainder of the chapter before I posted my ideas for the Foreign Legion characteristics. It turns out, according to Porch, the Legion was encouraged to make use of initiative and to take cover as needed when under direct fire, at the level of the individual soldier - something completely opposite what was expected in the standard army. Since it's mentioned the chapter covering the 1890s early 1900s, a period overlapping with my rough idea of when my VSF games take place, I think it's safe to assume that such actions could be allowed in my games.
But how to implement this individual level of initiative under fire? do I give the unit some sort of defensive bonus? Allow each soldier to draw for activation? That seems tedious at the very least. Treat as in cover regardless of where they are on the table as long as they are in line or open order? That seems like a huge advantage when facing an opponent armed with range weapons (the lizard men have a unit of bows and 5 units of melee weapons). Perhaps I can allow individual soldiers a saving throw if they aren't in obvious cover (that is, aside from what I've placed on the tabletop)?
Hmm. I kind of like that. I already use saving throws for characters and army leaders (characters even get a bonus on the roll, to give them a kind of pulp-y adventure novel existence) so it would fit into the game. And, in light of the abstractions involved in playing a game - it makes sense that there are things the individual soldier can see on the ground, that I can't see: a downed tree there, a large rock there, a depression in the ground, etc.