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Senior NCO, from the French Marine  based  oversea

French Para

GCMA officer


Royal Pologne
Tank regiment

French Para
Dien Bien Phu



This is a brief study on uniforms 
used by the French Forces in Indochina

The "Corps Expeditionnaire Francais d'Extreme-Orient" CEFEO during the war suffered from a shortage of equipment as well as man power. During the first four years of the war, most of its troops were equipted with a mixture of WWII British, US and French equipment. You would find amongst the weapons the following calibers:
7.5mm, 7.65mm, 8mm, .30 &.45 US cal, British 9mm and .303, which made a logistic nightmare.
By around 1950, things did improved with French designed uniforms and weapons filtering in most units.

This part of the site will show some of the most common uniforms and equipment used by the French.

Beltring 2004 A.JPG


On this photo you can see the US M1 helmet but worn with a M1C paratrooper liner,
(this combination was quite common as well as worn with the French modified M1 liners)



Examples of  the most common hat worn by the French Troops in Indochina
"Le Chapeau de Brousse"
These came from French contractors as well as from local sources and in various colors
from dark kaki green to sand colour.




The red TAP (Troupe Aeroportees)  beret was also worn as well as locally produced beret or caps made out of camo parachute silk or other camouflaged material. The beret shown in the photos is the
early 3 piece, typical of the Indochina war.



Typical 50's load bearing equipment, this comprise of French "TAP" 1950 model suspenders attached to French modified US M1 Carbine ammo pouches, with US first Aid pouch and M3 fighting knife. The web belt is the the 1936 US model, with a Mle 1950 French water bottle. A  WWII US pineapple grenade and an DF37 French grenade can also be seen.


The French Mle 1861 "musette" haversack  was often used to carry more ammo as well as food. 



1950 water canteen, cup and the two types of covers.
The early type is the one on the right with the WWII stud type closure, the later type has got poppers. The belt loop was not big enough to go on the TAP or the WWII pistol belt, so the US hooks were often seen attached to the loops. (as seen on the right).





From left to right
French DF37, OF 37 and US pineapple grenades


Detailed photo showing the US M1 carbine ammo pouch with the French addition of the "D" ring on them , US pineapple and, French OF37 grenade,  French Mle 1948 PA leather holster, pair of 8x30 1951 model  French Army binoculars.

Pif et Moi apres CASTOR web.jpg

Beltring 2004.54.JPG

Photos showing US WWII cammo jacket as well as the WWII British Para smock heavily used by the French Para during the war photos  from Soldats d'Indochine  taken during the Beltring show in 2002 and 2004


If you wish to see more photos of Soldats D'Indochine, please visit the Rolling-Thunder website
where a page is dedicated to their exhibition at Beltring 2004



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