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.
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.
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.
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
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