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Original French weapons in use of the Free French/French army of the Liberation question

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Freeman323, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Freeman323

    Freeman323 New Member

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    So,i know that a wast majority of the equipment used by the Free French Forces and later the French army of the liberation was mostly British or American,but I am interested in how much was original French equipment used by the French soldiers after 1940? I am especially interested in the use of French firearms and other equipment by the French army after 1943.Thanks!
     
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  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    In the DU Tchad au Rhin book there is a great picture with a WW1 HOTCHKISS mg . I also see the 24/29 gun. The Tirailleurs had some WW1 pouches . I see some lebel, and even some Gras rifles. To this could be added German captured weapons, mainly Mausers. (I have a picture of a german 155 canon captured by the Free French at Terghine (corsica) They also captured a Pak there. At the Rome parade, you can see them with large quantities of Berthiers
     
  3. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    How should they get french firearms except the few they saved at Dunkerque?
     
  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    I bet a good number went missing in Vichy during the first year.
     
  5. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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  6. Freeman323

    Freeman323 New Member

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    How did the allies find original French ammo for French before France was liberated.
     
  7. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    A lot of this is covered in the US Army official history "green book" , Rearming the French. The book is available as a pdf here: http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/011/11-6/CMH_Pub_11-6.pdf

    The Free French forces of General DeGaulle had come back into the war bit by bit, first those who joined in 1940 in Britain, later other elements in Chad and Central Africa, Djibouti, Syria, the Pacific, etc. These forces had their original French equipment, but much of this was old material dating back to WWI and with France under German control getting parts and ammunition was difficult. Free French forces operating with 8th Army and other British forces used some French equipment but were mostly re-armed with British stuff. When the Armee d'Afrique rejoined the Allies after TORCH they had a much larger stock of French equipment, ammunition, and spares, but this supply was not bottomless and again much of it was obsolescent. The Allies began to re-equip the Armee d'Afrique on an ad hoc basis from the autumn of 1942 on with a mixture of American and British types, but the US eventually agreed to supply most of the French Army with American weapons and ammunition. American resources were not limitless either, and so French troops remaining on garrison duty in the colonies and Algeria retained their French weapons while the divisions scheduled to land in Europe got mostly American material. Some "non-program" units with French weapons also went to Italy and later France, notably the goums (Tabors Marocains). I think the British may have continued to maintain the 1ere DFL, but I am not certain about that. When the French got back to their homeland they immediately began to raise fresh units, but finding and sorting out equipment for them was difficult. The FFI had used everything they could lay their hands on, including old and new French arms, captured German weapons, and airdropped British and American items. All of this went into the inventory of the 1944-45 French Army, and while American equipment and some of the better 1940-era French gear (FM 24/29, etc.) remained first line standard right up until the Algerian War a given French colonial, newly raised ex-FFI, or second-line unit might have almost anything. The French Army of the 40s and early 50s was a fascinating mix of clothing, equipment, and weaponry from multiple sources, but it must have been hell to supply. As to supply for the French-made stuff, the Armee d'Afrique and other garrisons had some stockpiles of parts and ammo but these were limited. Some effort was made, I think, to manufacture stuff in Algeria but I don't know the details. The British got quite a bit of French equipment from the large numbers of French troops who landed in Britain after Dunkirk. These sources were helpful but insufficient, which is why the French adopted American types; they, at least, could be supplied with parts and ammunition and many were also better than what the French had gone to war with in 1940.
     
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  8. Freeman323

    Freeman323 New Member

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    The link that you gave me doesn't work for some reason
     
  9. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    A Mas 36 used in 1942 (Lybia )

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    This is a 1944 picture (Paris)

    [​IMG]
     

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