Paul Gaujac, Histore et Collections, www.casematepublishers.co.uk
Tome 1 1943 -1954, softback, 144pp, 250 x 210mm, ISBN 978-2-35250-240-1
Tome 2 1654 -2003, softback, 144pp, 250x210mm, ISBN 978-2-35250-367-5.
The Free French Army, as with all the allied armies, was issued with the Jeep as a lightweight transport, and accepted it for service willingly. Initially with the formation of major units in North Africa, the French began to receive massive aid from the United States in the form of arms, uniforms and military vehicles, which included the Jeep. Once in service, the French adapted the versatile vehicle for many tasks, including reconnaissance, radio truck, command roles, weapons carriers and ambulances.
Whilst written in French, this should not pose too much of a challenge as the majority of the book is photographic, and the technical stuff translates literally for the most part. Most pages have photos or artwork on them, displaying details, markings and colour schemes.
The book starts with a history of the development of the Jeep, its production, and details of different models. This section also includes a four view drawing, unfortunately with no mention of the scale.
It would appear that the first French ‘official’ use of the Jeep was by paras using three ex-S.A.S. armed vehicles for a raid on the Luftwaffe airfield of Sidi Hanesh. The dribs and drabs from the limited British sources were replaced by a flood of material direct from US sources once the North African ports were safe. A lovely full page photo illustrates French soldiers unpacking Jeeps in Algiers. Of interest are photos of the Ford GPA ‘Seep’, which was also issued to the Free French.
An explanation of French unit markings is also given; although you may need to use Google translate for some of the terminology.
The following sections cover the French participation in the campaigns of Italy, France, Germany, Post-war, Indo-China and overseas. In each case the use of the Jeep is shown with examples of unit modifications, armament and markings. Unit badges are shown in colour photos, as well as a few period colour photos of the vehicles. Notable variations are French S.A.S. Jeeps in Paris during the liberation, a Seep with wire cutter, a line-layer and several hard top ‘comfy’ versions for senior officers. There are also examples of artwork in colour, some quite evocative.
Tome 2 follows the same style covering the campaigns in Suez, Algeria, home service, Germany, overseas territories, Lebanon, the Central African Republic and Chad. In fact, wherever the French Armed Forces went, the Jeep went. Rebuilds, armour, various weapon fits including missiles, airborne adaptations and radio fits are all covered with splendid photos. These volumes are a must for the Jeep enthusiast and model-maker.
Recommended. Paul Middleton 25-10-2016