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MAS36
17th October 2009, 20:41
Just a quick email to forum, to let its members know the Allied Forces Cold War Association (AFCWA) will be sponsoring "Parachutistes Indochine!", a French Indochina War (1946-54) Foreign Legion airborne unit (1er BEP) and a Colonial Airborne unit (3e BCCP) as part of our Cold War Commemorative History Campaign.

Our website can be found at:

[URL="http://www.legionetrangere.us"[/URL]

Our objective is to honor the service and sacrifice of Légion Étrangère veterans who served (and died) during 'les oubliés de la guerre d'Indochine". We hope that our impression honors these heroic warriors.

Just recently we took part in the 2nd Annual Vietnam Veterans Reunion in the heart of the Vietnamese community in Houston, Texas, commonly called "Little Saigon". Over 20,000 Vietnamese came out to honor both ARVN and American veterans... but also to remember those who served in the FIRST Indochina War. At our display table, half a dozen Vietnamese (who spoke fluent French) told us about their stories of service, sacrifice and survival with a people who have been at war with Communism since the early 1930's. An 80-year old Vietnamese gentlemen who spoke only French and Vietnamese approached our weapons display (which had a MAS36 rifle and US Thompson and US M1 carbine) and told us of his service with a French Colonial infantry unit. We thanked him for his service to Vietnam, to France and for freedom. These are truly veterans who are from "The Forgotten War in Indochina."

Any help provided by your membership would be wonderful.

We can be contacted off our main website page.

Mick

Stoeng
17th October 2009, 21:52
Welcome to the forum:)

I think i have already seen you on MP net, or at least the same "name"

jonny
17th October 2009, 22:24
Hmmm,

I fought my first battle with a battered old MAS36 in Algeria, at Djebel al Biar, near Mascara. Brings back memories that.

Samtoo
18th October 2009, 03:24
Hmmm,

I fought my first battle with a battered old MAS36 in Algeria, at Djebel al Biar, near Mascara. Brings back memories that.I did my instruction at the tail end of la Vieille Légion. On our first marches we carried MAS36's and were threatened with death if we withdrew the bayonet without being ordered to do so. Of course, we did... It was a cool bayonet. We also wore the leather equipment that went with it. The year was 1977. Later we were issued FSA49-56's and webbed equipment. You aren't any different than any of us Jonny. I will admit the Legion was tougher back then... but not much.

MAS36
18th October 2009, 20:51
Samtoo, johnny, stoeng:

Thank you for your comments ... and our thanks to you for your service to Legion Etrangere.

I did post under another name (seems like eons ago) but much has occurred since the formation of our new group; a name change was necessary once I left the old organization I was with and formed a new group, sponsored by the AFCWA. Future events include a trip up to Oklahoma for living history with C47's and eventual training at a private museum outside Houston for the group. 2010 should be a busy year!

Regards to all.

Mick

Rapace
19th October 2009, 08:49
Welcome to the forum. Hope you'll find useful information here. I travelled myself to Vietnam 15 years ago and happened to meet with Vietnamese veterans who fought alongside the French Expeditionary Corps. Some could remember words of French, but it was a strange impression to hear them singing old military songs, they hadn't forgotten 40 years after.
I had a quick look at your site and have noticed a picture of "soldier Peter N'Guyen" supposedly dressed as a paratrooper of 3°BCCP, wearing a dark blue (green ?) or black beret. This is a significant error : 3°BCCP was a colonial airborne battalion, and like all colonial airborne units in Indochina wore a red beret. The Legion airborne battalions (1° and 2°BEP) wore a green beret and other airborne units wore a blue (Chasseurs) or black beret (Bataillon de Choc).

MAS36
28th October 2009, 15:58
Rapace,

My apologies for replying so late to your post about the beret color.

Our group actually consulted with several historians in the UK on the beret color worn by 3e BCCP. Eventually it was revealed to us based on some of the pics of the unit departing France (c.1948), arrival in theatre and eventually several photos of Marcel Bigeard (who served as a company commander in the unit) that the unit wore black berets with the metro para badge. Several copies of MILITARIA magazine were also sent to us (copies of the page) with several reconstructions wearing black berets.

If you have any pics from this period, please send them to us, because we could certainly be wrong!

As a professional military recreationist (and former US Army veteran) I, and the members of my group, want to honor these brave warriors - French and Vietnamese who fell on RC4 in 1950.

The book (or "bible") we are searching for on the 3e BCCP unit is:

3e BCCP INDOCHINE 1948-50By Cyril Bondroit
Listed on Amazon.com for $482.00:

http://www.amazon.com/3E-BCCP-Battalion-Commandos-Parachustistes/dp/2912755018/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256742041&sr=8-1 (http://http://www.amazon.com/3E-BCCP-Battalion-Commandos-Parachustistes/dp/2912755018/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256742041&sr=8-1)

Written by the son of a former serving member of 3e BCCP, this book details the uniformity, makeup, history and TO&E from arrival in country to the unit's final destruction during the Route Coloniale 4 battles. Based upon what info we have put together so far, some of the survivors were used as a cadre for 5e BPVN, which was later destroyed at Dien Bien Phu (under Andre Botella).

Rapace
28th October 2009, 20:29
Rapace,

My apologies for replying so late to your post about the beret color.No need to apologise for that.

Our group actually consulted with several historians in the UK on the beret color worn by 3e BCCP. Eventually it was revealed to us based on some of the pics of the unit departing France (c.1948), arrival in theatre and eventually several photos of Marcel Bigeard (who served as a company commander in the unit) that the unit wore black berets with the metro para badge. All I can say is I'm extremely surprised... I agree with you about 3°BCCP wearing the "metro" para cap badge (winged dagger), simply because at that time there was no difference between the "metro" and the "colonial" para badge. The difference between the various airborne units was precisely the colour of their berets : red for "colonial" units, blue for "metro" units (Chasseurs), and black for the Bataillon de Choc. It's only in 1956 (or 1958, can't remember precisely), when it was decided that all para units in the French army would wear the red beret, that a "colonial" para cap badge was created (a way to keep differentiating themselves).
Bigeard served for a very brief period of time with 3°BCCP during his second tour in Indochina but his first 2 tours in Indochina were actually essentially first with 23°RIC (Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale) and then various units manned by anti-communist Thaï tribes. His third tour was as CO of 6°BPC (Bataillon de Parachutistes Coloniaux). He served later in Algeria as CO of 3°RPC (Régiment de Parachutistes Coloniaux), heir of the 3°BCCP (Bataillon Colonial de Commmandos Parachutistes), later renamed 3°BPC.

If you have any pics from this period, please send them to us, because we could certainly be wrong!I found this one of Père Jeandel the "Padre" (Chaplain) of 6°BPC, captured by the Viets in 1952 during the Tu Le fighting (he elected to stay with the most seriously wounded soldiers who could not be transported nor medevaced). But searching in covers of such magazines as Paris-Match or Indochine Sud-Est Asiatique, you may find others.
Note the "metro" para cap badge (actually, as I said before THE para cap badge as there was only one at that time).

http://www.bir-hacheim.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Soutane-noire-B%C3%A9ret-rouge-Paul-Jeandel.jpg

See also those recruiting posters :

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/unpara/gazette/2007_01/paras.jpg

http://www.indochine-souvenir.com/guerre/ind/indorecrut.jpg

This cover from magazine "Indochine Sud-Est Asiatique"

http://www.indochine-souvenir.com/guerre/ind/mag_1.jpg

The book (or "bible") we are searching for on the 3e BCCP unit is:

3e BCCP INDOCHINE 1948-50By Cyril Bondroit

http://www.amazon.com/3E-BCCP-Battalion-Commandos-Parachustistes/dp/2912755018/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256742041&sr=8-1Excellent choice. One of the best and most comprehensive books about the "Paras d'Indochine".

Written by the son of a former serving member of 3e BCCP, this book details the uniformity, makeup, history and TO&E from arrival in country to the unit's final destruction during the Route Coloniale 4 battles. Based upon what info we have put together so far, some of the survivors were used as a cadre for 5e BPVN, which was later destroyed at Dien Bien Phu (under Andre Botella).It's true that 5°BPVN (Bataillon de Parachutistes Vietnamiens) was created with veterans of 3°BPC as a core, but that was in September 1953, three years after the disaster on RC4. 3°BCCP had been re-created in the interim, renamed, like all colonial airborne units, and it's highly probable that the vast majority of the RC4 survivors had been demobilised.

Peter Lyderik
28th October 2009, 20:52
A pdf file, six pages, about the Colonial Airborne units.

http://www.amicale3rpima.com/FiliationsdesR-gimentsParachutistesColoniaux%5B1%5D.pdf

And a site worth a visit: http://www.indochine-souvenir.com/

Cobolt-60
29th October 2009, 15:24
New to the forum. but have been lurking for a while.

I had similar questions about the use of the black beret (beret noir) as opposed to "amarante" red beret (beret rouge) for a French Colonial Paratroop Battalion. As it did not jive with my memory of things, so I had to look it up.

Normally, I would have looked in my books, but I moved recently and they are still all packed, so I had to dig up references (in French and English) online. Here is what I found:

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/3e_r%C3%A9giment_parachutiste_d%27infanterie_de_ma rine

"the 3e BCCP was created in January 1948 in Vannes;
arrived in Saigon November 1948;
dissolved November 1950 (after having been destroyed on RC4);
recreated in January 1951;
new unit named the 3e BCCP in December 1951 and arrives in Indochina;
renamed the 3e BPC (like all the Coloniale para units) in May 1952;
fought at the battle of Na-San November 1952;
dissolved to form the 5e BPVN in August 1953."

http://westfront.forumpro.fr/projet-indo-f21/infos-uniformologies-et-equipements-t707.htm

You will notice here that there is a early para with a beret noir, however, he is not a 'Coloniale' but a member of the 1er BP 'de Choc' (Shock Paras), which was apparently typical of them.

The only reference I could find to another TAP (Troupe Aeroporte) unit wearing a beret noir in Indochina comes from pg. 43 of Martin Windrow's Osprey book and is the 10e Batallion Parachutiste de Chasseurs a Pied (10e BPCP, a Metropolitan unit) --

http://books.google.com/books?id=oXRkalbcHC8C&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=%2210e+bpcp%22&source=bl&ots=oMLQeJ74dR&sig=DWmbECpHSd4MIseXl0L_0K_C8Cs&hl=en&ei=OKDpStSBA8fVlAedzbH_BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%2210e%20bpcp%22&f=false

"(In 1946-52 10e BPCP wore a black beret with a silver TAP badge)."

On the subject of the adoption of the beret rouge, I found the following which jives with my memories of what I have previously read --

http://www.unp74.org/beret.htm

"In 1948, the blue beret replaces the black beret in the 25th Airborne Division. The Para Hussars went on to adopt the royal blue beret in honor of "hongroise", the 10th BCPC the black hunter's beret, the Legion adopts the green beret and the Colonial Paras, inheriting the SAS tradition, wear the red beret. On the 1st of March 1951, General DE LATTRE DE TASSIGNY decides that all the paras in Indochina will wear the red beret as a sign of solidarity. Except the green beret of the Legion will continue, as will the white beret of the CIPLE with green and red ribbons."

Rapace
29th October 2009, 16:44
You will notice here that there is a early para with a beret noir, however, he is not a 'Coloniale' but a member of the 1er BP 'de Choc' (Shock Paras), which was apparently typical of them.I had the same recollection too. As previously said, the black beret was in my mind characteristic of the Bataillon de Choc (present in Indochina in the early years of the war).

On the 1st of March 1951, General DE LATTRE DE TASSIGNY decides that all the paras in Indochina will wear the red beret as a sign of solidarity. I don't have the same information. For me the red beret was given to all airborne units in Algeria, not Indochina. As an example, my former regiment a "metro" para unit served in the early years of the Algeria war with the same blue beret they had in Indochina. And by the way, if you read the article you quote a bit further, it says « on Sept 3, 1957, a ministerial decision stipulates that all airborne units will wear the red beret, regardless of their original branch. Only the 2 REP will keep the green beret. Units from ALAT (Army Light Aviation) will were the (light) blue beret formerly worn by the "metro" para units.» It seems a bit contradictory with the previous paragraph.

Cobolt-60
29th October 2009, 21:29
I had the same recollection too. As previously said, the black beret was in my mind characteristic of the Bataillon de Choc (present in Indochina in the early years of the war).


Which would explain why the references made an explicit statement as to the 10e BPCP wearing a black beret which was significantly different that most the other metropolitan or colonial para battalions.


I don't have the same information. For me the red beret was given to all airborne units in Algeria, not Indochina. As an example, my former regiment a "metro" para unit served in the early years of the Algeria war with the same blue beret they had in Indochina. And by the way, if you read the article you quote a bit further, it says « on Sept 3, 1957, a ministerial decision stipulates that all airborne units will wear the red beret, regardless of their original branch. Only the 2 REP will keep the green beret. Units from ALAT (Army Light Aviation) will were the (light) blue beret formerly worn by the "metro" para units.» It seems a bit contradictory with the previous paragraph.

Okay, to clarify this you need BOTH of Martin Windrow's relevant Osprey books -- the one on Indochina and the other on Algeria. I don't have my copies with me right now but basically when you look at both of them, they paint the following picture:

In 1951, all para IN INDOCHINA adopt the red beret;
After Indochina, in 1954, all Metropolitan para regiments (RCP) reverted to their pre-Indochina royal blue berets, while the Coloniale para battalions (and the RPC regiments that they became) retained their red berets;
In 1957, all para regiments (with the exception of the 1er and 2eme REP) are changed back to the red beret.

To make matters more complex, in 1958 or 1959, the RPCs become RPIMas and (I think) in 1959 the TDM beret badge replaces the TAP badge, which then becomes the exclusive property of Metropolitan para units.

Rapace
30th October 2009, 09:09
In 1951, all para IN INDOCHINA adopt the red beret;
After Indochina, in 1954, all Metropolitan para regiments (RCP) reverted to their pre-Indochina royal blue berets, while the Coloniale para battalions (and the RPC regiments that they became) retained their red berets;
In 1957, all para regiments (with the exception of the 1er and 2eme REP) are changed back to the red beret.Ok. I was not aware of this decision by de Lattre to have all airborne units in Indochina adopt the red beret. The "metro" paras units reverting to their original blue beret after Indochina explains why you see them with those blue berets on pictures taken in the early years of the Algeria war.
Not sure however how strictly this decision by de Lattre was applied. Colour pictures of the Indochina war are unfortunately quite scarce, but to confirm this one should find for example pictures of II/1°RCP in parade uniform (berets were seldom worn on the field, most often replaced by the famous "chapeau de brousse").
Anyway, reverting to the original discussion about this re-enactment unit in the US, I think we can safely confirm that 3°BCCP was more probably wearing a red beret than a black one...

ahsterix
31st October 2009, 10:39
Ok. I was not aware of this decision by de Lattre to have all airborne units in Indochina adopt the red beret. The "metro" paras units reverting to their original blue beret after Indochina explains why you see them with those blue berets on pictures taken in the early years of the Algeria war.
Not sure however how strictly this decision by de Lattre was applied. Colour pictures of the Indochina war are unfortunately quite scarce, but to confirm this one should find for example pictures of II/1°RCP in parade uniform (berets were seldom worn on the field, most often replaced by the famous "chapeau de brousse").
Anyway, reverting to the original discussion about this re-enactment unit in the US, I think we can safely confirm that 3°BCCP was more probably wearing a red beret than a black one...When i joined the 1REP in Zeralda, green beret. I still have it... I did instruction infanterie in Zeralda and my brevet in Blida...

Rapace
2nd November 2009, 10:17
When i joined the 1REP in Zeralda, green beret. I still have it... I did instruction infanterie in Zeralda and my brevet in Blida...Yes. There's no debate about the Legion airborne units (BEPs ,then REPs) having always had a green beret.

Cobolt-60
3rd November 2009, 02:36
Anyway, reverting to the original discussion about this re-enactment unit in the US, I think we can safely confirm that 3°BCCP was more probably wearing a red beret than a black one...

Agreed. I have also found some other 'inconsistencies' with the equipment that is being subscribed to being appropriate for a reenactment of the 3e BCCP:

http://www.alliedcoldwarvets.com/Parachutiste_Indochine_UNIFORM_WEAPONS_EQUIPMENT.h tml

The recommendation listed is for a U.S. Army M43 Camo Jacket and potentially Pants. From the sources I could find and the pics I remember (and the templates from the Windrow books) there was no U.S. Army M43 Camo pattern (there was a German M43 Camo pattern). There was a U.S. P42 Camo that was used by both the U.S. Army and the USMC (in slightly different designs) and was the basis for the USMC P44 pattern design as well. The Windrow Osprey book clearly states that the USMC P42 was much more commonly used than the U.S. Army P42 jackets and trousers among TAP units.

Also the site lists French M1950 TAP web gear as an option. However, based on the sources that I have seen (including the following website -- http://westfront.forumpro.fr/projet-indo-f21/infos-uniformologies-et-equipements-t707.htm), the BCCPs/BPCs were finally issued with M50 TAP gear between April & May 1952 (at the same time that all BCCPs were renamed BPCs). So if one want to be historically accurate to a unit being called the "3e BCCP" and not the "3e BPC" then it would be more appropriate to not include the M50 TAP web gear as an option.

Cobolt-60
5th November 2009, 06:00
Colour pictures of the Indochina war are unfortunately quite scarce, but to confirm this one should find for example pictures of II/1°RCP in parade uniform (berets were seldom worn on the field, most often replaced by the famous "chapeau de brousse").

Haven't found a color II/1er RCP parade pic from Indochina, but I have found a forum link with a great collection of Indochine/Algerie berets:

http://commando-air-forum.forum2discussion.com/1935-a-1954-f43/le-beret-rouge-pourquoi-t2872.htm

MAS36
13th November 2009, 19:00
Many times, headgear and uniforms did not make it to the front in time. Based upon our research (thousands of hours pouring through what materials we have) we've found that 3e BCCP wore a black beret. Until we receive actual photos (or a copy of the 3e BCCP book) we've decided to hold off on changing the color of the beret.

Mick

mm66
13th November 2009, 21:51
I found pictures of the 1er BEP on the net. Sorry if these have been posted before!


http://www.ecpad.fr/ecpa/include/DrawImage.asp?f=ALG%2061-131-R28.jpg

http://www.ecpad.fr/ecpa/include/DrawImage.asp?f=ALG%2057-559-R9.jpg

http://www.ecpad.fr/ecpa/include/DrawImage.asp?f=ALG%2057-559-R31.jpg

here is where i got them from

http://www.ecpad.fr/ecpa/PagesDyn/result.asp?dossierID=599&photo=1&collectionid=5

MAS36
22nd November 2009, 02:16
Gentlemen:

It appears a flurry of emails flew back and forth across 'the pond' in the past several days; I beleive our unit is *INCORRECT* in the usage of the Black (noir) berets for 3e BCCP and the original posters here are correct: the BCCPS, based upon the information we have received from a French Indochina War militaria collector in France confirmed what those of you have written here: BCCPs were issued red / rouge berets in France and took them with them to Indochina. However, the 3e compagnie, indochinoise parachutiste drawn from Vietnamese, tribal groups and recruits in Hanoi wore BLACK for some reason, as least from the information we can find.

I will post a link to the sites from what we have found.

I would like to thank ALL of you for posting, as this has been one HELL of search for information on the BCCP since Cyril Bondroit's book is currently out of print from IndoEditions.

Regards,
Mick

Rapace
23rd November 2009, 17:10
Gentlemen:

It appears a flurry of emails flew back and forth across 'the pond' in the past several days; I believe our unit is *INCORRECT* in the usage of the Black (noir) berets for 3e BCCP and the original posters here are correct: the BCCPS, based upon the information we have received from a French Indochina War militaria collector in France confirmed what those of you have written here: BCCPs were issued red / rouge berets in FranceThis appears more in line with the general understanding about French colonial airborne units uniform... Looking forward to seeing your links.

MAS36
23rd November 2009, 19:51
Rapace,

I saw the pics of the unit in Bondroit's book (after a six month search, one of our members purchased it on eBay for less than $35; it sells on Amazon.com for over $400) and the initial photos are indeed what you and others mentioned: red (rouge) berets. We also found out some other things as well: use of French / US leggings (1949), the cheiche, bushhats as primary headgear in combat, and use of the US HBT jackets top and bottoms, although we did see the US Army WWII camouflage HBT top and bottoms in one photograph of the unit disembarking at Haiphong and moving toward Hanoi dressed in camouflage.

My question to you and others:

1. What does the GC mean? We find this designation next to the officers (I am assuming company commanders). "Groupment Commando"?

2. We've seen the MP40 as one of the main battle weapons of 3e BCCP upon its arrival in Indochine, and during the first several years (1947-49) prior to the Route Coloniale 4 battles. Would this weapon have been used by other French units?

As always our appreciation for the kindness and courtesies you and others have shown us.

Regards,
Mick

Cobolt-60
28th November 2009, 05:36
My question to you and others:

1. What does the GC mean? We find this designation next to the officers (I am assuming company commanders). "Groupment Commando"?

2. We've seen the MP40 as one of the main battle weapons of 3e BCCP upon its arrival in Indochine, and during the first several years (1947-49) prior to the Route Coloniale 4 battles. Would this weapon have been used by other French units?



From what I have seen "GC" can mean "Groupement Commando" (as in the 2e or 7e GCCP from 1950-1952 until they were also renamed BPCs along with the others). It also means "groupement de camp" (training group?). It can also mean "Groupe de Chasse" (or Pursuit Group) but this is an Armee de l'Air (Air Force) term. However, in this case I think it might mean something else, like the British Army term "OC" for "Officer Commanding".

Yes, I seem to remember seeing pics somewhere of MP-40s being used significantly by Les Commando Marine (Navy Commandos). Do a search online for pics of "commando marine" or "fusiliers marin" and you should find them.

Hope this helps.

Cobolt-60
28th November 2009, 14:15
Here are a couple of pics of what appear to be Marine Commandos (notice which way the beret is pulled) with MP40s in Indochine:

http://worldwartwozone.com/forums/post-war-europe/1814-ss-and-the-foreign-legion.html

There is also a comment in Windrow's Osprey book about a 1e BEP section receiving MP40s in 1950 (to replace broken MAS38s) but with unreliable British 9mm ammo:

http://books.google.com/books?id=oXRkalbcHC8C&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=mp40+indochina&source=bl&ots=oMLTaI60cQ&sig=mh8QyMCfpij3IFWO5KsuhQszWd0&hl=en&ei=5R8RS7aRN4yRtgewkJXrCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDUQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

I am took a look at the new webpages, Mick. They look excellent!!!!

--Colin

MAS36
28th November 2009, 15:48
Gentlemen: Thank you for the information! That solves the "GC" issue we were asking about!

I do have another (and I am sure hundreds of others to come):

What was the color of the red / amaranthe beret worn by the Parachutistes Coloniaux?

I know the SAS Brigade wore the MAROON beret (after issue in 1944 when all SAS battalions were brought together under 1st British Airborne Div prior to DDAY). I was wondering if the MAROON beret was then copied / issued as headgear to the Coloniaux para's (BCCPs, GCCP, etc.)

I have seen three different color variants in Indochina: a reddish-orange, maroon (ostensabily SASDB) and a light red / amaranthe (?)

Many thanks.

Cobolt-60
29th November 2009, 05:03
The "Beret Amarante" is still issued to the French Paras (though in a smaller sized beret). Here are examples of the proper color:

http://cgi.ebay.com.my/Beret-Amarante-rouge-des-parachutistes-TAILLE-58_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQitemZ350235911250

http://www.naturabuy.fr/beret-amarante-tap-item-156328.html

http://amicale8rpima.e-monsite.com/rubrique,attributs-tenues,263710.html

http://www.doursoux.com/product_info.php?cPath=979_1006&products_id=134

I am not sure that any of the current ones produced are really large enough (current paras wear berets that are much smaller than were worn in Indochine), so I might suggest buying larger sizes and modifying the bands.

Hope this helps.

Cobolt-60
29th November 2009, 15:59
More stuff --

Here is an example of a Indochine vintage BEP Beret Vert:

http://www.vietcollectionsmilitaria.com/original-french-indochine-legion-airborne-beret.html

Notice that it has much more material than currently produced ones do.

Here is a perfect pic of a beret rouge (3-piece variety) used for most of the war:

http://www.gia-vuc.com/indo/indo%20uniforms.htm

Cobolt-60
29th November 2009, 23:32
I went searching for a pic that I remembered that I thought all would be interested in seeing and I found it:

http://www.7flammes.com/1bep-24.jpg?36,40

This is a 1er BEP platoon responding to an ambush ca. 1953. The small mortar that the legionnaire is returning fire with is a Brandt mle 1937 50mm "lance-grenade"

http://www.worldwar2.ro/arme/?article=450

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=55645

This is the only pic I have ever seen of one being used in Indochine, but I have seen them listed as part of the TO&E for all TAP units in Indochina in this time period. Note the combination of U.S. P42 Camo Jackets and British Windproof Camo Pants, the fact that at least some of the helmets appear to be U.S. M1 helmets (not M1C para helmets) without mesh coverings, and the fact that the two Viet legionnaires to the right are both carrying MAT-49s, while the "European" legionnaire walking towards us in the background appears to be carrying some type of carbine (most probably a M1 carbine or a MAS-36, or their airborne equivalents the M1A1 or MAS-36CR39).

MAS36
30th November 2009, 19:43
Co-Bolt 60,

Thanks so much for the info!

From the pics I can tell that the Coloniale Paratroopers beret is a dark cherry red as opposed to the standard maroon issued to US and British Army airborne personnel. At least the color seems to be just a wee bit brighter. I compare the color to the beret worn by the Guardian Angels here in the U.S. (a local civic group), not as dark as maroon, but as Cyril Bondroit stated, a "bordeaux" color.

Thanks also for the pics of the Legion para's!

Cobolt-60
30th November 2009, 20:31
No problem, Mick. Yes, the Guardian Angels Red Beret seems to me to be very close to the proper color (I grew up in NYC and actually met Curtis and Lisa Silwa once), but I don't know about the sizing of them.

If you find a good U.S. source, let me know!!!!

--Colin

MAS36
30th November 2009, 23:35
Colin,

Much appreciated!

Actually we have a source for THAT EXACT color. Its called "Top Brass" and its a surplus store in Houston, Texas:

TOP BRASS SURPLUS
http://www.topbrassmilitary.com/

They dont have it listed on their website, but its that dark cherry / bordeaux color.

We will purchase one, badge it and posted here so you can see it. It should do, but I would like to get your take on it.

Mick

Cobolt-60
1st December 2009, 00:50
Very cool. I look forward to seeing it.

I wonder if the ones that are available are actually Israeli Para Berets:

http://cgi.ebay.ie/ISRAEL-ARMY-RED-BERET-PARATROOPS-IDF-ZAHAL-NEW_W0QQitemZ260513408799QQcategoryZ312QQcmdZViewI temQQ_trksidZp4340.m263QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DSI%26its %3DI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D10%26ps%3D63

http://www.israelmilitary.com/paratroopertzanchanim-p-1037.html?cPath=57

http://www.pongo.co.il/israeli_army_berets/israel_army_berets_paratrooper.asp

From what I have seen IDF berets are cut a little larger than current berets used by other militaries, and I believe that the Israelis pull their Berets to the left like the French, but I don't know how well the color will match.

Here are 20 pages FULL of "red" para berets from around the world!!!! LOL

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=136567


Current FEMALE French Paras with Berets Amarante:

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=136567&page=5

MAS36
1st December 2009, 17:49
The beret link was incredible. HUNDREDS of photos. I now see that the 'bordeaux red' beret is much lighter than the maroon beret. Significant difference.

Also a question Colin: Are the pull ties in the back on French berets worn OUT? I read something years ago that says they are ironed FLAT and displayed in an upside down "Y" down the back.

Cobolt-60
1st December 2009, 18:01
The beret link was incredible. HUNDREDS of photos. I now see that the 'bordeaux red' beret is much lighter than the maroon beret. Significant difference.

Also a question Colin: Are the pull ties in the back on French berets worn OUT? I read something years ago that says they are ironed FLAT and displayed in an upside down "Y" down the back.

Yeah, I thought that was a good find as well. Glad it helped.

That is a good question!!!! I am not sure. However, I have seen dress photos of the CIPLE with their white berets w/ the ties (in this case green and red) worn streaming down in the back. I think it might be a case of "dress" wear verses "barracks" wear (since in the field everyone would be wearing a chapeau de brousse anyway).

More photos of interest --

Here is a photo of Viet 1er BEP legionnaires on patrol at Na San, 1952:

http://www.7flammes.com/1bep-23.jpg

Question, Mick, have you found a domestic source for Chapeau de Brousse?

Cobolt-60
1st December 2009, 18:02
Even more photos --

Here are photos of captured Viet Minh equipment at Phu Doan, 1952 by the 123 Brigade (1er BEP, 2eme BEP, and 3eme BPC):

http://www.7flammes.com/1bep-10.jpg

http://www.7flammes.com/1bep-11.jpg

http://www.7flammes.com/1bep-12.jpg

http://www.7flammes.com/1bep-13.jpg

MAS36
2nd December 2009, 18:57
Question, Mick, have you found a domestic source for Chapeau de Brousse?

Colin,

These are EXTREMELY scarce. My bush hat was actually sold to the Israeli's marked, and when I bought it, the last owner had rubbed off the ink Hebrew markings on it. But its still perfect for reenacting. There are several pics of it on my website, especially here:

http://www.alliedcoldwarvets.com/Parachutiste_Indochine_CHEICHE.html