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Badges and Uniforms

Wings of French paratrooper qualification

Brevet paraIn Indochina War, French Paratroopers included Infantry Battalions, Artillery, Engineer and Commandos. The Navy had one Commando Unit.
Later, in Algeria, Paratroopers included also, Light Cavalry Units, and the Air Force created one Commando Group (Para-Commando).
The uniforms, weapons and equipment was like the others (Army Units, Navy and Air Force).
The differences between the Units were primarily in the berets and head-dress. All Paras Army, except the Foreign Legion, wore the Red Beret, and Navy Commandos wore the British Green Beret with cap badge tilted on left side.

In Algeria, until 1957, the R.C.P. and Choc Unit wore a blue beret. The R.P.C (Overseas Paras) wore the Red Maroon Beret won by French S.A.S in W.W2 and kept in Indochina. In 1959; the Green Beret for Foreign Legion became an official head-dress.

The "Air Para Commandos" adopted a dark blue beret, and the bleu beret is worm by A.L.A.T Units (Army Air Corps). Since 1957, all the Units wore the Red Beret.

In July 1961, the Red Beret is abolished in summer, for three years. In 1965, the Red Beret is restored for all seasons. The Navy Commandos wear the Green Beret in combat dress and the 2nd R.E.P. wears the "Kepi-Blanc" in Parade dress and in of duty dress. Another element of differences between Units: Regiment Insignias, Corps Insignias and Arm badges worn on left shoulder.

In Indochina and Algerian campaigns the Airborne Troops were a Corps comprising different branches of the Army (Infantry, Artillery etc…). But now, each Arm contains its own Paratroopers Units. French Airborne Troops no longer form a Corps. The Regiments are part of a Division with two Brigades. Divisional Troops and a H.Q. with a Tactical Command and a S.A.S Regiment (the 1er R.P.I.Ma).
Navy Commandos and Air Force Para Commandos are contained in a Group.

Parachutistes britanniques, américains & français, seconde guerre mondiale

The uniforms and equipment presented in this series were worn during WW2 by French Airborne units.

Paratroopers of 1st, 3rd and 4th Air Force Infantry Battalion (B.I.A. = Bataillon d’Infanterie de l’Air) and before them those of the SAS’s French Squadron, and then later on by the 2d and 3rd R.C.P/SAS of the S.A.S Brigade. They wore British uniforms with the distinctive "France" badge and French Para Wings in addition to British insignias.

The "Chasseurs Parachutistes" of the French Air Force’s 1st R.C.P wore U.S uniforms and equipments from 1943 to 1945. On their helmets were painted the insignia of the Infanterie de l’Air and on their breast they wore the French Air Force parachutist brevet.

These are the only details that singled out French Paras from other Allied Paras.

  1. Red Devil
  2. Jump and combat gear
  3. S.A.S
  4. A bridge too far
  5. U.S Airborne
  6. Jump gear
  7. Bastogne
  8. U.S. parade dress

French paratroopers in Indochina and Algeria

From the battles of WW2 to the Kolwezi raid and the operations in French Indochina, the battles of Algeria and those of the CPIMa from 1969 to 1973 in Chad the history of paratroopers is impressive and great.

United around the legendary “Airborne spirit” that was born out of 100 French airborne combat jumps and with as a guiding light Courage, Strength and Faith handed down from one generation to an other the history of paratroops was written down around the world like a Chanson de Geste.

Modern day Knights inspired by Saint Michel, the Valliant and fighting Archangel, airborne troops are nevertheless over and above their legend, the traits of common men, they suffer and die, they fight and without a doubt seek a greater, selfless and wholehearted devotion of oneself, they refuse adversity, they have an unbound liking for danger and effort.

In the final analysis it is of great interest and important because it is the history of men. These plates will bring to some many memories, and are dedicated to all those who according to legendary General Bigeard “died on that endless jungle trail” during those 60 years where missions were said to be “impossible” and amazing.

  1. Indochina 1950
  2. Battalion Pennant
  3. Jump equipment
  4. Camouflage Dress
  5. Algeria
  6. Light combat uniform
  7. Para-commando of Air Force
  8. Green Beret

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