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Paratrooper in combat gear - Indochina 1950

Upon the arrival of the first paratroopers in French Indochina, a motley uniform was runoff the mill: a British beret worn "French style", U.S camouflage jacket or Denison smock, U.S jump boots, olive green trousers, U.S or British weapons or even French at times, like on this drawing – the MAS 36 CR39 rifle used by mountain and Airborne troops that will remain in service with the airborne for a long time.

This "motley" uniform will continue to be worn and this right up to the end of the Indochina war even if a standard French Indochina airborne uniform was issued. Some gear like the U.S steel helmet will remain in use until the end of the Algerian War.

Documents of that era that have inspired this drawing are quite revealing with regards to this. With regards to combat operations the Battalions Paras are immediately sent to fight in strategic areas as soon as they arrive in the Far East.

Because of this, these units are available at a moment’s notice a personnel replenishment system will have to be set up because of attrition. France in order to meet this requirement has to set-up more and more Airborne units and will have at its disposal a powerful "Corps d’Intervention" (Rapid Response Corps).

Indochina 1950

Unfortunately in this specific war, many Battalion d'Indochine that fought well, courageously and valiantly will, because of the harsh living conditions, inevitably be whittled down.

The "Para" shown on this drawing, wears a USMC camouflaged jungle jacket, U.S Army trousers, US combat knife and jump boots, the rough canvas equipment and ammunitions pouches are French army issue.

His "Bergen" rucksack is filled with combat equipment and a camouflaged tent all to be hooked on the parachute harness, under the reserve parachute.

He is folding his rifle that he will tie under his reserve chute for the combat jump. The rifle’s sling winds up automatically in the empty aluminum rifle butt.


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