Photos WW2 French Forces

General de Gaulle speaks with an Algerian officer, Italy, March 1944.
A Breguet 693 abandoned on a French airfield after a rough landing. The Br. 693 was a strange french strike aircraft which, among other peculiarities, had its 20mm cannon mounted at a downwards angle.
German soldiers examine a knocked out French AMD-35 near Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxemburg - May, 1940

Knocked out French Renault B-1 Tank - May, 1940

A destroyed Panhard 178 sits next to a collapsed bridge with a abandoned truck on it, France 1940

A column of German troops pass by a destroyed French Laffly W 15 TCC tank destroyer, France, 1940


Franco-British fraternité d'armes, 1940. Two soldiers from Recon/liaison outfits. The French guy on the left belongs to a GRDI, a Groupe de Reconnaissance de Division d'Infanterie, (a Infantry Division's motorcycle recon unit), the British soldier looks like he holds the same job.

BravoZulu posted the picture of a downed Bréguet Br693 light assault bomber some time ago, here is one in flight. Br693s were supposed to perform low altitude attacks, with light bombs and 20mm guns pointing at a -20° angle. There was a quite promising project to turn the plane into a fast, heavy fighter, the Br697, but the collapse of the French Army spelled the end of that, among many other things.

A might-have-been : The Bugatti 110P light - and fast, as befits a Bugatti product - fighter.


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A self-propelled antitank gun system, the Laffly W15tcc. You can see it's already a wartime model, as the rear is not fully protected. With its 47mm gun pointing at the rear of the armored truck, he W15tcc was not so much a tank hunter as it was a mobile, defensive AT weapon. Employed as such, it showed its ability during the short-lived Bataille de France (a long 47mm was enough to knock out German tanks at the time), but suffered from the absence of HE shells.

A Lioré-et-Olivier 451 bomber equipped with a magnetic ring designed to activate German magnetic sea mines (then a cutting edge weapon). The French Navy had some Le0-451s in its bombing squadrons, I think this was one of them. This picture is taken after the fall of France, as the plane fields the infamous red-and-yellow "pajama" stripes of the Vichy Air Force.

A Somua S-35 medium cavalry tank being transported on its special platform. Could be before WW2, as S-35s started rolling off SOMUA factories in 1936, or could be during the Phoney War.
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The Bloch-162, France's only foray into 4-engine bombers. Bloch was a major aircraft company, producing transport planes, fast bombers, and underpowered but sturdy fighters. After the war, Marcel Bloch changed his name to honor his brother, killed by the Germans, and who was a tank officer. Tanks in French are called chars d'assaut, and Marcel Bloch became Marcel Dassault - and his company went on producing basically every French jet fighter ever since, from the Ouragan to the present-day Rafale.

A Bloch 175 fast reconnaissance bomber. These planes were fast enough Bf-109s had a hard time intercepting them. Not completely sure about it, but I think Antoine de Saint-Exupéry flew one of those during the Phoney war and the Battle of France (when he wrote Flight to Arras).

Before radar: a télésitemètre, which help locate incoming raids by sound detection. Definitely during the Phoney War, in the cold, cold winter of 1939. Notice if the soldiers has traded his army-issued boots for some wood clogs, probably filled with extra socks, shredded newspapers or straw.

Above, the standard MAS-36 rifle, the French rifleman's weapon of 1940. Below, a special model with a folding stock produced to equip the Infanterie de l'Air (as parachutistes were then called) platoons. The light metallic stock would pivot around its axis, just above the trigger, and fold next to the barrel, reudcing the encumberance for the paratrooper.

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