Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Canadian_Super_Patriot, Dec 23, 2006.
What uniforms did Vichy soldiers wear ? and what equipment did they use ?
AFAIK the Vichy military was basically frozen in a Armistice 1940 kind of state. Their armour, airforce and weapons were kept pretty much as were with only limited production of approved types allowed and very limited numbers of personel.
It's worth mentioning as well that they were technically, legally and practically a Neutral rather than an Axis state.
They used french equipment from 1940 ?
Did they get their soldiers from french POW's, from fascist sympathisers, or conscription.
Did they use french military uniforms from 1940 or the 1940 uniform with slight changes to distinguish itself from the free french uniform , or german uniforms ?
I would assume the majority of the soldiers were serving members of the (pre-July 1940) French forces and the uniforms were unchanged.
IIRC the original Free French forces were generally given British uniforms and equipment (keeping a Kepi for officers) with a "France" shoulder flash. After Torch, the US took over much of the responsibility for supplying "Fighting French" units, so by 1944 they had a US appearance.
Basically there were two kind of Vichy forces, the Armée Nouvelle (New army) in metropolitan France, and the colonial army abroad.
The new army in France was limited to 100.000 men and was allowed no heavy equipment by the terms of the franco-german armistice.
Originally the army was to be composed of volunteers only, but later the germans allowed conscription of the 1940 class.
There were no Pow's released to serve in this army, and there weren't much fascist sympathizers either as those had the possibility to join the SS.
The Armée Nouvelle was especially being trained in mountain warfare as it was generally believed in France as well as in Italy that after the end of the general war, the italians would again try to conquer french territories(Savoie, Nice, Corsica, Tunisia)which they failed to conquer in 1940.
For the same reason artillery and other prohibited equipment was hidden in several places.
The uniform of the new army was mostly unchanged from the 1940 uniform.A new mod.1941 tunic was introduced in 1942 with only minor changes.
Besides this army, there was the colonial army which was mostly concentred in north africa.
Unlike the army in France, the army in the colonoies was allowed to keep it's heavy weaponry as the axis considered that otherwise these colonies could too easily fall into allied/free french hands.
The colonial army was about 200.000 men strong.(from which some 130.000 were in north africa, the rest being spread over the rest of the colonial empire).