by: Gary Kato [ ]
IntroductionThere is not much coverage of what happened in France between Dunkirk and the surrender of France, at least in English. This book is intended as a starting point for shedding some light on the vehicles used during those dark days. The book was written by Pascal Danjou with color profiles by Eric Schwartz and English translation by Claude Gillono. It was published in 2006 by Editions du Barbotin and the book has 62 6.75"x9.5" pages with text in both French and English. There are no scale drawings. All photos are black and white with 16 color profiles at the back of the book.
Contents"After Dunkirk" is an introductory chapter to set the stage for the reader with 2 pictures of abandoned French equipment while "The Older Material" covers vehicles from World War One as well as those that had been developed during World War One but came out too late to see action. There are one photo each of the 75mm De Dion Bouton, Jeffrey Quad, Pierce-Arrow 5 ton, Renault EG trucks, 2 photos of Mk VI tanks, 3 of converted Schneiders, 2 of FT31s, 6 of FT17s, 3 of FCM2Cs (assault tanks that were just too late for WW1), 2 of 194mm Self-Propelled Artillery, and one of a 280mm Self-Propelled Artillery.
"Corps de Cavalierie, A Phoenix Badly Off" covers some of the reformation of some of the cavalry units that made their way back to France after being evacuated from Dunkirk and features a sidebar on the Chevy Armored Car. There are 4 photos of AMD Panhard 178s, 3 of White-Laffly Armored Cars, 3 of Citroen Kegresse P16 Half-Tracks, 6 of Chevy Armored Cars, 1 of an AMC 35 Recon tank, and 2 of UE Carriers.
"The Resort to the Industries Abroad" covers the equipment imported from other countries (like the US and Italy), mostly trucks and motorcycles. There are 2 photos of White 704 trucks, one photo of an Indian B side car combination, and one of a GMC ACK353 truck.
"A Flamethrower Tank in June?" postulates that the French had been converting some Char B1s into flamethrower tanks. There are 6 photos of these turret-less Char B1s with a rectangular box on the rear.
"Prototypes and Short Production Runs" talks of the use of prototypes and initial production runs of vehicles that were just getting into production. There are two photos of Somua S35s, 1 of an SAu 40 (self-propelled artillery based on S35), one of an ARL 39 (self-propelled artillery based on Char b), one of a Char B, one of a Somua armored car/half-track, 1 of the AMD 178 prototype, 2 of the AMR prototype, one of a Lorraine 37 radio vehicle, one of an AMR 33, 4 of a AMR ZT2, and two each of some AMR 35 ZT3 and ZT4.
"The Tank Hunters" covers tank destroyers, mostly of the Laffly WT15 TCC, a truck mounting a 47mm AT gun, which were used with some success. There are 9 photos of the Laffly TCC, one of a Laffly WT15 with the body used for the 25mm AA prime mover, 2 of a Unic TU1 supply vehicle prototype, 1 of Lorraine 37L tank destroyer, 1 of 75mm on a truck, and a drawing of the proposed VBCP 39 tank destroyer.
"Tanks at All Costs" covers Hotchkiss H39 and Renault R40 tanks that were rushed into combat without all their equipment. There are 3 photos of H39s, and 3 photos of R40s.
"The Sacrifices of the 67eme BCC" covers the 67th BCC which was stationed in North Africa with Renault D1 tanks. After Dunkirk, they were brought back to mainland France and fought until the Armistice. There are 6 photos of Renault D1s as well as a sidebar on the D1.
Color Profiles features plates of the following:
FT 31 with special mantlet for Reibel machine-gun
FT 17 with improvised mantlet
SAu 40 - Compiègne - June 1940
B1 bis #505 equipped with a special tank to the back
R40 - 2nd DCR, 40th BCC - Abbeville - May 1940
Hotchkiss H39 - Unidentified unit - June 1940
Renault D1 - 67th BCC - Souain - June 1940
AMD 178 without turret - Anti-Paratrooper Detachment - June 1940
AMD Panhard 178 with casemate for 25mm cannon - unknown unit - June 1940
AMD 178 with Renault turret - June 1940 - 1st DLC
AM50 White Laffly - June 1940 - Unknown unit
AMD Citroen Kegresse P16 - GRDI unidentified - June 1940
AMD Chevrolet - 18th Armored Car Group - Port Boulet - June 1940
AMR35 ZT2 - 1st GRDI - Belgium - May 1940
Laffly W5 TCC - BACA Unknown - June 1940
Proposed Lorraine 39 tank destroyer
Bibliography:There are a few English titles but most are German and French publications.
ConclusionHopefully, this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as information on this period of World War 2 is concerned. By publishing this book, the author hopes to get more people digging around on this overlooked but fascinating subject. I found the variety of vehicles unknown to me very interesting. This is a good book for some scratch building, converting, and diorama ideas.