1. Are they “discretion” shorts, or issued? I am saying it because of their relative short length; British type would go well below the knees. In any case, guys do not look very enthused with harsh foreign land’s surroundings and I do not blame them. Well task has to be performed, I guess.

  2. Arab-style robes make more sense in that climate and terrain. Hotter than a griddle in daylight, cold as an icebox after dark, and if you slip and fall, industrial-strength road rash on any bare skin that contacts the ground with any force.

    Of course, those robes also make a terrific condo for lice, too. Everything is a tradeoff.

    The FR-F1 rifle in 7.5 x 54 was about as accurate as the original U.S. M40. The later FR-F2 version in 7.62 x 51 NATO is unusual among sharpshooters’ rifles in that the barrel is free-floated inside an outer tube that is supposed to act as a “thermal sleeve” to prevent changes in barrel dynamics due to ambient temperature, rather like the much bigger one on an MBT’s main gun. I never have been entirely convinced that it works as advertised.



  3. Dear All,
    This “short short” was issued and it was very common in all the French Forces in Africa. It is difficult to identify the unit, that can be the Foreign Legion or Infanterie de Marine troops. Both were intensively in Chad and other African countries.
    I was many time on duty in Africa and I note that the scope is not on, no buttstock extention, no piece check, nothing… curious. Normaly, on the web belt the shooter must have a plastic box with the scope. The guy is also equiped with a smoke grenade and we can see an offensive hand grenade. on his left shoulder you can see the teather cleaning pounch.
    The soldier behind the FRF1 shooter is equiped with the MAS49/56 and it seems that his job in the squad is “grenadier” because he use an PM49 magazin pouch full with rifle grenades.
    The FRF1 was certainly the most accurate sniper rifle at this time. I used it a very long time.
    Sorry again for my poor English.

  4. Hi Jason, my father was in the Foreign Legion. I spend 25 years in the Commando Marine (special unit from the Navy). Retired since 2000.

    • Hello, Reiss :

      Excellent information! Thanks very much for sharing your insights and hard-won perspectives. It’s always great to hear from another veteran, regardless of nationality.

  5. Apart from the FRF1, the weapons, equipments and uniforms are the same as late Algerian war Era.
    The short and bush hat are from the Indochinese War era. The soldier on the front even wears Pataugas Shoes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pataugas) emblematic of the colonials wars.
    That’s not so surprising: throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, M47-52 TTA camo uniform were prefered to the M64 (called Satin 300) Olive Green Uniform, for military operations in Africa.

    During the Algerian War (1954-1962) the MAS 49-56 + APX scope, was the standard sniper rifle. It was replaced in mid 1960’s by the FRF1. The FRF1 itself was replaced in end 1980’s by the FRF2 in 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win).

  6. Hello gentlemen,
    This is à well known picture of french marine infantry (i can’t remember of they are infantry or aiborne) in Chad.
    Good evening

  7. The guy must have realized he left his watch somewhere. He appears to be looking at his watch and there is a watch shaped tan line there.

  8. One somehow non-relating subject, but rather interesting.

    On another blog one fellow from Croatia confided that their military officers are for part ex-Legionnaires. Wow – that explains why they like bullpup; must be mental inertia.

    But no, I did not mean to restart talk about Famas.

  9. Dear Gentlemen, I am surprise about how many comments can comes out just about a picture. I am absolutely not familiar with blogs or other web sites, it very new for me because I am very “Old School”, sorry.
    Anyway, some precision about the comments.
    The comment from Forban23 is correct, after the Algerian independence the word “Colonial” was politically incorrect and was transformed in “Infanterie de Marine”, but these troops belongs to the French Land Forces (Armée de Terre) and not to the French Navy. The main job of these troops was to maintain the French presence overseas and especially in the former French colonies. Most of them was professional troops and some was para troops (airborne).
    About the French sniper rifle, one thing is sure, the French Army was the first Army in the world using in big quantities semi-auto rifles with the FSA17 and FSA18, a part of them was equipped with a scope. But to late to be massively in the troops before the end of WW1. From the end of WW1 to the end of WW2, sniper rifles was not the priority of the Army Command. Immediately after WW2 the French Forces was engaged in the Indochina war (Viet-Nam) and the Navy units try to use M36 bolt action rifle has sniper rifle, with German X4 ZF scopes. But without success because of bad quality ammo (no precision ammo at this time). So they use most of the time captured German G43 with ZF4. End of 1950 the semi-auto rifle MAS49 arrive in the units and the best of them was equipped with a French made scope. In 1957, the MAS49 is replaced by the MAS49/56 and of course someone were equipped with the same sniper scope because they have the same female dove tail on the left side of the housing to fit this accessory.
    In the 60’s, under De Gaulle’s insistence, the MAS (Manufacture d’Armes de St Etienne)produce a new bolt action rifle for the NATO “competion”. A challenge (or games, I don’t know the correct word) between the different NATO countries. This rifle was the FR-F1 (based on the MAS36 action) with an iron sight. At the beginning of this project the rifle was previous in the NATO cal 7.62 x 51 AND 7.5 x 54. Some precision ammo were made in cal 7.5, with the IS and the KS bullet. Of course, after the success of this rifle the production was standardized with the same scope than the MAS49 and MAS49/56, but a little be modified: the APX806L.
    At the end of the 80’s the FR-F1 was transformed in FR-F2 in cal 7.62 x 51 with some “cosmetic” modifications.
    Some FR-F1 were chambered in the NATO cal for the export and for the French Gendarmerie.
    Anyway, my great favourite is the FR-F1, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
    For Denny, the FAMAS was a very good and extremely reliable assault rifle. Don’t forget, it was created in the 60’s and enter in service only in 1975. At this time the French Army was not professional and the enemy was in the East. Don’t forget also that at this time there was no laser, torch or any other accessories on the marked with the Picatinny system. Try to shoot 100 000 round with an M16 from 1975 without failure. The FAMAS do that in 1975.
    Have a nice day.

    • ” how many comments can comes out just about a picture”
      Vintage Saturday series here often lead to big number of comments.

      “IS and the KS bullet”
      Can you explain these acronymes?

    • Thank you for your remark Wolf.

      I had been interested in past quite into depth about Famas (even shot it once) and never doubted its qualities. My note was with respect to its Croatian inspiration roots.

      It has been disappointing to many enthusiasts including myself that French small arms industry ceased to exist; so much more it stands out in light of you appreciative words on FR-F1. Wishing you the best in your retirement!

  10. Hi Daewo and Denny,
    The IS was a 11,8 gram bullet and the KS a 10,5 gram bullet. They was shortly use only in competition. All the IS and KS ammo were produce by Le Mans ammo plant. The bullet had no a crimp grove.
    We never had them on duty. On duty we had only selected batches of cartridges. The ammo batches in production were tested, and the one that was very regular in weight and velocity were declared ‘lot de precision”. That meads precision ammo for the FR-F1.

    About the FAMAS, yes it is a shame that France loose completely the know how in infantry weapon production. It was a stupid political decision. Now we depend completely from foreign producers. Same thing for the ammo, every year the Army makes new tenders for the ammo, one year it can be Israeli ammo, next year US ammo, and maybe Chinese….
    The Croatian rifle in competition to replace the FAMAS was a quiet good rifle. But a bull pup was not really desire by the Army Command. Now the FAMAS will be replaced by the HK despite that the technical results are in favour to the SCAR.
    Thank you for my retirement, but since I am retired I have so much to do in my second carrier that I have time for nothing…

    • Excellent information Wolf.

      Would you please be able to speculate on results of French service rifle competition; why do you think SCAR had better results/ tech. parameters than HL416? Thanks in advance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.