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Para Francais 1945-1962
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on 28 August 2011
Although the French Army had experimented with paratroops in the 1930s, and many Free French agents were parachute-trained in Britain, they only really started to show an interest when the Indochina War broke out after WW2. It was quickly realised that airborne tactics were an ideal solution to Indochina's inaccessible terrain, and soon airborne units were burgeoning everywhere: colonial infantry, chasseurs, Foreign Legion, secret service and Vietnamese parachute battalions all fought at some stage or other. Whatever their unit, French paras proved to be highly effective and their heroic sacrifice at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 truly cemented their reputation, even if it lost the war for France.

'Les Paras Francais' follows the usual lavishly-illustrated Histoire & Collections format, mixing wartime B&W photos with modern colour photos of models wearing vintage kit, and to say this book is the definitive overview of early French para uniforms and equipment would be an understatement: there are 12 pages on steel helmets and the evolution of combat jackets is so complex it has its own timeline ! You'll need to read French well to get the full benefit of the text but like most Histoire & Collections books, it's an invaluable reference source for its photos alone.

NB the subtitle '1945-1962' given on Amazon is potentially misleading: this volume covers the 1945-1954 Indochina War ONLY, but the excellent sequel on Algeria Les Paras Francais en Algerie 1954-1962 was published in 2012.
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on 24 April 2013
For any uniform collectors out there. This is an invaluable reference guide to the equipment of the Indochina war and a good way to brush up on your French at the same time.
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