French Armour in Vietnam 1945-54...

...from Osprey Publishing

Title: French Armour in Vietnam

Author: Simon Dunstan

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-3182-8

New Vanguard number 267 from Osprey provides some super coverage of a topic I have long found interesting. It is another Osprey title from well known author Simon Dunstan, and supported with super colour artwork from an old friend of mine, Henry Moreshead. The book is split across 6 chapters, starting with an introductory piece, 'The Empire Strikes Back', as the French government worked to re-establish control of rule over Indo China once WW2 was over. Then it moves on to 'The Role of French Armour', with sub-sections which include the various bits of equipment they used. It involved WW2 era equipment, including some ex-Japanese tanks, plus British, American and French vehicles. That is followed by 'Evolution of Armour Organisation', and this includes the success they had with using  Alligators and Crabes, the wartime Buffalo and Weasel amphibious vehicles that were put to effective use in the water-filled plains and the river deltas. Added to these were the river craft, conversion of old landing craft into patrol vessels.  Lessons that were to influence later US involvement in Vuetnam. Next is a Representative Unit History, for the 1er Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval. Then 'The Final Battles', which does include the battle of Dien Bien Phu, when a number of M24 Chaffees were flown in dismantled, and then reassembled by the Legionnaires on site, given a unique disruptive camouflage and used in the defence of the position.

The variety of vehicles shown give a good idea of the mix which were used, from British Humber Scout cars, Universal Carriers with an anti-grenade screen, M4 Shermans as well a M29 Weasels, LVT4, Dodge trucks, M8 armoured cars, Panhard 178 and more. An interesting look at this early period of the war in Vietnam, with archive photos and colour artwork that provides some fine references for modellers who are looking for some different finishes and markings for their collection. Another useful addition to the New Vanguard series.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.

Robin