F1 DECONTAMINATOR

During the 1970s the M.A.S. F1 Chemical Decontamination Apparatus became a fairly standard piece of kit on French military vehicles.

click here for a closer look at the decontaminatorIt was designed for front line emergency use and its 2.5litres of decontamination agent was enough to completely spray a small vehicle like the jeep and make it safe to continue in service until it could be taken to a proper decontamination facility.

The contents of the decontaminator were caustic and the steel pressure vessel had to be plastic lined to prevent corrosion. Decontaminating a jeep would certainly not have improved the paint finish!

The decontaminator was stored on a bracket designed for the purpose normally mounted on the right-hand side front wing. Later Hotchkiss wings have the necessary holes pierced in them as standard even if the bracket was never fitted. Like a fire extinguisher the decontaminator had a safety pin to prevent accidental discharge.

Instructions were printed on the body including a warning to the operative about the caustic hazard and that protective clothing should be worn ! Given the nature of the contamination it was designed to make safe one would have expected the operative to already be wearing NBC kit! After use the apparatus would have been returned to the workshops as it was a refillable design.

In the case of an M201 MILAN it was necessary to mount the decontaminator on the left-hand wing (photo right) as the other side was used to mount the jerrycan in a rack, there being no space for this or the spare tyre at the back of the vehicle. On most M201s the decontaminator was fitted on the right-hand wing.

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