M201 - ENTAC evidence / évidente

I have seen a number of M201s with these curious holes in the rear wheel arches (both sides). In most cases the holes have been covered by a metal plate riveted in place after the equipment was removed. It now seems almost certain that these are the holes made when an M201 was fitted with ENTAC missile launching equipment. The photo below by Tim Tearle of his M201 shows clearly the size and position of these holes.

The conclusion about the holes is made on the following basis:

Tim's jeep has a Sahara chassis. When these desert vehicles were no longer required for the war in North Africa many were converted to missile launchers being ideal for this with their strengthened chassis. Photographs in books often show ENTAC launchers still fitted with the Sahara model's adjustable lamp on the windshield.

The same jeep also has an unusual bar mounted underneath (see below). It has taken a while to identify this but thanks to the work of JLM, Olivier Bediot, J-P Peche, Christophe Muller and friends in collecting together many of the original army manuals and technical bulletins on the M201 the mystery has now been finally solved.

The part in question certainly belongs to an ENTAC missile launcher and is identified in technical bulletin BT603. It is part of the mounting bracket for a chain locker.

So, if your M201 has holes in the wheel arches like those in the top photo then the body, at least, was once used as an ENTAC launcher. If the jeep that the body was fitted to was decommissioned at a regional workshop e.g. Clermont Ferrand then it is possible that the body is still attached to the original chassis. If decommissioning as a launcher was done as part of the rebuilding programme at La Maltournée then  it is very unlikely that the original chassis and body remained together.

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