Hotchkiss military jeep production
consisted of two models only. There was the standard jeep and the
adapted for use in North Africa. All other variants of the M201 which were
mainly weapons carriers were conversions to standard jeeps carried out by ERGM
la Maltournée. From 1956 - 1960
M201s were produced as 6 volt models, then from mid 1960 - 1966 as 24 volt
models. The 6 volt models were very similar to the wartime MB, with the very earliest
licence production even having wood blocks on the bonnet.
MODIFIED VERSIONS BY ERGM
The ERGM works at
la Maltournée was responsible
for the modification of standard M201 jeeps to provide a range of specialised
jeep based vehicles for the army. On
the whole only new M201s were used but as weapons systems became obsolete and
the Sahara jeeps made redundant with the end of the war in Africa these were
rebuilt to carry different weapons.
SS10 and ENTAC
Technical data sheet:
The first French Army jeeps to carry an
anti-tank system were fitted with the wire guided Aérospatiale
SS. 10 surface to surface missile. Although SS10 dated back to
the early 1950's conversion of jeeps to carry it did not
begin until 1963. Relatively few vehicles (mainly M201s rather
than MBs / GPWs) were converted as the later ENTAC system did
substantially the same job. A few vehicles like the one pictured
above were modified to test fire the Aérospatiale SS. 11.
Technical data sheet:
The ENTAC (Engin Téléguidé Anti-Char)
portable infantry weapon was first introduced in 1957 and the
earliest record I have located indicates that it
was fitted to jeeps from 1963. I suspect that relatively few jeeps were
converted at this time for evaluation. More jeeps were converted
to ENTAC carriers by the ERGM La Maltournée workshops in October
The ENTAC system was
superseded by the second generation, semi-automatic MILAN ATGW (Missile d'Infanterie Léger Antichar)
and conversion of
jeeps to provide a mobile platform for it began in 1975. Three missiles were carried in tubes on
an aluminium rack mounted across the back of the jeep. This meant
moving the spare tyre to the side and the jerrycan holder to the
step just behind the fender. The overhanging rack
at the rear also meant fitting a second set of bumperettes onto
the normal ones. The firing post was fixed to a solid steel plate which
was bolted to the floor of the jeep and had a seat for the
operator which rotated with the post. A second small operator
seat was bolted to the rear wheel arch behind the driver. Photo: Steve Rossall's
MILAN at Kemble show 2003.
Technical data sheet:
|This M201 conversion was based on a US
supplied M-40 106mm recoilless anti-tank rifle and M79 wheelbarrow mount
designed to be fitted on jeep type vehicles. The kit also included a
modified M38 windscreen. In the case of the M201 the rear panel was cut
out and the body tub strengthened at several key points. Like the MILAN,
the spare tyre and jerrycan were moved to the side and a small folding
seat mounted on the rear wheel arch. Both models were fitted with
additional rear coil springs to support the load. The weapon also
included a telescope sight and .50 calibre spotting machine gun.
The rounds for this were shorter than standard .50 cal and were tracer
with phosphorus tip creating a puff of smoke on the target to check that
the gun was accurately aimed before firing the main round. Photo: by
Simon Thompson of my 106SR at Horndean show 2005.
M201 - M621 20mm GUN
The M201 shown
above is the prototype of an M201
Field Car, Weapon Carrier
fitted with an M621 20mm gun.
was displayed at one of the Satory military equipment
exhibitions but this particular example never actually
went into active service.
In the version that
the gun could
be elevated from -5 degrees to +50 degrees and operated
from the vehicle itself from the special rear seat or
from beside. The above jeep, M201 N° 14599 with the registration 211-2494
(now minus gun) is currently owned by Nicholas Benoit in
France who added that it was rebuilt but not
re-registered on 23 09 1975 at La Maltournée. It then
served with the 8° RPIMA
( 8th Marine
Airborne Regiment ) at
until 1997 when it was finally pensioned off.
M201 - RASURA
M201 on the left is fitted with the RASURA close-range battlefield surveillance radar system.
RASURA was first issued to the infantry in the early 60's as
a portable system for locating personnel and vehicles to
support the use of weapons fitted with infra-red equipment.
Later in the 60's an M201 conversion was designed to provide
a mobile platform for RASURA. M201s thus equipped remained in
service during the 70's and 80's. The jeep was fitted with a modified vinyl
canvas with with an almost full width fold down flap at the rear.
M201 - RITA
The final example on the right with the
complicated aerial arrangement is fitted with RITA (Le réseau intégré des transmissions automatique). RITA, which is still in use today, is
a secure nodal field communication system capable of
telephony and radiotelephony, telegraphy, transmission of
images, and even data transmission under certain conditions. This is the only photograph I have
ever seen of an M201 fitted with this equipment and I suspect
that relatively few jeep conversions would have been made and
then only for the purpose of testing and evaluating the
The weapons and special equipment in all
of these modified jeeps were removed before the jeeps were demobbed and
sold at auction but some evidence of their past may remain. Additional
springs to support the load (106 SR & MILAN), holes drilled in
rear bumperettes (MILAN), holes for a folding seat on the wheel arch
(106SR & MILAN), strengthening to corners of the tub (106SR), side
mounted jerrycan & spare wheel (106 SR & MILAN),
synthetic cammo net 1962 No. 1
between the front bumper and grille and other holes where
equipment was once mounted, some of which remain a
|The hard top 'break d'aviation' was produced in
small batches for the French Air Force by ERGM.
Sorry looking examples
(above) were awaiting their
fate at a government auction. Most if not all of
these were conversions made to Willys, Ford, or ITM jeeps rather than M201s.
Hard-top conversions were also produced for use by the Gendarmerie.
Although not strictly a military modification
WW2 jeeps and some
M201s were converted into Civil Defence fire tenders. Maheu-Labrosse of Lyon
were notable for these conversions and their catlogue included models
based on both the civilian JH102 and the military M201 jeeps. However,
only three M201s are known to have been converted for fighting heath
fires, two in 1958 and one in 1960.
ODDS AND ENDS
number of Sahara jeeps were converted to ENTAC missile launchers when
they were no longer needed for North Africa. As the jeep was converted
rather than being rebuilt it retained its original registration 221
2291. It also retained its directable windshield mounted light unit
(hence the clue to its Sahara origin.
that have just been removed from a jeep. They include firing post,
operators seats and a rack for missile tubes. The jeep in question also
had a modified hood to accommodate the extra height of the post.
|The ENTAC missile (note
spelling mistake above) was controlled by wire with the operator safely
away from the jeep.It was not a good idea to fire the missiles whilst
still sitting in it.
|2009 saw the appearance of a
new exhibit at the
musée des blindés (Tank Museum) at
Saumur in France - an M201 ENTAC. Photos
below by JLM.