French Army jeeps to carry an anti-tank system were modified to carry either a
recoilless anti-tank rifle or the wire guided Aérospatiale SS 10 surface to
surface missile, both of which had been developed in the early 1950s.
Initially the 75mm recoilless rifle was used fitted to the Delahaye VLR
(shown opposite) but
by the time the Hotchkiss M201 was being produced the larger and more
effective M40 106mm recoilless rifle was available from the U.S.
From about 1957 onwards it was fitted
to new M201 jeeps with a strengthened chassis
that were sent to ERGM at La Maltournee for conversion to carry the
weapon. Conversion to 106 SR shared a common feature with the SS
10 in that most of the back body panel of a brand new jeep
had to be removed.
M201 106SR on the firing range
The conversion was based on a US supplied
M-40 106mm recoilless anti-tank
rifle and M79 wheelbarrow mount designed to be fitted on various jeep
type vehicles. The kit was supplied to armies across Europe during the 1950s and
1960s and the example below, sent to me by Chaz, is of a Greek army Willys MB.
The kit also included a modified M38 windscreen
up-rated suspension system to help support the load. The rear panel was cut out and the body tub
strengthened at several key points, the spare tyre and jerrycan moved to the
side (like the M201 SS 10), and a small folding seat mounted on the rear wheel arch
like the later MILAN. The weapon included a telescope sight and .50 calibre
spotting machine gun, the rounds for which are 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.
The wheelbarrow mount enabled it
to be removed from the jeep and used on the ground, a heavy task for
the three man crew but possible as the photos from MAT 6050
Easy as 1 - 2 - 3
I am grateful to J-L Martin for
providing the official manuals used on this page.
Like all M201s, the 106 SR was originally
built as a 6 volt jeep until 1960 and then as a 24 volt jeep from mid 1960
onwards. They were also rebuilt at La
Maltournée where, as late as 1965, some 6
volt versions were being rebuilt as such, presumably to retain continuity of
spares within certain regiments. From 1966 onwards all 106 SRs were rebuilt to
24 volt standard a process which continued until 1974.
The example above is my 24 volt 106 SR
photographed at Kemble in 2005 alongside my standard M201. In service it had not
been fitted with indicators but these were seen as essential for safety and the
addition of hoops for a tilt (never seen in service) was for practicality given
the nature of British weather. Below is some of the
detail from my 106 SR the photos were taken before mounting the gun. Click the
photo to enlarge /
Cliquez pour agrandir l'image
The M 40 is an awesome piece of kit and
although made obsolete by modern 'throw away' shoulder launched missiles it is
still in use in the Third World with the armies of India and Pakistan and can be
seen on the back of jeeps and pickups in trouble torn areas of Africa.
photograph: Morning Star - it was on the front
page so I just had to buy a copy
Can't miss at this distance - a bit of fun in the
arena at the Yeovil Show