Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

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Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  zebra on Tue 11 Aug 2009, 7:48 pm

Does anyone know if the WW2 Belgian (German) style ammo pouches or the WW1 leather/webbing pouches were worn before the leather m37 British pouches were introduced? Khaki cover to the fez/pill box hat or Adrian helmet worn in the field? Officers kd shirt/shorts? Pat.

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  buistR on Thu 13 Aug 2009, 2:19 pm

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Hi Pat. The attached photo shows the Force Publique in 1940/41, wearing leather equipment with khaki drill and red fezs. A slightly later photo (1943) shows them in fezs with khaki covers. While the FP saw considerable service during the First World War in German East Africa, it was used to only a limited extent during 1940-45. A contingent was sent to the Middle East where they guarded lines of communication, prisoners etc. I think that it is doubtful whether they wore the Adrian helmet of the Belgian metropolitan army at any stage - if helmets were issued for this sort of duty in Egypt or elsewhere they would probably have been British "tin bowlers".

After the War the Force Publique wore US style helmets or helmet liners extensively - although the fez was still being worn as a parade item right up to independence in 1960. Then of course the FP mutinied against their Belgian officers and the Congo descended into a cycle of violence and chaos that it has never really emerged from ...

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  ChrisF202 on Wed 26 Aug 2009, 2:42 am

Would anyone happen to have any details on the rank insignia of the Force Publique? A I correct in assuming it is the same as the Belgian Army of the same period?

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  buistR on Wed 26 Aug 2009, 8:46 am

Hi ChrisF - an example is visible on the sleeve of the figure at far right in the photo above. He is a senior sergeant (Premier Sergent) wearing the two diagonal silver stripes of this rank. The only difference between this insignia and that of his counterpart in the Belgian metropolitan army is that the Congolese NCO's stripes are on a detachable patch (removable for laundry purposes). Sergeants wore a single silver diagonal stripe, corporals and senior privates two and one red stripes respectively.

There were no Congolese officers in the Force Publique prior to independence. The Belgian officers wore the gilt stars and bars of the home forces on their collars. From 1915 on all ranks of the FP were distinguished by a wreathed and crowned shield badge on their headdresses (whether sun helmet, fez or peaked cap).

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  ChrisF202 on Wed 26 Aug 2009, 10:26 am

buistR wrote:Hi ChrisF - an example is visible on the sleeve of the figure at far right in the photo above. He is a senior sergeant (Premier Sergent) wearing the two diagonal silver stripes of this rank. The only difference between this insignia and that of his counterpart in the Belgian metropolitan army is that the Congolese NCO's stripes are on a detachable patch (removable for laundry purposes). Sergeants wore a single silver diagonal stripe, corporals and senior privates two and one red stripes respectively.

There were no Congolese officers in the Force Publique prior to independence. The Belgian officers wore the gilt stars and bars of the home forces on their collars. From 1915 on all ranks of the FP were distinguished by a wreathed and crowned shield badge on their headdresses (whether sun helmet, fez or peaked cap).
Thanks for your information buistR. Out of curiosity, what was the highest rank in the Force Publique?

http://www.rudi-geudens.be/html/titelblad_force_publique.htm
^ contains some earlier rank insignia information from the late 1800s until the onset of WWI.

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  buistR on Wed 26 Aug 2009, 7:29 pm

The Force Publique commander at independence was Lieutenant-General Emile Janssen.

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former uniform 1900

Post  wfrad on Mon 31 Aug 2009, 8:35 pm

Not really in line with the thread but hereís the simple uniform of the Belgian Congo native troops whose rank conformed with the European NCOs ranks,
Uniform conformed to the baggy stile used in North Africa by the many of the French native troops.
I wasnít sure of what if any [I believe only Europeans uniforms carried badges] insignia was on the uniform beside the rank chevrons so at best itís just a generalization, sorry.

http://www.imagecabin.com/?view=251711193851c54bc6f16f845
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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  zebra on Sat 19 Sep 2009, 8:17 pm

Thanks for all the info guys ,very usefull. Pat.

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The Belgian Campaign in Ethiopia, 1941

Post  Per Finsted on Sun 15 Nov 2009, 7:25 pm

To supplement the information already provided on the Force Publique, the book The Belgian Campaign in Ethiopia, 1941 - A Trek of 2,500 miles through jungle swamps and desert wastes by George Weller may be of interest. It contains a number of interesting photos of the Belgian askaris.

Click on
http://www.archive.org/details/TheBelgianCampaignEthiopia
to download the book.

Best regards
Per

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

Post  Sean on Mon 16 Nov 2009, 4:53 am

What a brilliant find, thanks

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Re: Belgian Congo/Force Publique unifoprm equipment 1941-early WW2.

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