French army calot de tradition

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French army calot de tradition

Post  pedroalfonso on Wed 27 Oct 2010, 4:22 am

Regarding to the coloured side caps, model 1945, of the french army, Im very interested in that of BILA (batallons de Infanterie Legere de Afrique). If anyone could provide me the colours and any picture Ill be very grateful.

Many thanks

Pedro

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Re: French army calot de tradition

Post  buistR on Wed 27 Oct 2010, 7:04 am

The Infanterie Legere d' Afrique bonnets de police M1945 were in the unusual shade of violet (a purple shade) pedroalfonso. No contrasting colour for the indented crown or side piping. I have a colour plate showing all 51 (!) of the side caps worn by the French Army after WWII and will try and post it tonight. Right now work calls Sad

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Re: French army calot de tradition

Post  buistR on Wed 27 Oct 2010, 4:49 pm


Attached is the bonnet de police or calot (number 8 in the chart above) of the Infanterie legere d'Afrique - the misnamed "joyous ones" or battalions made up of former military convicts from all branches of the French Army who had completed their sentences but who still had part of their actual term of enlistment to serve (time in prison didn't count). In most armies this class of bad soldier was tossed out on the street with a dishonourable discharge but the economically minded French put them to work in North Africa and elsewhere - in peacetime building roads or other hard labour under harsh discipline. They were also trusted with weapons when the need arose and sometimes proved suprisingly effective soldiers. Their cadres of officers and NCOs were usually transferred from other units, presumably with the lure of promotion, but some NCOs were themselves former convicts. All in all an unattractive lot - whom even the Foreign Legion looked askance at.

The bonnets de police shown evolved from a simple khaki or sky blue forage cap to a widely worn means of regimental or branch identification during 1944-46. They usually displayed traditional uniform colours, dating back in some cases to the nineteenth century. Thus the line infantry cap (number 3 above) had a dark blue body, garance red top and piping - matching the blue coat and red trousers of this branch until 1914. The African Light Infantry adopted an all violet colour which matched their collar braiding during the 1920s and 30s.

There were at least 51 different types of bonnets de police in a rainbow of colours. Because they were cheap but distinctive they remained in use until 1960, although the design underwent some changes in 1957. They were finally replaced by the universal beret, although a few units such as the Spahis still wear them.

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French army calot tradition

Post  pedroalfonso on Wed 27 Oct 2010, 8:52 pm

Thanks for your answer.

Could you please post all 51 calots?

Pedro

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