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FRANCE - 1939


Individual weapons

Pistols: Ruby and Star caliber 7.65 mm

Revolvers: Lebel caliber 8 mm

Rifles: Lebel 86/16 caliber 8 mm, Berthier and MAS caliber 7.5 mm

Hand bombs: F1, CF defensive, OF offensive (a), plus others incendiary and smoke

Automatic weapons

Submachine guns: MAS 1938 caliber 7.65 mm

Automatic rifles: Model 24/29 caliber 7.5 mm

Machine guns: Light of caliber 7.5 mm, heavy St. Etienne and Hotchkiss caliber 8 mm


One model of caliber 60 mm and another one of 81 mm

Antitank weapons

Light: Hotchkiss machine gun of 25/72 mm, Model 37 cannon of 47 mm

Heavy: At the beginning of the war there were no cannons of caliber larger than 47 mm in service adapted to antitank role

Self-propelled: At the outbreak of the war no motorized pieces were in service for antitank role


Cannons: Model 1897 of 75 mm, modernized of 75 mm (b), of 90 mm (b) and 105 mm

Howitzers: Howitzers of 75 mm and 105 mm; mortars GPF of 155 mm and Schneider of 220 mm (c)

Armored vehicles

264 Re B1, 1035 Re 35/40, 774 H 35/39, 450 S35, 96 FCM 36 and FCM 2C, some more than 700 including all AMR, AMC and AMD, 504 Re FT 17 (d) and 45 Re D2, all for a total of almost 3900 tanks

Chemical weapons

Flamethrowers: Some heavy types used in fortresses

(a) They are called defensive grenades the heavy ones, whose casing can fragment into thick and deadly shrapnel, of high destructive power; offensive grenades are lighter, with strong detonation, of primarily psychological value.

(b) Antiaircraft.

(c) There were still numerous pieces from the Great War or the late previous century, used above all in fortresses and in the Maginot Line.

(d) From the Great War.



2 Dunkerque class of 26500 t, 3 Provence class of 22189 t, 2 Courbet class of 22189 t, 1 Richelieu class of 35000 t (a)

Aircraft carriers

1 Bearn class of 22146 t


1 Algerie class of 10000 t, 2 Tourville class of 10000 t, 4 Suffren class of 9938 t, 6 La Galissonniere class of 7600 t, 3 Duguay Tronin class of 9350 t, 1 Jeanne d'Arc class of 6496 t (b), 1 Emile Bertin class of 5886 t, 1 Pluton class of 4473 t (c)


2 Mogador class of 3500 t, 6 Cassard class of 3090 t, 6 Aigle class of 3090 t, 6 Guepard class of 3080 t, 6 Jaguar class of 2700 t, 7 La Fantasque class of 2569 t (d), 14 L'Adroit class of 1750 t, 12 Simoun class of 1727 t, 6 L'Agile class of 1000 t

Torpedo boats

1 Aventurier class of 1180 t, 12 La Pomone class of 700 t


1 Surcouf class of 2880/4300 t, oceanic-cruiser (e), 30 Redoutable class and 9 Requin class, oceanic, 6 Saphir class, minelayer, 31 Diane and Sirene classes, coastal

Minelayer ships

2 Castor class of 3150 t

Seaplane support ships

1 Commandant Teste class of 10000 t

(a) Put into operation, but still ineffective.

(b) Used as school ship.

(c) Minelayer cruiser. Note: All the cruisers mentioned so far are considered heavy cruisers.

(d) The destroyers mentioned so far were considered, by many seamen of that time, to be light cruisers.

(e) So called because, unique on her genre, she had a twin mounting of large-caliber cannons.


Fighter aircraft

Breguet 27, Bloch 151 and 152, Dewoitine 510 and 520, Morane-Saulnier 406

Bomber aircraft

LeO 451, Bloch 210, Martin 167, Amiot 354, Potez 633; dive bombers LN 401 and 411, Chance Vought 156; Latecoere 298 torpedo bomber

Reconnaissance aircraft

Potez 631, Potez 637 and Potez 63/11; exploration seaplanes Breguet 521, Loire 70, LeO H470; surveillance seaplanes LeO H43, GL 812, Short S8/2, CAMS 55.10

Transport aircraft

Several types of aircraft adapted to the requirements of the moment

NOTE: Some aircraft, such as the Martin 167 bomber or the Chance Vought 156 dive bomber, were not of national production, but they were part of the large amount of modern flight material with which France tried to cover its own technical deficiencies by making orders to United States.

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