HOTCHKISS M201 (1959) 1REP


Bob Ellis's Hotchkiss as it would have looked serving with 1 REP (Régiment Etranger de Parachutistes - insignia on grille) in Algeria between July 1955 and April 1961. The colour is somewhat unusual for the French Army but it has been confirmed by the Legion Museum at Abagne.

During this period both parachute regiments of the Legion were heavily engaged in dealing with the terrorist activities of the Algerian National Liberation Army (ALN) in what was still a French Colony. Their task was simple - seek out and destroy the ALN on a shoot to kill basis. Jeeps were used to pursue the ALN and to patrol the Tunisian and Moroccan borders to prevent supplies reaching them.

Having fought for so long to keep Algeria 'French' 1REP found it impossible to accept the French Government's moves towards granting Algerian independence in 1960. Feelings ran so high that a mutiny occurred in the form of the ' General's Coup' of 1961. By way of punishment, 1REP was disbanded in April 1961, leaving 2REP as the Legion's only surviving parachute unit.