M201 - Radio mounting kit

 

During the 50s and early 60s radio equipment like the AN GRC-9 set were mounted on the rear wheel arches (power supply on one side and set on the other). With later equipment needing more space together the practice of sometimes fitting more than one radio set a  mounting kit was produced for the M201. Installation details were provided in the technical bulletin BT382/AU produced during 1961.

To fit this kit the normal rear seat was removed and replaced with a single seat. Two trays were bolted to the body using the four standard holes on the top of each wheel arch supported by an additional brackets bolted to the side of the wheel arch.

Once fitted the two rear lockers became inaccessible as the trays covered them.

A spacer bracket was fitted to angle the front passenger seat forward slightly so that it didn't rest against equipment mounted to the very front of the tray. Power cables to equipment mounted on the passenger side were run through the bracket to prevent them being crushed by the seat. A cable channel was fitted using the foot rest mounting bolts to protect power cables where they had to cross the floor to the other side and a rear panel protected cables linking equipment mounted on each side.

The front channel (A), spacer (B), 4 standard mounting holes (C), and additional holes for the support brackets (D) are clearly visible in the photo below.


photo: Jan Koncicy (M201 no. 04494)

The trays were predrilled with a large number of holes for mounting a wide range of equipment.

 

To make the installation of equipment onto the trays easier, and to ensure correct location, the holes were numbered (see below). A few holes were marked 'X' & 'Y'.

Cable channel and protection panel

Ttray support bracket and rear seat support bracket, two of each were required.

The kit could be fitted to any jeep (M201 or WW2) though a 24 volt electrical system was required for later radio sets so this kit was generally only ever fitted to 24 volt M201s or earlier jeeps that had been rebuilt to the 24 volt standard. In the nid 1960s Sahara jeeps became redundant with the end of the war in Algeria. Many were converted to become ENTAC missile launchers but some became radio jeeps. In both cases their stronger chassis was a likely reason for conversion to each of these uses.

Once fitted with this kit the vehicle was referred to as being a VLTT Hotchkiss type M201 "Radio". The position of the rear seat and the two support brackets is shown clearly in the photo below on a jeep that returned to France from Djibouti to be sold at auction (note the sand tyres). Thanks to David Cheron (M201 No. 22,766) for the photo and information about the jeep below which is M201 No 24,605.

This configuration for the standard M201 radio jeep remained unaltered until it was withdrawn from service with one known exception where, for service with UNIFIL in the Lebanon (Liban) during the early 1980s , the radio operators seat was turned round so that it faced backwards. The purpose was to allow the radio operator to adopt a second role, i.e. that of a rear observer which also meant adapting the vinyl tilt when fitted.