M201 106SR

The first French Army jeeps to carry an anti-tank system were modified to carry either a recoilless anti-tank rifle or the wire guided Aérospatiale SS 10 surface to surface missile, both of which had been developed in the early 1950s.

Initially the 75mm recoilless rifle was used fitted to the Delahaye VLR (shown opposite) but by the time the Hotchkiss M201 was being produced the larger and more effective M40 106mm recoilless rifle was available from the U.S.

From about 1957 onwards it was fitted to new M201 jeeps with a strengthened chassis that were sent to ERGM at La Maltournee for conversion to carry the weapon. Conversion to 106 SR  shared a common feature with the SS 10 in that most of the back body panel of a brand new jeep had to be removed.

 


M201 106SR on the firing range

The conversion was based on a US supplied M-40 106mm recoilless anti-tank rifle and M79 wheelbarrow mount designed to be fitted on various jeep type vehicles. The kit was supplied to armies across Europe during the 1950s and 1960s and the example below, sent to me by Chaz, is of a Greek army Willys MB.

The kit also included a modified M38 windscreen and an up-rated suspension system to help support the load. The rear panel was cut out and the body tub strengthened at several key points, the spare tyre and jerrycan moved to the side (like the M201 SS 10), and a small folding seat mounted on the rear wheel arch like the later MILAN. The weapon included  a telescope sight and .50 calibre spotting machine gun, the rounds for which are shorter than standard .50 cal and were tracer with phosphorus tip creating a puff of smoke on the target to check that the gun was accurately aimed before firing the main round.

 
     
 

The wheelbarrow mount enabled it to be removed from the jeep and used on the ground, a heavy task for the three man crew but possible as the photos from  MAT 6050 illustrate.

Easy as 1 - 2 - 3

I am grateful to J-L Martin for providing the official manuals used on this page.

 

Like all M201s, the 106 SR was originally built as a 6 volt jeep until 1960 and then as a 24 volt jeep from mid 1960 onwards. They were also rebuilt at La Maltournée where, as late as 1965, some 6 volt versions were being rebuilt as such, presumably to retain continuity of spares within certain regiments. From 1966 onwards all 106 SRs were rebuilt to 24 volt standard a process which continued until 1974.

The example above is my 24 volt 106 SR  photographed at Kemble in 2005 alongside my standard M201. In service it had not been fitted with indicators but these were seen as essential for safety and the addition of hoops for a tilt (never seen in service) was for practicality given the nature of British weather. Below is some of the detail from my 106 SR the photos were taken before mounting the gun. Click the photo to enlarge / Cliquez pour agrandir l'image

The M 40 is an awesome piece of kit and although made obsolete by modern 'throw away' shoulder launched missiles it is still in use in the Third World with the armies of India and Pakistan and can be seen on the back of jeeps and pickups in trouble torn areas of Africa.


photograph: Morning Star - it was on the front page so I just had to buy a copy


Can't miss at this distance - a bit of fun in the arena at the Yeovil Show