M201 MODIFIED VERSIONS

The ERGM works at la Maltournée was responsible for the modification of standard M201 jeeps to provide a range of specialised jeep based vehicles for the army.  Significant numbers were converted to missile launchers (SS 10, ENTAC and MILAN) and the 106 mm recoilless anti-tank rifle. ERGM  were also responsible for producing other prototypes for evaluation some of which entered service in lesser numbers.

M201 - M621 20mm GUN

The example in the photo opposite is the prototype of an M201 Field Car, Weapon Carrier fitted with an M621 20mm gun.

It was displayed at one of the Satory military equipment exhibitions but further improvements were required before being accepted for military service.

In the version that entered service the gun could be elevated from -5 degrees to +50 degrees and operated from the vehicle itself from the special rear seat or from beside.

 

 

The jeep in the second photo is M201 N° 14599 with the registration 211-2494. It is now minus the gun and  currently owned by Nicholas Benoit in France who provided the following information:

It was rebuilt but not re-registered on 23 09 1975 at La Maltournée. It then served with the 8° RPIMA ( 8th Marine Airborne Regiment ) at Castres until 1997 when it was finally pensioned off.

 

M201 - RASURA

The M201 above is fitted with the RASURA close-range battlefield surveillance radar system. It was first issued to the infantry in the early 60's as a portable system for locating personnel and vehicles to support the use of weapons fitted with infra-red equipment.  Later in the 1960's an M201 conversion was designed to provide a mobile platform for RASURA. M201s thus equipped remained in service during the 70's and 80's. The jeep was fitted with a modified vinyl canvas with with an almost full width fold down flap at the rear.

M201 - RITA

The final example on the right with the complicated aerial arrangement is fitted with RITA (Le réseau intégré des transmissions automatique). RITA, which is still in use today, is a secure nodal field communication system capable of telephony and radiotelephony, telegraphy, transmission of images, and even data transmission under certain conditions.

 This is the only photograph I have ever seen of an M201 fitted with this equipment and I suspect that relatively few jeep conversions would have been made possibly only for the purpose of testing and evaluating the system.

The weapons and special equipment in all of these modified jeeps were removed before the jeeps were demobbed and sold at auction but some evidence of their past may remain. If you have an unusual set of holes then let me know.

 

M201 Hard Top

ERGM produced a hard top conversion that could be fitted to jeeps. These were produced in small batches for the French Air Force  to create a vehicle referred to as a 'break d'aviation'. Most if not all of these conversions were made to Willys, Ford, or ITM jeeps rather than M201s. Rather sad looking examples (opp) were photographed while awaiting their fate at a government auction. Hard-top conversions were also produced for use by the Gendarmerie (see photo below).  

Maheu-Labrosse

Although not strictly a military modification WW2 jeeps and some M201s were converted into Civil Defence fire tenders. Maheu-Labrosse of Lyon were notable for these conversions and their catalogue included models based on both the civilian JH102 and the military M201 jeeps. However, only three M201s are known to have been converted for fighting heath fires, two in 1958 and one in 1960.