Why not?

“There are socialists, communists, cubists, capitalists, Vichyists, fascists, meharistists, nudists, syndicalists, existentialists, lampisists, Marxists, monarchists, Gaullists, Bonapartists, violinists, pushers..etc.

If you’ve not made your mind up yet if you’re a man, why not become a parachutist?” –French military recruiting poster, 1950.

The French were actually one of the first countries to field paratroopers, after a group of officers studied with the Soviets in the 1930s, with the 601e G.I.A, forming in 1937. Continuing their service with the British during WWII as part of the SAS, the 1st Parachute Chasseur Battalion (1er BCP n°1) was formed in 1943.

During the Indochinese War, Paris organized almost a dozen Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian airborne battalions.

M1 Carbine/MAT-49-armed French/Viet paratroopers Indochina 1953. Also note the mix of camo to include former U.S. Marine Pacific-theater “duck hunter” HBTs. (Source: ecpad.fr) http://www.ecpad.fr/

These augmented an even larger force of Colonial Marine and French Foreign Legion units that raced all over Southeast Asia as a fire brigade to try and put out Viet Minh flareups.

French paratrooper, Indochina. You can notice his MAS 36 CR39 folding carbine and muddy reserve chute. He is collecting his main chute, note the camouflage pattern canopy. 

Some were rushed to Dien Bein Phu with their combat jump being the first time they hit the silk.

(Paracas del 2º BEP en Dien Bien Phu, 1954) French Foreign legion paratroopers during Operation Camargue, Quang Tri, Indochina, July 1953. (Source: ecpad.fr) http://www.ecpad.fr/

They kept up the trend in Algeria with the 14th and 19th Algerian Parachute (Parachutistes Algériens) battalions.

French Army Recruitment poster, the Algerian war, showing a Colonial Airborne paratrooper (Parachutistes Coloniaux). The poster reads, “my fortune is my glory, my trade is combat.” Note the MAT-49 SMG.

French Tunisia, Para légionnaires of the 1er REP left, and 10th Parachute, with Czech-made Mausers, a shotgun, and an M1 Garand with its buttstock covered in sacking

With the force shrinking after 1961– where the two airborne divisions (10e D.P and 25e D.P) along with the Legion’s 1e REP were all disbanded when they took part in the revolt against De Gaulle– today the Republic still has the 11th Parachute Brigade (11e BP), the French Foreign Legion’s 2nd Parachute Regiment (2ème REP), as well as the 2nd Marine Parachute Regiment (2e RPIMa) to call on.

Although they now use German-made rifles, because, why not?

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