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Post Info TOPIC: French tenues grenouilles


Captain

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French tenues grenouilles
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I have seen this specific camo suit represented a few times by this (rather spooky) period sketch

tenue grenouille

 

but where are the photographs to prove these tenues grenouilles were actually worn by French commandoes during the war ?

Beside is there any indication of the colours used? The wording tenue grenouille (which some may think is an oxymoron for a French suit!) suggest the bright green usually associated with these little animals?

 

JCC



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Legend

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Quite by chance, in the latest issue of Guerre, Blindés, & Matériel (containing the splendid article on the FCM1A and lots of other Great War stuff) there is a photo of a team of men in these suits manning what looks like a de Dion Bouton AA vehicle. It's on page 88, and the photo is from the collection of our friend François Vauvillier. It also mentions that there is more information on this outfit in GBM Number 85, page 33. That doesn't seem to be available for preview. It's a new one on me. Perhaps François will offer the benefit of his knowledge.

I should imagine that the ranine colour scheme would be more dull green and brown than the bright green variety.

Point of order: I have a feeling that I read somewhere that the English pejorative term "Frog" was originally used to describe the Dutch during one of the several wars between the two nations. I gather it was a refence to our enemies' low-lying and moist homeland, and nothing to do with the eating of legs. I could be wrong.



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Legend

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James H wrote:
Point of order: I have a feeling that I read somewhere that the English pejorative term "Frog" was originally used to describe the Dutch during one of the several wars between the two nations. I gather it was a refence to our enemies' low-lying and moist homeland, and nothing to do with the eating of legs. I could be wrong.

 I'm sure they much preferred it to "butterbox" James but too late now.  Somehow the reciprocal French "rosbiff" hasn't the same sting, has it?  We should be ashamed anyway.



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Commander in Chief

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as far as I know, the French experimented with these tenues, designed by Eugene Corbin, a French 'camoufleur'. They never went into production, if these tenues were the same as intended on the picture. Looks more an artistic impression on poilus wearing gas mask and great coat to me, and similar looking photographs could easily have been the inspiration.

'Butterbox' for Dutch? Never heard that one, mostly cheese, and cheap behaviour is connotated..or 'red' hair and long noses in Asian regions..

By the way, the US had a similar looking outfit too, with a different pattern.



-- Edited by kieffer on Tuesday 25th of October 2011 08:25:47 AM

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Legend

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This is a pic of what seems to be the British equivalent. And I'm sure there's an illustration of something similar in an Osprey book somewhere.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tearbringer/3648497176/



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Commander in Chief

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yes there is: Osprey Elite 84 WW1 trench warfare (2) is showing some art work of a British crawling suit. I am in a bit of a hurry but I'll try to post a picture later on.



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Captain

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Oh! I had somehow overlooked the picture in the latest excellent GBM. Somehow seated behind a gun they look more like soldiers in a bag and less like monsters in a Blake and Mortimer graphic novel. I like very much the crest on the artist's illustration, it certainly add to the alienness of the suit.

JCC



-- Edited by JC Carbonel on Tuesday 25th of October 2011 06:26:08 PM

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Colonel

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JCC, You mean this one? (first picture).

Second picture is a German sniper camouflage looking a bit like the "Grenouille" suit

DJ

imagesCACLQ5IB.jpg

imagesCA69R61S.jpg



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Commander in Chief

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here's a picture of a grenouille, from "Camouflage, published by Thames and Hudson in cooperation with the IWM". I hope they do forgive me for posting their illustration.

These are as mentioned before Eugene Corbins designs, hand painted but never taken in mass production as technology to produce such pattern was not at hand. As similar looking tenues appear on photographs my guess is that some overalls were issued, can't tell if they were camouflaged. At the other hand, a mixture of greatcoats or trench coats and balaclava type hoods or gas masks, the 'cagoule', are looking quite similar to the grenouille.

As for the initial drawing: it looks like the overalls are stained or camouflaged but may be it's the quality of the paper. Picture 2 here (don't know the artist) showing  a hooded figure at the back: stains on clothing too. Hard to figure out what they were meant to illustrate.

Regards, kieffer



-- Edited by kieffer on Wednesday 26th of October 2011 08:52:43 AM

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Colonel

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Hello, I know, off topic, found this pictures here:

http://gallica.bnf.fr/Search?ArianeWireIndex=index&q=camouflage&lang=EN&n=15&p=1&pageNumber=72&isSearch=false

DJ

a.jpeg

é.jpeg

z.jpeg

f1.highres.jpeg



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Legend

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Those period suits would have given me the willies if I'd come across someone dressed like that in a trench. Going off-topic myself, it reminds me of the sack-mask worn by Cillian Murphy's character in Batman Begins, and the eerie leather caped outfits with the beaked masks that were worn by plague inspectors in 17th century London. I think it's because these outfits look so inhuman that they send a shiver down the spine; psychological warfare?

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Legend

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In a similar vein, the British/Scottish ghillie suit. Our inexhaustible font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, says these were used by the Scottish Highland regiment Lovat Scouts from 1900 (Boer war) - and they are still used today. One would suppose they must have been used to some extent in WW1.

http://www.biggamehunt.net/graphics/photos_talltales/l_beckett_ghillie_suit1.jpg

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