The 2017 Military camp in Perigueux

By David Garden

Perigueux is a beautiful French town straddling the river Isle and contains many historic sites as well as shops, bars and restaurants. Annually on the first weekend of September the town hosts the ‘Vintage Days’ vehicle show where historic vehicles of all sorts are displayed in the town centre. Many people dress up in 40s and 50s clothing and for a fee to charity passers-by can get a “make over” from these decades. This year the show was held on the 2nd and 3rd September.

  Of interests to modellers is the ‘Military Camp’ set up in Place Bugeaud. This is a re-enactment of a US vehicle compound during the liberation of the region. Restored vehicles are displayed to the public and owners and re-enactors are on hand to explain every detail of the vehicles to the public.

  As the French military used many American types after WW2 the majority of the privately-owned vehicles are of US origin. However some from other sources are to be seen. The Military show was a bit smaller than last year but many interesting exhibits were on hand. I have to say the atmosphere was very friendly and the exhibitors were very keen to answer every question posed and allow the visitor to pore over their “pride and joys”. A typically French touch was the large communal lunch taken at midday where all the owners sat down together at a large table. Really reminded me of a mess hall! Due to the security situation, there were no de-activated weapons on display and a strong police presence was evident around the show. All access roads were blocked by lorries and barricades. However this did nothing to dampen the festival atmosphere and the determination to have a good time.

  Within the perimeter preserved vehicles were run around the town centre and the public could ride in them for a small donation to charity. It gave the owners a rare chance to run round the town without the usual traffic and where the vehicle was equipped with a klaxon they were allowed to sound off! This brought a great grin to the owner’s faces and delighted the spectators.

  Among the highlights for me included the Austin 3-ton 1941 lorry restored by Paul Chapman. Paul had driven all the way down from Folkestone having read an article I wrote on the show last year. The only German vehicle was the ubiquitous Kubelwagen finished in field grey but marked up as a vehicle captured by the French resistance.

As I have already stated the military part of the show was smaller this year and the exhibits were parked closer together which hindered photography. However it gave a great opportunity for a modeller to get close up and personal with the real thing in the steel. It is illuminating to talk to enthusiasts who put as much effort into restoring military vehicles as we do in modelling them.

  The show will be added to my calendar each year and if you are in the vicinity I hope you can drop by. The lure of the shops and fine restaurants will certainly persuade the ‘other half’ to visit the town centre.


Photo Captions

MMP1 - Front view of a jeep with unusual attached tow bar. A scratch build accessory added to a jeep model perhaps?

MMP2 - Although the same jeep is in US markings it is finished in desert colours. American flags are popular with the re-enactors.

MMP3 - Right hand view of the jeep’s dashboard and front seats.

MMP4 - Close up of the driver’s seat and internal stowage and equipment.

MMP5 - A jeep in British 7th Armoured division markings.

MMP6 - View of the right-hand side of the 7AD jeep.

MMP7 - The interior of the ‘Desert Rats’ jeep.

MMP8 - Rear of the British jeep. Note the modern French license plate allowing the jeep to be driven on public roads.

MMP9 - Three quarters view of the 7AD jeep. This example was fitted for radio.

MMP10 - Another Jeep this time in Free French colours.

MMP11 - Front view of the M3 halftrack. A re-enactor explains the vehicle to some visitors.

MMP12 - The beautifully restored 1941 Austin K3, 3 Ton Lorry belonging to Paul Chapman. Finished in RAF markings and nicknamed “Vera Lynn”.

MMP13 - The left-hand view of the Austin K3 “Vera Lynn”. The owner Paul had placed red poppies in remembrance on the radiator grill.

MMP14 - Close up of the front of the Austin K3.

MMP15 - A superbly restored Norton 16H 490cc dispatch rider motorbike.

MMP16 - The left-hand side of the Norton. A much loved manufacturer from the golden age of British motorcycles.

MMP 17 - A Harley Davidson WLA motorcycle in Free French markings.

MMP18 - The left-hand view of the Volkswagen type 82 Kubelwagen painted in early war Panzer Grey. However being in France white tape denotes a captured vehicle in French Resistance hands.

MMP19 - Right hand view of the Kubelwagen. Note the insignia of the 15th Infantry Division.

MMP 20 - The 15 Infantry Division Kubelwagen with re-enactors in French Resistance and Free French Nursing service uniforms.

MMP 21 - A Right hand view of the Kubelwagen’s steering wheel and dashboard display. Very basic by modern standards but sufficient for wartime service from North Africa to the Russian Steppes.

MMP 22 - Rear view of the Kubelwagen’s interior showing rifle storage.

MMP 23 - Kubelwagen rear showing insignia of the Regimental HQ of the 15th Infantry Division.

MMP 24 - Another well restored and presented vehicle this time a GMC CCKW 2 ½ ton truck in Free French markings. A bonus that the bonnet was left open to see the engine.

MMP 25 - A view of the GMC 21/2 ton’s engine from the right-hand side.

MMP 26 - The left-hand view of the “Deuce and a half” engine.

MMP27 - A well restored M3 half-track finished with markings of Charlie Company 2nd US Armoured Division. Re-enactors show interested visitors the vehicle interior.

MMP28 - The rear right-hand view of the M3 half-track showing the range of external storage.

MMP29 - Rear view of the M3 Half-track showing all the relevant markings.

MMP 30 - A Dodge WC-51 weapons carrier. A very common vehicle in US and Allied service.

MMP31 - Another lorry, this time a soft top cab CCKW 353 cargo truck.

MMP32 - Another weapons carrier this time a 6-wheel WC-62 complete with winch and “Stars and Stripes”. Marked up to a transport company.

MMP33 - Rear view of the WC-62 showing realistic storage, a good guide to any modeler wishing to make their model more realistic.

MMP34 - The rear right view of the WC-62 showing the sand channels used to help get out of difficult terrain.

MMP 35 – A Dodge WC-54 which was usually configured as an ambulance. However some as here were fitted out as Radio/Telephone Signal Corps vehicles.

MMP36 - Right hand rear view of the Signal Corps WC-54.