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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS
Since 1958, this regiment got the new name: 2nd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (2e Règiment de parachutistes d'infanterie de marine). A curious fact: in France the Marines are a part of the Ground troops, not the Navy!
As it was mentioned earlier, the early model of the French military boot BMJA Mle 52 featured "Y"-shaped leather strap on the cuff ("guètron"), fastened with a single buckle. In 1956, the clasp was modified for better grip on the legs, and more reliable ankle support, so the "Y"-shaped form of the leather straps was replaced by two parallel straps, which are more usual today. Sometimes an unusual ways of straps fixation to the cuff were used, for example, not with stainless steel rivets, but with ordinary stitching.
The buckles on the leather cuff of the BMJA Mle 52 were also modified with time - the early models are sewn and fixed with pop rivets, or just sewn to the cuff. The late model the boots top was made from a single piece of leather, which increased the robustness of the boots overall design. These boots were usually brown-colored. The ID marking (round stamp) indicated the date (quarter and year of manufacture, manufacturer's name and the city, where the definite footwear producing factory was located, along with the size and widths in the French metric) was put on the inside the boot, at the top, by hot stamping method or, less frequently, with paint.
French BMJA Mle 52 military boots were used during the following wars:
- During the last two years of the war in Indochina (which lasted from 1946 to 1954), in very limited quantities;
- In Morocco and Tunisia (from 1954 to 1956.);
- During the Suez crisis (from October 1956 to March 1956.);
- In the last year of the war in Algeria (1954 - 1962).
From the very beginning, all the boots model Mle. 52 were delivered from the boot factories unpainted, and their color was natural rough tan leather, protected with a thin layer of beeswax, a good natural preservative.
This treatment provided good protection against moisture, rain and dust. According to the regulations they were supposed to be treated with the colorless fat or cream for boots, e.g. "Neatsfoot" oil. In some regiments (for example, in 3e RPC), ahead of time, the soldiers were ordered to paint their boots in black, and the trend was spread by the end of the Algerian war, but on the other hand, many units did not follow this "fashion".
In the last decade the military surplus stores offer these rare French boots of the 1950-60s, sometimes even in almost excellent state. Such boots have been stored in warehouses, with a layer of wax and paper labels with size indication on the back sides of the heels. The availability of such boots in recent years can be explained by massive "writing off" these boots from the military warehouses and the subsequent sell-offs, so the prices can be surprisingly low.
Sometimes the buyers of these boots complain on the forums, that the soles of BMJA 52 boots often break or crumble. This may be due to the violation of these boots storage conditions and the impact of time. In almost all cases, sellers do not give any warranty on these "written-off" boots, indicating that the boots were kept for many decades, so it is impossible to predict the materials degradation of each definite pair of boots.
However, the market offers plenty of well-preserved BMJA Mle 52 boots, which appear to be almost not affected by time. After buying these boots, the new customer should use soft brush to remove carefully the layer of wax from leather upper and top treat the boots leather with boot's fat several times to get a pair of these really interesting boots!
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