It’s a happy, happy day for lovers of small half-tracks and obscure artillery tractors – which is all of us, let’s be honest here. It might have gotten a little overlooked in all the hullaballoo about the new plastic French infantry kit, but the Citroën-Kegresse P17 is on its way too, and makes a great addition to any early-war French army. Let’s look at why it’s so cool, and why you absolutely want one (or two, or three…) for your French!
Developed in the 1920s for a variety of civilian and military off-road uses, the P17 was one of a wide variety of similar half-tracks which mated the typical cars and trucks of the period to the innovative Kegresse flexible-track system. Developed by Adolphe Kégresse for the Imperial Russian court to improve the off-road performance of their motor pool in harsh conditions, it was the first practical half-track system in the world, and would go on to see extensive use in the years between the world wars. As one of the world-leading industrial powers, particularly in the field of automotive engineering, France was an eager and early adopter of the half-track, primarily as tows for their artillery, but also in light cargo transport roles.
The majority of half-tracks in service with the French Army at the outbreak of World War Two were of the P17 or later UNIC P107 types, and many would go on to see further service with the German armed forces after the Fall of France, as well as being widely exported in Europe. We’re kicking it old-school (seeing as we already have two flavours of up-armoured P107s in German service) with the P17, perfect for adding some mobility to your artillery train – after all, you are taking a couple of howitzers, right? Let’s take a look at this awesome little machine on the tabletop.
At 65 points for Regular, the P17 (using the combined P17/P107 profile found on page 30 of Armies of France and the Allies) is a great little box for transporting five of your finest fighting Frenchmen around the battlefield in relative safety (a 7+ damage value and no Open Top is a quality asset for relatively few points!). A unit of Chasseurs Portés with a pair of LMGs is a fun little firebase to be able to zip into a protected firing position, especially if you give your P17 a pintle-mounted MMG to support them! Alternatively, it can be a useful transport for your ‘odds and sods’ – things like your Officer and any small teams that could do with a bit of extra mobility en temps de temps. Alternatively, of course, you can use it for hauling all those 75mm light howitzers around in style – which is always a serious concern when you’re fielding the French!
All in all, the P17 is a great option for any early-war French army, and really helps your force stand out as ‘properly’ French – no cookie-cutter trucks or recalcitrant mule teams here!
Start Collecting Bolt Action French Army
The new French Starter Army is your first port of call for starting a new Bolt Action French Army, as it contains no fewer than 36 of the brand-new plastic infantry. A medium mortar, medium machine gun and 25mm anti-tank gun provide additional firepower to these brave sons of France, whilst armoured support is found in the Char B1 bis medium tank.
Expand your forces with additional troops, support weapons, and armoured options!