France’s FAMAS Rifle Is Simple and Compact
In 1967 the French army requested a new infantry weapon to replace both the MAS 49/56 rifle and MAT-49 submachine gun. Three years later, the French military standardized on the new 5.56-by-45-millimeter cartridge. With requirement and cartridge in hand, Paul Tellie, Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne — MAS — began... Read more
The French Army Has a Passion for Rifle Grenades
More than four years ago, French troops dropped into Mali to fight back Islamic militants. While in combat, the French soldiers with their bullpup FAMAS rifles lobbed rifle grenades — a relatively rare weapon in the 21st century and distinguished from modern grenade launchers by being launched from a rifle’s... Read more
The Alarming Story of How French and British Nuclear Submarines Collided
Late at night on Feb. 3, 2009 the crew of the French nuclear submarine Triomphant, experienced something of a shock. The 138-meter-long submarine, the lead boat of four serving today as a key part of France’s nuclear strike force, was returning to port submerged under the heavy seas of the... Read more
France Is Helping Iraq to Kill French Citizens
The Wall Street Journal has revealed that France has been passing intel to the Iraqi armed forces to help the Iraqis to target French citizens fighting on behalf of Islamic State. The stated purpose of this French policy is to prevent those same French citizens from returning to their... Read more
Argentina Wants to Keep This 1970s Jet Fighter Flying
Just one year after France retired its last Super Étendard carrier-based strike planes from service, Argentina announced it is considering buying six of the retired warplanes. The Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard has always been more distinguished by its armaments and technical capabilities than by its performance specifications. While it ably... Read more
Foreign Soldiers Built the French Army
At the end of World War II, the French Army was the fourth largest military force on the European continent, behind the Soviet Union, the United States’s expeditionary forces and Britain. The Free French Forces under Charles de Gaulle had battled fascism alongside the Allied armies and marched straight... Read more
The French MAS-38 Was Weird But Well-Designed
In the early 1930s, France’s Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne developed the Pistolet Mitrailleur MAS Modèle 38 in a response to the French military’s call for new submachine gun. The French tested the weapon, selected it in 1938 and launched production in 1939, just months before the beginning of World... Read more
Here’s the Evidence Linking Russia to the French Election Hack
As France braces for the second round of its national election, security researchers try to figure out if Russia was really behind the alleged hacking attempts against frontrunner Emmanuel Macron. After months of speculation on whether dreaded Russian hackers would try to meddle with the French elections the same... Read more
France’s Fall Didn’t Make Any Difference to Gun-Maker MAB
Frenchman Léon Barthe established Manufacture d’Armes de Bayonne in 1920. While named in the style of France’s great national arsenals — MAS, MAT and MAC — MAB was actually a private enterprise. Apparently, profit motivated Barthe to keep right on producing pistols even after his country fell to the Nazis.   MAB brought... Read more
Al Qaeda Is Spreading Across West Africa
Côte d’Ivoire has become the latest country in West Africa to suffer a major terror attack. No fewer than 15 civilians and three special forces troops died when six attackers opened fire on the beaches in Grand-Bassam, a seaside town that’s popular with expats. Thirty-three people were wounded. Al... Read more

Peter Dörrie

Africa Correspondent

Journalist specialising in security politics on the African continent.

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