The French Hotchkiss Jeeps seen in these photos were converted for the fire service by Maheu, Labrosse & Company, in Lyon, France. Maheu-Labrosse built fire apparatus from 1929-1989, including very successful Mercedes Unimog conversions. They apparently used the Jeep chassis beginning in the late 1950s.
This Hotchkiss JH-102 in Lavandou, France shows features typical of Maheu-Labrosse including tools mounted on the front bumper, and spare tire mounted on a reinforced hood, to make maximum room for firefighting equipment in the rear.
The rear view reveals a water tank, gas-powered pump, and twin booster hose reels. Unique bumperettes protect the plumbing and trailer hitch.
The smaller diameter of suction hose compared to the North American standard, allows for more flexibility in how it is stored. (On the other hand, European whitewalls are often bigger than the North American norm.) "Sapeurs, Pompiers" (or "SP") in French means "engineers, pumpers" or simply firefighters. Thanks to Bertrand for the photos.
The Model CCFLML Camion Citerne Léger ("Light Tank Truck") seen in a Maheu-Labrosse brochure is similar to the Lavandou Jeep above, but with one large booster reel, and an improved system for stowing the suction hose. According to the brochure, modifications up front include: "Lighting by a Scintilla vertical generator. Long-range directional spotlight. Addition of a two-tone horn. Bumper rack for pioneer tools including shovel and pickaxe. Reinforcement of the hood to hold the spare tire. Supports and straps for four lengths of suction hose in front of the windshield."
There was also a version of this model (8K JPEG) with an overhead rack for suction hose, and the spare tire mounted high on the left side.
A single-cylinder two-stroke engine, rather than a PTO from the Jeep, was used to power the centrifugal pump. The hot-galvanized steel tank had a 250 liter (65 US gal.) capacity, and the attack hose reel carried 80 meters of hose in 20-meter interconnected lengths, with fog nozzle.
The Jeep was equipped with 6.50x16 "Track-Gripp" tires, and the right side had brackets for two fire brooms.
A photo of a CJ-3B with pump and hose reel, in use in Africa (70K JPEG) seen in Jeep 1942-86 by Walter Zeichner, shows a similar Maheu Labrosse conversion.
The Maheu-Labrosse brochure also includes a very aggressive-looking brushfire attack Jeep based on the Hotchkiss M102 version of the MB, with high-pressure, low-volume water system.
In French, the high-pressure equipment is described as follows:
"With the aim of using the 250 liters of water with maximum effectiveness, hydraulic equipment creates high pressure at a reduced rate of flow: 2 cubic meters/hour under a pressure of 40 kg/square cm. The advantages of water used at high pressure are well-known, and its application to forest firefighting is particularly appropriate, because each liter of water has maximum effectiveness:
See the full pages of the brochure (120K JPEGs), with complete text in French and the above photos in larger size.
I sometimes wonder why American firms such as Howe didn't do many fire apparatus conversions using long-wheelbase Jeeps, which would provide more equipment room. Well, Maheu-Labrosse did make use of a Hotchkiss HWL (1963-69) for this conversion, which appears to be a high-pressure system. Photo courtesy chrispit1955 on Flickr.
Even this late CJ-5 got the CCFLML treatment, for use in the Loire Valley. Another photo courtesy of chrispit1955.
Thanks to J-C Guerry for scanning the brochure. -- Derek Redmond
See also a CJ-3B "Forest Fire Truck" built by Pompes Guinard.
See more Hotchkiss fire Jeeps in CJ-3B Fire Engines Around the World.
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