An Italian United Nations curiosity-(completed)

(I)(dlr-mil 51-74).Forli_EI Prova FO 594_(g,r,b.w)(Mission in Lebanon 1982)_Fiat Campagnola.vbTG

Lapsed Member Terry Gray shot this Fiat Campagnola jeep in Italy(?) in the early 1980s.   (I) Dealer plates were always red and white on black, so this white example has long festered as a mystery in one’s mind.       So this week, July 2018, VB forwarded the image to specialist Marcello Gallina in Italy, to ask his advice:

(I)(dlr-mil 51-74).Forli_EI Prova FO 594_cu_(g,r,b.w)(Mission in Lebanon 1982)_Fiat Campagnola.vbTG
Hello, Marcello –
Please, is this a Dealer plate/Manufacturers’ plate/test drive plate from the 1950s-74 series or the ’74-82 series?
(Strange colouring!)
Hello Vic.
Yes, this plate is from the Military Dealer series, issued between 1951-1984.
The jeep is an Italian Army vehicle (Fiat Campagnola).    The white colour means that it is allocated to be sent to Lebanon for the Italian mission (1982).
There were known two early types of Italian Army trade plates.  They were a white variant of the regular  black dealer plates.
Old type, triangular shape. 
New type, as in picture,  square,  PROVA must be preceded by EI in green, maybe adhesive letters are gone.
(In 1984,, a new series came into use:  EI * p 0123. (EI red, green star, little p green, black digits  on white) 
Best regards,

Hi Cedric

Marcello has identified a Italian military dealer among our TEHA2 photos, and it has a Middle-East link, so I think you could be interested!


Cedric responds:
Indeed, it is of interest and is a piece of UN history that is not mentioned in RPWO at all (and I certainly new nothing about). The peacekeeping force (Multi National Force (MNF)), according to Wikipedia, only existed from 1982 to 1984 and was totally separate from UNIFIL as a 4 nation only force.
“The four-nation MNF was created as an interposition force meant to oversee the peaceful withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization.[5] The participants included the U.S. Multinational Force (USMNF), which consisted of four different Marine Amphibious Units (MAUs); British 1st Dragoon Guards cavalry regiment; the 1st inter-arm Foreign and French Brigade, 4 Foreign Legion Regiments, 28 French Armed Forces regiments including French and Foreign paratroopers, units of the National Gendarmerie, Italian paratroopers from the Folgore Brigadeinfantry units from the Bersaglieri regiments and Marines of the San Marco Regiment. Additionally, the MNF was in charge of training various units of the Lebanese Armed Forces.[6]

The relatively benign environment at the beginning of the mission gave way to chaos as the civil war re-escalated following the assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel in September 1982. Subsequent political and military developments on the ground caused the MNF to be viewed not as a peacekeeper, but as a belligerent.[7] In early 1984, after it became apparent that the government of Lebanon was no longer able to impose its will on warring factions as they entered Beirut and hostilities renewed,[7] the MNF ended its presence mission in Beirut and went offshore before completely leaving Lebanon in July of the same year in the aftermath of the October 1983 barracks bombing that killed 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen.[8] It was replaced by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) already present in Lebanon since 1978 under the leadership of Ghanaian Lieutenant General Emmanuel Erskine.”




So we see here again how the sharing of our images and knowledge in the Club develops our understanding of this quite complex hobby.    Fresh from a 46-year-old photo now comes  info on a system we had not known existed.     Magnificent!    Thank you, Marcello and Cedric……..

5 Responses to An Italian United Nations curiosity-(completed)

  1. David Powell says:

    I can remember seeing a photo many years ago of a Campagnola badged as a SAVIEM carrying a small triangular white front plate with a green EI over PROVA in red and no serial. The photo also showed a VW Iltis marked Citroen and an MB G-Wagen with a Peugeot lion on the front grille but these two had no plates so I would guess that this was part of a trial for the French military.

    • I see that half the text is missing from this Italian Dealer Blog Post – don’t know why. It should give an intro via member correspondence. I’ll try to recover it.

  2. Yours were unique spots, I venture, David! I can understand the French re-branding foreign materiel on test; it wouldn’t pique a Parisian to see a home-make out on trial – but an étranger might be subjected to the cobbles test.

    By association, I become liverish when I see our current British army fleet using khaki M.A.N., Peugeot, FIAT and other Eurobrands on our local roads. I pray we never go to war again, as they could stop us in our tracks, by just withholding spares! Forward-thinking, these civil servants in the Ministry of Supply aren’t. (What would the Donald have done, I wonder?)

    (Did you collar a pic of the old triangular Italian dealer plate, at all? Or the others?)

    Palestine Mandate used triangular Dealer/delivery format…..

    VB e 0038

  3. David Powell says:

    After some digging in Wikipedia I have discovered that in the 1980s the French Military decided that their standard light 4×4 (Hotchkiss built copies of WW2 American Jeeps) had all seen better days and needed replacement. Renault-SAVIEM, Citroen and Peugeot were asked to quote but in order to keep costs down they were each to go into partnership with another manufacturer who had a suitable vehicle and give it their own badging and model code but fit it with French mechanical parts.
    Thus Renault -SAVIEM collaborated with Fiat to produce the Campagnola based TRM500 with a Renault 20 car engine..
    Citroen produced the VW Iltis based Citroen C44 with a CX car engine which was renamed, much to Citroen’s relief, as Iltis translates as ‘Polecat’ .
    The Contract was won by Peugeot/MB with the G-Wagen based P4 which had a 504 Petrol or Diesel car engine.

    I understand that after award of the contract the Renault and Citroen prototypes were dismantled for spares.

    Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the triangular plate photo on the SAVIEM as it was in a book that I had borrowed and I did not have access to a scanner, The Citroen and Peugeot prototypes did not have have plates.

    I remember one of our European members showed a photo of a Palestinian triangular in the newsletter a few quarters back. It was on a Scammell Mechanical Horse 3×2 carrying a part dismantled aircraft on its trailer.

    • Victor Brumby says:

      David – the Scammell i Palestine with a triangular plate was a Trade Plate of the period 1933-48, viewable on TEHA2 under Palestine (IL-M dlr etc. Unusual shape, eh?
      Interesting French mil. details…….

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