On the 27th August 1944, the city of Le Blanc-Mesnil is liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division of the General Leclerc, supported by Free French Force. 75 years later, the city celebrates its liberation with different ceremonies, concerts and military vehicles exhibitions. For this last part, UNIVEM is in charge of the matter. And a lot of vehicles were brought: Scout-Car, GMC DUKW, GMC CCKW dumper and cargo, Dodge WC 51, 56 and 58, and Jeeps that all came by their own means by the road. Two half-tracks, the M3 and the M16 were brought on a truck. We left early in the morning and the vehicles were gathered in Place Stalingrad once in the city.
Meanwhile, a small camp was set up in front of the town hall, with two tents, a lot of accessories and a Jeep. All along the day, there was a big interest from the public.
In the afternoon, Place Stalingrad, people begin to show up to look at the vehicles. A lot of them were able to climb in the vehicles to do the parade.
At 17:30, the column starts its circuit through the city. Several steps are on the way: ceremony at the Emile Bident stele and in the Place de la Libération. All along the road, a lot of people are gathered to see the column. Unfortunately,the M16 Half-Track broke down during the parade. But fortunately enough, it was recovered just after and was able to drive again: UNIVEM is always ready!
Finally, the parade ended at 20:00 in front of the town hall were the vehicles were displayed. After a speech by the mayor of the city, a swing concert was performed by Memory Big Band.
Heavy vehicles were then brought to a city building to be kept until next ceremony in Aulnay-sous-Bois four days later. Around 23:00, light vehicles came back to Satory. What a day! Again very warm, but the welcome of the public was even warmer! That’s one of the things that keeps us going.