Troupes Coloniales

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Troupes Coloniales
English Title:
Colonial Army
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

The Troupes Coloniales were army units formed to primarily serve in French overseas territories. They were initially formed under Navy control but in 1900 were transferred to Army control. They often consisted of French regular officers with native enlisted men. Between 1947 and 1952 the Troupes Coloniales operated six Supermarine Sea Otters from BAN Cat-Lai in French Indochina, (now Vietnam). It is not clear what, (if any), other aircraft the TC operated or what the unit designation was. These aircraft were active at the time when French forces were combating escalating guerrilla operations by the Viet Minh. The term ‘Aviation Coloniale’ was a generic term for French overseas military aviation and not specific to the TC.

Key Dates

1816    L’infanterie de marine first established.
?    Renamed Troupes de Marine.
7 July 1900    Renamed Troupes Coloniales.
1947    First Sea Otter obtained.
1 December 1958    Renamed Troupes d’ Outre-Mer.
4 May 1961    Renamed Troupes de marine.

Current Status

The Troupes Coloniales/Troupes de Marine no longer operates aircraft.

Future Plans

Not applicable.


Special Markings

The Sea Otters appear to have operated in standard Aeronavale colours, even though the Troupes Coloniales was a part of the Army.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

To be confirmed.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Supermarine Sea Otter II 6 1947 1952 RAF

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.


Main Headquarters

Troupes Coloniales, BAN Cat-Lai, French Indochina.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft are operated by a single unit of unknown designation.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List


Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The Sea otters were based at BAN Cat-Lai in French Indochina – which was near Saigon.

More Information


French Aviation Bibliography – to be added


No feature articles known.


wikipedia: Troupes Coloniales
Supermarine Sea Otter
The “Sea Otter” photos are actually SCAN 30 amphibians
BAN Cat-Lai

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.

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