Ok everyone, no, this is not a revival post of my hopes for the Free French, nor is it meant to rush the devs to create the French Army in-game. It was merely suggested that I should compile a list of the weapons that the French Army would probably require in FH2, and is only meant as advice/suggesions/a guide for the devs for when, if ever, they plan to incorporate the French Army (or Free French Army). The lineup of French planes and armor currently in FH are all that I see necessary for FH2, since, in all reality, the early war French didn't see much action, and the majority of mid/late war French used British and American stuff. However, the Somuas are perhaps the most necessary tanks, since they were continued to be used in small numbers by both French and German troops in the late war (the Germans using captured ones; they used Somua(s) against the French during the liberation of Toulon). The Char (B1) would also be a nice addition, as would the Laffly. The three aircraft used in FH1 would also be good to have, but the Dewoitine is probably the most important, as it was continued to be used moreso than the others by the (Free) French forces all the way up until the end of the war. In addition, various Russian Yak planes (especially the Yak 3) were used by the French Air Force in the Eastern Front, useful to know if for some wacky out-of-this-world reason the devs decided to depict the Normandie-Niemen regiment. Ok, now to get into the stuff I like: handweapons! Now then, let's be honest, the French will only be in a few levels at best, so I don't deem it absolutely necessary to go all out with detail on them. So I'll state the weapons that most probably should be in. MAS 36 - Ok, let's be honest, this is everyone's favorite WW2 French rifle. Forget the Berthier M34. This is the one to go for, even though it did not comprise a majority of the troops' armaments. MAS 38 - Like the above, the MAS 38 is everyones' favorite French SMG. However, it was a very uncommon gun, as it only went into full scale production soon before the German invasion of France. Use sparingly. Châtellerault 1924/1929 - This is a definite must gun, perhaps moreso than the MAS 38. This was the primary LMG of the French Army, and saw extensive usage by all French forces, including those that fought in North Africa and the Italian Campaign (with some usage in southern France). This is the gun that resembles a Bren without a curved magazine; its substitution in FH1 was the Bren, but here's to hoping the real thing makes it in FH2. Ruby pistol - Yep, self-explanatory. Used by officers. Can probably receive from a trade with BF1918. Modèle 1937 grenade - Yeah. I don't have to explain this one, do I? Lebel Model 1886 rifle - Well, this rifle was outdated but still remained in heavy usage by French colonial troops. Any map with the French in Tunisia and any likely map in Italy is bound to have a few of these. Plus, it could be made from a trade with BF1918, as they're bound to make this rifle. Now then, here's the list of equipment used by the Free French (early Free French, French Expeditionary Corps, French First Army, French commando groups): MAS 36 - Used sparingly by French troops after 1940. If later war maps are made, they should appear only as rare pickup kits. MAS 38 - See above, only rarer. Châtellerault 1924/1929 - Average usage. The Free French under the British in the early war didn't use this much, but the former Vichy North African Army used it extensively when fighting the Germans in North Africa. It also saw usage on later fronts under the French Expeditionary Corps and the French First Army. Would make a decent pick up kit with increasing rareness as the years of the battles go by. M1936 Grenades - Primarily used after 1940 by the troops in the French Expeditionary Corps or in Tunisia that were former Vichy troops. Use sparingly. Ruby pistol - This could be used throughout the war by French officers, though in increasing rareness. Having a randomized weapon (like many tanker kits in FH1) with either the Ruby or the Colt M1911/No. 2 depending on the time period would be the best choice for this gun. Lebel rifle - This one would see higher usage in later war levels than in early war, since the Germans faced primarily better equipped French troops in the Blitz, while it was the poorly equipped French and colonial troops that faced the Germans in Tunisia and often in Italy. Lee Enfield P14 or other - Used by Free French troops from 1940 until 1943. Anything British - As it says. Used generally until 1943. Stens and Lee Enfield No. 4 - Although the French gave back most of their British supplies in 1943, commando and SAS units still under the British kept their British supplies until the end of the war. Lee Enfield M1917 - Most used US rifle of WW1, the US gave these (and lend lease versions that were in Britain) to the French to be their main rifle upon resupplying the French in 1943. If you want to be cheap, you can just take a No. 4 and limit it to 5(?) shots if you don't want to model this gun :P. Springfield 1903 - The other main rifle of the French Army post-1943. Was used in less quantities than the M1917. M1 Garand - Only about 740 were given to the French, and only to the 1st Parachuting Regiment. M1 Carbine - Given in large quantities to the French; were primarily M1s and not the folding stock M1A1 variation. M1 Thompson SMG (variations) - Primary SMG of France following 1943. BAR 1918 - LMG Browning guns - M1919A4, etc. M1A1 Grenade Colt M1911A1 - Used heavily by tankers, including the French 2nd Armored. Bazookas - Not sure the models. Probably all variations. The French also used all sorts of American vehicles. Of the Sherman tanks, they used mostly the Sherman M4A2 (runs off of diesel), which was also the lend lease one that the USSR received the most of but which the US Army didn't use (the USMC did use it). However, the French also used other Shermans, and were supposedly the only army besides the Americans to have a Sherman Jumbo (they had one). In terms of land vehicles, the French used just about the same things the Americans did, with perhaps a French one thrown in here and there (Somuas in North Africa). The French also used Somuas during the liberation of (southern) France, primarily stealing them back from the Germans who stole them first and then repainting them back to French colors. French planes consisted of British Spitfires (and others), American P47 Thunderbots (and others), and French planes, primarily (if I remember correctly) the Dewoitine. French ships/submarines were a mix of British-supplied and French originals. This time in FH2, let's get the flags right eh? ;) If the map is before the armistice of June 1940, then only the plain blue, white and red tricolor French flag is used. No Cross of Lorraine at all, so let's not do that on the maps this time ;). If the map is Free French from 1940 to 1942, then the Cross of Lorraine is generally to be used both on maps and in-game (though without the cross wouldn't necessarily be bad historically either). From 1943 on, however, a mix between flags with the Cross of Lorraine and the regular French flag can be used depending on whether it was the original Free French, the re-Allied former Vichy forces, or both who fought the battle. I would suggest, to keep it simple, having the Cross of Lorraine in the maps but having the regular French flag in-game, as at that point it was probably more common than those with the cross. Uniforms. French stuff with Adrian M26 helmet in pre-armistice battles. Let's be sure to not have their backpacks say "US" on them ;). The helmet can be black (as in FH1), but would probably be better depicted a dark green (as the dark green helmet was more common for normal French troops; I think the black was used by the passive defense troops). From then on, the French used primarily British uniforms and helmets (and berets) until 1943 (except former Vichy troops, who wore French 1940 stuff), when they were resupplied by the Americans with Americain uniforms and the US M1 helmet. However, some French Adrian M26 helmets remained in use by French troops throughout the war, and as such should appear in small numbers even in late-war maps. You can accomplish this simply by making pick-up kits with original French equipment (like the MAS 36) automatically replace your headgear with Adrian helmets (like in FH1), or to keep one (or more) of the seven classes with the Adrian helmet. French officers could wear Adrian or M1 helmets, but would most likely be wearing the French képi. And don't make the mistake that BF1918 did: unless it's the Foreign Legion (in which only low-ranked troops wore white ones) or some other obscure/rare French unit (like hussars), the French did not generally wear white képis. They wore blue ones. Well, that's all I can think about for now. I'll add more later in other posts if need be. Hope you guys enjoyed it. PLEASE feel free to correct any errors I have made.
Can you add Vichy French equipment and uniforms? But in Africa what uniforms did the Vichy French use? Were they French uniforms with a German helmet? German uniforms with a French helmet? Full French uniform? Full German uniform? Also what insignia did they wear?
Well, the Vichyites used whatever was left from the France of 1940. The reason I don't include them is because militarily they didn't last very long. They fought against the British and French in the middle east for a short while, and a short while against the British in Madagascar. They lasted for 3 days against the Allies at Torch, and then switched sides and joined the Free French (in a simplified way of saying it). At that point, Germany took over all of Vichy and disbanded all but one regiment of the Vichy Army, which was kept for policing purposes only. Indochina had their own army too, but it was small, weakened, and often went against the Japanese instead of with. However, in terms of equipment and uniforms, they were basically the same as the 1940 French, albeit with less (since the Germans appropriated most of it). The Germans did not, however, supply the Vichyites with their equipment, so there were no German stuff among them; the supplying went the other way around. You can find some information at this site, though there are certain inaccuracies with the page: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/lepoilu/ww2/ww2intro.htm
Lets not forget about Operation Exporter, the Invasion of Syria. The Vichy forces fought Australian and Indians troops for five days and caused a large amount of casualties. The Allies thought it would be done in a day with minimal losses, but Vichy tropps had strict orders to repel any Allies invasion. The Vichy air force in Syria even had air superiority for in the beginning of the campaign.
Yes, but when compared to the war as a whole, it was a fairly small battle; even the Free French's Bir Hakeim is a relatively mild conflict. The Vichyites lasted I think about two weeks when counting both Syria and Lebanon, and did fight with a strong determination. However, they were essentially overwhelmed, and none of the battles were very significant in accomplishing much other than preventing the Germans from using Vichy airfields and in recruiting soldiers for Free France. Vichy troops also had strict orders to repel the invaders at Torch, but they also didn't do a very good job of it (considering their situation, it was impossible for them to). Only three days of sporradic fighting. Probably an interesting but mild campaign would be the Free French against the Vichyites in Gabon :D.
Sorry but of several adjectives to describe Bir Hacheim, mild would not be one of them.
It was one of the major battles of North Africa if only because of the tenacity of the defenders.
I have severasl pics of North African Somua's and I have two pics of Char B1's that look like the pics were taken in North Africa but official records state none were sent to North Africa.
Hello Anlushac! Bir Hakeim was not necessarily mild; I meant to say that it is often forgotten, and is a relatively small battle in comparison to something like Monte Cassino. Considering the times I've posted about it and the PM I sent you all about Bir Hakeim (in the hopes of helping out should anyone decide to create it as a map in FH2), I hope you know that I'm not meaning to lower the credit deserved to the defenders of Bir Hakeim ;).
As for the Somuas, yes, there were several in North Africa, but I'm unsure about the Char B1s. Official records are sometimes wrong, so it is a possibility that they were used in North Africa as well. However, my opinion is that we should stick to the official word just for the safety of it all, since if any Char B1s were down there, they would be in extremely limited numbers for the official papers to say they were not there.
What if the North African-looking place was really a desert in Provence?
But tell me, Anlushac, what did you think of the list? I know you're a pro at this stuff, so it would be nice to have your opinion.
I think its a good list. I would love to see Vichy French fight US troops in Operation Torch and Free French troops at Bir Hacheim and later in Tunisia.
Yeah, something that bothered me about CoD2: Big Red One's portrayal of the Vichyites is that they gave them a bunch of German equipment. They had hanomags and stukas for crying out loud. Last I checked the only equipment the Vichyites had on Torch was old French armor and planes which stood little chance against the Americans and British. Furthermore, they gave the North African troops plenty of MAS 38s, when in reality submachine guns of any sort in the North African Army were very rare. To be honest, I can't really see the Vichyites earning a spot in FH2. There's already going to be plenty of beach-landing levels what with Normandy and all, so Torch would only be repetitve. And then in any case, in just about every battle the Vichyites were in they were overwhelmed fairly quickly. In Gabon, Torch, and so forth the Vichyites would be steamrolled. Perhaps the only campaign the Vichyites put up a decent fight would be Syria and Lebanon, but again those battles take a secondary stance importance-wise. The former Vichyites didn't do so well in Tunisia either, usually facing German armor (including Tigers) with a lack of any anti-tank weapons. The Free French happened to have the advantage of being supplied by the British or Americans, so historically battles involving them were not so one-sided. Bir Hakeim would make an awesome level in FH2, and would be an interesting place to have a combination Axis army of Italians and Germans. It also had the significance of giving the British time to prepare for the decisive El Alamein victory.
Anlushac, can you share those photos you mentioned? I have a few boards where I'd like to ask--I am genuinely curious about the SOMUAs and B1s in "Africa".