“Formez vos battaillons” – List Building the French

Today Richard takes a look at the Free Nation’s French list he is planning.

As I indicated in my introductory article on the new French lists made available in “Free Nations”, my first French formations are going to be the Escadron de Cavalerie and a VAB Compagnie D’Infanterie.

In this article I’m going to set out an 85 point list (because that’s a common points total for competitive / club play here in the UK) and put down my thoughts and ideas about the choices I’m making.

Because of the small size of some of the core French Formations and the relative cheapness compared to the more heavily armoured German, British and American lists I’ve gone for a two formation list

First Formation – Escadron De Cavalerie

  • VAB HQ
  • Peloton – 4 AMX 10RC
  • Peloton – 4 AMX 10RC
  • Peloton – 4 AMX10RC

I’ve maxed out the available AMX10RC pelotons in this formation firstly to give me a fairly good level of mobility capable of killing Warsaw Pact MBTs, especially from the flanks using their scout and spearhead abilities.  I could have taken a VAB infantry section instead, but as I’m adding a VAB formation to my force I decided that I’m better of with the maximum amount of “glass cannons” I can get, given I suspect their survivability will be low. I’ve also gone for the larger four-vehicle peloton as, with a morale of 5, survivability and casualty management are going to be key.  I plan to advance with 2 AMX10RCs whilst keeping 2 out of sight as much as possible, providing long range fire, to preserve unit morale.

Second Formation – VAB Compagnie D’Inafanterie

  • VAB HQ
  • Section – 7 FAMAS Stands, 1 LRAC Stand, 1 Apilas, 1 Milan – 5 VABS
  • Section – 7 FAMAS Stands, 1 LRAC Stand, 1 APILAS, 1 Milan – 5 VABS
  • Milan Section Anti-Char – 8 Milan Posts 4 VABS

This formation provides my Infantry base. Again I’ve gone with the maximum sized units to try and maximise survivability due to the low morale scores.  The formation can put an awful lot of anti-tank guided weapons down range, and the ability to mount Milan posts on VABS actually gives me six additional AT vehicles if I so wish (whilst retaining four ground mounted Milan posts).

Force Support

  • Section – 4 Mephisto
  • Section – 4 Mephisto
  • Peloton – 3 AMX13 DCA
  • Patrouille D’ Helicopters D’Attaque – 4 Gazelle 20mm

I’ve added a pair of Mephisto HOT launcher units to give me a longer ranged harder hitting punch to help keep Warsaw Pact tankers a bit “honest” if they plan to come hunting my Armoured Cars

I’m taking a risk in adding only one small AA unit to my list, especially as the French infantry lack any form of man packed air defence system, however few of my likely Warsaw Pact opponents are loaded up with air assets (I’m the only Afgantsy player locally).  As such, I’m risking going with the AMX13 DCA for two reasons; firstly you can’t really have a French army without the iconic AMX13 chassis in it; and whilst the Roland system is a better AA,  I think the DCA will give me more return in fighting BMP/BTR hordes which are likely to be my chief opponent. If my opponent does come with Hinds then I do have the back up of the Gazelles, who are in their to provide a little light anti-armour support, and additional platoon for deployment purposes and as indicated an additional anti-helicopter option

The big risk is that just about anything in a Warsaw Pact army (except Gophers and Geckos) is lethal to my vehicles, even a couple of Shilkas can spoil the day for my “tankers”, and I have to keep the Warsaw Pact infantry at a distance , if my infantry gets pinned the lack of a GPMG / LMG base for support means I will struggle to shoot off incoming infantry waves.

I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I’ll write up my after action reports, and my thoughts about developing and broadening out the list as it happens