The coming release of Free Nations will soon give you the opportunity to field NATO forces from either Canada, France, the Netherlands or Australia in your Team Yankee games.
Today, we're going to have a bit of a deeper dive into the French forces.
French equipment development certainly lagged behind that of the other NATO powers, and by the time the 1980's came around, the French Armee de terre did not have a MBT to rival the power of the Abrams or Leopard 2. Their tank, the AMX-30, was more akin in capability and power to the Leopard 1 even though the AMX-30 in service was more developed then its initial design.
To account for this lack of armoured firepower, the French would bolster their infantry divisions and equip them with Milan and HOT missile systems to take on Pact armour.
As discussed in our initial article, you have 4 formation options for the French in Team Yankee.
We'll take a look at the formations first and then cover off the support choices at the end.
AMX-30 Escadron Blinde
The French armoured squadron fields the AMX-30 tank. Armed with a 105mm F1 gun which has a similar performance to that on the West German Leopard 1 but has no stabiliser.
To field the AMX-30 formation, you'll need to take the HQ of a solitary AMX-30.
As you can see, the French commanders are pretty skilled but are somewhat reluctant in the morale stakes. The AMX-30 itself is pretty lightly armoured, so you're definitely going to want to take advantage of terrain and speed, as well as a Spearhead move if you can get it.
For me, I'd definitely be look at weight of numbers here, given the low front armour on the AMX-30. You're really going to need a heap of them heading toward the enemy so you can ensure getting through to the objectives. Your support options will also be key here.
AMX-10 Compagnie de Chasseurs
The new means of warfare introduced in WW2 has not been forgotten and forces the world over have embraced this into the new world. Mechanised infantry is standard and the French are no different in this respect.
Equipped with the new AMX-10P AFV, the French infantry certainly does pack a punch into a reasonably small area. The AMX-10P is also armed with a 20mm autocannon and the option for the addition of a Milan missile for more firepower.
You have to select your Compagnie de Chasseurs HQ initially which is a single FAMAS Assault Rifle team riding in an AMX-10P
From there, you must take at least 2 AMX-10P Section de Chasseurs which come in 2 strengths:
- Full strength with 5 x FAMAS teams with anti-tank grenades, 2 x LRAC 89mm anti-tank teams and 4 x AMX-10P transports.
- Part strength with 3 x FAMAS teams, 2 x LRAC teams and 3 x AMX-10P's.
Both options also allow you to replace one of your LRAC teams with an APILAS team and you also have the option of adding 2 x Milan missile teams with their own AMX-10 transport. Obviously, there are point costs involved in these changes.
Your final 2 slots can either give you 2 additional Sections, or 1 section and an AMX-30 platoon.
The French infantry is a really great option in my opinion. They has a heap of firepower available to them, they can protect themselves from incoming chopper fire as well as protecting themselves from enemy AFV's and tanks. Supported by some armour to take some of the heat off, I think these guys have the potential to cause some serious trouble!
Escadron de Cavalerie
The French force developed some pretty interesting weaponry and included in that is the AMX-10 RC which was supplied to the Escadron de Cavalerie for use in their scouting roles. Unlike a lot of their NATO counterparts though, the AMX-10 RC sure packs a punch, being armed with a massive 105mm gun!
If you take an Escadron de Cavalrie formation, your HQ selection is each with a solitary VAB truck.
Your formation must then include 2 AMX-10 RC Peloton de Cavalerie at a minimum. These are equipped with the AMX-10 RC armoured car. Based on the AMX-10 hull, but adapted to be a 6x6 wheeled vehicle, it mounted the 105mm F2 gun in a turret.
You then have the option to take either another platoon of AMX-10 RC's or a VAB Section D'Infanterie.
This one is an interesting one for me. The AMX-10 RC is definitely a glass cannon, it packs a massive punch but it's going to die to anything with a decent AT. It does have Scout and Spearhead which will help, but you're really going to need these protected if you want the formation to survive.
The other side of the Escadron de Cavalerie is the infantry, namely the VAB Section D'Infanterie. Similar in construction to their mechanised brothers in their AMX-10 transports, these guys are riding around in the VAB transport.
Your formation HQ consists of a sole FAMAS team in a VAB.
From there, you must take at least 2 VAB Sections, which can be fully equipped or partly equipped, as follows:
- Fully equipped with 7 x FAMAS teams with anti-tank grenades, 2 x LRAC 89mm anti-tank teams and 4 x VAB transports.
- Partly equipped with 5 x FAMAS teams, 2 x LRAC teams and 3 x VAB transports.
Again, you have the option here to pay to replace one of your LRAC teams with an APILAS team and you can also add a Milan team.
Once these are locked in, you can then choose to add 2 more sections to your formation. You then have a final optional slot which can include either:
- an AMX-10 RC Peloton de Cavalerie,
- an AMX-30 Peloton Blinde, or
- a Milan Section Antichar.
The Milan Section Antichar is pretty easy. Its a heap of Milan teams riding around in their own VAB transports! There are 3 section sizes, of varying point costs:
- 8 x Milan teams with 4 VAB transports
- 6 x Milan teams with 3 VAB transports, or
- 4 x Milan teams with 2 VAB transports.
That should sort out any pesky tanks that wander on by!
French Divisional Support
You're going to be relatively spoilt for choice in the support option you have at your disposal here, but they all have specific jobs to take care of and potential gaps to plug if you're short in any particular areas. Let's take a look at them.
VAB Mephisto Peloton Antichar
Mounting a HOT missile on the top of a VAB transport, the Mephisto adds another anti-tank option to your force. You can buy these in either 2 or 4 truck groups. The Hammerhead rule also means that you can fire their HOT missile and still retain your Gone to Ground status, meaning they're just a little more survivable.
AMX AuF1 Batterie d'Artillerie
Built on the MAX-30 hull but sporting a mighty 155mm howitzer, the AuF1 serves as the mobile artillery for the French. You can buy these in batteries of 3 - 5 guns and with the Autoloader rule, you reduce the score needed to hit teams under a template by 1.
AMX Roland Batterie de Missiles Sol-Air
Mounting the Roland SAM missile system on an AMX-30 hull allows for AA capability to be brought to bear in the field. You can select either 2 or 4 SAM tanks.
AMX-13 DCA Peloton de Defense Anti-Aerien
Adding to the French air defence capabilities, the AMX-13 mounts twin 30mm cannons in its turret, enough firepower and ROF to dispatch enemy air and possibly keep some AFV's at bay as well. You can buy 3 of these for your force.
Gazelle HOT Patrouille d'Helicopteres Antichar
Much like the West Germans, the French also decided that strapping HOT missiles to choppers to chase armour all over the place was a great idea. Can't say I disagree...! You can get either 2 or 4 choppers here.
Gazelle 20mm Patrouille d'Helicopteres d'Attaque
As well as HOT missile, the French also equipped the Gazelle helicopter with a 20mm gun to act in a helicopter deterrent. Again, you have access to either 2 or 4 Gazelle's.
Mirage 5 Patrouille de Chasse
In your strike aircraft role you have access to the Mirage 5. Armed with both Belouga cluster bombs and a 30mm auto-cannon, this has the firepower to sort pretty much anything out. Your flight will include either 2 or 4 aircraft.
So there you have a run-down on the French forces you'll be seeing on Team Yankee tables pretty soon. I think they look like a pretty decent force, despite the lacking in the heavy tank department. You can get around this by adding a NATO tank formation from another nationality though.
Their Mech Infantry is pretty exciting and if you pay the extra points and add the APILAS to your platoon then any Pact armour is going to have a tough time getting close to you. The AMX-10P adds protection from BMP's but you still need to be careful here so as to not get overwhelmed by their numbers.
Let us know what you think of the French!
Next up, let's have a look at the Aussies!