1940: Capital in French Central Africa?
What if…the French capital was moved from Paris to French Central Africa, and the French started with a factory in French Central Africa? The Germans would still want to capture Paris for the income, victory city, and factory…but the French treasury wouldn’t be looted and the French would still have a place to build units. As is historically plausible, Free French activity would get an initial boost in the first couple of turns (when resources were still flowing out of metropolitan France into the colonies), then become weaker in the middlegame (as those resources dry up and the Axis conquer north Africa), and then stronger again in the endgame (as the Americans and Free French liberate north Africa and/or Normandy). You wouldn’t need any special rules…just the setup change could make France a heck of a lot more fun to play. If it turns out that Germany simply can’t live without the income it would usually get from looting the French treasury, then you could give Germany bonus cash from a one-time national objective for capturing Paris, so that the German economy stays where it’s supposed to be without stripping the French bare to the point of boredom.
Could this work?
The general concept that the French government might want to set up a wartime capital-in-exile somewhere in the French colonial empire after the fall of France in 1940 sounds reasonable enough in my opinion, but French Central Africa would not exactly be my first choice in view of its geographically isolated position in the middle of the African continent and below the Sahara Desert. My impression is that the French government would probably have picked one of France’s possessions in North Africa – most likely Algeria, which many Frenchmen considered to be virtually a part of France.
Algeria definitely would have been a more natural capital site, but it’s one sea zone away from Italy and the German Med fleet…if you put the French capital in Algerian then the practical result will be that the Axis make a slightly different turn 1 attack and then the French still wind up with a microscopic economy.
My understanding is that French Central Africa was the initial HQ of the Free French military campaign, but I could also see a case for FWA or FEA (which would be somewhat more vulnerable to early Axis attacks, but also better able to deploy new ships).
French Central Africa became Vichy-controlled in June 1940, and as far as I know it stayed that way. It was French Equatorial Africa that joined the Free French in June 1940 (except for Gabon); the Gabon region was eventually seized by the Free French in November 1940. I’d be surprised, however, if French Equatorial Africa had much value economically for the Free French (whose leadership was based in London), since I rather doubt that it was industrialized. And I don’t think it had any role as an administrative centre for the Free French, for the previously stated reason that their leadership was based in London.
I guess that the basic problem here is that the rules require a country to have a capital in order to have income and in order to build units. It’s a game abstraction that, frankly, I think is a clumsy and unrealistic mechanism…particularly since China gets an exemption from it. My feeling is that giving France a wartime capital way out in the middle of nowhere (in order to put it out of range of Axis attack) would just make this rule mechanism even more unrealistic. If we take this principle to its logical conclusion, the ideal wartime capital for France would actually be Suriname. In terms of realistic politics and economics and industrial infrastructure, however, the most plausible wartime capital for France would actually be London, where many governments-in-exile were based. London, of course, could not actually be switched in the game from being British to being French; rather, France would have to be allowed to use a piece of it as a de facto wartime capital, in some manner or other. This would be a bit weird, but no weirder than non-industrialized China being allowed to behave as if it has a capital under its own control. (I sometimes imagine that the little dot in Szechwan, at the end of the Burma Road, represents the Chinese wartime capital of Chunking, which was in fact in that general area.)
Let’s suppose London is Free France Capital-in-exile.
So you conquer London, you get French money too.
But free French units must be mobilize in french colony or TTs.
At first, you can mobilize only Inf or Artillery.
If french player built a minor IC somewhere, then you can get other units.
Is it realistic?
If it turns out that Germany simply can’t live without the income it would usually get from looting the French treasury, then you could give Germany bonus cash from a one-time national objective for capturing Paris, so that the German economy stays where it’s supposed to be without stripping the French bare to the point of boredom.
A one time 25 IPCs NO should work IMO.
France going to be more interesting.
WILD BILL last edited by
I’m trying to come up with a Vichy rule that would benefit the axis some in the beginning, and won’t be too much of an allied advantage mid game. I would like the Colonial Free French to work similar to China, but takes them a while to build up before they can make a difference.
I’m looking at a Vichy rule that would allow the Germans to attack France, kill all French/UK units there, and still plunder Paris as normal (19 IPCs). A Vichy regime is then established as long as the Germans don’t attack S France G1. The Germans would be allowed to attack and take Normandy G1, but if they don’t once Paris falls and the Vichy Government is set up, Normandy becomes pro axis (so the Germans can occupy it G1). During Germany’s NCM they can claim Normandy (place German marker) and the French art (swap it out for German as being left behind from Dunkirk), but the french inf is moved to S France and becomes part of the Vichy army (giving them 2 inf, and 1 art).
The Germans still collect income from the 3 continental French territories including S France (say Vichy is supplying them w/resources or paying bribes etc…), but not from any of the Vichy colonial territories unless they take them by force OOB.
All of the French colonies become Vichy with the exception of French Equatorial Africa and New Hebrides which stays Free French (see later). The French inf that starts in each of the Vichy territories stays and becomes Vichy. Vichy units won’t be able to move or attack, but will def if attacked by either side. Each Vichy colonial territory operates independently so invading one of them won’t effect the others (with exception of S France). Axis can take control of Vichy territories (must kill the Vichy inf if any). The allies would be liberating Vichy territories for the Free French (still need to clear any Vichy units). If the Germans invade S France it will make all the remaining Vichy territories pro allies. If the allies liberate S France or Normandy they become Free French, but they can’t use the ICs until Paris is liberated (no more US IC on the French coast). The FF can however build inf on their territories. Not sure if the French 12IPC NO should still be awarded for Liberating Paris (FF will have income)
It is a befit to Euro axis removing nearly all the French inf from the map, and forcing the allies to attack the Vichy territories when they invade N Africa. Vichy territories count for the Italian NO for control of N Africa, but they must also control Malta now. It will be up to the allies to stop the Italians from keeping this NO by invading N Africa. The allies will be able to grow the FF army as they do though.
French Equatorial Africa starts with 2 inf that will become the Free French army in Africa. FF start with no income but will collect income starting at the at the end of F1 for any orig French territories in their control (not Vichy). They can buy inf, and mobilize those inf in any orig French territory they control (like the Chinese).
The French income will rise as the allies sweep through Africa. The Free French can go anywhere but aren’t allowed to capture axis, pro axis, or pro allied territories, so if French units take them the territory (and any units) are awarded to the UK.
If the US lands troops in Africa, and there are no Axis ships anywhere in the Atlantic the Free French can also build art (maybe tpts?) as part of some lend lease.
Any time Paris is liberated all Vichy territory and units become French, and France operates like a normal power.
Edit all below: The French Fleet (under consideration)
Leaving French DD in sz71 (Madagascar): Leaving CA, DD in sz93 (Toulon); adding CA, DD tpt to sz 92 (Mers-el-kebir); adding CA, DD sz87 (Dakar).
When the Vichy Armistice goes into effect at the end of Germany’s combat phase you roll for each of the French ships (individually) adjacent to a Vichy territory (only ship that wouldn’t be rolled for is the French cruiser in sz110 which if not sunk G1 would be FF). Roll 1 join the FF (is moved on the FF turn), roll 2-3 they belong to Vichy (*see later), roll 4-5 scuttled (remove from play), roll 6 belong to Germany (can move in Germany’s NCM that turn).
*If ship goes Vichy it is neutral, and stays in sz. Vichy ships don’t block movement, but either side can attack Vichy ships to sink them. If a Vichy territory is amphib through sz containing Vichy ship(s) they will def (also stops bombardment). If the Vichy territory is attacked only through adjacent land territory any Vichy ships adjacent to that territory are rolled for again. 1 goes FF, 2-5 scuttled, 6 becomes German.
Establishing France as a minor power again after their defeat in the first round might upset the balance in the game. A new government in Algeria wouldn’t last very long as the Italians would no doubt take them out asap.
How about a French Resistance scenario instead? The resistance was a celebrated part of WW2. Aside from providing the allies with valuable intelligence they also performed acts of sabotage especially on D-Day. To simulate their contribution to the war effort they could have one die roll at 1 (or a 2?) on their turn to hit a enemy unit of their choosing on original French territory in Europe. I would make that contingent on the fact that they still have a least one unit somewhere on the board. Later on in the game when they have very few units left it could be an interesting mission to hunt them down.It would give France an actual role in the game beyond the first couple of turns.
Narvik last edited by
I am not a big fan of house rules, since this is supposed to be a balanced game that is played in tournaments, and only loosely based on a WWII theme. But if you insist to add all this extra spice, I suggest to keep it inside the A&A box of known game mechanics. Let China be the base of what happens when your capital is lost. And skip the pro neutral thing, its either true neutral or not neutral.
1. When your capital is lost, all territories under your control become true neutral. You are no longer an active player. You can no longer move any of your former units, they are stuck where you left them last turn. Your ships will not make a seazone hostile. Former allied units on your territory must either combat move out next turn or trigger combat. If you have units in former allied territories, they are removed from the map.
A lot of evidence from the real WWII support this rule suggestion. When the French capital was captured, all other French territories became neutral. Not pro but true. US and UK had to combat move into neutral French Morocco, Germany had to combat move into Vichy, and Japan had to combat move into FIC. Also, all French units that were in UK when Paris fell, were demobilized and sent home to occupied France. When the Italian capitol was taken, the former allied German units in Northern Italy would face combat against the by now neutral Italian units in that territory. When the Finnish capital was taken by Russia in sept 1944, Finland was declared neutral and the former allied German units in Northern Finland faced combat against the Finnish forces there. Same with Romania in 1944. And so on. When Japan captured the Chinese capital Bejing in 1937, China become neutral. When this game start, China is a neutral with an occupied capitol.
2. When a neutral territory is attacked, it is no longer neutral but allied to the enemy of the attacker. And remember, with this rule there are no pro neutral, only true neutral, so a combat move into a neutral territory will never trigger a world wide uprising by other neutrals, like in the OOB rules.
Evidence to support this.
Neutral Poland is attacked by Germany and Russia and get allied to UK and France. No other true neutral join the war.
Viborg territory of neutral Finland is attacked by Russia, and can join the Western Allies, but the road to Finland is blocked by other neutrals that dont want to join the war.
Neutral countries Norway, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands is attacked by Germany, and taken in one round since they are one territory each. No other true neutrals join the war.
3. When a neutral nation is at war, and it has no capitol, either because the capitol was taken in a previous turn, or it is a minor one territory nation, or Mongolia, then it can purchase infantry only, limited by its income, and place this infantry in any territory in order to the Chinese special OOB rule