French Army (formerly: Hi everyone)

  • Hi, im new to the forums and in fact just got into the hobby tonight. I was at my local game store and quite a few people were playing A&A, I’ve played 2 or 3 games in the past and decided to start my own army. After looking around a bit and talking to some people, I decided I wanted to base my army around the French, even though they only have 5 Units  😮

    The night progressed, I watched a few games, never played one myself but managed to get a starting army:

    Char B1-bis  x2
    Renault R-35  x2
    Bold Captain
    MAS 7.5mm Rifle x8
    Total= 95

    After looking at their stats and abilities compaired to some others, the French tend to be above average for their points, but lacking in heavy tank killing power. This kind of puts a damper on my idea of playing a pure-French army, but I could use powerful US or other allies pieces to fill the tank removing role, or whatever position needs to be filled in creating an army. I’ll probably know more about this in the future, when my collection grows, now Im focusing on getting more Char B1-bis and Renault R-35’s. Feedback is appreciated  😄

  • I think you’re gonna have some trouble going 100% French. (no prejudice in that by the way)  Just collect everything.  I know I have about five Tiger I’s, about as many Guards T-34/85’s, so, if you want to go both ways (in the game that is) then I could arrange somethin’…

  • Yea, I’m hoping that the D-Day set introduces some decent French units. I wanted to do a French army, but they don’t have the “oomph” I want. I wouldn’t mind getting a Somua S-35 or an FCM 36 in there. Maybe some artillery that doesnt need a Forward Observer, a la the French “Fire Plan” or something. I dunno. It’s just be nice to see the French become playable on their own.


  • The French Army provides some interesting units, with some tanks that are very powerful in early war games, but quickly become obselete. Their infantry ranges from good to bad, and they have a decent commander. So far of the minor nations I’ve reviewed the French seem to be able to the best balanced army.

    At the same cost as an M4A1 Sherman, the Char B1-BIS serves as the French heavy tank. It’s extra hull-mounted cannon gives it the possibility of eliminating a single more powerful tank in one turn, or damaging/destroying two targets at once. Additionally while it’s infantry dice are pretty standard it can also fire the extra shot at a soldier, having one better die at close range for one less at long. The 5/5 defence gives it some survivability in later war scenarios, but heavy battle tanks will make short work of it, while being practically immune to the Char’s ranged fire.

    The cheap but might Renault R-35 is another powerful early war vehicle for the french. It’s slow, and trench crossing will rarely come into play, but no other 9 point tank can boast a 4/4 defence. It’s drawbacks are that it’s not too effective at long range and is slow so can’t close the distance easily. However at medium or short tange it can still be dangerous to larger tanks. Not too effective against infantry though.

    The Bold Captain is very nice commander for any year. While he has little combat ability, he provides the standard +2 inititative and gives your infantry some extra protection while they’re on the move. Probably not worth using more than one of, the captain is best kept as safe as possible while being near the frontlines.

    The MAS 7.5mm Rifle has no better firepower than a regular infantry such as a Mauser or SMLE, but is vastly improved with the Urban Combat SA. Unfortunately there are only two maps in particular where the MAS can make good use of their SA; one standard map (Urban Combat) features the objective in a town hex, another has town hexes close to the objective (Half and Half, making it useful approximately 1/3 of the time. However, the MAS cost no more than similiar infantry meaning you aren’t paying any extra for a potentially wasted ability.

    Finally there’s the Lebel 86M93 Grenadier. With it’s restricted range of two and no close assault value the use of this unit is minimal. Only at very close range can the Lebel Grenadier harm units, and even then it will primarily be light AFVs, which are just as easily taken care of by Renaults/Chars. The Lebel is completely useless against heavier tanks as well, whereas the MAS can at least attempt to move in and close assault them.

    The French army, like most minor nations, will be outdated and slow in standard games. Fortunately their tanks have a high defence so will hopefully be able to move in and support your infantry’s advance. The MAS infantry supported by the Bold Captain are great for overrunning hexes; 5/5 defence units that if in the city get 3+ cover, means the enemy will have a hard time stopping you with defencive fire as your troops move in. Obviously this doesn’t work so well against Hand-to-Hand or Flamethrower units. Against high defence units (vehicles such as Tigers, or infantry such as SS) you simply have to concentrate your firepower as best as you’re able to. Try to take the objective as soon as you can, and support the advance of your troops.

    Char B1-BIS x2
    Renault R-35 x4
    Bold Captain x1
    MAS 7.5mm Rifle x5

    If you don’t have enough Chars, subsitute with Renaults or Valentine IIs. Renaults can be exchanged for Valentine IIs, Crusader IIs, or even Stuarts if necessary. If you don’t have enough MAS use SMLEs. No, the Lebels aren’t worth consideration.

    With Set IV coming soon, we can hopefully add a few more units to this.

  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    Der Leiter, this is a great write up of the French. Can I post it as an article on the website?

  • Yes.

    I’ve done one for all major nations and minor nations (except Poland and Australia for fairly obvious reasons) and the SS.

  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    Well, I think it would be cool, over time, to get all of those up on the website.

  • Werd. Me too.


  • The French need some good units, but the Chinese really need them.  French Riflemen are good if you tend to put your strength in Urban areas though. 
    What would be interesting is if they had Free French partisans the same way the SU gets communist partisans.

  • La Resistance units with Partisan? 😉

    The Free French wouldn’t be anything special, as they mostly used British and then American equippment. Though perhaps they would give them some unique abilities.

  • I actually am expecting French Resistance of some kind in the D-Day set. They’d probably have stats as bad as the ones the Soviet Partisanss get, but I tend to field armies for flavor as opposed to “L33T-P0WARZ”, so I’m not going to be too broken up about that. I’d love to be able to recreate several battles from the movie The Longest Day, so so having some Resistance blow out some train tracks would be sweet.


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