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Free Nations Spotlight

Free Nations Spotlight
French Forces
with Wayne Turner
The French Army (in addition to being front and centre in the cover art) turned out to have the most formations represented, with four in Free Nations. The French section starts with background and a look at the battles of Capitaine Paul Durand’s Escadron Blindé (Armoured Squadron).

A French force can choose from four different formations and a great selection of support units. You can field an AMX-30 Escadron Blindé, an AMX-10P Compagnie de Chasseurs (Light Infantry Company), a VAB Compagnie d’Infanterie (Infantry Company), and an AMX-10 RC Escadron de Cavalerie (Cavalry Squadron). The French have good Courage and Skill, average Remount, Rally, Counterattack and Assault, and fragile Morale. When well-supported they will fight well, but are vulnerable when isolated.

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An AMX-30 Escadron Blindé is the French tank formation equipped with the AMX-30 tank. You can take an HQ with one AMX-30 and up to four AMX-30 Peloton Blindé (Armoured Platoons) of 3 or 4 AMX-30 tanks. The fourth unit can instead be an AMX-10P Section de Chasseurs (Light Infantry Section) if you choose.

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The AMX-30 is a first-generation NATO tank like the West German Leopard 1 and started life as a rival design to the Leopard 1 when the Europeans were looking a designing one tank to fit all their needs. Eventually French broke off to complete their own tank which became the AMX-30. In the intervening years is has been upgraded to the AMX-30B2 with improved armour, targeting equipment, engine and transmission. Its French 105mm F1 gun fires NATO standard ammunition as well as indigenous French munitions. Its gun has range 40”/100cm, halted ROF 2, moving ROF 1, AT 19 and FP 2+. The gun is Brutal (forcing unarmoured target to re-roll their saves), has a Laser-rangefinder (no +1 penalty To Hit as long-range) and Smoke. The AMX-30’s armour is Front 11, Side 4, and Top 1, giving it good protection against light weapons frontally, but like the Leopard 1, it must be wary of the more powerful 105mm to 122mm guns and better anti-tank missiles. The AMX-30 tank is a new plastic kit that comes also with options to build the AMX AuF1 SP 155mm howitzer.

The AMX-10P Compagnie de Chasseurs is the French mechanised infantry formation mounting mech infantry in the AMX-10P tracked infantry fighting vehicle. The company consists of an HQ and 2 to 4 AMX-10P Section de Chasseurs, with the fourth unit being able to be an AMX-30 Peloton Blindé instead. Each AMX-10P Section de Chasseurs consists of five FAMAS teams with AC-58 anti-tank grenades. These team include the firepower of each squads 7.62mm NF-1 machine-guns giving them a Range 16”/40cm, Halted ROF 3, Moving ROF 2, AT 2 and (incorporating rifle grenades) FP 5+. For anti-tank defence the AC-58 anti-tank grenades give them AT 13, FP 5+. 

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The section also includes 2x LRAC 89mm anti-tank teams with Range 16”/40cm, ROF 1/1, AT 17 and FP 4+. The LRAC is a reusable anti-tank rocket launcher. One of the LRACs can optionally be replaced with the disposable APILAS 112mm recoilless anti-tank weapon with Range 16”/40cm, ROF 1/1, AT 21 and FP 3+.

The sections anti-tank capability can be further enhanced with the additional of two Milan missile teams. The Milan is a very effective medium range anti-tank guided missile with a Range 8”/20cm to 36”/90cm, Halted ROF 1, AT 21 and FP 3+. These teams come with their own AMX-10P transport.

All of these teams are transported in the AMX-10P infantry fighting vehicle (which will be coming out as a plastic kit). The AMX-10P is a part of universal design program the also produced the AMX-10 RC armoured car (see below). It is armoured for protection against light weapons (Front 2, Side 1, Top 1) and is armed with a 20mm gun for fire support (Range 20”/50cm, ROF 3/2, AT 6, FP 5+, Anti-helicopter) and can mount a Milan missile. Each section has four vehicles.

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The third formation available to the French is the Escadron de Cavalerie. This contains and HQ with a command 4x4 VAB wheeled armoured personnel carrier, 2 or 3 AMX-10 RC Peloton de Cavalerie (Cavalry Platoons), one of which can be a VAB Section d’Infanterie instead. 

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Each AMX-10 RC Peloton de Cavalerie consists of four AMX-10 RC armoured cars. As the name suggests, the AMX-10 RC shared some of the same design and mechanical components as the AMX-10P IFV, but differs in a couple of significant ways. The AMX-10 RC is a 6x6 wheeled armoured car mounting a 105mm gun armed turret. Unlike most multi-wheeled vehicles, the AMX-10 RC does not use conventional steering, but like a tracked vehicle it steers by rotating the wheels on each side at different speeds. This vehicle has a couple of unique features like it 105mm F2 gun which is a slightly shorter version of the 105mm F1 gun found in the AMX-30 tank. Its range is little shorter at 36”/90cm, ROF 2/1, AT 19 and FP 2+. It is Brutal, has a Laser-rangefinder, and fires HEAT and Smoke ammunition. As an armoured car it is lightly armoured (Front 2, Side 1, Top 1), but has some excellent Dash speeds (Cross Country 18”/45cm, Road 40”/100cm). You can also take this unit just as part of your support rather than get a whole formation. Each unit uses the Spearhead and Scout rules.

The final French formation available is the VAB Compagnie d’Infanterie. The VAB Compagnie d’Infanterie consists of an HQ and 2 to 4 VAB Section d’Infanterie and a fifth unit that can be either a Milan Section Antichar, an AMX-10 RC Peloton de Cavalerie, or an AMX-30 Peloton Blindé.
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Each VAB Section d’Infanterie is larger than the Chasseurs, with seven FAMAS teams with AC-58 anti-tank grenade, and two LRAC 89mm anti-tank teams. Options include exchanging one LRAC for an APILAS and adding a Milan team. Each section comes with four VAB 4x4 wheeled armoured personnel carriers. The VAB is armoured against light weapons (Front 2, Side 2, Top 1) and is armed with a 12.7mm AA MG. It can also optionally mount a Milan missile.

The formation can also take a Milan Section Antichar (Milan Anti-tank Section) with up to eight Milan missile teams and four VABs to transport them.

Support
The French have an excellent selection of support units. For additional anti-tank support they have the VAB Mephisto Peloton Antichar armed with the VAB Mephisto missile vehicles. This vehicle mounts powerful HOT missile on an elevating turret on the VAB APC. It uses the Hammerhead rule and can remain Gone to Ground while shooting. The HOT missile has a Range 8”/20cm to 48”/120cm, ROF 1, AT 23 and FP 3+ and uses the HEAT and Guided rules.

The French also have a sophisticated new artillery system in the form of the AMX AuF1 self-propelled howitzer. These come in batteries of up to five guns. Mounted in a turret, the 155mm howitzer is fitted with an Autoloader which reduces the score required To Hit by 1. The 155mm howitzer can shoot artillery bombardment out to 104”/260cm, more than enough to cover most Team Yankee battlefields. This new kit is all plastic and comes with in the same box as the AMX-30 tank, as both weapons are based on the same hull. 

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The French also have two air defence options in the AMX Roland surface to air missile vehicle and the AMX-13 DCA anti-aircraft tank. The AMX Roland mounts the excellent Roland SAM system on a modified AMX-30 tank hull. The Roland AA missiles have range 56”/140cm, ROF 3, FP 4+ and use the Guided AA rule.

The AMX-13 DCA mounts Twin 30mm AA guns on an AMX-13 light tank hull. The guns have a range 24”/60cm (36”/90cm at aircraft using Radar), ROF 5/3, AT 7, and FP 5+.

The French have three aircraft choices, two types of Gazelle helicopters, and a Mirage 5 strike aircraft. The first Gazelle option is armed with HOT missiles and uses the Hunter-killer rule, allowing the helicopter to be concealed by Tall Terrain and remain Gone to Ground while moving. The second Gazelle unit mounts a 20mm gun and provides protection for the Gazelle HOT helicopters by supressing enemy anti-aircraft units. To aid them in this role they use the Gun Slinger rule, which allows them to use Tall Terrain as concealment, remain Gone to Ground while moving, and fired their weapons before enemy AA units shoot at them.

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The Mirage 5 Patrouille de Chasse (Hunting Patrol) is equipped with up to four Mirage 5 strike aircraft armed with BLG-66 cluster bombs (Range 6”/15cm, SALVO, AT 8, FP 3+) and 30mm auto-cannons (Range 8”/20cm, Moving ROF 3, AT 7, FP 5+, Anti-helicopter).

The French can also take a NATO allied formation as part of their force.

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Last Updated On Thursday, May 17, 2018 by Luke at Battlefront