Saturday, June 29, 2019

Modern French Army - Part 3, The Vehicles

The modernity that I can reach with my French force is, like the infantry, limited by the vehicles available for purchase.  The likes of QRF and, later,  Battlefront Miniatures are hard to beat.  QRF does nearly everything, while Battlefront doesn't do as much, but damn it if they don't do it well.  The biggest shout out goes to Irishserb's Miniatures.  His vehicles really fleshed out the lighter and middle areas that: 1. Nobody else does, and 2. are what I absolutely needed for the smaller scale actions we are wargaming.  Furthermore, he went above and beyond on occasions to get me things.  Can't thank him enough.

Information wise, there is a lot of good information on the Internet.  If there are things tank-related, there are usually passionate throngs of people who can hyper analyze them to levels no one could ever care about.  There are still discrepancies, but there are a number of reasons for this and usually there is a middle ground to land on rather than get too bogged down.

As far as books go: I have found a number of good books.  Barnes and Noble bargains yielded some good finds. Unfortunately in the US the books tend to focus on the US, giving only a few sentences and data lines to less well recognized vehicles.  Again I'll tout the book VEHICULES DE COMBAT FRANCAIS D'AUJOURD'HUI by Yves Debay as a one-stop shop.  It's in French, so you'll encounter hiccups with electronic translators, but the data (numbers) don't change.  It covers everything.  From tanks, armored cars, infantry transports and weapons, soft skins, artillery, and SAMs. Well beyond what I needed it for.  It even has a section on "the future" VBCI, which has since been deployed.

A lot of good information.  Some better than others.

I really do hate painting.  In my procrastinations I ironically spent more time saving pictures of French vehicles than it did for me to actually paint them.  The pictures were not without their use.  In the past, I used a very quick and dirty method for painting camouflage, but for the these I tried to replicate the actual patterns used.

QRF VABs (multiple variants) and AMX-10 RC

Modern French Army - Part 2.5, The Infantry (TO&E)

Rather than retyping the TO&Es, I'll post these screen-shots of the two most succinctly composed ones I could find.  They are very similar to each other as well as similar to other sources.  If anyone has any formal sources they could provide, that would be greatly appreciated.  Until that time, I thank the authors of these works.  They have been immeasurably helpful.

-click to enlarge-

The above was found at this website. I am not the author.

-click to enlarge-

The above was found at this website.  Again, I am not the author.

These were fantastic references and will hopefully aid anyone, who like me, was completely clueless.

Modern French Army - Part 2, The Infantry

My initial plan for my French force was a pretty generic one.  I didn't know enough about the composition or equipment used by the French, nor did anyone I know personally.  Peter Pig sold French Foreign Legion infantry in their AK47 section and I had previously found the vehicles that Irishserb sold on his website. With that I started rolling onward.

I was lucky to quickly find the book Paras 11e Division Parachutiste French Paratroops Today on eBay.  It must not have been a big seller for the guy, because despite only ordering (and double-checking paying) for one, I received every copy he was selling.  It is a French/English book from 1989 about the 11th Para Division.  Inside was a treasure-trove of pictures, explanations and most importantly: a breakdown of the platoon/squad.   With this information, I decided to base my force on the 3rd Marine Parachute Regiment (3e RPIMa) and set about ordering up the figures I needed.  It was 2016, but 1989 wasn't that long ago right....

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Modern French Army - Part 1, The Overview

The task of finding information on the current French army was (and is) an incredible pain in the ass.  Starting off, most of the online information doesn't come from the most reliable sources... assuming it's sourced at all.  Large amounts of the information online is now also largely out of date.  Which, I can understand as there probably isn't a massive demand for the information.   At least not in English.  I managed to find a decent amount of books and historical "specials" that feature the various French military forces.  Again, most of this information is from before the 90's.  I went as far as purchasing books in French (thank God for Google translate) to aid my cause.  One book in particular, VEHICULES DE COMBAT FRANCAIS D'AUJOURD'HUI by Yves Debay would be one of the best purchases.  Published in 1998, it's now over two decades old, but has a lot of detailed information that I was unable to locate anywhere else.

Some of the better books I found.

The primary goal of building my modern French force was to wargame the various interventions that France has engaged in.  While there are many books on these engagements, few are written with the wargamer in mind.   SO, I have tried to do the best with what I could find.  If anything is incorrect, feel free to tell me.  It might be too late to do anything about it at this point (I've already built and painted the army), but I do appreciate any help.

Friday, June 21, 2019

UN in AK47 Republic

French Intervention Force

Although we already had the original, the Peter Pig ruleset: AK47 Republic 2009 Edition Reloaded would prove to be the "Rules That Launched a Thousand Dollars".   In reality it has probably launched many thousands of dollars.... but that's not what I really want to think about here.

After getting the new AK47 Republic rules, we played many games using Flames of War WW2 figures as stand-ins.  (Some of which were played as the Soviet Backed Arabs vs the Israeli Army.  This would eventually lead down the next rabbit-hole of money) After a while we started sorting out who wanted to play which of the many colorful/humorous armies listed in the book. I grabbed up a few of the Peter Pig pre-made armies, plus lots of bonus/option pieces, and set to work.  After plowing my way through those armies, I sought out something different.  Something that would stand out from the pack.  I landed on the Western Intervention Army, which would eventually get bestowed with the United Nations "branding".

My knowledge on literally *anything* in the historical Cold War/African conflicts was near no-existent.  So I began a rampant Google search phase where I would come across many websites and blogs that would help guide me on my way.

It should be noted that until very recently when Battlefront Miniatures started releasing French for their Team Yankee line, there were very few sources for Cold War or Modern French.  When I started in 2012, it was only as follows:

QRF Miniatures
Peter Pig
Irishserb's Miniatures

The Infantry:
UN Inspector with bodyguard

French Infantry with FAMAS
French manning heavy machine guns
 The above figures are all from Peter Pig's French Foreign Legion in the Modern Africa/AK47 range.

French with anti tank weapons
Bizarrely missing from Peter Pig's FFL line are anti tank weapons.  In the AK47 rules the generically named "RPG" foot bases are the backbone of your infantry.  Here I've used QRFs French with AT-4 figures.  They're taller and more differently proportioned that Peter Pig's.  This is something I would normally try to avoid, but I needed the figures.