African recruited units make up the two French African Armies but increasingly can be found further and further afield. In spite of condescension from European French units and Generals, their distance from High Command's eye (out of sight being out of mind) and frequently low priority in equipment procurement, these units are the equal of their European counterparts. The showing of Algerian units in the Central Asian War being especially impressive.
One major difference is the absence of VCS units. This is a hold-over from the expansion of French influence in Africa in the early 22nd Century. Many of the problems faced by African countries had been exacerbated by poorly trained, paid and equipped troops and officers usurping power and exploiting the local populations. The French instead decided to concentrate on producing units of well trained, paid and equipped soldiers that wouldn't fall prey to these temptations. Largely they succeeded (although many local Administrators fear influential army officers) and have produced some excellent fighting units. Rivalry between regiments is much more marked than in other sections of the Army, with violence not unknown.
The African armoured and cavalry units are all a part of the Metropolitan Army and are subject to the same constraints.
Chasseurs d' Afrique
The Chasseurs d' Afrique are armoured cavalry units recruited from throughout Africa and comprise the largest French family of regiments regiment. These regiments provide manpower for armoured and reconnaissance units. The 'Chas d'Af' are mainly recruited from urban areas and this is especially the case in Algeria.
Régiment Blindée de Côte d' Or
The Régiments Blindée de Côte d' Or are units converted from the old Ghanaian Army when Ghana became a part of the French Guinea Coast.
Régiment Blindée Gabonaise
The Régiments Blindée Gabonaise are regiments recruited from the sons of the social élite of Libreville, and these units have a reputation for high living, and something of a condescending attitude to those less fortunate than themselves. Indeed some of the worst excesses against rioters in the shanty towns in recent years have been perpertrated by these units.
Régiment de Chars d' Afrique
The Régiments de Chars d' Afrique are recruited from urban areas throughout French West and Central Africa. They originally manned only ground tank units, but two regiments have converted to hover tanks. These units have a reputation for serious study and application of military theory.
Régiment de Cavalerie Blindée de Monrovia (Les Américains Libre)
This unit has its roots in a group of mainly African-American US Marines and sailors who were washed up in Liberia after their ship was sunk in the mid-Atlantic during the Twilight War. They set out to bring order to the chaos of Monrovia, and succeeded. They along with other African-Americans fleeing the slavery of New America would politically dominate the country for many years. However the existing Liberians resisted this and fought a long slow insurgency war, eventually the French intervened and made Liberia a part of the Guinea Coast. Part of the price for this acceptance was the inclusion of several Liberia units in the French African Army.
The Spahis traditionally are Arab light cavalry and today provide manpower for armoured and reconnaissance units. The Spahis are recruited from the non-urban populations of Algeria and are uniformed in a much more 'Algerian' way than the Chas d' Af. It should be noted that the Spahis Algériens should not be confused with the Régiment de Spahis. The RS are a remnant of France's first dominion over Algeria and recruited entirely from Metropolitan France. The 6e, 8e and 12e regiments are attached to the Armée de la Manouvre.
The Spahis Djiboutiens are armoured units raised in the enclave of Djibouti. They are normally equipped in a somewhat heavier style than their French or Algerian equivalents.
The African infantry regiments, like their cavalry counterparts are mostly a part of the Metropolitan Army.
Batallion d' Afrique
The Batallions d' Afrique (also cynically known as the 'Joyeaux') are punishment battalions for military criminals in the French Army. The harsh treatment of the Joyeaux includes punishing training and housing in appalling conditions. The Joyeaux are also the first reinforcements sent out to any conflict and are always placed in the worst positions (even hard bitten Foreign Legionnaires feel sorry for the Joyeaux, whom they often fight alongside). However the treatment of the Joyeaux has resulted in them being hardened fighting battalions much disliked by their enemies. Once the criminals term of service is over he has a choice of returning to his old battalion, joining the Legion, or being discharged from the service. In times of war few survive long enough to make these choices.
There are three 'Bat's d'Af'. The 1e Joyeaux is composed of military convicts from France proper, the 2e from Africa and the 3e from France's off-world colonies. Legionnaires do not serve in the Bat d'Af but have their own punishment unit, the I/6e RIE, the so called 'Battalion of the Damned'.
Batallion de Chasseurs à Pied Blindée d' Afrique
When combat walkers were first introduced into the 11e Corps it was decided that instead of converting regiments to use these new weapons, volunteers would be raised from each battalion and composite units formed instead. The experiment has worked well so far with these battalions largely overcoming any lingering regimental rivalry.
Groupements de Chasseurs Gabonais
The GCG are recruited mainly from Gabon's sprawling slums and have gained much experience at countering urban unrest.
Groupements de Chasseurs de Niger
The GCN are a regiment recruited from the north-east of Burkina Faso along the River Niger. They were raised to provide a long range patrol capacity for this area which was often plagued by Berber raiders.
Groupements de Chasseurs Togolaise
This battalion was raised to provide a patrolling capability on the Guinea Coast's border with Nigeria, to supplement the often ineffective Gendarmerie. Ever since this unit has gained a reputation as one of the most effective in the North African army.
Groupements de Chasseurs du Zaïre
The GCZ are recruited from the headwaters of the Congo east to the border with Tanzania. They are largely composed of Hutu soldiers and have often been heavily involved in fighting with Tutsi rebels in the border regions.
Régiment de Chasseurs de Cameroun
These units are converted Tirailleurs de Cameroun units. Today they normally recruit from the urban areas of Cameroon.
Régiment de Chasseurs du Sénégal
The Senegalese Chasseurs were created when tensions rose with Mali in the second half of the 22nd Century. Three battalions of the Tirailleurs Sénégalaise were re-roled too provide long duration patrolling of the border, to prevent insurgents crossing the border and to hunt them down should they do so. Eventually the name of the battalions was changed to reflect their new role. Today they have returned to a conventional infantry role.
Régiment d' Éclaireurs d' Afrique
These two battalions are some of the most controversial in French service. They started out as French backed Angolan guerrillas who fought against Azanian factions in the long struggle for that country, and were accused of many atrocities. With the end of the conflict and the defeat of the French backed elements those that remained escaped to Katanga and were formed into their own regiment. A second battalion created from similar groups operating in Zimbabwe and other English-speaking Azanian territories was later created. Both units remain excellent bush fighters and unconventional warriors. Rumours persist that elements of both units continue to intrude into Azanian and Angolan territory. I/REA conducts much of its business in Portuguese, and II/REA similarly works mainly in English.
Régiment d' Infanterie Blindée de Côte d' Ivoire
These regiment was created when two battalions of Tirailleurs de Côte d' Ivoire were re-roled to become armoured infantry. II Batallion is now deployed as a combat walker battalion.
Régiment de Rangers de Liberia
Like the Régiment de Cavalerie Blindée de Monrovia, the Liberian Rangers are a unit of the old Liberian Army that continues to serve in the French African Army.
Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens
The Tirailleurs Algériens (Algerian Skirmishers/Riflemen) are infantry formations recruited from the rural populations of Algeria. Until Algerian Independence in 1962 the French regarded the Tirailleurs Algériens in much the same way as the British regarded the Gurkhas, revelling in their ferocity. However many WW2 Tirailleurs who fought bravely for France were disillusioned with French domination of their country and became key players in the battle for independence.
France's return to Algeria was mostly opposed by Islamic groups in the interior and backed by the more secular coastal populations. However clever French diplomacy exploited ethnic and cultural splits and enabled them to create units from these areas that became the basis for the Tirailleurs Algériens. Eventually French intervention in Algeria managed to calm the bloody splits in Algerian society. The Tirailleurs Algériens are once again a prized part of France's military, although the Manchurian government complained long and hard about alleged Tirailleur atrocities (including emasculation of prisoners) in the Central Asian War. The Tirailleurs also include many soldiers from the neighbouring states of Morocco and Tunisia, who are allowed to join the Tirailleurs rather than the Foreign Legion.
Régiments de Tirailleurs de Burkina Faso
This regiment is raised from the western parts of Burkina Faso. It has fluctuated in size over the years depending upon the general level of threat. However some 20 years ago three battalions attempted a coup d' etat against the Departmental government in Ouagadougou which was but down by Paratroopers and Legionnaires. Those battalions were disbanded and ever since the regiment has been rather small and regarded somewhat with suspicion.
Régiment de Tirailleurs de Cameroun
The regiments are recruited from Cameroon's rural areas.
Régiment de Tirailleurs Congolaise
These units are recruited from the remnants of what was Congo-Brazzaville to the north-east of Gabon.
Régiment de Tirailleurs de Côte d' Ivoire
The Tirailleurs de Côte d' Ivoire are recruited from the Guinea Coast's Ivory Coast province.
Régiments de Tirailleurs de Côte d' Or
These units were created from the infantry battalions of the former Ghanaian Army and retain some of their traditions.
Régiment de Tirailleurs Djiboutiens
The Tirailleurs Djiboutiens are raised in Djibouti. The I/2e RTD, were created as a crack counter-insurgency unit operating in the enclaves Eritrean areas. However today it operates as a rapid-reaction infantry force.
Régiment de Tirailleurs de Katanga
The Katangan Tirailleurs have been in the forefront of the lingering proxy war between the French and Azanians in southern Africa. Casualties in the last century have often been heavy, but these unglamorous regiments have gained a fine reputation as bush fighters.
Régiment de Tirailleurs Sénégalaise
The Senegalese Tirailleurs are regarded as excellent, well disciplined troops and are often called upon to provide reinforcements for major operations undertaken by France.
Régiment de Tirailleurs du Tchad
The RTT are regarded as some of the finest fighters in Central Africa. As Chad has a fairly stable political situation they are often deployed to other parts of Central Africa where urban unrest is more commonplace and used as hard hitting reserves. Consequently they regard themselves as superior to the other units they work alongside and have a reputation for arrogance. Their general performance though has led them to be deployed increasingly far afield, with III Batallion currently serving in Tirane. If that experiment is successful the Chadian Tirailleurs more such deployments may follow.
Régiment de Tirailleurs du Zaïre
The RTZ are drawn mainly from the citizens of Kinshasa. The unit has gained a somewhat unwarranted reputation as preferring urban operations to working in the forests of the border regions.
Régiment de Voltigeurs d' Afrique
The Voltigeurs d' Afrique are a recently organised unit drawn from throughout the 11e Corps area. So far they have proved themselves an effective and competent unit.
Zouaves d' Algérie
The Zouaves d' Algérie are infantry formations recruited from the westernised urban areas of Algeria. The Zouaves have a key place in the evolution of modern Algeria, as France's intervention in an Algeria wracked by splits between secular and religious was led by the large Algerian expatriate population in France. When French troops landed at Oran their numbers included a Zouave battalion of Algeria volunteers from Marseilles and Paris, it was the presence of these troops that enabled France to avoid accusations of neo-colonialism. New Zouave units were raised as the French secured the coastal Tell region and took a key part in the pacification campaign that followed. As with the Spahis, the Algerian Zouave regiments should not be confused with the mainly French 9e Zouaves.
The Zouaves d' Algérie have 13 battalions in total organised into four regiments. The 1e, 2e and 3e regiments have three battalions apiece and are conventional infantry units. The 4e Zouaves have four battalions and are equipped with combat walkers and provide the 4e Corps with its combat walker support. The I Batallion of the 2e Zouaves is a part of the Armée de la Manouvre.
Various African raised Parachute and Commando units are a part of the TAP. Whatever their origins and titles they are normally organised identically and operate as efficiently as the RCP units.