French Army: 2300AD

Véhicules de Combat Blindés

By D Hebditch and Bryn Monnery


The French are one of humanity's largest producers and users of armoured fighting vehicles. Indeed they produce so many of them that economies of scale render them almost cheap by comparison to those produced by other nations. Two decades of high intensity combat experience is evident in French designs, the most modern of which are a match for anything in service. Nevertheless heavy losses have been incurred against the Kafers and French designs continue to evolve to match the alien's challenge.


The AC-12bis is based on the AC-12 described in GDW's Ground Vehicle Guide.


Marechal de Logis Karel van Ruysbroek of the 1e Régiment de Lanciers edged her ACR-89 forward along a firebreak through the heavily wooded hills. Her only support was her driver and the other 'quatre-vingts neuf' following her as they probed the edge of one of the three Capu landing zones. They were far out of artillery range and the Armée de l'Air was being held back for a decisive strike on the invaders.

Van Ruysbroek was very nervous, they were heading into the unknown. The Capus had destroyed all of the French orbital surveillance satellites, the VNPA drones were being shot down by Snapfires as soon as they went up and after the loss of precious two recce aircraft the Armée de l'Air was reticent about putting anything over the landing zones. They hoped this route would not be covered by the Kafers, but if caught they would be in serious trouble. The ACR-89's manoeuvrability seriously restricted by the trees, her armour would be little protection against a CAC-1 and she'd be easy prey for mines.

MDL van Rusybroek had been tasked by her Caïd with getting 'eyes on' the Capu landing zone. It was a task the predominantly Belgian unit was well trained for and the veteran van Ruysbroek was the obvious candidate to lead the mission. The ACR-89's were fast and robust enough to get her close, her natural cunning and eye for the ground would have to do the rest. Once the Lanciers had found the information their division could start with their counter-attack.

As she crested a ridge the landing zone came into view. The small valley was black with troops, vehicles and massive bulbous landers. She swore under her breath and her hands went clammy. Optics zoomed in on the scene and the expert system and her trained brain raced to identify the different equipment on show. Even the massive CAC-1s were dwarfed by a squadron of tracked CCC-1s that intelligence from Kimanjano had warned them to expect. Numbers of ground troops was already in the thousands and they were dispersing into the woods. More landers were arriving by the minute.

She pushed the button sending the encrypted burst transmission and backed off the ridge. The division was going to be in serious trouble. In fact all of the Continent Français was going to be in serious trouble.


AVCI-4 'Vandamme'
ACR-89 'Lannes'
ACL-7 'Murat'
Weapons Systems

Aéro-Char 12 Tonne Bis (AC-12bis)

The AC-12bis is the standard front-line HBT of the French Army and is in service with most Armées and has seen much action against the Kafers. An upgraded AC-12 developed in the aftermath of the War of German Reunification the AC-12bis was designed to gain a margin of superiority over the LkPz-IX prior to the introduction of the next generation AC-14 which is still undergoing testing. The size and internal design of the AC-12 made an upgrade a relatively easy proposition.

The main changes are the addition of extra front and overhead appliqué armour, an upgraded fire control system, dramatically increased missile load and an extra 100kg of fuel carried. This is all at the expense of the cargo capacity and the AC-12bis is now noticeably less comfortable inside. However it has proved a significant improvement on the AC-12 and since its combat debut during the Invasion of Kimanjano has proved very popular with its crews.

Type: Modern French Hovertank
Crew: 3 (Commander, Gunner, Driver)
Weight: 12 000kg
Armour: Plenum: 20 Front and Overhead: 120 Other Faces: 40
Armament: 1 6.5cm Mass Driver Cannon in remote overhead mount (Aimed Fire Range: 2000m, Rangefinder: +4, ROF: 6, Rounds Carried: 130, DP: 100) 25mm autocannon on telescoping sensor pod; 1 Manta-1 missile launcher with 12 missiles carried internally; 1 Martel missile launcher on either side of the remote turret, 6 manual reloads carried.
Signature: 3
Evasion: 6
Sensor Range: 12km (+2)
Cargo: 100kg
Max Speed: 200kph
Cruise Speed: 180kph
Combat Movement: 413m
Off Road Mobility: Full
Power Plant: 2.4 MW MHD turbine
Fuel Capacity: 485kg
Fuel Consumption: 55kg/hour
Endurance: 8 3/4 hours
Price: 650 000Lv


Aéro Véhicule Combat d' Infanterie 4 Tonne 'Vandamme' (AVCI-4)

Named after the fiery French Napoleonic General, the Vandamme was conceived during the difficult winter of 2283. After a year of intense combat on the Central Asian Steppe it was clear that the existing ACVI-3 'Bessières' quite simply wasn't up to the job as it had numerous small design faults that made it unsuitable for the environment. The first Vandammes were fielded in record time of 30 months conception to reaching the battalions however the shear number of
Bessières in existence meant that they were still the most numerous HAPC in French service even during the war with Germany.

The Vandamme incorporated numerous small features designed for the comfort of troops rather than to increase combat power. The engine runoff is collected and on a could allow for two hot showers every 24 hours, and there is never a shortage of hot water for tea, coffee or the universally hated 'Rats de C' (dehydrated combat ration packs) the troops eat in the field.

The main raison d'être for the development of the Vandamme was the ridiculously light armour of the Bessières. Manchu Rocket Grenades could cut straight through the light synthetic shell and the need for increasing vehicular armour was apparent to the allies. Other vehicles designed in this period included the French AC-12 and the pan-German LkPz-IX, which took advantage of new armour materials developed by France for her space programme in the 2270's. However the AVCI-4 is under-armoured compared to similar HAPCs but the French did not practise hover infantry tactics as aggressive as those of the Germans. Experience against the Kafers has changed French opinion somewhat and updated and significantly up-armoured Vandammes are becoming available.

Weapons systems on French models are a 30mm Mass Driver Autocannon and a pair of 7.5mm machineguns. Export versions also have provision to carry 2 Manta-1 missiles, but this does impact considerably on stealth, and so French Army models do not have this feature. Like all modern ACVs, she has full jump jet capacity.

Type: Modern French Hover IFV
Crew: 2 (Driver, Gunner/ Commander)
Displacement Weight: 4 tons of hydrogen
Combat Weight: 15.4 tons
Armour: Front/ Top/ Sides: 12, Others: 6
Armament: 1x 30mm MDAC with +3 fire control and 250 rounds, 1x 7.5mm Machine Gun with +3 point defence with 2000 rounds (both in remote turret), 1x 7.5mm Machine Gun in forward firing port with 2000 rounds.
Signature: 1 (3 for Manta-1 equipped variants)
Evasion: 7
Sensor Range: 10km (+1)
Cargo: 400kg and 8 passengers
Max Speed: 220kph
Cruise Speed: 200kph
Combat Movement: 460m
Off Road Mobility: full
Power Plant: 1MW MHD Turbine
Fuel Capacity: 405kg of hydrogen
Fuel Consumption: 22.5kg per hour
Endurance: 18 hours
Price: Lv124,000 without armament


Aéro-Char de Reconnaissance Mle.2289 'Lannes' (ACR-89)

The ACR-89 is the front-line French hover armoured reconnaissance vehicle which serves with all Divisions de Marche. The Lannes was designed during the Central Asian War after it became obvious that French air scout formations combined with the ageing AVR-72 could not give sufficient combat intelligence and that French battlespace surveillance was coming off second best to the Manchurians. Despite being rushed through development the Lannes did not come into service until 2289 and thus did not see action in Central Asian.

The ACR-89 went first to units of the Armée de l'Asie Centrale keeping the peace in the Central Asian Republic but had also re-equipped the Armée de Manœuvre's 3e Corps in time for the war with Germany. ACR-89s of the 4e Chasseurs à Cheval fought a vital delaying action against the German III Korps from the Meuse to the Somme, buying time for 3e Corps units to deploy into defence. The 8e Spahis Algériens also performed valuable work hampering German reconnaissance efforts throughout the resulting, climactic, Battle of Picardie. It has also seen significant action in the Kafer War.

The Lannes is a very fast, well armoured and reasonably well armed vehicle of its type and is well regarded by its crews. It has an excellent sensor suite but is hampered somewhat by its lack of integral reconnaissance UAVs. Some can be carried externally but this increases its signature significantly and most are carried by converted AVCI-3 attached to AVR-89 units. The ACR-89 is regarded as a class leader and is a popular export item. Opposing reconnaissance units regard it with respect.

Type: Modern French Armoured Recce Vehicle
Crew: 2 (Driver, Gunner/ Commander)
Displacement Weight: 2 tons of hydrogen
Combat Weight: 18.2 tons
Armour: Front: 60, Top: 50, Plenum: 10, Others: 30
Armament: 1x 1.75Mj CLP-1A Plasma Cannon with fire
control +3 and 100 rounds, and a 7.5mm Machine Guns
with +3 Point Defence and 4000 rounds in turret. 2
Manta-1 missile launchers with 4 reloads carried.
Signature: 0
Evasion: 9
Sensor Range: 30km (+2)
Cargo: 1000kg
Max Speed: 280kph
Cruise Speed: 250kph
Combat Movement: 590m
Off Road Mobility: full
Power Plant: 1MW MHD Turbine
Fuel Capacity: 540kg of hydrogen
Fuel Consumption: 22.5kg per hours
Endurance: 24 hours
Price: Lv370,000 without armament


Aéro-Char Léger 7 Tonne 'Murat' (ACL-7)

The ACL-7 was developed for French airborne and air-portable infantry formations, who found themselves too easily overrun by massed Manchurian armour during the Central Asian War. The objective of the program was to produce a hovertank capable of being deployed either by a low altitude parachute drop, or by interface lander. The vehicle, developed from the ACR-89, entered the French inventory in 2294 but the program was discontinued by the incoming Ruffin government in 2297. This left France with fewer than 400 of these vehicles and only low rate production to replace losses and supply spares.

The 'Murat' is a light hovertank and bears more resemblance to a well armoured tank destroyer than an actual tank. The main weapon system is the Manta-1 missile, used to counter hostile armour. For infantry support and use against light vehicles she carries a 1.75Mj Plasma Cannon and 30mm GAC in a single turret. An independent 7.5mm point defence machine gun is also carried on the turret.

The vehicle is currently in service with the two elite Divisions Légère Blindée who train for intervention missions. They took their ACL-7s with them to the French Arm but both units had massive, up to 75%, losses of ACL-7s in 3 days of fierce fighting against the Kafers on Kimanjano. Only the 2e DLB now has a full complement of ACL-7s while the 1e DLB has a mixture of ACL-7s and AC-12bis. Although much maligned in the press and by commanders many crews stand by the performance of their ACL-7s pointing out their tactical misuse and relative loss rates not much greater than that of the AC-12bis in the same battle.

Type: Modern French Hover Cavalry Tank
Crew: 3
Displacement Weight: 7 tons of hydrogen
Combat Weight: 20 tons
Armour: Front: 80, Top and Sides: 30, Rear: 20,
Plenum: 8
Armament: 1x 1.75Mj Plasma Cannon (Range = 1,600m, DPV = EP15 (tamped), RF: +3) with 200 cells, 1x 30mm Gauss Autocannon with 200 rounds (RF: +3), VLS Manta-1 system with 10 missiles, 1x 7.5mm Machine Gun with 5,000 rounds (point defence capable: +3)
Signature: 2
Evasion: 8
Sensor Range: 10km (+2)
Cargo: 500kg
Max Speed: 220kph
Cruise Speed: 200kph
Combat Movement: 460m
Off Road Mobility: Full
Power Plant: 1.6MW MHD Turbine
Fuel Capacity: 576kg
Fuel Consumption: 36kg per hour
Endurance: 16 hours
Price: 450 000Lv


Véhicule de Combat d' Infanterie Roulant (VCIR)

The VCIR is the standard French wheeled APC used for second line troops or for low intensity operations. First introduced in 2278 the VCIR is used widely by the ATH, regional divisions on Nouvelle Provence and by the Milice Coloniale. Based on the automotive components of the 8x8 ABR-76, the VCIR is cheap and easy to maintain. It is also available in ambulance, command and communications, forward logistics and riot control versions to name but a few. The VCIR equipped units caught up in the Kafer War have suffered severe casualties and most units use it only as a 'battle taxi' and fight dismounted.

Type: Wheeled APC
2, plus 10 dismounts
Displacement Weight:
3.5 tons of hydrogen
Combat Weight:
14 tons
Front: 8, Top, Sides and Rear: 4, Suspension: 0.3
Turret mounted 25mm cannon (200 rnds) and coaxial 7.5mm machine gun (600 rnds)
Sensor Range:
Max Speed:
Cruise Speed:
Combat Movement:
Off Road Mobility:
Power Plant:
1MW MHD Turbine
Fuel Capacity:
360kg of hydrogen
Fuel Consumption:
22.5kg per hour
16 hours
Price: Est Lv30,000


Weapons Systems

M-79 General Purpose Machine Gun

The M-79 is the GPMG used in the majority of French light vehicular and static support roles. Since coming into general service in 2282 it has seen action in 4 wars and has been found to be a robust and useful system. Although moves are underway in Paris to replace the M-79 with a new Electromagnetic Machinegun (MM-97) French troops are reluctant to give up their M-79's for a weapon with considerably less firepower just to keep up with fashions.

Type: 7.5mm General Purpose Machine Gun
Country: France
Weight (empty): 12.9kg
Length: 135cm (bulk = 4)
Action: Single shots or Bursts
Ammunition: 7.5mm x 70mm fixed cartridge ball
Muzzle Velocity: 960mps
Magazine: 200 round belt
Magazine Weight: 4.9kg
ROF: 5
Aimed Fire Range: 900m (1200m on mount)
Area Fire Burst: 20 rounds (AFB = 2)
Area Fire Range: 750m (850m on mount)
DP Value: 1.2
Price: Lv920 (Lv2 for 100 rounds link)

Darlan AM-85HB 30mm Mass Driver Autocannon

The Darlan MDAC was brought into service with the French army due to it's increased range over the 25mm Conventional Autocannon then in service. It currently equips the ACVI-4 'Vandamme' and will be replacing the old 25mm on all French new build vehicles after 2303.

Type: 30mm Mass Driver Autocannon
Country: France
Weight (empty): 441kg
Length: 188cm
Action: Single shots or bursts
Ammunition: 30mm x 120mm APHE
Muzzle Velocity: 1400mps
Magazine: 50 rounds (with internal power cells)
Magazine Weight: 30kg
ROF: 5
Aimed Fire Range: 1300m
Area Fire Burst: 10 rounds (AFB = 1)
Area Fire Range: 1000m
DP Value: 7 (+ fragmentation burst radius = 6m)
Price: Lv2500 (Lv 2 for box of 50 rounds, Lv10 for drum)