French Army: 2300AD
L'Armée Territoriale de l’Afrique Occidentale
The ATAO is the French Army in North and West Africa. Manned almost entirely by locally raised units it is regarded as one of the most reliable reserves of French troops. Consequently it has been called to make a heavy contribution to operations both on Earth and the French Arm, with no fewer than 4 divisions serving with other armies.
Brigadier Hamdani of the 15e Chas d'Af wasn't a Brigadier as I'd understand the rank. Far from it, I finally worked out that in fact he was a tank commander and akin to a buck sergeant in the US Army. Hamdani was a louche, sophisticated twenty something from Oran on the north African coast. He had that typical mixture of Magrebi and Gallic charm and seemed to consider it his duty to flirt lightly with the Yankee journalist as he showed me round the hover-tanks of the company. Later he offered me a genuine Gaulloise cigarette from a battered packet, and for the first time since my teens I lit one up.
He leaned against his dusty tank and chatted freely, waving his hands and lapsing into gutter French for effect. We talked about the coverage French African units like the 15e Chas d'Af usually got in the international media. Hamdani was resigned about the whole thing, 'Internationals' couldn't quite get through their heads that Algerians weren't slaves oppressed by the European French but full citizens of the Empire. The north Africans had not been any more brutal than any other soldiers here, but still they were constantly accused of atrocity by the ignorant.
I later found that Hamdani was one of the most decorated French soldiers serving in the CAR. He had seen action against Manchurian proxies, Islamic guerrillas and Germans back in Europe. There was no bluster to the man, but a certain steel running through him.
The 4e Corps of the French Metropolitan Army is a part of the Armée Territoriale de l’Afrique Occidentale, yet it has a much wider role than one of territorial defence. The 4e Corps, and its predecessors, have provided troops for every French campaign since 2020 and are regarded as some of the finest French fighting troops. Unlike the other French African Corps the 4e Corps is recruited entirely from one region, Algeria. Algerian raised units also serve within the Armée de Manœuvre and one regiment is also stationed on Tirane.
The 4e Corps provided two Divisions de Marche (old Campaign divisions not the modern units) for the Central Asian War, where the 'Turcos' reinforced their fearsome reputation in fighting against Manchurian troops and irregulars. The 4e Division de Marche took part in the War of German Reunification seeing action in the Rhineland Offensive.
All of the Corps’ divisions except the 106e Division d'Infanterie are organised conventionally. The 4e Corps is equipped with the latest French military hardware and is high on the list of priorities for supply. The only threat to the Corps area comes from occasional raids from Berbera, however the southern part of the region is so arid and the response from the 106e DI so fierce these are increasingly infrequent. The Corps also undertakes frequent exercises in allied Morocco and Tunisia.
The Kafer War has stretched French resources and the 4e Corps has once again been called upon to provide reinforcements. The 15e Division de Marche is deployed in the Central Asian Republic under the Armée de l'Asie Centrale. The 102e Division d'Infanterie is deployed on Vogelheim on the French Arm as part of the Armée de Libération. Elements of the 106e DI have also seen action on the French Arm.
6e Division Blindée
Stationed on the outskirts of Algiers, the 6e DB is the corps heavy assault formation. The formation is often used in an OPFOR role for Armée de la Manœuvre formations training in Algeria.
4e Division de Marche
The perennial rival of the 15e DM the 4e DM has its roots as the 1e Division de Marche Algérien which fought in the CAW and the 1e Division Blindée Légère Algérien which saw service on the Rhine in the war with Germany. The 4e DM is a well regarded unit, skilled in operations in both arid and mountainous environments. The division has been warned off to expect to provide units for the Armée d'Aurore for the next rotation.
2e Division Aeromobile
2e DAM is the only 'French' style DAM in the Armée d'Afrique. It is stationed on the coast near Oran and its RHC units often co-operate with the Navy operating in this part of the Mediterranean.
101e Division d'Infanterie
The 101e DI is recruited primarily from the coastal cities of Algeria, it has specialised in urban warfare over the years although is equally comfortable with operating in the interior.
106e Division d'Infanterie
The 106e DI is a unique body within the French Armed forces. It is both an elite force of desert fighters and the worst military punishment available to officers of recalcitrant men. The three battalions of the 'Joyeux' are within this unit as is the I Battalion of the 6e RIE, to which non-petty military criminals are sent. The 106e DI is stationed on the edge of the Sahara in a series of remote forts where the life style is incredibly stark, and broken only by military exercises which have the worst fatality rates of any French unit anywhere.
Yet in spite of this the 106e DI also includes some excellent volunteer units recruited from the inhabitants of the region who have acquired almost unsurpassed skills in fighting in their home areas and have a reputation almost as savage as the military convicts they fight alongside. Also attached units are composed of some excellent specialists, the I/4e Zouaves have done much work to expand the use of combat walkers in arid environments. The Division has never fought as a whole but the 2e Joyeaux and I/6e RIE fought in the Central Asian War as did elements of the I/4e Zouaves. The 3e Joyeaux were sent to the Aurore garrison in 2301 and have yet to return, whilst volunteers from the I/6e REI served as shock troops in the Liberation of Kimanjano.
The 10e Corps is drawn from and provides the defence for French West Africa, notably the territories of Senegal, the Guinea Coast and Burkina Faso. 10e Corps suffers from two major continuing operational commitments, the political and ethnic instability in Liberia and low-level guerrilla attacks from Berbera.
10e Division Blindée
The 10e DB is stationed around Abidjan in the Guinea Coast. It is the heavy combat division for 10e Corps and is located at the centre of the regions communications links. The unit has contingency plans to repel attacks from all of its neighbours, although in terms of threat none is graded particularly high. As a result the division's old CC-21's are often poorly maintained due to lack of spare parts, and the infantry battalions are often deployed under other formations, especially on duties in Niger or the Berber border zone.
19e Division de Marche
The 19e DM is dispersed and based in Ouagadougou, Accra and Lomé. The 19e DM is responsible for providing for the defence of the eastern Guinea Coast and Burkina Faso. As such it sees frequent skirmishes and conducts occasional reprisal attacks across the Niger River into Berbera. It is one of the more combat experienced units in the French Army, and battalions from other units are often attached to gain operational experience.
6e Division Aeromobile
The 6e DAM retains the old pre-WoGR organisation as it unlikely to come into contact with fast moving hovertank columns. Instead the unit is divided into two Demi-Brigades, one in Senegal and one at Accra. Here they act as mini-FAR reaction units as well as being effective counter-insurgency forces and conventional light infantry units. The 2e Demi-Brigade is often called upon to follow up Berbera incursions.
107e Division d'Infanterie
The 107e DI is drawn entirely from the Senegal, and is responsible for its defence. However on occasions it has provided troops to other French formations. The 1e RTS and 6e RTS both served in the Central Asian War and suffered heavy casualties.
108e Division d'Infanterie
The 108e DI is recruited from and stationed in the Ivory Coast and Liberian districts of the Guinea Coast. Due to continuing unrest in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia the 108e DI is continuously engaged in peacekeeping tasks in that territory.
111e Division d'Infanterie
The 111e DI is recruited from and station in Burkina Faso and the Guinea Coast territories of the Gold Coast, and Togo. The Division is deployed mostly in the inland border regions with Berbera along the Niger River, raiding from that territory is countered strongly on every occasion. Additionally the 1e GCT keeps a watchful eye on the border with Nigeria, should friendly relations turn sour, and to deter any internal Nigerian insurgents from basing themselves in French territory.
25 November 2003
Copyright D Hebditch, 2003
Thanks to Laurent Esmiol for French corrections.