French Army: 2300AD
L' Armée de Libération
There was no nation hit harder by the Kafer Invasion than the French. Her military reputation already sullied by the phyrric victory of the Central Asian War and the humiliating loss of Elysia and Flanders was compounded by the tactical defeat by a resurgent Germany. This was a bitter blow to French pride, but the backlash was quick to gather pace. Her military power was harnessed, her finest generals brought to the front and her unparalleled experience on fighting the Kafers disseminated to the assault troops. The result was a much needed boost for France and the rapid Liberation of her colonies. The body that would lead this assault was the Armée de Libération, which would give its name to the campaign.
The II Polish Expeditionary Corps is by James Boschma. The AC-12bis is based on the AC-12 described in GDW's Ground Vehicle Guide. Thanks to Laurent Esmiol for correcting my appalling French.
Général Hébert walked into the Place de la Fraternité in the heart of the Cité de Fromme surrounded by Tirailleurs Frommois. The 'Vieux Caïd' wore French combat fatigues under his distinctive, shabby Néo- Européen herder's coat and with his Kepi Grise perched back on his head. He looked grey and weary from the last few weeks of constant operations.
Until the war came here the Place de la Fraternité was an oasis of Terran calm in the centre of the bustling city. An enclosed garden filled with promenading citizens every night taking it the sights. Now Fromme had been fought over twice in the course of the past year and the city was smashed almost beyond repair. While any beauty left in Place de la Fraternité was marred by the atrocity at its heart.
At the end of January the final survivors of the 209e Division d'Infanterie and those citizens who had taken up arms to defend the city surrendered. They numbered only a few hundred tattered soldiers who had fought on until the Entente evacuation had removed all hope. The Capuchons had brought them here to the Place de la Fraternité to make an example of them.
Now, only hours after the leading troops of the vengeful 2e DMC had cleared the area Général Hébert had come here to bear witness. He stood hunched up, looking at the heaps of decayed corpses. He was a man who had seen a lot of war but for a while it seemed to the onlookers that the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Finally he moved, turned and strode away.
'Get the engineers here. Take care of them.' His pace was faster than normal. One more atrocity, a few hundred more dead on top of the untold millions the Capu had killed already. 'Tell the Divisions. No prisoners.' The aide didn't have the heart to remind him they hadn't been taking any since they returned to Kimanjano.
The Armée de Libération was organised on Beowulf in the early months of 2302 following the aftermath of the defeat at Kimanjano. Under the leadership of Général d'Armée Hébert it planned and organised for the defence of Beowulf, the liberation of Kimanjano and a general counter-attack against the Kafers. Initially the Armée comprised the FAREM (Force d'Action Rapide Etat-Major, later renamed 19e Corps), the local Néo-Européen 15e Corps and the heavy 2e Corps from the Armée de Manúuvre. Allied with the Commonwealth Expeditionary Force massing on Alicia, the German IX Korps contingent and the various North and South American forces it posed a powerful bulwark against the aliens. The strategists greatest fear, that of being bypassed and left hopeless like the forces on Nous Voila didn't come to pass as the Reserve Fleet roundly defeated the main Kafer fleet as it entered the system.
The human counter-attack was launched soon after as the British Vice-Admiral Graham led a reduced Reserve Fleet into Kimanjano after the surviving Kafers. Accompanying the warships was a squadron of fast troopships loaded with crack, but lightly armed troops hoping to 'bounce' the Kafers from the planet and exploit any success. Graham's follow up was successful, finally scattering the Kafers and destroying their fleet train. However it quickly became obvious that the Kafers had turned Kimanjano into their 'citadel' and that nothing less than a deliberate assault would gain a foothold let alone stand any chance of re-gaining the world.
Whilst Graham was pursuing the Kafers from Beowulf the Armée began the process of up-lifting its soldiers and heavy equipment from the planet to the array of assault shipping and impressed merchants that now came in from the relative safety of the FTL shelf. Some equipment and supplies were pre-loaded but most had to be laboriously brought up from the surface, a task which itself took several weeks to complete in total. Front-line French troops were given priority, although some other nations had their own assets, and a workable force was ready to move inside a week.
Général Hébert had already gone forward to Kimanjano to see the situation first hand and to weigh the reports coming in of the situation. It was clear to him that the deliberate assault option was the only way and that the assault must be launched before Kafer assault troops, due to attack Beowulf and disembarked after the defeat of their fleet, could be fully integrated into the defences. He was also well aware that his follow on forces were still lifting from Beowulf and that reserves would be thin on the ground. Instead he used his personal standing to negotiate with General Lewis of the Commonwealth Expeditionary Force and General Schneider of the German IX Korps to delay their move on to BCV. Although reluctant they both agreed to provide a reserve for Hébert but would move on as soon as the landing was secured.
The Liberation of Kimanjano, using one of the several painstakingly pre-planned options, was launched with a screen of orbital bombardment, interface commando raids and local guerrilla uprisings. The main DZ was seized on D-Day, 24th of July 2302, by an assault by three brigades of light troops including the TIS 2e Brigade d'Intervention, 1st US Marine Brigade and the Azanian 44th Para Brigade. They were followed up by the lead elements of the FAREM; the crack 1e and 2e Divisions Légère Blindée. The Kafer counter-attack was quick in coming despite the elaborate deception measures and fierce fighting by perimeter forces. The heavily armoured battle groups included numerous Behemoth heavy tanks in addition to Deathsleds and were composed of well-drilled veterans.
By D+1 the pressure on the perimeter was immense and the two DLBs were fighting to preserve the DZs crowded now with supplies and troops with landers arriving every minute. The lightly armoured DLBs which had initially planned on providing a mobile defensive screen some distance from the DZs were forced into a positional defence close to the landing areas. Their ACL-7s were outmatched in this sort of fighting by the heavier Kafers and only small amounts of artillery were on-planet. Orbital bombardment could be used only sparingly to effect the close, fast moving battle. On the morning of D+1 the two DLBs had already lost half of their armour and were forced to use sheer daring and élan to force the Kafers back at the cost of heavy casualties. The light troops of the first wave were now mostly surrounded and holding out in small redoubts as the swirling hovertank battle swept back and forth around them.
As soon as the DLBs were complete on the ground Général Hébert began feeding in his second wave. What were planned to be exploitation forces were now thrown directly into the battle to hold open the DZ. The French 9e Division d'Infanterie Marine and American 11th Armoured Cavalry Regiment were both highly trained mechanised combat brigades and were landed in good order. However as soon as they landed their battalions were fed into the battle piecemeal to maintain the perimeter. By the end of D+1 both forces had suffered 1/3 losses and were not yet complete on the ground whilst the DLBs were at around 35% combat effectiveness. Information on the state of the Kafers was patchy despite the human orbital superiority.
Général Hébert was well aware that the battle was at a crisis point. He had now 3 first rate armoured divisions and a crack infantry division at hand in orbit and uncommitted, but further reinforcements from 2e Corps were days away and limited in numbers until the shipping that had landed his first wave could get back to QAS to load again. Closer at hand were the strong Anglo-German forces who comprised his somewhat reluctant reserve who totalled around two French divisional equivalents. Seeing the French difficulties Lewis and Schneider had begun preparations for a secondary landing to take the pressure off the French assault. Hébert knew he could not afford to abandon his landing zone as some of his Staff were now urging, but was aware that to land his uncommitted divisions conventionally would just result in the same fate as 9e DIMa and 11 ACR. They would be filtered off before a decisive mass could be formed and the vital DZ could have already been over-run.
Hébert's solution was for the equipment of the 12e Division de la Marche, a regular Armée de Manúuvre formation, to be dead-dropped to the DZ en-masse from the Metal freighters currently carrying them. The soldiers of the 12e DM would be brought down simultaneously to marry up directly with their equipment. The other units, the 2e Division de Marche Coloniale and Azanian 3rd Mechanised Division would be shuttled down when the lift capacity became available. Some of his Staff spoke out against the plan, to decry it as too risky, but Hébert over-ruled them and moved himself down to the planethead to talk to his commanders on the ground.
The drop of the 12e DM on D+2 was the turning point of the campaign. There was undoubted confusion, men and machines went astray and some were destroyed in the landing. However within hours a functioning hover-mobile armoured division was on the ground and ready for action. Hébert had toured the perimeter with the FAREM commander and become convinced that the Kafers were themselves overstretched, tiring and ripe for a counter-punch.
The 12e DM launched its assault through the remnants of the 1st US Marine Brigade and was able to decisively defeat the Kafer's tactical reserve. The loss of this force caused the Kafer's units in contact on the perimeter to fall back under the pressure of local attacks. The lead elements of the 2e DMC then punched another hole down the vital Route Coloniale 2 towards the Cité de Fromme. The breakout almost became a rout with Kafer forces streaming back to Fromme but reinforcements coming from the city fought a meeting engagement with the 2e DMC inflicting severe casualties on both sides.
The Battle of the 'Foothold' had been won but the Battle for Kimanjano was far from over. The FAREM was in a serious situation; only the 3rd Mechanised Division was near to full strength, the 12e DM and 2e DMC were at 2/3rds combat effectiveness whilst the remainder were only at 1/3rd effectiveness or less. Most units had landed only on assault scales with only immediate supplies and without second line vehicles or support echelons. Combined with this the logistics situation on the DZ was in turmoil, units had been destroyed, others were lost in confusion whilst the rapid feeding in of units from orbit had torn carefully laid plans to shreds. Some ships had even returned to QAS to embark more troops without discharging all their embarked supplies.
The FAREM needed time to recover, reinforcements from 2e Corps were not in place and the Anglo-German force was despatched to complete the liberation of Beta Canum. Général Hébert inevitably brought his units off the offensive with the FAREM's forward units in the suburbs of Fromme. The 2e DMC was screening the city while the powerful 3rd Mech Division was covering the open flank to the west. 12e DM provided a reserve and covered the less promising eastern flank. The remaining troops of the FAREM began to reorganise and regenerate their combat power. The Kafers in turn began to fortify Fromme with experienced assault troops and mass their mobile forces to the south of the city.
Allied special forces combined with the resitance fighters of the Francs-Tireurs de Kimanjano to harass Kafer troops and rear areas, launching direct attacks and calling in strikes from artillery, orbiting warships and the increasing numbers of aircraft available on-world. However in other locations the Kafers launched punitive and devastating attacks on the local populations in areas still under occupation.
In the mean time the 11e Division Parachutiste had been detached to follow on after the Anglo-German force. Thanks to Vice-Amiral Rochemont's pronouncements Hébert had assumed that the situation on Beta Canum was under control and that only a small force would be required to mop up the French Continent. So the 11e DP was deployed on its own to fulfil this mission, however it was not until later that Hébert was to discover quite how much he had been misled by his MSIF counterpart.
By the start of August the first major elements of 2e Corps were arriving at Kimanjano, but more importantly the badly damaged FAREM units were ready to return to action. On the 7th of August the Battle of Fromme resumed with gusto. The push into Fromme was to be commanded by the FAREM, now renamed as 19e Corps. It included the 2e DMC, 2e DIMa together with the newly arrived 1e Division Blindée and the Algerian 102e Division d'Infanterie backed up with the American 173rd Airborne and 1st Marine Brigades. It was a massive concentration of force that was able to keep human casualties relatively low at the expense of the almost total destruction of the remains of the city and a painstaking advance against fanatical opposition.
In the west the 2e Corps swept forward to attack the mobile Kafer reserves. The 2e Corps had the 12e DM and 3rd Mech Div in the vanguard supported by the attack helicopters of the 3e Division Aeromobile. In echelon were the 9e DIMa, 11th ACR and 1e DLB. The 2e DLB supported by light infantry attacked to the east of Fromme through the unpromising ground between the city and the sea. The 2e Corps battle was a model of French manoeuvre doctrine as developed since the Central Asian War and first matched and then surpassed the Battle of Picardie in its intensity.
By the 23rd of August the final mobile Kafer force had been defeated and three days later the last holdouts in Fromme had been reduced and bands of infantry and FTK roamed the city killing the last few Kafer fugitives. By now Général Hébert had released his orbiting reserve, 16e DM, to reinforce the 11e DP on Beta Canum finally sure of ultimate success of Kimanjano. The 19e Corps HQ and 2e DIMa would soon follow.
2e Corps assumed responsibility for the final clearance of French and Azanian colonies on Kimanjano with the valiant 3rd Mech entering Okavango on the 28th of August. However the fight against the Kafers would continue for several months as the remnants had to be wrinkled out of their mountain strongholds. However the Allied force in contact could be drawn down, a theatre reserve formed and reinforcements dispatched to other worlds.
These were already arriving on BCV. The 11e Division Parachutiste under Général de Division Micheletti had been on world since the start of August. Immediately he fell prey to the infighting and politicking then underway between the 'Free French', 'Resistance' and 'Landing Force' factions. The incendiary divisional commander found he lacked the rank, seniority and temperament to fix the situation despite the backing of Allied commanders. Instead he despatched his division to the Continent Français and began clearance operations to the north of Premiere. He soon found the situation confused with stiff Kafer resistance, a cowed population, an uncooperative Resistance and rumours of Quisling sabotage. Under military pressure he was reinforced first by Commonwealth and then German forces in addition to the ad-hoc Division de Marche d' Intervention comprising the remnants of 1e and 4e BI and the RPC which was little more than a brigade sized formation but was a very tough fighting force.
Combined with diplomatic efforts this forced the remaining French factions in New Africa to rally to him with the dispatch of the hastily reorganised Division de Marche de la Libération, comprising the remnants of the garrison who had escaped to New Africa and French units of the New African Legion. Leadership of the polyglot French force was never well defined and strategic direction required a large degree of horse trading between the three divisional commanders. Early in the struggle the former commander of the 9e Corps re-emerged and demanded to take command. He was roundly ignored by all.
The liberation of Premiere was a long struggle conducted primarily by the French forces and saw bitter fighting and serious casualties. Kafer remnants fought from strong redoubts which obliged the French to force them out at close quarters. When one was overcome another sprung up. Only with the arrival of elements of 19e Corps did the fighting begin to ease with more firepower and the onus of co-ordination taken from the shoulders of Micheletti. 19e Corps continued with clearance operations across the continent and began to rebuild local defence forces.
Also in August the Armée dispatched a follow on division, the Chadian 104e Division d'Infanterie to relieve Nous Voila in the BCB system. Nous Voila had been heavily bombarded and subject to blockade and casualties had been horrific. The garrison, reinforced by most of the 1e DM, had been unable to maintain control and society had broken down. The 104e DI found the situation horrific and had to deal with roving bands of marauders whilst delivering humanitarian aid to the survivors. The original garrison were little help and reinforcements from Poland and CEF were brought in.
As the campaign on Kimanjano began to wind down the Armée began to establish a foothold on Adlerhorst as the theatre reserve. This force was led by the 8e Corps deployed from Nouvelle Provence but was built around two Armée d'Afrique units, the Algerian veterans of Fromme in the 102e DI and the newly arrived West African 16e DM.
At the start of 2303 the Armée de Libération has secured all the French colonies in the Beta Canum Cluster and has aided the liberation of some of its neighbours as well. Still for the time being under the command of Général d'Armée Hébert from his HQ on Kimanjano it is pursuing two roles. It is defending the colonies whilst the Armée Coloniale rebuilds itself and it is preparing for further operations against the Kafers. However with most of the impressed merchant shipping returned to other duties it would find any major operations above the corps level distinctly difficult to undertake.
The Armée is the most powerful fighting force on the French Arm and one that has learnt well from the experience of high intensity combat on Kimanjano. It has also done much to restore the credibility of the French military. Whilst non-Francophone commentators on Earth are still belittling the French Army, professional soldiers of all nations have immense respect for the fighting power of the Armée de Libération. It is expected that as the strength of the Armée Coloniale recovers the Armée will return several of its major units to the Core.
The Armée de Libération has several potential operations in preparation. The most well known is a possible large scale incursion beyond Arcturus, although this still awaits political clearance and the recovery of the TIS Brigade's d' Intervention that would spearhead it. However the bulk of staff work has been put into plans to reinforce the Armée d' Aurore or the Eta Bootis Finger should another Kafer assault occur. Whilst most human propaganda has depicted the Kafers as being on the back foot Général Hébert and other senior commanders are well aware the Kafers may yet spring another surprise.
Beta Canum Venaticorum-IV
Beta Comae Berenices
II Polish Expeditionary Corps
2e Corps was assigned to the Armée de Libération from the Armée de Manúuvre to give some much needed fighting power to supplement the lightly equipped FAREM. The 2e Corps brought with it several of its major units, but most importantly the framework to fight a fast moving high intensity battle with Kafer field forces. The plan for the liberation of Kimanjano was for the FAREM/19e Corps to assault to seize the planet head and then for 2e Corps to take the main battle to the Kafers. Ultimately the 2e Corps role in the Battle of Fromme, isolating the city and destroying the mobile Kafer reserves was the vital one. The Corps went on to complete the liberation of the Azanian colony and oversee mopping up operations.
The Corps is engaged in planning defensive operations, contingency planning for further operations and rebuilding the local Kimanjano defence forces. It is expected that should a Kafer assault again threaten the Cluster then 2e Corps will assume the main responsibility for the battle, but 19e Corps will run any offensive operations or limited strikes into the Eta Bootis Finger. Currently 2e Corps' major problem is in supporting its forces on a world badly damaged in the fighting and they are reliant on supplies from Beowulf.
2e Division Légère Blindée
The 2e DLB is one of the premiere French rapid reaction armoured formations and is normally stationed on Tirane. Equipped with the lightweight ACL-7 the division was, alongside the 1e DLB, the first armour to be landed on Kimanjano. Originally intended to act as screening force the quick Kafer reaction forced the division into close combat that put it very much at a disadvantage. Over the next three days the division was virtually destroyed as a fighting force and needed to be rebuilt. Partially re-equipped with AC-12s it participated in the Battle of Fromme operating in a diversionary role to the south of the city. It then saw further action in mopping up operations in the autumn of 2302.
The 2e DLB is still deployed on Kimanjano and is back up to full strength. It has been re-equipped entirely with ACL-7s although some COs have tried to retain the more powerful AC-12s. The division is tasked to be the lead armoured element in any reinforcement of the Eta Bootis Finger and is trained for such operations alongside the EdI's starlift assets.
2e Division de Marche Coloniale
The 2e DMC is a unique formation within the Armée de Libération. It is composed mostly of troops rescued from the Kafer's Invasion of Kimanjano by Operation ENTENTE. On their arrival on Beowulf these soldiers were reorganised and units consolidated. Combined with elements of the Beowulf raised 2e RCC they were equipped with the latest armour and thrown into a punishing training regime. Although in the second wave of the Liberation of Kimanjano, this unit was the first to break out and reach Fromme. They were later heavily involved in liberating the city with the Tirailleurs de Kimanjano proudly at the head of the column. This division, a mixture of Kimanjano and Beowulf natives with a leavening of Legionnaires has proved a highly effective one.
de Chasseurs de Kimanjano (1 RCK) (recce)
9e Division de Marche
9e DM was something of a late arrival with the Armée, having arrived only as the campaign on Kimanjano was winding down and saw only limited action. A regular division deployed from Nouvelle Provence the 9e DM has proved itself a competent formation. If it lacks the flair of the 2e DLB or 2e DMC it makes up for it with strict professionalism. The division receives much publicity from the Néo-Provençale press.
d'Aero-Lanciers de Tirane (10e RBT) (recce)
9e Division d'Infanterie de Marine
The 9e DIMa is normally a part of the FAR on Earth and is manned by the Troupes de Marine, some of France's finest soldiers. The force is normally assigned to the French Navy as its amphibious forced entry unit and is designed as a hovermobile shock formation. 9e DIMa was landed in the second wave of the liberation of Kimanjano intending to form a reserve force to defend the perimeter. Instead it found itself being fed piecemeal into increasingly desperate counter-attacks as soon as its units were landed in the planet-head. These succeeded in keeping the landing zones open but took a heavy toll on the unit. Regenerated it was assigned to 2e Corps for the Battle of Fromme and conducted several deliberate attacks on Kafer fixed defences. It also participated in the liberation of Okavango. Since then the division has remained on Kimanjano and took a major role in mopping up Kafer resistance but hopes to be returned home soon.
d'Infanterie Chars de Marine (1e RICM)(armd)
1e Division Blindée
The 1e DB is a regular Armée de Manúuvre heavy armoured division normally attached to 2e Corps. Equipped with CC-21 tracked heavy battle tanks, the division is designed to play a key role in defence and in the assault of main defensive positions. Due to its heavy starlift requirement the 1e DB it arrived in the later waves of reinforcements for the liberation of Kimanjano but proved its mettle in the securing of Fromme. The 1e DB remains on Kimanjano under 2e Corps but is tasked with being the theatre heavy reserve force.
de Hussards (8e RH)(armd recce)
3e Division Aeromobile
The 3e DAM is the 2e Corps airmobile pivot formation. Equipped with three regiments of gunships, one of transports and one of infantry is a small but potent force. The 3e DAM arrived on Kimanjano in the early waves but initially saw little action except to provide firepower to the screen around Fromme. However it played a vital role later in the 2e Corps, utilising regimental strength gunship attacks against mobile Kafer formations effectively shaping the battlespace for the Corps commander. Action by the gunships and infantry against broken Kafer formations was significant in turning a defeat into a rout. 3e DAM remains on Kimanjano and is a strong concentration of aviation combat power.
19e Corps was formerly the FAREM, the tactical HQ formed from the Force d' Action Rapide on Earth. It was the first element of the Armée de Liberation and spearheaded the liberation of Kimanjano and was responsible for clearing Fromme. It was then transferred to BCV to co-ordinate the clearance of the Continent Français. Its has since had the lead responsibility for the defence of the Continent Français while the local forces re-build. 19e Corps specialises in assault and offensive operations and would be tasked to lead any operations beyond Arcturus or counter-attacking any renewed incursion into the Eta Bootis Finger.
1e Division Légère Blindée
Like the 2e DLB, 1e DLB is an elite light armoured intervention force and is normally tasked with this role with the FAR on Earth. Alongside the 2e DLB the division was one of the first formations to land on Kimanjano and suffered severely from the early fighting. It recovered enough to play a reserve role with 2e Corps during the Battle of Fromme. 1e DLB was then transferred to Beta Canum, leaving all its remaining armour for 2e DLB and being re-equipped on arrival. It remains equipped with a mixture of ACL-7 and AC-12 and has been vigorously training for any further operations as well as being involved in hunting down Kafer remnants.
de Spahis (2e RS)(recce)
3e Division de Marche Coloniale
The 3e DMC was organised in the weeks after the 3rd Liberation of Beta Canum as the Division de Marche de la Libération. It was formed primarily from French troops which had escaped the Fall and fought from New Africa during the Occupation and throughout the Liberation. The division is divided between those who fought on and units re-created from personnel who surrendered. The relationship between the two is frankly poisonous and the fighting troops of the division are exceptionally scathing of the Colonial Administration who they see as Collaborators.
3e DMC has a fine fighting reputation however and its political clout has precluded any attempt at disbandment. It is often deployed abroad and Demi-Brigades have served in the New African K-Zone and it has also refused to serve under the reviled 9e Corps. Support for Le Comité Treize a secret and violent anti-Quisling organisation is strong in units of this division.
de Marche d'Éclaireurs de Marine (RMEMa) (recce)
The Division Europa is one of the most colourful formations in the Armée de Libération and is composed of units from across Europe and from Tirane. Originally foreign units were integrated directly into French divisions, a state of affairs which often led to their efforts being overshadowed by their French colleagues. Consequently for political reasons several of these units were grouped into a single Divisional command, the Division Europa, late in 2302. The division is still under the influence of the French with much of its command, support and logistics back-up being provided by that nation. The unit is equipped with French kit and uses French doctrine however the division has a much higher media profile than before, satisfying most of the home governments.
Although superficially resembling a French Division de Marche the unit has a number of additions, including an Italian airborne assault unit and ad-hoc special forces element. Some of the more unusual units include a Freihafener Kampfgruppe including many Bavarian exiles and a Légion Étrangère battalion formed from volunteers from the Serb and Croatian militaries.
de Lanciers (1e RLB) (recce) (France)
2e Division d' Infanterie de Marine
2e DIMa is 9e DIMa's Néo-Provençal counterpart assigned as amphibious troops for the French Navy presence. However unlike 9e DIMa the division is equipped with wheeled vehicles of the ABR/VCIR family. It also has a low intensity conflict role and was involved in the Elysian Campaign with that tasking. It was in the third wave of the Kimanjano liberation forces but saw heavy fighting in the dismounted role in the Battle of Fromme. Since then it has been reassigned to Beta Canum where it is stationed at Adrian on the International Continent. The division is due to return to the core soon where it is expected to re-equip with modern ACVs.
de Chars de Tirane de Marine (6e RBTMa) (armd)
11e Division Parachutiste
The near legendary 11e DP of Métropolitaine 'paras bleus' is a light, rapid intervention force normally assigned to the FAR. It saw heavy action taking the lead in clearing Premiere on the Continent Français and other mopping up operations on Beta Canum. It has also sent brigades for action in the K-Zone in New Africa. The 11e DP is at high levels of readiness to deploy anywhere in the French Arm. The division is also one of the few to retain a foreign unit it its order of battle. With one of its battalions (II/4e RCP) assigned to the Armée d' Aurore an elite para-mountain trained unit of Moroccan Goums is serving with the formation.
de Hussards Parachutiste (1e RHP)(recce)
The 8e Corps normally fulfils the FAR role for the French military on Tirane. It was a relatively late deployment to the French Arm although several Néo-Provençal units had preceded it. It saw no action on Kimanjano and instead was deployed straight to Vogelheim to establish a theatre reserve on that world. Currently it has two units assigned to it which could be used to reinforce either of the other two Corps in the Armée or potentially the Armée d' Aurore.
16e Division de Marche
The 16e DM is an experienced formation normally based in Dakar in West Africa and has seen frequent service with the Armée de l'Asie Centrale. It formed the embarked reserve for the Armée in the liberation of Kimanjano but was not required in the fighting and dispatched instead to Beta Canum where it was involved in securing the Continent Français. The arrival of the 1e DLB and regularisation of the 3e DMC freed the division to be moved to Adlerhorst leaving its equipment for the 1e DLB and being re-equipped on arrival. The division is well trained if a little impatient to see more action.
102e Division d' Infanterie
102e DI is a regular infantry division recruited from rural Algeria. It gained a fine reputation during the clearance of Fromme and had several intense actions with Kafer landing force troops. Since then it has been moved to Adlerhorst where it remains in the reserve role.
Beta Comae Berenices
II Polish Expeditionary Corps
The II Polish Expeditionary Corps is the only higher foreign formation permanently assigned to the Armée. The corps has a dual role, it is responsible for co-ordinating Armée efforts on Nous Voila (partly a political effort by the French to restore links with the Poles) and for supporting Polish forces operating with the Ukrainians in the Armée d' Aurore. Currently the Corps has one French Infantry Division, two Polish brigade sized Battle Groups and a Anglo-Dutch Royal Marines Brigade under command. Efforts on Nous Voila are concentrated on delivering humanitarian aid, suppressing marauders and rebuilding local forces. Most of the Corps' support troops are operating in an infantry role.
104e Division d' Infanterie
A regular infantry division from French Central Africa 104e DI is skilled in urban operations, one of the reasons it was dispatched to the French Arm. The division was deployed straight to Nous Voila where it was initially almost overwhelmed with the scale of the humanitarian problem and with little help from the garrison's survivors. Morale in the division has somewhat suffered but is improving as conditions in the colony take a turn for the better.
Battle Group 'Maczek',
1st 'Kiev' Armored Cavalry Division (Polish)
Battle Group 'Sosabowski', 6th 'Czestochowa' Air Assault Division (Polish)
4 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines (British with Dutch battalion, OPCOM from CEF)
With the exception of II Polish Corps and the Division Europa most foreign units are attached under the operational command of the Armée rather than directly under the Armée chain of command. Consequently these units can be quickly assigned and re-assigned to the Armée when required and back to national command when not. The Armée has particularly close links with the Americans and the Azanians.
This order of battle covers the Armée's largest formations and many smaller units also come under its command for operational reasons. These include TIS brigades and special forces as well as a whole range of other units.
The AC-12bis is the standard HBT of the Armée de Libération. 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. 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.
d'Armée Claude Hébert
Claude Hébert is the iconoclastic head of the Armée, a figure who ranks alongside Rochemont, Borodin and Graham as heroes of the war against the Kafers. A Gascon from mainland France he is a graduate of St Cyr who was commissioned into la Coloniale as an armoured cavalry officer. His formative years were spent in the colonies where he learnt the traditional self-reliance of the Coloniale. However when the Central Asian War erupted Hébert found himself fighting in the ranks of the Armée Métropolitaine commanding first a squadron of Cuirassiers then a regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique. The fiery Hébert led something of a charmed life in the war against Manchuria being in action more often than not despite having several AC-8s shot out from under him. He was regarded as a troubleshooting commander being assigned to several under performing units and more often than not brought them up to standard. He ended the war as a much decorated commander of a Groupement Mobile and one of the army's rising stars.
Hébert was one of the leading Colonels who formed the vanguard of military dissatisfaction with the 12th Republic's prosecution of the war. However he was promoted to command the 2e Division d'Infanterie de Marine for its deployment to Elysia where he revealed an unexpected flair for counter-insurgency operations but come into conflict with the commander's conduct of the war.
Initially a supporter of the Junta he became increasingly disillusioned with the obvious cronyism and corruption of the military government. However he did accept command of the 17e Corps, one of only two Armée de Manúuvre corps stationed in France during the run up to the war with Germany. It was 17e Corps that was supposed to lead the attack to 'liberate' Bavaria but became engaged in attritional Rhineland battles with the new and potent Bundeswehr. Forced to give up ground due to the German Ardennes offensive leading to the Battle of Picardie, Hébert became one of the political scapegoats and was sidelined in a number of minor departments of the Army.
Hébert was a figure who backed the rise of Nicholas Ruffin as a counter to the Junta and recovered his status as a corps commander of the Armée de Manúuvre however he subsequently fell out with Ruffin over the revival of Empire. Once more he was sidelined away from the command of the Armée de Manúuvre which most believed was his due and into the position of Inspector of Forces of Nouvelle Provence. The disastrous Kafer invasion forced Emperor Ruffin to bring Hébert back to command the Armée de Libération; a job he has done with an energy that has belied his age and Central Asian War wounds.
Claude Hébert is a enigmatic figure. As a general he is flamboyant, charismatic, hard working and almost fearless. In his private life he is shy, austere, somewhat cantankerous whilst a devout Catholic and committed republican. He is widowed with no fewer than five children, all of whom have followed him into the military. Known to his men as the 'Vieux Caïd' or 'Old Chief' his standards and personality infected all ranks of the Armée. His decision to stand and fight on the landing zones of Kimanjano and ultimately gain victory have restored the battered morale of French soldiers. Ultimately he is the senior French ground commander in the French Arm and he has great influence in the conduct of military operations.
de Brigade Jacques Aigoin
Aigoin is an ardent Imperialist, something that occasionally causes friction with Hébert, and French nationalist. This has sometimes hampered his ability to co-operate with contingents such as Germany's IX Korps. Nevertheless other national commanders respect Aigoin's ability to get the job done and co-ordinate the massive effort of the far flung Armée. Some French senior officers however regard him as being the power behind the throne and having an undue influence on the Vieux Caïd. Aigoin is married with one son and one daughter.
1 July 2003
Copyright D Hebditch, 2003