French Army: 2300AD
Les Troupes Coloniales
French Army has many famous and capable fighting forces within its structure,
not least the Troupes de Marine and the Légion Étrangère. However with the
past five years of conflict one lesser known force has gained a new
prominence in the war against the Kafers. The Troupes Coloniales are regular
soldiers recruited from the colonies and reinforced by experienced NCOs and
officers drawn from the Armée Métropolitaine. They form the professional
1e Compagnie of I/8e RIC was clearing up a battlefield that hadn’t been here thirty minutes before. The shallow valley in front of them was home to a shattered farm building and five burning Kafer APCs. Random volleys of gunfire were coming from the clearance patrols as the soldiers took care to put a bullet in the head of every Kafer body they came across, obviously dead or not. Medics worked fast on the wounded, and every so often a Dragon would swoop in and uplift a group of stabilised patients.
Soldat de 1e Classe Arantxa sat in the explosively dug shell scrape to one side of the Blindicide-9 launcher. He was in over watch in case a second Kafer attack came this way, but that was unlikely. Consequently he was wearing his béret gris and smoking his way through a second Gauloise. The Gauloise was a genuine terran one, not a local copy, one of the Godsends that had come through with the Napoléon and the other reinforcements from Earth.
Now the CAF was hunting down the recently landed wave of Kafer troops which had managed to make the surface in that fateful January. The CAF was a far cry from the motley collection of troops who opposed the first Kafer invasion, it was a well drilled military machine which had shattered the Kafers in a series of sharp contacts. Now they were stamping out the remnants before they could escape into the bled and regroup. As part of the crack 102e Division I/8e RIC had been kept very busy.
Behind his position an international news team had set up and the reporter began to talk using Arantxa as part of the backdrop. The soldier ignored the Anglo, not understanding much English, but the mention of the words Foreign Legion Arantxa rolled his eyes in exasperation and flicked away his insanely well travelled cigarette in annoyance. There was more to the French Army than the Légion, but not many foreigners realised it.
original French Troupes Coloniales were the renamed Troupes de Marine
transferred to the command of the Army in 1900. They were responsible for the
defence of French overseas territories outside of
Coloniale gained a reputation as some of the finest French units in World War
1, while Coloniale units were amongst the first to rally to the Free French
cause in World War 2. After the French were forced from
ESA nations began to colonise
The eventual solution was to raise a new corps of troops for service on the colonies. They were to be regulars raised on Earth who would serve in the colonies, and as the colonies grew they would increasingly recruit from the colonist populations. The new corps would initially be dominated by engineer units and infantry who were capable of construction and pioneer tasks. Administrative, aviation and support units would also be formed, whilst armour and artillery would be added later. They would also be responsible for training a local part-time defence militia, the Milice, which would bolster the regulars in times of crisis. The new force would once again be known as the Troupes Coloniales.
The Coloniale was always to be something of a poor relation to the Armée Métropolitaine and with much of its equipment second hand or obsolete. In addition the Coloniale would tend to concentrate on small unit operations and less on the high intensity warfighting that marked units serving on Earth. Nevertheless the Coloniale had a certain glamour thanks to its off-world service and its low level tactical performance was always well respected by Marine and Légion formations training alongside it.
unit raised was the 1e Régiment de Génie Colonial which was dispatched to
major change to the Coloniale came when Nouvelle
Central Asian War resulted in a large scale overhaul of
The Coloniale faced its first real trial on Joi during the War of Elysian Independence. The two battalions of the 8e RIC were the colony’s first line of defence, trained for conventional warfare they were called in to back up the Gendarmes confronting the Rouges and Verts insurgents. Untrained in unconventional warfare 8e RIC made numerous mistakes which were seized upon by insurgent propagandists to raise anti-French sentiment. Numerous other Coloniale battalions were brought in to reinforce 8e RIC and Coloniale forces were always the most numerous French troops in Elysia and by the end of a campaign doomed by inept political leadership had developed a respectable skill in counter-insurgency operations.
The War of German Reunification was a happier experience for the Coloniale. On Beta Canum the Coloniale easily dealt with minor German raiding operations and an attempt to raise an insurgency in Germanophone populations in the west of the Continent Français. On Adlerhorst the crack 9e RIC was the spearhead of operations alongside Bavarian loyalists which initially crushed pro-German partisans. These successes were inevitably overshadowed by French defeat in Europe however. The war did not end the rivalry with Germany however and French colonial defences were again overhauled, with Beta Canum’s military establishment being especially expanded although funds were slow in arriving with priority give to re-equipping Earth forces and most growth was limited to the Milice.
The Coloniale’s greatest ordeal has inevitably been the Kafer War which has ravaged so much of the French Arm. When the Kafers invaded the Coloniale had only two units serving on-world, II Escadron of 4e RCC and I/9e RGC. These units gave sterling service with the I/9e RGC outstanding as stand-in infantry, but were combat ineffective by the time the 5e Division de Marche arrived from Beta Canum with Coloniale and Légion reinforcements. The Coloniale rotated several battalions through Aurore throughout the fighting having at least one cavalry and four infantry units in place at all times. Large numbers of Coloniale NCOs and officers were also drafted in to rebuild and expand Aurore’s Milice. With the discipline of the Légion strained at times and Métropolitaine units short of casualty replacements the Coloniale battalions quickly became regarded as the most efficient units on Aurore.
The renewed Kafer assault in 2301 fell heavily on the Coloniale. Nous Voila was isolated and bombarded mercilessly. Kimanjano was assaulted and fell following a six week campaign. High hopes were raised for the defence of Beta Canum, but the reorganised 9e Corps proved a paper tiger and the force disintegrated in a week. Only Adlerhorst and Beowulf remained free with the Coloniale forces engaged in frantic efforts to bolster defences. New units were organised and prepared for battle, on Beta Canum many Coloniale soldiers slipped away to New Africa to continue the fight against the Kafers. On Adlerhorst a new regiment of Paras Coloniaux was raised to support Rochemont’s Fleet’s landing force. Coloniale personnel were prominent in establishing resistance organisations on occupied worlds.
The Coloniale played its role to the full in the Liberation with units strongly represented in the Divisions de Marche Coloniale, with the actions of the RPC on Beta Canum and in the stalwart defeat of yet another descent on Aurore. Since then the Coloniale’s main role has been in rebuilding the defences of the French colonies, integrating new units into its order of battle, regenerating destroyed units and building the Milice up again. It has not been an easy task as strong fault lines have been opened up in colonial society as a result of French defeats. However the Coloniale has been strengthened by an influx of much needed funding, fresh manpower from the core and the implementation of limited conscription on several worlds.
the official Coloniale order of battle for Jan 2303. It does not include
units ‘de Marche’ or company sized element. Units
I/2e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
4e Régiment de Génie Colonial
Régiment de Génie Colonial
Régiment d’Aviation Légère Coloniale
The Coloniale effectively is an army in its own right, similar in some ways to the US Marine Corps. It has the complete array of arms and services including infantry, armour, artillery, aviation, engineers, logistics, intelligence, communications, equipment support and admin support. This is unlike the Légion and Troupes de Marines who rely on either the Armée Métropolitaine or the Coloniale for much rear echelon support.
The Coloniale is commanded from Earth by the Etat-Major Colonial based in Paris which is commanded by a full Général de l'Armée, who also nominally commands the Armée Coloniale. The EMC answers to the Ministère de la Défense in line with the other military arms through the Comité Militaire Colonial which deals with the implementation of colonial military policy. The EMC controls high level administrative, manning and equipment procedures and has an overview of operations and intelligence although these are necessarily matters which are routinely delegated. The EMC also has the Inspector General of Colonial Forces under its remit.
Military command is delegated to the Commandement des Forces Coloniales or CFCs which are established in each French colonial system and are named after the main planet i.e. Commandement des Forces Coloniales de Kimanjano. The CFCs are dominated by the Coloniale, but also include representatives from the Milice, MSIF, Armée de l’Air, Gendarmerie and other parts of the army. They are commanded by a Coloniale’s officer of General rank, the exact grade depends on the size of the force on the world and answers to the EMC whilst working closely with the colonial governor.
The CFCs are responsible for the defence of the colony, oversight of all planetary military operations, the provision of trained and equipped military forces in addition to the implementation of policy as directed from the EMC. Sometimes the CFCs can also provide a high level operational HQ, although on some worlds this function is the responsibility of a specific Corps HQ, and in one case an Armée HQ. Under the CFCs are an array of divisions or formations which are usually manned by a mixture of regular Coloniale and Milice soldiers. It is not unusual for Marine and Légion units to be deployed in the colonies and these also come under the CFC.
During the Kafer War it has become relatively commonplace for units of the Armée Métropolitaine to be deployed to the colonies. If deployed specifically to a colonial world they would also come under the control of the relevant CFC. There are two exceptions, the TIS Brigades d’Intervention and the Armée de Liberation, both of which remain outside the CFC structure. Although before the war the TIS did rely on CFCs for some administrative support.
Divisions and other formations permanently deployed in the colonies under a CFC were usually commanded and supported by Coloniale personnel who would commonly provide both the commanders and the bulk of the staff. However the composition of units within these formations could vary widely.
The Coloniale’s operational units are deployed in battalion, or battalion sized, strength. The battalion remains the standard operational unit and is the cornerstone for training and organisation. The main administrative grouping remains the regiment, of which most worlds will have a single regiment each for infantry, engineers and artillery. The Coloniale predominantly uses the same basic order of battle as the rest of the French Army.
However it has been known to raise ‘compagnies de marche’ and occasionally ‘bataillons de marche’ from the regiments and outside of the normal establishment. For example 10e RIC raised two ‘compagnies parachutiste de marche’ during the War of German Reunification. Consequently the published order of battle often does not completely reflect the actual state of Coloniale deployments.
Whilst normally Coloniale units will remain deployed on the world they are raised on it has become increasingly common since the Elysian Revolt for sub-units and entire battalions to serve on other worlds. Small numbers of Coloniale units served on Earth during the CAW and a brigade of French Arm units was en-route to Earth during the WoGR but arrived after the armistice. During both major wars the Coloniale was trawled for officers and SNCOs who then served with Métropolitaine units to gain experience and fill in gaps in the core based units.
The Kafer War has resulted in both massive casualties and a huge expansion of the Coloniale. The most obvious has been the integration of several wartime combat units into the Coloniale’s regular order of battle, however this is actually rather less significant than the increase in combat support artillery and engineer units allowing combat ready formations to be brought into being.
Bataillon de Cavalerie Blindée
There are no fewer than eight Coloniale units with this powerful organisation, many of which have recently converted from other structures. The BCB is a pure hovertank battalion and can be equipped with AC-12bis, AC-12 or AC-8 hovertanks. The BCB does not have the integral all-arms capability of the BCBM it commonly operates with as a demi-brigade with a BFAM and divisional support elements giving it much more versatility and combat power.
The BCB is organised with 3 hovertank Escadrons and a command and service Escadron. The hovertank Escadron are organised with four 3 tank troops and a command troop. In total the BCB has 41 AC-12s and numerous support and service vehicles.
Bataillon de Cavalerie Blindée Mixte
There are currently two Coloniale units using the BCBM order of battle. The BCBM is a unit with an integral combined arms capability and is equipped with either the AC-8/ACVI-3 or AC-12/ACVI-4 AFV combination. The BCBM resembles the BCB except its sabre Escadrons have two hovertank troops and two ‘cavalry’ troops with HAPCs. The BCBM structure is popular when deploying individual units but in line with French doctrine when operating in a divisional structure the BCB is preferred.
Bataillon de Cavalerie de Reconnaissance
There are two Coloniale units with this organisation, both relatively newly formed. It has the standard three manoeuvre Escadrons and a command and support Escadron. The sabre Escadrons have three reconnaissance troops equipped with ACR-89s, a hovertank troop for support (AC-12s in 1e RCK, LkPz-IXs in 1e RCA) and a support troop of ACVI-3s carrying dismounted troopers and UAVs.
Bataillon de Cavalerie Mécanisés Mixte
Less than a decade ago the majority of Coloniale cavalry units followed this structure, today only a single unit is organised in this way, although it remains popular in the Milice. The structure is the same as the BCBM, however they are equipped with wheeled AFVs, originally the ABR-76/VCIR but now increasingly with the modern EBCR-97 AFV. It is hoped that the introduction of this new, capable AFV will do much to address the vulnerability of ABR series first revealed in the War of German Reunification and again exposed dramatically during Beta Canum’s ‘black week’.
Bataillon de Chars de Combat
Bataillon de Fantassins Aéromobiles
The BFA is the most common combat organisation for the Coloniale’s light role infantry. It has four rifle companies, a support company (CEA) and a HQ company (CCS). The rifle companies have three rifle platoons and a HQ with small integral anti-tank and anti-aircraft elements. The support company has reconnaissance, mortar, anti-tank and anti-aircraft elements. The command company has the usual combat support elements and a pioneer platoon which also functions as a defence platoon.
Bataillon de Fantassins Légers
BFLs are garrison infantry units with only three rifle companies and a reduced support company. They were more common before the war but the need to confront the Kafer threat has seen most of these convert to the BFA organisation. Today only the 7e RIC uses this organisation.
Bataillon de Fantassins Aéro-Mécanisés (here, Aéro comes from Aéroglisseur, Hovercraft)
have become the most common type of mechanised infantry in the Coloniale and
are equipped with HAPCs. Many Coloniale BFAMs are newly formed and still
lacking polish in the manoeuvre warfare role . BFAMs can be equipped with
either the ACVI-4 or the obsolete ACVI-3. The
Bataillon de Fantassins Mécanisés
BFMs are very similar to BFAMs but are equipped with wheeled AFVs in the ABR-76/VCIR range. The Coloniale’s BFMs took a fearful beating during the war and there are few now organised in this way, although the Milice still has many battalions with this organisation. The Coloniale hopes to re-equip its remaining units with the EBCR-97 AFV.
Compagnie de Chasseurs à Pied Blindée
CCPB are French combat walker companies, each has two platoons of walkers with a small HQ for a total of 24 walkers as well as a small maintenance element. The Coloniale is not a major user of CWs but some RICs have raised ‘de Marche’ CCPBs. These are usually equipped with BH-21s, although some have purchased Manchurian and other commercially available CWs using discretionary funds.
Compagnie de Recherche et Action Spécialisée
The Coloniale has a number of secretive ‘RAPAS’ companies in its unofficial order of battle. These are 86 man strong companies with four 20-operator platoons. These units are raised from across the Coloniale presence on a world and operate directly to the CFC. The French classify these as ‘Third Tier’ special forces, however most of these RAPAS groups are very competent and know their ground very well.
Bataillon d’Artillerie Légère Aéro-Mécanisée
Bataillon d’Artillerie Stratégique Aéro-Mécanisée
BASAM’s are artillery units equipped with inter-continental cruise missile system with a variety of warheads. Needless to say these are very powerful units and there are only three in the Coloniale orbat; III/6e RAC on Adlerhorst, I/8e RAC on Beta Canum and IV/9e RAC on Aurore. They have the usual three batteries, each with eight launchers, and a command and support battery.
Bataillon d’Artillerie Légère
BALs are artillery assigned to the support of light forces. They have three artillery batteries, one with MRLs and two with light gauss howitzers. The weapons are carried on light hovermobile platforms, although the guns can be dismounted if needs be.
Bataillon du Génie de Construction
the first Coloniale engineer units, designed to conduct large scale
engineering projects and tasked as much with colonisation as military tasks.
Almost every French colony world has a
Bataillon du Génie Aéro-Mécanisé
is a versatile hovermobile engineer unit intended to support the 1e and 2e
DLBs. The bulk of the vehicles are converted ACVI-3s although there is a vast
range of specialist models. The BGAM has three field engineer companies and a
heavy engineer company and a
Bataillon du Génie Mécanisé
The BGM is the wheeled equivalent of the BGAM.
Bataillon Léger du Génie
are light engineering units. They have a single field engineering group, one
heavy engineering group and a
Groupe d’Aviation Mixte
The Coloniale GAM are battalion sized units comprising some 48 aircraft in three companies together with command and support elements. They usually have one company of transport Dragon III tiltrotors, and two mixed companies with ten gunships and five scouts. The group HQ has three scouts for liaison tasks.
Groupe d’Aviation de Transport
GATs are the most common Coloniale air units and usually include two companies of Dragon IIIs and a company of scouts in the liaison role. Some GATs also have a flight of fixed wing transport aircraft.
There are numerous Coloniale battalions that are currently cadrised, these are units destroyed or badly damaged and cannibalised during the Kafer War. There are plans to reconstitute these units, although some will have to wait several years to regain operational capability.
2e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
I/2e RCC – BCB – 2e DMC, Kimanjano
II/2e RCC – BCB – 101e DM, QAS
III/2e RCC – BCB – 2e DMC, Kimanjano
IV/2e RCC – BCB – 101e DM, QAS
2e RCC was the Coloniale cavalry unit formed on Nouvelle Europe. It was originally only a single regiment, the 2e RCC. As tensions with the neighbouring British colony increased and the population grew the unit expanded ultimately to the size of three regiments. The 2e RCC has always specialised in two main types of operation, maritime and mountain, thanks to the geography of Nouvelle Europe. The intercolonial tensions manifest in the Rhadamanthine Archipelago would see the units of the 2e RCC deployed to that region on frequent rotations.
In the 2290s all three regiments of 2e RCC transitioned to the AC-10 hovertank as part of the re-equipment of the 101e DLB. The role of the 101e DLB was to be able to face the Alician Defence Force in high intensity warfare in the Archipelago and it trained extensively for that role. The presence of the AC-10s would lead the Alicians to seek to reequip in turn with modern HBTs. In 2300 a squadron drawn from across the unit was formed and equipped with AC-12s and dispatched to Aurore to become part of the RCMA.
As it happened, the 2e RCC was never called on to fight in the Archipelago. Instead with the Kafer invasion a Groupe Mobile of I/2e RCC, III/2e RCC and I/4e RIC was dispatched to Kimanjano. The GM acquitted itself very well, matching the performance of Métropolitaine and US Marine formations, the kernels of these units were returned to Nouvelle Europe in the Entente evacuations. They subsequently were rebuilt as part of the 2e Division de Marche Coloniale and saw action in the Liberation of Kimanjano. The II/2e RCC is still part of the renamed 101e DM, the IV/2e RCC was raised from reservists and volunteers to bulk up the 101e DM.
3e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
3e RCC – BCBM – 104e DM, BCV-4
The 3e RCC was the first cavalry unit raised in the Continent Français of Beta Canum-4, a uniqueness it was to retain for several decades. For most of this time the unit was organised as a group of independent squadrons, however after the War of German Reunification it reorganised as part of the newly organised 102e DLB. The 3e RCC detached an independent squadron equipped with old ABR-76s to Aurore in 2298 as part of the response to the invasion of that world, this veteran sub-unit returned to Beta Canum in 2300. The regiment was planned to convert to AC-8s but it was destroyed to all intents and purposes in the invasion of Beta Canum and has only just been re-raised with AC-12s and is working up to operational capability.
4e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
4e RCC – BCBM – 1e DMC, Aurore
Prior to the invasion of Aurore 4e RCC was a regular Coloniale unit raised on Aurore Français. It was organised as a BCRM in independent squadrons, following the war with Germany all the squadrons bar one were dispatched to Beta Canum or Adlerhorst. When the war came to Aurore only one squadron remained on Aurore and fought itself almost to destruction. It was reinforced by other squadrons to form the RCMA. As the war went on the 4e RCC was reassembled on Beta Canum, re-equipped and retrained with AC-12s. It returned to Aurore in the summer of 2300 to great local acclaim. It now forms part of the 1e DMC alongside the veteran RCMA and 2e REC.
5e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
5e RCC – Cadre
5e RCC is the second cavalry regiment raised on Beta Canum, formed during the 2250s. The 5e RCC was always intended to be a combat regiment and was the only hover armour regiment on the Continent Français until the Central Asian War. One squadron was re-equipped with AC-12s and dispatched to Aurore to join the RCMA in 2300. The rest of the regiment, equipped with ageing AC-8s, was almost totally destroyed in a notable stand during the invasion of Beta Canum. A very few members of the regiment managed to escape and were incorporated into the Spahis on New Africa. The unit has yet to be reformed.
6e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
6e RCC – BCB – 3e DMC, BCV-4
6e RCC was formed on Beta Canum just after 5e RCC but was in the light armoured role similar to the 3e RCC. It was converted to the armoured role during the Central Asian War, and became part of the 100e DLB. Elements of the regiment were involved in a raid on an off-lying island of the German Continent during the war. The regiment was deployed to Nous Voila as part of a Groupe Mobile with III/10e RIC following news of the destruction of Hochbaden. It survived the war and the horrendous collapse of civilisation on Nous Voila and has been returned to Beta Canum and forms a part of the 3e DMC. It is still equipped with AC-8s.
8e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
8e RCC – BCMM - 220e DI, BCV-4
8e RCC was the first of three RCCs formed in 2292 on Beta Canum in response to the massively increased tension with Germany which was spreading to the colonies. It was the only unit that was operational before the end of the war. Elements of the regiment were sent to Adlerhorst and then returned after the signing of the Treaty of Darwin. 8e RCC was equipped with ABR-76s and was destroyed in the invasion. It has just been reformed with the EBCR-97 wheeled AFV.
9e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
9e RCC – BCB – 104e DM, BCV-4
9e RCC was formed in 2292 as a hovertank regiment. It gained a fine reputation, partly as a result of having several very competent officers posted to it from Armée Métropolitaine who had fallen from grace due to their support of the junta. One of its squadrons bolstered the RCMA as it converted to AC-12. The unit shared the fate of other parts of the 100e DLB, although elements managed to escape and form the kernel of a resistance force. The 9e RCC was the first armoured BCV Coloniale unit to be reformed and is equipped with AC-12bis.
10e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale
10e RCC – Cadre
10e RCC was the last of the RCCs formed just prior to the Central Asian War and was equipped with ABR-76. It became operational in 2295 and was seen as something of a bad luck unit, suffering several unaccountable casualties on exercise. It was destroyed in the invasion and has yet to be reformed.
1e Régiment Colonial de Blindé (11e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale)
1e RBC – BCC - Troupes d'Armée d'Aurore, Aurore
1e RBC was formed late in 2299 on Earth to provide a heavy ground tank capability for Aurore, which was then being fulfilled by the 5e Régiment de Chasseurs, a Métropolitaine unit. Initially the unit had three squadrons of volunteers, one each drawn from European France, African France and Nouvelle Provence. These volunteers were from Métropolitaine ground tank units and were transferred into the Coloniale. Following training the unit deployed to Aurore late in 2300 where it took over 5e RCh’s CC-21s. Ground tanks have proved vital in attacks on Kafer positions and the 1e RBC has carried on the good work of the 5e Chasseurs. It is a well regarded unit which suffers few casualties. It has recently been regularised within the Coloniale as the 11e RCC but retains its original title.
1e Régiment de Cavalerie d'Aurore (12e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale)
1e RCA – BCR – 1e DMC, Aurore
1e RCA started life as part of the Milice Coloniale and alongside the II Esc. 4e RCC they were the main mobile force that opposed the Kafer assault. They took heavy casualties and were later re-equipped with a mixture of AC-8s and German LkPz-IX hovertanks. Towards the end of 2300 they were again regrouped as the reconnaissance force for the 1e DMC and were regularised as part of the Coloniale. The 1e RCA has a unique organisation as it includes a mixture of ACR-89s and its surviving LkPz-IXs, it is the only French unit to operate these vehicles.
1e Régiment de Chasseurs de Kimanjano (13e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale)
1e RCK – BCR – 2e DMC, Kimanjano
1e RCK was formed in February 2302 from Coloniale and Milice survivors from the retreat from Kimanjano combined with volunteers from batches of Coloniale reinforcements on Nouvelle Europe. The regiment had a very short gestation period before being deployed back to Kimanjano as the recce element of the 2e DMC. While lacking the polish of other units 1e RCK’s willingness to close with the enemy earned it respect, but caused it heavy casualties. Since the Liberation the 1e RCK has undergone intensive training and received an influx of recce specialists.
1e Régiment de Spahis Coloniaux (14e Régiment de Cavalerie Coloniale)
1e RSC – BCB – 3e DMC, Beta Canum
The 1e RSC are one of the more unusual of the new Coloniale units. As the Métropolitaine 1e Régiment de Spahis, a unit mostly recruited from European French of North African extraction, it was stationed on Beta Canum as part of the 21e DM. Elements of the unit managed to escape the Kafer invasion and fight through to New Africa with troops from the 16e Régiment de Tirailleurs Algériens and 5e RCC. There they reformed as the ad-hoc Régiment de Marche de Spahis de Nouvelle Afrique and gained great honour in action across three continents.
On Earth, unaware that a strong core of the Spahis had survived a new 1e RS was formed. When the Liberation reached Beta Canum it was thought the RMSNA would be disbanded. The unit had gained a notable esprit de corps under its outspoken and charismatic commander Commandant Messaoud. Consequently the regiment was regularised as part of the Coloniale. It is a high profile and glamorous unit, with a waiting list of Beta Canumite recruits.
Régiment de Cavalerie de Marche d'Aurore
BCB – 1e
The RCMA was formed in 2298 to bolster the I Escadron of 4e RCC on Aurore. The reinforcements included an ad-hoc HQ and squadrons from 1e RCC and 3e RCC. The unit was initially equipped with ABR-76s and provided sterling service in the early desperate fighting in Aurore. In the summer of 2300 the composition of the unit changed with squadrons of AC-12s from 2e, 5e and 9e RCC being brought in and the original units returning home. Despite this turnover in personnel the RCMA has retained an excellent reputation and it might be regularised as a 15e RCC.
4e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
I/4e RIC –
II/4e RIC - BFAM – 101e DM, Nouvelle Europe, Beowulf
III/4e RIC -
IV/4e RIC - BFA – 1e DIMaC, Nouvelle Europe, Beowulf
was the first Coloniale infantry regiment raised in Nouvelle Europe soon
after the French colonisation. The unit has often been deployed in the
Rhadamanthine Archipelago and is well trained and motivated. The 4e RIC has been
equipped with ACVI-3s for nearly two decades but is also well trained in
maritime and dismounted operations. I/4e RIC was deployed to Kimanjano and
took heavy casualties prior to the EN
5e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
I/5e RIC – BFA – 1e DLA, Nouvelle Europe, Beowulf
II/5e RIC –- BFA – 1e DIMaC, Nouvelle Europe, Beowulf
III/5e RIC – BFA – 1e DIMaC, Nouvelle Europe, Beowulf
5e RIC was raised from Nouvelle Europe as a resource of troops to deploy away from Beowulf elsewhere in the French Arm. The unit performed as light role troubleshooters before being redeployed back to Beowulf as tensions rose with Alicia. Currently the battalions of 5e RIC are roled as airmobile and maritime units working in the Rhadamanthine Archipelago as rapid reaction units and an extra battalion has been raised during the war. The 5e RIC is well regarded for its robustness and seen as fully the equal of the Légion and Marine units it works alongside. Rivalry with the 4e RIC is intense.
6e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
II/6e RIC – Cadre – Kimanjano
6e RIC is the Coloniale infantry regiment raised from the colony of Fromme on Kimanjano. With little tension internally or later with the Azanian colony the 6e RIC was seen as a rather sedentary unit. As Kimanjano was not particularly welcoming place few NCOs and Officers sought postings here, and training was seen to be rather lacklustre and second rate. This changed when I/6e RIC deployed to Aurore from 2298 to 2300 becoming an efficient operational battalion.
Both battalions of the 6e RIC put up a notable fight opposing the Kafer invasion of their world and few escaped from the encirclement of the Cité de Fromme. The remnants who escaped to Beowulf were combined with volunteers from the 4e and 5e RIC and from Coloniale reinforcements to reform the 1/6e RIC which became part of the 2e DMC. This battalion was lauded for its ruthlessness in action during the Liberation of Kimanjano gaining a measure of revenge. II/6e RIC is still in cadre but will be reactivated soon and a further two battalions may be formed when conscription is fully introduced.
7e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
I/7e RIC – BFL – Sans Souci
II/7e RIC – BFL – Nous Voila
7e RIC is the Coloniale regiment formed to defend French outposts who lack the population to raise their own defence forces or lack obvious rivals. It is manned by long service soldiers from across the Coloniale and these units are noticeably older than the normal RICs. Nevertheless they are experienced and competent. Each outpost has a group of soldiers but these can range in size from small companies to a full battalion which are present on Sans Souci and Nous Voila. It is entirely possible that II/7e RIC may shortly become the kernel of a new 15e RIC to defend Nous Voila.
8e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
I/8e RIC – BFA – 102e DAM, Aurore
8e RIC is the sad remnant of the regiment raised from the colony of Elysia on Joi. It bore the brunt of the war of independence on the French side and expanded to a size of many battalions. Morale was often poor in the newer battalions and one even went over to the rebels en-masse. After independence many of the 8e RIC soldiers left the colony and a single battalion was maintained I/8e RIC – ‘Le Bataillon des Perdus’. I/8e RIC gained a roving role around the French colonies and has seen much action on Aurore. The battalion now has few Elysians in its ranks instead it attracts volunteers from across the Coloniale who are attracted to its mobile role.
9e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
I/9e RIC –
II/9e RIC – BFM – 210e DI, Adlerhorst
III/9e RIC –
IV/9e RIC – BFM - 210e DI, Adlerhorst
V/9e RIC – BFM - 210e DI, Adlerhorst
9e RIC is raised in the colony of Saint Benoit on Adlerhorst. It was heavily involved in the civil war in the neighbouring Bavarian/German colony, but it was later restricted by the Treaty of Darwin that ended the conflict. This restriction on numbers did however mean that the 9e RIC could concentrate its budget on training. III/9e RIC saw action on Aurore in response to the Kafer invasion and performed excellently.
The 9e RIC was heavily hit for trained soldiers for the RPC raised following the Kafer invasion, which in addition to raising two battalions from reservists and militiamen decreased the efficiency of the 9e RIC. However concentrated training in the face of the Kafer threat has brought the 9e RIC up to standard. It currently has no fewer than five battalions, although thought is being given to making IV and V/9e RIC into part time reservist battalions.
10e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
I/10e RIC – BFAM – 3e DMC, Beta Canum
II/10e RIC – BFAM – 104e DM, Beta Canum
III/10e RIC – BFAM – 104e DM, Beta Canum
IV/10e RIC – Cadre – Beta Canum
V/10e RIC – BFAM – 104e DM, Beta Canum
VI/10e RIC – Cadre – Beta Canum
10e RIC is the regiment raised from the Continent Français of Beta Canum Venaticorum-IV. It has grown steadily but has not gained further battalions since before the war with Germany. Instead it has supported the strong growth of the Milice Coloniale. II/10e and V/10e RIC were deployed to Aurore, returning in 2300.
Four battalions of the 10e RIC were almost utterly destroyed in the ‘Black Week’ of the Continent Français. III/10e RIC and V/10e RIC were both deployed on Nous Voila and survived. They have been repatriated to aid the reconstruction of 9e Corps. I/10e RIC was rebuilt as part of the DML/3e DMC and fought throughout the liberation campaign. II/10e RIC has been reformed while IV/10e and VI/10e RIC are soon to be reformed with the next round of conscripts.
12e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale 'Vedettes'
I/12e RIC – BFAM – 1e DMC, Aurore
12e RIC was formed in the summer of 2300 on Aurore, to replace some of the Coloniale infantry units deployed as reinforcements on that world. It is a regiment formed by cherry picking the best soldiers from the Milice Coloniale and combined them with a regular cadre from the Coloniale. Both battalions are equipped with AVCI-4s and are much better equipped than the Milice. The 12e RIC has a good blend of combat experience and training and has proved very competent in action. However it has a certain lack of in-barracks discipline which has given it a ‘wild child’ reputation. The soldiers of the 12e RIC are regarded as very tough fighters even amongst other Auroran veterans.
Demi-Brigade de Tirailleurs de Kimanjano (13e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale)
was formed in Nouvelle Europe in February 2302 from survivors of Frommois
Milice Coloniale who were evacuated in the Entente operation. Combined with
NCOs from other Coloniale units they were swiftly organised as hovermobile
infantry for the ad-hoc 2e
Régiment de Marche de la Libération ; 'Chasseurs Coloniaux' (14e Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale)
1e Régiment de Parachutistes Coloniaux
I/1e RPC – BFA – Beta Canum
II/1e RPC – BFA – Beta Canum
III/1e RPC – BFA – Beta Canum
The 1e RPC are the new elite of the Coloniale. Raised at the instigation of Vice-Amiral Rochemont on Adlerhorst in the late spring of 2301 from volunteers from the 9e RIC (including many veteran III/9e RIC soldiers), Milice, Gendarmes and Coloniale reservists. The RPC was thrown together in an almost brutal fashion by training teams from the 1e and 4e BI and a programme based on that of the TIS. Rochemont aimed to have a unit he could use as a second line force behind his TIS and USMC landing units. However the loss of the bulk of the 1e BI and his US Marines in the 1st Liberation of Beta Canum led to the Colonial Paras gaining increased prominence in his plans.
1e RPC had almost a full year of training and reached a very high pitch of readiness thanks largely to the quality of its troops. The 1e RPC was used en-masse for the first time in the 2nd Liberation of Beta Canum alongside the 4e BI and Anglophone Joint Vogelheim Brigade. The 1e RPC fought in actions on all three continents and took serious casualties in the 2nd Battle of Uethan. Since then the regiment has been reformed, it is expected that the unit will be designated as the 5e Brigade d’Intervention as part of the TIS in the near future.
3e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
I Bataillon – BAAM – 2e
II Bataillon – BAL –1e DLA, QAS
III Bataillon – BAL – 1e DIMaC, QAS
IV Bataillon – BAAM – 101e DM, QAS
V Bataillon – BAAM - 101e DM, Beowulf
3e RAC is recruited from Nouvelle Europe and has nearly doubled in size during the war. It has a good professional reputation and it is also competent in the infantry role due to numerous deployments to the Archipelago. II/3e RAC has combat experience from a deployment on Aurore and I/3e RAC was a key element of 2e DMC during the Liberation of Kimanjano. IV and V/3e RAC are war raised battalions recruited mainly from a mixture of reservists and volunteers from Néo-Europe.
4e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
I Bataillon – BAAM – 209e DI, Kimanjano
II Bataillon – Cadre
III Bataillon – Cadre
4e RAC is a Kimanjano raised unit which provided support to 209e and 212e DI’s on Kimanjano. They gave sterling service during the Kafer invasion of that world although both II/ and III/4e RAC were destroyed in the Fall of Fromme. The battered survivors of I/4e RAC were evacuated during Op ENTENTE having abandoned their guns, on arrival on Beowulf they were dispersed to other artillery units. Since the Liberation of Kimanjano that battalion has been reformed although few of the original members are in its ranks.
5e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
I Bataillon – BALAM – 3e
II Bataillon – BALAM – 104e DM, Beta Canum
III Bataillon – Cadre
IV Bataillon – BALAM – 3e
V Bataillon – Cadre
5e RAC is Beta Canum’s first colonial artillery regiment. Like the other units raised from the Continent Français it has taken a major battering. IV/5e RAC was deployed to Nous Voila during the invasion and escaped destruction; however all of the four other battalions were nearly annihilated in the invasion of Beta Canum. Coloniale gunners formed the backbone of the Bataillon de Marche d’Artillerie de Nouvelle Afrique which formed in New Africa and later fought on all three continents. The BMANA served with the DML before being renamed as the I/5e RAC. II/5e RAC has just been reformed and III and V/5e RAC will reform with conscripts when new artillery arrives from Earth.
6e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
I Bataillon – BALAM – 210e DI, Adlerhorst
II Bataillon – BALAM – 105e BM, Adlerhorst
III Bataillon – BASAM – 18e Corps, Adlerhorst
IV Bataillon – BALAM – 210e DI, Adlerhorst
5e CEAP – 1e RPC, Beta Canum
6e RAC are raised on Adlerhorst, before the war it was a two battalion regiment. II/6e RAC saw service on Aurore with 5e DM. During the war a further two battalions were raised, one as a corps artillery unit. 6e RAC has the high standards typical of Sainte Benoit units. The 6e RAC also raised the artillery company supporting the 1e RPC.
8e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
I Bataillon – BASAM – 9e Corps, Beta Canum
II Bataillon – Cadre
III Bataillon – Cadre
8e RAC is the second artillery regiment raised on Beta Canum formed as a result of the War of German Reunification. It fulfilled a strategic role with long range cruise missile units and also an ASAT regiment supplementing Armée de l’Air defences. These heavy units were unable to stop the Kafer invasion, although they did major damage to Kafer landing zones, however they either ran out of ammunition or were overrun. Some of the soldiers became part of the resistance or escaped to New Africa. I/8e RAC has been reformed to provide the 9e Corps with a heavy punch.
9e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale
I Bataillon – BALAM – 1e
II Bataillon – BAL – 102e DAM, Aurore
III Bataillon – BALAM – 1e
IV Bataillon – BASAM – 14e Corps, Aurore
9e RAC is the newest Coloniale artillery unit, formed in the aftermath of the Kafer invasion of Aurore. Its first unit was formed by a mixture of drafts from other Coloniale RACs and volunteers from the Métropolitaine, but was soon bolstered with Auroran recruits. 9e RAC has grown rapidly and is now a formidable force including tactical and strategic artillery.
4e Régiment de Génie Colonial
I Bataillon –
II Bataillon – BGAM – 2e
III Bataillon – BLG – 1e DLA, QAS
IV Bataillon – BLG – 1e DIMaC, QAS
V Bataillon – BGAM – 101e DM, QAS
4e RGC is the engineer regiment raised from Nouvelle Europe on Beowulf. Prior to the war it had three battalions of which the III/4e RGC had served on Aurore. During the war that battalion expanded to form IV/4e RGC, whilst a V Bataillon was raised to replace II/4e RGC which had moved into the 2e DMC. I/4e RGC has a particular reputation for the quality of its construction work because of Beowulf’s harsh tectonic conditions.
5e Régiment de Génie Colonial
I Bataillon –
II Bataillon – Cadre
III Bataillon – BGAM – 3e
IV Bataillon – BGAM – 104e DM, Beta Canum
5e RGC was the first Coloniale unit raised on Beta Canum. It suffered typical casualties during the invasion, with only a company from the III Bataillon surviving as it was deployed on Kimanjano. Since the war that company has formed the basis of the new III/5e RGC supporting the 3e DMC. I/5e RGC was quickly re-raised to aid in the urgent reconstruction of military and civilian infrastructure in the Continent Français. IV/5e RGC was re-raised with one of the first tranches of conscripts.
6e Régiment de Génie Colonial
I Bataillon –
The entirely French world of Nous Voila had only a very small military presence, of which 6e RGC was part. A single battalion regiment with construction tasks as its main effort, I/6e RGC was severely tasked by the Kafer bombardment and found itself overwhelmed by the workload and the need to operate also as infantry to try and hold civilisation together. The unit is still working at its construction tasks, debate is now raging about the need to expand the Coloniale presence on Nous Voila dramatically.
7e Régiment de Génie Colonial
I Bataillon - Cadre
II Bataillon – BGM – 209e DI, Kimanjano
7e RGC was Kimanjano’s engineer regiment, initially with two battalions; one construction and one field. They were both almost completely annihilated in the fall of Kimanjano with only a bare handful of I/7e RGC escaping with the ENTENTE evacuation. II/7e RGC was destroyed with most of 209e DI in the ruins of the Cité de Fromme. Since the liberation II/7e RGC has been reformed.
8e Régiment de Génie Colonial
II Bataillon – BGM – 210e DI, Adlerhorst
III Bataillon – CGAM – 105e BM, Adlerhorst
5e CGP – 1e RPC, Beta Canum
Raised on Adlerhorst the 8e RGC saw some action during the War of German Reunification when the II/8e RGC developed a useful EOD capacity countering pro-Reunificationist mine and booby trap efforts. 8e RGC was one of the least expanded Saint Benoit Coloniale units, creating only two new formations of company strength; 5e CGP provides support to the 1e RPC and the III/8e RGC is affiliated to the 105e BM
9e Régiment de Génie Colonial
I Bataillon –
II Bataillon – BGAM – 1e
III Bataillon –
Alongside 4e RCC, I/9e RGC was the only regular French force raised on Aurore prior to the Kafer War. It played a vital role in the struggle fighting as infantry and has earned the right to march at the head of any force on parade in Aurore Français. The regiment has grown with the addition of a second construction battalion and a field unit to support 1e DMC.
3e Régiment de Aviation Légère Coloniale
I Bataillon – GAT – 15e Corps, QAS
II Bataillon – GAM – 2e Corps, Kimanjano
III Bataillon – GAM – 15e Corps, QAS
The RALCs fill the same role with the Coloniale as the ALAT does with the Métropolitaine, providing immediate aviation support to the ground troops. The 3e RALC is based on QAS a powerful mixed force of aviation assets including some 135 transport, scout, liaison and gunship airframes. II/3e RALC deployed with the Armée de Libération to Kimanjano where its utter ease with night time operation earned it great kudos.
4e Régiment de Aviation Légère Coloniale
I Bataillon – Cadre
4e RALC was based on Kimanjano and provided transportation support to the forces based there. It was destroyed completely during the six weeks fighting on that world. It took particular casualties trying to supply the surrounded troops in the Cité de Fromme.
5e Régiment de Aviation Légère Coloniale
I Bataillon – GAT – 9e Corps, Beta Canum
II Bataillon – Cadre
III Bataillon – Cadre
IV Bataillon – Cadre
Beta Canum’s 5e RALC was greatly expanded following the War of German Reunification and had two mixed and two transport battalions. 5e RALC’s fight was rendered pointless by a mixture of heavy casualties and the collapse of 9e Corps. Some elements of 5e RALC fought on flying their aircraft from remote parts of the Continent Français whilst others escaped with their machines to New Africa where they proved very useful. The so called Bataillon de Marche 5e RALC saw heavy action and was reformed as I/5e RALC following the Liberation. II/5e RALC will reform as a GAM in the near future.
6e Régiment de Aviation Légère Coloniale
I Bataillon – GAT – 18e Corps, Adlerhorst
the Kafer War Saint Benoit’s 6e RALC was barred by the Darwin Treaty from
flying armed aircraft. However during the war I/6e
7e Régiment de Aviation Légère Coloniale
I Bataillon – GAT – CFCNV, Nous Voila
Like Adlerhorst there was a single RALC battalion present on Nous Voila which was somewhat under strength and dedicated to the support of the local authority and units training at the commando training centre. During the war I/7e RALC was one of the few force multipliers available to what remained of the government and since the Liberation has flown a multitude of relief missions to remote parts of the colony.
10e Régiment de Aviation Légère Coloniale
I Bataillon – GAT – 14e Corps, Aurore
II Bataillon – GAT – 14e Corps, Aurore
III Bataillon – GAM – 102e DAM, Aurore
10e RALC was formed following the Kafer assault on Aurore, prior to this the only aircraft available to the garrison had been a number of robust tiltrotors controlled by the colonial ministry. These were quickly taken under military jusridiction alongside some civilan craft as the Bataillon de Marche d’Aviation Légère Coloniale. The BMALC was later renamed 1/10e RALC and would receive military aircraft to replace its civilian craft, although many of the pilots are still ‘les originaux’. 10e RALC was quickly reinforced and is now a strong aviation arm which works closely with the Commandement Aérien Tactique d'Aurore.
The Coloniale recruits from across the French Empire, although many think it recruits solely from the colonial territories. Its units are, however, raised on specific colonial worlds, usually on a regimental basis, and the bulk of its soldiers will be drawn from this colony and will identify strongly with it. Most soldiers of the Coloniale will remain within a single regiment for the whole of their service.
The pre-Kafer War Coloniale was a regular military service, which on most worlds was the only opportunity for a full time military career. In addition the Coloniale is well respected by most communities, consequently recruitment is very strong. The Coloniale was able to exercise a fairly stringent selection procedure and the average standard of recruits was high.
In addition to these locally recruited soldiers the Coloniale also recruit professional soldiers from Metropolitan France. Many of its officers choose to join the Coloniale direct from France’s military academies, where service in the Coloniale is seen as being relatively prestigious. Many of these officers have colonial connections whose families have several generations of service in colonial units.
The standard initial Coloniale contract is for 5 years for those volunteering for service away from the world they enlisted on and for 3 years for those serving on their homeworld. Extensions of service are in 3 year blocks and maximum length service in the enlisted ranks is 30 years. On completion of their service Coloniale soldiers are transferred either to the reserve or should they chose into the Milice Coloniale. The administration of the reserve has been somewhat ad-hoc and lacking in direction. During the Kafer War Coloniale reservists formed the backbone of the Auroran Milice’s Régiment des Réservistes d' Aurore, whilst later in the war reservists bolstered both regular Coloniale units as well as the Milice. An overhaul of the reserve is underway at the EMC.
The Coloniale doesn’t recruit other ranks directly from the civilian population of Metropolitan France, however it does recruit NCOs from the Armée Métropolitaine and from the Troupes de Marine. These NCOs are usually handpicked from the top 1/3rd of serving NCOs and competition for these places is strong. This influx of highly skilled NCOs reinforces the Coloniale’s NCO cadre which is particularly useful as the Coloniale has a large number of instructor posts to fill.
Since the Kafer War many worlds have been invaded and normal recruitment procedures have fallen by the wayside. Many ad-hoc units have been formed by a whole range of measures including volunteering and forms of conscription and been taken into the Coloniale. The introduction of limited conscription on Kimanjano and Beta Canum has been mainly aimed at the Milice but high standard conscripts are creamed off into the Coloniale. These are now flooding into the older units currently in cadre, these somewhat reluctant soldiers mean that harsher discipline is being introduced in many of these units.
However there remains a strong nucleus of Coloniale veterans reinforced by a strong series of drafts of soldiers volunteering for Coloniale service from the core worlds and these are busy ensuring the Coloniale is ready for the next battles with France’s enemies.
The Coloniale conducts almost all its training in-house and usually on the same planet that units are raised from. Each colony world has a training depot which gives basic training to all recruits to the Coloniale. This basic training lasts 12 Terran week equivalents, of which 10 weeks follows a common Coloniale syllabus and the remaining 2 weeks are planet specific and usually fieldcraft and survival related. The training depot is also responsible for delivering training to Milice Coloniale recruits and so on some worlds can be a large organisation with several training centres.
Special to arm training is delivered by the training wing attached to every regiment, and is role specific. On some occasions Coloniale training is combined with that of other units to gain economies of scale, for example on Beta Canum pre-Kafer War, Coloniale and Métropolitaine units had a combined hover tank training wing. The Coloniale makes maximum use of high tech training simulations and distributed learning packages.
The Coloniale takes its officers from a variety of sources. It recruits directly from the army’s officer training academies such as St.Cyr and the Académie Militaire Coloniale, and these make up the bulk of the commissioned officers. It also accepts officers transferring in from other parts of the French armed forces. Lastly it commissions soldiers from the ranks through a officer candidate school system, which on the colonial worlds is the only way the less well off can gain a commission and is a very competitive route.
As already noted the Coloniale actively recruits high standard NCOs from elsewhere in the forces. However the bulk of its NCOs are promoted up through the ranks as a result of successful service and attendance at NCO schools. It should be noted that the Coloniale is slightly heavier ranked than other branches of the army as it provides leadership cadres for the Milice units affiliated to it. The promotion of NCOs is very strictly governed on a planetary and advancement is eagerly sought after and many potential NCOs are highly ambitions.
The Coloniale also runs courses for specialist training, where possible it runs these on a planetary basis. Where this is not available it will dispatch candidates off-world to courses run on a ‘train the trainer’ basis. If required, for complex skills, the service will transfer in a qualified instructor from the Métropolitaine rather than send a Coloniale soldier back to Earth to be trained.
The Coloniale trains the Milice and provides it with leaders and administrators. This training is conducted at planetary depots and regimental training wings for basic training and in the Milice units for continuation training. Each Milice company has two attached Coloniale NCOs and there are a SNCO and officer at battalion level all of who are responsible for training. Should the Milice be unable to produce effective leaders at company and battalion level the Coloniale will be post in an officer to command the unit in the interim. This has proved an effective way for Coloniale officers to gain effective leadership experience.
The Coloniale has its own very unique culture based on its role as the front line of defence for French colonies and common doctrine combined with local pride of being recruited from the individual worlds of the French Empire.
The Coloniale are very proud of their role as ‘colonial regulars’ and never fail to celebrate their victories on exercise over more famous or flamboyant French units. The trials of the Elysian Revolt and Kafer Wars have severely dented this confidence but have failed to destroy it outright. Indeed in places Coloniale units, defending their home worlds, fought on to annihilation where other better equipped units broke and run. The last stand of 5e RCC is especially celebrated, as is the performance of the Coloniale on Kimanjano.
The surviving cadre of Coloniale officers from the invaded worlds are now extremely forthright about what they see as the role of the Troupes Coloniale in rebuilding the Armée Coloniale. Many have become extremely politicised demanding a massive influx of funding to set right what they see as a disaster brought about through a lack of funding. Still more are agitating for the prosecution of those regarded as collaborators; others are leaning towards advocating looser ties to France and even colonial independence.
Internal competition within the Coloniale has always been fierce, both between units and regiments raised on the different worlds and within formations with competition for promotion. This culture of competition has always been regarded with amusement by other more laid back parts of the French Army and is used as a stereotype in lampooning the Coloniale. Individual soldiers and officers are also competitive over their annual confidential reports which govern their postings and promotions.
One notable part of the Coloniale culture is the centralised control of promotions. NCO promotions are examined at a planetary level while officer promotions must be ratified by the Coloniale HQ in Paris. This centralisation is a result of the improper use of patronage in the early years of the Coloniale which resulted in politically well connected officers being promoted faster than their colleagues. In response the centralised system was introduced which has proved fairer, although it has slowed the rate of promotion somewhat and reinforced the highly competitive culture of the Coloniale.
Like colonial soldiers from every nation the Coloniale pride themselves on their adaptability, flexibility and ability to ‘get things done’.. Lacking the massive resources of the Armée Métropolitaine the Coloniale relies on self-help first, knowing that the lines of communication back to Paris are very long and the time taken to make decisions is even longer. Consequently the Coloniale has developed a very proactive command style which can sometimes cause political problems back on Earth.
Lastly loyalty and esprit de corps within the Coloniale is very much focused at the regimental level, as personnel are frequently moved between battalions.
The Coloniale predominantly uses standard issue French Army equipment, although it often finds itself with hand-me-downs from the Armée Métropolitaine. However the Coloniale also has a discretionary budget controlled by the CFCs which allows them to purchase locally produced or environmentally specialised equipment. Canny commanders have used these funds to procure extra or more capable equipment to available to other parts of the French Army.
The Coloniale has also recently made good use of captured enemy equipment not wanted by the Métropolitaine. Manchurian and Germany equipment has been stored away in depots and has been particularly useful in rapidly expanding the Milice on Aurore and resistance cells on Kafer occupied worlds.
The Coloniale’s service rifle is still the FAA-73 7.5mm assault rifle, which although obsolete is still prized for its reliability, stopping power and robustness. The FAM-90 has been introduced by some regiments, including those on Aurore, primarily for the usefulness of its 30mm grenade launcher. In practise it has not been uncommon for French squads to deploy with a mixture of FAA-73s and FAM-90s. The Coloniale have also been great users of machine guns, with some units supplementing their issue M-79s with ex-Manchurian Type-381s for extra high volume firepower.
The Coloniale is officially equipped with the Tenue de Combat Mle 2298 and the old pattern Mle 2245 helmet, the iconic combat ‘blues’ of the French Army. However the Coloniale also has a number of locally procured DPM camouflage fatigue uniforms which are authorised by the CFCs for routine field wear. On Aurore the Coloniale units have strictly worn the TdC98, however as the war spread to other worlds images have emerged of the Coloniale fighting in an array of different uniforms.
The symbol of the Coloniale is a gold eight pointed star which is worn as a badge on headgear and on the écusson on the left arm. The colour of the Coloniale is known as grise, although actually it as a blue-grey colour. This is the colour worn on epaulettes and on the képi and beret. Général Hébert, commander of the Armée de Libération and the most senior Coloniale officer, is rarely photographed without his képi grise which has brought more exposure to the Coloniale.
The Coloniale has several more uniform peculiarities. It wears regimental specific fourragère around the right arm of its dress uniform. The Coloniale wear simple rank epaulettes and not the more elaborate épaulettes de tradition.. Lastly the service wear a wide ceinture around the waist, the colours of the ceinture are dependent on the world the particular unit has been raised on. For example the Coloniale units from Nouvelle Europe have a mainly red ceinture with a band of grise in the centre.
The Coloniale never adopted the Tenue de Parade Mle.2289 for its parade dress uniform and instead continues to wear the old Tenue de Parade Mle.2267. This is a khaki two piece uniform which is worn with the ceinture, fourragère and képi grise.. There are two main walking out dress orders, one for cold seasons and one for warm. The cold season dress is similar to the TdP67 but is in white and with a longer jacket and is not worn with the ceinture. The summer walking out dress is a shirt and slacks of a lighter brown colour but it is worn with all accoutrements. It should be noted that there are several local variations of Coloniale walking out dress.
Below: A soldier of the I/4e RIC photographed in walking out dress at a Beowulf orbital station en-route to reinforce the garrison at Kimanjano as news of the fall of Hochbaden spreads down the French Arm.
Général de Corps d’Armée Jean-Pierre Roland
Jean-Pierre Roland is the Inspector-General of Colonial Forces, in short he is responsible for the training standards and efficiency of the entire Armée Coloniale. Roland was born in Nouvelle Provence but moved to Elysia with his parents as a boy. He joined the Coloniale’s 8e RIC as a young man and was soon marked out for officer training because of his drive and fierce intelligence. His officer training took place on Beta Canum but he returned to serve as an officer with 8e RIC. He was a company commander by the time of the outbreak of the Elysian Revolt which tore apart the once idyllic colony.
Roland’s wartime service was close to legendary. He raised 8e RIC’s first Compagnie de Parachutiste de Marche, served as the commander of a highly successful counter-insurgent force raised from the loyalist population in the west of Elysia and eventually as the CO of the V/8e RIC where he averted a mutiny similar to the one that caused the IV/8e RIC to defect. Following the independence of Elysia he became the first commander of I/8e RIC, the loyalist remnant of the Coloniale from Elysia.
Since the war he has risen swiftly through the ranks of senior officers and has commanded the 101e DAM and 9e Corps on Beta Canum. However this swift rise seemed to have been halted by his outspoken attacks on defence policy when Chief of Staff on the Commandement des Forces Coloniale de Beta Canum and he was shunted sideways to a similar position on Adlerhorst. During the Kafer War it was Roland’s combination with Rochemont that revitalised Saint-Benoit’s defences and allowed the rapid formation of 1e RPC. Following the Liberation Roland was pushed forwards by Rochemont to become Inspector-General and overhaul France’s shattered colonial defences. Roland was swiftly put into position but is having trouble overcoming bureaucratic inertia in Paris and is instead taking a very ‘hands on’ approach which is having some success.
Roland has a very sharp mind, is resoundingly competent and is a professionally driven man. Although well liked by his subordinates he is a man who suffers fools very badly and speaks very bluntly to every one. Indeed it is rumoured he recently upbraided the Emperor at a private meeting. He is notorious for holding grudges and in particular despises the Elysian government; he also has poor relations with his German counterparts. He is a Catholic and is married with four children.
Général de Division Joseph Escallien
Joseph Escallien is the commander of the crack 102e DAM stationed on Aurore. Escallien is a Néo-Provençal from the city of Durance in the south of the colony. He was born into a family with a long history of service in the French military and the Coloniale. The third son in a large family he successfully gained entry into the Académie Militaire Coloniale where he performed efficiently and was commissioned into the 5e RIC. The 5e RIC was a hard place for an outsider to gain acceptance but this he eventually managed although he was never at home in the battalion’s ranks.
In the early years of the Central Asian War he saw service on secondment with the 11e DP and then later with a conscript DI. Following this experience he was transferred to the 8e RIC fighting in the Elysian Revolt, he was taken prisoner in a maquis vert ambush in 2290 and released the following year. Since the fall of Elysia he has served with the 10e RIC on Beta Canum. He successfully commanded a Groupe Mobile of Coloniale units on Aurore during 2298-99 and was promoted to command the newly formed 102e DAM in 2301 a position he retains to this door.
Escallien is an efficient and hard working, if not inspired commander, with substantial combat experience. His detractors content that he has had opportunities not available to his contemporaries as a result of family contacts, however if this is true he has undeniably performed with no little ability under pressure. His subordinates respect his ability to succeed in his missions with low loss of life amongst his soldiers. Escallien has always had a somewhat turbulent private life and is twice divorced and has several children scattered around the French Arm.
Lieutenant-Colonel Isabelle Pagny
Isabelle Pagny was the commander of the 5e RCC, she is currently without a command and under investigation for collaboration by military intelligence. Pagny is a Breton who initially served with a regiment of Cuirassiers in the Central Asian War as a conscript, she was commissioned from the ranks and served throughout the war. She then transferred to the Coloniale and the 5e RCC as a recognised manoeuvre warfare specialist and as well as serving with that regiment, aided the formation of both 8e and 9e RCCs.
During the invasion of Beta Canum she was the commander of 5e RCC and led it into its famous last stand. Pagny was captured during the battle following the destruction of her AC-8 along with nearly 50 survivors of the regiment. The PoWs of 5e RCC were kept in appalling conditions and many died from ill treatment and brutalisation. Pagny began to cooperate with the Kafers in order to gain better treatment for her soldiers, which she achieved prior to the liberation of the camp by elements of 11e DP.
Pagny has since been charged with collaboration with the alien regime by zealous members of the provisional government. The case is seen as a cause célèbre in the Continent Français and it has exacerbated splits across colonial society. Pagny was married but her husband was killed during the occupation, she is childless.
Caporal-Chef Simon Koba
Simon Koba is a soldier serving in the 1e RPC. Simon Koba is a native of Saint Benoit on Adlerhorst. He initially served in the 9e RIC in the years following the Central Asian War and saw action on his homeworld in the War of German Reunification. Following the armistice Koba left the Coloniale and pursued a career as a farmer on the fringes of the French colony. With the Kafer War in full swing he was recalled as a reservist to 9e RIC and was soon dispatched to be an NCO in a newly raised Milice battalion. When news reached Koba of the formation of the RPC he volunteered to serve with it and was accepted. He served with the regiment throughout its campaigns.
Koba is a well built man of central African extraction. A natural soldier, he has excelled with the hard-fighting RPC, bringing on the younger soldier and proving an inspiration in action. He has been decorated personally by Admiral Rochmont for his bravery. Nevertheless with the high tide of the Kafer Invasion in retreat he longs to return home to his farm, wife and children. He knows however that it may be several years until this comes to pass.
Virtually all Ground Military careers of frontier born-French will be with the Coloniale. Core born French citizens can also join the Coloniale, either directly as officers (Leadership and Tactics required in the first term of service) or as NCOs after passing a turning point.
Combat Rifleman – 3, Heavy Weapons – 2, Melee – 2, Hover Vehicle – 1, Ground
Vehicle – 1, Survival – 2 and First Aid – 1
Combat Skills, Ground Vehicle, Hover Vehicle, Stealth, General Skills (except
The average Coloniale unit has a skill breakdown of 15% Green, 35% Experienced, 35% Veteran and 15% Elite. However many units are more highly trained and experienced and will consequently include greater proportions of Veteran and Elite Personnel. Similarly many units were totally destroyed in the Kafer War and are being rebuilt with largely inexperienced recruits in addition to experienced leaders.
The Coloniale is described in some detail in the military section of the Aurore Sourcebook, however there are few other references in other works on which to build. However the Aurore SB does provide the basic framework of multi-battalion RICs each drawn from a single world and a similar approach with RCCs of battalion size being drawn from individual colony worlds.
The Aurore SB is, however, heavily influenced by the French forces (the CEFEO) that fought in the war in Indochina in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Indeed at times it depicts an army more akin to that of France post-WW2, than one you would expect from a power primus inter pares amongst starfaring nation. The structure depicted is heterogeneous and some details, reservists using Italian equipment and Manchurian weapons, do not seem appropriate for the France described in the core manuals.
However while the Aurore SB’s descriptions of the fighting units are fine, it does little to detail higher levels of command. In particular I think it overlooks a lot of the infrastructure which could only be provided by the Coloniale, especially when the Armée Métropolitaine is described as rarely deploying outside of Metropolitan France.
Consequently the Coloniale, as the colonial regular force must be responsible for providing the framework organisation for French military operations in the colonies. This contradicts the Aurore SB’s statement that the Coloniale are ‘second line of defence’ for the colonies. To take this statement at face value raises the question as to what the first line of defence is – the Armée Métropolitaine is ruled out already, the Troupes de Marine are described as too small, the Milice Coloniale is a volunteer reserve. The only remaining alternative is the Légion, which is very unlikely.
As a result I have depicted the Coloniale as an army in its own right, providing support services as well as combat units and being the backbone of colonial defence while also supporting the Milice and Gendarmes Coloniale. I have kept the Aurore SB’s regimental structure almost intact. The only exception is the 1e RCC which is raised on Tirane, as Nouvelle Provence is actually a part of Metropolitan France I have written up this unit as being part of the Armée Métropolitaine whilst retaining its old Coloniale title. (Real world examples of this are the presence of Spahi and Zouave units in the modern French Army long after the disbandment of the Armée d’Afrique.)
The Aurore SB depicts the Coloniale as being slightly behind the state of the art in terms of equipment and I have kept to this depiction as it is not unreasonable for a colonial force. The presence of AC-12s in the Coloniale orbat is noted in the Ground Vehicle Guide.
Clayton, Anthony – Paths of Glory: The French Army 1914-18 – (London, Cassell, 2003)
Clayton, Anthony – Three Marshals of France: Leadership After Trauma – (London, Brassey’s, 1992)
Haythornthwaite, Philip J – The World War One Sourcebook - (London, Arms and Armour Press, 1992)
Horne, Alistair – A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 - (London, Macmillan, 1977)
Windrow, Martin – The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam - (London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2004)
17 July 2004
Copyright D Hebditch, 2004
Thanks to Laurent Esmiol for feedback and corrections. The figure of the Coloniale soldier is by Laurent Esmiol.