Help support TMP


"Kickstarter Vichy French Armée du Levant " Topic


41 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please remember that some of our members are children, and act appropriately.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Not found! Message Board

Back to the Bolt Action Message Board

Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board

Back to the WWII Models Review Message Board


Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

Featured Hobby News Article


Featured Link


Featured Ruleset


Featured Showcase Article

WWII Germans in Winter Clothing

Combatpainter Painting Studio delivers more reinforcements for our WWII winter Germans.


Featured Workbench Article


Featured Profile Article

Axis & Allies: Tiger Heaven BatRep

A German assault group clashes with an Allied force in the wide-open plains of Tiger Heaven.


Featured Book Review


4,162 hits since 31 Mar 2015
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

lou passejaire01 Apr 2015 6:33 a.m. PST

"Contrary to popular belief the French did not stop fighting after the fall of France in the summer of 1940, French troops fought around the globe against a wide variety of enemies on several different continents, nor did they all fight for De Gaulle. Soldiers loyal to the Government of France fought bravely to defend their Empire from all invaders. They ended up fighting British and Commonwealth troops, the Americans, South Africans, Japanese, Americans, Germans and other Free French in a series of battles from border skirmishes in deepest Africa to resisiting full scale invasions in Syria, Vietnam, Madagascar and North Africa.

The goal is to create a range of 28mm Colonial French figures for the 2nd World War which are suitable for use in a wide variety of settings. The basic goal is to get 10 metal figures with a set of differing detached heads into production, allowing them to be made as regular colonial troops with either an Adrian or sun helmet, as French Foreign Legion in Kepis or as Senegalese Tirrallieurs in chéchia. The uniform is the 1937 summer dress which was issued widely in Syria, Madagascar and Indochina to all troop types. Should enough funds be raised support, command and artillery troops will be added to this project."

it's here : link

picture

Rebelyell200601 Apr 2015 6:51 a.m. PST

They ended up fighting British and Commonwealth troops, the Americans, South Africans, Japanese, Americans, Germans and other Free French
Kinky

You said Americans twice.

(neat idea too)

IainAF01 Apr 2015 7:25 a.m. PST

They like fighting Americans!

lou passejaire01 Apr 2015 8:45 a.m. PST

They mostly saw action against Free French and British and Commonwealth troops during the Syria Lebanon campaign, and Americans were still Neutrals :o)

British and Commonwealth and Free French were the good ones
Axis and Vichy French were the evil ones !
Americans were neutrals …

christot01 Apr 2015 10:15 a.m. PST

lots of folk ended up fighting the French..it's more a question of how much they fought back …..

IainAF01 Apr 2015 2:04 p.m. PST

Lou – we were riffing on Blazing Saddles mate.

Glengarry501 Apr 2015 5:07 p.m. PST

The Americans fought French Vichy forces in Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. While opposition was spotty the Vichy forces at times offered serious resistance and inflicted casualties on the Anglo-American invasion force. Not entirely neutral then…

ottenfeld03 Apr 2015 6:34 a.m. PST

It's a fascinating little campaign and I wish you all the best with this project. I am currently building a 20 mm force for this campaign.

BlackWidowPilot Fezian03 Apr 2015 11:28 a.m. PST

{quote]it's more a question of how much they fought back …..


You mean like Stonne where the town changed hands seventeen times in two days? The same charming little French town where WW2s first tank ace Capitaine Pierre Billotte rampaged down main street butchering a baker's dozen of Panzer IVs, IIIs, and any IIs that didn't get out of the way of Billotte's Char B1bis fast enough…?evil grin


Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

cgh129230 Jul 2015 8:17 a.m. PST

And it's back for a second go.

link

Thomas Nissvik31 Jul 2015 1:25 a.m. PST

I have it on Reminder. If I have money enough, I will jump in. The figures look great.

cgh129231 Jul 2015 11:19 a.m. PST

And a teaser shot.

[URL=http://s968.photobucket.com/user/cgh1969/media/DSCF3325.jpg.html]

[/URL]

cgh129209 Aug 2015 11:20 a.m. PST

[URL=http://s968.photobucket.com/user/cgh1969/media/DSCF3329.jpg.html]

[/URL]

Mark 109 Aug 2015 8:23 p.m. PST

>British and Commonwealth and Free French were the good ones
>Axis and Vichy French were the evil ones !
>Americans were neutrals …

Why do you classify the French as "evil" with the Axis?

France was neutral in the second half of 1940 and 1941, just as the U.S. was. The difference was the Britain repeatedly attacked French possession. If the British had launched unprovoked attacks against U.S. possessions, would we suddenly classify the U.S. as evil?

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

GGouveia12 Aug 2015 10:35 a.m. PST

Mark really???? The Vichy were supporting the Nazis. Clearing a true Frenchmen would consider the Vichy as evil. True Frenchmen would of obviously not viewed British commando raids on German held ports and uboat pens as invasions. You actually speak like you think the French wanted to be taken over by the Nazis that is ludicrous.

The Young Guard12 Aug 2015 12:15 p.m. PST

French politics at the time are far too complicated. To say that the they were evil is a broad statement. To ignore their compliance is foolish.

Mark 112 Aug 2015 10:29 p.m. PST

GGouveia really???? Perhaps I am mistaken. Can you list for me the many attacks that the Vichy regime launched against the British?

Oh, no you can't. Because there weren't any.

France sought to withdraw from the war. They declared themselves non-combattants, and neutral. The British attacked within a week.

Still the French defended their overseas possessions and their fleet against aggression, be it British, German, or other. Germany and Italy were not permitted to use Tunisia, Algeria, or Morocco as staging or logistical bases for their Mediterranean campaigning. Imagine how difficult it would have been to supply Malta if the French had not stood up to German pressures on that point. The Levant was in a little different position, and local officers did allow overflights by transiting Axis aircraft. But still there were no logistical or operational bases for the Axis in the Levant.

> You actually speak like you think the French wanted to be
> taken over by the Nazis that is ludicrous.

And you speak like you have exactly zero understanding that France WAS in fact taken over by the Nazis … AFTER the Vichy regime fell … NOT before!

The Vichy regime existed exactly because France did NOT want to be overrun by Germany. Vichy France existed because of the armistice, which was the best deal the French could get, given that after Dunkirk there were some 140+ German divisions running around on French soil and only about 60+ French divisions, with notably lower combat effectiveness, to resist them. (Oh, and Britain offered 4 new divisions to re-enforce the 1 that was already in France! Hooray for the good guys!)

Vichy France was in fact overrun by the Germans in November of 1942. But not before. And the OP is about Vichy forces, which implies the forces that served FRANCE, not Germany, in the period from June 1940 to November, 1942, when Vichy France was a neutral nation under attack from all sides.

>French politics at the time are far too complicated.

Yes they are complicated. It makes for fascinating study. It also defies simple-minded bipolar views of the world. "For us or against us" denies that there is a THEY, who might just be for THEM.

>To say that … they were evil is a broad statement.

And one that fails to recognize the very simple concept of the French pursuing French interests.

Vichy France was not a German ally. They were not promoting Germany's agenda. They were defending their own. That's what makes wargaming so interesting with the Vichy forces. Britain was spending considerable time and resources fighting someone OTHER than the Axis in 1941. Just because … they could?

>To ignore their compliance is foolish.

There was, without doubt, substantial collaboration. Divided loyalties. Unclear duties. It must have been a VERY difficult time to be French.

But collaboration is a term which could be applied to interactions with both the Germans and the British. For example French military intelligence continued to share their considerable traffic of German military communications intercepts with British intelligence right up through 1942, even AFTER Britain had launched un-provoked attacks against French forces at Mers El Kebir and Madagascar. Talk about collaboration!

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

The Young Guard13 Aug 2015 6:23 p.m. PST

Well said Mark.

I always find it interesting that Vichy gets slated but other axis allies who were also compliant, such as Finland, seem to regarded as somewhat heroic.

Everyone did some pretty dreadful things, albeit some more than others.

Nothing was easily as black and white.

Lovely figures though!

Fred Cartwright14 Aug 2015 4:04 a.m. PST

Mark while I appreciate that you are trying to put the alternative view, you have left out some important points.
As I understand it the treaty between France and Britain specifically forbade any one ally signing a separate armistice so the French were no longer allies at the point they signed a separate peace with Germany. There was also ample reason to suspect that the Germans wouldn't stick to the agreement as subsequently proved to be the case – Munich provides a very powerful example that was fresh in British minds.
At Mers El Kebir the British offered the French a number of alternatives, which would have preserved the French ships and lives. One option in particular, that of withdrawing to US ports was part of the orders that had been given by Navy minister Darlan to the French admiral as an option should an attempt be made to take the fleet. The decision of French admiral Gensoul to fight thus seems quite perverse.
Vichy planes bombed Gibraltar if you are looking for Vichy attacks on Britain.
Britain attached Vichy France because they could?! No – they attacked because:-
(1) They were no longer allies.
(2) They had forces that posed a specific threat to British forces.
(3) Attempts to reach a peaceful compromise had failed.

cgh129214 Aug 2015 9:32 a.m. PST

[URL=http://s968.photobucket.com/user/cgh1969/media/DSCF3330.jpg.html]

[/URL]

It seems that it's still a contentious subject even 70+ years later. But if you subscribe to the KS then you can game the fighting against the British, Americans, Germans and Italians.

And the Japanese…

Mark 114 Aug 2015 7:36 p.m. PST

I always find it interesting that Vichy gets slated but other axis allies who were also compliant, such as Finland, seem to regarded as somewhat heroic.

Yes. But remember, the Finns in truth they were not "axis allies", but rather axis co-combatants. They never had an alliance with Germany, and Finnish troops did not operate under German command. Still, they quite actively participated in the war, and their efforts, while guided by Finnish interests, also promoted Germany's interests.

But they only fought the Soviets. And it seems easy to forgive an active war participant if they never had to defend themselves against British attacks.

Vichy France, on the other hand, made very effort to withdraw from the war and establish neutrality. Now I do not suggest it was a balanced neutrality. Without doubt they were under the microscope by the German Armistice commission, and in order to have any influence over the treatment of the tens of millions of French citizens in the occupied part of France (and the million or so French PoWs that Germany retained) they wound up making many deals with the Germans. But still they were more neutral than the U.S. for example, which at various times wound up actively escorting British merchant ships and hunting U-boats, and they were more neutral than the Spanish, whom Hitler was trying to woo into the war on his side.

The French were trying to be neutral. Except, of course, that the British kept attacking them. It's hard to be neutral when someone is shooting at you.

As I understand it the treaty between France and Britain specifically forbade any one ally signing a separate armistice so the French were no longer allies at the point they signed a separate peace with Germany.

True. The French abrogated their alliance with Britain. And, of course, in the French view, they were abandoned to their fate when the RAF refused French requests for more fighters and actually withdrew those squadrons that remained in France, the British Army withdrew their land forces (not once, but twice). Still, I can not dispute that the French / British alliance fell apart when France was in danger of being fully overrun and left to negotiate with the Germans alone.

There was also ample reason to suspect that the Germans wouldn't stick to the agreement as subsequently proved to be the case – Munich provides a very powerful example that was fresh in British minds.

True. No reason at all to expect the Germans to stick to their agreement. How does that suggest the need to attack the French?

France had only 2 bargaining chips in their negotiations with Germany.
1. The cost to Germany of completing the conquest of France.

The French told the Germans that they would withdraw from the war, and Germany would not longer have to bear the cost of fighting them. There was no doubt on either side that Germany could defeat what remained of the French Army. But it would be costly. As it was Germany suffered substantial casualties in the second half of the Battle of France (after Dunkirk). And the troops needed to garrison the southern 2/3rds of France, and French overseas colonies, were a cost the Germans did not find attractive. So leaving much of France and the overseas possessions in the hands of a neutral-but-compliant France was attractive.

2. The French Fleet
France maintained that the fleet was not available to the Germans no matter what steps they took. To make this true they sailed all of their sea-worthy capital ships away from the mainland to overseas ports. They told the Germans that the fleet would remain neutral so long as France was left neutral. And that it would be to Germany's benefit if the fleet remained neutral.

And Germany responded that the neutrality of the fleet was one of the key requirements of the armistice. In other words, if the fleet did not remain neutral, Germany would re-initiate hostilities against France.

The French fleet was an effective negotiating chip. It helped guarantee the independence of Vichy France. But then the British came to take it away.

At Mers El Kebir the British offered the French a number of alternatives, which would have preserved the French ships and lives. One option in particular, that of withdrawing to US ports was part of the orders that had been given by Navy minister Darlan to the French admiral as an option should an attempt be made to take the fleet. The decision of French admiral Gensoul to fight thus seems quite perverse.

Gensoul was an admiral in the service of the French Navy. He followed the instructions of his government. Would you expect anything else from a British or U.S. admiral?

If he had surrendered his fleet, it would have cost him his country.

In order to "withdraw to U.S. ports" he would have had to de-crew his vessels and sail into the arms of a waiting hostile fleet. If the British did not trust him to sail to U.S. ports with full crews, why should he have trusted the British not to seize his vessels while sailing with skeleton crews under British escort?

Again, would any U.S. admiral have decided differently? Imagine if the Japanese (not yet at war with the U.S.) had simply sailed up to Pearl Harbor and demanded the surrender of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Would we call it perverse if Admiral Kimmel had refused to surrender the fleet or sail it off to Spain under Japanese escort????

No. We would call it perverse if he had done anything other than to fight, to the best of the abilities of his fleet at their moorings, regardless of the cost.

In any case, the result of the British attacks were to drive the majority of the French fleet back to France, where they were only 2 or 3 days away from German capture. What a clever idea!!!

And yet still, after British attacks at Mers el Kebir, Dakar, Madagascar and the Levant, and finally a joint British/U.S. invasion of Morocco and Algeria, when the Germans DID move to seize the French fleet, good to their word to Churchill the French scuttled their fleet, rather than allow the Germans to take it.

The French had NO intention of furthering Germany's cause in the war. Never did. Kept that attitude right to the end. What they did have was an intention to further French interests.

I don't claim that that made them British allies. Only that it did not make them members of the Axis. Spain was not a British ally. Turkey was not a British ally. Switzerland was not a British ally. All of those nations had dealings with the Nazis, but none were members of the Axis, nor allies of Germany, nor active in fighting the British.

The only reason the Vichy French forces fought the British was because the British attacked.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Mark 114 Aug 2015 7:59 p.m. PST

All of that said, I find that the French Armee de l'Afrique / Armee du Levant (same stuff) is one of the most interesting forces to have in a WW2 gaming collection! With this one force you can fight against Italians, Germans, British, American, or even other French forces! And you never have to actually be "the bad guys", you can just be "the French guys".

For those, like me, who won't buy, collect or play Nazi German forces, the French give me an easy way to build up an OpFor for some very interesting early/mid WW2 gaming.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright16 Aug 2015 3:06 a.m. PST

Mark the U.S. Japanese scenario is a straw man argument, pure and simple. I would have expected Gensoul or any other admiral to act in accordance with his orders and if those orders had included withdrawal to neutral ports as an option to have considered it. Such an option did not form part of the negotiations prior to the action and was not communicated to Darlan by Gensoul. Sailing under full crews could have been negotiated if it was a sticking point for the French. The British weren't set on destruction of the French vessels and I'm sure a solution could have been found. So, yes, I do find Gensoul's actions perverse. French admiral Godfroy reached a negotiated agreement with the British over his ships moored at Alexandria. Do you consider him a traitor to his country?

Fred Cartwright16 Aug 2015 3:10 a.m. PST

I would agree the French make a very interesting force with an eclectic mix of equipment, uniforms and troop types. Some fascinating actions too. Of course if there had been no fighting between the allies and Vichy France, there would be nothing to game!

Mark 116 Aug 2015 10:42 p.m. PST

Mark the U.S. Japanese scenario is a straw man argument, pure and simple.

No it is not. The suggestion that an admiral, in command of a substantial fleet, should surrender that fleet without any attempt at defense, to a force that sales up to his port and issues an ultimatum with obvious hostile intent, is not what we would expect from any other navy in the world.

Why would we expect it of the French?

Sailing under full crews could have been negotiated if it was a sticking point for the French. The British weren't set on destruction of the French vessels and I'm sure a solution could have been found.

Sommerville's ultimatum stated:

His Majesty's Government have instructed me to demand that the French Fleet now at Mers el Kebir and Oran shall act in accordance with one of the following alternatives;

(a) Sail with us and continue the fight until victory against the Germans.

(b) Sail with reduced crews under our control to a British port. The reduced crews would be repatriated at the earliest moment.

If either of these courses is adopted by you we will restore your ships to France at the conclusion of the war or pay full compensation if they are damaged meanwhile.

(c) Alternatively if you feel bound to stipulate that your ships should not be used against the Germans lest they break the Armistice, then sail them with us with reduced crews to some French port in the West Indies — Martinique for instance – where they can be demilitarised to our satisfaction, or perhaps be entrusted to the United States and remain safe until the end of the war, the crews being repatriated.

If you refuse these fair offers, I must with profound regret, require you to sink your ships within 6 hours.

Finally, failing the above, I have the orders from His Majesty's Government to use whatever force may be necessary to prevent your ships from falling into German hands.

This ultimatum was, in fact, pretty fare considering the British position. Except of course it was completely unacceptable considering the French position.

Consider …
Sailing the fleet to join the British means the loss of France.

Sailing the fleet to be interred or demilitarized means allowing it to be captured by the British at whim, which means the loss of France.

6 hours, for a nation that has already demonstrated a very slow decision cycle for issues within command control, much less on the other side of the sea, is not enough time to work out a greeting and reply, much less negotiate on delicate issues.

And what room for negotiation does the ultimatum invite? Do what we say or we fire. Not a lot of room there. And then AS THEY WERE ATTEMPTING TO NEGOTIATE the RN launched aircraft that started laying mines in the channel, and the shooting began, and Churchill himself ordered the fleet to attack, and the battleship salvos started falling.

French admiral Godfroy reached a negotiated agreement with the British over his ships moored at Alexandria. Do you consider him a traitor to his country?

As I have stated, it must have been a very difficult time to be French.

What was Godfroy's duty? Hard to say. His ships were not in a French port, in French territory, with French logistics to support him, under French coastal batteries. His ships were in a British port, beholden to British logistics, and under British batteries. I think he negotiated the best deal he could get.

But let us recall at this same time (not now, but then) that De Gaul was considered a traitor by his country … a man who fled his post, ignoring the oaths to his military and political positions, abandoned his 40 million countrymen to their fates, and made big boasting pronouncements from the safety of foreign refuge.

Yes, time changed these views. But at that time …

So put yourself in the position of a career military man. What would your duty have been? Abandon your country and it's people or protect your nation's interests? Protect the troops under your command? Protect your own career?

It must have been a very difficult time to be French.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Fred Cartwright17 Aug 2015 4:07 a.m. PST

Well let me point out to you why it is a straw man.
(1) The U.S. and Japan weren't recent allies who had just been fighting a common foe.
(2) There was considerable hostility between the 2 nations over Japan's actions in China and Japan feeling that the U.S. were denying them access to the resources they needed to expand.
(3) The U.S. was not half occupied by a foreign power who Japan was still at war with.
(4) There was zero chance of any foreign power taking over the U.S. ships and using them against Japan.
So as you can see the 2 situations are completely different, but you use the U.S. Japanese example, clearly ludicrous, knocking down the straw man, to somehow argue that Gensoul's situation was the same. It was not!
As for the room to negotiate we will never know what compromise the British could have accepted. There were enough options there for the French to negotiate over. Yes there was a time limit, but the French didn't even ask for further time. As it was Holland tried for 2 hours to negotiate with Gensoul. Neither he nor Somerville were at all enthusiastic about the prospect of firing on the French fleet, but it seems that Gensoul was not at all interested in negotiating a compromise, a mixture of Gallic pride and pique at Somerville not coming to negotiate personally with him prevented him it seems and he played for time to prepare the French fleet for battle. Holland on leaving the Dunkerque saluted the tricolour and with tears in eyes returned to the British fleet. Both sided wanted the same thing. To keep the French fleet out of the hands of the Germans. Given the reluctance on the part of Somerville for a fight any serious offer from the French I'm sure would have been accepted. But I guess I'm a Somerville looking for a compromise and you are Gensoul who sees fighting as the only option!

cgh129223 Aug 2015 5:28 a.m. PST

Well there's still time to subscribe to the KS, here's the final head variant.

[URL=http://s968.photobucket.com/user/cgh1969/media/DSCF3333.jpg.html]

[/URL]

Winston Smith23 Aug 2015 7:09 a.m. PST

Back on topic… grin
I eod certainly be interested in 15mm Vichy.

Beaumap24 Aug 2015 8:09 a.m. PST

Good luck with the Kickstarter guys.

Fred C – I have tried the same reasoned responses to Mark 1. He says the same kind of stuff on any thread to do with France in WW2. He can't believe that France was already lost, hence the massive obsession with the loss of the fleet. Thank goodness for the Czechs, Poles, Norwegians, Dutch, Danes, Greeks, Yugoslavs etc, who could admit that they HAD lost, so get on with resisting.In essence, Vichy was running the French Colonial empire and part of Metropolitan France for the Germans.

Nazi forces were quick to turn on any nation that did not further their war aims – eg the Italians in Cefalonia in 43. However, Vichy and the Milice behaved exactly as required.

What I do strongly agree with is the statement that it must have been very hard indeed to be a Frenchman in those times. All of us from a different culture will tend to see it a bit differently. To me the Free French who hung back in Syria because they did not want to fight other Frenchmen were doing wrong. They were prepared to let Australians, Indians and British die for them – and then claim the spoils! I cannot escape my Anglo-Saxon world view.

lou passejaire25 Aug 2015 1:47 a.m. PST

don't be silly, during Exporter
the Commonwealth troops suffered 7% losses ( dead and wounded )
the Australians suffered 8% losses
The British and indians 5% losses
the free french suffered 6% losses …
your anglo-saxon world of view ? some kind of blindness !
I have never said the the Anglo-saxon let the french Die for them in Bir Hakeim, then send them to death at El Himmeimat …

Maha Bandula19 Apr 2020 10:02 p.m. PST

I guess this project never saw the light of day?

I know the sculpts may not necessarily receive the most stirring of accolades, especially when compared to the Perry's offerings, but the head options sure are swank.

Richard Baber20 Apr 2020 1:23 a.m. PST

Elheim Figures do French in Tropical uniform an now Senegalese also :) Both suitable for Levant.

Early War Miniatures have also just released a range of Vichy French including guns and crews, they already did FFL for Bir Hakhiem and Senegalese/Algerian/Moroccan colonial troops. All suitable for Levant also :)

Legion 420 Apr 2020 7:28 a.m. PST

I find the Lebanon/Syria Campaign in '41 very intersting. And a little known campaign of WWII to many. I've board wargamed it a number of times in the past.

Richard Baber20 Apr 2020 11:36 a.m. PST

We`ve played 5 games I think, I have 2 more planned.

Legion 420 Apr 2020 1:14 p.m. PST

Pictures & AARs please … grin

wargamingUSA22 Apr 2020 5:37 p.m. PST

I have seen the Elheim Figures French Troops in tropical uniform and the Sengalese commissioned of Elheim by Richard… all wonderful.

(Pics and AARs of Richard's games here… baberonwargames.blogspot.com/. I am looking forward to his next two AARs.)

Richard Baber23 Apr 2020 1:41 a.m. PST

Very kind :)

Legion 423 Apr 2020 6:50 a.m. PST

thumbs up

oldnorthstate08 Jun 2020 4:41 p.m. PST

I suggest picking up a copy of the recently published Spendid and the Vile by Erik Larson.. detailed description of Churchill's decision-making process in dealing with the Vichy agreement with Hitler and the status of the French fleet.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2020 1:19 p.m. PST

Will all the figures be wearing shorts? I could use these for various conflicts that are not tropical. Thanks.

By the way, do not forget that France fought Thailand 1940-1941
link

Richard Baber14 Jun 2020 1:29 a.m. PST

Bodgnar

Both Elhiem and Early War Miniatures do figures for the Royal Thai Army for this period complimented by Vichy troops in tropical gear – so you have forces for both sides :)

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.