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"Questions about Free French Armoured Division 1944" Topic

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898 hits since 18 Jun 2017
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Comments or corrections?

Field Marshal17 Jun 2017 11:55 p.m. PST

Should i just use the organisation for a US armored division to do a Free French one in 1944?

Rich Bliss18 Jun 2017 1:18 a.m. PST

Pretty much. The only real difference is the French have cooler unit names.

uglyfatbloke18 Jun 2017 2:11 a.m. PST

..and better cooking.

Martin Rapier18 Jun 2017 3:11 a.m. PST

Yes, essentially it is a standard US Armoured Div.

The Nafziger on the French Armed Forces in WW2 goes into the various organisational oddities and transitions, largely derived from who equipped them in the first place.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

These sites might help.
Slight variants in org from US. My docs are not around, lots of stuff on modified equipment, French re used etc. in Fr magazines.
Series of articles in Stell Master ( same group as Vae Victis)


They both had M5 and M3A3 stuarts at the same time for ex.

TD had modified naval optics specially made as naval crews wanted to be able to shoot tanks up to 3000m!

Kind of remembers they still had scout cars, and might have had HT 75mm instead of the M8HTMC. Someone more involved in ww2 than me now might check. If needed.

Griefbringer18 Jun 2017 8:03 a.m. PST

..and better cooking.

Considering that a lot of their rations may have come from rations shipped from the US, and that the cooking facilities on the field may not have always been optimal, the chefs may not have always been able to maintain the highest culinary standards…

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2017 8:06 a.m. PST

Depending on the scale of the game, the 2nd DB is standard US. As JcFrog notes, minor stuff. There are variants in US divisions too.
Worth noting this is NOT true of the North African fighting, where French armor is a wild mix of leftover pre-1940 stuff with whatever the US and UK could spare. And it's not true of all the new stuff the French are raising in 1944 as they're being liberated. Units are showing up with old French tanks--sometimes with German modifications--and captured German equipment. Do those only with individual research. But LeClerc is running a US armored division with different insignia. In the right scale you might use some different headgear, but that's about it.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

The French struggled to fill in the gaps in the line. Many units were made up of a majority of colonial troops. After D-Day they proceeded to "whiten" these units and recruit as many metropolitan French as possible.

While they were nearly on par with US divisions in terms of frontline troops they were very thinly spread when it came to all the support, logistics and supply personnel. Which meant problems with maintenance, resupplying ammo and fuel and inevitably few cooks and lousy cooking.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

IIRC, the armored infantry were still organised on the French model, and did not have Garands.

Tgunner18 Jun 2017 4:58 p.m. PST

Battlefront made a nice intelligence briefing on the 2eme for Flames of War. It has quite a bit about the division's TO&E and its history. Here is a link:


Field Marshal18 Jun 2017 8:05 p.m. PST

Thank you for your replies. Very helpful

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 1:24 a.m. PST

It was the Us who suposedly insisted to remove the Blacks from front line fighting…till the end of 44 when more infantry, veteran inf. Rather than ramshackle " volunteers" were sorely needed.

Personal logo foxbat Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 2:48 a.m. PST

"The French struggled to fill in the gaps in the line. Many units were made up of a majority of colonial troops."

Much less so in the Armored Divisions. The 2e DB (Leclerc's) for instance was an almagamation of Free French volunteers who'd been through the Fezzan (the Khoufra raid) and Tunisia campaigns and ex Vichy forces. For instance, the Division was affected the 12e RCA, a unit which had been deployed with its SOMUA S35 in West Africa and had come – by land – all the way to be finally engaged during the Tunisia campaign. They eventually had an encounter with Tigers at Pont du Fahs. But the most colorful unit will be the "Nueve", the 9th Company of the Régiment de marche du Tchad, nearly completely made of REpublican Spanish refugees.

"might have had HT 75mm instead of the M8HTMC"
No, they had M8s. They were commanded by Major Podeur, and were nicknamled "Lance-patates" (potato launchers) in the division.

"In the right scale you might use some different headgear, but that's about it" hardly. You'll perhaps find an Adrian helmet or 2, but the gear is mostly US made (some may have kept some British kit from the good old days). You will have the Spahis (traditionnally caml mounted troops, but these have Greyhounds and Stuarts like all recce units), though, who'll proudly cling to their red "calots". Of course, you'll find plenty of pics of officers in képi, starting with Leclerc himself.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 6:46 a.m. PST

Actually a surprising variety of headgear. For example berets

Or the Regiment Blinde de Fusilers Marins of the Tank Destroyer Regiment of Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division:


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP19 Jun 2017 7:59 a.m. PST

Thank you Marc! Actually, it was the TD berets and the officer kepis I was thinking of. (I suspect you could find some Adrians in 44, but they'd be in the new units raised from the FFI, not in the US-equipped ones.

Where I think you will find the Garands, Minimo--but someone please check. I remember some complaints recorded in the US official history--there's a volume on "Arming the French"--that the French were issued exactly US standard small arms, causing some heartburn. They wanted a higher issue of BARs so as not to have to change their microtactics.

Richard Baber19 Jun 2017 11:14 a.m. PST

My M10 gunners have Bachi hats :)

I also build a GMC 6x6 SP 40mm AA (only used by 2dble)

My halftracks and M8s have funny french names, Most also have French tricolor; one "Ebro" has a Spanish Republican flag in honour of La Neuve. For fun some of the crews have Calot side caps (with blue Marine piping), or kepi or Chechia fez and even French 1940 era motorised helmets :)

Soft skins also have tricolor and french number plates; my troops have tricolor shoulder patches (hand painted).

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