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On Ne Passe Pas - They Shall Not Pass!

On Ne Passe Pass - They Shall Not Pass!
Building a French Great War Force
With Mitchell Kemmis

Today we will be looking at the new French forces available in Great War and what they bring to the battlefield.

First off, I'll look at the French special rules and the tactical options they provide.

They Shall Not Pass
Unfortunately, this rule doesn’t turn your French troops into Gandalf! However, it gives you the re-roll motivation checks to counterattack in assaults, the same as the British Bulldog special rule. This is a great rule that makes it difficult to shift your platoons off objective. It can also be quite handy when attacking to make sure you soldiers continue on with the assault.

1918 saw great changes in the warfare of the Western Front. Russia pulled out of the war, freeing thousands more German troops to push the Allies back huge distances. The Allied counteroffensives, with the new tanks, evolving tactics, and the arrival of the Americans, forced the Germans back towards their own borders and defeat.

Learn more about Great War here...
Great War: World War One Battles of 1918

Quick Fire
This allows you to re-reroll failed to-hit rolls when firing an artillery bombardment, providing you have four 75mm mle 1987 guns in total. Also if your battery has 1-3 guns you don’t need to re-roll successful to hit rolls. This is a great asset on defence, as it will make sure the attacker has to spread their infantry out to avoid being caught under your template. Be careful to protect your guns, though, because as soon as you lose one, you’ll lose the full benefit of the Quick Fire rule.

Trench fighters
This rule is common across most of the forces in Great War, It allows your Veteran Rifle and Pistol teams to hit on a 2+ instead of the normal 3+ in assaults. Combined with They Shall Not Pass, this makes the French great assault units. 

Trench Warfare
This allows Infantry and Gun teams that are Dug In or in Entrenchments to shot over Man-packed or Light Gun teams that are also Dug In or in Entrenchments. This gives you some additional options when setting up your firing arcs for defensive fire, as your gun teams can now be more concentrated and still have line of sight to fire. 

Now that we’ve covered off the French special rules we’ll move on to French lists. One of the unique things about the French lists in Great War is that they are both Veteran lists, the Colonial troops and the Metropolitan troops. Both of these lists offer a very different play style.

On Ne Passe Pas - They Shall Not Pass!

The Colonial troops were made up of men from all across the French empire, ranging from Africa to Indo-China. These soldiers were considered to have a warrior spirit and were fierce warriors. As such, they are given a Fearless Veteran rating. This makes them an ideal force for attacking. Their Fearless motivation will keep them moving, and Trench Fighters and They Shall Not Pass makes them a brutal assault force.

I looked at building Colonial lists with the Clavery’s Chargers box set here...

The Metropolitan troops are the soldiers drawn on from Metropolitan France. By 1918, the Metropolitan troops are tired and weary of war but know they must fight on to repel the Germans from their homeland. To represent this, Metropolitan troops are rated Reluctant Veteran. These are they only Reluctant Veteran troops available in Great War. They also have awesome blue uniforms, which look like a lot of fun to paint. I see the Metropolitan troops as a great defensive list, as you get cheap veteran infantry platoons and still have access to lots of guns.  Also, I don’t fancy trying to advance Reluctant infantry across the battlefield to attack.

On Ne Passe Pas - They Shall Not Pass!

We’ll now look at building some Metropolitan French lists. One of the considerations to how I want to play this list is to make sure I’m the defender. So rather than risk a dice roll, I’m going to make sure I always include a French 75mm Artillery Battery, which makes my company Always Defend.

I also want to include lots of heavy machine-guns. This is because there are several missions in Great War where the defender starts the game pinned down due to the Preliminary Bombardment rule. Being Reluctant, there is a good chance I won’t unpin, so I want to make sure I still have a lot of defensive fire available even if most of my units are pinned down.

With this in mind, let’s look at a 1000 pt list from Metropolitan troops: 

Companie de Fusiliers (Infantry Company) On Ne Passe Pass - They Shall Not Pass!
Headquarters
Companie de Fusiliers HQ 
With 2 x Command Pistol teams 20 points
   Infantry Gun Section with 2 x 37mm mle 1916 guns 90 points
   Sniper team 60 points
Combat Platoons
Fusiliers Platoon
With 1 x Fusiliers Half-Platoon 160 points
Fusiliers Platoon
With 1 x Fusiliers Half-Platoon 1600 points
Fusiliers Machine-Gun Platoon
With 4 x Hotchkiss HMG teams 225 points
Divisional Support Platoons
75mm Artillery Battery
With 2 x 75mm mle 1897 guns 275 points
Total: 990 Points
With this list, I’ve got a strong core Veteran infantry. The Infantry Gun Section performs a few roles for the list: it can be used to knock out enemy infantry and man-packed guns teams hiding in cratered terrain. It can also be called upon to act in an Anti-tank role, although this is not its ideal role.
On Ne Passe Pass - They Shall Not Pass!

Snipers are excellent in Great War, they excel at taking at troops and guns in bullet-proof cover.  They will also help keep the attacker pinned down.

The heavy machine-guns are essential to defence in Great War; they provide you with the volume of fire to stop an assault and weaken attacking platoons as they advance.

The Artillery Battery is there primarily to make me Always Defend. They also make a devastating anti-tank gun with Anti-tank 8 and Firepower 3+ – enough to stop any Panzer in its tracks. 


Next, I’ll expand this list out to 1500 points, which is a standard size game for Great War. I’m really going to focus on my two key considerations here.  First, I’ll add an extra Fusiliers Machine-gun Platoon with four Heavy Machine Guns. This will ensure I still have a lot of volume of fire even if pinned. Second, I’m going to upgrade the 75mm Artillery Battery to 4 guns to allow me to make full use of the Quick Fire rule.  
Companie de Fusiliers (Infantry Company) On Ne Passe Pass - They Shall Not Pass!
Headquarters
Fusiliers Company HQ 
With 2 x Command Pistol teams 20 points
   Infantry Gun Section with 2 x 37mm mle 1916 guns 90 points
   Sniper team 60 points
Combat Platoons
Fusiliers Platoon
With 1 x Fusiliers Half-Platoon 160 points
Fusiliers Platoon
With 1 x Fusiliers Half-Platoons 160 points
Fusiliers Machine-Gun Platoon
With 4 x Hotchkiss mle 1914 HMG teams 225 points
Weapons Platoons
Fusiliers Machine-Gun Platoon
With 4 x Hotchkiss mle 1914 HMG teams 225 points
Divisional Support Platoons
75mm Artillery Battery
With 2 x 75mm mle 1897 guns 545 points
Total: 1485 Points

Finally, I’m going to expand this list to 2000 points and add in my favourite tank from the French Arsenal: the Renault FT-17. If I drop the sniper from my list, I have enough room to fit five Renault FT-17 tanks, three with a 37mm gun and two with MGs. These are an awesome tank for Great War. They’re quite mobile with a 6" move, giving you great mobile element to a largely static list. They have a 360-degree field of fire with a good combination of guns that will allow you to take on anything from infantry to tanks. Not to mention the camouflage pattern on the tanks look brilliant combined with the blue uniforms on the infantry – you will be fielding an amazing-looking army.

On Ne Passe Pass - They Shall Not Pass!
Companie de Fusiliers (Infantry Company) On Ne Passe Pass - They Shall Not Pass!
Headquarters
Fusiliers Company HQ
With 2 x Command Pistol teams 20 points
   Infantry Gun Section with 2 x 37mm mle 1916 guns 90 points
Combat Platoons
Fusiliers Platoon
With 1 x Fusiliers Half-Platoon 160 points
Fusiliers Platoon
With 1 x Fusiliers Half-Platoons 160 points
Fusiliers Machine-Gun Platoon
With 4 x Hotchkiss mle 1914 HMG teams 225 points
Weapons Platoons
Fusiliers Machine-Gun Platoon
With 4 x Hotchkiss mle 1914 HMG teams 225 points
Divisional Support Platoons
75mm Artillery Battery
With 2 x 75mm mle 1897 guns 545 points
Light Char d'Assaut platoon
With 3 x Renault FT-17 (37mm) and 2 x Renault FT-17 (MG) 565 points
Total: 1990 Points

I hope this has given you some good ideas on fielding a French Metropolitan list in Great War. Au revoir!

~ Mitch.


Last Updated On Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by James at Battlefront