The French Army In Team Yankee

The French Army In Team Yankee: Part 1: Tactics
With Frederic Osio

The French Army is a new introduction to Team Yankee as part of the Free Nations book. This new book covers NATO Nations in the European Theater, less numerous and less well-known than the Americans, Germans or British, yet still present in 1985. The aim of this is to explain why the French Army are a fine addition to Team Yankee, why it is a good force in the game and how to get the best out of them.

Personally, I can’t but be happy about the inclusion of the French in Team Yankee as any given citizen from a country which is finally represented in the game. It’s a pleasure to have the possibility to bring the troops of your own nation to the tabletop. I do hope Free Nations will open the gates for other worldwide nations to be represented as well, and for new players to join the adventure.

You will see through reading the book, these articles, and the games to be played in the months to come that the French Army is a very peculiar addition to Team Yankee with a great personality of its own and tremendous selection of options to enjoy. Don’t be afraid of its “awkward” personality, the French may appear to be somehow weaker than the other forces of Team Yankee, but believe me they are absolutely not.They are good and are a force both you and your opponent will have the pleasure of playing with and against.

Tactics and Strategy
First of all, what are the French in Team Yankee? The French are a force revolving around two axis; 
its equipment and characteristics.

By 1984 the French government had launched a significant reform of its Army, reorganizing army structure, staff and equipment. The political situation and geographical positioning of the fictional conflict is to be considered as well and this is quite well represented in Team Yankee.

French army equipment is peculiar. The French have a mix of newer equipment like HOT missiles and old ones like the AMX-30, They are not totally fitted for a 1985 conflict, but in these articles you will see that even with an assorted assemblage of equipment you can still make it work for you.

The French army characteristics are definitely unique. As per every NATO basis army, French units are Hit on 4+. This keeps them in line with the rest of NATO forces and will give them an good survivability. 

French units are “Skill 3+”. This represents the capacity of the French to fight a moving battle by extensively using Orders such as Blitz and Shoot And Scoot. French armor doctrine notably promotes this type of warfare of firing and then getting away from trouble or moving out of cover to fire at full effect.

The French Army In Team Yankee

Lastly, French units are “Morale 5+”  baseline. This is probably the most disputable characteristic of the French army but one that make them very special compared to other NATO forces and Nations. Let’s consider that the French army is here to fight, is as good as any others but are reluctant to stay in the fight if things get too hot. I believe this will make a lot of players discuss and express their views, but bear in mind that it truly gives the French a specific nature and this disadvantage has been well taken into account while designing the army.

The French briefings take both elements into account to provide players both playable and enjoyable armies to be fielded in Team Yankee. The French have all the equipment to make for a good Team Yankee army: Tanks (AMX-30), Recce (AMX10RC), Infantry (both in AMX10P and VAB), Anti-tank (Milan and Mephisto), Artillery (AMX AuF1), Helicopters (Gazelle), Aircraft (Mirage), and Anti-air (AMX13 DCA and AMX Roland).

Free Nations provides the French with four briefings : Escadron Blindé, Escadron de Cavalerie, Chasseurs, and Infanterie. Note, you will not see the Force d’Action Rapide (FAR) or Legion. These are not regular French Army as described in the Free Nations. However Team Yankee is sufficiently broad enough to allow players to field something very close to the FAR and Legion.

The French Army In Team Yankee

Before getting into detail you will see these briefings bring rather small companies to the battlefield. While other Nations can field lots of Units in their Formation it’s not the case for the French. French army companies have between three and five Units (+ HQ). This emphasizes the “leave to fight another day” nature of the French as designed for Team Yankee. On the other hand both the low morale and small companies, combined with lighter equipment translates into inexpensive troops compared to their actual fighting abilities. Bear in mind you will get veteran troops that are hard to hit with good skills to move around the battlefield. They are only disadvantaged when checking if they can keep in the fight.

The whole strategy of the French in Team Yankee is based on those factors. With low armour, low morale, and low “staying power”, one on one most of the French will be outmatched by NATO and can even struggle against WARPACT but they have all the tools to even out these matches to increase significantly the odds in their favour. For example, for the cost of one Leopard 2, The French can have four AMX30s. The AMX30 definitely doesn’t match the firepower, resilience, and mobility of the Leopard 2, but you do have four of them compared to only one Leopard 2. Not doing the same job but still doing their job very well. They compenstate for their weaknesses through the use of both Blitz move and Shoot & Scoot with the capablity to bring a tremendous firepower to an area of the battlefield, crushing opposition and disappearing before the opponent can react. They are definitely not a horde army, but are not an elite army either. They sit somewhere in the middle. Don’t worry, you have plenty of options to get the right tool for the right job.

The French Army In Team Yankee

So, what role fits the French best in Team Yankee? At first sight, you would say they have interest in being Attacker. The main reasons being:

Their firepower is more efficient not moving than mobile. For instance, 105mm guns have ROF2 stationary / ROF1 moving. Also, the French are provided with Milan Missiles which have Moving ROF 0. However, by Attacking, they know where the opponent is, and can deploy efficiently to bring their full firepower in force. The French do also have some good Artillery which are always useful for pounding a defensive line for few turns. 

Low staying power means they have to pick their fight carefully. By being on offence they can identify before-hand where the enemy opposition will be, and manoeuvre to target weak spots of the battle line, mustering their troops to break it and then move to the next target or go through the line. A good playstyle for the French forces in Attack is to do a pick-and-shoot game. Firing at full effect one round, retreating to more safe ground using Movement Orders, then moving back to position using Movement Orders to fire again, then shifting position using Dash and repeating the process. No plan survives enemy contact, so you may need to shift the order of this pick and shoot game

The French Army In Team Yankee

Being the Defender however, offers good gaming opportunities for the French. Their low staying power can be compensated for in defence by waiting carefully for the enemy to get into the firing lines. Their relative low point costs means a French player could have two units able to cover the same area while another Nation would have only one.

Defending also means having to keep the Objectives which can suit the French. This reverses the rate of fire situation for the French. Using extensively Blitz and Shoot and Scoot is more than recommended here to both avoid enemy fire, relocating, and firing at full effect. Same goes when time come to Assault, an area where French are not exceptional. By Defending the French will need to fend off enemy Assaults and they are quite good at laying down a good defensive fire network so you will find “not being assaulted” easier with the French than trying to deal with an enemy assault.

There are many tactics with the French in Free Nations, and the briefings selection offers plenty of viable combos. Just keep in mind that the French can only soak up damage to a certain point and then they will run when things go awry, but they can bring a tremendous firepower efficiently to a gun fight.

This concludes our first part. You now have a better perspective of French Tactics for Team Yankee and how they can behave in the field. In the next article we will get into details of the briefings starting with French Armour.

Last Updated On Thursday, August 16, 2018 by Luke at Battlefront