Free France Campaign

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bru888
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Free France Campaign

Post by bru888 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:20 am

ColonelY, and anybody else who is interested:

No promises, and it would be quite a while because right now my top priority is Winter War 1940, but talk to me some more about a possible Free France Campaign, if you will. Ideas, factoids, vignettes, maps, photos?

Here's what I have compiled of the Colonel's input so far:
ColonelY wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:22 am
:!: Want some challenge? :wink:

Actually, there is a great campaign that has yet to be created: a Free France campaign, which could contain at least eleven or twelve main historical scenarios... :idea:

This includes: the (failed) operation in front of Dakar, the Gabon campaign, the Eritrea campaign, the Syrian campaign, some hard desert fightings (the heroic actions at Bir Hakeim in Libya, then El Alamein in Egypt), the Tunisian campaign, the Italian campaign, a landing in Provence, the siege of La Rochelle (where the Allies were commanded by a Free France general), the Battle of Alsace, the Battle of the Authion... :D

So naval operations, landings, battles in the desert, many "factions" involved, etc. In short: many ingredients for an epic saga! :wink:
ColonelY wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:10 pm
I do hope to see this project come to fruition. :D

I might even be able to be somewhat helpful with a few tricks :wink:, such as little-known facts, some of the units involved, etc.
ColonelY wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:33 pm
Just an example: it could allow to pay tribute to "Les Rochambelles", the most famous nurses of the Second World War. :idea:

Their name pays homage to the Count de Rochambeau, a French officer made famous during the American War of Independence. Its founder was the American Florence Conrad, a former nurse who had participated in the Great War. But the followings is of more interest for us right now:

In 1943, in New York, Florence Conrad recruited young French volunteers who wanted to actively participate in the liberation of Europe. These volunteers went to Morocco to join the 2nd Division Blindée. Arriving in France in August 1944, they faced the fury of the fighting.

At the controls of their ambulances Dodge WC54, these nurses intervene in first lines. Les Rochambelles evacuated the wounded, took care of them and gave them first aid. From Paris to Strasbourg, as far as Hitler's Eagle's Nest, these courageous nurses accompanied the famous French Leclerc's Division. :D

:arrow: So, they could for example be added via an event when the time comes, appearing with a "Medical Jeep" core-unit named "Les Rochambelles", couldn't they ? :wink:
ColonelY wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:22 pm
:D Free France campaign:

This one would be somehow challenging to develop amongst others because it is (again! :evil:) rather difficult to gather information about the units opposed to the British and Free French at the beginning of the campaign… :roll:

For the Free France units themselves (and their Allies), it’s much easier 8), even if sometimes different sources say that there was this cruiser involved instead of that one, or few things like this – but it’s in principle not that much.

I’ve read few times the three books entitled “Mémoires de guerre” and written by Général De Gaulle (who has played a crucial role in all this!)… so, it should definitely be possible to find some good and reliable information about this Free France campaign, for sure! :D

But some adaptation will anyway be required. An simple example? There it is:

The British had brought, among of course many other ships, a carrier in front of Dakar: the Ark Royal. It was then carrying some Swordfish bombers (that’s fine for OoB) AND as fighters some old Blackburn Skua… And these planes are NOT in OoB right now! :o
:arrow: So, what shall one do about it?
1. Give up this whole campaign? It would be such a pity!
2. Add this unit, making thus a mod? This is an option, but it may be a little difficule to handle the 3D-models part of it and, for example, the CSD Studio works now without mods…
3. Or simply replace these planes with the closest ones available in the game? :idea:

I would vote for this last option! :wink:


Well, for me, we do the best we can with the means at our disposal (game possibilities, historical documents, etc.), we stay within the realm of plausibility for everything else... and we keep the fun of playing, the enjoyability! :D
And that's all. :wink:
At least, that's my conception of this game and of the development of the campaigns...
ColonelY wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:40 pm
For the little anecdote, the Free French piloted themselves two “Luciole touring” aircraft who took off from the carrier Ark Royal in order to throw leaflets of sympathy to the defenders of Dakar inviting them to join them…

A lot of fun and historical anecdotes awaits us within such a campaign! :D
ColonelY wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:11 pm
Oh, and by the way, when I’ve written that the Free French have taken part in the battle of El Alamein, I was of course thinking to the second battle of El Alamein… :wink:

The 2nd battle (from the 23th of October to the 3rd November 1942), and not the 1st battle (from the 1st to the 27th of July 1942). To not be confused either with the battle of Alam el Halfa (from the 31st August to the 5th September). 8)
ColonelY wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:48 am
bru888 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:43 pm
CoolDTA wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:13 pm

I think this would be a very interesting campaign. It'd have many battlegrounds, some of which are covered quite rarely in wargames like for instance Italian East Africa and Syria. :)
I have to admit, this idea is growing on me.
:D It would be so great! 8)


The Free France contribution to the war effort wasn't in any way negligible at all, as the Free French forces have actually played a CRUCIAL role in the Second World War; they may even have fought a battle that has changed the ENTIRE course of the war :!: : Bir Hakeim, 1942, versus Rommel's Afrika Korps! (It was their very first opportunity to strike again the Germans on a large scale...)

There about 3'700 men (at least! :wink:) resisted for more than two weeks to an enemy up to ten times more numerous... It is said that it became, per square meter, above Verdun in terms of artillery bombardments and above Stalingrad in terms of air bombardments... :shock: The French have had time to prepare themselves (but without knowing what was going to happen to them!); still, it was quite the challenge!

More info here for example: :wink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNTJRm46ee4


:arrow: I do really, really hope to see a Free France campaign come to fruition. :D


Already some more info to this regard: :wink:
1. Before this major battle of Bir Hakeim, the Free French had launched raids into the desert to capture some Italians... sometimes they succeded (so maybe a small scenario covering this "tiny" part, before the main battle's scenario?).
2. Many of the Free French were actually wearing the British colonial helmet (so some of the units of the Free French could use in OoB the British "Colonial Infantry" unit with their own flag)...
3. The fighter group "Alsace" and the bombing group "Lorraine" had been fighting since October in the skies over Cyrenaica, alongside the British. :wink:
4. French paratroopers were training... and had the opportunity to act several times. Some small scenarios related to their actions could also be added as well...
5. Before this famous battle at Bir Hakeim, the Free French had then two ways to act: to push towards Fezzan, from Chad, the Saharan column prepared for a long time by Leclerc, or to engage in Libya, alongside the British, the mobile forces set up in the Levant by Larminat. General De Gaulle decided to do both; the "Front du Tchad" was to remain a truly French front, but Leclerc had to wait to push hard towards Fezzan until the situation in Cyrenaica turned to the advantage of the Allies... Larminat commanded two light divisions and an armoured regiment; the 1st Light Division, commanded by Koenig, settled at Bir Hakeim...
Regarding the option to "simply replace [units not available to the Free France faction] with the closest ones available in the game," most definitely that is possible. The Free France faction is extremely limited as to available units but the regular French faction has a bit more, and I can always borrow from the British and Americans (quite historically, I might add).
- Bru

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by gunny » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:29 am

Yeah with the Free French ya can get some partisans and you could give em some experience ...
ff1.png
ff1.png (748.75 KiB) Viewed 2343 times
they can operate behind enemy lines ... with no supply ...
ff2.png
ff2.png (957.19 KiB) Viewed 2342 times

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by raxulus2 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:41 am

Yes, that's something interesting with a lot of unusual battles againts the opposing french armies (Vichy versus Free french) :?
A really good idea and not very often tested. :D

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:49 am

Great! :D

So, here are already more info:

:arrow: Main battles, campaigns, Free French units in presence, as well as few nice photos: http://www.francaislibres.net/pages/page.php?id=277

Well, of course it's in French; if needed, the copy-cup possibilities with some good online translator (as https://www.deepl.com/translator) could help. :wink:

:arrow: The three (big :roll:) books of "Mémoires de guerre" of General Charles de Gaulle... I have read them few times and they are an excellent source as well, therefore I could really provide some help if the project materializes...

I think that a Free France campaign should begin with the Operation Menace, in front of Dakar! :D
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by Erik2 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:30 am

Interesting project.

Board games can be valuable sources.
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpa ... ch-general

1940-41 stuff.
http://france1940.free.fr

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:05 am

Suggestion of campaign description:


"France has fallen, but at the instigation of the General Charles de Gaulle it could rise again like a phoenix! Even if Pétain's French government in Vichy collaborates with the Germans, the fight against the Germans must continue. France must be liberated from its Teutonic occupier, the Free French must help the Allies in this War - only then can France regain her dignity and hope to sit as an equal with the Allies on the day of the much hoped-for final victory.

In London, thanks to the support of Winston Churchill himself, the General Charles de Gaulle has spoken from 6 p.m. on the BBC the 18th June 1940. Answering his Call, which is about to become famous, many brave guys begin to gather themselves in Great Britain. There is for example the "Division légère alpine" returning from the (desastrous) Norwegian campaign, thousands of soldiers wounded in Belgium before being hospitalized in England, a few units of the "Légion étrangère", ships, many volunteers, as well as even few planes stolen by their crews to the Vichy's government, all these braves are gathering in England.

In short, Free France already has now some means, the beginning of an organization and a certain popularity. It's the time to start the ascent all over again!

So even though Hitler has won the first round in Europe, the second round is about to start... in Africa! The Africa, where fighting is already under way, as the Axis forces are aiming for Suez...

For the Free French, there is nothing to expect at the moment from Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia. It is much more promising in French Equatorial Africa, with its four French colonies: Chad, Congo, Gabon and Ubangui. Indeed, Chad, Congo and Ubangui soon join the Free France movement, as does Cameroon! On the other hand, for Gabon to join the cause, it will certainly require a real commitment of forces...

But first of all, we must consider the case of the Senegal's capital, the city of Dakar!
"


So what about something like this? 8)
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:17 am

And about this first scenario description AND the briefing... :wink:

"If we could control Dakar, a lot of new ressources will go to our war effort and this great base would make it much easier for our Allies the British in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Any action without the support of the Royal Navy is impossible, but its ships are also required to cover England and act in the Mediterranean ... The Royal Navy will not be able to stay in these waters for very long, so rapid and direct action will be required.

So Churchill and me, the General Charles de Gaulle, agreed on Operation Menace: a huge and impressive squadron that appears in the morning (psychological impact!), planes throwing sympathy leaflets over the city, flags of various nations flying in the wind, parliamentarians with white flags sent in two small speedboats to offer the city to join the Free French...

Oh, we expect of course a few cannon shots "for the honour", but that's all.

Alas, the HQs, less convinced than Churchill of the importance of the operation or the chances of success, have actually cut back on the means initially planned; it is for example no longer question of an available Polish brigade... Worse still, as a result of few mistakes by the British, several French cruisers from Toulon were able to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar and settle in the port of Dakar... Worse still, the Dakar garrison has no intention at all of joining the Free French Forces: Their AA guns fire on the planes throwing leaflets, our speedboats come back as quickly as possible under machine gun fire despite the white flags!

So the hostilities began, with some French on each side! The initial plan doesn't clearly work as planned...
"

-------

To start the briefing, maybe something like this: (with as basis the top part of this colored picture or something: https://www.google.ch/imgres?imgurl=htt ... 3749165572 )

"Hello boys! I'm General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, and recognised such by the British Government of Churchill himself.

If I had been listened to at the time, everything would have been different, because I was then advocating the reorganization of the French army in order to have highly mobile concentrations of armoured forces... the German Blitzkrieg could then have been countered much more effectively.

But there's no shortage of work, so let's cut to the chase!


-> THEN ABOUT THE ACTUAL SCENARIO OBJECTIVES DIRECTLY...
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:56 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:31 am

And here already some map - although I've seen some really better about Dakar around 1940... But still, anyway, there is this little one already: https://www.google.ch/imgres?imgurl=htt ... 3749768817

Vichy's defenders: This little map shows at least the position of main coastal guns :D; moreover, there was an airfield at Ouakam and at least 2 forts - one in an island (Fort Gorée) and one in the Cape Manuel (Fort Manuel)... Plus a famous railroad Dakar-Niger and a big port (including places for submarines).

It shows as well Rufisque, location of a (potential) landing in this scenario...

It's not about deserts here, but many more open terrain, a lot of swamps as well as few forests, few lakes and a river... plus beaches, of course and some mountains ("Les Mamelles"); such a map should as well show le "Cap Vert"... :wink:


As well a picture of this historic element: https://www.google.ch/imgres?imgurl=htt ... 3750274877
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:56 am

Already some anecdotes/events related to the Dakar scenario: :D

1. These "Luciole touring" aircraft already mentionned, and parlementarians on a speedboat...

2. There was a small dispute between Charles de Gaulle and the English Admiral Cunningham. This operation was to be a Free French operation with the English just in support, but Admiral Cunningham wanted to offer hospitality to Charles de Gaulle aboard his own old battleship Barham and, in exchange, take command of all the forces himself. Charles de Gaulle refused, of course! He decided to stay on the Westerland or the Pennland, two Dutch ships flying the French flag (or the Free French flag probably; those ships were carrying some Free French troops). -> :idea: So, there should be (amongs much heavier ships) these two "merchant ships" with the corresponding names, as well as an event to talk about this, as well thus as a secondary objective to not let those two ships sink! :wink:
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:10 am

Erik2 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:30 am
Interesting project.

Board games can be valuable sources.
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpa ... ch-general

1940-41 stuff.
http://france1940.free.fr
Thanks a lot for your interest and those sources. :D


Such a campaign has never been done before on OoB. It could contain lots of great anecdotes, lots of fun, and amongst others pay tribute to the impact of these somehow "irreducible" people... 8)

But to develop this campaign, to take up this challenge, one would need at least really competent and experienced OoB people... that's why one could immediately think to the CSD Studio! :wink:

Also, maybe... I hope...
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:37 am

gunny wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:29 am
Yeah with the Free French ya can get some partisans and you could give em some experience ...
Of course, there could as well be few scenarios around the actions of the French resistance :idea: - they have for example been active before the famous landing in Normandy, but not only, of course! :D

The French resistance, it means sabotages (mainly railroads), maquis (sometimes even besieged by the Germans with real assaults), some guerilla urbaine, the British dropping material (like exlosives), the spying and recon activities, etc. A few scenarios on all this would also be an interesting addition and offer a new perspective. :wink:
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:53 am

For the second battle of El Alamein, in terms of maps there is the French page of Wikipédia about it (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seconde_b ... El_Alamein)... all the southern parts of it actually, because it was mainly there that the Free French were (although maybe not those airborne, like paratroopers or airplanes crew). So considering the battle first as a whole for the briefing, then "zooming" on the southern parts of it and having only this part on the real map for the corresponding scenario should do the trick! :idea:

As for the landings on Normandy, one could only highlight a portion of the battlefield... :wink:


But, well, I may not be much good at finding great maps... :(

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by bru888 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:10 pm

Colonel and others, thank you for everything so far. (The Colonel, by the way, deserves the credit for this idea. You may have surmised that from his enthusiasm. :) )

Now, don't be disappointed if you don't see anything for quite a while. I have a prior commitment that I am working on now, for one thing. And, although my designing skills have been honed over the past few years, I am still rather slow in getting a single scenario together, much less a campaign, because I spend a lot of time on the details.

That said, however, this campaign is now definitely on my "To Do" list. So if any of you think of further contributions to make, this is the place.
- Bru

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Re: A Free France Campaign?

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:14 pm

bru888 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:10 pm
That said, however, this campaign is now definitely on my "To Do" list. So if any of you think of further contributions to make, this is the place.
Wonderful, thanks a lot. :D

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Re: Free France Campaign

Post by bru888 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:41 pm

ColonelY wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:14 pm
bru888 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:10 pm
That said, however, this campaign is now definitely on my "To Do" list. So if any of you think of further contributions to make, this is the place.
Wonderful, thanks a lot. :D
Heh, I've taken the question mark out of the thread title! :)
- Bru

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Re: Free France Campaign

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:14 pm

Suggestion of campaign description - version 2 :wink:

Maybe the final "But first of all, we must consider the case of the Senegal's capital, the city of Dakar!" doesn't really represent the importance of the event... :? So, to give more depth to it as well as to depict the overall picture more precisely (and still fully historically), it must be developped... So, maybe something like this, definitely a more complete version: :idea:


"France has fallen, but at the instigation of the General Charles de Gaulle it could rise again like a phoenix! Even if Pétain's French government in Vichy collaborates with the Germans, the fight against the Germans must continue. France must be liberated from its Teutonic occupier, the Free French must help the Allies in this War - only then can France regain her dignity and hope to sit as an equal with the Allies on the day of the much hoped-for final victory.

In London, thanks to the support of Winston Churchill himself, the General Charles de Gaulle has spoken from 6 p.m. on the BBC the 18th June 1940. Answering his Call, which is about to become famous, many brave guys begin to gather themselves in Great Britain. There is for example the "Division légère alpine" returning from the (desastrous) Norwegian campaign, thousands of soldiers wounded in Belgium before being hospitalized in England, a few units of the "Légion étrangère", ships, many volunteers, as well as even few planes stolen by their crews to the Vichy's government, all these braves are gathering in England.

In short, Free France already has now some means, the beginning of an organization and a certain popularity. It's the time to start the ascent all over again!

So even though Hitler has won the first round in Europe, the second round is about to start... in Africa! The Africa, where fighting is already under way, as the Axis forces are aiming for Suez...

For the Free French, there is nothing to expect now from Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia. It is much more promising in French Equatorial Africa, with its four French colonies: Chad, Congo, Gabon and Ubangui. Indeed, Chad, Congo and Ubangui soon join the Free France movement, as does Cameroon! On the other hand, for Gabon to join the cause, it will certainly require a real commitment of forces...

But one thing at a time! For the time being, the city of Brazzavile (Congo) stands as our capital, the capital of the Free France. And currently, we must consider the case of the city of Dakar!

Dakar is of course the capital of Senegal, but above all Dakar is now the capital of the French West Africa, with its eight French colonies: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan, French Guinea, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Dahomey and Niger.

May Dakar join our cause, and it won't go unnoticed.


:D
Last edited by ColonelY on Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Free France Campaign

Post by bru888 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:20 pm

This really is great stuff, Colonel, and I appreciate your taking the time to share it. Believe me, it will be quite useful when the time comes.
- Bru

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Re: Free France Campaign

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:36 pm

bru888 wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:20 pm
This really is great stuff, Colonel, and I appreciate your taking the time to share it. Believe me, it will be quite useful when the time comes.
Thanks. I plan to continue making few searches (including in the Memories of Charles de Gaulle) and putting here the info I think relevant for the sake of this future campaign... :D

Of course, this will take some time as well. :wink:


:idea: When the campaign will be in development, I think it will be good to make the first few scenarios available quite "soon", I mean without waiting to have all of the campaign scenarios almost ready (as for example in the beta Winter War 1939). So more like a mini-campaign in between or something. This will allow us to test them "as they develop", and to check directly whether there is any issue, as well as their enjoyability and to check too if there are any anecdotes or historical events to add, etc. Once the first part will be fine, then few scenarios (a next small bunch of them) could be added then checked, etc. That way it will be easier, I think, thanks to a smaller scale work. :wink:

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Re: Free France Campaign

Post by ColonelY » Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:45 pm

Phew, finally found a good quality map of Dakar for (more or less) the period under consideration: :D http://1886.u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr/items/show/9378

We see the terrains, with colors, it's zoomable, etc. It has been made by the Geographical Service of the Army... So, that should be fine!

For this scenario, one should go enough eastwards at least to see Rufisque (around which a landing had been planed and, in real, just at the last moment aborted).

:arrow: Actually, this one is even better... same source, a little later (so closer to the period of interest for us) : http://1886.u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr/items/show/9366

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Re: Free France Campaign

Post by Zekedia222 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:04 pm

It seems quite fortunate that there is at least one person with a wealth of knowledge on whatever campaign you choose to do. DTA provided maps which are important for the Winter War, and now Colonel is a fountain on the Free French.

Perhaps next you could do an East Afrika campaign, with colonial British infantry, against lower year Italian infantry.
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