The French Army is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. The first permanent army, paid with regular wages, was established under King Charles VII, to resist an English invasion and occupation in the mid 15th century. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in parliament in 1997 and effective as of 2001.
French Army in Southern Victory Edit
When the Great War broke out in 1914, the French Army —with the British — managed to hold the Western Front. However, the French bore the brunt of the war, and combined with the ineffective tactics of their generals led to many soldiers revolting, and by 1917, the French Army could no longer fight the war, forcing France to seek an armistice.
The terms of the peace treaty were hard on the French, and left the Army as nothing more than a glorified police force.
After King Charles XI, champion of Action Francaise, came to power, he began to rearm the army, but the small size of their country made it difficult for them to hide equipment and weapons that were banned by the Germans. After the death of the Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kaiser Wilhelm III refused all demands for a plebiscite, causing the French to declare war on Germany.
The French Army scored their first major victory over the Germans when they successfully recaptured Alsace-Lorraine, by launching a barrel offensive through the Ardennes, but were unable to cross the Rhine. They were more successful in their combined thrust up through the Low Countries into Germany, but the British overshadowed their efforts in that campaign.
After mid 1943, the tide turned against the French and British as the Germans pushed them back through the Low Countries, and into Belgium. The French Army was still proudly defiant after the superbomb destruction of Paris and the death of Charles XI, but was forced to seek an armistice after the collapse of Britain.
French Army in The War That Came EarlyEdit
The French Army was the largest army in the Allied powers when war erupted in 1938. Despite this, the French Army barely moved against Germany when they invaded Czechoslovakia, and abandoned their conquest after the country's collapse.
Although the French army had the most powerful tanks on the battle field, they lacked the radio equipment found in their German counterparts as well as the tactics to use them, though Colonel Charles de Gaulle handled his tanks well enough. The infantry were also crippled by no modern equipment, lacking a light portable machine gun and a sub machine gun.
Despite this, the French were able to mount a successful counter attack north of Paris, using tank tactics copied from the Germans to spearhead their thrust.