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The French Military(no surrender jokes please)

Military French Military Tennyson's Militaries 2003

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#1 tennyson

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:08 AM

I'm going to have to do this one a little differently due to the size of the organization in question. I will devote a single post to each branch of the French armed services, beginning with the French Army, then the Navy and inally thier Air Force. I hope that this will both make the posts shorter and easier to understand and give me some breathing room btween posts to lookup more information. But each post will be in this thread.

The French Army, like the rest of the French military is a force in transition. Budget cuts and the end of conscription in 1996 have necessitated a move to a smaller, all-professional army that will form the core of a flexible, combined arms, rapid reaction combat force capable of fulfilling a multitude of roles. To deal with these responsibilities France maintains the largest and (argueablely) best-equipped rapid reaction force in Europe with dedicated airbourne, marine, mountain warfare, and airmobile brigades. These forces have participated in NATO operations in the Balklands, antiterror operations in France and abroad, intervention in former French colonial possessions in Africa and the defence of the remaining French colonial territories in French Guinea, Taihiti, New Caledonia as well as other islands in the Carrabean, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The French Army has a strength of 169,300 personnel(2001) including 9150 women, with some 90,000 personnel in combat formations.
The Army is organized into:
2 armoured brigades
2 mechanized infantry brigades
2 light armoured brigades
1 mountain infantry brigade
1 airbourne brigade
1air mobile brigade
2 artillery brigades
1engineer brigade
1 signals brigade
1 intelligence and electronic warfare brigade

The French Foriegn Legion adds another
1 armoured regiment
1 parachute regiment
5 infantry regiments
2 engineer regiments

The Marines(they operate under effective Army control)
24 regiments

Special operations forces provide
2 parachute regiments
2 helicopter units for electronic warfare and special operations

The French Army is equipped with 406 LeClerc tanks(the most modern French tank and about equivalent to an M1A1 without the depleted Uranium armour, not all of them may have been delivered yet), 635 AMX-30B2 main battle tanks(upgraded 1960s tanks that traded armour for speed), 337 AMX-10RC armoured reconnaissance vehicles, 192 ERC90F4 "Sagiae" armoured reconnaissance vehicles, 899 VBL M2 armoured reconnaissace vehicles, 713 AMX-10P infantry fighting vehicles, 3900 VAB armoured personnel carriers, 273 155mm AU F1 self-propelled howitzers, 61 self-propelled Multiple Launch Rocket Systems(MLRS, the same system in American heavy units), 105 155mm TR F1 towed guns,363 RT F1 120mm mortors,780 Eryx antitank missle launchers, 1384 MILAN antitank missiles, 135 HOT antitank missile launchers on VAB APCS, 9850 89mm manpack antitank rocket launchers, 9690 APILAS manpack antitank miisle launchers,   774 20mm 53T2 towed antiaircraft guns,  69 HAWK surface to air missiles, 113 Roland series SAM launchers, 30 Mistral manportable SAM launchers

Thier helicopter forces have

154 SA341F and 155 SA342M Gazelle attack heliopters with HOT missiles and 20mm cannons
30SA242 AATCP attack helicopters with upgraded weapons and sensors
4 AS532 reconnaissance helicopters
27 AS532 Cougar transport helicopters
128 SA330 Puma transport helicopters


The French Army's recent operational deployments have been dominated by a combination of NATO peacekeeping missions, commitments to the United Nations, and a large number of low-intensity operations in French-speaking ex-colonial states in Africa and the South Pacific. France as a growing internal security problem particularly with Islamic groups, in southern France and in many large cities. There is also the continiuing risk of conflict in the Basque region, where the Basque terrorist group ETA still maintains arms and supplort networks. In addition the French army is regularly called upon to supply forces to many of its former colonies in response to military coups, rebellions or the simple breakdown of civil control. (France has so many mutual defence treaties with its former African colonies that I wil have to defer listing them until a future post.)
Among Frances recent deployments are peacekeeping duties in Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon as well as numerous African crisises. For example; Côte D'Ivoire where Foriegn Legion forces have been deployed in support of the government against ethnic insurgency since 1999, Chad, where French forces, primarily the Forign Legion, have been deployed in support of the government during the Chad Civil wars of 1980-94(including direct combat against Libyan interventionist forces) and Muslim insurgency since 1998, Djibouti where French forces have deployed in support of the government against ethnic insurgency since 1999.
France also has colonial garrisons madeup mainly of marines in French Guinea, New Caledonia and Tahitti. This is by no means a complete list and I will provide more information as it becomes available in future posts.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#2 tennyson

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 08:39 AM

The French Navy (as of 2002)has a total of 56,450 personnel with 4975 officers, 30,100 petty officers, 8000 enlisted rating, 1775 volunteers and 11,600 civilians. The French Navy is a world ranging force, with bases around the world and one of the largest sealift capabilities in Europe.

The French Navy has 1 nuclear-powered  aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, based at Toulon. The Charles De Gaulle is the first French nuclear powered aircraft carrier and at 27 knots, its maximum speed is the slowest of any nuclear carrier currently deployed. It carries an air wing of up to 35-40 aircraft that can include the latest Rafale-M fighter-bombers as well as the Super Etendard, the E-2C Hawkeye airbourne early warning and control aircraft and helicopters. It can also carry up to 800 troops in addition to its normal crew.

1 helicopter carrier, the Jeanne D'Arc which serves as a training ship in peacetime. In wartime it can serve as an antisubmarine warfare ship or an amphibous assault ship with a capacity for up to 8 helicopters and 700 troops.

France has 3 Le Triomphant class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines with 16 M45 ballistic missiles each with another building. the M45 carries 6 150 kiloton independentantly targetable nuclear warheads.
2 Le Redoutable class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines with 16 M4 ballistic missiles each with the  same type of warhead as the M45 but with a shorter range(4000km vs 5000km)
6 Améthyste class nuclear-powered attack submarines
2 Cassard class guided missile destroyers with an antiair role with Standard SM-1 MR(medium Range) missiles
1 Suffren class guided missile destroyer(old 1960s era air defence ship, to be retired in 2005)
6 George Leygues class antisubmarine warfare destroyers
2 Tourville class guided missile destroyers
5 La Fayette class frigates(newbuilt ships with extensive "stealth" features, intended for overseas possessions patrol)
9 D'estienne D'Orves (Type A 69) class corvettes( intended for sntisubmarine and patrol use)
3 Flamant class patrol craft
10 P400 class patrol craft
13 Triparite class coastal minehunters
4 Vulcain class minecountermeasures tender vessels
2 Foudre class Landing Ship Docks(LSD) plus another 2 under constrction. These ships can carry approximately 470 troops each, 4 Super Puma helicopters, 10 LCKs, 6 AMX-30 tanks, 15 AMX-10RC and 8 AMX-10P combat vehicles, 22 jeeps, 29 5.5 ton trucks, 29 half-ton trucks, a tow truck, and a grid laying vehicle.
2 Ourgan class LSDs (old 1960s era amphibous ships, due to retire in 2004 and 2006)
5 Champlain class medium landing ships( can carry 128 troops and 12 vehicles each)
2 CDIC utility landing craft
2 EDIC 700 ultility landning craft
15 LCM 8 landing craft
2 LCM 3 landing craft
20 LCVP landing craft
4 Durance class replenishment oilers
1 Jules Verne class multipurpose repair ship
I Garoone class multipurpose repair ship
1 Rhin class tender

The French navy also has a wide variety of smaller patrol boats, hydrographic survey ships, intellgence vessels, tugs and light nonocean going tenders.

The martime component of the Frenmch navy has 16 Rafale-M fighters out of an order for 60 to be delivered by 2007. These are modern multipurpose aircraft and are the navalized version of the Rafale that is currently equipping the French air force
38 Super Etendard fighter-bombers(nuclear capable with the ASMP 150 kiloton nuclear missile)
22 Atlantique Mk 2 martime reconnaissance aircraft
3 E-2C Hawkeye carrierbourne early warning aircraft
4 Falcon 50 transports for search and rescue
5 Guardian survelliance aircraft
12 Super Frelon heavy transport helicopters
32 WG-13 Lynx light antisubmarine warfare helicopters
7 Dauphin and 15 Panther transport and search and rescue helicopters

The French navy produces most of its own hardware and aircraft aside from its need for an airbourne early warning and control aircraft, which was met via the American E-2C Hawkeye. French weapons have been exported far and wide and thier Exocet antiship missile is in service in some 40 nations.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#3 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 01:32 AM

Quote

Tennyson: (the most modern French tank and about equivalent to an M1A1 without the depleted Uranium armour, not all of them may have been delivered yet),

IIRC the LeClerc has a homegrown ceramic/steel armor on it right?
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE

#4 tennyson

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 01:51 AM

Yes, Jane's decribes it as a steel/ composite/laminate which they cameup with on thier own.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#5 tennyson

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 08:25 AM

Finally, with a little help from the French Armée de L'Air website and a whole lot of hunting I have the writeup for the French Air Force ready. (On a side note I've discovered I know just enough French now to get myself into trouble but I digress.)I'm hoping others will be able to correct any errors because I had to rely mostly on websites due to most of my reference material not being in my apartment.
As of 2002 the French Air Force had 61,722 personnel, 1942 volunteers and 6003 civilians on staff in bases across the world and more than 350 front-line combat aircraft. The types in service are:

5 Mirage IVP reconaissance aircraft(until 1996 they served as nuclear strike aircraft with the ASMP 150 kiloton standoff missile, this job has been taken over by the Mirage 2000N nuclear capable variant)
The French Air Force has ordered 80 of the latest Rafale fighter-bombers but the first won't be delivered until 2004
125 Mirage 2000C/B/5 air superiority fighters
60 Mirage 2000N nuclear capable strike aircraft
60 Mirage 2000D strike aircraft
50 Jaguar A and 20 Jaguar E strike aircraft( 1980s vintage with limited upgrades)
40 Mirage F1 CT attack aircraft and 40 Mirage CR reconnaissance aircraft
4 E-3F Airbourne Early Warning and Control aircraft( bought from the US in the early 1990s)
11 KC-135R and 3 KC-135FR transport/tankers
66 C-160 transports
14 C-130 Hercules transports
20 CN-235 tactical transports(all should have been delivered by 2003)
3 DC-8 transports
1 DC-8 Sarigue Electronic warfare aircraft
2 C-160 electronic intelligence aircraft
4 C-160H Astrarte submarine commincations and command post aircraft for communicating with thier missile submarines
2 A310-300 transports
4 Mystere 50 and 2 Falcon 900 VIP transports
112 Alpha Jet E advanced training and light attack aircraft
48 EMB-212 Tucano trainers(from Brazil)
32 EMB-121 Xingu trainers( from Brazil)
7 Mystere 20 communications trainers
21 N262 Fregate transport trainers
22 TBM700 commincations trainers
6 DH-6 Twin Otter tansports
90 Episilon training aircraft(I have no idea what it is either)
9 CAP 10/20/231 traing aircraft
7 AS332 Super Puma VIP transport helicopters
29 AS 330 Puma transport helicopters
4 AS 532 Cougar search and rescue and special operations helicopters
49 AS 355 and AS 555 liason(light transport) helicopters
3 Aloutte III liason helicopters

France produces most of its own hardware including the AS30L laserguided missile, the Durandal runway cratering munition, various laser-guided bombs, the Matra Magic series of infared guided Air-to-Air missiles which are in service in some 30 nations, the MICA infared and radar guided air to air missile and many other weapons although they have been trying to find partners to develop the next generation of aireal ordance.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#6 Ilphi

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 07:50 PM

I'm running off pure memory here, but wasn't the Air Craft Carrier massivly underpowered with only a submarine reactor, and it kept shutting down? And didn't its rudder get jammed in the Bermuda Triangle or something?

Anyway, thanks for the pieces.
Yea, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
The Fool - Padraic Pearse

#7 tennyson

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 12:00 AM

The French adapted two pressurized water reactors from thier Le Triomphant class of ballistic missile submarines to power the Charles De Gaul, which resulted in propulsion problems and making it the slowest nuclear carrier ever launched. There were also cavitation problems with its propellors and while launched in 1998 it wasn't fully operational until 2001, after a lot of expensive dockwork. They have been debating building another one after they sold thier last conventionally powered carrier, the Foch, to Brazil. The French government still hasn't decided.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#8 Ilphi

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 12:23 AM

Yeah, I have a few friends in Paris I met up with during my last trip to Paris. The general thinking was "We can build that, or a new university."

#9 tennyson

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 12:19 PM

While I haven't found a full list of France's African commitments, here is a partial list and overview.
France has formal defence pacts with 7 African nations that include, Djibouti, Cote d'Iviore, Gabon and Senegal.
and France has military assistance agreements with another 15 African nations.
France has bases on Chad, Djibouti, Core d'Iviore, Gabon and Senegal and France oversees most of the defence needs of Djibouti with a force of approximately 2000 troops including a squadron of Mirage F1 fighters for air defence.
Also France sent troops to intervene during a oup in the Central African Republic in May 1996.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#10 tennyson

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 12:32 PM

France has extensive oversees commitments and has troops deployed in the French territories in the West Indies,French Guinea Mayotte and La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, New Caledonia and Polynesia(Taihiti, etc.) in the Pacific as well as troops in Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon and Sengal.
French forces were deployed in support of the government of Chad during the civil war and Libyan invasions of 1980-94 and against local insurgents since 1998.
In addition to thier normal garrison duties, French forces have been deployed against ethnic insurgents in Djibouti since 1999.
French military units have been deployed in support of government against ethnic insurgents since 1999.
Units or military observers have also been serving in the following peacekeeping operations in,
Bosnia(SFOR, NATO)
Croatia(SFOR, NATO)
East Timor(UNTAET)
Egypt(UN monitoring force)
Georgia(UNOMOG)
Iraq/Kuwait(UNIKOM), now defunct
Saudia Arabia(Southern Watch), now defunct
Sierra Leone(UNAMSIL)
Western SAHARA(MINUSO)
Kosovo(KFOR, NATO)
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5




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