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France is Europe's predominant major power in the 1930s. France stands as the protector of stability and territorial status quo in Europe. Constraining aggressive nations like Germany and Italy from challenging that stability and status quo is France's primary concern and formed alliances with nations that support these goals.
France begins the game with a social liberal government with 90 Neutrality and 50 National Unity. The ruling party has a popularity of 35 and an organization of 65. There is no dissent.
It's highest technologies are Infantry theory, Infantry Practical, Naval engineering, Destroyer practical, Cruiser practical and Aeronautic engineering which are all at 10.
France is a tough nation to play, especially since HOI3. But an experienced player will find himself a marvelous challenge to halt the German offensive and regain the initiative step by step.
It is worth noting that France historically almost went to war with Germany in 1936 (over the re-occupation of the Rhineland) and in 1938 (over the planned German invasion of Czechoslovakia before the Munich conference). The player can start a war with Germany between 1936-1938 and have a good chance of coming out on top (the earlier the better). This does not stray far at all from what conceivably could have happened, it is well within France's historical treaty rights and obligations to do so, and it doesn't involve any gaming of the system.
- 1 Technology
- 2 Diplomacy
- 3 Politics
- 4 Intelligence
- 5 Economy
- 6 Military
- 7 War
- 8 Gaming the System
- 9 Related After Action Reviews
- 10 See also
France will not carry the burden of having to choose from many options in the early stages of the war. Their only goal will be dictated to them by the Germans, to simply survive and to hold the line. Bringing the army up to date with its German counterpart will take time and require specialization. Any broad approach (something of everything) and exotic adventures like nuclear, jet or rocket research, will seriously jeopardize the ability to hold ground. Defense against hard targets, air support (including Radar) and the ability to stage offensive operations with combined arms will be the key to hold off the German advance and being able to exploit opportunities for a counterstrike. No further research should be invested in naval technologies and the French player can only dream of affording sophisticated airborne operations until the war has reached a turning point.
Considering the number of tank divisions and 'hard' targets you will face AT/TD tech is key. One option is to add a TD brigade or AT brigade to every infantry division. At the least each province needs AT capability. Building up AT will give France the practical experience that will allow you to research AT/ART/AA tech that is well ahead of the Germans.
France has a good manpower base, but the war with Germany will be long and cost you a good amount of men. Researching agriculture is key.
Distribution of leadership
Leadership should be focused on research and officer training, with a few points in espionage and diplomacy.
Investing leadership points on influencing key nations can produce invaluable allies. While no direct or effective support by military forces can be expected, any additional front will take pressure off the fight in Belgium, make the sea more safer to cross and might even provide marine or air bases to support offensive operations. The array of possible candidates is huge and every nation will bring a different set of benefits to the table. Many European nations have still not chosen a faction and with the proper discipline (I know those leadership points could produce some fine technologies) even two or three nations (one at a time!) can be brought into the alliance. Expeditionary forces are usually much less effective, but can be used to guard rear areas or easy to defend river crossings.
Bear in mind that when Germany is overcome and the remnants of other axis nations have been swept away, there will probably a new and much bigger threat to the east: If the Soviet Union has participated in the war against Germany, it will probably have it's war machine running on full speed and effect, no problems with resources, manpower and even dissent any more. To stop such an enemy from overrunning all you have fought for and even more, to defeat him in his own endless realm, will be an ever-bigger challenge than defeating Hitler.
France begins the game in the Allies, with the United Kingdom. With diplomacy, it is possible to move the Commonwealth and the United States to the Allied side before the war begins but it's not compulsory. Dominions will drift naturally towards the UK and meddling into their affairs too much can draw attention from Comintern or Axis diplomats so they also start influencing this country.
So rather than speeding up Commonwealth's unity, diplomacy screen should be checked regularly to see which countries are influenced by Germans to see if their influence can be neutralized. There is no hope Hungary or Bulgaria won't join the Axis but preventing Germans from recruiting Greece, Romania or Scandinavian nations isn't uncommon.
One historical strategy actually taken by France was to ally with countries in Europe that sought to preserve the status quo. Although not represented in the game, France held a such a defensive alliance up to 1936 with Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia called the Little Entente. In history this alliance unfortunately began to break down in 1936 and collapsed in 1938 with German expansion into Czechoslovakia. However, since this alliance is not represented in the game, it would be wise for France to immediately initiate this defensive alliance, this will curb the threat of Italian expansion into the Balkans, keep Hungary in check and put pressure on Germany from Czechoslovakia. The next statement is a bit gamey, but strategically valid: wouldn't it be great to have French armed forces and perhaps other allies in Czechoslovakia to strike at Germany's heart of Berlin to avoid the drawn-out World War II? This is a thought worth considering in France's campaign, as strikes from Czechoslovakia was something that Hitler did actually warn Germany about!
Recruiting regional powers which naturally would drift towards the Axis like Nationalist Spain, Nationalist China, Brazil and Argentina or Turkey and Persia will be a very inconvenient turn of events for your enemies, especially painful for their trading.
Influencing the US should be avoided unless some other country does it. If you start influencing the US, other factions will start doing that as well and the struggle over it will continue forever, draining resources.
Yugoslavia is a real option for France. They will have a large Army and will drag off a lot of Axis divisions. Historically England was particularly keen on an Alliance with Yugoslavia.
There are no significant decisions for France
Depending on how the A.I. acts, it's possible for France to become both Fascist and Communist. If you elect events that decrease the ruling party support and don't use spies to strengthen it, a drastic change in politics is almost assured. If France becomes either Fascist or Communist, the player will have access to ministers he otherwise would not have and will be able to implement a totalitarian system of government. This end is not as gamey as it seems. Fascism as a concept was actually invented in France in the 1920s and Communism was not totally antithetical to the French idea. Obviously, Vichy France was established as a Fascist rump state that enjoyed a lot of support, showing how strong those trends away from Democracy were.
What are some of the best ministers? When do they become available?
France begins the game with the following laws.
Civil Law: Open Society
Conscription Law: Two Year Draft
Education Investment Law: Medium Large Education Investment
Industrial Policy Law: Mixed Industry
Press Law: Free Press
Training Law: Advanced Training
These are generally good for a non-autocratic state, but France's high neutrality and low National Unity will make it difficult to improve them further. Increasing Education funding to Big should be done immediately to increase France's leadership, and training laws can be changed to favor either production or skill, but further improvements will need to wait on internal espionage and external events.
Intelligence in France should be used to boost its low national unity and decrease neutrality. These, in turn, will help you pass more efficient laws and give a much-needed leg up for your economy.
Playing the intelligence game can be a profitable affair. By making at large initial investment in spies at the beginning of the game and maintaining the number with the continued investment of one or two leadership points, I ended up having 30 countries on the Allied faction compared to just 8 on the Axis faction. This was achieved by using my spies to alternately perform counterintelligence and raise threat functions on the primary Axis members: Germany, Italy, and Japan. I managed to raise Germany’s threat to an obscene level and hence repel potential Axis members. By keeping the number of enemy counterintelligence spies low, I believe I also opened the way for my Allies to have fun with their spies in Germany. Although it is hard to evaluate the effectiveness of that benefit, I think it mattered in the long run.File:Example.jpg
The best trading partners for France are Venezuela and Persia(not as much since For the Motherland, as Persia is much likely now to join the Axis) for oil, and the UK/ USA for rares, metal and energy.
Due to the early war with Germany, IC production is not recommended.
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In 1936, France has a mixture of regular and reserve infantry divisions, along with a smattering of cavalry, armored, and mountaineer divisions. A good number of the regular divisions are overseas, and should be returned home posthaste. First, man the Maginot line with your regular infantry divisions; nothing is more disastrous than a breach of the Maginot line early in the war because the divisions you posted there weren't up to strength. Two divisions per province (there are 8) should ensure that the Germans don't attack through the Line, and you can use these divisions as a dumping ground for your more useless Old Guard generals, as they won't be doing much fighting. The cavalry should either be disbanded for their manpower (don't forget to remove their valuable motorized regiments first) or sent to Africa; they'll be of no use in Europe. Your mountaineer divisions should be sent to guard the frontier with Italy; while not a credible backstop against a full-scale invasion, properly reinforced they can ensure that Mussolini's effect on the war is minimal. The remainder of your army should be placed near the Belgian border; they'll be your mobile force to counter the massive German thrust that will come barreling down from the north. Essentially, 1936-40 should be spent feverishly building up this force as much as possible.
In early stages, armors will be in short supply and before the country is at war, most IC's will be eaten up by consumer goods. The initial French defence must rely on infantry, bolstered by antitank and artillery brigades. Be prepared to bring in expeditionary forces from indochina and Africa as every man will be needed to hold off the German push. Organize the Units properly and use the commander bonuses. Able leaders with offensive traits will appear later in the game, until then, use what you have to the best possible effect. The Maginot line can be held by a much smaller force than it seems. Two brigades should be able to hold off any attack (I never saw one attempt to attack the line) until reinforcements can arrive. Most likely, there will never be a comfortable set of reserve units behind any line and units will have to move sideways, along the line of battle to reinforce a segment under fire (Tank, Mot Infantry).
It is easily deduced that the French Army’s primary foe in a historical WWII will be the Wehrmacht followed by the Italian Regio Esercito (Royal Army). However, facing both enemies will not be easy. The German Army, while well known in real life as a highly effective armoured and mechanised force, may not necessarily be armoured and mechanised to the same extent in-game. However, it will still be larger, more technologically and doctrinally advanced and better led than your French Army, which begins the game in 1936 with a paltry number of divisions. A sustained and massive buildup is necessary to victory. Yet with a limited number of resources (in terms of IC, manpower and leadership, which are all inferior to Germany), a decision must be made to prioritise the Army as the number one beneficiary of IC and leadership (the Army is the biggest user of manpower by default). Within the various formations in the Army, a similar decision must be made to prioritise a small number of formation types. Unlike a nation such as Germany or the USA, France can ill afford to diversify its efforts into too many types of troops. It will have to focus. In my case, I made the decision to build my army around two formations: Infantry divisions composed of three brigades of infantry and one brigade of artillery; and Armoured divisions composed of three brigades of armour and one brigade of engineers. I had spent a significant amount of time reading up on the various types of brigades, and I came to the conclusion that my infantry division's’ primary enemy was an enemy infantry division. An artillery augmented Infantry division will yield the best soft attack and toughness values to cost. My Armoured divisions were intended to function as the hammer to my infantry’s anvil, and would need to be tough and fast moving. Therefore, they were augmented with engineer brigades to facilitate mobility over rough terrain and rivers, many of which I knew lay in my path to Berlin. I began my build up focusing on Infantry first and then Armour.
The deployment of my army is another important matter to discuss. The north-eastern front with Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany is initially divided into two theatres. The Paris theatre includes the front with Belgium, whereas the Mulhouse theatre includes the front with Luxembourg and Germany along the Maginot Line.
Since we’re on the subject, I would like to add that the Maginot Line is France’s biggest asset during the initial and intermediate stages of the War. It secures France’s border with Germany extremely securely and allows fewer troops to be devoted there. However, one must take care not to devote too few troops to the line, lest it embolden the Wehrmacht to attempt an attack which may succeed and lead to a catastrophe. In my case, I assigned 4 – 5 fully equipped Infantry Corps (each with 5 full divisions) to the Maginot Line. I would employ 4 corps on the line and 1 in reserve to be used around the Luxembourg area, which ensures a coverage of about 2-3 divisions per province. The presence of such a large force will not only discourage a German attack, it will also serve to pose a threat-in-being to the enemy, who must then maintain a sizable force opposite the line as a safeguard to the possibility that I might attack! I do not mean to do so, of course, but the mere possibility of such a prospect ties up a significant number of divisions which might have been used to great effect in the Low Countries.
The Paris theatre is where the action is at. When the Germans assault Belgium and the Netherlands (which I assume they will according to history), immediate and massive French reinforcements will be the only thing which stops Case Yellow (Fall Gelb) from being put into effect. To that effect, two French Armies will need to be raised. In my case, I assigned them priority for the receipt of the newest units and best leaders. By the beginning of the war, I had two full armies ready for action; both were organised with 4 full Infantry Corps (with 5 divisions of Infantry each) and 1 full Armoured Corps. However, please note that your troops should not be moved into Belgium or the Netherlands until Germany has declared war upon either country, even if right-of-passage has been offered and accepted. Troops traveling through a country which grants you rights but is not allied to you will receive no supplies and hence will lose organisation. I found that out the hard way when I rushed into place too early only to find my troops starving and out of organisation when the German attack came.
The Marseille theatre is where another holding action needs to be conducted similar to the Maginot Line in the north. Your existing fortifications will serve you well along with the narrowness of this front (only four provinces wide) and the terrain (mountainous and hilly). I devoted 3 full Infantry Corps and 1 full Mountaineer Corps (formed by combining the existing mountaineer divisions available at the start of the scenario).
Another option for countering the German invasion through Belgium is to essentially build your armies along the Sword and Shield doctrine. In this instance, the Shield is your infantry divisions (about 30-40 will be needed to stall the German assault), backed up by the Sword of massed armor. Your infantry will hold the forward positions (about a corps of 3-5 divisions per province will usually do), and perform minor counterattacks as necessary to preserve the integrity of the line. If there is a breach, a powerful armored counterattack (a full Corps) should then be thrown in immediately to restore the situation before the Germans commit their reserves. As the AI prefers to pierce your line at a single point as opposed to broad-front attacks, two or three armored corps (6-9 armored divisions) should be sufficient reserves for the whole line. As Belgium and the Netherlands join the war, your first priority should be to stake out positions running north-south along the rivers that make up the Belgian/Dutch and German borders, as fast as possible. Your goal is to jam up the German assault in central Netherlands (keep an eye out for Germans crossing through the islands to the north) by holding them to the rivers and Amsterdam and energetically counterattacking whatever forces the Germans get across. Done successfully, this will mean the Netherlands and Belgium will remain in the war, and the German advance will peter out far from your borders.
If France is at war with Japan, protection of Indochina might be necessary.
With the French carrier in the starting set, the French Navy will quickly be able to gain control of the northern waters. Absolute superiority at sea will be needed to defend transport ships that move back and forth between Amsterdam and Dunkerque. German units trapped on islands in the northern Netherlands will be effectively removed from the game. No additional research should be diverted to the navy, as the army and air force will need the scarce leadership points much more to bring the French army up to date.
The French Navy begins 1936 as a sizable contender among the European powers. However, unlike the German or Italian navies, it must split its fleets between its Atlantic and Mediterranean operating areas. Taking IC and time constraints into account, I decided not to expand the French Navy besides allowing the initial production of the Dunkerque to proceed and that worked out quite well in the end. Due to its size, I would recommend organising one fleet in each area and focusing on utilising it to best effect. You start equipped with 7 transport flotillas, which are absolutely essential to your ability to project power into Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and your colonies; protect them well. The objective of the French Navy is to support the land battle. Nothing more is required. If the land battle is won, the naval battle will also be won. Therefore, I adopted a more cautious and defensive stance when it came to operations and used it only when required. This proved to be quite effective. Let the British Navy do the heavy lifting.
The French Air force can not hope to win air superiority easily, but it will be a crucial factor, especially later in the game. While early air engagements will end up in a draw at best, a healthy force of tactical bombers and Interceptors will play an important part in lowering the German's manpower. Be sure to give air units a high repair priority and prepare to rotate worn out squadrons regularly. Strategic strikes will be executed regularly by the British, so focus on logistical strikes (see 'War with Germany') and direct support of land engagements. Airborne capability will add an incredible new set of opportunities for many operations, but will be pure luxury and probably a waste of resources (research points, IC's for transporters) in the early and mid stages of the conflict.
When you're losing every engagement with German fighters, do not force lengthy air battles, but let operations rest for a few days or switch to night missions only. As the German's air technology is probably already more advanced than yours, do not attempt to break small squadrons with sheer mass. The enemy will benefit from your stacking penalties and probably win every engagement with a 1:10 kill/loss ratio.
Remember: In the final stage of attacking Germany, manpower will be the German's biggest problem. Use ground attacks whenever the conditions allow it and try to catch German columns on the move to inflict maximum casualties.
The French Air force is faced with a tall order. It faces a Luftwaffe which is larger, more technologically and doctrinally advanced. It begins with a small number or air wings and must compete with the French Army for IC. However, as indicated earlier, the French Army must receive priority over the air force. Therefore, it will have to be relegated to being used in a selective manner, carefully preserved and husbanded for a moment of greatest impact. In my case, I tried to contend for the skies with the Luftwaffe, but I quickly found myself with tattered air wings. Surrendering aerial superiority may not be pleasant, but must be done until the balance tilts in your favour. In large operations which warranted aerial support, I would carefully identify the Schwerpunkt, or the decisive point (or province, in this case), and launch a short but all out aerial effort to support ground forces at the Schwerpunkt. I used this most often at one or two provinces when mounting an attack or closing a pocket.
France's potential is greater than it seems and even though no serious turning point can be expected early in the war, an alert and cunning leader can defeat the Reich, even without a direct American or soviet intervention. More than once will the French player be faced with 'All or nothing' decisions, but the mighty fortress of the Maginot line and some strong points in the north (Amsterdam, Liege, Brussel) will provide excellent opportunities to wear out the German divisions in the first year of the war. Sound analysis of the battlefield, forethought and the ability to quickly exploit opportunities to gain momentum in certain engagements will be the key not only to survive, but to strike back and finally be able to invade the Reich when the time is right.
War with Germany
War with Germany is almost inevitable with France.
As France has not the IC to build enough tanks to counter all the hard units of Germany and as mass infantry does not work as well as it did in HoI2 it is definitely a very tough and challenging task to stop the Germans when one does follow the more or less historical way to war. The Maginot line is easy enough to hold, but the war in/around the Belgian and Dutch territory is a completely different thing. But there is one thing that works surprisingly well: Logistical strikes. Use it to bomb the front provinces so that German troops neither gain organization back nor enough supplies. If infrastructure is down to zero the AI will have to move units away from those provinces as it can't supply them there. This is neither elegant nor an effective offensive measure, but at least it is a working way to stop the Germans from invading France.
When Germans have penetrated the line: Try to strategically move some HQs in their way to block any further inland advance. Most likely the enemy will be able to advance 1 or even 2 fields into French territory. Do not attack the invading units themselves, but close the gap behind them and use logistical strikes to cut them off from fuel and munitions. Even several Panzer Divisions can easily be subdued if they're out of supplies and fuel. Traps like this can also be constructed by intentionally presenting a weak or even undefended line segment, with strong units in reserve to cut off any unit that moves more than 1 field away from its own lines.
Rivers Rivers Rivers!: Without using the natural barriers in Belgium and Netherlands to a maximum effect, France will not be able to hold their ground against the German's tank pushes. Whenever possible, try to build line segments along rivers (behind them of course) and do not expect to hold your ground easily on levelled terrain. Get those stukas out of the sky whenever your fighters are able to intercept.
Amsterdam: This will be one of the major battlegrounds and can be a decisive factor in stopping Hitler's advance, as the urban area defensive bonus will make it a very hard nut to crack for the Germans. You can bring in reinforcements by ship at any time. They will join an ongoing battle, but won't be able to retreat until the battle is over of course. Even if the city is surrounded (which should be avoided), it can be defended with a few good and dug in units. Remember: Holding Amsterdam can sometimes hold up more than 20 German divisions which must be used to besiege it. A sally after another attack was repelled is almost never recommended, as the German rarely commits all troops and most of the time keeps some reserves dug in and with full Org.
Liege: The pivotal point of action in the battle for Belgium. As it is one of the only Belgian provinces which isn't protected by rivers in the east, it will be a primary target for the enemy. The fortification there is weaker than the maginot line, but will still provide a healthy bonus. Defend it with well dug in units and keep reinforcements ready when the pressure is to high.
Bastogne/Arlon: Historically the Germans did attack in the north, just like they did in WWI, but the main offensive did happen just between the Maginot Line and Liege. Bastogne and the Ardennes will come under heavy attack, as they're lacking proper defences. Though more actions will take part in Holland and Belgium, this area will see some hefty armored assaults. Be sure to have your units dug in (10 days) and keep motorized reinforcements near, even if they'll have to be part of another line segment.
War with Italy
An opportunity to turn the tide, but not a freebie.
Usually, at the time Italy entered the war (1940/41), most French players should already be struggling to just hold Belgium, not to mention Amsterdam or the rest of western Netherlands. But obviously some forces must be diverted to an already thin line when Italy attacks in the south.
An aggressive and daring move would be to reinforce the southern line with tanks and other assault brigades (Artillery/AC/Light Tanks) and to quickly counterstrike the attack. Various pocket moves can be executed when moving hard (and as fast as possible) along the southern coast and then up to the Swiss border, especially when the Italian player did not have the time to move in enough troops and the lines are still thin. Use Airstrikes to soften encircled units up and be sure to destroy all supplies with logistical strikes. This is especially important when having pocketed a bigger stack, while smaller units can usually be crushed with the encirclement bonuses only.
France's army and air force should be more than able to overcome the unexperienced Italian troops, which are usually lacking armor. When the main Italian line of battle has collapsed, the obvious move is to drive into northern Italy and then down to Sicily (which could be taken early by an amphibious operation whenever the conditions are favourable). By the time Italy surrenders, France will most likely hunger for manpower already and the additional leadership is most welcome too.
When entering Germany via the alps (which can be completely undefended and very quick to reach with motorized spearheads), the German player will usually divert heavy reinforcements to this area, so be prepared to build a stable line when those German Tank divisions come rolling down to reclaim the fatherland. Most certainly it will be way too early to risk a serious invasion of Germany, but the mountains of Austria will provide excellent barricades to the defensive line on this second front (Time for the mountaineers to show their quality). Be prepared to fall back in coordinated retreats behind rivers or back to the mountains when a German push threatens to break the line. Most likely most of the covered ground will be reclaimed swiftly by the Germans. Also, Do not expect to immediately feel less pressure on the northern front, but in time, windows of opportunity might open up on either part of the frontline to actually win a major engagement for the first time.
Bonne chance Général, Vive la France!!!
Swedish Variant and Attrition
- Editor's note, this strategy relies heavily on manpower do everything you can to maximize it or you will run out in 1943.
The Swedish Variant is an overwhelmingly Naval Program designed to completely eliminate the Germany Navy and save France via a war of attrition and naval invasion. It requires a lot of concentration and key use of terrain and a three pronged effort it Sweden, France and Italy. One route to go with France is to fight a War of Attrition against Germany using Diplomacy. Starting in 1936, a French player can successfully influence Norway, Sweden and Finland to join the Allied cause by 1939. Eventually, in 90% of games, Germany will invade Denmark and declare war on the Allies. If all of Scandinavia is Allied, you will find the Norse a capable and useful ally.
Fortress Copenhagen: As soon as Germany declares war on Denmark the Panzers will conquer the country and push the Danes back into Copenhagen. As this occurs sea-lift 1 full infantry corp and a support team of 1 armored division and 2 stacked divisions. Place them in the city with the support team across the water in Sweden, garrison the entire island that Copenhagen is on. Your Scandinavian allies will quickly rush troops to the battle stacking as many as 25 divisions. Germany will stack 15-19 divisions and 2 air groups in an attempt to take the Danes down, but it will not work. Copenhagen will be in constant battle for the next 3 years but it should not fall, meanwhile 3 things are happening.
1) The English AI will start placing bombers on Swedish Air Bases and attack German Industrial targets. This won't do too much damage but will siphon off several German squadrons from the Western Front.
2) The Royal Navy, Danish Navy, Swedish Navy, Finns will aggressively patrol the Straits of Halland. Add the French Navy to the mix and you can sink the entire German Fleet, including Bismarck, within the first 3 months. U-Boat traffic will be cut by 80%, and you will be surprised how much easier things are.
3) The German Ai will keep feeding manpower to the North. Use your navy heavily. Sea-lift another infantry corps and launch amphibious landings on the Danish peninsula. Drive hard for the German border and cut off the Germans trying to attack Copenhagen. Launch a counterattack and you can kill 5-8 divisions twice. Pull back to the ships or Copenhagen and repeat when practical.
You will never ever win in Sweden. But you can hold down enough German Forces to make it interesting. The death of the German Navy is very helpful as well.
Holding the West:
The Swedish Gambit will pull off some German forces but you still need to hold in the West. Since you have a bunch of troops in Denmark, holding the Bastogne-Amsterdam line is impossible. Build forts along the Seine starting in 1936. Defend a line that runs from Le Havre-Paris-the Maginot Line. Keep 4 divisions in each province and a mobile corps in reserve. The Germans will throw their entire army at you, but your line will hold...just make sure to have good defensive divisions.
In the North allow limited breakthroughs into Normandy, then close the door at Le HAvre with an amphibious and landward attack. You can kill 3 German Divisions at a pop and in my game I also was able to kill Rommel, List, Dietrich and First. Keep this up until the AI figures it out and tries to capture Paris. Entrenched in the Capitol, wine and mistresses in hand, the French will hold. Welcome to WWI, from late 1940-42 the Western Front will see little movement. The Maginot line will be under siege constantly but rotate infantry corp of garrison troops and you will survive.
Eventually either the USSR will attack Germany, the US will join the Allies or the UK will launch some kind of invasion of the Netherlands/Germany. This is when you attack. Pull the troops out of Sweden (Sweden might fall but that's ok) and attack across the entire front. French Tanks won't capture Berlin, but you can hold down enough German divisions to let your allies conquer Germany, sorry we are playing France not the USSR.
You will have a small army facing Italy. The Italians are sad so you can hold the border with about 6 divisions and an air group. Support them when needed. Slowly build up an army in the south. In mid 1941 you can go on the offensive. Raise the threat of Spain and declare war. You and the British will defeat Spain in 3 months you have 2 options, create a bad ally or use Spanish IC. I recommend the latter. Once Spain is toast refocus your southern army in Italy. repeat the Italy plan from above. Focus on getting your best troops to the German border. Mop up the boot and dig in.
Allies and Luck:
Even if all of this goes according to plan, the Swedish Gambit is risky. If the English hose you and start doing bizarre things you are in trouble. In one game Ireland went Axis and the entire British Army garrisoned Ireland. In another the British send 27 divisions to Jersey and 12 to Gibraltar. In a third they garrisoned bizarre placed like the Caribbean, Sierra Leone and Cyprus. If any of this happens you're in trouble. France is not strong enough to beat Germany on its own. Your best end is a stalemate and Soviet tanks on the Rhine. The English do not have to do much but need to do something. If they invade Italy, the Netherlands or send the BEF to garrison the Maginot line you are looking good.
Vive la France!
Gaming the System
If you send a full corps of infantry, or marine infantry to hold Slagelse, Germany will attack you for several months there. With the amphibious assault malus, it is unlikely that they succeed. Germany will lost a lot of troops to do so, and then will still garrison Odense with several heavy armor/armored corps. Doing so have a lot of advantages.
Germany will not invade Norway, it can't do it by amphibious assault due to UK/France naval superiority, and it need Denmark islands to do a land invasion via Sweden.
Victory in Slagelse is quite easy, though you might need some reinforcement just in case, because Germany tends to do a reckless assault (in my case they send 170 000 soldiers, wave after wave to invade the island the first time). Your troops will earn a huge amount of experience, and so will your leaders do. For instance, these troops in my game were led in Paris HQ by Gamelin (old traits guards). He won almost 2 levels just with Slagelse battle, and my corps commander were at max level in 1/2 months.
Germany will not invade the Netherlands and Belgium, instead it will garrison Denmark with a lot of troops, and most of these troops will be placed on an island...
You will have the opportunity to destroyed 10/15 Panzer corps with a daring maneuver. Let's just call it Operation canal locked. To complete it, you need to invade Kiel with a mixed marines/infantry corps, by preference, some you previously used in Slagelse, so they should be highly skilled (40-50% experience). After that, take the next region next to Kiel, in order to cut Denmark from Berlin supply. Last step, commit a last landing in Sönderborg and the province next to it leading to Kiel. If you managed to do this : congratulations, you just entrapped on a useless island some of the most powerful Reich divisions. You just have to wait these units run-out of supply (it will be quick don't worry). Once this is done, you can launch a powerful counterattack, even with your allies. Afterall, yes AI suck at planning a good landing, but when the AI is fighting panzer divisions disorganised and out of fuel, this is really a piece of cake.
After that operation, Kiel and its wonderful level 10 port will be a perfect bridge head to invade the Reich. Nevertheless, all this is very daring, if you're lacking of coordination you will lost valuable troops. Afterall, holding Kiel will not be easy, Germany will send many troops to take it, but it is also a perfect defensive position, with a river right behind where you can still withdraw your troops.
Related After Action Reviews
For more information on how to play France, take a look at the AAR The Third French Republic for inspiration.
|Major Powers||France · Germany · Italy · Japan · United Kingdom · United States of America · Soviet Union|
|Regional Powers||Argentina · Australia · Belgium · Brazil · Bulgaria · Czechoslovakia · Guangxi Clique · Hungary · Manchukuo · Nationalist China · Nationalist Spain · Netherlands · Poland · Republican Spain · Romania · Sweden · Turkey · Yugoslavia|
|Minor Powers||Austria · Canada · Chile · Colombia · Denmark · Finland · Greece · Ireland · Mexico · Norway · Peru · Portugal · Shanxi · South Africa · Switzerland|
|Micro Powers||Afghanistan · Albania · Bhutan · Bolivia · Communist China · Costa Rica · Cuba · Dominican Republic · Ecuador · El Salvador · Estonia · Ethiopia · Guatemala · Haiti · Honduras · Iraq · Latvia · Liberia · Lithuania · Luxembourg · Mongolia · Nepal · New Zealand · Nicaragua · Oman · Panama · Paraguay · Persia · Philippines · Saudi Arabia · Siam · Sinkiang · Tannu Tuva · Tibet · Uruguay · Venezuela · Xibei San Ma · Yemen · Yunnan|