Welcome to the desert, Legionnaire! Here, you will dine on scorpions, sleep in the dust and dream of precious water…
Bryan here from the WWPD blog. I am an avid enthusiast of the desert theater and have been thoroughly enjoying the latest theater book for Bolt Action, Duel in the Sun. As well as Rommel’s Afrikakorps I have been working hard on painting some Free French forces for the North Africa campaigns. Duel in the Sun offers rules and a scenario for the very early Free French forces of 1940, specifically the Leclerc column, operating raids on the Italians out of the French colony of Chad. However, my force is based on the later 1st Free French Brigade, which famously fought at the siege of Bir Hakeim June 1942.
This fearsome 2-week battle saw the Free French forces prove themselves in the eyes of the world and redeem their honour after the fall of their homeland in 1940. The tough Foreign Legionnaires and brave Tirailleurs and Marines from many French colonies banded together and put up a dogged defense of the extreme flank of the allied Gazala line. Their defense held up Rommel’s flanking armoured force of Panzer Armee Afrika long enough for the British 8th Army to fall back in good order to their El Alamein line.
After this battle Churchill himself announced that the Free French from then on should be known as “the Fighting French”.
Together with resident French expert Lou Passejaïre, I’ve created this PDF army list to help you field the Free French forces during the later desert campaigns, as they are equipped by the British. Together with this unofficial PDF list, you will require a copy of Armies of France and the allies, as well as Armies of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.