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Modern French Army

Page history last edited by Dan Fraser 13 years, 1 month ago

The French Army

Able, despite the almost complete destruction of France in 1940, to be the only fully independent army in Western Europe, and only with loose ties to NATO. The French have a considerable worldwide capability and maintain large and varied light forces to allow this.  Prior to 1956 use US Army World War 2 organization, in 1974 the French army turned their divisions in really large brigades and added mixed company to each battalion sized unit.  In 1999 the French Army again re-organized again this time discarding the concept of divisions and resting its ORBAT on big self contained brigades of un-mixed battalion sized units.  By 2001 the French army consisted of 51 regular army Regiments (big battalions) units and 30 reserve army units; there is an unknown number of mobilization units for which older equipment is held in store.

French Armored Brigade Headquarters 1956 to 1966 (Commands 3 Tank Regiment, 1 Infantry Regiment)

HQ                                           1 HQ

Brigade Engineer Company    3 AMX-VCI, 2 Engr, 1 Engr, 1 AVLB

Recce Groupe HQ                   3 Jeep/MG

            2 Sections each           2 EBR90

Note                                                                             The M47 can be replaced with M4/76 and the AMX-VCI with M3 HT in reserve units

French Mechanized Regiment 1956 to 1966

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

            Anti-Tank Section                    2 Jeep/106

2 Infantry Companies               3 AMX-VCI, 3 Rifle

2 Tank Companies                   4 AMX13/75 or AMX13/90

1 Regimental Mortar Battery    2 Trucks, 2 120M, 1 Jeep, 1 HQ

French Armored Regiment 1956 to 1966

HQ                                           1 HQ

Regimental AT Company         3 AMX13/75 SS

2 Tank Battalions HQ               1 M47  

            3 Companies each       4 M47

Note                                                                             1 Battalion may be fielded individually, in which case an infantry company may be added.

French Brigade Artillery Regiment 1956 to 1966

            2 Battalions each  

HQ                               1 HQ

                        2 Batteries each           1 FAO, 2 M7 Priest or AMX105

                                    Or                    1 FAO, 2 105H, 2 Truck                         

Note                                                                             The Self-Propelled units are part of an armored unit, towed part of an infantry brigade. Towed 105mm may be upgraded to 155mm; individual Battalions may be attached to Regiments, and batteries to battalions. 

 

French NATO Infantry Brigade 1956 to 1974 (May command 3 Infantry & 1 Light Tank Regiment)

HQ                                           1 HQ

1 Recce Company                    2 Jeep/MG, 2 AML90, 2 AML60, 1 Jeep/106 

1 Engineer Company               3 Truck, 3 Engr

Note                                                                             This type of formation could also be used on colonial operations. 

French NATO Motorized Infantry Battalion 1956 to 1974

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 1 Jeep/MG, 2 Jeep/106, 2 81M

4 Companies each                   3 Trucks, 3 Rifle

1 Mortar Battery                       2 120M, 2 Truck

Note                                                                             Out of Europe (FAR) units, such as the Foreign Legion, or Paras use this basic organization with 4 120mm Mortars and 8 Trucks.

French Light Armored Regiment 1956 to 1974

HQ                                                                               1 HQ   

3 Companies each                   3 AMX13/75 or AMX13/90, 2 Jeep/MG

1 Company                              3 AMX13/75 SS11 or 3 AMX13/90 ENTAC

Note                                                                             The AMX13/90 appeared in 1963, the types may not be mixed. In Out of Area units this regiment may be replaced by an Armored Car regiment, of 3 Companies organized as the Brigade Recce Company, with a headquarters.

French Armored Division Headquarters 1966 to 2000

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

1 Anti Tank Company              3 VAB/HOT

Helicopter Flight                      2 Alouette III/SS, 1 Alouette III/20

Recce Company                      6 EBR90, 4 Jeep/MG

Or                                                        2 Jeep or VBL/Milan, 1 Jeep or VBL, 3 Jeep or VBL/MG

Note                                         Equipment can be used from the following dates:

                                                            AMX10P from 1975

                                                            AMX-VCI to 1995

                                                            VAB/Genie from 1980

                                                            VBL from 1986

                                               

French Armored Regiment 1966 to 2000

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

4 Companies each                   4 M47 or AMX30 or LeClerc

1 Company                              3 AMX-VCI, 3 Rifle

Or                                3 AMX10P, 3 Rifle

Note                                                                             AMX-VCI can be substituted for AMX10P until 1994, but not with LeClerc.  M47 can be used until 1970, AMX30 from 1970, and LeClerc from 1995. VBL may be used from 1987.

French Mechanized Infantry Regiment 1966 to 1974

HQ                                                                               1 HQ 

2 Companies each                   3 AMX-VCI, 3 Rifle

2 Companies each                               4 AMX13/75 or AMX13/90, 1 AMX13/75SS or 1 AMX13/90ENTAC

Note                                         AMX13 may not be used after 1970.

French Mechanized Infantry Regiment 1975 to 2000

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

2 Companies each                   3 AMX10P, 3 Rifle, 3 Eryx

1 Company                              3 AMX30 or LeClerc

1 Mortar Battery                       2 AMX10P, 2 120M

Note                                                                             AMX -VCI can be used until 1994, LeClerc from 1995.  Eryx ATGW may also be used, from 1995.

French Engineer Regiment 1975 to 2000 (Whether marine, mechanized, motorized or mountain, see below for parachute)

HQ                                           1 HQ

2 Combat Companies each                  3 Engr, 3 VAB, 1 MPG

1 Support Company                 2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3Truck, 1 Bridge

French NATO Artillery Regiment 1966 to 1984

3 Batteries each                       1 FAO, 2 AMXF3

Or                                1 FAO, 2 Trucks, 2 155H

Note                                                                             Light units for airmobile divisions have 105mm towed by trucks. AMXF3 are used with armored divisions, towed 155mm with motorized ones. Individual batteries may be attached to Battalions.

                                                           

French NATO Motorized Infantry Division Headquarters 1974 to 2000

HQ                                           1 HQ

1 Anti Tank Company              3 VAB HOT

Recce Company                                  2 Jeep/106 or VBL/Milan, 1 Jeep or VBL, 3 Jeep/MG or VBL/MG

Helicopter Flight                      2 Gazelle/HOT, 1 Gazelle/20

Note                                                                             This unit forms part of the NATO force, for out of Europe forces replace the VAB with Trucks, and VAB/HOT with Jeep or VBL /MILAN.

French NATO Motorized Infantry Regiment 1974 to 2000

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 1 MG, 4 Milan, 5 VAB

4 Infantry Companies each      3 VAB, 3 Rifle, 3 Eryx

1 Anti Aircraft Company           3 VAB, 3 20AAG

1 Mortar Battery                       2 VAB, 2 120M

Note                                                                             This unit is NATO committed, but is similar to the FAR units. It may replace its VAB with Pumas, and headquarters VABs with Lynx, HQ have Gazelle. FAR units replace their troop carrying and towing VABs with trucks.  The anti aircraft company has only one weapon, add it to Headquarters, and change the mortar battery to 1 81mm, and 1 120mm, each with a truck.

French Light Armored Regiment 1984 to 2000

HQ                                           1 HQ

3 Companies each                   4 AMX10RC, or ERC90

Note                                                                             AMX10RC are used in NATO units, and were taken to the Gulf.  ERC90 in theory are with FAR units, but may also appear in NATO.  Found in divisions and one per Corps.

 

French NATO Artillery Regiment 1984 to 2000

4 Batteries each                                   1 FAO, 2 AMXF3 or GCT or 2 155Ha, 2 Trucks

1 Anti Aircraft Battery              2 Trucks, 2 40AA

Note                                                                             The F3 is probably out of service. Towed guns are restricted to Motorized units, the weapons may have been updated. FAR units may have towed 155mm, or replace these with 105mm or 2 batteries of 105mm and 2 batteries of 120mm mortars. Some FAR units replace the 40AAG with 20AAG. Individual batteries may be attached to regiments.  At least two regiments of 155mm caliber are found in a Corps.  Missile regiments have only three batteries and are armed with either Pluton (Nuclear capable) or MRLS (Varying depending on date).  Pluton armed units are an army asset, others are a Corps asset.

French Parachute Light Armored Regiment 1980 to 2000

HQ                                           1 HQ, 1 20AAG, 1 Truck

3 Companies each                   3 ERC Recon, 1 VBL/Milan

French Parachute Infantry Regiment 1980 to 2000

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 1 20AAG, 2 Truck

4 Airborne Companies             3 Rifle, 1 Milan, 1 81M, 5 VLB

Weapons Company                                         3 VBL Recon, 1 120M, 1 OP, 2 Milan, 1 20AAG, 5 VLB

French Parachute Artillery Regiment 1980 to 2000

3 Composite Batteries                                      1 FAO, 1 105H, 1 120M, 1 20AAG, 3 VLB

French Parachute Engineer Regiment 1980 to 2000

HQ                                           1 HQ, 1 VBL Recon

3 Engineer Companies                        3 Engr, 3 VBL, 1 VBL Minelayer,

French Marine Parachute Regiment 1980 to 2000

HQ                                           1 HQ

3 Marine  Companies each      3 Rifle, 1 Milan, 1 81M, 5 VBL

1 Weapons Company                                       3 VBL Recon, 1 120M, 2 Milan, 1 20AAG, 4 VLB

French Combat Helicopter Regiment 1980 to 2000

Observation Squadron             2 Gazelle

Gunship Squadron                   2 Gazelle AH

Anti Tank Squadron                 2 Gazelle/HOT

Maneuver Squadron                2 Puma

French Anti Aircraft Regiment 1974 to 2000 (Corps asset)

3 Missile Batteries each           3 Roland

1 Gun Battery                           4 AMX-DCA

French Parachute Infantry Division Headquarters 1974 to 2000

HQ                                           2 VBL, 1 HQ,  2 Truck,

French Armored Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 1 Large Armored Regiment, 2 Small Armored Regiments, 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments, 1 Self Propelled Artillery Regiment and 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment)

HQ                                           1 HQ

Reconnaissance Company      1 VBL, 2 VBL/MG, 1 VBL/Milan

Anti Tank Company                 4 VAB/HOT, 2 VBL

French Light Armored Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 2 Light Armored Regiments, 2 Motorized Infantry Regiments, 1 Artillery Regiment, 1 Self Propelled Artillery Regiment and 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment)

HQ                                           1 HQ

Reconnaissance Company      1 VBL, 2 VBL/MG, 1 VBL/Milan

Anti Tank Company                 4 VAB/HOT, 2 VBL

French Mechanized Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 1 Armored Regiment, 1 Mechanized Infantry Regiment, 1 Motorized Infantry Regiment, 1 Self Propelled Artillery Regiment and 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment)

HQ                                           1 HQ

Reconnaissance Company      1 VBL, 2 VBL/MG, 1 VBL/Milan

Anti Tank Company                             4 VAB/HOT, 2 VBL

French Mountain Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 1 Mountain Light Armored Regiment, 3 Mountain Infantry Regiments, 1 Mountain Artillery Regiment and 1 Mountain Engineer Regiment)

HQ                                           1 HQ

Reconnaissance Company      1 VBL, 2 VBL/MG, 1 VBL/Milan

French Parachute Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 1 Parachute Light Armoured Regiment, 4 Parachute Infantry Regiments, 1 Parachute Artillery Regiment and 1 Parachute Engineer Regiment)

HQ1 HQ

Reconnaissance Company      1 VBL, 2 VBL/MG, 1 VBL/Milan

French Engineer Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 1 Bridging Regiment, 3 Engineer Support Regiments)

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

French Specialized Artillery Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 1 Counter Battery Regiment, 1 SAM Regiment (HAWK), 1 SAM Regiment (ROLAND/MISTRAL) and 1 SAM Regiment (CAROL/MISTRAL))

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

French Airmobile Brigade Headquarters 2000+ (Commands 2 Attack Helicopter Regiments (EHAP/EHAC), 1 Maneuver Regiment (EHAP/EHM) and 1 Reconnaissance Regiment)

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

French Large Armored Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 AMX/AD

2 Battalions each

HQ                                                       1 HQ, 2 AMX/AD

3 Tank Companies ea  3 LeClerc

Note                                                                             One of these per armored brigade. 

French Armored Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

4 Tank Companies each          3 LeClerc

Note                                                                             Mobilization and reserve units will continue to use the AMX30B2 until 2010 at least.  One regiment in an armored brigade will continue to be equipped with AMX30B2.

French Light Armored Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 VAB/AD

4 Tank Companies each          4 AMX10 RC

French Mountain Light Armored Regiment 2000+

HQ                                           1 HQ, 2 VAB/AD

4 Companies each                   3 ERC90

1 Anti Tank Company                          4 VBL/Milan, 2 VBL/MG

French Parachute Light Armored Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 VBL, 1 VAB TOC, 2 VAB/AD

4 Companies each                   3 ERC90

1 Anti Tank Company                          4 VBL/Milan, 2 VBL/MG

French Mechanized Infantry Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 AMX10, 1 AMX CP, 2 AMX10/AD

4 Infantry Companies each      2 Eryx, 3 Rifle, 3 AMX10

1 Support Company                             2 81M, 1 VAB/120, 3 Eryx, 2 VBL, 3 AMX10, 2 VBL/MG

French Motorized Infantry Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 VAB/AD

4 Infantry Companies each      3 Eryx, 3 Rifle, 3 VAB

1 Support Company                             2 81M, 1 VAB/120, 3 Eryx, 5 VBL, 2 VBL/MG

French Mountain Infantry Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 VAB/AD

4 Infantry Companies each      3 Eryx, 3 Rifle, 3 VAB

1 Support Company                             2 81M, 1 VAB/120, 3 Eryx, 5 VBL, 2 VBL/MG

French Parachute Infantry Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 VAB/AD

4 Infantry Companies each      3 Eryx, 3 Rifle, 3 VAB

1 Support Company                             2 81M, 1 VAB/120, 3 Eryx, 5 VBL, 2 VBL/MG

French Artillery Regiment 2000+

3 Batteries each                       1 FAO, 2 155H, 2 Truck

French Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment 2000+

4 Batteries each                       1 FAO, 2 GCT

French Mountain Artillery Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ, 2 20AA, 2 Truck

3 Batteries each                       1 FAO, 2 155H, 2 Truck

French Parachute Artillery Regiment 2000+

3 Batteries each                       1 FAO, 2 155H, 2 Truck

or                                             1 FAO, 2 VLA/120,

Note                                                                             Use the second battery ORBAT when doing an airborne or mobile mission.

French Mechanized Engineer Regiment 2000+

HQ                                           1 HQ

4 Combat Companies each                  3 Engr, 3 VAB, 1 MPG

1 Support Company                 2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3Truck, 1 Bridge

French Light Mechanized Engineer Regiment 2000+

HQ                                           1 HQ

2 Combat Companies each                  3 Engr, 3 VAB, 1 MPG

1 Armored Company                                        3 Engr, 2 VAB, 2 AVLB, 2 Tank Bridge, 1 CEV

1 Support Company                 2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3Truck, 1 Bridge

French Mountain Engineer Regiment 2000+

HQ                                           1 HQ

2 Combat Companies each                  3 Engr, 3 VAB, 1 MPG

1 Support Company                 2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3Truck, 1 Bridge

French Parachute Engineer Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                                           1 HQ

4 Combat Companies each                  3 Engr, 3 VAB, 1 MPG

1 Support Company                                         2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3Truck, 1 Bridge

French Bridging Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

2 Motorized Companies each              2 Engr, 4 Truck Bridge, 2 Raft, 8 Truck

1 Fixed Bridge Company                     3 Engr, 6 Truck Bridge, 3 Raft, 12 Truck

1 Support Company                                         2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3Truck, 1 Bridge

French Engineer Support Regiment 2000+

HQ                                                                               1 HQ

1 Ferry Company                                 2 Engr, 6 Ferry, 2 Truck

1 Raft Company                                               2 Engr, 9 Raft, 11 Truck

3 Support Companies each                 2 Bulldozer, 2 Engr, 3 Truck, 1 Bridge

French Counter Battery (LRM) Regiment 2000+

3 LRM Batteries each                                       2 MLRS, 2 Truck, 1 HQ, 2 VAB

French SAM Regiment 2000+ (HAWK)

4 Batteries each                                   1 AD Rad, 1 Hawk, 2 Truck

1 Radar Battery                                    2 AD Rad, 2 Truck

French SAM Regiment 2000+ (ROLAND/MISTRAL)

2 ROLAND Batteries each                    3 AMX Roland

2 MISTRAL Batteries each                   4 Mistral, 4 Truck

1 Radar Battery                                                2 AD Rad, 2 Truck

French SAM Regiment 2000+ (CROTALE/MISTRAL)

2 CROTALE Batteries each                  2 Crotale

2 MISTRAL Batteries each                   4 Mistral, 4 Truck

1 Radar Battery                                                2 AD Rad, 2 Truck

French Attack Helicopter Regiment 2000+

2 EHAP Companies each                     2 EHAP

2 EHAC Companies each                     2 EHAC

Large Units:

Armored Brigade Headquarters 1956 to 1966 – 1 Brigade Headquarters, 3 Tank Regiments, 1 Infantry Regiment

 

NATO Infantry Brigade 1956 to 1974 – 1 Brigade Headquarters, 3 Infantry Regiments, 1 Light Tank Regiment

Armored Division Headquarters 1974 to 1997 - – 1 Divisional Headquarters, 2 Armored Regiments, 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments, 1 Motorized Infantry Regiment, 1 Motorized Engineer Regiment, 1 Mechanized Artillery Regiment, 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment.

Light Armored Division Headquarters 1974 to 2000 - 1 Divisional Headquarters, 2 Light Armored Regiments, 2 Motorized Infantry Regiments, 1 Mechanized Artillery Regiment, 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment.

NATO Motorized Infantry Division 1974 to 2000 – 1 Divisional Headquarters, 1 Armored Regiment, 3 Motorized Infantry Regiments, 1 Mechanized Artillery Regiment, 1 Motorized Engineer Regiment.

Alpine Infantry Division 1974 to 2000 - 1 Divisional Headquarters, 1 Light Armored Regiment, 6 Mountain Infantry Regiments (organized administratively into 2 demi-brigades), 1 Mountain Artillery Regiment, 1 Mountain Engineer Regiment (There is only one – the 27th Alpine Division).

Airmobile Division 1974 to 2000 - 1 Divisional Headquarters, 1 Motorized Infantry Regiments, 3 Combat Helicopter Regiments (There is only one – the 4th Airmobile Division which is more of a holding unit for airmobile assets and training than a combat formation).

Parachute Infantry Division 1974 to 2000 - 1 Parachute Divisional Headquarters, 1 Parachute Light Armored Regiment, 5 Parachute Infantry Regiments (2 are marines), 1 Parachute Artillery Regiment, 1 Parachute Engineer Regiment (this is the standard doctrinal divisional concept, see 11th Airborne Division below for practical application).

Marine Infantry Division 1974 to 2000 - 1 Divisional Headquarters, 2 Light Armored Regiment, 4 Marine Infantry Regiments (brigaded with a Light Armored Regiment to form 2 demi brigades), 1 Parachute Marine Regiment (Special Forces Battalion), Marine Artillery Regiment (There is only one – the 9th Marine Division).

6th Light “Daguet” Division 1990-1991 (Gulf War) – 1 Divisional Headquarters, 2 Light Armored Regiments, 1 Armored Regiment, 1 Mixed Armored Regiment (2 companies each AMX10RC and Infantry in VAB), 3 Mechanized Infantry Regiment, 1 Artillery Regiment (155mm), 1 Recon Regiment (ERC90), 2 Helicopter Regiments, 1 Airmobile Regiment, 1 Engineer Regiment, 2  Batteries (Mistral).

11th Airborne Division 1991 (Gulf War) – 1 Divisional Headquarters, 1 Airborne Armored Regiment (1st Hussars), 2 Parachute Brigades (consisting of 3 Airborne Regiments and a Brigade Headquarters), 35th Airborne Artillery Regiment, 17th Airborne Engineer Regiment, 1st Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment, 7th Combat Helicopter Regiment.  (Infantry units are 3rd Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment, 8th Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment, 9th Chasseur Parachute Infantry Regiment, 6th Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment, 7th Chasseur Parachute Infantry Regiment, and 2nd Foreign Legion Parachute Infantry Regiment).

Armored Brigade 2000+ - 1 Large Armored Regiment, 2 Small Armored Regiments, 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments, 1 Self Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment

Light Armored Brigade 2000+ - 2 Light Armored Regiments, 2 Motorized Infantry Regiments, 1 Artillery Regiment, 1 Self Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment

Mechanized Brigade 2000+ - 1 Armored Regiment, 1 Mechanized Infantry Regiment, 1 Motorized Infantry Regiments, 1 Self Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1 Mechanized Engineer Regiment

Mountain Brigade 2000+ - 1 Mountain Light Armored Regiment, 3 Mountain Infantry Regiments, 1 Mountain Artillery Regiment, 1 Mountain Engineer Regiment

Parachute Brigade 2000+ - 1 Parachute Light Armored Regiment, 4 Parachute Infantry Regiments, 1 Parachute Artillery Regiment, 1 Parachute Engineer Regiment

Engineer Brigade 2000+ - 1 Bridging Regiment, 3 Engineer Support Regiments

Specialized Artillery Brigade 2000+ - 1 Counter Battery Regiment, 1 SAM Regiment (HAWK), 1 SAM Regiment (ROLAND/MISTRAL), 1 SAM Regiment (CAROL/MISTRAL)

Airmobile Brigade 2000+ - Commands 2 Attack Helicopter Regiments (EHAP/EHAC), 1 Maneuver Regiment (EHAP/EHM), 1 Reconnaissance Regiment

 

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