I was asked how we were going to play the French Foreign Legion in our games, so here's a quick write-up of one way to field this famous French outfit.
The Legion was in a weird spot in WW2. Before the start of the war, German volunteers had gradually joined the outfit to such a high degree that it was a dangrous mix of German infiltrators and victims of the ravages of fascism. They were deemed safe to send as support against Soviet in Finland though, and the 13th Demi-Brigade was trained as arctic troops in France with this in mind. The Winter War ended before they could be sent, but after weeding out German infiltrators they were sent to Norway to invade Narvik, where they fought well but eventually had to be extracted when France was attacked.
This meant that they were in transit in Great Britain when France fell. At this point, the Legion was divided into three parts: one part aligned with the Vichy government, one with the Free French, and the 13th Demi-Brigade stuck in Britain. The latter ended up joining the British 8th Army, and in Syria legionnaires ended up fighting each other during the war.
Playing French Foreign Legion
Given the complex history of the Legion during WW2, you have a lot of options as a player. Some parts of the Legion were far away and cut off, and would make do with what pre-war equipment they had or what they could get their hands on. Others were outfitted by Allied or Axis forces, so could look and be organized just like an American, or British or German soldier.
Since variety is the spice of life, we went with the more unusual look, instead of just treating them as British or Americans. This list is based on how a platoon would look at the outset of the war. One of the main draws of this platoon is the flexibility of the rifle grenades, which you can either spread out to give additional firepower to your sections, or pool into a grenadier section.
French Foreign Legion platoon (1939-)
Force rating: +1
Lieutenant, Senior Leader with pistol
Sergent-chef, Senior Leader with rifle
Three Infantry Sections
Each section includes:
One Sergeant, Junior Leader with rifle
One LMG team (M24/29), consisting of:
-two crew (gunner and loader who can't fire)
-two riflemen (can fire)
One rifle team with, consisting of:
-one V-B launcher with one crew
One Viven-Bessières rifle grenade (V-B) Team
V-B Caporal, Junior Leader with pistol
One V-B launcher with one crew
One Sniper Team
Platoon special rules
LA LÉGION EST MA FAMILLE
Legion Platoons counts their current Force Morale as two points higher when checking for whether they lose any command dice. That means they lose one command die when they reach 2 Force Morale, and two command dice at 1 Force Morale. They still rout at 0 Force Morale.
GROUPE DE LANCE-GRENADIER
Before deploying any troops, you can choose wether to have the V-B launchers as part of each section, or to pool them together into V-B group.
If all the V-B-equipped men in the platoon are formed into a group with the ‘V-B Caporal’ from the HQ, the group will co-ordinate their fire more effectively than as individual grenadiers.
If either the Team, or the V-B Caporal (if he is within 6” of the team), have Line of Sight to the target, it counts as firing at Close Range. Otherwise all fire is treated as being at Effective Range. The team is treated like a single weapon team and its members as its crew. It may either fire as a ‘V-B Team’, or as a normal team of riflemen. The V-B has a minimum range of 18”. Similar to a light mortar, the V-B group targets a team rather than bombarding an area. V-B grenades ignore cover.
A V-B group causes 2 hits in the open, with an additional +1 per additional grenadier in the team after the first. A full group will therefore inflict 5 hits. In confined areas an additional 1 hit is caused for the first grenadier and a further one per two figures in the group. A full group would therefore inflict 7 hits.