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France is a major power in 1936, one of the winners of the Great War, and in control of a globe-spanning empire. Their heartland in Europe is rich; almost half of Africa is under their control; and they have colonies in Indochina, Syria and Guyana, not to mention direct control of islands in all the oceans of the world.
- 1 Historical Background
- 2 Technology
- 3 Politics
- 4 National focus
- 5 Intelligence
- 6 Economy
- 7 Military
- 8 Strategies and Guides
France, along with the United Kingdom, guaranteed the independence of Poland prior to its invasion by Germany. Feeling secured by the Maginot Line in the Eastern provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, France declared war against Germany with the United Kingdom. However the Allied armies were defeated in just six weeks during the Battle of France against Germany and Italy, in contrast to the years-long campaign expect by both sides. Thinking their chances poor regardless, Germany gambled on a decisive victory by sending Panzer divisions through Luxembourg and the Ardennes forested hills, terrain which the French supreme commander Gamelin thought unable to sustain tank movements. The Panzers then drove — without waiting for infantry to secure their supply lines — through France to the English Channel, surrounding the bulk of the Allied forces which had been sent to Belgium's border with Germany aiming to deny them room for mobile warfare and overconfident that their main thrust would be through Belgium as in WWI's Schlieffen Plan.
The British evacuated their expeditionary forces and what Allied units they could until Dunkirk fell. And soon, France effectively surrendered — a defeat which caused great astonishment to the rest of the world, as France was a leading world power that only 20 years earlier had won the Great War.
France sued for peace and, in a German-dictated armistice, was divided between a German occupied zone, in the north and along the Atlantic coast, and the free zone in the south. Germany wholly annexed the Alsace-Lorraine, while Italy occupied regions .
Philippe Pétain, a hero of WWI, took control of France's government. The authoritarian regime of Pétain was called the “État Français” but, as the government moved from Paris to the city of Vichy, is more often called “Vichy France”.
The Petain regime soon engaged in collaboration with Germany, believing the Axis would be the winners of WWII, and Hitler the leader in the fight against international communism.
In England, General Charles de Gaulle launched his famous "Appel du 18 juin" calling all soldiers to join him to continue the fight against the Axis, thus creating what would later be known as the Free French Army which fought alongside the Allies.
In the French colonies, some remained loyal to Vichy France (Algeria), and some preferred to join the Free French.
After the invasion of Algeria in November 1942 by Allied troops in "Operation Torch", Germany invaded Vichy France, in order to take control of Mediterranean ports and the remains of the French Navy in Toulon harbor. The crews scuttled their ships, instead of being caught by German troops.
The Free French Army participated in the invasion of Normandy in "Operation Overlord", with a special air service on D-day, and later in the battle of Normandy with a armored division (2eme Division Blindée, led by General Leclerc), which was part of 3rd Army under US General Patton. Leclerc's forces were authorized to be the first to liberate Paris.
After the Liberation of France, General de Gaulle became the head of the provisional government, until the 4th French Republic formed in 1946.
France starts with very good tanks, having unlocked 2 levels of the light tanks tree. This is offset by a major penalty to doctrine research, making it extremely time consuming to develop proper doctrines. In addition, France's focus tree lacks many research boosts that other majors (and even minors) do have, such as artillery, infantry equipment and industry. Combined with having one less research slot than Italy, this makes France a technologically weak country by the time Germany invades.
France is the only nation to start with Battlecruiser II, a 1940 technology.
|Army Technology||Naval Technology||Air Technology||Electronics & Industry|
France starts with three National Spirits:
Disjointed Government, and Protected by the Maginot Line can be removed by completing National Focuses in the Government Reform branch.
Victors of the Great War can be removed by completing National Focuses in the Defensive or Aggressive branches.
France starts outside of the Allies at the start of 1936, but has options to join later. They also have focuses to form their own faction with Czechoslovakia and invite Yugoslavia and Romania to form the Little Entente.
France has focuses to intervene in the Spanish Civil War, either for the Nationalists or Republicans, but these require first becoming fascist or communist.
|Rule||Whether it applies||Reason|
|Can declare war on country of the same ideology group without a war goal||No||Democracy|
|Can Guarantee other Ideologies||Yes||Democracy|
|Can join Factions led by another Ideology||Yes||Democracy|
|Can create Factions||No||No National Spirit. Requires National Focus|
|Lowers World Tension with Guarantees||Yes||Democracy|
|Can puppet a country||No||Democracy|
|Can justify wargoals against a country that have not generated world tension||No||Democracy|
- Main article: French national focus tree
The French national focus tree can be divided into 4 branches:
- Industrial branch
- This branch offers the possibility to develop Metropolitan France and the overseas region, as well as two more research slots.
- Defensive and aggressive branch
- These branches are mutually exclusive. They end with the shard focus Army Reform which removes the starting national spirit Victors of the Great War. (This focus can only be taken after removing Disjointed Government via the government reform branch.)
- Government Reform branch
- This branch contains of various diplomatic focuses and focuses to change the ideology of the government. All possible mutually exclusive branches contain a focus to remove the crippling Disjointed Government national spirit.
- Navy and air force branch
- This branch includes focuses which grant experience and research boni to improve in these domains.
Brief overview of nation's intelligence capability in 1936.
France has access to all the Aluminum and Steel they could ever dream of using. They are also controlling some of the biggest supplies of Tungsten and Rubber from their Asian colonies. They have no access to Oil so they need to import that.
|Conscription Law||Economy Law||Trade Law|
| Limited Conscription
|| Civilian Economy
|| Export Focus
6 Military Factories
8 Naval Dockyard
36 Civilian Factories
Military production is dwarfed by Germany (40) and Italy (19) and only on par with Belgium. You can also expect production to be crippled by the 1936 strikes. However, the very good civilian production allows for considerable military buildup in the years before the war.
These numbers represent the base available resources, depending on trade law a certain ammount may be traded away.
Staff and Designers
France has 74 divisions in 1936, but several of those are colonial divisions with only two infantry battalions, and their armored divisions are basically brigades. They rely on the heavy fortifications at the border against Germany to defend them there.
Examples of alternative division template names for France include:
- Mountaineers - Division d'Infanterie Alpine
- Marines - Division d'Infanterie de Marine
- Paratroopers - Division Aéroportée
- Motorized - Division d'Infanterie Motorisée
- Mechanized - Division d'Infanterie Mécanique
- Armor - Division Blindée
France has 1 CV, 5 BB, 7 CA, 7 CL, 52 DD and 57 SS at the start, and boasts a reasonably modern - if understrength - fleet. Whilst the Marine Nationale is strong enough to decisively defeat either the Kreigsmarine or the Regia Marina alone, it would have no chance against a combined Axis fleet. As with her tanks, France begins the game with modern naval technology, such as 1936 CA, CL, DD and SS techs, and even 1940 BC tech. However, poor naval infrastructure and low shipbuilding priority means that constructing a large modern fleet is not easy, and in fact can often be counter-productive in that it denies vital raw materials from tank and motorized production.
As of the v1.3 patch, the old Courbet-class dreadnought battleships Courbet and Paris have been added, and the battlecruisers Dunkerque and Strasbourg are under construction in 1936.
In 1939, the modern Richelieu-class battleships Richelieu, Jean Bart and Clemenceau are under construction.
This means all of France's capital ships are now correctly available.
44 Naval Bombers
204 Tactical Bombers
France starts with 457 fighters, 48 Naval Bombers and 204 modern Tactical Bombers. It is a rather good airforce, but it will need to be significantly strengthened before the war starts.
Strategies and Guides
Put strategies and guides here to help others play this nation. Please post individual guides under its own subheader.
GUIDE: Fascist France, 1936
When you begin the game in the 1936 scenario, you will spawn with 74 divisions, with reasonable amounts of motorised and armoured divisions.
You will also begin with the Maginot Line, a set of level 10 fortresses along the Franco-German border (at Alsace-Lorraine). Focus on gaining the Germans' trust so you can join the Axis. Afterwards, you will not need the Maginot Line, eliminating the possibility of a 2-fronted war (with Italy and Germany).
- At your national focus, make sure to research the Government Reform, Revise Versailles and Support the Right national focuses.
- While you are doing that, train as many armoured and motorised divisions as you can, and move all your troops to the Italian border.
- Your African garrisons should have a frontline with Libya. Move the 3 divisions from French Indochina to French Somaliland, and build some forts and erect a frontline alongside Italian East Africa.
- It is important to note that after the Ethiopian War, Italian troops will largely move out of East Africa. Use that advantage to swiftly take over the area.
- After that, build as many military factories, Anti-Air and Infrastructure you can, especially in the African areas, where infrastructure levels are low. This allows your divisions to move quicker.
- Once you have gotten the Support the Right focus, research Support Weapons, Engineer Companies and change your land doctrine to Superior Firepower. While you are waiting, use Political Power to get a Fascist Demagogue in your government.
- Assign 10 divisions to Corsica, and have then ready to invade Sardinia.
- Once you have a field strength of roughly 80, send 20 extra divisions to Africa. Your 4 divisions at the Somaliland should do fine. Begin writing up offensive lines.
- Construct a fleet of submarines, light cruisers and heavy cruisers, as well as Close Air Support, Fighters and Naval Bombers. Use then to gain Air Superiority over Northern and Souther France, as well as the Tyrrhenian Sea and Alpine Region. Most of the naval and air combat will occur in the Tyrrhenian Sea, so send over 1000+ fighters to the area. Also, deploy all your ships at Tunisia (but not Corsica!), where they can avoid enemy bombings.
- Assign 11 fleets to search and destroy in the Tyrrhenian, 3 at the Mediterranean, and the rest of your fleets as Convoy Raiding, especially around the Gibraltar, Red Sea and Cyprus.
- Once you have over 100 divisions, make the Fascists your ruling party, and Improve relations with Germany. You should be able to join the Axis, but do not attack anyone until you are in it.
- Once you have joined the Axis, declare war on Italy.
- Your 100 European divisions should overrun Italian border defences easily, while your African troops should be able to take down the Italian colonies with ease.
- Once you have established a foothold at Mainland Italy, get all of your fighters that are in reserves and assign them to the area for air superiority. Also, get Close Air Support in the region.
- Get an "All-Weather" advisor in your Army Staff. This should reduce many penalties in the area.
- Once you conquer the entire Sardinia with your Corsican Forces, commence a naval invasion and attack Sicily. Land near Palermo, but not directly at it.
- Capture Rome. It should be easy. after that, continue pushing down towards Naples.
- Depending on the AI, the Capital may be moved to Palermo or somewhere at the South. With your Corsican forces, take over Sicily swiftly. After that, invade the rest of Mainland Italy from the South.
- Italy should surrender quickly.
- Take all states but leave Sicily as a Puppeted Italy. They could still train troops in Sicily, so you can request forces if needed
GUIDE: Hold the Line, Historical AI setting
Historically France was overrun by the Axis when the highly mobile German army pushed through Belgium and into a largely undefended Paris. Italy opportunistically attacked and France fell in a matter of days. In Hearts of Iron 4, this can be avoided.
For the first years of the war, France will be playing defensive exclusively, acting as the shield of Europe. This strategy requires a lot of patience sitting behind France's fortified borders and helplessly watch as Africa and eastern Europe are overrun. But the ability to hold off the Italians and the Germans (and likely the Spanish) will give French allies the time they need to take back Africa, and prevent the Balkans from being overrun. The strategy is simple, albeit complicated to set up. Focus on the defense of the borders and air superiority. Do this while remaining a democracy and joining the Allies.
Because of reliance on defense and air power, France does not need tanks, vehicles, cavalry or anything else except planes.
- Begin training 12 infantry divisions.
- Find every ground unit on the map and put them in an army, put in garrison somewhere in France. Convert every division to infantry divisions, including colonial brigades. Tanks or mountaineers are not needed to defend the borders. Exercise them to increase experience to be regulars. This is going to create a massive infantry supply deficit. Set factories to produce infantry equipment en masse.
- Build 8 civilian factories, 10 military factories, then build land fortresses exclusively. Start with 3 on each province on the Alpine line (the border with Italy), then 3 on each province along the Iberian border with Spain. Add 2 each on the borders with Belgium and Luxembourg (the Benelux region). Finally, build 3 in each province of the Swiss border. After that, build one fortress on each of the border provinces, starting with Italy, then Belgium/Luxembourg, then Spain. Continue doing this until each province has at least a +6 fort (which will take France well into the war).
- France should be producing 3 things; infantry equipment, support equipment, and towed artillery. Produce nothing else until Fighter II is researched. Focus on infantry equipment, then Fighter II when it's researched.
- For research, begin with industry and research bonuses, and anything else related to infrastructure that isn't ahead of time. Once these do become ahead of time, begin researching fighter II and engineer support companies. Switch production to fighter II the moment research is finished, and modify the infantry template to include an engineer company. When France gains its fourth research slot, begin researching the “Grand Battle Plan” land doctrine, followed by “Prepared Defense” as the two priority tasks for the 4th research slot. Because France is focusing on defense and air power, it won't actually need the 5th research slot until much later. Research artillery II quickly, as well as infantry upgrades.
- For national focus, begin with Metropolitan France and continue down that line to the extra research slot (and use it to research Grand Battle Plan, despite the penalty). Then get Algerie France and continue down that line. Next is Defensive Focus and Levee en Mass for the bonus to producing infantry equipment, the fortification bonus (do not build any forts until this bonus applies; build military factories instead, then immediately switch over). Then go with “Government Reform”, “Status Quo”, “Go with Britain”, and “Strengthen Government”. From there, go back to “Alpine Forts” and “Extend the Maginot Line”. Grab “Grand Batterie”, then switch to “Air Focus” and continue down that line with fighters. France does not need “Defensive Stratagems” or “Army Reform” yet.
- Create front lines along the borders with Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Spain but put them all under 1 commander (e.g., Maxime).
- Add one more infantry regiment to each infantry division once with army experience.
- Use political power to obtain Maxime for additional defense as French Chief of Army. Change the laws to “Free Trade” asap and “Extensive Conscription” as soon as the war breaks out. Get “Total Mobilization” as soon as possible thereafter.
- Have all possible fighters set to interception over Northern and Southern France when Britain calls France to war. Around 1300 fighters should have been built to this point. Use the minimum needed to maintain air superiority and the rest set to intercept bombers. They will destroy most of Germany and Italy's bomber force in a month or so.
- Send new infantry recruits to weak points along the fortified lines. Keep 1 infantry division stationed in each frontier province along the Spanish border in case the Spanish become Axis. The rest should be along the Italian border, no less than 3 each province with a few extra in reserve to move to wherever is being attacked. The Maginot line can hold easily with 2 divisions per province, with a few extra to move to large attacks. If Switzerland is attacked, be prepared to fall back to the Swiss forts. When Belgium is attacked, concede defeat, accept all expeditionary forces, and fall back immediately. The Allies cannot and will not hold Switzerland or the Low Countries against the Axis. The sole mission is to hold France.
- Repair damaged forts first. If Switzerland is holding its own, those forts can be ignored and abandoned. If Spain is not in the war, use those forces to reinforce the eastern and northern borders.
- Only attempt offense when allies are gaining ground and French troops can make quick, obvious gains. Without tanks, bombers, or close air support, so attack options are limited.
- Hold the line. So long as France doesn't fall, its is winning the war. Be patient, take small gains when possible, rely on defensive advantages, and wait for the Americans to be drawn into the war. Then slowly retake Africa, take Italian Africa, then liberate the Low Countries and Switzerland when the opportunity presents itself. From there is a slow, steady push through Italy and Eastern Germany.
Communist France, Historical AI setting
France starts out in a interesting position to change to a Communist nation by events and national focuses by October/November 1936 Although its possible to be Communist by August in 1936. With any event that pops the best option is to pick the one that increases support for the Communist party. Examples are: The Matignon Agreement- Communist +7.50% support and Revoke the Matignon Agreement: 8.00% Communist support and a another event after the election of 1936 that gives an extra 10.00% Communist support. After the election of 1936, France might get the option to early mobilize its economy. The chance of this happening is a bit random but its a huge boost as it helps building military factories faster. As France you must build military factories from the start to get rid of the deficit of 20,000 in infantry weapons which is crippling your ability to recruit any new divisions.
The National Focuses should be set in this order to become a Communist nation as quickly as possible:
- Government reform: which give +120 extra political power. Save this political power for later reforms and claims on nations
- Revise Versailles: Add two Research Bonus: +50% for Land Doctrines
- Support The Left: Add National Spirit: Support The Left (Daily Communist Support: +0.20)
- Leftist Rhetoric: Add National Spirit: Maurice Thorez (Daily Communist support: + 0.10 Triggers a event communist on the rise).
- National Mobilization: Removes the Disjointed Government: (-0,80 Daily political power -10% National Unity) Add National Spirit: National Mobilization (Recruitable Population: 1%, Division Recovery Rate: +10%)
After completing Leftist Rhetoric you will gain Maurice Thorez as an advisor and then gain the event to support the Communist coup from the government or let the people commit a coup by civil war. It's advisable to support the internal coup from the government due to France's terrible starting position of logistics, mainly the massive deficit in infantry weapons which will still be at least 12,000, thus making a civil war a very bad idea.
Assuming that you are Communist France, you now have several new options available:
- Support the Spanish civil war. You can support Republican Spain by sending 4 volunteers and then out-micro-ing the enemy AI. You will gain a big ally on your western front and as such you do not have to send any divisions to that front later while also gaining an ally that you can invite to your own faction.
- Fabricate claims on Iran and Iraq. Each have a good amount of Oil resources and a weak army, making them easy expansion prey from your Syrian colonies. Iraq has 32 oil and Iran has 68. By fabricating the moment you turn Communist you can spread these fabrications by 30-40 days. Declare war on Iraq first and annex its states. Then, declare war on Iran and take all of its states too before the World tension is above 25%. Keep in mind that your time window to declare war on Iran closes in September 1937 because Japan will most likely declare war on China raising world tension well above 25%, which means the United kingdom will guarantee your prey. Having a war with the Allies this soon will be a headache for France due to having a lack-luster air force and weak navy compared to the United Kingdom.
- Change to a war economy. Any Communist nation can change its economy to a war economy for 150 political power. This reduces to 15% the amount of civilian factories locked into consumer goods while increasing the construction speed of military/civilian factories by 20%. Keep in mind that you will not have enough political power to do the fabrications on Iran and Iraq while also changing to a war economy. So do the fabrications and then get war economy.
- Choose a faction.
- Join Comintern. Join the USSR's faction, assuring a giant ally and giving Germany a second front when war inevitably breaks out.
- Make your own faction and invite Republican Spain and any other country that you made made Communist by boosting party popularity.
- Join the Allies. It is possible to join the Allied faction if Germany declares war on you after it declared war on Poland.
- Fabricate claims on the Low Countries. Same idea as Iran/Iraq the difference being that you will have quite a huge front with Germany which is harder to manage, because you are bypassing your own Maginot defense line, a line that can be defended by just 7 division. Lvl 10 forts reduce attack by 150% and with the terrain the enemy attack value is usually 1 or 5 compared to your 300 defense. The spread between the claim of the Netherlands and Belgium should be 30/40 days.
You can decide to build up your army/navy/air force till 1939 although your navy is stronger then Germany/ Italy it cannot however beat the combine fleets of Germany and Italy. You must then use your national focus towards getting army reform by offensive or defensive doctrine. In my opinion defensive is better as it gives boosts to your infantry and gives you the option to extend the Maginot line later on. You need to ASAP get rid of the victors of the great war. Which gives a huge penalty to land doctrines, you need land doctrines to be competitive against Germany and it has to be researched as soon as possible too, tactics on the battlefield are crucial for winning the war. Afterwards you can start your national focus on getting extra research slots and air focuses.
Wait until the Axis declares war on Poland luring them into a war with the Allies first while you pick your timing to declare war and conqueror them entirely, starting with Italy since they are much easier to defeat or attacking Germany it self by having the huge border from the Netherlands and Belgium. After beating the Axis you can start to bring true equal freedom to ever nation in the world.
- Be Communist by October/November 1936. Or be Communist by August 1936 Depending on the random event at the April Election
- Support the Spanish civil war on the Republican side
- Fabricate claims on Belgium/Netherlands/. Or Fabricate claims on Iran/Iraq
- Declare war on Belgium/ Iraq as soon as you can.
- Declare war on Netherlands/ Iran before September 1937 to avoid being above 25% World tension (Japan focus war with china).
- Create your own faction or join a faction.
- Build up your army/air force/navy for the war with the Axis in 1939
- Crush Italy/Germany first depending on your fabrication strategy.
- Bring the workers revolution to the rest of the world.
GUIDE: The Little Entente
To get this achievement you, or someone in your faction, need to control all the German core states. That means that you have to win the war against the Axis — not the Allies, not Comintern.
- First you need to get your economy going, you not only need to support your own army but supply the rest of the Ententé if you hope to win. So first take the usual economic techs, such as construction 1, machine tools, and electronics.
- Now it's time to position your army. Send all mountain troops, and a couple of infantry to the Italian border. All remaining forces to the German front. Separate your armored divisions, assign them to General de Gaulle and send them to Libya and plan an attack on the Italian colony along side all your colonial troops.
- Combine all your navy, save for the subs into one fleet and send them to patrol the Mediterranean, the Kriegsmarine won't be an issue since they mainly sit at Wilhelmshaven collecting rust. If you can sink the Italian navy you can reinforce your Ententé allies without their interference. Set your subs to hunt convoys in the Mediterranean and the channel.
- Set to build a couple of civilian factories, then mainly produce military ones. You'll need a ton of infantry equipment to supply your depleted formation and your allies. Your next priority would be artillery and some fighter 1 once you unlock them.
- Do not oppose the remilitarization of the Rhineland; it costs you a ton of political power for not a lot of gain, and you may even join Britain, preventing you from getting the achievement.
- You should for the first few Focuses stick to industry development, but also advance in the Ententé focus tree. By 1937 you should have the Czechs in your faction. You also need to keep on top of your decryption tech since you need to know what Germany is focusing on.
- By '38 you should have fighter I tech done, also develop marines, build 4 divisions of them, and put them on Corsica, ready to storm Sardinia. You should also build a couple of forts on the Italian border since you won't have time to get the focus for that.
- Keep a wary eye on the German focuses. As soon as they start the Anschluss focus, take the focus to Invite Yugoslavia; and when Germany demands the Sudetenland, you need to start the Invite Romania focus.
- When the Munich Crisis event fires you should have a solid infantry army on the German border, your mountaineers ready to defend the Alps, and your colonial and tank forces ready to smash Libya. You should also be sitting on a large infantry 1 equipment stockpile and be in the process of replacing them with infantry II equipment. The Ententé should be united already, and you should have removed the “Disjointed Government” national spirit, and be working on removing the “Victors of the Great War” one.
- When the Munich Crisis fires, the British almost always abandon the Czechs to their fate, but you need to take a stand. Otherwise the Czechs will leave the faction and die. You'll need to suffer the political power loss.
- Czechoslovakia can hold the Germans for about a couple of weeks, but that can be considerably extended with help from the Ententé. Immediately supply Yugoslavia and Romania with our spare infantry I weapons and artillery; they'll do wonders with your obsolete gear.
- Set your fighters and CAS to defend northern and southern France mainly; you'll be very hard-pressed to compete with the German air force.
- Germany has a tendency to launch an all-out attack on the Sudetenland, leaving their Westwall region very lightly guarded. If you see an opening for marching into Germany, take it! You'll not only deprive the Germans of valuable factories, you also boost the construction of new ones in France. Don't expect to hold those factories for long, so you should dismantle as many military factories as you can while you hold them.
- DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET TRAPPED in Germany! If German pressure becomes too heavy, retreat to the Maginot Line as orderly as you can.
- When Italy joins the war, be prepared for a strong push in the Alps. Resist as best you can, and even divert some troops from the Maginot to shore up the Alpine front if needed. Don't despair; Italy also has a tendency to redirect their efforts towards Yugoslavia once their main push has stalled. Take that opportunity to push, then take what you can from Italy. They will be bogged down in Yugoslavia for some time if you supplied them properly.
- As soon as Italy joins, invade Sardinia with your marines and jump into Sicily when done. Also you need to blitz through Libya as fast as possible to close that front and redirect the troops there back to Europe. Direct the tanks to the German front and the colonial troops to assist the Yugoslav army, who will be hard-pressed to hold the Italians and possibly also Hungary.
- Take the focus to guarantee Poland when done with removing the “Victor of the Great War”. You need them in your faction, you cannot let them capitulate on their own, even if it takes you to war with the Soviets.
- Don't worry about Spain. Until 1942 they are no threat.
- Keep the pressure on Germany as best you can without overextending, this will lighten the push on the Ententé and give them a chance. Since you are the only one fighting Germany, nations will join you rather than the Allies when attacked by the Axis. Hold long enough and Germany will find herself completely surrounded by enemies (France, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, and Belgium) pushing their army to the limit.
- Nevertheless, your main objective is to defeat Italy. With their army in Yugoslavia, you have about 6 months to defeat them. Push from all sides! Push with your marines from the south, from Sicily if unguarded. From the north push with your mountaineers, and keep them tied up in Yugoslavia as best as you can. Race for Italy's victory points; their capitulation is key. You'll receive a massive industry boost and relieve the pressure on Yugoslavia.
- You may end up at war with the USSR because of your guarantee of Poland or your alliance with Romania. It's almost inevitable. You need to join Poland's war because if Poland capitulates on their own, and have been joined by the rest of the Ententé, they'll draw them all in the defeat as the only major country in that war. This will probably doom Romania and Czechoslovakia, but by then you should have dealt with the Italians and reinforced Yugoslavia to make a stand against the Red Menace.
- Once Italy is out of the way, it's time to kill the German juggernaut. Push as best as you can, make pockets, an kill them as best you can. They'll should be having supply problems by now.
- When Germany capitulates you can take all, or liberate countries, or change their government, or reward your Ententé allies with land — it doesn't matter since the Germans' cores will in any case be owned by your faction!
Some things to note are:
- Don't expect any help from the UK. They'll just sit and do nothing, maybe fight Japan.
- Don't worry about Japan. They may join the Axis but are unlikely to join your war. In my run they even joined my war against the USSR.
- Lend-lease to the Ententé heavily. You need them to hold the line.
- Don't send troops into Czechoslovakia. They may become trapped if the Czechs capitulate and thus be annihilated. Let Romania reinforce the Czech.
- Keep up to date in infantry equipment and techs.
Guide: Call Rhineland Bluff, 1936
- Bring all colonial troops home immediately - be sure to get the out-of-the-way divisions in Vietnam, Madagascar and Syria.
- Position all motorized divisions and some elite (non-colonial) infantry divisions around Paris. Put everyone else at the German border.
- When Germany remilitarizes the Rhineland (always their first National Focus in a historical game), demand they withdraw. If they do, either restart or transition to one of the other strategies here. Note that in this case, Germany won't be able to build forts on the northern half of their border with France, so invading them early is easier.
- If they don't, you'll go to war with Germany and also get a small Communist rebellion centered in Calais (France's second-biggest VP after Paris). Crush it in a few days with the motorized troops.
- The German army will be better equipped than yours, but much smaller. Tie down their troops with strong divisions and use weak ones to grab empty land and encircle them.
- Focus all industry on infantry weapons (and take the Military Factories focus), since most of your troops start under-equipped. You shouldn't need to build any new units.
- Germany should fall by the end of 1936. Italy might joint the Axis in the day between Germany capitulating and the peace conference since World Tension will spike. They're not very dangerous, but be sure to reposition troops quickly since your National Unity will be very low and losing just a few cities will make you lose the game. .
- You will need at least 1000 fighter planes. All major powers in your vicinity will host 1000 + fighters each challenging you for valuable air superiority.
- The "Public Demands Rearmament" election event(which increases your Economy Law by one, in this case gets you free Early Mobilization) can be of great benefit to France, as their elections happen very early in the game(April 1936) and France's severe Political Power shortages mean changing it manually is the last thing on the player's mind. The conditions to trigger it that apply to France are: one of neighbouring countries must be at war. This will happen quite often, either with Italian war with Ethiopia still going or Spanish Civil War triggering early. Unfortunately, even if you meet the requirements, there is still a chance that you will get the useless "Communists in Government?" instead, because of France's starting 30% Communist support.
- Change your armour templates before going to war. The French tanks are OK, but the armour brigades only have 10 organisation and are very brittle. Delete the brigades and use their tanks to recruit improved armour divisions.
- The events from the "Alpine Forts" and "Extend the Maginot Line" focuses always give 2 levels of forts on all Italian and Belgian (respectively) border provinces. But (since 1.3), building forts manually costs more the higher the existing level. Build cheap level 1-3 forts before completing the focus to maximize the benefit.
- Syria, Republic of Laos, and Republic of Cambodia can all be released as puppets, and as their land contains no factories or resources so France will lose nothing from doing so. With Together for Victory, France can raise troops using its puppets' manpower. Note that the division templates of the puppets will be copied from France's when released, so it's best to make desired changes to your templates before releasing the puppets. Together, they can provide a good 20-30 extra divisions before the war starts, and will also develop some industry via their generic national focuses.
- With Together for Victory, the US will generally agree to lend-lease equipment to France once the war starts if France slightly improves relations.