France

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France
France.png
Capital:
Paris

Government Type:
Democratic

Faction:
None(1936), Allies(1939)

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. However, their government is divided, with Communist influences threatening to weaken it further. The memory of the Great War is also very much alive, and the people of France are reluctant to fight another major war in Europe. Should an aggressive adversary like Germany threaten its heartland, France is unlikely to be willing to sustain defensive efforts that could see the entire country devastated.

Historical Background[edit]

Flag of France France, along with the Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom, guaranteed the independence of Flag of Poland Poland prior to its invasion by Flag of Germany 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 Flag of Italy Italy, in contrast to the years-long campaign expectation by both sides. Thinking their chances poor regardless, Germany gambled on a decisive victory by sending Panzer divisions through Flag of Luxembourg 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 Flag of Belgium 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.

Threatened with annihilation, the British evacuated their expeditionary forces and what Allied units they could until Dunkirk fell. Soon thereafter, France agreed to an armistice—effectively surrendering—in 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.

Events[edit]

Main article: French events

National focus[edit]

French national focus tree.
Main article: French national focus tree

Flag of France France, as one of the seven major powers, got a unique 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 icon Army Reform which removes the starting national spirit Victors of the Great WarVictors of the Great War. (This focus can only be taken after removing Disjointed GovernmentDisjointed Government via the government reform branch.)
Government Reform branch
This branch consists of various diplomatic focuses and focuses to change the ideology of the government or to strengthen the current democratic government. All possible mutually exclusive branches contain a focus to remove the crippling Disjointed GovernmentDisjointed Government national spirit.
Navy and air force branch
This branch includes focuses which grant experience and research bonuses to improve in these domains.

Technology[edit]

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
  • Infantry Eq. I
  • Motorized
  • Mountain Infantry I
  • Recon Company I
  • Light Tank II
  • Towed Artillery I
  • Towed Anti-Air I
  • Destroyer II
  • Light Cruiser II
  • Heavy Cruiser II
  • Battlecruiser II
  • Battleship I
    • Upgraded Bretagne Class
  • Carrier I
  • Submarine II
  • Transport Ship
  • Interwar Fighter
    • Interwar Carrier Fighter
  • Interwar Bomber
  • Close Air Support I
  • Naval Bomber I
    • Carrier Naval Bomber I
  • Tactical Bomber I
  • None
Doctrines
  • None

Politics[edit]

National spirits[edit]

France starts with three National Spirits:

Victors of the Great War icon
Victors of the Great War
  • Recruitable Population: −0.3%
  • War Support: -5%
  • Land Doctrine Research Time: +75%
Having emerged victorious from the Great War, the army has developed a dangerously complacent attitude which causes strategic developments to come slowly and with some reluctance.
Disjointed Government icon
Disjointed Government
  • Daily Political Power Cost: +0.8
  • Stability: −10%
  • Surrender Limit: -50%
The state of French politics is far from stable. While reforms are needed and welcome, the nation is divided and getting drawn into a conflict would put it at great risk.
Protected by the Maginot Line icon
Protected by the Maginot Line
  • Max Planning: +25%
  • Planning Speed: −25%
Having fortified the border gives France the opportunity to plan and prepare carefully, but it does sacrifice some flexibility in the event of something unexpected.

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.

Political parties[edit]

Political Party Ideology Popularity Party Leader Country Name Is Ruling?
Parti Radical Democracy Democratic 69% Édouard Daladier France Yes
Parti Communiste Francais Communism Communist 30% Maurice Thorez French Commune No
Mouvement Franciste Fascism Fascist 1% Philippe Pétain Nation Française(If Independent)/Vichy France(If formed by Germany's decision) No
Non-Aligned Neutrality Non-Aligned 0% Random Leader Bourbon France No

Diplomacy[edit]

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 Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia and invite Flag of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia and Flag of Romania 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.

Diplomatic Rules[edit]

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

Staff and Designers[edit]

These are choices of ministers and design companies for France.

Political Advisors
Advisor Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
Maurice Thorez Communist Revolutionary
  • Daily Communism Support: +0.10

Has completed focus Leftist Rhetoric

150
Marcel Bucard Fascist Demagogue
  • Daily Fascism Support: +0.10

Has completed focus Right Wing Rhetoric

150
Léon Blum Democratic Reformer
  • Daily Democracy Support: +0.10
150
Gaston Henry-Haye Silent Workhorse
  • Political Power Gain: +15 %
150
Paul Baudouin Smooth-Talking Charmer
  • Trade deal opinion factor: +10.00 %
150
Jacques Duclos Backroom Backstabber
  • Political Power Gain: +5 %
  • Ideology drift defense: +15 %
150
Félix Gouin Captain of Industry
  • Civilian Factory construction speed: +10 %
  • Infrastructure construction speed: +10 %
  • Refinery construction speed: +10 %
150
Charles Tillon Armaments Organizer
  • Civilian to Military Factory conversion speed: +20 %
150
Paul Reynaud Quartermaster general
  • Air Base construction speed: +15 %
  • Naval Base construction speed: +15 %
  • Rocket Site construction speed: +15 %
  • Radar Station construction speed: +15 %
  • Nuclear Reactor construction speed: +15 %
150
Zivony Peshkov War Industrialist
  • Military Factory Construction Speed: +10.0%
  • Dockyard Construction Speed: +10.0%
150
Tank Designers
Designer Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
AMX Mobile Tank Designer
  • Armor Research Time: -10 %
  • Armor:
    • Max Speed: +5 %
    • Reliability: +10 %

By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.</br> Has completed focus Army Reform

150
Renault Heavy Tank Designer
  • Armor Research Time: -10 %
  • Armor:
    • Armor: +5 %
    • Hard Attack: +5 %

By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.

150
Ship Designers
Designer Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
FCM Ship Designer
  • Naval Research Time: -10 %
150
Aircraft Designers
Designer Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
Morane-Saulnier Light Aircraft Designer
  • Air Research Time: -10 %
  • Fighter:
    • Agility: +10 %
    • Max Speed: +10 %
  • Carrier Fighter:
    • Agility: +10 %
    • Max Speed: +10 %

By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.

150
Bloch Medium Aircraft Designer
  • Air Research Time: -10 %
  • Heavy Fighter: Reliability: +20 %
  • Tactical Bomber: Reliability: +20 %

By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.

150
Amiot Heavy Aircraft Designer
  • Air Research Time: -10 %
  • Strategic Bomber: Strategic Bombing: +10 %

By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.

150
Levasseur Naval Aircraft Designer
  • Air Research Time: -10 %
  • Naval Bomber:
    • Range: +10 %
    • Naval Attack: +10 %
  • CV Naval Bomber:
    • Range: +10 %
    • Naval Attack: +10 %

By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.

150
Materiel Designers
Designer Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
MAS Infantry Equipment Designer
  • Small Arms Research Time: -10 %
150
SOMUA Motorized Equipment Designer
  • Motorization Research Time: -10 %
150
Schneider Artillery Designer
  • Artillery Research Time: -10 %
150
Industrial Concern
Designer Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
FAMH Industrial Concern
  • Industrial Research Time: -10 %
150
Theorists
Designer Type Effect Cost(Political Power)
Charles de Gaulle Grand Battleplan Expert
  • Army Experience Gain: +0.05 daily
  • Grand Battleplan Doctrine: -10 %
250
Louis Kahn Grand Fleet Proponent
  • Naval Experience Gain: +0.05 daily
  • Fleet in Being Doctrine: -10 %
250
Victor Denain Assault Aviation
  • Air Experience Gain: +0.05 daily
  • Operational Integrity Doctrine: -10 %
250
Henri Giraud Military Theorist
  • Army Experience Gain: +0.05 daily
  • Land Doctrine Research Time: -7 %
150
Jean Decoux Naval Theorist
  • Naval Experience Gain: +0.05 daily
  • Naval Doctrine Research Time: -7 %
150
Jean-Marie Bergeret Air Warfare Theorist
  • Air Experience Gain: +0.05 daily
  • Air Doctrine Research Time: -7 %
150
Frédéric & Irène Joliot-Curie Nuclear Scientist
  • Nuclear Research Time: -10 %
150

Economy[edit]

Laws[edit]

Conscription Law Economy Law Trade Law
Limited Conscription.png Limited Conscription
  • 2.5% Recruitable population
Civilian Economy.png Civilian Economy
  • 35% Consumer Goods factories
  • –30% Factory construction speed
  • +30% Factory (type) conversion cost
Export Focus.png Export Focus
  • 50% Resources to market
  • –5% Research time
  • +10% Factory/Dockyard output
  • +10% Construction speed

Industry[edit]

Factories 1936
Military factory
6 Military Factories
Naval dockyard
8 Naval Dockyard
Civilian factory
36 Civilian Factories

Military production is dwarfed by Germany (28) and Italy (19) and only on par with Belgium. The player 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.

Resources[edit]

Total resources 1936
Oil.png
Oil
Rubber.png
Rubber
Steel.png
Steel
Aluminum.png
Aluminum
Tungsten.png
Tungsten
Chromium.png
Chromium
0 94 888 508 38 186

These numbers represent the base available resources, depending on the trade law a certain amount may be traded away.

France has access to huge amounts of SteelSteel and AluminumAluminum. They also control large supplies of RubberRubber, Chromium and TungstenTungsten from their Asian colonies. They have no access to OilOil so they need to import that.

Military[edit]

France relies on the heavy fortifications at the border against Germany to defend them there.

Army[edit]

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 Mécanisée
  • Armor - Division Blindée

Navy[edit]

Capital ships 1936
Carrier.png
1 Carriers
Battleship.png
5 Battleships
Heavy Cruiser.png
7 Heavy Cruisers
Screens and Submarines 1936
Light Cruiser.png
7 Light Cruisers
Destroyer.png
52 Destroyers
Submarine.png
57 Submarines

France has 1 Carrier(CV), 5 Battleships(BB), 7 Heavy Cruisers(CA), 7 Light Cruisers(CL), 52 Destroyers(DD) and 57 Submarines(SS) at the start, and boasts a reasonably modern - if understrength - fleet. Whilst the Marine Nationale is strong enough to decisively defeat either the Kriegsmarine 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.

Air Force[edit]

Aircraft 1936
Air Skirmish.png
457 Fighters
Naval Strike Tactics.png
44 Naval Bombers
Bomber.png
204 Tactical Bombers

France starts with 457 fighters, 48 Naval Bombers and 204 modern Tactical Bombers. It is a rather good air force, but it will need to be significantly strengthened before the war starts.

Strategies and Guides[edit]

Veteran Democratic France - Extend the Maginot[edit]

HoI4 France in 1936 lacks any sort of significant military industry and the political power needed to change mobilization or conscription ideas. In veteran or elite difficulty, France actually loses political power. In addition, French divisions are severely lacking in equipment at the 1936 start, requiring significant time just to get all divisions up to strength. Because of these factors, a democratic France (especially on Veteran/Elite) is unable to field an offensive army by 1939 and should focus purely on defense.

Focuses[edit]

On veteran difficulty it is absolutely essential to take the political focus tree down to Strengthen Government Support first. It is possible to go either with the Allies or form the Little Entente, but if neither Romania or Yugoslavia join the Little Entente the alliance is pointless (since there's no way to help Czechoslovakia).

After finishing Strengthen Government Support, France gains a national spirit that increases stability for 365 days. Take the French industrial tree down to the extra research slot during this time (350 days total) and then take the defensive military focus. Upon conclusion of the military focus, The strengthen government support national spirit will no longer be present and it will be possible to take the Defensive Stratagems focus, removing Disjointed Government. Alternatively, it is possible to delay taking any focus after the research slot to wait for the government support spirit to disappear and then take Defensive Stratagems.

The next focus to take is Levée en Masse. The infantry equipment production bonus is important to give France enough equipment to arm all of its divisions. After that the fortification focus should be taken.

During a Little Entente run, the fort construction focuses must be taken and then immediately the invitation focuses to other nations to join the French faction must be taken. During an Allies run, it is possible to first take the Algerian industry focuses and then the fort construction ones. Once these focuses are complete it is up to the player to decide their priorities.

Research[edit]

France begins with only 3 research slots and a massive penalty to land doctrine research. It is advisable to not research land doctrine and instead focus on industry. It is useful to start the game researching anti-tank so as to have divisions equipped with 1939 anti-tank when war with Germany begins. Researching 1936 fighters before 1937-1938 should also be done so as to begin production before war begins.

Industry[edit]

All industry should be producing military factories. The default French infantry division template works, though ideally it would also have support engineers and anti-tank. A good military factory allocation is 8-10 factories to infantry equipment, 4 to support equipment, then 2-3 on artillery and 4-5 on anti-tank. After those are covered, military factories should be devoted to fighters and CAS.

In early or mid 1938 industry should be turned to construction of land forts along the Italian and Belgian borders. Land forts cost more to produce the higher the level they are, but the focuses to extend the Maginot line add 2 levels to the Italian and Belgian borders regardless of the current fort level there, so it is more efficient to first construct 3 levels of forts on each state before completing the focuses.

Army, Air Force, and Navy[edit]

Most French divisions in mainland France should be converted to the basic infantry division at the start of the game. If the player considers having armored divisions, all divisions should be converted to the "Légère Méchanisée" template. However, on veteran difficulty it is more efficient to not use armored divisions at all (until later on in the war when France fully mobilizes) as they require significant industrial investment. It is advised to station about a dozen divisions in Algeria and 4-5 in Egypt (if joining the Allies).

Divisions will have to be exercised to gain enough military experience to improve their templates. Engineering and Recon support battalions are useful. Adding anti-tank support battalions is highly recommended when eventually fighting Germany.

The French Air Force should get as many fighters as possible after the Army is equipped. Air superiority will prevent forts on the German and Belgian borders from being damaged. Close air support allows for infantry-based pushes and naval bombing in the Mediterranean.

The French Navy is useful, but does not require much attention. The default production lines given at the start of 1936 are fine and should complete sometime around 1939 if all dockyards are used to produce it. Be sure to place the two battlecruisers in the Mediterranean to fight the Italian navy.

War[edit]

War will either break out in 1938 or 1939 depending on what route the player is taking. Players looking to protect Czechoslovakia should have 20-24 infantry divisions sent to Czechoslovakia and 8-12 divisions sent to Yugoslavia to help hold the line. 20 or so divisions is enough to hold the Maginot line in 1938, and all remaining divisions should be placed on the Italian border in the very likely case that Italy declares war on France. As many divisions as possible should be trained the moment war begins to help the Italian front and hold the Belgian border.

In the case of a war in 1938, it is possible to launch offensives from Czechoslovakia to create a small pocket against Western Poland, drastically shortening the front and freeing divisions to exploit gaps the stupid AI makes. Without Czechoslovakian factories and with an extremely large front to defend, France can capitulate Germany by 1939 with careful micromanagement.

If going to war in 1939, France should have 48-56 divisions on a defensive line from Switzerland to the English Channel along the border with Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Care should be taken to reinforce the tip of the Maginot line, as the easternmost state can be attacked by 24 divisions at once. All remaining divisions should be sent to the Alps against the Italians.

As of patch 1.5.4, it seems that the AI will never seriously commit to attacking states with forts over level 6. From my experience, the only time Germany will ever attack the Maginot line seems to be during the initial push into Belgium, presumably because the AI executes a plan across the entire front. Thus, it is possible to hold the line with just 2-3 colonial divisions on each state bordering Germany and Italy. This leaves the player free to commit better divisions to roll over North Africa, hold Switzerland and potentially Spain, invade Italy, and hold Southeast Asia.

It is probably also possible to build level 4 forts in limited parts of northern France or on the Italian border to ensure Germany/Italy attacks them and wastes their manpower and equipment, but this is untested.

Achievements[edit]

Big Entente icon
Big Entente
As France, complete the "Little Entente" National Focus, and have all German cores owned by you or someone in your faction.
Vive la France icon
Vive la France
Reach 1948 as France without capitulating or surrendering.
Vive la Jeune Ecole icon
Vive la Jeune Ecole
As France, have at least 150 Destroyers and research the maximum torpedo launcher technology, before 1945.