French Military News Thread


New Member
Re: The Military of France

One of the biggest proponents of PA2 (the 2nd French carrier) is the Defence Minister - a woman. :D

Royal's problem is that she's been rattled recently, and is obviously defaulting to the safe option - traditional Socialist ideas. She's just wheeling so much absurd and impossible rubbish without saying how she will bring it about.

The Presidency is Sarkozy's for the taking right now, which I see as a good thing.
Nicely said. :) I am not generally conversent with the day to day minutae of French politics, but I have read a few things concerning the debate over power projection and the need for the De Gaulle carrier

I agree with some that one aircraft carrier is really not sufficient for any force projection needs, due to maintenance requirements, etc. Prefferably, two or better yet, three such ships are necessary to keep one ready at all times. It is a fair question, though, to ask just what need France has for this class of ship (with a 38,000 ton displacement, she is a large fleet carrier, but not really a "super carrier") I do suspect that some degree of national vanity is really what is at work here, rather then a sober analysis of actual threats. Given the French reluctance to engage in foreign conflicts in recent years, a carrier force, each with a forty-plus strong airwing equipped with Rafale-M fighters is a very expensive demonstration of ego. To be fair, I would still probably support the program were I a French citizen. Unlike many other Americans, I have always admired French military technology, and my mild contempt for French government policies has NEVER applied to her fighting forces, who are top of the line proffesionals. That didn't stop me from cussing out the French Air Force pilot in a Sepecat Jaguar who "bombed" (simulated with flares) my camp at Ft Irwin (National training Center) and forced us into chemical warfare gear in 117 degree heat. If my .50 cal had been loaded with live rounds, I might have taken the shot. :nutkick:

Anyways, us girls have as much right to opine on this subject as you lads. Cheers!
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Re: The Military of France

From Dec'01 the "de Gaulle" was part of a french fleet in the indian ocean joining with others to suport operations in Afghanistan. The CVW flew several missions there.
Of course it's also a part of national patriotism to have a CVN when needed. If it's necessary the de Gaulle can project a good amount of strike capability, perhaps only second to US super-carriers. And to use these as a comparisson isn't probably fair either.


New Member
Re: The Military of France

Was the DeGaulle also the command ship for the European forces during the Kosovo conflict?


Junior Member
Re: The Military of France

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France has no plans to pull its troops out of Afghanistan and will remain loyal to its allies serving in a multinational force there, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said June 5 “France will maintain its presence in Afghanistan,” Fillon told a joint news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“There is no plan for France to disengage in Afghanistan. France will be true to its commitments and to its allies,” he said.

France has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the 37,000-strong NATO contingent from 37 nations deployed to help local security forces fight the Taliban and wrest back control of the mountainous nation.

President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged before his election last month to bring French troops back home, while the United States has been calling for nations to contribute more forces to battle a Taliban insurrection.

But the president told foreign journalists in an interview this week that now was not the time to pull out.
Geez Sarkozy, make up your mind.


Junior Member
French AF Accepts Interim MALE UAV

SIDM Completed Its Flight Acceptance Operations

(Source: EADS; issued June 5, 2008)

SIDM, the French interim system of medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has successfully completed its flight acceptance operations at Air Base 118, Mont-de-Marsan.

The SIDM performance validation trials were conducted by the missile and UAV management unit (UM MID) of the French armaments directorate DGA, assisted by the Flight Test Centres (CEV) of Istres and Cazaux with participation from the electronic Centre of Armament (CELAR) at Bruz.

SIDM which is a latest-generation system in the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) category of UAVs, is dedicated to reconnaissance and tracking operations in the depth of the battlefield. Being equipped with optical sensors and radar, it will ensure that missions can be staged around the clock in all weathers. Thanks to its long endurance capability and the secure data transmission, the UAV will also be capable of transmitting data in real time to national and international joint command structures.

This programme is led by EADS as prime contractor and system integrator, with significant contributions from Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) which has developed and manufactured the aerial platform and other sub-systems.

Since December 2007, an integrated team of personnel from the DGA and the French Air Force has been carrying out verification of this UAV system consisting of three aerial vehicles, the payloads, the laser designator, two ground stations, the line-of-sight (LOS) supplied by EADS Defence & Security through its integrated activity Military Air Systems and satellite data link system supplied by InSNEC.

These operations were conducted in perfect synergy between the teams from the authorities and from industry and the system demonstrated the capabilities required to carry out the assigned mission.

The acceptance campaign was concluded with the system being transferred into the ownership of the French Ministry of Defence, thus enabling training of the personnel at the French Military Flight Test Centre (CEAM). Following this, it will be the task of the UAV squadron to bring the system into operational service in the course of a test phase carried out in conjunction with CEAM.


Junior Member
French army falling apart, documents show
By Henry Samuel in Paris

Most of France's tanks, helicopters and jet fighters are unusable and its defence apparatus is on the verge of "falling apart", it has emerged.

France's military has been given a bleak prognosis
According to confidential defence documents leaked to the French press, less than half of France's Leclerc tanks – 142 out of 346 – are operational and even these regularly break down.

Less than half of its Puma helicopters, 37 per cent of its Lynx choppers and 33 per cent of its Super Frelon models – built 40 years ago – are in a fit state to fly, according to documents seen by Le Parisien newspaper.

Two thirds of France's Mirage F1 reconnaissance jets are unusable at present.

According to army officials, the precarious state of France's defence equipment almost led to catastrophe in April, when French special forces rescued the passengers and crew of a luxury yacht held by pirates off the Somali coast.

Although ultimately a success, the rescue operation nearly foundered at an early stage, when two of the frigates carrying troops suffered engine failure, and a launch laden with special forces' equipment sunk under its weight.

Later, an Atlantic 2 jet tracking the pirates above Somali territory suffered engine failure and had to make an emergency landing in Yemen.

"External operations, in the Ivory Coast and Lebanon are a fig leaf: we are able to keep up the pretence but in ten years our defence apparatus will fall apart," one high-ranking official said.

The disclosure comes just ten days before President Nicolas Sarkozy announces a major reform of the armed forces, with a defence white paper outlining France's military priorities for the next 15 years.

He is expected to argue that the situation can only improve by reducing the number of France's operational troops from 50,000 to 30,000, and its fighter aircraft, as well as closing military bases.

He will also use the occasion to push for greater military integration in Europe, an issue that France will highlight when it takes over the EU's six-month rotating presidency in July.

French proposals circulating in Brussels show that France wants a new EU military headquarters based in the Belgian capital and run by Europe's new foreign policy chief. It is also calling for a bigger rapid reaction force and for countries to spend more on defence.

France has played down its European defence ambitions for fear of boosting the No vote in Ireland's referendum on the Lisbon treaty on June 12.

In parallel to beefing up the EU's defence capability, Mr Sarkozy is keen on France becoming a full member of Nato's integrated military command structure, which Charles de Gaulle left in 1966. But he is unlikely to make a decision on this until next year.


Junior Member
this should make the French baiters unhappy -- poster note
Military Matters: Learning from France

The French, for all their slowness in giving up the offensive a outrance, nonetheless learned faster than the British, Russians or Americans, all of whom seemed to measure success in their own casualties. In the American Expeditionary Force's appallingly bad staff work lies the origin of another outdated habit of the U.S. military, the fixation of its schools on developing staff officers rather than commanders. The astounding degree to which the early 21st century U.S. armed forces still revolve around World War I is evident to historians but apparently invisible to American soldiers and Marines.

by William S. Lind

Washington (UPI) Jun 13, 2008

Robert Doughty's "Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War," published in 2005, completes his trilogy on the French army from 1914 to 1940.
Both of Doughty's other books, "The Seeds of Disaster," which is the definitive history of the French army doctrinal development between the wars, and "The Breaking Point," the story of the French defeat at Sedan in 1940 when the Second and Third Generations of modern war met head on, are in the canon.

For those new to Fourth Generation war -- 4GW -- literature, the canon is the list of seven books that, read in the correct order, take the reader from the First Generation into the Fourth. It can be found as an appendix to "FMFM 1-A, Fourth Generation War," on the Defense and the National Interest Web site.

Those who characterize the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" would do well to read "Pyrrhic Victory." France bore the main burden of World War I on the Western Front, the weight of which would have crippled any country. France lost almost 1.4 million men killed or missing in action from a population of only 39 million, plus another 4 million wounded. On average, she lost 890 soldiers killed every day from August 1914 to November 1918. Adjusting for population, that would roughly equal America suffering 7,000 soldiers killed daily for more than four years. Does anyone think today's American society could stand that?

"Pyrrhic Victory" is relevant to the American armed forces today on several grounds. First, it is the story of the development of methodical battle, which was largely a creation of Gen. Philippe Petain -- who comes across in this book as France's most thoughtful general.

The U.S. armed services learned methodical battle from the French army during and after World War I, and it remains the heart of American military doctrine today.

As Doughty writes, "Within the constraints of the methodical battle, rigid centralization and strict obedience -- not decentralization, initiative or flexibility -- became the bywords of the officer corps."

So they remain today. Several years ago an instructor at the U.S. Army Armor School at Fort Knox began his first lecture by saying, "I don't know why I have to teach you all this old French crap, but I do."

The answer to that captain's question is also illustrated in "Pyrrhic Victory." Militaries have enormous continuity over time. Prior to World War I, the French army's doctrine was to take the offensive under all circumstances. That doctrine killed almost a half-million French soldiers in the four months from August to November of 1914 and nearly cost France the war then. Nonetheless, it kept rearing its head again and again throughout the war, despite Petain's bitter and justified resistance. Reincarnated in the Nivelle offensive in April 1917, it failed again so disastrously that the French army mutinied.

The common picture of World War I is of the dunderheaded inability to learn on the part of all participants. It was certainly not true of the Germans, but Doughty's book tends to confirm the image for the Allies.

The French, for all their slowness in giving up the offensive a outrance, nonetheless learned faster than the British, Russians or Americans, all of whom seemed to measure success in their own casualties. In the American Expeditionary Force's appallingly bad staff work lies the origin of another outdated habit of the U.S. military, the fixation of its schools on developing staff officers rather than commanders. The astounding degree to which the early 21st century U.S. armed forces still revolve around World War I is evident to historians but apparently invisible to American soldiers and Marines.

There is also a lesson about learning in the German army in "Pyrrhic Victory," though it must be read between the lines. Doughty makes clear just how close the great German offensive of 1918 came to success. Why did it fail?

As Gen. Max Hoffmann, one of the best operational minds in the First World War German army, hints in his memoirs, German operational reserves were mal-deployed. That, I think, was at least in part a consequence of Germany's fixation on developing the tactics that broke the deadlock of the trenches. Focusing on just one aspect of the challenge, the Germans neglected and thereby forgot some of their expertise at operational art -- fatally, since in war a higher level dominates a lower.

These lessons are all relevant to the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan today, because they are lessons about how militaries learn, or fail to, or learn one thing but forget another. Could someone someday write a book about our current wars with the title "Pyrrhic Victory"? No, because we are not going to win those wars. Is there such a thing as Pyrrhic defeat?

(William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation.)