The French military receives a great deal of criticism for its (in)action during the Second World War, but most of this is unwarranted and ignorant. No military on the planet could have withstood the Wehrmacht’s attack under the same conditions that France faced. Britain found refuge behind the Channel and Russia had a full year to prepare for the onslaught, while America was safe an entire ocean away – no one who shared a land border with Germany in 1940 was in a position to withstand the assault. Nonetheless, despite its early defeat, France had some superior vehicles in its arsenal which were as good as or better than their German counterparts.
This supplement for Traveller introduces many vehicles that formed the fighting arm of France in the Second World War, and provides full details of each, allowing them to be used within games. The weapons unique to France are also covered, along with enough information for you to use them in your own games and own vehicle designs.
The vehicles found in this book could potentially form the basis of a campaign set in the Second World War. They may also be of interest to those who are simply curious as to how real-world vehicles can be implemented using the Traveller vehicle design system. However, we suspect many more players will want to actually use them in their games, even on planets far in the future and hundreds of light years away!
We have provided game mechanics for many vehicles, from the advanced Panhard 178, to the world-leading SOMUA S35 but, at the end of the day, an S35 need not look like an S35 if it were built to these specifications on an alien world. It could end up looking very different but have the same characteristics listed in this book. By this token, what this book provides is a solid set of military vehicles available at Tech Level 5. A referee can use them to fully flesh out a military force on a Tech Level 5 world and provide interesting variations on themes in order to give his world more depth.
For example, a referee creating a military force for a new world may simply design a single main battle tank for it before moving on to the artillery piece, the fighter plane, and so on. With this book, he can present a military force that has a defined timeline with the development of its vehicles, so there is not just one main battle tank but several, each a replacement of the one before though with all still in service, with the very best units getting the latest generation of tank.
Players can have fun with this book as well, especially if they are engaging in paramilitary actions or running their own mercenary force. What this book will provide them is a list of Tech Level 5 vehicles that, while outmatched by more sophisticated enemies, will be perfectly serviceable (and at a cheaper price!) on more primitive worlds and will be capable of standing up against infantry from higher Tech Levels – at least, until plasma weaponry and missiles become prevalent.