France in R.U.S.E. offers a unique playstyle, and a talented R.U.S.E. Commander can find themselves standing toe to toe with history's winners, Hitler's Wehrmacht, and defeating them.
France has a powerful mix of early game weaponry and powerful defensive units, allowing them to strike at the enemy and never let up until the battle is won. Their largest advantage is an early access to advanced equipment that doesn't require research, and this allows them to achieve almost total dominance in earlier game modes such as 1939 and 1942, where they posses a wide variety of units early on. Especially in comparison to other factions like Germany who lack any of their tanks beyond the Panzer III in the 1939 mode, and in 1942 have no ability produce their extremely powerful jet aircraft and prototype units that are very dangerous in the late game.
France possess a fairly balanced unit roster fielding capable units in almost every classification; however its only significant weakness is its air force, which is equipped with outdated and poorly built planes. Similarly, the French possess awful anti-air capability, making their assaults very vulnerable to fighter-bombers unless escorted by the FCM-F1. This weakness in air power can leave them vulnerable to more air centric nations such as the United Kingdom, and the United States. However outside of the mediocre air force the roster quickly improves for example, France fields a strong mix of armored forces (B1 Bis, S35) especially in comparison to their early game counterparts. Alongside the tanks come Frances infantry forces, which include the powerful Legionnaires who are the only barracks infantry given the moniker "Elite". Powerful Artillery and Antitank guns are also available to France, but their coup de grâce is their heavy fortifications, namely the famous (or infamous) Maginot Bunker which was historically a component of the failed Maginot Line, but now serves as France's peerless unit. A single Maginot deployed at the right spot can cripple an enemy advance or force them to allocate resources to build units simply to destroy this one bunker. However like all fortifications it is not invincible and concentrated artillery and bombing will easily destroy it.
Units and Buildings
- Fortified Position - Small reinforced concrete bunker with 47mm cannon and BOFORS AA gun. Early defensive bunker, excels at defense in the early war.
- Maginot Bunker - Twin 47mm guns and flamethrower. Unquestionably the most powerful bunker in the game.
- Camion de Ravitaillement - The standard French Supply truck.
- Sapeurs - The standard French Engineering truck.
- F.F.L. - Basic Infantry. The 'Free French Legion' is the early-game terror of light armor. Standard light infantry.
- Legionnaires - Elite Infantry. The Foreign Legion can put a serious hurt on even the toughest armor and the toughest infantry but more expensive.
- H39 - French light infantry tank. Weak and ultra slow, but a cheap and early anti-infantry and anti-tank response.
Artillery & AA Base
- Camel - 25mm Anti-Aircraft guns. Weak, unless deployed in large-scale air defense networks.
- Canon 75mm - Basic artillery. Weak individual damage; best deployed in groups.
- Canon GPF 155mm - Heavy artillery. Weak damage and slow firing offset by substantial range. Requires no research, however.
- Panhard (Recon) - Armored car recon vehicle, armed with 25mm gun and .30-caliber machine guns.
- S35 - Medium Tank. Average weaponry but slow.
- Sau 40 - Assault Gun and Advanced Medium Tank. Sau tank chassis fitted with bigger 75mm gun and a assault gun.
- B1 Bis - Heavy tank. Ideally engages only infantry and vehicles, but can do massive damage to buildings, the most of any tank.
- ARL 44 - Advanced Heavy tank. French prototype tank armed with a 90mm gun.
- AT 25mm - Light Anti-Tank guns. Effective in groups and in ambush, but extremely cheap.
- AT 47mm - Medium Anti-Tank guns. Major improvement over the 25mm.
- Laffly W15 - Light tank-destroyer. 47mm gun on an artillery truck-bed. Fragile, yet fast. Also very cheap.
- Lorraine - Medium tank-destroyer. Extra range and firepower, but without losing its predecessor's mobility. Moderately inexpensive.
- Potez (Recon) - Sturdy surveillance plane with weak self-defense machine guns.
- Skytrain - Transport plane. Deploys paratroopers, but the slowest aircraft in the game as well as one of the most fragile.
- Chasseurs-Paras - Paratroopers. Advanced infantry, though not as powerful as the Legionnaires.
- MS406 - Fighter plane. Mediocre air-to-air combatant, but good at strafing infantry and vehicles.
- D520 - Advanced Fighter. Air-to-air combat prowess is improved, but speed is very inferior to other advanced fighters.
- Guppy - Fighter-Bomber. Weak air presence, but well-armed for infantry, vehicles and fortifications.
- Amiot - Bomber. Decent bombing payload, but lacks firepower to fight off aerial aggressors.
- EBR (Recon) - 'Armored car' Recon vehicle. Moderately-powerful 75mm gun and .30-caliber machine guns.
- ARL 40 - Armored Artillery. Bombardments ineffective against armored units.
- FCM F1 - Super-Heavy Tank. Equipped to engage all enemy unit types. Very expensive, but is a tank that is hard to counter.
The Free French Forces, Forces Françaises Libres, FFl at the start of WWII was a reasonably well-equipped and -trained (though ill organised) army, and everyone expected them to triumph in their defense against the German Blitzkrieg. However despite its excellent fortifications along the border France lost, because of their own faults and the German plans of outflanking the Maginot line. Their morale was also very low, with a majority of French still exhausted from the first World War (which killed 10% of the french male population). While the German were eager to conquer new lands, the French just wanted to see the end of all these wars. Nevertheless the French soldiers fought hard to defend their country, but due to major flaws in organisation (Such as completely lacking a reserve army group) and doctrine (namely in the areas of armored and air warfare), caused mainly by mental rigidity in the higher command levels and a strong general belief in the superiority of the static defense and methodical warfare, they were unable to counter the lightning fast and terrifying German assault. However even when France collapsed and fractured, the war was fought on in North Africa by the Free French, and the German puppet state Vichy that fought against the allies well into 1944.
Strategies and Tactics
France's main strategy is to let the enemy come to them, in a 'turtling-style' tactic. Mid-late game, after the French economy has been built up to a considerable level, the player may give good thought towards an offensive strategy, but early-mid game is a time for defense. However, the French have plenty of units, including considerable tanks and infantry, to use later in the game to attack the enemy. The French, are very good at defense, but even their defenses can be destroyed, and easily, because they lack a powerful air force, and factions with a good air force, like United Kingdom, United States or Germany can take out their most famous unit, the Maginot Bunker, so they can be very easy to defeat, if you know how to. They can be very hard to defeat, if you don't use air units against them. France, still owns some cheap units, and the early use of heavy infantry, the Legionnaires, can be an overwhelming force, but, as they still some units that can take out German units, it can be a very small but powerful force, or a very huge, but superior force.
- Elite infantry and advanced Anti-tank weapons are avaliable at the beginning of the game. They are superb defensive units early on, and all the way through until the end.
- The Sau 40 is a perhaps one of France's most valuable assets. An assault gun/tank, it can clear out forests without taking any damage from anti-tank weapons. Similarly, it can hold its own against enemy armor, and also be able to demolish buildings at a safe distance.
- The French H39 light tank is also the most effective light tank in the game, albeit the slowest armor unit as well. It has good armor protection (for a light tank) and is cheap to produce. They, along with infantry, prove to be excellent defence units.
- Make sure to deploy several anti-air guns at a time, as the Camel is the only standard anti-air unit that France possesses in its arsenal. It is also a good idea to make several D520 Advanced Fighters to make up for France's relatively poor AA.
- Do not be afraid to use EBR armored recon units as a standard attack weapon. It has the same weaponry as a Russian heavy tank, and the same armor as a Sherman. It also has recon ability, making it impossible to ambush.
- A easier way to destroy enemy air force, is to build many French artillery units and destroy every airfield, if the enemy uses camouflage nets, produce a Panhard and scout where you think you saw it, and then, revoir.
- Due to the France's slow pace, most players use the Turtle strategy, but France still has a massive advantage for the offense in early game, Sau 40s can easily be researched and produced at an early time, the Sau 40s coupled with easy to produce 10 dollar AT guns and a Panhard armoured recon can make a quick early offensive to gain ground and give the player an edge over the opposing players. this tactic is a nice change for the more offensive player. whether this plan works depends on your own initiative.
- France has access to an advanced AT gun without research. This makes them great at countering early tank rushes.