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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:41 am 
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From: Marshal Petain, Premier of France

To: Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Commander of Vichy forces in Tunisia


Recent developments in Tunisia and the Mediterranean have presented our Vichy Government of France with problems that require immediate action. Under strong diplomatic pressure, military access has been granted to German and Italian armed forces. These same forces are currently engaged in conflict with the forces of Great Britain and its allies. The events at Mers el Kabir of last July and more recently at Dakar, clearly indicate that the British are not our friends or well intentioned towards us. In fact, they are a major threat and their backing of that upstart De Gaulle just reinforces this point. The granting of access to German military does violate our neutrality status, enforced by the armistice signed in June 1940, but it must be recognised that Nazi Germany is the dominant power holding hegemony over Europe. An independent France must survive. We are in no position to argue this point or provoke the Germans. For now, we shall comply with all their requests.

Whilst we wish to maintain our neutrality status, it is becoming clear that our Vichy French territories are being drawn into the wider conflict. Presently, Italian forces in Cyrenaica are collapsing under British pressure and falling back towards Tripoli. Additionally, the Italian island of Lampedusa has fallen to British forces and sightings of British aerial and naval units are now commonplace off the coast of Tunisia. Clearly there is a growing threat from the east and we must now take precautions before the Germans are forced to send their armies to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand. Henceforth, you are to place our garrison in Tunisia on full alert to defend our territorial borders. You are not to initiate any attacks on British possessions. Not yet at any rate. Defensive assets are released for now, as we have no wish to expand the conflict. Let’s just hope that the British see it the same way.

I make note of the following forces in Tunisia for immediate activation at dawn on 21st January, 1941.


Armee de l’Air.

The best and the bulk of Vichy aviation is retained in metropolitan France, Algeria and Morocco. This is to counter threats arising from Gibraltar and the British Isles. Whilst there are no bombers currently allocated for Tunisian operations, GB I/39 equipped with Douglas DB-7 light bombers are on standby if the need arises. Presently, Curtiss Hawk 75 and Dewoitine D.520 fighters are unavailable. Surplus Moranes, which were replaced by these models, are available in some numbers. These have been revamped and upgraded in respect of armament and engine cooling systems at service centres before subsequent reissue. Four escadriles of these fighters are ready for immediate use. An escadrille of Potez 63.11 reconnaissance aircraft will accompany them.

Your aerial assets are:

GC I/7 18 x Morane MS.410 (two escadrilles, each of 3,2,2,2)
GC II/3 18 x Morane MS.410 (two escadrilles, each of 3,2,2,2)
GR II/39 9 x Potez 63.11(1) (individual aircraft flights) – use Pe-3


Commandement Superieur des Troupes de Tunisie (C.S.T.T.)

Essentially, Tunisia is garrisoned by the old 83rd African Division. Although disbanded after the 1940 armistice, it formed the core of the limited 15,000 man garrison dictated under its terms. As you would appreciate, the Tunisia’s garrison has been allowed to expand after the Mers el Kabir attack. The division has a triangular structure of three regiments, each fully equipped, comprising a mixture of troops ranging from veteran foreign legion, experienced colonials and local inexperienced tribal levies. Added to the infantry, are the artillery, armour and reconnaissance units. These are generally at battalion or brigade strength. I note that there are approximately 180 tanks within Tunisia. The old Bataillon de char de combats (BCC), Reconnaissance de corps d’Armee (RCA), independent tank company and platoons have been consolidated into Chasseur regiments. In real terms, each regiment is at company strength in regard to combat vehicles.

Your army assets are:

4e Regiment Mixte de Zouaves et de Tirailleurs (4e RMZT)
36 x Infantry Platoon (12 x 3) – each have 10 hit points
3 x 47mm Anti-Tank gun (1 x 3) – use Soviet 45mm ATG, R=1000m
3 x Truck (1 x 3) – use Soviet ZIS-5

43e Regiment d’Infanterie Coloniale (43e RIC)
36 x Infantry Platoon (12 x 3) – each have 10 hit points
3 x 47mm Anti-Tank gun (1 x 3) – use Soviet 45mm ATG, R=1000m
3 x Truck (1 x 3) – use Soviet ZIS-5

4e Regiment d’Tirailleurs Tunisiens (4e RTT)
36 x Infantry Platoon (12 x 3) – each have 10 hit points
3 x 47mm Anti-Tank gun (1 x 3) – use Soviet 45mm ATG, R=1000m
3 x Truck (1 x 3) – use Soviet ZIS-5

62e Regiment d’Artillere Africain (62e RAA)
18 x 75mm Artillery gun (6 x 3) – use Soviet 76mm ZIS-3, R=11000m
6 x 155mm Artillery howitzer (2 x 3) – use Soviet 122mm M-30, R=12000m
24 x Horse Artillery transport (8 x 3) – use Soviet

412e Regiment d’Artillere Africain (412e RAA)
9 x 25mm AA gun (3 x 3) – use Soviet 25mm AA 72-K, R=?
15 x 47mm Anti-Tank gun (5 x 3) – use Soviet 45mm ATG, R=1000m
24 x Truck (8 x 3) – use Soviet ZIS-5

26e Group de Transport (26e GT)
2 x Staff Car (2 x 1) – use Soviet GAZ MI staff car
4 x Ambulance (4 x 1) – use Soviet ZIS-5 medical truck
4 x Radio truck (4 x 1) – use Soviet ZIS-5 radio truck
32 x Fuel truck (8 x 4) – use Soviet ZIS-6 fuel truck

34e Genie Company (34e GC)
6 x Engineer Platoon (6 x 1) – each have ten hit points
6 x Horsedrawn transport (6 x 1) – use Soviet horsedrawn field kitchen

1e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (1e RCA)
27 x Hotchkiss H-35 tank (9 x 3)
3 x Renault FT-17 tank (1 x 3)

2e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (2e RCA)
30 x Renault Char D1 tank (10 x 3) – use Japanese Type 89 tank

3e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (3e RCA)
30 x Renault R-35 tank (10 x 3)

4e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (4e RCA)
12 x Panhard 178 Armoured car (4 x 3)
16 x Motorcyle & sidecar (4 x 4) – use German recon company column
3 x 47mm Anti-Tank gun (1 x 3) – use Soviet 45mm ATG, R=1000m
3 x Truck (1 x 3) – use Soviet ZIS-5
The armoured cars and motorcycles have increased scout abilities

5e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (5e RCA)
30 x Renault Char D1 tank (10 x 3) – use Japanese Type 89 tank

6e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (6e RCA)
15 x Renault R-35 tank (5 x 3)
15 x Renault FT-17 tank (5 x 3)

7e Regiment de Chassueur d’Afrique (7e RCA)
30 x Renault Char D1 tank (10 x 3) – use Japanese Type 89 tank


Presently, there are no notable naval assets in Tunisian waters. This is in accordance with the terms and intention of the 1940 Armistice.


Finally, Commander, I trust that you will prepare your forces for immediate deployment and will counter any possible threat. Be assured that all Vichy forces in the North African theatre are now on high alert for possible British aggression.


Good luck.



http://www.tarrif.net/wwii/pdf/DL%20-%201940%20French%20Armament.pdf

http://www.tarrif.net/wwii/pdf/DL%20-%20Number%20of%20AFVs%20on%2010%20May%201940.pdf

http://gregpanzerblitz.com/france40/french40/FrenchInfantryCMay1940.pdf

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Last edited by IV/JG7_Warg on Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:36 am
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Nice work Warg,
Thanks!

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:46 pm 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
French forces added to Army_Units table.

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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:52 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 6:22 pm
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Location: Wandering, Western Australia
Thanks for the effort Warg, will look into it more tomorrow night with the shift change.

cheers
Ikey

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 Post Posted: Fri May 03, 2013 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:07 am
Posts: 2005
Location: Perth, Western Australia
I altered the French army units to be Vichy French "vi" instead of "fr". This probably won't make any difference but I did it anyway!

Cheers,
4S

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 Post Posted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:36 am
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
I didn't realise we had that.
Cool, thanks!

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