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French Indochina War, Version 2.0

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Hi everyone


There is an updated version of Philip Sharp's French Indo-China campaign in the Battlefront.com Repository, and you can download his mod for Global Conflict - Gold here:



Philip's notes on the updated campaign follow:

This discussion covers a remake of a mod called French Indochina War 1946-54. I have relooked at this scenario and made some updates to it regarding the map and events with the hope of making it better than the first one.

The French Indochina War put an experienced western power against an emerging eastern power. Initially beginning as a guerilla movement, the Viet Minh eventually would fight toe to toe with French forces in open battle with determination and sacrifice. When playing this campaign it is important to know the strength and weaknesses of you respective side. The French Army and overall strategy will be covered first, then followed up by the Viet Minh Army.

Edited by Bill101
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French Union

The French Union starts off strong with a powerful force in comparison to the Viet Minh. The overall initiative lies in your corner. With few exceptions, you will most likely be able to go wherever you like and remain as long as you like.


Character of French Union Forces




French HQ can control 12 units up to a distance of 15. This is to reflect the advantage the French have in command and control. They did not have to constantly hide and avoid detection like the Viet Minh, therefore French control of operations is not as interfered with. One HQ can control an entire operation, so use this to your advantage.




The use of French light infantry battalions are important to this army. These lighter forces have a longer detection rate than heavier forces. Though they don’t have the hitting power, they have the ability to move farther and the ability to detect the enemy better. These forces can also be used to garrison locations to free up other units for offensive operations.




French Infantry battalions are the base of your army. They can both take and hold terrain. Motorizing battalions to cover ground quicker will enhance your army’s capability. However, their ability to detect the enemy is limited to contact and must depend on other forces for the location of the enemy beyond that.




French engineers are units similar to Infantry battalions, but they are stronger in the defense due to expert use of obstacles and defenses. They have limited detection ability as well. Great for just holding and important position.

Edited by Bill101
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A very unique unit from this war is the Dinassaut battalions. These were a mixture of Infantry, amphibious assault craft, and modified amphibious craft to serve as heavy weapons systems that were intended to serve primarily as riverine forces but also as a marine type force. Use these forces primarily on the Mekong and Red Rivers. These forces can move as amphibious forces along these rivers to attack enemy locations with the same capabilities as amphibious forces in other Strategic Command games. These units also have similar movement to armored forces and longer movement in this game in amphibious mode than in other games.




French Para units are the elite of the French army in Indochina. They can be flown long distances and deployed to fight. They also have two attacks instead of one and have a 15% change of avoiding damage on the defense. This makes them dangerous attacking and defending, a formidable force indeed. This is your fire brigade to be sent wherever you need for the heavy fighting.





French armor battalions are effective offensive units in this game, possessing the same capabilities as in other games. They are great for keeping open lines of communications and for spearheading offensives.




The French also have units of indigenous personnel who are similar to the enemy’s guerillas in movement, detection range, and damage avoidance. These are great for reconnaissance and harassment of the enemy.

Edited by Bill101
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There is a small naval force available for the French Union which can provide fire support and naval aviation. The enemy also has the ability to use transport and limited amphibious operations, so naval patrols may be useful as well.


Recon squadrons of Morane observation aircraft are useful for reconnaissance missions. They are not meant for direct support, but spotting. This gives eyes to your troops that have limited detection abilities.


Fighter-Bomber squadrons are your direct aerial support units used to pound targets on the ground.


Bomber squadrons are the same as strategic bombers in strategic command with the noted exception that they have more of an impact on ground targets. This is typical of the Indochina theater.

Knowing the capabilities of your units and their strengths will help you better employ the French force more effectively. Do take note that some units are serving on a rotational basis. They will be noted as such if their “country” has a withdrawal in its title with the date it leaves. These units are earmarked to leave the theater, so be sure to replace them in crucial locations when necessary before they are removed from the game.

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French Strategy

As the French Union player for this campaign, this should generally be your overall strategy to prosecute the war, though it need not be limited to this.


1. Put a hole in Ho Chi Minh’s head.

The game is designed to give the French player the choice to declare victory in the event that the Ho Chi Minh HQ is destroyed. Take this out and you have victory. This historically reflects early desperate attempts by the French to take him out, such as in Operation Lea 1947. Beyond this, it is of course speculative if the French would have “won” or not. However, Ho Chi Minh was revered, especially as time went on, as the personification of the Viet Minh movement. He brought an intangible unifying aspect to the Vietnamese cause of independence that cannot be overlooked. This in many ways is comparable to George Washington in the American Revolution. If he had been removed it is speculative if the British would have “won,” but the impact on his unifying aspect would have been huge. For the sake of the game and to put the French player in the same state of mind, that possibility is dangled out there. Otherwise, the war will probably be a long one.


2. Use your force to dominate key terrain and hold it.

This is one of your true advantages, at least from the beginning. Besides, if Ho Chi Minh is not dispatched, your victory will only come by being able to hold large tracts of territory and key positions. Many of your forces should be used as garrisons to deny use of areas and protection of victory locations. When Viet Minh power grows, be aware of their intentions with their stronger forces and have forces on hand to challenge them.


3. Never Surrender offensive capability

You may have to pick and choose what to hold and what not to hold. At this point, always keep forces available for offensive action and as reserves to counter enemy operations. If your forces are so committed to defense that you no longer have the ability to strike effectively, you will slowly be eroded by the strength of a growing and more effective enemy force.


Viet Minh

The Viet Minh have a very good chance of obtaining victory, but it is accomplished over time. It takes a patient player to bring this about. Because of this, the Viet Minh player most likely will have to unlearn some Western manner of thinking regarding warfare to bring this about. Viet Minh forces start off inferior in type and support. Over time larger Infantry formations are formed and more heavy weapons are brought to bear. Regardless, you will always contend with an enemy who will have air superiority, tanks, and heavy firepower. Because of this it is important to better understand the Viet Minh army.


Character of Viet Minh Forces


Viet Minh HQs have only command 5 unit though they have a range of 10. This reflects that lack of sufficient signal equipment and constant efforts to avoid detection. Multiple HQ may be necessary for larger operations. This is well reflective of a force that was very top down oriented.


Light Infantry battalions are your basic unit for the beginning of your struggle. They have some fighting ability and mobility, but eventually are at a disadvantage when facing other French combat forces. They do make excellent auxiliary forces alongside your regular Infantry when they come along though. Historically, these are representative of regional forces which recruited from guerilla formations. They would train them as regular soldiers and get them some experience prior to being “promoted” to the regular regiments that fought the bigger battles.


Infantry regiments are the basic hitting formations of your army. With these you are capable of fighting the French on more equal terms. They are just as capable as French Infantry, but also have a 15% chance of avoiding damage on the defense due to their ability to withdraw quickly. They also can detect units farther away than their French counterpart. They are tough, but avoid the temptation to sacrifice them unless absolutely necessary. It will take some time to build this force.


The engineer regiment is actually an elite assault unit. Its purpose is not to make a defense tougher, but to break a defensive system. They have a strong attack and can conduct two attacks. Still, being engineers, they still can defend well. In fact, they have 15% chance of avoiding damage in both attack and defense, making this one of your most prized units.


Though you start with very little, over time you will acquire more artillery and anti-aircraft units. After fighter without it for so long, you will really appreciate its effect once you can employ it in increased numbers.


You will go through multiple guerilla units during the campaign. Yet, they must be an essential part of your force. They can avoid some damage and cause much trouble for the French player. They especially are important in the south, Cambodia, and Laos where other units will often be sparse.

The Viet Minh army becomes stronger and more deadly with time. Patience is as important with this army as much as audacity.

Edited by Bill101
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Viet Minh Strategy

As the Viet Minh player for this campaign, this should generally be your overall strategy to prosecute the war, though not limited to this.

1. Realize the reality of the situation and adapt to the French.

The French Army starts off far superior to yours. Their tanks, aircraft, and paratroopers alone will cause you much grief. Your initial forces are guerillas and light Infantry battalions with little heavy arms. Additionally there is a small amount of finance available to start with so replacing losses may come down to deciding who gets replacements and who does not. If you stand toe to toe with your best forces expecting to hold in the end, you will certainly not. Attack where they are weak, hold them in place where you can, and most certainly withdraw when their strength will soon overwhelm you.

2. Make the Viet Bac a strong hold location and divert French forces elsewhere.

The Viet Bac in North Vietnam is mountainous and remote. There is also a fortress system there along with artillery and anti-aircraft guns. This is the center of your movement. Make the French pay for every yard of it. Even still, fall back when required to preserve your forces. Eventually guerilla units will form to harass them and ambushes will weaken them up. Strike back at any point where you are stronger.

In conjunction with this, cause the French to divert forces elsewhere in Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam. Overwhelmingly most of your forces here will be guerillas. You will not conquer much with them, but you can tie down larger number of forces. Strike at undefended towns, rubber plantations, and opium fields. Interdict lines of communication. To protect this area the French must commit a large number of forces to deal with it. If the French do not, then you benefit from any income gained and lower NM hits given to the French over lost territory. Large number of guerillas will be destroyed in the process, but success is not measured in surviving guerillas or in territory forcibly taken. Success is tying down as much of the French force as possible regardless of the losses suffered by the guerillas. Often they will not be reinforced to spare costs, but the French must contend with them nonetheless.


3. Buy time until a formidable enough army can be formed to opening engage the French in open battle.

Though you strike where you can, you must be careful not to ruin your forces in battle. Always be prepared for the next fight. If you commit early and loose a significant force, you will be set back and give the French a large advantage. Once you have a respectable army to wield you can become more Western minded in taking key objectives by force.

Hopefully, this successfully explains the capabilities of the two sides and gives a better focus on how to prosecute your campaign.


Good Luck,

Philip Sharp


You can download this updated mod here:



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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...


Laos only gets one tile when it is formed, 29,32, and if there is already a unit in that tile then you won't be able to deploy a new unit there too.

If that is the case, you'll have to move the unit out in order to deploy the new one.

I hope I'm right this time? :)


Edited by Bill101
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I thought I had answered to this post, but perhaps I did that via PM. So no, hex 29, 32 is Vientianne and even if vacated by the original garrison it still does not allow me to deploy indigenous reinforcements - over there or anywhere else, either in Laos or entire Indochinese theater. I concluded the turn and the situation reappears - I have two garrison units waiting to be deployed, but they can't. Apart from that still a great custom scenario which redefines the SC engine for a counter-guerilla warfare. I attempted to review that for Wargamer.com in my application.

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