Tuesday, March 13, 2012

L' Ancre Embrouillée

Troupe de Marine symbol
L' Ancre Embrouillée
The French Ministry of Marine Establishment on Mars

As given on page 161 of Soldier’s Companion, the French Colonial Establishment on Mars contravenes the French Constitution, which prohibited the deployment of “Metropolitan” troops (i.e. those in the regular French Army) from being deployed out of France.  

French political thought in the years from 1872 to the run up for the Great War was dominated by “Revanche” – the recovery of the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine from the German Empire, and the punishment of the Germans for occupying the same.

This meant that, in the mind of the government, the sole purpose of the French Army was to fight Germany in the Next War.

Running concurrently and in opposition to the dominant policy of Revanche was the Colonialists' notion that for France to reclaim her status as a power, lost in the disasters of the Franco-Prussian war, she would need colonies. Occasional Colonialist political victories against the Revanchists would result in France controlling an empire second only to Great Britain’s in size and scope.

The Army’s hands were essentially tied, and the Ministry of the Marine controlled the French colonial military until 1893. Thus in 1889 the bulk of French Troops on Mars should be Marine Infantry, reinforced by native levies and penal battalions (les Joyeux), stiffened by the Foreign Legion and the occasional sprinkling of Fusilier Marines (Sailors) near the landing zones.

The list should be amended to something rather like this:

The French Colonial Establishment on Mars – Idæs Fons Colony
2nd Foreign Legion Infantry                         E2
3rd Marine Infantry                                       V1
7th Marine Infantry                                       X1
1st Btn Tirailleurs Martien                            T2
5th Btn African Light Infantry (penal)            X1
1st Foreign Legion Gashant Corps             V1                 
Martian Indigenous Irregular Cavalry           X2

Martian Irregular Cavalty Goumiers
Following the limited success of using native Arab horsemen to track and raid troublesome desert tribes, the French have begun to enlist Hill Martians as native "Goumiers". Thus far, the practise appears to be working well, due to the superior warlike qualities of the Hill Martian riders.

To be continued:...


  1. Makes sense to me - a bunch of Marines, backed up by Legion and irregular native cavalry, supported presumably by a flotilla of liftwood gunboats? I would suppose there would be some Gashant powered mountain artillery in there too.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thank you for "signing on".

      Gashant mountain artillery? Roger that! That's a great idea and may well become my next project. Must go to RAFM for the minis.

      I have a Return of the Jedi skiff that seems popular for conversion to a liftwood flyer. I'm going to follow the S1889 example provided by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and fit it out as a Sky Galley converted to steam with modern weapons - maybe call it Rangeur.

      That's going to take a while - unfortunely, I work slowly.



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