The French navy was off-limit for the Germans under the terms of the French Armistice. However, the British couldn't take the risk of Germany seizing the ships anyway and using them against the Royal Navy.
In July 1940, Churchill sent a British fleet to deliver an ultimatum to the French vessels stationned at Mers-el-Kebir: Join us, put your ships in US custody, or scuttle them.
The negociation didn't go so well, and ended with the British sinking the fleet in the harbor.
This put quite a chill on French/British relations and was a great gift to German propaganda, but the goal was met.
Of course, in November 1942 Germany DID try to seize the remaining ships in Toulon. Hitler ordered the lauch of Operation Lila and the German army surrounded the dockyards of Toulon. However, the French managed to delay them long enough to scuttle the ships and the submarines escaped to North Africa.
http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/toulon.htm (more pictures and more "lively description")
Under current rules, when Vichy is declared, the French fleet points are removed from game immediatly (historical result) (Regular Vichy rules).
Under the assumption that there is no such thing as too much chrome , here is an optional rule for the French Fleet points.
When Vichy France is declared, two French Fleet points are set aside: 1 in Marseille, 1 in Algiers.
The British Player can expand 1 SA and use 1 Fleet point (switch it to w/o transport) in the Mediterranean to deliver the ultimatum to the French Fleet in Algiers.
Roll 1 D6:
1-3: Negociations go wrong, the British sink the French Fleet
4-5: The French accept to put their fleet in US custody.
Put the French fleet point in the US box, it will come into play in the Atlantic when the US join the war.
6: The French Fleet defect and join the British (add 1 British fleet point in the Mediterannean). Additionaly, British units landing in North Africa will enjoy the same bonus as US units vs Vichy French (Defend once and surrender automatically)
No British ground unit fought alongside French units: -2
For each combat phase the BEF fought alongside French Units after the 1st Breakthrough phase:+1
The British let the French fend off the Germans alone:-2
The British and French fight together for 2 consecutives phases (initial+ German SA) : +0
The British and French fight together for 3 consecutives phases (initial+ 2 German SA) : +1
Balance: This is the chance for the British to get 1 fleet point at half cost 50% of the time. Not too powerful I think, since there is an opportunity cost for the SA
On the first round that Germany occupy Vichy France and IF Italy has not surrendered, the German player can spend 1 SA to try to do a better job at seizing the fleet in Toulon.
Roll 1 D6
1-4: Too slow, the French scuttle the Fleet
5-6: Fleet seized, add one Italian Fleet point
+1: Use one italian Fleet point (to blockade Toulon)
Balance: A little bit more advantageous than for the British, but it comes much later in the game.
Any comment? I know it's a lot of rules for just two fleet points, but that's why it's optional!
Edit: Incorporated Rick's idea in the cases where Mers-el-Kebir results in the French Marine joining the Royal Navy. After that, the Ground Vichy units in North Africa won't resist too much if the UK invades.
- Last edited Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:07 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:24 am
I think your rules are very good at recreating the historical conditions.
They also illustrate why we opted to take the historical shortcut.
They area nice set of chrome rules for those wanting to add more historical background to their EE experience.
I would add though, that if the French N.A. fleets actually joins the British (roll of 6), that Vichy units will react to British units the same way they react to U.S. units (fire once, then surrender).
I incorporated your suggestion in the original message.
I wrote this after reading up on Mers-el-Kebir, and thought it would be a fun addition.
After writing it, I appreciate much more how it must be difficult when designing a game to balance game flow and simplicity with the urge to incorporate every small details of the war.
Looking forward to receive my copy of Asia Engulfed, so I can work on optional rules specifying how long it took to build the bridge on the river Kwai
- Last edited Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:18 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:17 am
Do what yhou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." - Aleister Crowley
"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." - John Galt
As a fan of the French Navy in WWII, I will certainly use these rules next time I play Europe Engulfed! Good job, Pierre.