FFI comme Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur. De qui? De quoi? Les révolutions et la Résistance sont deux thématiques essentielles de ma France de RIFTS (lisez ce post en particulier). Pour rappel, la France est partagée entre une douzaine de duchés dirigés par des entités surnaturelles (maléfiques la plupart du temps) ou des créatures monstrueuses (Rifts Core Rulebook première édition). Ces duchés sont, le plus souvent, contrôlés en loucedé par les infâmes Druides rouges (Rifts World Book 3: England), les différents ducs étant devenus particulièrement dépendants au pouvoir des Druides rouges à lire l'avenir. Et, au-dessus de la mêlée, nous avons l'Empire Gargouille qui considère la France comme son fief et, à partir de 103 PA (2389 ap. J.-C.) envahit le pays pour attaquer la NDR sur son flanc occidental.
Toute la France est occupée? Non. Dans les Hautes-terres du Massif central, les tribus humaines se préparent à la guerre contre les seigneurs inhumains. Dans l'Ouest, les chevaliers et les tommies d'Arthur Pendragon étendent de jour en jour les frontières du Haut-royaume. Dans l'Est les mechas de la Bundeswehr vont lancer l'offensive contre les Gargouilles et leurs séides. Un peu partout, les îlots de résistance, anciens et nouveaux, luttent pied à pied contre la soldatesque monstrueuse qui a mis le pays en coupe réglée.
En réalité, la domination inhumaine est particulièrement fragile et semble à deux doigts de s'effondrer. L'enjeu pour la Résistance française est de chasser l'envahisseur extra-dimensionnel sans pour autant passer sous le joug d'une autre nation humaine (le Haut-royaume Pendragon ou la NDR). Les Allemands n'ont aucune intention d'étendre leurs frontières (un vieux traumatisme...) mais de nombreux membres de la Résistance ne leur font pas vraiment confiance (un autre vieux traumatisme!) et craignent que les troupes confédérales engagées en France ne restent plus longtemps que prévu... Du côté des Britanniques du Haut-royaume, les choses sont beaucoup plus claires: ils ont bien l'intention d'étendre leurs frontières! Surtout Merlin en fait. Arthur s'en fout un peu: tant qu'il peut botter des culs démoniaques, il est content. C'est l'Enchanteur surtout qui est à la manœuvre pour transformer le Haut-royaume en puissance continentale. Et pas pour de bonnes raisons (Rifts World Book 3: England)... Une nouvelle Guerre de Cent Ans en perspective? Non car les hordes démoniaques de Hades et Dyval vont mettre tout le monde d'accord à partir de 109 PA (Rifts Dimension Book 10: Hades - Pits of Hell, Rifts Dimension Book 11: Dyval - Hell Unleashed et Rifts World Book 35: Megaverse in Flames), pour peu que je conserve cet événement majeur de la chronologie officielle du jeu.
Bref, la Résistance veut s'emparer du pays AVANT ses "alliés" étrangers. Pour cela, il lui faut une armée. Elle a déjà à sa disposition une foule d'espions, informateurs, passeurs, saboteurs, partisans, receleurs, contrebandiers... mais il lui faut des soldats. Des soldats équipés.
TRIAX se charge de fournir l'équipement. C'est dans l'intérêt des Allemands que la Résistance française se dote du matériel nécessaire pour bouter les Gargouilles et les autres streumons hors de France. À moins que l'équipement ne provienne des Calaisiens, des Toulousains... Ou des Français de la station orbitale Yuro (After the Bomb Book 6: Mutants in Orbit)! Les soldats, quant-à-eux, sont recrutés au sein des différentes communautés humaines du pays: serfs, esclaves en fuite, citoyens du Calaisis ou de Toulouse, Néo-cathares, tribus des Hautes-terres, sujets du Pendragon... Au grand dam des Teutons, il y a même des D-Bees, des Fables et des magos qui intègrent ces Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur.
Pourquoi "FFI"? Parce que la Résistance cultive le souvenir de la "Grande Nation" pré-cataclysmique. En conséquence, elle nomme ses unités militaires d'après les anciennes unités de l'Histoire militaire française. Ce qui va me permettre de faire le lien avec le jeu d'escarmouche Infinity et ses figurines.
Dans Infinity, il existe une faction, Ariadna, composée d'anciens colons écossais, russes, américains et français installés sur une planète particulièrement hostile. Les descendants des colons français sont appelés "Merovingians" et leurs forces armées "la Force de Réponse Rapide Mérovingienne (la FRRM)". Les différentes unités sont nommées d'après de véritables unités de l'armée française, passées et présentes. On va continuer dans cette idée là: utiliser les figurines des Merovingians, et le nom de leurs unités, pour figurer et nommer les unités militaires FFI de la Résistance française de RIFTS.
Dans les paragraphes qui suivent, je vous mets les photos récentes de ces unités, leur référence historique et la partie du wiki Human Sphere les concernant.
Le 1er régiment de chasseurs parachutistes (1er RCP) existe toujours. C'est d'ailleurs le plus ancien régiment parachutiste de l'armée française. Il a été fondé en 1943 au Maroc.
Human Sphere: “Preux et audacieux” (Valiant and audacious). Motto of the 1er de Para-Commandos.
The 1st Para-Commandos is the Merovingian airborne infantry regiment that acts as a rapid response and interdiction unit for the Ariadnan army. The Para-Commandos are the first on the scene, often deployed before the battle even begins. Basically, the job of the 1st Para-Commandos is to carry out the most risky duties of light infantry: airborne insertions, rapid advances, surprise attacks and hurried withdrawals back to the LZ. The 1st is part of the Lanciers Parachutistes corps, the parachutist lancers infantry. They specialize in HALO (high-altitude, low opening) jumps to avoid radar detection. As a result of the sky-high casualty rate of their missions, the members of the 1st receive the familiar name of Jacques Demi-messe, “Jacques Half-a-Mass”, as a quip on their short life expectancy. But they don’t seem to mind. The Para-Commandos are the kind of guys who have a very hazardous job and they love it. Braggarts? If they weren’t quite so good no one would overlook their legendary smugness…
Les zouaves sont une vieille unité d'infanterie légère de l'armée française. Ils sont intiment liés à l'Histoire de l'Algérie puisqu'ils sont apparus avec la conquête du pays en 1830 et ont été dissous en 1962, lorsque celle-ci obtient son indépendance.
HS: “Œil pour œil, dent pour dent” (Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth) Regimental motto of the Zouaves.
The Second Antipode Offensive was so intense that the Merovingians were forced to create a mobile intervention and assault force able to move as fast as possible to focuses of conflict and crush any enemies in a definitive fashion. The requirements for this force were so high it was only possible to entrust it to a select group of volunteers. In this way, the Regiment of Zouaves, one of the most famous units in French military history, was reborn. In the original unit the concepts of individual glory and dashing displays typical of the military culture of the 19th century merged, leading them to be called by some “the best soldiers in the world”. Despite the challenge of such a tradition, the Merovingian Zouaves are worthy heirs who stand up to the regimental record. Revered by their fellow countrymen as brave, reckless and incendiary combatants, the Zouaves are heroes of the most bloody battles and substance for military legends. Since its creation, the regiment has seen a wide range of service in the most severe conditions and against the most heartless enemies across the length and breadth of Ariadna. Actions such as those during the Separatist Wars cemented their reputation as ferocious storm troops, impressing their enemies with their bravery and earning their respect as well as their fear. There is not a single military campaign in which they don’t take an active role, as their great qualities as light storm troops ideally place them as the first to make contact with the enemy, where their combative nature and fighting methods are as forceful as they are effective.
Le 4ème régiment de chasseurs existe toujours. Il a connu de nombreuses incarnations et transformations puisqu'il date de 1779, rien que ça.
HS: “Toujours Prêt” (Always Prepared) Motto of the 4th Chasseurs.
The 4th Chasseurs is a Merovingian regiment operating under Special Operations Command. Its role is to undertake reconnaissance and other special action missions - Renseignement et Actions Spéciales - silently penetrating to the very heart of enemy positions. Since the Separatist Wars, during which the Merovingians found themselves surrounded by adversaries, the Chasseurs have specialized in military operations designed to hold defensive lines and detain the advance of enemy forces. Thanks to their special instinct for combat and their unusual preferences in armed tactics, the Merovingian commandos provide indispensable capabilities in the defense of Ariadna and their country. Respected as much for their qualities as fighters as for their experience, the members of the 4th Chasseurs nevertheless provoke more than a frisson of disquiet amongst their admirers due to their characteristic habit of christening their weaponry with pretty sounding French feminine names…
Mais où les gars de Corvus Belli sont aller chercher leurs références!!?? "Moblots" est le surnom donné lors de la guerre franco-allemande, en 1870, aux membres de la Garde mobile. Il ne s'agissait pas d'unités de soldats de métier mais de réservistes et d'auxiliaires. Ce qui ne les a pas empêché de participer en grand nombre à la guerre après l’anéantissement de la plus grande partie de l'armée impériale.
HS: “En avant-garde toujours” (Always in the vanguard). Regimental motto of the 13ème Moblots.
The Treizième de Moblots, Merovingian Heavy Infantry, chose its name in honor of the French mobile soldiers of the Franco-Prussian War. The regiment specializes in medium and large-scale offensive actions as well as frontline tactical operations. To maximize operational flexibility, the combat units of the 13ème include experts in a variety of military skills and specialties. Moblots are handpicked from other units for their enthusiasm, trustworthiness, endurance and ruggedness, being promoted by their officers in command. They have a reputation for adaptability and improvisation, but also for being quite annoying. The problem with them is that they are well-aware of just how good they are, so other units find it difficult to stomach them, and with good reason… until it’s breakfast time for Rosalie, the long French-style bayonet. Because, when push comes to shove, the Moblots are the first to go into the breach, if only because their pride won’t permit them to go behind anybody else.
"Métros" pour "troupes métropolitaines". Si je ne dis pas de bêtise, dans l'Histoire de l'armée française, les troupes métropolitaines étaient (et sont toujours) les troupes stationnées en Métropole, comme leur nom l'indique. Pour les distinguer des troupes coloniales et, ultérieurement, ultramarines ou basées à l'étranger.
HS: “Tant qu’il en restera un” (Until there is only one left) Regimental motto of the Troupes Métropolitaines.
The Merovingian militias are called Troupes Métropolitaines de la Défense Nationale, whose soldiers, commonly known as Métros, are the main guardians of the Merovingian communications and trade infrastructure. The Metropolitan Troops constitute the backbone of the Merovingian military force. They were created during the Separatist Wars as a unit dedicated to territorial defense. Their name is based on their conception as a protection and intervention force inside the Merovingian nation and along its borders, but not as an expeditionary force. The Métros’ trial by fire was the Separatist Wars, in which Merovingia, harassed and surrounded by its enemies, saw all its borders as a continuous battle front. However, the Antipode Offensives became their defining forge, forcing them to learn and adopt tactics more flexible than those usual for large scale operations. The Métros learned how to engage in harassment tactics to distract the enemy, buying enough time to evacuate citizens from threatened areas. The defense of their homes and people is a responsibility the Metros take on with pride and one they will fight until their last breath to uphold.
Le 8ème régiment d'infanterie a existé de 1569 à 1998.
HS: "Ardet et Audet" (Burns and dares) Motto of the 8éme Régiment d'Infanterie de Montagne.
"You think they have been placed in that freezing hell because they are the only elite troops able to endure it? No... truth is they have been sent so far because that is where they can cause the least problems..."
Colonel Yevgueni Voronin, Cossack Diplomatic Corps. First Expeditionary Corps to Paradiso assessment session. O-12’s local offices. Matr.
Briscard: French derivative word from "brisque", ensign identifying a reenlisted soldier. In the Napoleonic era, the term "briscard" was used to refer to veteran soldiers. [Extracted from the Conciliar Universal Dictionary, simplified edition, Manaheim, Concilium Prima.]
The Merovingian’s Mountain Infantry units are integrally based around veterans, experienced soldiers serving a second service. This is because a developed combat instinct is an indispensable requirement to survive the frozen torment which is being posted to the Analogue Mountains, where the environment and climate are as dangerous as the worst adversaries you could find anywhere on planet Dawn. However, the reason for the presence of these troops amongst the Analogue peaks isn't climatology. They haven't been placed there to rescue injured alpinists either. Briscards protect the eastern border of Merovingia against enemy raids. Ancestral home of Antipode warrior clans like the Ice Fangs and the White Knives, considered the most aggressive and dangerous of this savage race, the Analogue Mountains are full of caves, tunnels and mountain passages, appearing and disappearing with the constant avalanches and micro-quakes.
At first, the main mission of Briscards was to contain, expel and exterminate the raiding waves of those Antipode clans. However, since the Ariadnan Commercial Conflicts, they have also had to deal with special operations teams of the Sphere's great powers trying to infiltrate Ariadnan territory on espionage missions They have also tangled with mercenary groups serving mega corporations in the search for valuable Teseum and, more recently, with technified units of [Classified: Insufficient Security Level] origin.
Anyhow, none of this worries the Briscards at all. Their operational profile is not like that of any other special unit, who normally specialize in stealth, vigilance and surgical operations. Briscards are not a scalpel, but a hammer. Their standard mission is Search and Destroy; to locate the enemy and eliminate it, so simple and direct, without unnecessary subtlety. To get there fast and hit it hard, that's what is expected from the members of the Force de Réponse Rapide Merovingienne. Those obviously aren’t missions for ordinary soldiers, that’s why the regiment is just based on veteran troops; soldiers who have reenlisted after serving their stipulated service. It's indispensable to be very motivated to accept this assignment. Briscards are those who, after having been demobbed, are not capable of readjusting to civilian life, which they consider a living purgatory for a man of action. These veterans come back to the Army because it is probably the only thing they can do now, the only thing that satisfies them. It is the opportunity to feel again the combat adrenaline which compensates for the harshness of this assignment. Physical toughness is developed due to climate conditions, but psychological fortitude also strengthens as the regiment lives in a perpetual state of orange alert; prepared for any emergency, knowing it has been deployed to an isolated spot on the map without any direct support. However, as far as they may be from home, and even if they have to sometimes fight just for the honor of their banner, the Briscards are always resolute in battle, symbolizing the true spirit of the experienced Merovingian soldier.
Il existe aussi des unités d'Infinity où le lien historique avec l'armée française devient beaucoup plus nébuleux: l'équipe Mirage-5 et les Loup-Garous (oui, sans "s"...). Ce qui ne veut pas dire qu'ils n'auront pas leur usage dans une partie de RIFTS. Les figurines des Loup-Garous me paraissent très bien pour représenter les unités de police du Calaisis, par exemple.
HS: “The attacks will strike like lightning, they will arrive like thunder and will finish before anybody can react.” Operational doctrine of the Mirage Teams.
“Comme l’éclair” (Like Lightning) Reduced version of it in its insignia.The Mirage Teams are special units of small size, created originally by the Merovingian Army to perform military operations denoted as “surgical”: fast, very tough and spectacular, in which stealth is not important. The missions of Mirage Teams see a high risk level and elevated casualty count. The Mirage-5 Team, formed by Berthier and Duroc, is one of the oldest and most successful teams. Lieutenant Margot Berthier is an ex-NCO from the Merovingian airborne troopers, from there passing to the Special Operations Command of the Ariadnan Army’s Military Intelligence. She also lead an airborne shock commando troop in the Ariadna Exemption Zone, heading various extremely successful attacks against Panoceanian forces that tried to advance in the area. However, the commando group lost effective strength from every mission due to the high risk rate. After six months of operations, the only survivors of the commando group were her and another NCO, so the unit was disbanded. Trying to overcome the deaths of her comrades, Margot requested a transfer to the Moblots, the Merovingian heavy infantry. The new environment helped her to calm down and polish her combat skills. When she felt restored, Margot came back to Intelligence. A few missions later, she recovered her Mirage Team status. In Intelligence circles, she is the only operative readmitted to the Mirage Teams after a leave of absence. Berthier has the reputation of being a shrewd, tough and sly officer, and an excellent shot as well. She has a personal and deadly style, characterized by her absolute precision and an almost perverse apparent lack of effort.
In one of her missions she met Duroc, perceived his potential, and recruited him to the Mirage Teams. Since then, they have constituted a tight tactical team, covering their backs mutually. Margot is the brains and the markswoman of the team, while Duroc is the muscles and provides the psychological impact of extreme and sudden violence.
“I can tear a guy’s leg off by its roots, and use it to smack down sixteen of his buddies… It was a useful skill when I was behind bars… I suppose that’s the reason why they want me to be in the army [...] Yes, they say my work is nothing but smashing and killing…but I prefer to call it something like… staff reduction or… cleaning house.” Extract from the evaluation interview of Duroc for the Mirage Teams.
Duroc is one of the few Dogfaces capable of performing combat jumps, with a parachute or from a helicopter. The instinctive fear of flying most Dogfaces suffer, and the stress and excitement of imminent combat, normally provokes their violent transmutation to Dog-Warriors, with unfortunate consequences for vehicles and their crew. Sergeant Duroc has no more willpower than any other Dogface, but the presence of Lieutenant Berthier has a remarkably relaxing effect on his state of mind. Of Corsican descent, Angelo Lafayette Duroc fits the pure Corsican stereotype, a creature of violent passions and terrible revenges. He is addicted to chaos, spending his youth fighting a blind war against any form of established order, and he hasn’t improved with the passage of time. Duroc was much too violent to be part of a Dog-Bowl team – and you have to be off the brutality scale to be forbidden to play – so he served four years in a Dog-Warrior regiment assigned to Tartary. When he was fed up with the discipline, he left the regiment to became a boxing instructor for the Navy School at Dalniy. In his free time, he worked as an enforcer for a local underworld boss, until he went too far on a job and served five years in jail for homicide. Once he was out of prison he recovered his former job, and rejoined the old routine of violence and alcohol.
When they commissioned him to take care of a female Merovingian agent who was walking around the docks asking too many questions, he assumed it would be an easy job. However, the agent was better than he expected, and for the first time, Duroc failed to carry out a contract, falling into his own trap. At this point, logic and hard-boiled literature would dictate that Duroc should have died. But, for some mysterious reason, Margot spared his life. Full of admiration for her, and knowing that his position was questionable after being captured, Duroc decided to take the bull by the horns and help the beautiful agent. When the mission was completed, Margot sought the re-admission of the ex-Dog-Warrior to his former regiment, but ended up transferring him to the Mirage Teams. Since then, Duroc carries out high risk missions for the Ariadnian Army alongside Margot, and he doesn’t mind flying, as long as she is by his side.
HS: “Le Loup Désire, le Loup Obtient” (What the wolf wants, the wolf gets) Motto of the Loup-Garou.
Merovingia is the Ariadnan region with the smallest area bordering the Antipode territories, which is why its Dogface population is minimal. Nevertheless, being an important nexus for Ariadnan communications, it has some itinerant Dogfaces who work as drivers, carriers and escorts for convoys and merchandise caravans crossing the region. These Dogfaces are just travelers and their stay in Merovingia is short, but some nights too much alcohol, drugs or women, or a combination of them all, causes them to become violent. If the situation gets out of control, or if they turn into Dog-Warriors, then the Loup-Garou step in.
The Mobile Group of Special Action is a self-sufficient rapid response team, specially trained and highly disciplined, able to react to emergencies in Merovingia as well as any other place inside the Ariadnan territories. Created as a special riot squad of the Merovingian Gendarmerie, it has a paramilitary nature and receives its training alongside Ranger and Para-Commando units. All its members are volunteers and serve as full-time agents of the Gendarmerie, in detachments spread across the entire country, available to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day. The group also keeps a small full-time operative team in the Tactical Operations Center of the Gendarmerie in the Haie d’Étigues, where all its agents undertake extensive training focused on special weapons and tactics. These agents have to satisfy rigorous standards of physical and mental ability. Though they have special ammunition to neutralize violent Dogfaces (the so-called Silver Bullets) any such interventions have a high threshold of danger. But as they say: “You need a Werewolf to stop a Dogface”. When the police aren’t enough to handle a situation, it’s time to call in the Loup-Garou. As a mobile group, it is capable of reaching crisis locations swiftly and is usually the first special unit on the scene. Their primary role in the field is to stop and capture all Dogfaces that offer resistance. Obviously, this implies frequently violent engagements. It is their ability and experience with these extreme situations that makes the difference between a successful arrest and a tragic event.
Que la Résistance de RIFTS nomme ses unités combattantes d'après les noms des unités de l'ancienne armée française ne signifie pas que ces unités combattantes aient les dimensions de leurs aïeules, loin de là. La Résistance dispose d'une force armée relativement réduite et est incapable d'aligner des effectifs conséquents. Ses chefs disposent de quelques milliers de soldats entraînés et équipés sur l'ensemble du territoire, pas de quoi jouer les de Lattre de Tassigny du Futur.
Le nom des unités est avant tout symbolique. Je vous donne deux exemples. Imaginons que la Résistance se soit doté d'un "1er régiment de chasseurs parachutistes", sur le modèle cité plus haut. Et bien cette unité comprendra une centaine de combattants; et pas plus d'un millier comme son modèle contemporain. Deuxième exemple: si la Résistance forme une unité de mechas et décide de la baptiser "2ème DB" (pour Division Blindée). Cette unité aura peut-être une dizaine de mechas, une vingtaine au mieux, mais pas les centaines de chars de la 2ème DB "historique".
Bon, d'accord, c'est le genre de délire qui n'intéressera que les rôlistes amateurs d'histoire militaire...