Thursday 8 May 2014

Où est l'Armée d'Afrique?

No progress on the painting front but I am enjoying reading An Army at Dawn about the US Army in North Africa, despite some errors in the text. It has reinforced by interest in the Vichy French forces, especially the Armée d'Afrique which can historically fight American, British, German and Italian forces (expanding into the Levant with most of the same troops you can add Australians, Indians and the Free French). It goes without saying that no one produces much in the way of suitable figures in 28mm, the only ones I have found are some of Artizan's French Foreign Legion.

It seems that a search for suitable proxies may have to be be the way forward but information on the campaign uniforms of the Vichy French colonial troops is hard to come by (and photos even rarer). Looking at the photo above of Giraud in Algiers after Torch the colonial infantry don't look too far removed from Woodbine's WWI French Senegalese, the separate heads are likely to be useful as well, though a head in a 1930's topee would be useful (anyone got any suggestions?) for other units.

Most problems will be with the native cavalry (and I love WW2 cavalry), the Historie & Collections French Army 1940 shows an Algerian Spahi in a campaign uniform, cut like the one in the photo above but in the same colour as the 1940 European French army uniform (with no cloak).

These two photos (above and below) however suggest a campaign uniform in a lighter sand colour in North Africa (which would tie in with the French tropical uniform which would be ok for summer operations but maybe not so the Tunisian winter).

Regardless, I have not found any suitable figures that would look right for Spahis with a suitable paint job and an odd Adrian helmet head swap. Shame no manufacturer has taken up the challenge really, a great looking army with loads of potential opponents.


  1. Hi There. Some of the Esci Muslin Warriors may be suitable. I am using some of these, and converted Saracens for Bedoin Arabs as adversaries to my 8th Army. I like to inject unusal bits into my games- having some Partisans as a wildcard in a large scale DDay swort beach landing tomorrow.
    If you go to plastic soldier review and search under "camel" you'll come up with some great ideas. Also the Sudan under periods:
    Cheers Herman (

  2. Just noted your remark about 28mm not 20mm. My post is therefore irrelevant :)

    1. I do 20mm as well and have some Elheim WW2 colonial French so it's still good to know!

  3. Been following your blog for a while. Have resisted going to 28mm, mostly as no suitable opponents. Have been doing 20mm for 3 decades, recently rebased then for scaled up Flames of War rules