The Armée Navale is one of the two smaller forces in the game, which aids the British war effort with patrol and coastal defence vessels in the Channel.
The French Navy was first established as an organized force in the 17th century and helped the French monarchy to establish a great colonial empire. After several disastrous defeats in the Seven Years War, it was instrumental in winning the War of Independence for the United States, and always remained a threat to the Royal Navy throughout the wars following the French Revolution. In the 19th century, it was one of the most innovative naval forces and was the first to introduce a seagoing ironclad warship and a ship with a steel hull, and fought several successful wars against Russia and China. The capital ships constructed on French shipyards were bought and copied throughout the world, especially by Russia, which had a large portion of ships built in France in her navy when the fateful conflict with Japan began in 1904. With the forming of the Entente Cordiale, France was able to put an emphasis on its armies rather than to continue an arms race against the Royal Navy, which certainly helped to keep the Germans in check in 1914.
Technology and strategy Edit
In the last two decades, the French doctrine of the Jeune école saw the armoured capital ship in decline with the possibilities offered by the new Whitehead fish-torpedo. Thus the French navy concentrated on building a lot of small torpedo boats for coastal defence against a fleet of large armoured vessels, backed up by a number of armoured cruisers to harass enemy shipping and a fleet of capital ships for challenging foreign battle fleets. The small boats have proven to be of little value for naval domination since, as they are unable to venture far from their ports, Since most of her forces are busy in the Mediterranean, the Armée Navale has only a few forces in the Channel to help protect the crucial inflow of troops and resources from England and overseas. These ships are mostly obsolete and very small, but are still a threat to the light forces likely to penetrate the mine barriers in the Channel. Three armoured cruisers are the backbone of the French forces in the Channel.
Known weaknesses Edit
The vast majority of the French forces in the Channel are small torpedo boats, which are inferior to almost any other vessel in the area and may go down to one stray hit. The armoured cruisers are obsolete and undergunned, making them fairly easy prey for any capital ship crossing their way, but the Armée Navale has one of the few minelayers of the entire Entente naval forces under its command.