ORIGINAL: doc smith
The French-Thai War of 1941 was like two little, fat 11 yr olds, with crossed eyes and coke-bottle glasses, fighting it out in the schoolyard. Oh, and one had a tire iron.
The Vichy forces in France were :
Land: about 40 inf. bns, 2 art rgts, and 1 eng bn (about 50,000 men; 80% locally-recruited personnel with Fr. officers). Units included Tirailleurs Tonkinese, Annamese Tirailleurs, 11th Colonial Inf. Most were fighting insurgents in Cochin China (called the Mekong Delta in the 1960s and 70s), 12 bns in Cambodia, a few in Laos. Barely able to hold the place against the Viet Minh and local bandits. However, they also had the 5th Bn of the Foreign Legion (with an armored element of 40 Renault FT-17 tanks).
Air: 100 aircraft, incl 40 old Potez fighter bombers, 10 modern Morane 406 fighters, 8 Loire 130 naval scout amphibs, and some odds and sods.
Naval: CL Lanotte-Pickett (8k t., 8x6" w/ range of 28000 yds, 4K mile cruising range, top speed of 30 knots, comm. in 1924), two modern sloops, Dumont D'Urville and Admiral Charner (2k t., 3x5", 9K mile cruising range, comm. in 1931), two PBs, Tahure (700 t., 2x5", speed 20kts, 3K mile cruising range, comm. 1919) and Marne (600 t., 4x4", speed 20 kts, 4K mile cruising range, comm. 1916), and 10 river and harbor patrol boats.
The Thai forces (or Siamese) forces were:
Land: organized into 4 regions, each with several "divisions" (60K men). Best described as militia bdes. Also there was an armored regt with 60 Carden-Lloyd tankettes, 30 Vickers mediums), 2 mot. cav bns, an art. bn with how. and field guns, plus signal and eng units.
Air: 140 a/c with some 35 Mitsubishi bombers (don't ask; I don't know which ones, but the house bets on Ki-30 bombers), 25 Curtis Hawk fighters, 50 Chance-Vought biplanes (again, don't ask), and other obsolete types.
Sea: 2 coast defense ships, described and shown above, the Ayuthia and the Dhonburi (2.5K t., 4x8", 15 kts top speed, comm. 1938), 2 older CD ships (1K t., 2x6" + 4x3", top speed of 12 kts, comm in 1925), 1 ex-Brit WWI era DD, and assorted small craft.
Cross-border clashes began in Oct 1940 (reminds me of the Italians attacking France after Germany had them on the ropes, eh?), and air ops beginning in Jan 41. Also in Jan. 41, the Thai Army struck in Cambodia and Laos but had almost no opposition. Two Lao provinces on the west bank of the Mekong were taken. The Thais advanced into Battembang Province in Cambodia.
The French counterattacked at Yang Dam Koun on 16 Jan 41, spearheaded by the lads in kepi blancs, who stopped the Thais cold. The Thai armor, however, managed to push back the Legionnaires. Very light casualties on each side. Only a few thousand men from each side were in the battle, but all arms, armor, infantry, artillery were in play.
The naval "battle" of Koh Chang was offshore near the land battle. The Thais wanted to use the CD ships as naval gun platforms. Fr. Governor General, Adm Jean Decoux created a TF in Dec 1940 under Cpt de Vaisseau Regis Berenger (not related to Tom Berenger, of Platoon fame), consisting of the CL and the 4 sloops. They trained as a unit during the run-up to the war, and were well ready for combat. The slower sloops left Cam Rahn Bay on the 13th of Jan, the cruiser a day later, and all units rendesvoused on the 15th.
Acting on intel gained by Loire rcn flights, Berenger caught the two large CDs, 3 torpedo boats, and some log. ships off the island of Koh Chang. Attacking at dawn, Berenger fought like a, well, a Nelson (ironic, eh?). He split his force into 3 teams (CL, fast sloops, slow sloops) to block escape routs and charge the Thai fleet. After 30 minutes, all the Thai ships were sunk or floating junk. Thus endeth France's only successful naval battle in all of WW II.
In the air, both sides made "pinprick" raids on each other - some fighter furballs, bombing of Saigon and Bangkok, but the whole thing lasted only 2 months. The Japanese brokered a treaty that gave Thailand chunks of Cambodia and Laos.
Don't know what happened to the Fr. "fleet" after Japan occupied Indochina. Basically, there WAS NO Thai navy by 7 Dec 41. Only the 5th Legion bn. would be worthy of creating, and maybe the Thai armored force. Casualties during the war were in the hundreds (real scrappers, those two), so I imagine most of ground and air forces were available in December, but IMHO, not worth worrying about. French would be concerned most with not pissing off the Japanese and getting after the rebels (so all would be ready when the French won the war and came back to the colony, no doubt). Thai stuff was probably not able to stand up against the stuff the Japanese faced. Anyway, after the B-29s in India hit Bangkok a few times in '44, Thai strongman Marshal Pibul Songkram was replaced by a civilian government and Thais began sucking up to the Brits and French.
End of lesson.
NOW LET'S GET BACK TO YEARNING FOR A RELEASE DATE!!!!
regarding French naval and air units in Indochina during WWII : The air force was mostly inactive, since Indochina was effectively isolated from France there were no spare parts nor enough supply to maintain planes. The MS-406 fighter squadron was no longer in fighting conditions as were the bombers. Not to mention there were also precious few ammunitions left after the clash against Thailand (same goes for the navy, only the army was in fighting conditions). The 3 last serviceable MS-406 tried to intercept an allied air raid on Northern Indochina and were shot down by japanese fighters (IJA HQ officially apologized for this mistake...).
As for naval units, the CL spent most of the time in harbor (note : due to age(the cruiser was built in the early 20s) some of its main/5.5 inch guns could no longer fire after the Koh Chang battle and could not be repaired) and was eventually sunk at anchor by USN bombers late in the war. The sloops escorted small french coastal supply convoys as Indochina was in dire need of everything and one was sunk by a US submarine during such a mission. The others were sunk at anchor or eventually scuttled in order to prevent capture by the japanese.
All in all the clash against Thailand was the last one the french naval and air units in Indochina could afford to fight, lack of ammo, fuel, spare parts turned the local tactical successes into a pyric victory even before the japanese enforced a cease-fire in favor of Thailand. The french army in Indochina could no longer afford to fight such a fight against Thailand again not to mention fighting the japanese.
So game wise, french army unit could be used as weak static/garrison/CD forces; no air units worthy of note and a naval squadron of one CL (damages around 15), two old sloops in average condition (same stats as Dutch/british escorts), two relatively undamaged modern ones (same stats as USN Corvettes).