Raiders from New France – North American Forest Warfare Tactics, 17th-18th Centuries, René Chartrand

Raiders from New France – North American Forest Warfare Tactics, 17th-18th Centuries, René Chartrand

Elite 229

For two centuries the British and French were rivals in North American, with the French claiming a vast area of the interior but with a small population and the more numerous British spread along the east coast. However the French were much quicker to adapt to the requirements of fighting in the wilderness between the two sets of colonies, and despite being so heavily outnumbered were able to dominate the wilderness and despite the distances involved carry out succesful raids on the British colonies. This book looks at how they managed to achieve that, the raids themselves and their impact.

The key to the French success was their relationship with the native Americans. Canadian trappers and traders were used to travelling long distances in the wilderness, and Canadian diplomacy (especially under Govern Frontenac) saw them build up a good relationship with some of their native America neighbours. As a result mixed Canadian, French and native American raiding parties were able to successfully cross the wilderness, hit British settlements anywhere along the frontier (and sometimes some way into the colonies) and then defeat any attempt to pursue them. This dominance even allowed them to defeat sizable British armies – most famously at the Battle of the Monongahela in 1755, although the focus here is on the smaller raids.

The book covers quite a lot of ground. We get a history of the main campaigns and the most significant raids within them, a diplomatic history of the relationship between the French and their native American neighbours and an examination of the physical difficulties of carrying these raids and how they were overcome. This is an interesting study of the benefits the French gained from learning from the native Americans, even if their skills didn’t in the end save French North America.

The Beginnings
A New Tactical Doctrine
Raid Warfare
The Final Decades, 1740s-50s
Men, Equipment & Methods

Author: René Chartrand
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2019

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