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"European Experience and the F&I War" Topic

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26 Jan 2017 4:09 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 May 2012 7:10 p.m. PST

Given the novel experience of fighting in "the wilderness," did prior military experience on the battlefields of Europe provide much benefit to officers or men?

Glengarry 424 May 2012 7:25 p.m. PST

Even in Europe there were light infantry formations, jagers, croats and "raiders" to provide some inspiration. But mostly it seems the desire was to fight battles in places were European tactics, the siege of Louisbourg and the battle of the plains of Abraham for example, could dominate.

elcid109924 May 2012 9:16 p.m. PST

There were commanders on both sides that recognized the value indian auxiliaries and fighting styles, and light troops were already part of European warfare. However there were also parties on both sides that did not understand Indian culture and motivations (although the french were better at this) and who wanted to fight a "civilized" european war. Asa result it is probably a fair generalisation to say that as the war progressed it became less of an indian (or North American) war and more european.

This meant that with escalating numbers of regulars and diminishing numbers of indian participants, many of the most violent confrontations in the later F&IW were classical euro-style set-pieces. Sieges or linear field battles, and as such competence and/or experience in european conflicts seems to have made a big difference.

Glengarry 424 May 2012 10:23 p.m. PST

It could be argued that it was the superior, "European" fire displine of the British that won the battle of the Plains of Abraham over a French force that was better adapted to North American conditions. Also French regular regiments had been brought up to strength by drafting Canadian militamen into the ranks. One story I've heard was that after the intial French volley (at too distant a range) the Canadians in the ranks flopped own to reload under cover, thus throwing the French regulars into confusion.

Glengarry 424 May 2012 10:29 p.m. PST

That said, those European style battles would not have been possible without the American rangers and regular light infantry (for the British), The Companie Franche and miltia (for the French) and the First nations (both sides). Even the dimmest European officer knew this at some level, even if they didn't always like it.

wyeayeman24 May 2012 11:07 p.m. PST

Read Steve Brumwells 'Redcoats' etc for some insight. Thats as close as you're going to get.

Waco Joe25 May 2012 10:38 a.m. PST

If the new world had been settled by Austrians and Russians the mystique of the wilderness fighter in North America would not have been born. They would have just let the Croats and Cossacks loose. wink

Glengarry 425 May 2012 10:52 a.m. PST

The Russians were in North America, Alaska. They had a Hell of a time fighting the local Tlingit people who were still resisting when the Russians left.

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