Though the French and British colonies in North America began on a 'level playing field', French political conservatism and limited investment allowed the British colonies to forge ahead, pushing into territories that the French had explored deeply but failed to exploit. The subsequent survival of 'New France' can largely be attributed to an intelligent doctrine of raiding warfare developed by imaginative French officers through close contact with Indian tribes and Canadian settlers. The ground-breaking new research explored in this study indicates that, far from the ad hoc opportunism these raids seemed to represent, they were in fact the result of a deliberate plan to overcome numerical weakness by exploiting the potential of mixed parties of French soldiers, Canadian backwoodsmen and allied Indian warriors. Supported by contemporary accounts from period documents and newly explored historical records, this study explores the 'hit-and-run' raids which kept New Englanders tied to a defensive position and ensured the continued existence of the French colonies until their eventual cession in 1763.
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Table of Contents
* Introduction: early Iroquois raids on New France, pre-1666 * Exploration and the fur trade – the voyageurs and coureurs du bois. * Warfare resumes, 1680s; Louis XIV sends French troops to garrison the colony. * Development of specific forest tactics by e.g. Charles Le Moyne and Hertel de la Fresnière. * First major mixed French/Indian raid on Hudson's Bay forts (1686); French/Canadian/Indian raids on New England and Iroquois villages (1690-97). * French expansion westwards – the Fox Wars (1715-35). * Raiding warfare keeps British colonies on defensive (1702-1750s). * Who were the raiders? * Planning, executing, and withdrawing from raids – the fate of prisoners. * How 'Canadian' military doctrine was disseminated, and its achievements summarized.