REVIEW: Raiders from New France North American Forest Warfare Tactics, 17th–18th Centuries

Elite Series 229

Each book in the Elite series focuses on a single army or elite unit, military tactics or a group of famous commanders. Military uniforms, insignia and equipment are shown in full color artwork. Elite Books cover the full spectrum of military history, examining the greatest armies, units and commanders of the ancient, medieval, Napoleonic, American Civil War, World War I and World War II. Featuring full specially commissioned color artworks of typical military uniforms and equipment, together with organizational diagrams and a wealth of black and white photography, these books provide an accessible resource for enthusiasts of all ages.

Rene’s book outlines the birth of Special Forces, guerrilla, hit and run tactics as they developed in the 17th and 18th Century on the American continent. Forged by hard work and gritty determination in an untamed wilderness that quickly became the battleground for control of the North American part of the Continent.

 This book is unique because it identifies and explains who the pioneers were that developed the kind of special forces, embedded with indigenous forces, methodology and tactics implemented in the 17th and 18th centuries. The beginnings of this type of warfare approach started in remote posts and settlements such as Champlain, Frontenac, and LA Barre from 1608 through 1685. As the French became heavily involved in the fur trade, they also became embedded and friendly with Native Indians. Quickly adopting their sneak attacks as well as hit and run tactics to great effect on the British soldiers and American early militia and settlers.

Frontenac was assigned the French administrator for the region and quickly developed and fostered a relationship with the native Indians. He successors followed in his footsteps to ensure they had the local Indian Chiefs side by side with them as they conquered new territories and established outposts and new hunting /trapping grounds.  Although he was recalled to France after 10 years, he managed to keep the Iroquois from taking the warpath by using his diplomatic skills. This relationship eventually soured as his replacement did not have the skills to maintain the relationship.

This new approach to fighting in the new world had the effect of keeping them apprehensive and on the defensive. The once revered European Gallantry of standing and fighting in parade ground maneuvers by lines of soldiers firing volleys were ineffective and potentially dangerous. These early leaders became friendly with the natives and started to adapt to their ways of life such as trapping, hunting and fishing.

The French and Indian Wars 1754 through 1760 saw the English Leaders develop light infantry units and this is where we get the first use of the term Ranger. The early promoters of the new tactics, Le Moyne and Hertel, became familiar with the indigenous languages and lifestyles often taking local wives and raising families in the new world.

The book covers many raids conducted during this timeframe that bears out the need and effective implementation of raider tactics that proved successful in the new world. A great book that will spark your interest for more information and history.

About the author; René Chartrand was born in Montreal and educated in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas. A senior curator with Canada’s National Historic Sites for nearly three decades, he is now a freelance writer and historical consultant. He has written numerous articles and books including over 50 Osprey titles. He lives in Gatineau, Quebec, with his wife. About the Illustrator: Adam Hook studied graphic design and began his work as an illustrator in 1983. He specializes in detailed historical reconstructions and has illustrated Osprey titles on subjects as diverse as the Aztecs, the Ancient Greeks, Roman battle tactics, several 19th-century American subjects, the modern Chinese Army, and a number of books in the Fortress series. He lives in East Sussex, UK.

This book is available on (US and at Osprey Publishing.

Book review by Christopher (Moon) Mullins