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Osprey Men-at-Arms 244 : The French Army in the American War of Independence

The French forces which fought during the American War of Independence were, to a very large extent, a product of the disasters that the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) brought to the armies of France. During that war, just about everything that could have gone wrong did so: the fleet had been swept off the oceans, especially after Quiberon in 1759 - the 'Year of Victories' for the British - and nearly all colonies had been lost. Well before the end of the war, the court of France had been getting desperate; a rapid succession of ministers were briefly responsible for the army and the navy. Sweeping reforms were demanded. The man who initiated these reforms was the Duke of Choiseul, a man of considerable ability and tenacity who had been foreign minister until 1761. He was appointed by the king to be minister of both the army and the navy - all military forces on and land and sea. Choiseul inherited a demoralised army still basically functioning as in the days of Louis XIV. The new minister went to work with determination. From the end of 1762 a series of royal orders dictated by common sense and good planning were signed by the king, and a vast reorganisation was started. From then on, regiments would all be organised the same way, have the same training, be supplied by the Crown, and attend large summer training camps for brigade and division manoeuvres. Weapons were improved, and uniforms standardised down to stamping the regiment's number on the buttons. All this ensured that the army that fought in the American War presented a very different, altogether more formidable threat to her foes. Text by Rene Chartrand with illustrations by Francis Bach.

    Contents
  • Chronology
  • The Legacy of the Seven Years' War
  • War with Britain
  • Uniforms
  • The Plates

 

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