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Date > 1600

Subject > Strategy and Tactics > Special Operations

Militiamen In Combat

Type: Document

Combat for the Canadian militia during raids was a matter of surprise attack from ambush - a volley of musket fire and then a charge with hatchets. The manoeuvres and drill of a European-style battlefield were foreign to them, and there they were best behind fortifications.

Site: National Defence

Training in a New School

Type: Document

Once established, the tactics of Canadian warfare would persist as long as the French regime. Refinements were made as the regular soldiers of the Compagnies franches de la Marine grew more experienced in the new methods.

Site: National Defence

Both Rewards and Condemnation

Type: Document

Both Hertel de La Fresnière and Le Moyne were ennobled for their contributions. However, the tactics of Canadian warfare brought only scorn from the officers of the metropolitan French army. Only a change in European warfare in the mid-eighteenth century began to change this.

Site: National Defence

Struggle Against New England

Type: Document

A garrison of Troupes de la Marine was sent to Acadia in 1685. The colony was repeatedly attacked by forces from New England. As a way of striking back, the French (accompanied by Abenaki allies) raided English settlements in Massachusetts.

Site: National Defence

1690: A Key Year

Type: Document

A series of raids against English settlements was mounted in the winter and spring of 1690, from both Canada and Acadia. Three settlements in New York and Massachusetts were razed by groups of French soldiers, volunteer militiamen and Amerindian allies.

Site: National Defence

A New Way of War

Type: Document

Expeditions could perform long-distance raids into enemy territory, travelling light and using canoes or sleds and snowshoes according to the season. The commanders of such parties had to be diplomats, since the Amerindians involved were allies and could not be commanded.

Site: National Defence

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville

Type: Document

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (1661-1706), son of tactician Charles Le Moyne, was perhaps the greatest soldier New France ever produced. Between 1686 and 1706 he established himself as a master commander both on land and at sea. Also an explorer, he founded the first permanent settlement in Louisiana.

Site: National Defence

The storming of St John's, Newfoundland, 30 December 1696

Type: Image

French soldiers and 120 Canadian militiamen led by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Governor de Brouillan of Placentia raided the English part of Newfoundland between October 1696 and May 1697. The campaign was an outstanding military success, crippled the English colony. The French and Canadian forceds took over 700 prisoners and causing some 200 casualties while suffering trifling losses.

Site: National Defence

Officers' Duties

Type: Document

Officers were responsible for supervising and leading their men. Their lives were very different from the common soldiers', but relations between the ranks were usually good, in part because of the nature of warfare in New France.

Site: National Defence

An Original Doctrine Of War

Type: Document

Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière created the new way of fighting: small mixed forces (including professional officers, French soldiers, Canadian militiamen and Amerindian allies) would employ native tactics of ambush and surprise, combined with European discipline.

Site: National Defence