French military history
French military history
French military history
French military history

French military history

It has been very interesting hearing all of the French surrender and white flag and glass bottom navy jokes over the past few decades, and especially over the past few years. But is our perception of France's military history correct? No. In fact, France has had a long, fascinating military history and its impact on world history, particularly military history, has been in great disproportion to its land mass and its population.

Consider that books such as "50 Battles that Changed the World" list fully 12 involving either the French or their ancestors (Gauls, Franks, Normans, etc.). "The Military 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Military Leaders of All Time" by LT Michael Lee Lanning includes 12 leaders who are French or their ancestors. In fact, one might make (or at least try to investigate as I may do) the following points:

France has had the most interesting military history of any nation in the world.
France has had more victories than any other nation in the world.
France has had more battles won than any other nation in the world.
France has more great battlefields than any other nation in the world.
France has made more innovations in warfare than any other nation in the world.
France has turned out more great military leaders than any other nation in the world.
France has won more wars single-handedly than any other nation in the world.
France has won more wars against great odds than any other nation in the world.
France has defeated more nations (some repeatedly) than any other nation in the world.
France has defeated more great powes (some repeatedly) than any other nation in the world.
France has been involved in more World Wars than any other nation in the world.

In this case, for France or for the French, I am using the history of the peoples of the area that is now modern France. So this would include the Celts, Gauls, the Gallo-Romans (to some extent, but not much since the Romans were overlords and Gaul was merely a province in the much greater Roman Empire), the Franks, the Normans and the French.

Though the name changes, they are still the same people over time though they have evolved over time. One can make the case that though the name has changed, the history of France is one of the longest and most continuous of any nation on earth other than possibly the great ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. Yet even those nations have undergone many name changes or have been identified with externally assigned names or have been ruled by outsiders. Consider the case of India, which we know of, of course, as India. But India knows itself, and has for thousands of years, as Bharat.

Name changes can be significant... Germany, for instance, has held the following names or identities including:

Collection of Germanic tribes such as the Burgundians, Alemanni, Angles, Lombards, Saxons
Austrasia
East Francia
Holy Roman Empire
Kingdom of Germany
Hundreds of nations such as Prussia
Germany

In fact, Germany really only appears in 1871. Yet there is no denying that Germans – as a people and culture can claim all of the above iterations as themselves.

Great Britain is similar, going through the following name changes (with my apologies for oversimplifying a bit):

Celts of various tribes
Britannia – under Roman rule
Kent, East Anglia, Mercia, Wales, Strathcylde, Northumbria, etc. – post Roman rule
England, etc.
Danelaw, Scotland, etc.
England, Scotland, Ireland
Britain

Again there is no denying that the British – as a people and culture can claim all of the above iterations as themselves.

Very strictly speaking, the name "France" becomes the official name of the country in about 986, with the ascension of Hugh Capet to the throne of France. The name change was not because he was the first non-Frank king of France (he wasn't since several of his other family members had already been king), or that there was a war or revolution or language change or culture change, but that after Hugh Capet came to the throne, there was never again a Frank king of France. That said, even today, the name Frankreich is the for France used in German, just as it has been since around 486 AD.

So now, here are some of the French victories and losses... This is not a comprehensive list due constraints on my time. If there are other battles involving the French - victories or losses, then please let me know and I will do my best to include them. The first page starts here: French military victories.

References

Answers.com

French Military Victories - Victories and Losses

There are several pages in this section. Please read all of them and let me know what you think.

  1. French military History - Thesis by Narayan Sengupta
  2. French military history - Caesar to Charlemagne to Hugh Capet by Narayan Sengupta
  3. French military history - Crusades to Hundred Years War by Narayan Sengupta
  4. French military history - European Wars by Narayan Sengupta
  5. French military history - American Revolution by Narayan Sengupta
  6. French military history - Napoleonic Wars - French Revolution to War of 1st Coalition by Narayan Sengupta
  7. Napoleonic Wars - War of 2nd Coalition by Narayan Sengupta
  8. Napoleonic Wars - War of 3rd Coalition by Narayan Sengupta
  9. French military history - Napoleonic Wars - 6th and 7th Coalition by Narayan Sengupta
  10. French military history - Franco-Prussian War, WWI, WWII by Narayan Sengupta
  11. French military raids by Narayan Sengupta
  12. French military History References


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