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Date > 1600 > 1680-1689

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

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

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

Canadian Voyageurs

Type: Document

An essential part of the Canadian tactical system was the 'voyageur' - a type of militiaman responsible for transporting goods rather than fighting. Canoes carried supplies for hundreds of men during journeys of up to several months.

Site: National Defence