france's military record - overstated?

Sep 2013
408
France
#21
Surprised or not.. I say the truth and you are wrong... not 43 French Defeat...much more!
You're talkling about battles:

Only 43 defeats.. it is a joke.. When you like I wrote here the list of battles lost by France in Peninsular War...
Which is, one more time, absolutly not the point.

The BBC was refering to major wars

According to the BBC (which should put to rest any accusations of French bias)

There have been 53 major wars in Europe
Major wars. Not battles.
So... maybe you haven't read the post... maybe wars and battles are the same to you... I don't know...

Or maybe it's just an other post from you about the same old song. You know... superiority and magnificience of spanish army since the paleolithic and how it outperformed the french one (refrain: Peninsula War). Besides, how could someone possibly say something positive about french army ? Everybody know/should know that 1- Spain. 2- Spain. 3- Any nation but France. 4- Antarctic. 5- France from 1800 to 1801.


Thanks for your unalterable constancy.
 
Oct 2015
1,092
California
#22
You're talkling about battles:



Which is, one more time, absolutly not the point.

The BBC was refering to major wars



Major wars. Not battles.
So... maybe you haven't read the post... maybe wars and battles are the same to you... I don't know...

Or maybe it's just an other post from you about the same old song. You know... superiority and magnificience of spanish army since the paleolithic and how it outperformed the french one (refrain: Peninsula War). Besides, how could someone possibly say something positive about french army ? Everybody know/should know that 1- Spain. 2- Spain. 3- Any nation but France. 4- Antarctic. 5- France from 1800 to 1801.
France has accomplished what very few European countries have ever done except for the Romans, it remained Europe's most dominant military power for almost 300 years.
 
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Likes: dukeofjive
Oct 2015
1,092
California
#23
Surprised or not.. I say the truth and you are wrong... not 43 French Defeat...much more!
We are referring specifically to "major wars" not battles or minor wars. You can't deny the fact that French military supremacy occurred towards the end of the Hundred Years War when it became a very real threat to the Hapbsburg empire. And for much of that time France ensured that battles and wars occurred in someone else's country. Which in itself was a magnificent feat given the nature of European geography.
 
Likes: dukeofjive
Oct 2015
1,092
California
#24
The French Revolutionary wars ARE the 1st and 2nd coalition. So that's 3 entries when 1 would have sufficed.

The 3rd - 6th coalitions are arguably just the Napoleonic war .... which France lost.

I'd also say West Frankia is not France any more than Anglo-Saxon England's victories and defeats are British.
And while I agree the Nornans were linguistically French, ethnically they were mixed and the white the Norman army contained Bretons, French and other factions they fought for Normandy not France. Like saying France beat Denmark at Hastings because undoubtedly many of the Godwinsons troops would have had Danish heritage. Either way the Norman conquest can't be claimed as a victory for France...

Was the Greek war of independence a "major war" ... France and Britain didn't commit troops just Naval power. Russia did most of the military work.
The Napoleonic Wars is plural, there was more than just one most of which France won. The Wars of the 1st and 2nd coalitions two wars , both ending in separate treaties and in french victories. (Known both as French Revolutionary Wars (plural) since they are separated by two wars. And so what if the Revolutionary Wars are technically only one war? Still doesn't detract from the fact that since the 1600s France was the dominant military power Europe. People who deny this often cite Prussia, but really even under Frederick the Great Prussia was never an existential threat to France.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,770
At present SD, USA
#25
In general, France's record in war has been successful. The only place where their record could be "overstated" is in their more recent history in which France fought on the side of the winning coalition. However, at the same time, SO have the UK and the US.

People seem to think that things like World War I should be counted because they were in a coalition, but yet at the same time they'll also claim that WWI as a British or American victory. If being in a coalition removes France from consideration, why doesn't it remove Britain or America for the same war? Now both Britain and America claim they did more to win the war than France did...

British claim: In 1914 our well trained divisions defeated the Germans outright and if weren't for all six of them, the Germans would have won easily on the Marne. Our navy blockaded Germany throughout the war and suffered no disastrous defeat. Our armies broke the Hindenburg Line, and our army never mutinied.

American claim: We saved Paris in 1918!

The Flaws of Both Claims: While admittedly the BEF was better trained than the French or German armies in 1914, they were also much smaller in size. On the Marne, France had 39 divisions and Britain only had 6. That small size was not enough to defeat the German 27 divisions on the Marne by itself. Even if they were at the key point of the battle, they still needed the larger French army to give them the ability to exploit the position. Without the French, the Germans would have simply swallowed up the British army on the Marne, just as the British realized might happen at Mons. And after the Marne, the French would occupy most of the Western Front... and this includes 1918.

While the Royal Navy DID successfully blockade Germany, all the navy did was keep supplies from getting to Germany from the outside, which would only serve as an auxiliary to the Allied armies. And at the same time in WWI, as more and more countries declared war on Germany, the less potential countries there were for Germany to trade with. In fact by 1917-1918, the most devastating years of the blockade, there were no neutral countries of sufficient economic strength and with enough raw materials and food stuffs to help Germany. In that sense, Germany's own diplomacy helped strengthen the blockade just by removing potential trading partners. And the rest did little to take the war directly to Germany. The naval war in WWI was not like WWII in the Pacific where the US was battling Japanese fleets and taking Japanese held territory away from Japan. Britain maintained the blockade in WWI, but defeating the German army was left up to the Allied Armies... where the argument is more in France's favor, particularly early on in the war.

The British do get a lot of credit for breaking the Hindenburg Line in 1918, but they weren't the only army to do so... and the claim that they broke the defensive line often ignores that completely and ignores what set it up in the first place. The 100 Days Offensive was immediately preceded by the German Spring Offensive which had the primary objective ultimately being the city of Amiens with the idea of splintering the French from the British before the Americans arrive. This thrust was ultimately stopped when Foch deployed the main Allied reserve, mostly French troops to the Amiens sector, stalling the Germans in front of Amiens and forcing Ludendorff for a way to draw the French reserves away. And again, even in 1918, the French held a greater length of the line on the Western Front than any member of the Allied powers... So it is not as though the British rolled up the entire Hindenburg Line and the French didn't move until after the British broke it. In that sense BOTH Allied armies broke through simultaneously.

And while the British never endured something like the 1917 French Mutiny, that mutiny was something born out of the strain that the French had pretty much carried alone on the Western Front from 1914 to the end of 1915. The big battles on the Western Front were predominantly French battles and the French had lost far greater numbers of men, particularly in 1914 and 1915 when they trying hard to push the Germans out of their country while the British were simply trying to build up their strength. The losses France took at Verdun and the Somme would only add to the strains felt. Now, admittedly the British did a better job of caring for their soldiers than the French did, but until 1916, their army was not in as many large scale battles as the French were when counting the number of men involved and the lives lost. Haig often gets unfairly criticized for the casualties he did take in the war, even during it with men like Sassoon protesting the conduct of the war. Imagine then what would happen if he had the men earlier in the war and was taking the sort of losses the French took for four straight years... Would the British army have avoided the large scale mutiny that hit the French in such a scenario? Possibly, though I wouldn't think that it would be without difficulty... And at the same time, the French army did recover from the mutiny and served well. Petain launched successful offensives against sections of the Hindenburg line near Verdun and not only had success but lost fewer men than the Germans... and this was AFTER the mutiny and before large scale American deployment.

And while the last phase of the Spring Offensive did head south, it needs to be remembered that Ludendorff's objective was NEVER to take Paris. His goal, merely, was to threaten Paris so as to draw the French reserves away from Amiens. The Americans at Belleau Wood won a victory, yes, but what they beat was a distraction, NOT the main effort. And even without the Americans there, given the lack of direction on the German side to take the cities that would give them the logistical capacity to supply a drive on Paris would have limited their ability and left them exposed to counter attacks when their logistics ran out. And even IF we are to consider the American involvement in repelling the Spring Offensive and driving the 100 Days Offensive... we still need to remember that WW1 was as close to a war of attrition as one can get. By 1918 everyone has generally agreed that the Germans were short of men and material, to a far greater degree than even Britain and France. It would thus stand to reason that the Germans had thus taken plenty of heavy "licks" from 1914 to 1917 when the Americans declared war and into 1918 when the first real American units began to enter the line. America did not enter the war with the situation being equal. America entered the war late when Germany had already been beaten. It's like a boxing match where one guy goes for 9 rounds and leaves the opponent woozy but still standing and then tags in his teammate who only pushes over the woozy opponent.

I would tend to argue that the French did the most among the Western Allies to win the war on the Western Front, but will acknowledge that it was still a coalition war... However, I would still count that as a French victory, based on France's actions and fights in the war...

But if WWI doesn't count for France because it was in a coalition... I stand by my point that then it shouldn't for Britain or America either.
 
Feb 2016
4,300
Japan
#27
The Napoleonic Wars is plural, there was more than just one most of which France won. The Wars of the 1st and 2nd coalitions two wars , both ending in separate treaties and in french victories. (Known both as French Revolutionary Wars (plural) since they are separated by two wars. And so what if the Revolutionary Wars are technically only one war? Still doesn't detract from the fact that since the 1600s France was the dominant military power Europe. People who deny this often cite Prussia, but really even under Frederick the Great Prussia was never an existential threat to France.
Well. My point was that in the list French Revolutionary Wars was written down as one entry and 1st and 2nd coallition as separate entries. So either it's 1 win or 2 but not 3.

And the problem with claiming each coalition as a separate war is that while France could often defeat some of the coalition members she could never beat all of them so the hostilities dragged on. It would make more sense to break them up into campaigns.... to get a more realistic appraisal.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,770
At present SD, USA
#28
Why are the Napoleonic Wars 'plural' and the so called '100 years war' just one conflict?

Henry V sure did have his 'butt kicked' by the French at Agincourt.
But was there a treaty ever signed at any point during the 100 Years War?

The separation of the Napoleonic Wars into separate wars carries the basis that Napoleon was able to get at least his continental rivals into signing treaties that ended the conflict. And if Napoleon had been better at diplomacy he might have been able to put an end to resumption of hostilities, but he wasn't. As a result one war ended and shortly after a new war started, often as a result of Napoleon's own diplomatic policies in the peace treaty.
 
Oct 2015
1,092
California
#29
Why are the Napoleonic Wars 'plural' and the so called '100 years war' just one conflict?.
If the Hundred Years War were counted as three wars then we might as well add two additional French victories (the second phase of the war, and the third phase of the war which ends in total French victory once and for all. That would make two wars won by France over the course of 116 years if the Hundred Years War was not counted as "just one conflict."

England won the first phase of the Hundred Years War, but even during the first phase of the war with the French disasters at Poitiers and Crecy Edward still ended up renouncing his claim to the French throne in the Treaty of Bretigny. He failed to take Reims when he took heavy losses and so was forced to negotiate an exit plan when a French relief force arrived which most certainly would have anihilated him had he not done so. So we can call the first phase of the Hundred Years War an English victory and the first phase ends in the First Peace. John was an English prisoner but Edward was at least forced to reduce his ransom.

But then the Second phase begins, because even during the first interval of peace there were proxy wars going on, the war over the succession of Burgundy, Castillian civil war, English peasant revolt, Anglo-Scottish War resulted in the French ascendancy phase of the war under Du Guesclin with the English almost being completely driven from France except Calais by 1380.

That phase of the war ends with no formal treaty. If that was counted as a separate war then you might as well add that to the number of wars France won over its 800 year history.

The Third Phase of the war began in 1415 and was a disaster for the French with Henry V and Agincourt and all that, but that was short-lived and the war went on continuously until French resurgence eventually leading up to the lopsided French victory at Patay, Castillon etc
 
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Oct 2015
1,092
California
#30
But was there a treaty ever signed at any point during the 100 Years War?
.
The Treaty of Bretigny. But that was just Edward's exit strategy to extracate himself from his disastrous siege of Reims. It didn't help that the Black Death was starting to take its toll on both sides.
 
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