Friday, 19 July 2013

The Complete Military History of France,............

.......is this a fair account? Seemingly an old piece but apologies to the French especially the military, French bloggers and French friends I used to have and know:P, well technically there was probably a few Irish involved on both sides!

On my way to fecking London for a job interview with a reasonable chance of getting it (he says, well a friend put a good word in for me), stuck in a suit and tie in this fecking heat!




The Complete Military History of France

- Gallic Wars
- Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

- Hundred Years War
- Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman." Sainted.

- Italian Wars
- Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

- Wars of Religion
- France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

- Thirty Years War
- France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

- War of Revolution
- Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

- The Dutch War
- Tied

- War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War
- Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

- War of the Spanish Succession
- Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.

- American Revolution
- In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."

- French Revolution
- Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

- The Napoleonic Wars
- Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

- The Franco-Prussian War
- Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

- World War I
- Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

- World War II
- Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

- War in Indochina
- Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

- Algerian Rebellion
- Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

- War on Terrorism
- France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be "Can we count on the French?", but rather "How long until France collapses?"

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage."

145 comments:

  1. That is a thorough list.

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    1. Thanks Trey but I don't think it'll survive unscathed.

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  2. Hilarious! "France only wins when Americans do most of the fighting." Gave me a good laugh this morning.
    Good luck with the interview.

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  3. Funny one but completely wrong in regards to TYW, where France was official participant (last phase of war is called 'French' or 'French-Swedish') and was, next to Sweden, victorious ;)

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  4. Ouch.
    Well Carthage's company would at least discount the "no country ever lost two wars against Italians" but that still looks like a painful list.

    Oh, and Tours 732. That's a war they won that counts for a lot.

    Hmm.. but did leave out the 7 years war.. another loss.

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  5. Good luck with the interview Francis *fingers crossed for you getting the job*

    I would assume there are similar lists for some other countries available for our amusement

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    1. I don't think so Tamsin, the French seem to have been singled out!

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  6. Yes, good luck on the job front Fran! Excellent post BTW!!

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  7. Good luck with the job interview and I feel your pain as far as the heat goes. As much as I want to laugh at the French defeats I can't get past them beating us in 1066. Still the guy was called William The Bastard. There's no shame in losing to a guy like that. Lousy freakin Normans.

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    1. Well, the Normans who invaded were of fairly recent Scandinavian descent, so we can discount them as being really French, can't we? ;)

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    2. Normandy was established in 911 under Rollo(admittedly a norwegian) , 155 years before the Invasion while the kings of "England" were even less recent.

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    3. True, true, but equally true that the Normans didn't particularly consider themselves to be French. And of course England was effectively part of a greater Denmark not that long before 1066.

      I'm pretty sure that someone could come up with a similar list to show how militarily useless England/Britain has been - invaded by the Romans; invaded and taken over by Angles and Saxons etc; invaded and large parts taken over bythe Danes (and other Norsemen); invaded by Normans, Bretons and a few (rare) militarily capable Frenchmen (lol); invaded and taken over by the Dutch in the late 17th century; .....

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    4. Well said both of you historians!

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    5. The original (which can still be found here; http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/france.html) deals with the Norman 'question' and expands to deal with some of the missing engagements...it doesn't make for any better reading re. French pride!

      This was quite a notorious post back in the early days of the internet as it was deliberately set-up to come to the top of Google searches for French Military History (which - due to the number of hits it's got - it sill does), giving the Daily Pail petite morts of petty bigotry...it is very funny though!

      Hugh

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  8. The Norman invasion of Ireland began on 1 May 1169, and finished 3 years later in 1172.

    I note you missed this war out Fran

    France 1 Ireland 0.

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    1. Opps forgot to offer you my very best luck. Although I am confident you will not need it. After all who could say no to your charm and wit.

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    2. I'm still getting over the 1-0 remark, we lost to boost tourism!

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  9. I'd examine all the packages you receive in the post in the coming weeks, with a bloody long stick, if I were you???? Good luck today, me ol' pal!

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  10. Good luck with the interview Fran!

    My parents have some statistic about how quickly Paris fell to the Nazis, compared to Greece, which has a much smaller population. But then they're always big noting the Greeks!

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  11. You must have been at the party too. I'm sorry I didn't see you, General.

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  12. Bloody funny post!! Yet wargamers seem to love French armies - paradox: discuss.

    Good luck with the interview (which is probably over by now).

    G.

    [Stuck in shorts and a T-shirt in this lovely weather . . . ;O)]

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    1. The French always had snappy uniforms, that's why games love them! ;)

      Also, we gamers like to think we're better generals than Napoleon...

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    2. Hope you're cool my friend and you're right Derek!

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  13. Very funny post Fran and good luck on the interview!

    Christopher

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  14. Good luck for the interview! ☺

    I will say nothing about the list...

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    1. I would consider you an expert and be able to take some of it apart!

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  15. Good luck with the job interview Francis. That was a very funny post BTW, SWMBO has me jet washing all the decking and paths in the sun as punishment for an over indulgence or two this week. I'm F**king roasting!!

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    1. The sardine can posing as a train carriage nearly did me in!

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  16. All the best with the interview mate!

    As for France, at least statistically speaking they're the most successful military power in Europe. Of the 125 major European wars fought since 1495, the French have taken part in 50. That's more than Austria (47) and England/UK at 43. Out of 168 battles fought since 387BC, they have won 109, lost 49 and drawn 10. (According to a study by Niall Fergusson, anyway). Before von Molkte rocked up the French army was the most widely-copied in the world.

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    1. I think whoever did the guide was cherry picking his results Colonel!

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    2. Winning battle after battle until the final defeat?!
      So, french, despite often getting smacked, still insist on fighting?!

      Hope the interview went well?

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  17. and, did you get the Job?

    The French Military has a pretty good record as it goes, right back from gergovia.
    1429 - 1435 undefeated and led by a female against the english, 1544 - 1693, every Major Action won and again in 1450 - 1515. , in the 1700´s pretty much indefeated and they conquered algeria and England (1066)
    The Battle of Bir Hakeim !!! 3, 700 against an estimated 45, 000 and they did a blinding Job.

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    1. Weren't the Normans North Germanic and Viking lineage?

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    2. Well at least the one marking oxford out as his belonging using a towel was one of my kinsmen.
      We tried the same al around the world but it does not always work

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    3. At least you tried Markus.

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    4. Considering that all of the "european" races share indo-germanic lineage then yes. The Problem Comes when trying to exact date certain "race" names in Connection to certain geographical areas.
      Seeing as all of europe was effected at one time or other by mass Migration (in german called the "Völkerwanderung", the wander of the folk") then it becomes vitually impossible to pin one Group down to thier exact geographical heritage.
      My taking gergovia as a "French" victory is also, only geographically correct by taking into account the present borders of France modern. A similar comparison would be (and some have tried thorughout history) to account the Varus battle as a victory for the Germans, Seeing as the battle "apparently..and I´m extremely sceptical about it) took place in the Teutoburger forest, an area only really called Germany, (as it presently is), since 1871 and then including only most of the present states within the federation. Previously it (the geographical are) had a series of names and , including Germania but that was first coined some 90 years after the varus battle.

      Taking the plausible Argument that the Normans are germanics, then 1066 was a mainly german Invasion, fighting against Germans/Danes who were mixed to the peoples who had populated the Island (celts) who had come from the iberian penisular..therefore in modern geographical terms spanish or portugese. with a sprinkling of greeks, italians added in for variety.
      I´ve got a headache :-D

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    5. You and me both mate but well said!

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  18. A little hard on the neighbours Fran!

    Hard but fair...Nice.

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  19. Zut alors, poor old Frenchie gets a proper bashing in this post. Although I suppose that's what you can expect when you're a nation of cheese-eating surrender monkies (best national sterotype quote - ever).

    Good luck with the interview.

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    1. That is one of the great quotes Matt.

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  20. keeping fingers crossed for the interview, Fran, but this above on the French people might bring you a bad carma :P

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    1. They have a sense of humour I hope but I have lost two followers today?

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    2. Don' t worry. We do. Besides, those who know about those wars don't usually read this kind of stuff, and the others... don't bother to look. Too many words, you see ;)

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  21. Best of luck with the interview, Fran, I'm pulling for you!

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  22. Good luck on the job. A job, and the money that comes with it, makes everything better.

    Without French support, ships and troops, we could not have won the American Revolution. Looking back, I'm not sure France sees that as a good thing or bad thing. ;-)

    Cheers!

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    1. Didn't think of it that way Monty!

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  23. Well, I'm aware this is a joke and all, but I just have to say it really isn't simple as that.
    I still insist Romans are not Italians to start with (sorry italian friends :P). Also, they had to be winning something in order to be able to lose all their colonies etc etc. There is a bit of false conception that Frenchmen aren't good at fighting...in interwar period, for example, they were the most commonly copied army. But then agian, it is also true that their WW1 trenches were the sloppiest (that is an actual fact, not my opinion).

    Considering my nationality, I am bound to know Italians better, so I have to say it out loud italian 1940 invasion of France was a failure and don't even get me started on their week late invasion of Yugoslavia and the stories I've heard about Italian 1918 conquest of Tyrol (I am sure you'd be interested in this one :P).

    But I guess both of those nations are known for their cusine, so that has to be worth something!

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  24. How long for a change of nationality?
    Good luck to you Francis...

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  25. Thanks for cheering me up with this Fran, it had me chuckling throughout even though I'm sure I've come across this before in the distant pass.
    It reminded me too of the Hoogle search for "Famous French Victories" which resulted in the reply "Did you mean Famous French Defeats ?", which was once true but sadly is no more.

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  26. Good luck on the interview, Fran!! I hope you get the job. Hopefully you won't have to wear a suit and tie everyday!!!

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  27. LOL France sure enjoys those accordions, they may be able to blind the enemy with all their cigarette smoke

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  28. Enjoyed that! My favourite was the aircraft carrier they sent to the first Gulf War...with no planes on it just in case Saddam won because he was such a good customer.

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    1. Like selling exocet missiles to the Argentinians.

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  29. Good luck with the job, I hope the interviewer isn't French.

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  30. Best of luck with the job Francis, if you get it you could always celebrate with a nice glass of wine; French of course. ;)

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  31. Come on Fran ;P

    Good luck with your interview. As for the stats, well, if we read the accounts and the historians, French soldiers are good, I mean really good. Leadership on the other hand... Apart from some exceptions, they sucked.

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  32. good luck with the job and a cracking post sir

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  33. Good luck on the interview.
    This is very similar to how we Americans joke about everyone else.

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  34. :) Good one !

    Best regards Michael

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  35. Jaysus, you've started a controversy Fran. You rabble rouser, you. Damn good joke man, damn good.

    Best of luck to you with this interview! When you get home take a cold shower and relax with your PS3 and you'll be right as rain in no time.

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    1. I will Anne after I've answered you!

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  36. Hey Fran in the novel of Larry Bond "Cauldron" they loose again! (I know you like this kind of books!) :-)

    Fingers crossed for the job! Good luck!

    Greetings
    Peter

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  37. Pretty accurate, except I'd take exception at World War One and the French being saved by the Yanks. It was the British on the Somme and Third Ypres and then Amiens that handed Germany her arse on a plate. The Americans were making up for missing three years by making the same mistakes we did in 1915.

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  38. Merde!!!

    Hope the job interview went well mate

    Ian

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  39. Pretty funny ... But not very nice! ;)

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  40. Rome was sacked early on by the Gauls who lived in the Poe Valley. So they too lost to the Italians - Frenchified Italians at that.

    There was also this guy Charlemagne and his predecessors.

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  41. Interesting take on French history there, not sure strictly correct but I did find the quote most amusing :-)

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    1. I think it was cherry picked by an American.

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  42. I'm just going back from holidays in England and Wales, and I read "THAT" !!!
    ... all what I can say is that it's not necessary for us to invade the British Islands: all is too expensive there and you must always pay for anything you do !

    In France, all is expensive and you can't pay for all what you want to do!
    I love my Country .... and I think that, unfortunately, you're right ...
    "Vive La France Libre!"

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  43. Haha think I've seen this before. As an unashamed Francophile I have to say much of this is rubbish, but in good humour of course :))

    I'm not quite sure why we Brits think we won the Hundred Years War just cos we managed Agincourt (in popular thought at least). The eventually outcome of the three main stages was a decisive French victory, the house of Valois kept the throne and we had bugger all but the Pale of Calais. Plus there's a good case to be made for there being no such thing as a nation state at this time and prior, so shaky ground there identity-wise :p

    And during WWI is islanders like to forget the extent of the French lines compared to ours, and the sheer amount of combat they saw - and the conditions the French soldiers had to fight in makes the experience if the British soldier look luxurious in comparison. Even when they mutinied the vast majority that did only refused to mount assaults, they still kept fighting. And the trenches were awful, partly due the doctrine of Systeme D - muddle through - and they fact they didn't want to be building comfortable positions, they wanted to keep up the offensive and get the Germans out of their borders, we weren't fighting close to our home towns as they were. I'll get off my soap box now :p

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    1. Apologies for typos, stupid autocorrect

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    2. And why do we always go on about Malborough, he wasn't that good, and was just a bit part player in most of his wars. I'll go and hide from angry Marlburians now....

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    3. Now that is quality ranting my friend and reasonably true!

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  44. And as this appears to be US authored, why don't we look at their great success in Indochina :p Apologies that I can't edit this into one post... And for waffling on, too much red wine

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  45. I saw a list very much like this back in 1999-2000, when I worked at Games Workshop. It had been emailed to the US by someone in the UK, to the best of my knowledge.

    I had been recently wondering where it had gone from there...and voila!

    Thanks for posting it, Fran.

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  46. Excellent bit of recycling Fran - we do like to hang 'les merde' on the frogs, God bless'em!

    Good luck with the interview mate - I'm sure you'll ace it! Once done, follow Anne's advice relax-a-vou with the PS3 and a nice cold beer!

    Cheers,
    Doc

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  47. This made me smile and I love the thread. After Brits I own more books and figures on the French than any other army. Great fighters but poor politicians! I hope the interview went well.

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    1. Good to hear sir, not too bad by the way.

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  48. I knew it the France are pants, lol. Actually you also missed 98 United Irishman Rebellion or the Wolf Tone Rebellion, French sent support, landed in Ireland, did bugger all and went home leaving the Irish to be defeated but the British. Result French are liars and also as defeatist.

    But this list made me laugh so much.

    Good luck with the job mate

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    1. They did feck us over but what can you do, thanks PK!

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  49. Fun read Fran. I hope the interview went well for you Sir.

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    1. Not too bad, just waiting for some feedback.

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  50. I like this sort of thing. There is a grain and more than a grain of truth in this. It would be interesting to re-examine the American claim to have won all its wars up to Viet Nam. The War of 1812, for instance. Didn't the USA attempt to conquer Canada? IS forces certainly invaded the place. And the Canadians gave the US army the right about.

    What is also not generally bruited about; the last action of Pakenham's army was actually a victory. After the New Orleans operation went south, hte army re-embarked and had a crack at another fort along the south coast. it was after successfully capturing that place that they received the news that the war was over. It is my view that at best the Americans got the fag end of a tie in that war.

    Possibly I ought to mention some of their less successful wars against the native North american peoples...

    Having said that, one ought equally to acknowledge the success of the United States' first 'War on Terror' - the operations against the Barbary Pirates during the 1790s. Actually that was a genuine war against terror - today's monumentally expensive effort has been what I predicted it would be - a War on Terror in much the same way as one might write an essay on terror.

    It must be late - I've rambled off thread... Ah, yes, after 1:00a.m...
    Good night -
    Ion

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    1. The history books in america tend to forget about that canadian thing

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    2. I would like to see an American version.

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  51. Good post. You dont mention the Franks though. They came from the east and conquered what is now France around the year 400(?). I think from there they went on to conquer most of western europe. Perhaps they were their glory days? As the Roman Empire falls/retreats. ;)
    And watching the Borgias on tv I have been surprised by how scared the Italian states were of France in those days. I guess it doesnt mean they won any battles though.

    The French Revolution bit had me laughing out loud.

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    1. I totally forgot about the Franks and so did the original author seemingly!

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    2. The franks is too big a term. There were a wide range of frankish divisions and subdivisions starting with the ones that come from the area of the germanic tribes involved with the varus battle, marser, cheruski etc. the so called Ripuarians and ended with the Carolingian empire.
      Thier fist truly combined area was at the start of the 5th century AD and divide under internicine war into western and eastern Empires,the east basically the area of modern Germany, the west that of France, both Areas speaking a large range of proro-germanic languages. Even France as it stands today didn´t look anything like it does (territory wise) until the late medieval period and a lot different under the franks. One common mistake is that France is ´called France purely because of the Franks another, that the common language of France (also during the 100 years war) was French. That took root in the 16th century as all theregional dialects were slowly combined.

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  52. Oh man, I remember seeing this over a decade ago on some internet forum. Funny thing, I saved it a doc file back then and I still have it after over ten years and at least three desktops! I found it a few weeks ago and it still gave me a good chuckle.

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  53. Charlemagne and Phillipe Auguste? ?

    Too Powerful to be franch?

    I think our leaders of ancient times lacked pragmatism.

    And Suffren...:)

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    1. I add Richard coeur de lion
      he was half french and deserve his result, he can be in your text.

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    2. It does need to be updated!

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  54. Good luck with the interview Fran, and as to the post. I have worked numerous times on various operations (Gulf war 1, UN Tours, Kosovo etc) with the French military and can safely say they are extreamly good at what they do. Its just what they do isnt mostly Military professionalism ;-)

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  55. My favorite: "French Revolution
    - Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French." Best, Dean

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  56. Very good post, Fran. Looks as it could be very useful for France to learn about pacifism and neutrality...

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  57. Ha Ha the poor old french, but Arthur Wellesley was Irish, funny how the British all ways claim the the winners ;-)

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    1. Most of his army was Irish as well!

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  58. Never knew these many details about France. Thanks for sharing.

    Where is your tie and suit picture? All the best Fran.

    And your question - yep longtime, slowly getting back to comments and about blogging haven't decided yet.

    the last quote is funny and deep. Pardon the French :)

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    1. Good to hear you're coming back girl!

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  59. Quote: "- Gallic Wars
    - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian."
    I think Asterix and Obelix think different about this! :-D

    I couldn't resist Fran!

    Greetings
    Peter

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    1. Julius was a Roman ;-D..italy didn´t exist until AD 426 (as a term for the peninsular) and then only as Italia. :-p

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