Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The 'Hero' - Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière

(image Fort Lachine - key and source here)
In order to encourage an interest in the frontier warfare of the era of Louis XIV I thought it might be useful to publish a link to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography's entry on the man known as 'the Hero' to his contemporaries. He is credited with the creation of Canadian surprise tactics - learnt from his experience both as a captive of the Iroquois and as an Indian fighter.
Canadian Military Heritage has some interesting stuff too
Hertel de La Fresnière believed that a mixed force, consisting of men familiar with the climate and accustomed to long, exhausting journeys across woods and rivers, could deliver blows deep within enemy territory. The ideal war party was composed, he believed, of Canadian officers with an excellent knowledge of the country and Amerindian customs; a few hardened, elite soldiers from the regular troops; coureurs de bois; "Canadian voyageurs" (as the canoeists and transporters were known); and allied Amerindians. Finally, the commanding officer of this corps should adopt a flexible form of command, while preserving its military form. It should not be forgotten that the Amerindians were allies, not subordinates. They could change their minds at any time. It was therefore necessary to employ diplomacy in order to maintain their enthusiasm and respect.

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