The French-Indian Wars


By Richard Moore

The struggle for North America between France and Britain got pretty hot in the middle of the 18th Century as the rival nations vied for control of the New World.

Both had colonies near the coast and major waterways of the continent, but the perceived threat to their expansion plans meant it was never going to be settled peacefully.

The French and Indian Wars (1754-1763) began in with clashes between a few regular troops, militia and either side's Indian allies, but soon escalated into a costly and bloody little war.

In the History of Warfare's The French Indian Wars from Cromwell Productions, experts look at the struggle and how the fate of the continent was decided.

Surprisingly, the French did very well for most of the war - mainly through incompetent leadership on the part of the British - although the loss of the crucial battle for Quebec pretty much ended their hopes.

The battle for Quebec is looked at very closely and there are some very good pieces of footage from re-enactment groups restaging the battle.

In fact, the footage for The French Indian Wars is excellent - the most used of any history video I have seen - and really helps along what is a pretty dry presentation.

However, there are some very good observations from expert Stuart Reid - into how the British regular troops were actually much better at fighting in the forests than they were given credit for - and a really interesting actor-to-camera piece explaining the rules and regulations of the famous Rogers' Rangers. A re-enactor portraying an Indian also gives a good account of why the natives fought the way they did and their style of equipment and clothing.

But, there are no graphics to assist non-North American viewers in placing the key areas of the war and this makes it hard for the program to grab the imagination of general military-history fans.




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