The Great Frontier War: Britain, France, and the Imperial Struggle for North America, 1607-1755

By William R. Nester | Go to book overview

3

Armies and Navies

Let Americans fight Americans.

—Duke of Newcastle

Col. Preble, who, I remember, was a harsh man, swore he would knock the first man down who should step out of his first ranks which greatly surprised me, to think that I must stand still to be shot at.

—Private David Perry, 1755

The Way to secure Peace is to be prepared for War.

—Benjamin Franklin

For in the end, they are a necessary evil.

—Louis Antoine de Bougainville, 1756

When French and British subjects once again marched and sailed off to war against each other in 1754, their militaries were completely asymmetrical. France’s vast land forces dwarfed Britain’s while the English fleet outgunned France’s by more than two to one. In 1755, France fielded 150,000 infantry in 236 battalions, 53,000 militia in 107 battalions, 30,000 cavalry in 214 squadrons, and 3,800 gunners. In contrast, Britain started the war with about 30,000 troops in 48 understrength regiments. It was in seapower that Britain excelled, with its fleet numbering 130 warships with 50 or more guns, compared to a mere 57 warships of such firepower in the French fleet. War forced both kingdoms to mobilize enormous amounts of more men and weapons to feed to the slaughter. By the war’s end, Britain deployed 140,000 soldiers and marines in 124 regiments to France’s 330,000. The

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The Great Frontier War: Britain, France, and the Imperial Struggle for North America, 1607-1755
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Trade and Conquest 1
  • 2 - Economies and Societies 53
  • 3 - Armies and Navies 109
  • 4 - 1754 175
  • 5 - 1755 217
  • Bibliography 275
  • Index 315
  • About the Author 327
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