Coping with the sunset that followed Louis XIV’s death, battered by a string of costly military defeats, and influenced by the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the French army was primed for reform in the mid-18th century. Scholar-soldiers spilt buckets of ink debating the nature of the French soldier, how to deal with modern reliable firearms, and even if firearms should be given up altogether! Everything was on the table in the search of victory. In this month’s installment of Collections Corner, the Institute’s library director, Dr. Joe Stoltz, explores just two of the most famous texts involved in these debates: Projet d’un Ordre Francois en Tactique by Francois-Jean de Mesnil-Durand and Essai General de Tactique by Jacques-Antoine de Guibert.
Debating a French Way of War in the Eighteenth Century
June 26, 2023