Portal:Military history of France

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Military history of France

The military history of France includes both those military actions centered on the territory encompassing modern France, and the military history of French-speaking peoples of European descent, both in Europe and in Europe's overseas possessions and territories.

If starting from the Franks, French military history encompasses about 1,500 years. However, the Gauls are the more preferred and popular starting point, partly because Gallo-Roman culture laid the foundation for the current French people. In that case, the breadth and scope of French military history extends for a few more centuries. Such lengthy periods of warfare have allowed peoples of France to often be at the forefront of military developments, and as a result military trends emerging in France have had a decisive impact on European and world history.

Selected article

The Siege of Nice in 1543 (drawing by Toselli, after an engraving by Aeneas Vico)
The Italian War of 1542–46 was a conflict late in the Italian Wars, pitting Francis I of France and Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Henry VIII of England. The course of the war saw extensive fighting in Italy, France, and the Low Countries, as well as attempted invasions of Spain and England; but, although the conflict was ruinously expensive for the major participants, its outcome was inconclusive. The war arose from the failure of the Truce of Nice, which ended the Italian War of 1536–38, to resolve the long-standing conflict between Charles and Francis—particularly their conflicting claims to the Duchy of Milan. Having found a suitable pretext, Francis once again declared war against his perpetual enemy in 1542. Fighting began at once throughout the Low Countries; the following year saw a joint Franco-Ottoman attack on Nice, as well as a series of maneuvers in northern Italy which culminated in the bloody Battle of Ceresole. Charles and Henry then proceeded to invade France, but the long sieges of Boulogne-sur-Mer and Saint-Dizier prevented a decisive offensive against the French. Charles came to terms with Francis by the Treaty of Crépy in late 1544, but the death of Francis's younger son, the Duke of Orléans—whose proposed marriage to a relative of the Emperor was the cornerstone of the treaty—made it moot less than a year afterwards. Henry, left alone but unwilling to return Boulogne to the French, continued to fight until 1546, when the Treaty of Ardres finally restored peace between France and England.

Selected picture

St. Joan of Arc at the Notre Dame Cathedral, where she was beatified.
Credit: User:Stevenj

The "Maid of Orleans", Joan of Arc is a national heroine of France and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She helped inspire Charles VII's troops to retake most of his dynasty's former territories, which had been under English and Burgundian dominance during the Hundred Years' War. She later was convicted of heresy (overturned posthumously) and burnt at the stake at the age of nineteen. Pope Benedict XV canonized her on 16 May 1920 and she is now one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church.

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The 1st Foreign Engineer Regiment (French: 1er régiment étranger de génie) (1er REG) is a Military engineer regiment in the French Foreign Legion. It is a part of the 6th Light Armoured Brigade. The regiment is station in Laudon.

It was created on 1 October, 1939 as the 6th Foreign Infantry Regiment. The manpower came from 3 battalions of the 1st Foreign Infantry Regiment and one from 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment. It was disbanded 1 January 1942 and its soldiers were transeferred into the 1st Foreign Regiment and Foreign Legion depots. (More...)

Selected biography


Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez (July 17, 1729 - December 8, 1788) was a French admiral, the third son of the marquis de Saint Tropez, head of a family of nobles of Provence which claimed to have emigrated from Lucca in the 14th century. He was born in the Château de Saint Canat, near Aix-en-Provence in the present département of Bouches-du-Rhône. He was most famous for his campaign in the Indian Ocean, in which he successfully contended for supremacy against the established British power there, led by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes.

The French navy and the Order of Malta (where he received the title Bailli de Suffren) offered the usual careers for the younger sons of noble families of the south of France who did not elect to go into the Church. The connection between the Order and the old French royal navy was close. Pierre André de Suffren was destined by his parents to belong to both. He entered the close and aristocratic corps of French naval officers as a "garde de la marine"--cadet or midshipman, in October 1743, in the Solide, one of the line of battleships which took part in the confused engagement off Toulon in 1744. (More...)

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