The Armies and Wars of the Sun King 1643-1715

Volume 2 - The Infantry of Louis XIV

René Chartrand

Volume 2 concerns the wars, military politics and geo-strategy from 1672 to 1688 and notably includes events in eastern Europe that had much influence on the Sun King's western fronts. The French line infantry units will be described as well as their recruitment, services, lifestyles, tactics, weapons, colours and uniforms. This includes the regime
Date Published :
April 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
166 b/w ills/photos, 32pp color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912866540
Pages : 278
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The reign of Louis XIV of France had a great impact on the course of European and world military history. The years 1643 to 1715 were a defining epoch for western military, diplomatic, and economic matters. Most of those years were marked by conflict between major European powers and the Sun King’s forces. This four-volume series is the first that present an extensive account of the many facets of the French army and the wars it fought.

It was an era during which the Sun King’s and eventually all armies saw extraordinarily significant changes such as: the advent of very large professional armies, increasingly centralized command systems, professional training for officers and men, introduction of obligatory military service, improvements in discipline and control, technical advances regarding armament thus affecting battlefield tactics, marked progress regarding fortifications, introduction of uniforms, logistics capable of supplying large armies, financial practices that permitted the upkeep and pay large military forces.

The above and even more factors produced many influences that weighted heavily in European geo-political and geo-strategic maters. In these, the Sun King largely dominated Europe’s agenda from the time he took effective autocratic power in 1661 to his last moments in 1715. Since his army was, initially, the largest, most modern and effective in Europe, he had success to the point that neighboring countries formed coalitions to stop him. However, the Sun King was a master at geo-strategy, notably regarding the balance that he managed to maintain with the Ottoman Empire whose forces always threatened the eastern frontiers of France’s opponents. Thus, France’s forces were always sufficient to keep enemies mostly on the defensive; it was unthinkable that they would ever reach Paris.

These and many more topics are presented in this four volume work. Each volume is basically in two parts. The first part is the era of the wars and their context, the second part consist of a detailed look at a part of the French army. The appendices present certain aspects such as uniform lists of the period and evaluations of opponent and allied armies of the Sun King’s forces. 

About The Author

René Chartrand was born in Montreal and educated in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas. A senior curator with Canada’s National Historic Sites of Parks Canada for nearly three decades and he was also attached to Canada’s Department of National Defence as an historian. He went on as a free lance writer and historical consultant for media productions and historical restorations of military sites in North America and the West Indies. As a curator, he initially specialized in military material culture and later researched organization, tactics, policy and geo-strategy. He has authored some 50 books and hundreds of articles and research notes published in England, France, the United States and Canada. He lives in Gatineau (Quebec).

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