1.     La petite guerre au xviiie siècle, Paris, Economica, 2010, 685 p.



his book presents a thorough analysis and a case study upon the "petite guerre" in the 18th century Europe - tactical and operational levels dealt with, as also relations between war and society (with a substantial historical reminder, in a large chapter exclusively devoted to the 17th century).

The “petite guerre“ was a type of warfare consisting in skirmishes and ambushes which, next to the sieges and battles, filled the theatre of operations during the conventional wars between princes. The locution "petite guerre" with this meaning was always used in the singular, and has to be used so today. The first treatises on the art of the “petite guerre” were published in France, from the mid-eighteenth century onwards. The locution “petite guerre” wasn’t translated into English in the eighteenth century, even in treatises published in Great Britain or America (on the contrary, it was translated into German). 

Next to the case study of the Flanders during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), the book makes an analysis of the thoughts on the “petite guerre” throughout the eighteenth century, in France and in the most important countries of Europe. A special chapter is devoted to the thoughts in Great Britain throughout the 18th century, and to the case study of the actions of British light troops in Flanders (example of 1747), because this topic has not been dealt with before - On the contrary, one book already dealt with the case study of Austria's and another, with the case study of Prussia's use of the "petite guerre" in the eighteenth century. 

Besides the tactical level, the book shows how the use of the "petite guerre" was necessary to contribute to the victory in a military campaign at the operational level. In Flanders between 1745 and 1748, the Marshall of Saxe (commander of the French Army) and the Allies (Austrian, British and Dutch armies and their commanders) understood the advantage and importance of the "petite guerre" at this level. A case study shows in detail how the "petite guerre" strongly contributed to the main aims of the French army in August 1746.

However, the topic of the book goes beyond the scope of a tactical and operational study. By showing the impact of the “petite guerre” on civilians and on the activity of the provincial administration, by analyzing the French government policy towards light troops (the light troops were the specialists of the “petite guerre”), by approaching the opinions of the Parisian society (and of the elite as a whole) towards such military tactic and the troops specializing in it, what is at stake is also the possibility to grasp the ideas and sensitivity of society towards the “petite guerre”. This work is thus a contribution to a larger study ‒ that of an era's mentalities towards military issues.

The conclusion of the book offers the beginning of an analysis of the transformations in the use of the “petite guerre” during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.  

*  For the British history, see in particular the chapter III in the part II: “La petite guerre des Alliés, vue par les sources anglaises en 1747“ (text in French). Cf. Table of contents, here.

*  See also in the book the appendix 9 (text in English): « Account of what happen’d at Nispen behouxt a Detachment of French Infantry, and Col. Frangipani’s Hussars & the English F. Companies who were order’d to maintain that post. Augst 10.th 1747 », 2 pages. Extract from: RA CP (Windsor), box 25, document 264. Cf. List of the appendices, here.


2. “‘Partisan warfare’, ‘war in detachment’ : la ‘petite guerre’ vue d’Angleterre (XVIIIe siècle)”

Article (in French) by Sandrine Picaud, published in:

Stratégique [Paris, diffusion Economica], Number 84, March 2004, p. 13-59.

See also the chapter “Articles” of my Website for a summary of the article, here

3. “The Petite Guerre of the 18th Century in Europe: an Updating of the Bibliography”

Article by Sandrine Picaud, published in:

Bibliographie Internationale d’Histoire Militaire, t. 26, Centre général Guisan, Pully (Switzerland), editions Thesis Zürich, 2005, p. 187-225 [in French and in English language ; English version on the pages 187-194].

  • Article in English to be read entirely here.