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The shape of France that we know about today came through a string of French military conquests under King Philip II, when in the late twelfth century he conquered Flanders, Burgundy, and Champagne, and cajolled off Richard the English territories in Brittany and Normandie. From then on the French did make its mark on the battlefield, perhaps more than what a Google search would suggest.

1190: King Philip II captured Akko (Acre) on the third Crusade.

1214: King Philip II then beat John (brother of King Richard I of England), the Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, and the count of Flanders at Bouvines.

1439: Jean d'Arc dispatches the British who were laying seige to Orleans.

1453: The Hundred Years War ended in France's favour with their victory at Castillon-la-Bataille.

1643: In the Thirty Years War the Frogs foil a Spanish invasion at Rocroi.

1677: In the War of 1672 - 1678 the French capture Freiburg off William of Orange.

1690: France's first naval victory - over an Anglo-Dutch flotilla at Beachy Head.

1754: George Washington requested that the French vacate the Allegheny River and return to Canada. The French refused, and subsequently defeated Washington at Fort Necessity.

1755: General Edward Braddock tried to do what George Washington failed to achieve, and he also got creamed at Fort Duquesne.

1756: Feeling happy with themselves, the French under Marquis se Montcalm captured Fort Oswego.

1757: ...And also Fort William Henry.

1781: French forces under Rochambeau, and the French navy at sea, help manage to defeat Cornwallis at Yorktown.

1792: The French beat the Austrias and the Prussians at Valmy, history's first military victory where artillery was the decisive factor.

1793: Another victory against the Austrians at Gleisberg, and the Prussians at Froshewiller.

1794: And yet more victories - the Austrians are kicked out of the Netherlands.

1800: After some setbacks, the French returned with a winning streak, overcoming the Austrians at Marengo in northern Italy and Hohenlinden in Bavaria.

1805: The French under Napoleon defeated the Austrians at Ulm and the Russians at Austerlitz.

1808: The French manage to hold off a British expeditionary force in Galicia, Spain.

1812: The French win at Lützen and Bautzen against the Prussians and Russians.

1815: Napoleon emerges from retirement, raises an army of 280,000 men and beat the allies at Ligny in Belgium.

From this point onwards French victories are a bit harder to find, and this is what has probably lead to the joke in 2003 that if you do a Google search on 'French Military Victories' one would find nothing (in fact you would get websites discussing this story). The only victories in the twentieth century were:

1916: 700,000 French troops stopped the Germans in the Battle of Verdun, despite sustaining heavy casualties. They were also successful getting rid of the Germans in Cameroon.

1941: The Vichy French navy defeated the Thai navy in the Gulf of Thailand (well, they must have had a chance to do something right in World War II)

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