Just as a clarification to all:
You needn't sing the virtues of French culture or trump the achievements of their sons and daughters. I am well aware of their rather significant contribution to history in all areas from cuisine to philosophy. These advancements, however, far outpace France's military exploits, and it was their dismal battle record that I originally lambasted.
OldandNew, Indo-China and Algiers were actually mentioned in one of my posts, but I initially withheld them as such recent reminders of French battlefield humiliations might have pushed French members into despondency.
Orjan, I thank you of coming to the defense of Charles XII after enduring Setanta's trademark entertainment masked as historical knowledge. As he is so learned I hesitate to contridict him when he claims that the brilliant Charles was "insane". I personally feel that evidence and most military scholars opinions support your own - that Charles was a magnificent battlefield commander, possibly the best of his time, caught between enemies who proved too numerous for one country to overcome, "Denmark-Norway, Saxony, Russia, Prussia and Hanover". Even more impressive is that you survived the tremendously long-winded history lesson that Setanta thinks proves his point. He seems to feel that he alone has read the internet links for Charles XII, and no Swede from Sweden would know more, therefore he must educate.
He's a funny guy.