Belzunce Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Belzunce Infanterie

Origin and History

This gentleman regiment was raised in 1590 by M. de Lesdiguières. In 1591, the unit took part in the combats of Sparron and Pontcharra against the Savoyards; in 1592, in the siege of Cahours and in the affair of Grésillane; in 1593, in the relief of Exiles; in 1595 in the recapture of Exiles, in the relief of Cahours and in the sieges of Mirabel and Auriol; in 1597, in the combat of Molettes, in the storming of the Fort of Chamousset and in the capture of Charbonnières and of the Castle of Aiguille.

On August 16 1597, under the Marquis de Créqui, it joined the ranks of the French Royal Army.

In 1598, part of the regiment was annihilated when it tried to relieve Aiguebelle. Shortly afterwards, the remaining companies of the regiment made themselves master of the Fort of Barraux and finally recaptured Aiguebelle. In May, the regiment was disbanded to the exception of its colonel company.

On 3 April 1600, the regiment was re-established for the war against Savoy. In August it stormed Montmélian. It then took part in the capture of Conflans, Charbonnières, Chambéry and Miolans. In January 1601, the regiment was once more reduced to a single company.

In April 1610, the regiment was re-established and assumed garrison duty in Grenoble till 1616.

In 1616, the regiment served in another war against Savoy. In 1617, it took part in the capture of Montluel, in the relief of Vercelli, and in the capture of Felissano and Non.

In 1622, the regiment was part of the reinforcements sent to the Royal Army in front of Poussin. It also took part in the siege of Montpellier. It then returned to Grenoble to assume garrison duty.

In December 1624, the regiment marched against Genoa. In 1625, it took part in the capture of Capriata, in the siege of Gavi, in the attack on Cairo and in the relief of Verua before returning to Dauphiné.

In 1627, the regiment took part in the capture of Poussin and Soyon; in 1629, in the relief of Casale. In 1630, it garrisoned Toulon. In 1632, it campaigned in Vivarais. In 1633, it went to Casale to serve as garrison.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the regiment took part in the siege of Valence, and in the capture of Candia and of the Castle of Sartiranne before returning to Casale; in 1636, in the Battle of Buffalora; in 1637, in the defence of Asti and in the combat of Montebaldone; in 1638, in the relief of Brema and in the defence of Vercelli; in 1639, in the defence of Casale. The regiment then remained in Casale till 1642. In 1643, it took part in the siege of Trino; in 1644, in the sieges of Santia and Asti. It then returned to Dauphiné for its winter-quarters. In 1645, the regiment was sent to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Roses. In 1646, it embarked at Toulon for Elbe Island where it took part in the siege of Portolongone. In 1647 and 1648, it campaigned in Piedmont. In 1649, it was recalled to France to quench the troubles of the Fronde. It first garrisoned La Fère. In 1650, it took part in the relief of Mouzon and in the combat of Rhétel. In 1651, the regiment served in Languedoc; in 1652, in Guyenne before returning to Piedmont. In 1653, the regiment garrisoned Turin and Pignerolo and then took part in the combat of La Roquette. In 1656, it took part in the siege of Valence; in 1658, in the siege of Mortare. After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, the regiment was stationed in Dauphiné.

In 1667, during the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment took part in the sieges of Tournai, Douai and Lille.

In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment was at the passage of the Rhine and took part in the siege of Nijmegen before taking its winter-quarters in Utrecht. In 1673, the regiment campaigned in Holland. In 1674, it was transferred to Roussillon where it fought in the combat of Morillas. In 1675, it took part in the siege of Bellegarde; in 1676, in a brief offensive in Catalonia and in a combat near Espouilles; in 1678, in the capture of Puycerda.

In 1681, the regiment was sent to occupy Casale ceded to France by the Duke of Mantua. It was then sent to Strasbourg where it took part in the construction of the citadel.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the first battalion of the regiment took possession of Avignon; the second battalion served at Philisbourg; and a third battalion was raised to serve in the Alps. In 1689, the first battalion served with the Army of the Rhine. In 1690, the second battalion joined the first on the Rhine. The regiment then returned to Dauphiné. In 1691, the regiment took part in the siege of the Castle of Nice and in the capture of Veillane, Carmagnola and of the Castle of Montmélian; in 1692, in the defence of Pignerolo and Susa. In 1693, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia where it took part in the siege of Roses. It then returned to Piedmont and fought in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, the three battalions were united for the first time in Roussillon, taking part in the passage of the Ter and in the sieges of Palamos, Girona, Castel-Follit and Ostalrich where the third battalion was left as garrison. In 1695, the third battalion became an independent regiment (Sourches Infanterie). The same year, the rest of the regiment served in Roussillon. In 1696, it took part in the relief of Palamos and Ostalrich; in 1697, in the combat of San-Féliu and in the siege of Barcelona.

After the war, the regiment went to Nîmes and then successively garrisoned Auch, Moulins, Dôle and Vienne.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment counted two battalions. It at Toulon for Lombardy where it took part in the Battle of Chiari. In 1702, it campaigned once more in Northern Italy]] where its grenadiers took part in the Combat of Santa Vittoria. The regiment then fought in the Battle of Luzzara where it suffered very heavy losses and was then sent to Modena to replenish its ranks. In 1703, it took part in the expedition in Tyrol but was left behind at Desenzano del Garda; in 1704, in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verrua where its colonel was dangerously wounded. In 1705, after the capture of Verrua, the regiment took part in the attack on Guerbignano and in an engagement near Carpi; in 1706, in the siege and battle of Turin before retiring to Dauphiné; in 1707, in the defence of Toulon. In 1708, the regiment, now named Tallard, was transferred to the Army of the Rhine and was initially posted in the lines beyond the Lauter. In 1709, it took part in the combat of Rumersheim. In 1710, the regiment remained in the lines for the entire campaign and then went to Alt-Breisach. In 1713, it took part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

After the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Besançon and incorporated troops from various disbanded regiments.

To do: War of the Polish Succession and War of the Austrian Succession.

The regiment was among the French infantry units designated as "Petits Vieux" because they pretended to trace back their origins to the old bands of the XVIth century. At the time of the Seven Years' War, it was considered as one of the best regiments of the French infantry.

On the eve of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted four battalions and had prévôté (provostship).

When the army was reorganised in 1762, the regiment took the name of the province of Flandre. However, the Comte de Rougé retained his command till 1767.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 10th and was commanded by:

  • since February 1 1749: Armand, Vicomte de Belzunce
  • from February 20 1761 to June 22 1767: Gabriel François, Comte de Rougé

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was at the camp of Dunkerque and took its winter-quarters at Metz.

In March 1757, the regiment left Metz for Westphalia. On April 3, it joined the Army of the Lower Rhine at Neuss for the planned invasion of Hanover. On April 8, two of its battalions were among the troops who entered into Wesel. On April 10, the two remaining battalions joined them in this town. The army continued its advance and the entire regiment entered into Lippstadt on April 25. It was then cantoned in this town and took part in the works to fortify the place. In May, when the Duke of Cumberland advanced on Lippstadt to immediately retreat, the 4 grenadier companies of the regiment with 300 men of the Volontaires Royaux, pursued him and captured Rittberg where the duke had left a force of 1,200 men to cover his retreat. From April 27 to June 17, the regiment was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, the regiment was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was part of the right wing under d'Armentières. He then accompanied the Maréchal de Richelieu in his conquest of Hanover. After the Convention of Kloster-Zeven on September 8, it followed the main body, led by Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. In this camp, the regiment was placed in the centre of the second line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army in Wolfenbüttel.

On January 10 and 11 1758, the regiment took part in several small actions: the surprise attack on Halbertstadt, the relief of the Castle of Reggenstein and the capture of Quedlimburg. In February, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was in the second line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Cologne. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp until June 12 and was placed in the centre of the first line. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed in the centre of the first line under Guerchy. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine under Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the first line. On September 24, the regiment along with a brigade of cuirassiers was detached from the main French army towards Hamm. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Chevert's Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. On October 10, it was at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was part of Chevert's Corps which won the day by turning the Allied left flank. The regiment then returned to Westphalia and took its winter-quarters in Düsseldorf.

On April 11 1759, the regiment was part of a corps of 14 bns and 4 sqns detached from the army of the Marquis d'Armentières under the command of the Comte de Saint-Germain to reinforce the Duc de Broglie who was threatened by the advance of an Allied army. Saint-Germain marched towards the Lahn River and arrived at Königstein on the evening of April 13, too late to take part in the Battle of Bergen. On April 14, he made a junction with Broglie's Army. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades where it was deployed in the first line, on the right wing of the infantry centre. On July 13, the regiment was part of a corps, under M. de Beaupréau, sent forward by Contades to Eidinghausen near Gohfeld to support Broglie at Minden. On July 14, this corps passed the Weser and marched to the French camp near Minden where it replaced Broglie's reserve. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Chevalier de Nicolaï. On August 10, during the Allied counter-offensive in Western Germany, Contades being closely followed in his retreat by Allied detachments, he formed 2 rearguard detachments near Dransfeld. The regiment was attached to the rightmost of these detachments, under the command of M. de Planta. The Allies first moved against the rightmost detachment but the regiment along with Picardie Infanterie formed in battle at the head of the defile and put a stop to the Allied advance. On September 20, the regiment formed part of a force who took position on the heights of Wetzlar to prevent the Allies from passing the Lahn.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in part in the first line of the French Army and in part in its second line on the right bank of the Rhine, in Rheingau and on the Nidda. By mid March, one battalion the regiment was billeted in Rheinfels, in the first line of the French Army; and the 3 remaining battalions in Hattenheim, in the second line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the first line of the infantry centre of Broglie's Army. On July 10 1760, the regiment took part in the combat of Corbach. By July 23, the regiment was at Wasbeck under the personal command of the Duc the Broglie. On September 29, the regiment was part of the reinforcements sent by Broglie to Prince Xavier's Richt Reserve. Later on, it participated in the capture of Göttingen. It then formed part of the garrison of this town where it was blockaded from November to December. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Kassel.

In 1761, To Do... (Notes: took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where 3 of its 4 battalions were captured along with 9 flags and 4 regimental guns. Prisoners were later freed and joined the last battalion.)

In 1762, the regiment was back in France where it garrisoned Dunkerque.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf from an illustration by Lucien Mouillard
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1758 and Etats militaires 1761

completed where necessary as per Taccoli and the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neckstock black
Coat white
Collar violet (supposedly no collar before 1759 but the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757 illustrates a collar)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets (3 copper buttons on each pocket)
Cuffs violet with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Officers

In 1761, the officers wore the same waistcoat as the soldiers.

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the livery of the colonel: Belzunce from 1749 to 1761 and Rougé from 1761 to 1762.

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross

Ordonnance Colours: a white cross with violet and aurore opposed cantons.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 4, pp. 1-26, 38

Other sources

Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I"; Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Chesnaye des Bois (de la), Aubert: Etrennes militaires, Paris, 1756, 1758, 1759

Evrard P.: Praetiriti Fides

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé a website which is unfortunately no more online

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris 1882

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Taccoli, Alfonso; Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

Vial J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.