Origin and History
Up to the reign of Louis XIV, to the exception of the Gardes Suisses, no Swiss regiment had been maintained on a permanent basis in the French Army. They usually served for four years before being sent back home and replaced by new units. In 1671, Louis XIV charged Pierre Stuppa, a captain in his Gardes Suisses, to negotiate with the Swiss Cantons the creation and cession of four regiments. Contracts were signed on August 14 of the same year. The four regiment arrived in France at the beginning of 1672 and were admitted in the French service on February 17. The present regiment had been raised in the cantons of Solothurn, Aargau, Fribourg and Grisons/Graubünden.
In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the new regiment immediately joined the Army of the Netherlands and took part in the siege of Doesburg, in the combat of Woerden and in the capture of Utrecht where he remained in garrison. In November 1673, the regiment left Utrecht for Nijmegen and Wesel. In 1674, it fought in the Battle of Seneffe. In 1675, it took part in the capture of Liège and in the covering of the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; in 1676, in the sieges of Landrecies and Condé and in the covering of the sieges of Bouchain, Saint-Ghislain and Aire; in 1677, in the siege of Cambrai and Saint-Omer, in the Battle of Cassel and in the capture of Saint-Omer and Saint-Ghislain; and in 1678, in the siege of Ghent and Ypres and in the Battle of Saint-Denis.
In 1684, the regiment covered the siege of Luxembourg.
In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the first battalion of the regiment fought in the Combat of Walcourt. In 1690, the entire regiment took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the siege of Mons; in 1692, in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the capture of Furnes; in 1693, in the capture of Huy, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi. After the capture of Charleroi, the four battalions of the regiment were posted at Landrecies, Valenciennes, Maubeuge and Charleroi. In 1695, the regiment defended the Fort La Knocque and took part in the siege of Dixmude and in the bombardment of Bruxelles. In 1696, it was sent to Amiens and Abbeville to protect the coast of Picardie. In 1697, it returned to Flanders where it participated in the capture of Ath.
In 1698, the regiment took part in the training camp of Compiègne and was later reduced to three battalions.
In 1701, at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment counted three battalions and was sent to the Spanish Netherlands. In 1702, it took part in the siege of Trarbach; in 1705, in the siege of Huy; in 1706, in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the defence of Ath (2nd battalion only). In 1707, the regiment was detached to relieve Toulon and, at Montélimart, was informed that the Allies had raised the siege of Toulon and redirected to the Lines of the Lauter. In 1708, it fought in the Battle of Oudenarde; and in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, it took part in the unsuccessful defence of Douai; in 1711, in the storming of the Fort of Arleux; in 1712, in the Battle of Denain and in the sieges of Marchiennes, Douai and Le Quesnoy; and in 1713, in the siege of Landau. After the piece, it was placed in garrison in Metz.
In 1716, the third battalion was disbanded.
In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was allocated to the Corps de Réserve of the Army of Germany. In 1734, it took part in the siege of Philisbourg. In 1735, the grenadiers of the regiment were present at the Battle of Klausen.
From 1738 to 1742, the regiment was part of the Corps of Observation of the Netherlands.
At the end of 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to Maubeuge. In 1743, it remained in Maubeuge. In 1744, it took part in the siege of Menin and then covered the sieges of Ypres and Furnes. In 1745, it served at the sieges of Oudenarde, Ostend, Nieuport and Ath. In 1746, it took part in the siege of Bruxelles, in the conquest of Antwerp, in the covering of the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Rocoux. It was then sent to the coast of Normandie. In 1747, it was posted at Valognes. In November, it was transferred to Verdun. In 1748, it was at the siege of Maastricht. After the peace, the regiment was sent to Metz.
In 1752, the regiment was sent to the coasts of Provence.
The regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 50th and was under the command of:
- from March 5, 1752 to April 7, 1782: François-Philippe, Marquis de Boccard
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was part of the reserve of the expeditionary destined to Minorca. It remained on the coasts of Provence. On November 1, its first battalion was part of the French troops, under the command of the Marquis de Castries, sent in Corsica to prevent a British invasion and to fight against Paoli's nationalists. This battalion occupied Calvi until February 1759.
In the Spring of 1759, the regiment was sent to Germany.
By December 30 1760, the regiment had taken up its winter-quarters in Giessen in Germany.
In 1762, the regiment was brigaded with Diesbach Infanterie under the command of the Baron de Zurlauben. From August 8 to 10, it defended the entrenchments of Melsungen on the Fulda River. On August 18, it formed the rearguard of the army. On August 30, it marched towards Friedberg. On September 21, the brigade was present at the Combat of Amöneburg where it lost 100 men.
In 1763, the regiment went to Wissembourg and, in December, to Strasbourg.
|Coat||garance red lined blue with pewter buttons down to the pockets
|Waistcoat||blue with 12 pewter buttons grouped two by two and 12 blue buttonholes|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
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Colonel colour: white cross on a white field; since 1738, the white cross carried the golden motto “Auxilium nostrum a Domino”.
Ordonnance colours: white cross; each canton carried 7 flames (blue, white, blue, yellow, blue, red, blue).
The 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 6, pp. 320-330
Duc de Castries: Le Maréchal de Castries (1727-1800), Flammarion, 1956
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé a website who is unfortunately not online anymore
Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris, 1882
Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 197
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Service historique de l'armée de terre: Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar