Boccard Infanterie

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

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.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: rf-figuren
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes Militaires 1756 and 1758 and Etats militaires 1758, 1760 and 1761

completed where necessary with information from C. Pajol's book and L. Mouillard's uniform plates
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver, with a black cockade (as per Mouillard)
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver, with a black cockade (as per Mouillard)

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neckstock probably black
Coat garance red lined blue with pewter buttons down to the pockets
Collar blue
Shoulder Straps blue fastened with a small pewter button (as per Mouillard)
Lapels red with blue buttonholes (down to the pocket on the left side of the coat)
Pockets horizontal pockets with 3 pewter buttons and 3 blue buttonholes
Cuffs blue, with 3 pewter buttons (as per Mouillard)
Turnbacks blue front turnback
Waistcoat blue with 12 pewter buttons grouped two by two and 12 blue buttonholes
Breeches blue
Gaiters probably 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

No information available yet.

Musicians

No information available yet.

Colours

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).

Colonel Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Ordonnance Colour - Source: PMPdeL

References

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

Other sources

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