Fusiliers de Montagnes

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Fusiliers de Montagnes

Origin and History

In 1689, at the outbreak of war between France and Spain, Louis XIV raised fusilier companies in Roussillon to oppose them to the Migueletes Catalanes defending the gorges of Catalonia. These companies were known as Fusiliers de Montagnes (mountain fusiliers). These fusiliers were not only used for guerilla warfare but also to cover the march of the columns, to flank the wings of the army, to protect the passage of artillery, baggage and provisions convoys. After the Treaty of Ryswick in 197, this unit is not mentioned anymore.

On February 1 1719, 6 battalions (each of 12 companies of 50 men) were raised by the Duc de Noailles, then governor of Roussillon. However, these battalions were all disbanded a few years later on December 19 1722.

During the War of the Polish Succession, on March 20 1734, 4 battalions were raised to serve in Italy. Indeed they fought in the area of Briançon. These battalions were disbanded in February and March 1736.

A new unit was raised in Roussillon as per a decree of February 12 1744. Known as Fusiliers du Roussillon, it initially consisted of 2 battalions (1,200 men) but was reduced to a single battalion in 1747 and to only 120 privates in 3 companies in 1748 at the end of the War of the Austrian Succession, a strength which would remain identical throughout the Seven Years' War. Each of these 3 companies consisted of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 second captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 3 brigadiers
  • 3 sub-brigadiers
  • 33 fusiliers
  • 1 drummer

In 1751, the unit was renamed Fusiliers de Montagnes.

The unit garrisoned Antibes.

During the Seven Years' War, the unit was commanded by the Comte de Saint-Marsal.

The unit was disbanded on December 10 1762.

Service during the War

In 1757, after the capture of Minorca, the unit was sent to this island where it assumed garrison duty.

By 1761, the unit was still stationed on the island of Minorca.

Uniform

The original uniform looked quite similar to the uniform of the Migueletes Catalanes. However, by the time of the Seven Years' War, the unit had more traditional uniforms. These latter uniforms are depicted in this section.

Fusilier

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Richard Couture adapted from a template by Jean-Louis Vial
Uniform Details as per
Etat Militaire of 1758, 1760 and 1761; Taccoli in 1757

completed when necessary as per Raspe
Headgear black tricorne laced white with a white cockade fastened with a white button
Neckstock black
Coat blue lined red with white buttons on the right side and a white button on each side at the small of the back
Collar red
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs red edged white, each with 2 white buttons and 2 white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat red with two rows of white buttons and horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Breeches blue
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather pouch
Bayonet Scabbard no information available
Scabbard none


Armaments consisted of a musket a bayonet and two pistols.

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • silver laced tricorne
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • silver laces on the cuffs
  • silver epaulettes (at least on the right shoulder)

NCOs

no information available

Musicians

no information available

Colours

no information available

References

This article contains some texts taken from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 217, 220, 221, 234
  • Taccoli, Alfonso; Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760. pp. 154, 156

Other sources

Anon.; Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les Armées Francoise, dessinés et illuminé d'après nature; Nuremberg: Nicolas Gabriel Raspe; 1761

Anon.; Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les Armées Francoise, dessinés et illuminé d'après nature; Nuremberg: Nicolas Gabriel Raspe; 1762

Menguy, Patrice; Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

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

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