Gendarmes Écossais

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Gendarmes Écossais

Origin and History

This company was created in 1422, at the time of Jeanne d'Arc, and existed for 366 years, till 1788, without interruption or transformation. It was initially attached to the personal bodyguard of the king under the name of Cent lances écossaises (100 Scot lances). In 1445, it was known as the 1ère Compagnie d'ordonnance.

In 1665, the company was owned by the Stuarts until James II duke of York ceded the unit to Louis XIV. From this time, the company recruited in France while retaining its name of Compagnie écossaise.

For the organisation of this company, please refer to Gendarmerie de France Organisation. At war, it was the senior company of the first squadron of the Gendarmerie de France, paired with the Gendarmes de Bourgogne.

Until 1763 the headquarters of the Gendarmerie de France were at Châlons-sur-Marne while the company was quartered at Versailles.

During the Seven Years' War, the company was under the nominal command of the king while a captain-lieutenant assumed effective command:

  • since January 11 1742: comte de Mailly
  • from 1757 to 1770: marquis de Mailly

The company was disbanded in 1788.

Service during the War

In 1757, the eight squadrons of the Gendarmerie de France, including this company, were sent to reinforce the Lower Rhine Army. They joined the main body in Hessen in August. At the end of the year, they took their winter quarters in the county of Hanau in Hessen.

By July 1758, all Gendarmerie squadrons had joined Soubise's army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On October 10, the Gendarmerie was present at the battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the left wing of the first line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle.

In 1759, the Gendarmerie de France took part to the battle of Minden where it repeatedly charge the British and Hanoverian infantry, being repulsed each time and suffering heavy losses.

In 1761, the company took the field with the army of Soubise. It was present at the battle of Vellinghausen on July 16 but was not engaged.

In 1762, the company formed part of Condé's Lower Rhine army. It was present at the action of Nauheim on August 30 but was not engaged.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: PMPdeL
Uniform Details as per
the Etrennes Militaires of 1758 and Etat Militaire of 1761
Headgear black tricorne laced silver, with a black cockade
Neckstock black cravate
Coat scarlet lined scarlet, bordered with a silver braid, with silver buttons and silver buttonholes, and a silver braid on each sleeve
Collar scarlet laced silver
Shoulder straps yellow laced silver fastened with a silver button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets laced silver with 3 silver buttons and 3 silver buttonholes
Cuffs scarlet cuffs en botte laced silver with 3 silver buttons
Turnbacks none
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff laced silver
Breeches scarlet (probably buff at war)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff bandoleer laced silver (carrying the yellow distinctive colour of the company since 1730)
Waistbelt yellow laced silver
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth scarlet laced silver
Housings
Gendarmes Écossais Housing Device - Source: PMPdeL

scarlet laced silver with the crowned Lys de France embroidered in silver

Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a sabre (silver handle and yellow cord), a pair of pistols and a rifle.

The horses of the troopers were of various colours. A yellow rosette was knotted at their mane and tail.

Officers

No information available yet.

Musicians

King's Livery - Source: PMPdeL

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.

The saddle cloth, housings as well as the aprons of the kettle-drums and the pennants of the trumpets were blue decorated in silver.

The musicians were mounted on grey horses.

Colours

The silken standard had a white field heavily decorated with silver and gold embroideries, fringed in gold and silver and bearing a central scene depicting a running greyhound with the motto “In omni modo ”.

Gendarmes Écossais Standard – Source: PMPdeL


References

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

  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 15

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F., Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice, Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

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

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

Vial J.-L., Nec Pluribus Impar