Grenadiers Royaux de Solar

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Grenadiers Royaux de Solar

Origin and History

A decree, dated September 15 1744, created a grenadier company within each French militia battalion. On April 10 1745, another decree ordered to detach all militia grenadier companies from their parent battalion and to group them in 11 regiments of Grenadiers Royaux. Each regiment consisted of a single battalion wearing its colonel's name. The 11th Regiment was placed under the command of colonel de Solar.

To create a new recruitment source for these new regiments, a decree of January 28 1746 created a new company of grenadiers in each militia battalion. These new grenadiers were designated as Grenadiers postiches.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, militia battalions were assembled. The decree of December 5 1756 stipulated that the Grenadiers postiches had to be detached from their parent militia battalion (there were 107 such battalions) and incorporated into the 11 existing Grenadiers Royaux battalions, thus increasing the effective strength of each of these regiments from 1 to 2 battalions.

Exceptionally, the 11th regiment consisted of only 16 companies instead of the usual 20 companies:

  • staff
    • 1 colonel
    • 1 lieutenant-colonel
    • 1 major
    • 2 aides-major
  • 2 battalions each consisting of 8 companies of Grenadiers Royaux or Grenadiers postiches
    • each company of Grenadiers Royaux consisted of:
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 2 sergeants
      • 3 corporals
      • 3 ansepessades
      • 1 drummer
      • 41 grenadiers
    • each company of Grenadiers postiches consisted of:
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 3 sergeants
      • 3 corporals
      • 3 ansepessades
      • 1 drummer
      • 51 grenadiers

N.B.: we have not found any information indicating whether the companies of Grenadiers postiches were intermingled with companies of Grenadiers Royaux within each battalion or if they rather formed two distinct battalions.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since April 10 1745: de Solar
  • from 1759 to December 10 1762: Méhégan

All Grenadiers Royaux regiments were disbanded on December 10 1762.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment joined the Lower Rhine Army commanded by maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. However, the regiment was detached from the Grenadiers Reserve. On July 21, it was part of M. de Maillebois' vanguard near Bergen and Fringheim. On July 26, it took part in the battle of Hastenbeck. Later on, the regiment took part in the march on the Lower Elbe and in the occupation of Hanover and Brunswick. At the end of the years, the regiment took its winter quarters in the third line of the French Army in Buchenburg.

In March 1758, during the winter offensive of Ferdinand of Brunswick, the 2 battalions of the regiment were part of the French garrison of Minden which was attacked by an Allied corps led by general Kilmansegg. On March 15, the garrison of Minden surrendered without opposing any serious resistance. The regiment was later exchanged. On November 25, the remnants of the regiment (3 coys of Grenadiers Royaux and 8 coys of Grenadiers Postiches) were assembled at Strasbourg.

On May 10, 1759, the regiment was brought back to full strength (8 coys of Grenadiers Royaux and 8 coys of Grenadiers Postiches).

The regiment is not mentioned in the following campaigns and probably returned to France to guard the coasts.

On February 4, 1760, the regiment contributed 104 men to the French artillery.

Uniform

All Grenadiers Royaux regiments had the same uniform, the sole distinction being the colour of the epaulette on the right shoulder which varied from one regiment to the other.

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757

completed where necessary with information from Pajol and Mouillard
Headgear
Musketeer none (all troopers were grenadiers)
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Neckstock black
Coat grey-white with pewter buttons of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar blue
Shoulder Straps red epaulette with a white, black and red fringe on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets,each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs grey-white with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks grey-white when basques were turned back which was not always the case
Waistcoat grey-white with pewter buttons
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white for campaigning (black for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box red or black leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket with a bayonet and a double edged sabre.

All grenadiers wore a moustache.

Officers

The uniforms of officers were laced silver and they wore silver gorgets.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • sergeants: cuffs edged in silver or ornamented with 3 agréments
  • corporals:cuffs edged in white and ornamented with 3 white frogs
  • ansepessades: cuffs edged in white

Sergeants were armed with a spontoon.

Musicians

The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: Jocelyne Chevanelle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colours

The regiment, probably because it consisted of converged companies of grenadiers, carried only ordonnance colours.

Ordonnance colours: blue field and blue border; white cross sown with golden fleurs de lys.

Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

N.B.: Some sources illustrate the arms of France in the centre of the white cross or a white border around the colour. However, the illustration in "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" simply depicts a blue border and a white cross sown with golden fleurs de lys.

References

This article contains text translated 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. 68-69, 151-153

Other sources

Cookman, David: In Search Of The French Grenadiers During the Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No. 1

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin, 1903, Appemdix 1

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

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

Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23.

"Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I", Musée de l'Armée, Paris

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