Penthièvre Infanterie

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Origin and History

The regiment, initially counting 16 companies, was created by the regulation of February 20, 1684 for the Comte de Toulouse, the natural son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. It was known as “Toulouse Infanterie”.

In 1690, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, it participated in the siege of Mons and in the Battle of Leuze; in 1692, in the siege of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the Bombardment of Charleroi; in 1693, in the siege of Huy, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi; in 1694, in the famous march from Wignamont to the bridge of Espierres; and in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles and in the Combat of Tongres. In 1696 and 1697, it campaigned on the Meuse.

In 1698, the regiment took part in the training camp of Compiègne.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was sent to Germany. In 1702, it took part in the capture of Neuenburg and in the Battle of Friedlingen; in 1703, in the siege of Kehl, in the attack of the entrenchments of Hornberg, in the combat of Munderkingen, in the Battle of Höchstädt and in the capture of Kempten and Augsburg. In 1704, its first battalion distinguished itself in the Battle of Schellenberg, and the entire regiment was present at the Battle of Blenheim. It then vainly defended Landau which surrendered. The regiment then retired to Strasbourg. In 1705, the regiment was increased to three battalions and continued to serve in Alsace. In 1706, it took part in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg, Haguenau and the Marquisat Island; and in 1707, in the attack on the Lines of Stolhofen. In 1708, it successively occupied Bouquenom and Forbach. In 1709, it took part in the Combat of Rumersheim. In 1710, it was posted at Strasbourg and Brisach. In 1711, a battalion was sent to Dauphiné and then to Spain where it would remain till the end of the war. In 1713, the two other battalions served at the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1715, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.

In 1727, the regiment took part in the training camp on the Saône. By 1731, it was stationed in Perpigan.

In 1733, at the outbreak of War of the Polish Succession (1733-35, the regiment was sent to the Rhine where it participated in the siege of Kehl. In 1734, it was at the siege of Philippsburg; and in 1735, at the Battle of Clausen.

On December 1, 1737, at the death of the Comte de Toulouse, the regiment took the name of “Penthièvre Infanterie” in honour of his son, the great admiral of the time, Louis Jean-Marie de Bourbon, Duc de Penthièvre.

In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to Bavaria and took part in the invasion of Bohemia. In 1742, it took part in the Combat of Sahay, in the relief of Frawenberg, in the unsuccessful defence of Prague and in the ensuing retreat towards France; and in 1743, in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it participated in the sieges of Menin and Ypres and covered the siege of Courtrai. In 1745, it took part in the Battle of Fontenoy; and in 1746, in the sieges of Mons and Charleroi and in the Battle of Rocoux. It was then transferred to Provence. In 1747, it took part in the recapture of the Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat islands, in the attack on the entrenchments of Villefranche and Montalban, in the capture of Nice, Villefranche and Vintimiglia. It then remained on this frontier till peace.

In 1754, the regiment took part in the training camp of Aimeries sur Sambre.

On the eve the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted two battalions.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 67th and was under the command of:

  • from December 1, 1745: N. Chevalier de Saint-Pern
  • from December 1, 1762 to August 13, 1765: Bernard-Henri, Marquis de Clermont-Gallerande

Service during the War

At the beginning of the war the regiment was sent to Bretagne (the Duc de Penthièvre was governor of Bretagne)

By August 1 1757, the regiment was stationed at Quimperlé and Hennebont in Bretagne to defend the coast against the amphibious operations of the British.

On September 11, 1758, the regiment took part to the combat of Saint-Cast. In this affair, Major de Vaugelas, who would be promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1762, and Captain Mons were wounded.

In the spring of 1762, a detachment (1 grenadier coy, 1 piquet coy for a total of 95 men) of the regiment took part in the unsuccessful expedition against Newfoundland.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1758,
La Chesnaye in 1759 and Etat militaire 1761
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neck stock black
Coat grey-white
Collar none (royal blue in 1759)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets (3 pewter buttons on each pocket)
Cuffs royal blue, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat royal blue
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters 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

n/a

Musicians

Drummers and fifers wore the livery of the House of Bourbon Penthièvre: red field laced with a triple braid (blue, yellow and blue).

Colours

The colonel flag was white with a white cross with a silver anchor with an azure anchor stock in each branch of the cross. Ordonnance flags had a white cross with a silver anchor with an azure anchor stock in each branch, the first and fourth cantons were dead leaf (reddish brown), the second and third were green. Each canton of the ordonnance flag was traversed by a diagonal band of the opposite colour. The ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1737 to 1791.

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

References

This 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 7, pp. 80-87

Other sources

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

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

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

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

Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757, Service Historique de l'armée de terre

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar