Rohan Montbazon Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1634 by the Maréchal de Gassion from a Swedish regiment that he had brought back to France. In 1647 a few hundreds men from various nations were amalgamated into this gentleman regiment.

The regiment counted two battalions and had prévôté (provostship).

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served in Italy from 1733 to 1735. In 1736, it was stationed in Metz.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Germany in 1741, then in Bohemia in 1742. In 1743, it returned to France. From 1744 to 1748, it served in Flanders.

On March 10 1749, Agenois Infanterie was disbanded and incorporated into Rohan-Montbazon Infanterie.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 32nd and was under the command of:

  • from June 1745: Jules Hercules Mériadec, Prince de Rohan and Duc de Montbazon (promoted maréchal de camp on April 1 1759)
  • from April 21 1759: Florent Alexandre Melchior de La Baume, Comte de Montrevel

When the French Army was reorganised on December 10 1762, the regiment took the name of the Province of Berry. The name was previously worn by a regiment disbanded during this reorganisation.

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was at the camp of Granville on the Channel.

Somewhere between August 23 and September 6 1757, the regiment joined the Army of Saxony, led by the Prince de Soubise, in the area of Erfurt and Eisenach for the planned reconquest of Saxony. On September 27, it was brigaded with the Swiss regiments Diesbach Infanterie and Planta Infanterie under the Marquis de Custine in the second line of the left wing of the Franco-Imperial Army. On November 5, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Rossbach where it was brigaded with Beauvoisis Infanterie in the Reserve under the |Duc de Broglie]]. During this battle, it heavily suffered, loosing Captains Bardon, Dangy and Dumaron, and Lieutenants La Line, Gay, Mainville, Lacour, Dusaulçon, La Sauzaye, Savary and Metuer while 18 other officers were wounded. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Marburg in Hessen.

At the end of January 1758, the regiment was assigned to the army that Louis XV planned to send to Bohemia for joint operations with the Austrian Army. However, when the Allies launched their surprise winter offensive in western Germany, the regiment retreated towards Düsseldorf and Deutz with the bulk of Broglie's Army. It passed the Rhine on April 3 and 4. By July, it had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. In the first days of June, as Soubise's army prepared for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of a detachment under the command of the Duc de Broglie who followed up Ysenburg during his retreat. On July 23, the regiment took part in theCombat of Sandershausen where it was placed in the first line of the left wing. It took the brunt of the Hessian assault, exhausted all its ammunition and then fought with the bayonet. During this combat, it suffered very heavy casualties, loosing 66 officers and 778 men killed and wounded. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed at the extreme left of the first line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle. On October 11, it marched rapidly upon the defiles of Münden, pursuing the Allied Army and capturing a large number of prisoners. In December, the regiment took its winter-quarters at Hanau.

On Tuesday January 2 1759, at about 5:00 a.m., Nassau Prince Louis Infanterie presented itself before the Sachsenhausen Gate of Frankfurt and was admitted as previously agreed. As soon as it had entered the town, the regiment ordered the town-guard to deposit arms and to admit 5 other regiments (Beauvoisis (2 bns), Rohan Montbazon (2 bns), Rohan Rochefort (2 bns), Bentheim (2 bns) and Royal Deux-Ponts (4 bns)). These regiments then seized the artillery on the walls and all the other gates, easily capturing the City of Frankfurt. This very important town remained under French control for the last four years of the war. On April 13, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the third line of the right wing under the command of Prince Camille de Lorraine. The regiment was deployed in column behind the village of Bergen. Broglie ordered it to counter-attack the Allies who were making progress against Bergen. Along with Piémont Infanterie and Royal Roussillon Infanterie, it charged at the point of the bayonet into the main street of the village, supported by Beauvoisis Infanterie. These four regiments carried the last charge and drove back the Allied attack. Broglie then personally led the regiment during the final attack which forced the Allies to retire.

The regiment spent the last years of the war on the coasts of the Channel.

Uniform

The following description has been verified against the manuscript "Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I" and Taccoli's book published in 1760.

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes militaires 1758,
La Chesnaye in 1759 and Etat militaire 1761

completed where necessary with details from the Manuscript of 1757 and Taccoli's plate
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade (white as per Taccoli)
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade

towards 1759, bearskins became increasingly common among grenadiers of the French Army

Neckstock black
Coat grey-white with pewter buttons down to the waist on the right side
Collar none (red in 1759)
N.B.: the manuscript of 1757 illustrates a red collar as early as 1757)
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none but the skirts could easily be turned back for action
Waistcoat red with pewter buttons; horizontal pockets with pewter buttons
Breeches grey-white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Waistbelt natural leather (white as per Taccoli)
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard black with a white metal tip
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 wore the livery of the House of Rohan Guéménée that Beneton describes as: "red with a large white and green brandebourg..."

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colours: yellow and green opposed cantons with a white cross.

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

References

Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Evrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides

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

Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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