Royal-Allemand Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years' War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Royal-Allemand Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment entered into the French service in 1639 after the death of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. The regiment was reconstituted on August 10 1671 by the Count of Königsmark. Originally German, it later recruited in the French provinces and in the Palatinate. On November 15 1688, the regiment took the name of “Royal-Allemand”.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served on the Rhine from 1733 to 1735.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment first took part in the invasion of Bohemia in 1741. On June 27 1743, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it was on the Lines of the Lauter. In 1745, it was at Pfaffenhofen.

In 1750, the regiment was stationed at Saint-Avold; in 1751, at Huningue; in 1752, at Revel; and in 1755, at Richemont.

In 1756, the regiment counted two squadron.

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

  • since March 12 1746 until March 24 1772: Prince of Holstein-Beck

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

  • since 1746 until 1770: Baron of Guntzer

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons. The 2 additional squadrons came from the Wurtemberg Cavalerie who was incorporated into Royal-Allemand Cavalerie. However, effective incorporation seems to have taken place only on April 10 1763 at Lauterburg.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. From April 27 to June 17, it was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On September 8, after the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, now led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army at Poltz.

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 had to retreat towards Düsseldorf and Deutz with the bulk of Broglie's Army. It passed the Rhine on April 3 and 4. In the first days of June, as a French army prepared for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of a detachment under the command of Broglie who followed up Ysenburg's Allied Corps during its retreat. By July, it had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was initially placed in the second line. It fought in the cavalry combats in the plain adjoining the Ellenbach Woods where the French cavalry was finally broken. It then rallied and reinforced the threatened French left wing. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was part of the Reserve of cavalry.

On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it was attached to the third line of the left wing under the command of the Baron de Dyherrn. In June, at the beginning of the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the “Right Reserve” under the command of the Duc de Broglie who had taken position at Friedberg in Hesse. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of Broglie's Corps.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the second line of the French army on the right bank of the Rhine, in Rheingau and on the Nidda. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Erbenheim, still in the second line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Prince Xavier. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the first line of his right column. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Langenschwalbach.

To do: complete the campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1759 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761
completed when necessary as per Rousselot
Headgear black bearskin cap with a red back
Neck stock black
Coat Polish style blue coat lined red with 7 red silk buttons and 7 red, white and blue brandebourgs on each side
Collar none
Shoulder straps red
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red Polish cuffs bordered white
Turnbacks none
Gloves buff
Waistcoat crimson bordered white with pewter buttons
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat blue lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt yellow
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered white (in 1759, bordered with an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with red squares)
Housings blue bordered white (in 1759, bordered with an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with red squares)
Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were also supposed to wear a breastplate under their coat during battle but this regulation was not always followed.

Evolution of the uniform during the war

Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary source for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • black tricorne laced white with a white rosette
  • red lapels
  • coat, lapels and cuffs edged with the regimental lace (an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with red squares)
  • grey-white waistcoat edged with the regimental lace
  • only 2 buttons on each cuff

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:

  • red flame at the bearskin
  • blue shoulder strap fastened with a pewter button
  • red turnbacks
  • no brandebourgs
  • 3 pewter buttons on each cuff with 3 white buttonholes

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • no shoulder strap
  • no lace on the coat and waistcoat
  • silver brandebourgs with silver tassels
  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

no information available yet

Colours (in 1753)

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): blue field bordered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”

Royal-Allemand Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: Gilbert Noury

References

The 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, p. 332-333

Other sources

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

Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig

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

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761

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

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