Guardie a piedi
Origin and History
On the eve of the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1740, the duke Francesco III of Modena could field only his bodyguards (Guardia del Corpo) of 200 men and one infantry regiment: Palude Infantry. This infantry regiment was created with the remains of Villeneuve Infantry and Perini Infantry (800 men each), who had fought with the Imperial Army against the Turks in 1739 at the battle of Grocka and the defence of Belgrade). By May 7 1742, Palude Infantry counted 1,240 officers and privates.
In 1750, Palude Infantry was renamed Guardie a piedi (Foot Guards).
In 1755, the Modenese Army was reorganised. Infantry regiment then consisted of 1 battalion of 4 companies, each of 120 men. The companies were respectively commanded by the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major and captain). Each regiment also comprised a grenadier company of 52 men. Thus, a regiment amounted to 528 privates, 18 drummers and pipers, 36 corporals, 18 sergeants and 20 officers for a grand total of 620 men. Exceptionally, the Guardie a piedi counted 2 such battalions.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
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Service during the War
In April 1759, after the appointment of the Duke Francesco III as governor of Milan by Maria Theresa, there were some 2,700 Modenese soldiers in the territory of Milan assuming garrison duties. The 2 battalions of the regiment were among this force, garrisoning Lodi and Pizzighettone.
|Coat||turquin blue, Austrian cut, white lining
|Waistcoat||white with silver buttons|
Troopers were armed with a musket and a bayonet. In addition, grenadiers carried a sabre.
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Colonel colour: blue field bordered with an intricate white frame; centre device consisting of the eagle of the House of Este (white eagle with a gold crown, and golden beak and claws); 1 golden fleur de lys in each corner.
Archivio Stato Modena; 1750 Stato delle Truppe di S.A. S.ma di Modena, Reggio, Mirandola
Ferri Personali, Fabrizio; L'Esercito Estense, in Araldica Nobili e Cavalieri
Menziani, Dr. Alberto; La Storia militare del Ducato di Modena - è tratto dal periodico illustrato di storia, arte, tradizioni e dialetti], in Il Ducato - Terre Estensi, Associazione Culturale “Terra e Identità”, Modena
Vinkhuijzen Collection of military uniforms, Italy – Modena, 1625-1765 New York Public Library
Luc Antonelli for gathering most of the information about this regiment