La Marck Infanterie
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Origin and History
The regiment was created as “Konigsmark Infanterie” on August 10, 1680 from four independent companies of the Rhine and 12 companies from the disbanded “Furstenberg Infanterie”.
In 1684, the regiment was sent back to Catalonia where it distinguished itself at the crossing of the Ter. It then took part in the siege and storming of Girona and in the investment of Cap de Quiers.
In 1690, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment, now known as “Surbeck” campaigned in Roussillon and took part in the blockade of Girona. It was then transferred to Italy where it took part in the capture of Susa. In 1691, it participated in the capture of Villefranche and its castle, Montalban, Sant'Ospizio, Nice, Veillane, Carmagnola and of the castle of Montalban. From 1693, it became known as “La Marck Infanterie” and fought in the Battle of Marsaglia. In 1694, it served once more in the Alps. In 1696, it was at the siege of Valencia. In 1697, it was transferred to the Army of the Meuse.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was attached to the Army of Flanders. In 1702, it took part in the combat of Nijmegen; in 1703, in the sieges of Alt-Breisach and Landau; in 1705, in the defence of the Lines of Flanders; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet ; in 1711, in the attack upon Arleux; in 1712, in the recapture of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain; and in 1713, in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.
In 1727, the regiment took part in the training camp of Stenay on the Meuse; and in 1732, in the training camp in Alsace.
In 1733, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment took part in the siege of Kehl; in 1734,in the attack of the Lines of Ettlingen and in the siege of Philisbourg. On July 1, 1734, the regiment was increased to three battalions. It was then transferred to Italy. In 1735, it took part in the capture of the Castle of Gonzaga, of Reggiolo, Reggio and Revere.
In 1736, the regiment returned to France where it was put in garrison in Cambrai. On January 8, 1737, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.
On May 15, 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was re-established at two battalions. In April 1742, it formed part of the reinforcements sent to Bavaria. In 1743, it took part in the defence of Deckendorf, in the unsuccessful defence of the passage of the Danube at Poching and in the successful defence of the passage of the Rhine at Rheinweiler. In 1744, the regiment was transferred to Flanders where it took part in the siege and capture of Menin. It then returned to Alsace and participated in the recapture of the Lines of the Lauter, in the attack of the entrenchments of Suffelsheim, in the combat of Augenheim and in the siege of Freiburg. In 1745, it fought in the affair of Pfaffenhofen and took part in the sieges of Oudenarde, Ostend and Niewport. In 1746, it was attached to the Army of the Meuse which covered the siege of Mons. It later was at the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lauffeld. On July 2, the regiment was increased to four battalions. In 1748, it was at the siege of Maastricht.
On December 26, 1748, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 66th. From April 29, 1727 to October 19 1773, it belonged to Lieutenant-General Louis-Engilbert, Comte de la Marck. However, from 1759, effective command was confided to a “colonel en second” of “colonel commandant”:
- from April 21, 1759 to January 3, 1770: Pierre-Christian, Baron de Wimpfen
On January 18, 1760, when the German Infantry was reorganised, the regiment was increased to three battalions by the incorporation of the second battalion of the disbanded Lowendahl Infanterie.
On December 21, 1762, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was selected to form part of the French Auxiliary Corps promised by Louis XV to Maria Theresa but this corps was soon redirected to Western Germany.
In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. At the end of June, it was at the camp of Bielefeld with d'Estrées' Main Corps. In August, the regiment accompanied the Maréchal Duc de Richelieu when he invaded Hanover. On October 7, the regiment left the camp of Halberstadt to reinforce the army of the Prince de Soubise. On November 5, under the Comte de Lorges, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rossbach where it was placed in the second line of the centre. In this battle, it lost Captains Mantz l'aîné and Limar, Lieutenants Hiem, Brancion, Druhot, Suty and Beurdhal killed; and Captains d'Ayrolles, Trichard, Desbarreaux, Lescallier, Housseau, Grandchamp, d'Eblingheim, Mantz cadet, Desfossés-Solis, Dufort and Lyautey, Aides-Majors Carlier, Maës and Scheid, and seven lieutenants wounded. After this disastrous battle, the remnants of the regiment retreated to the Rhine. At the end of the year, it took up its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army: one battalion at Goslar, the other at Clausthal.
In February 1758, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was in the second line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. In April, when Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the second line in the area of Cologne. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand's Army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp, where it was placed in the centre of the second line, until June 12. On August 5, the regiment formed part of Chevert's Corps and took part in the Combat of Mehr where it was brigaded with Reding Infanterie to form the left wing. It did not behave very well and was broken by an enemy charge. By August 20, the regiment was operating as an independent force.
On March 13 1759, upon Broglie's request, d'Armentières sent a corps (1,400 foot and 1,200 horse, including La Marck Infanterie) under the command of d'Auvet. This corps took post at Hachenburg with detachments at Siegen.
By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the third line of the French army along the Rhine and the Main from its mouth. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Bacharach, still in the third line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 31, the Saxon Contingent and La Marck Brigade drove Kielmansegg's Corps out of its defensive positions near Kassel. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the first line of his left column. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Gemünden.
On June 24, 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal.
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.
|Coat||blue lined blue (yellow in 1756-57, blue in 1757-60, white in 1760-61) with 3 white trimmed buttonholes (4 as per the manuscript of 1757) below the lapel
|Waistcoat||blue (white before 1758 and from 1760) with one row of small pewter buttons; horizontal pockets with small pewter buttons|
|Breeches||blue (white before 1758 and from 1760)|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Colonel Colour: white field semée with golden fleurs de lys; centre device consisting of a golden sun surmounted by a red scroll bearing the motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold and with a blue imperial globe and a golden cross beneath.
Ordonnance Colour: field consisting of 3 rows of red and white squares in a checkerboard pattern; centre device consisting of a blue frame carrying three golden fleurs de lys surrounded by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a red and gold crown.
N.B.: Susane mentions that the ordonnance colours had four rows framing the centre device: the inner and outer rows being yellow and the two middle rows consisting of red and white squares in a checkerboard pattern.
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. 66-76
Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I, Musée de l'Armée, Paris
Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)
Mollo, John: Uniforms of the Seven Years War 1756-63
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
Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23
Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.