Royal-Allemand Cavalerie

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Origin and History

Trooper of Royal-Allemand Cavalerie in 1750 - Courtesy of The New York Public Library

The regiment entered the French service in 1639 after the death of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, it initially consisted of two squadrons. The regiment was reconstituted on August 10, 1671 by the Count of Königsmark. Originally German, it later recruited in the German speaking provinces of France and in the Palatinate.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment took part in the conquest of Holland. In 1673, it was attached to the troops of the Elector of Brandenburg. In 1674, it took part in the in the Battle of Seneffe.

In 1682, the regiment was transferred from Cambrai to the Province of Dauphiné.

On 15 November 1688, the regiment took the name of “Royal-Allemand”.

From 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment campaigned in Flanders.

In 1698, the regiment garrisoned Valenciennes.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment served once more in Flanders. In 1702, it took part in the engagement near Nijmegen; and in 1703, in the Battle of Ekeren. In 1704, it was split into two distinct detachments: a few companies remained in Flanders where they would serve until the end of the war, while most companies were sent to the Moselle and the Rhine. In 1706, most of the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies; in 1707, in the capture of the Lines of Stollhofen and in the occupation of Mannheim; and in 1709, in the Combat of Rumersheim. In 1710, the regiment was stationed in the vicinity of Metz. In 1711,it operated on the Sarre and on the Rhine. In 1712, it campaigned in the Low Countries. In 1713, the companies left behind in Flanders in 1704 rejoined the regiment which took part in the capture of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1719 and in 1727, the regiment was at the training camp of Stenay.

In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment took part in the siege of Kehl. In 1734, it raised contributions in Württemberg and was present at the siege of Philippsburg. It the occupied Offenburg and remained on the Rhine till the end of the war.

In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was allocated to the Army of Bohemia and took part in the invasion of this country, in the sieges of Prague and Thein and in the affairs of Sahay and Fraüenberg. On June 27, 1743, it took part in the Battle of Dettingen; in 1744, in the recapture Wissembourg and of the Lines of the Lauter, and in the combats of Suffelsheim and Augenheim. It was then sent to Bavaria where it took up its winter-quarters. In 1745, it was at the camp of and then returned to France. In 1747, it took part in the Battle of Lauffeld; and in 1748, in the siege of Maastricht.

In 1750, the regiment was stationed at Saint-Avold; in 1751, at Huningue; in 1752, at Revel; and in 1755, at the camp of Richemont, before being redirected to Sarralbe.

In 1756, the regiment counted two squadron.

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

  • from March 12, 1746 until March 24, 1772: Charles-Auguste-Frédéric-Louis Prince of Holstein-Beck

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

  • from 1746 to 1770: Maximilien Baron de 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 was initially sent to Landau, and then to Neuss. It soon 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.

By February 1761, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine, under Broglie. It formed part of cordon of troops deployed from Frankfurt to Hanau. On March 21, the regiment took part in the Engagement of Grünberg. By mid-April, it was in the region of Trebur, Wiesbaden, Bingen and Ellfeld.

For the campaign of 1762, the regiment was once more allocated to the Army of the Upper Rhine. By June 21, it formed part of Prince Xavier's Corps. By mid-July, it was deployed between Waldau and Dörnhagen. On November 20, when Louis XV issued his instructions regarding the French armies serving in Germany, specifying which units should return to France right away and which should stay in Germany till the final evacuation, the regiment was among those remaining in Germany..

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1753 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1759 - Copyright Kronoskaf
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

Standards (in 1753)

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Royal regiments carried two distinct models of standards.

The model illustrated hereafter was carried by the regiments Royal, Royal-Étranger, Royal-Roussillon, Royal-Allemand and Royal-Carabiniers.



Regimental standards (4 silken standards with similar obverse and reverse): blue field with borders embroidered and fringed in gold and silver; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR”; a golden fleur de lys embroidered in each corner.

Tentative Reconstruction
Royal Cavalry Regimental Standard – Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

The article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de la cavalerie française, Vol. 2, J. Hetzel et Cie, Paris, 1874, pp. 101-107
  • 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 which 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.