Origin and History
Up to the reign of Louis XIV, to the exception of the Gardes Suisses, no Swiss regiment had been maintained on a permanent basis in the French Army. They usually served for four years before being sent back home and replaced by new units. In 1671, Louis XIV charged Pierre Stuppa, a captain in his Gardes Suisses, to negotiate with the Swiss Cantons the creation and cession of four regiments. Contracts were signed on August 14 of the same year. The four regiment arrived in France at the beginning of 1672 and were admitted in the French service on February 17. The present regiment (12 companies of 200 men each) had been raised in Berne and was always composed of inhabitants of this city.
In 1672, at the beginning of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the new regiment immediately joined the Army of the Netherlands and took part in the siege of Nijmegen. In 1673, it was at the siege of Maastricht and in 1674, at the Battle of Seneffe. In 1675, it was transferred to Roussillon where it participated in the siege and capture of Bellegarde. In 1676, it garrisoned Bellegarde. In 1677, it took part in the Combat of Espouilles and in 1678, in the siege of Puigcerdà before returning to France.
In 1684, the regiment served at the siege of Luxembourg.
In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment returned to Roussillon. In 1689, it took part in the capture and defence of Campredon. In 1690, a detachment of grenadiers of the regiment defeated a party of migueletes near Loscot. In 1691, the entire regiment took part in the storming of Seu d’Urgell; in 1693, in the capture of Roses; in 1694, in the Battle of Torroella and in the sieges of Palamos, Girona, Ostalrich and Castelfollit. In 1695, one battalion occupied Ostalrich while the two others relieved Castelfollit. In 1697, the entire regiment took part in the siege of Barcelona.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment joined the Army of Flanders. In 1702, it took part in the combat of Nijmegen; in 1703, in the Battle of Ekeren; in 1704, in the campaign between the Rhine and the Moselle; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde and in the defence of Lille (only 1 bn); in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet; in 1712, in the defence of Arras, in the Battle of Denain, and in the sieges of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain; and in 1713, in the siege of Landau.
In 1715, the regiment was reduced from three to two battalions.
On November 10, 1733, at the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was re-established at three battalions, left his garrison place at Givet and joined the Army of the Rhine. In 1735, it took part in the Combat of Klausen.
On January 8, 1737, the regiment, then stationed in Metz, was once more reduced to two battalions.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially served at Dunkerque before being transferred to Douai. In 1743, it remained at Douai. On September 22 of the same year, it was increased to three battalions, the new battalion being stationed in Aire. In 1744, the entire regiment was sent to Courtrai but was later sent to Menin and Ypres. In 1745, one battalion remained in Maubeuge while the two others were sent to the siege of Tournai and then took part in the Battle of Fontenoy and in the sieges of Oudenarde, Ostend, Nieuport and Ath where they were rejoined bu the third battalion. In 1746, the regiment participated in the sieges of Bruxelles, Antwerp and Namur and in the Battle of Rocoux; in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld and in the conquest of Dutch Flanders. In this campaign, the regiment suffered heavy losses and was sent back to Normandie. In 1748, it campaigned on the coast of Bretagne. Two battalions remained at Landerneau till the end of the war while the 2nd Battalion was stationed at Bellisle.
In 1751, the regiment took the name of “Jenner”. In 1753, it took part in the training camp of Gray.
On the eve of the Seven Years’ War, the regiment counted three battalions and had prévôté (provostship).
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 49th and was under the command of:
- from July 23, 1751: Samuel de Jenner
- from February 21, 1762 to November 24, 1782: Abraham, Baron d'Erlach de Riggisberg
Service during the War
On April 1, 1756, the regiment was reduced once more to two battalions. In October, it was selected to form part of the 20 battalions that Louis XV planned to send to the relief of Austria.
In 1757, the regiment was sent to Germany. By August 1, it had joined Army of the Lower Rhine. It then took part in the conquest of Hanover. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Germany, in the first line of the French army at Essel, Bothmer and Schwarnstedt on the Aller River.
In February 1758, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his 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 first 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 stationed in Fischeln and Osterath near Krefeld. On May 31, when Ferdinand successfully crossed the Rhine with his army, the regiment had already left the Lower Rhine theatre of operation and was on its way to Hesse to reinforce Soubise's Army. By August 20, the regiment was still operating as part of an independent detachment with Reding Infanterie and Lochmann Infanterie under Lieutenant-Colonel La Chennelas.
At the end of May 1759, when the French Army of the Rhine launched its offensive in Western Germany, the regiment remained on the Rhine as part of the corps of the Marquis d'Armentières. It took part in the unsuccessful siege of Münster where its colonel was wounded and its lieutenant-colonel (La Chennelas) killed. By October 25, still attached to d'Armentières's Corps, the regiment was at the main camp at Bochum. Around December 29, an Allied party under Scheiter passed the Rhine and captured the baggage of the regiment.
By May 23 1760, the regiment was part of the Reserve of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of M. d'Auvet. On June 15, Saint-Germain had assembled the Army of the Lower Rhine near Düsseldorf, the regiment was part of d'Auvet's Division who was sent to the right bank of the Rhine along with his 2 artillery brigades and 15 pontoons. On July 4, still part of d'Auvet's Division, it reconnoitred the area of Arnsberg. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing. In this battle, Colonel Jenner was wounded once more. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Butzbach.
On July 16, 1761, the regiment was at the Battle of Vellinghausen and then formed part of a detachment who advanced into Hanover. After this expedition, it took up its winter-quarters at Geldern.
In 1762, the regiment left Geldern and returned to Strasbourg in France.
Uniform in 1756
The uniform of the regiment seems to have been slightly modified in 1758. Differences are noted in the following table.
|Coat||red lined blue with pewter buttons down to the pockets on the right side and blue trimmed buttonholes on the left side
|Waistcoat||blue edged white with white buttons and white brandebourgs (wide braids) down to the pockets (from 1758, the États Militaires described a garance red waistcoat laced white with blue brandebourgs down to the pockets)|
|Breeches||blue (around 1757, Taccoli illustrated red breeches)|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Sergeants have silver laces on their coat, waistcoat and cuffs.
No information available yet.
Uniform in 1762
The regiment changed uniforms at the end of the war. This change might have corresponded with the regiment becoming Erlach Infanterie in 1762. Here are illustrations of an officer, a drum major and a drummer from 1762 to 1782.
Colonel colour: (applies to Jenner as well as to d'Erlach) white field sown with golden fleurs de lys; centre device consisting of the crowned arms of France.
- Jenner: white cross; each canton consisted of 8 flames (4 pairs of red and yellow flames).
- d'Erlach: white cross; each canton consisted of 3 flames (red, white, black).
The 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 6, pp. 300-319
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)
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 - Sommaire des forces armées Françaises à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France - 1er Août 1757
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.