Reais Suiços Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War >> Armies >> Portuguese Army >> Reais Suiços Infantry

Origin and History

This Swiss regiment was raised by the Count of Lippe-Bückeburg on June 12 1762. It counted 2 battalions of 809 men, 4 companies of Swiss troops and 4 other companies for a total of 1618 men. More precisely it consisted of:

  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 sergeant-major
  • 1 quartermaster
  • 1 auditor of great provost
  • 1 adjutant
  • 1 chaplain
  • 1 surgeon-major
  • 1 drum-major
  • 4 Swiss companies, each consisting of 200 men, including:
    • 1 captain-lieutenant
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 second-lieutenant
    • 1 alferes (flag-bearer)
    • 4 sergeants
    • 1 quartermaster
    • 1 ensign
    • 1 captain of arms
    • 1 ordinary provost
    • 1 secretary
    • 1 surgeon
    • 6 primeira cabos de esquadra
    • 6 cabos de fila
    • 4 servants for the captain
    • 4 drummers
    • 1 fifer
  • 4 other companies similarly structured

Enlistment was done for a period of 6 years and the soldiers could not be required to serve at sea. Half the soldiers had to be Swiss while the other half could be made up of Germans and Hungarians. The Portuguese government paid the sum of 2,960,000 reis for the raising, arms and equipment of these two battalions. Colonels were paying for their officers. Each soldier earned 4,537 reis per months with and a daily ration of bread.

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

  • 1st Battalion
    • from June 28 1762: Colonel Gabriel Thorman
  • 2nd Battalion
    • from June 28 1762: Colonel Marcus Saussure

On June 22 1763, Colonel Marcus Saussure, who had deserted, was sentenced to death by hanging. Colonel Gabriel Thorman was condemned too. He was accused to have oppressed and extorted the officers and soldiers of his regiment and to have kept for his personal use the sums received to recruit, dress, arm and pay his troops. Thorman seems to have been freed from this condemnation and to have later deserted.

On September 17 1763, the regiment was disbanded and a new Swiss regiment, called the Reais Estrangeiros (Royal Foreigners), raised.

Service during the War

On October 12 1762, Auditor-General Miguel de Arriaga wrote to the Count of Oeiras, and sent him, among others, these complaints by the marshal (probably the Count of Lippe-Bückeburg), that "our army so he was under the gun with 3,020 soldiers, the Armada and Swiss regiments have not appeared nor the small pieces with which they defended the mountains, and, finally, that success depended on the hand of God, but that he would exhaust all their efforts."



no information available yet

Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet.


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The exact pattern of the Portuguese colonel colours during the Seven Years' War is unknown.

The ordonnance colours were chosen by the colonel of the regiment. For the moment, we have found no source depicting specific colours for this regiment.

Please refer to our article on the Portuguese Line Infantry Colours for more information.


Amaral, Manuel, O Exértico Português em finais do Antiguo Regime

Kirby, Mike, The Portuguese Army - Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3

Ribeiro Rodrigues, Manuel A.; 300 Anos de Uniformes Militares do Exército de Portugal 1660-1960, Exército Portugués and Sociedade Historica da Independéncia de Portugal, 1998


Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues and Joseph O'Neill for the initial version of this article.