Courten Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Courten Infanterie

Origin and History

This Swiss regiment of 12 companies was raised on 6 February 1690 by Jean-Etienne de Courten, formerly captain in the Gardes Suisses in the Canton of Valais. It has always been exclusively formed of soldiers from this canton.

In 1691, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the campaign in Flanders; in 1692, in the capture of Namur, in the Battle of Steenkerque and in the bombardment of Charleroi; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen; in 1694, in the march on Wignamont; in 1695, in the sieges of Dixmude and Deynse and in the defence of Namur.

On 18 January 1698, the regiment incorporated part of the men of the disbanded Monnin Infanterie.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted three battalions.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from 6 February 1690 to 14 March 1723: Jean-Etienne de Courten (promoted to brigadier in 1696; to maréchal de camp, in 1704; and to lieutenant-general, in 1721)

In 1715, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment returned to the Spanish Netherlands and occupied Venlo and Roermond for King Philip V of Spain.

On 30 June 1703, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ekeren where it distinguished itself. In this battle, it lost Captain d'Aulbonne and a 15 years old boy, Louis- François de Courten, son of the colonel, killed; and Lieutenant-Colonel, Melchior de Courten, severely wounded. At the end of the campaign, the regiment was sent to Languedoc where it remained for two years, fighting the Camisards. In 1704, it contributed to the dispersion of the band of Ravenel, killing some 200 men of this band near Massane.

In February 1706, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia, forcing the Pass of Bellegarde. From 8 to 15 February, it sustained furious combats near Bascara. In March, it made an expedition against the insurgents of the Lampourdan and contributed to the capture of Figuières. The three battalions of the regiment took part in the siege of Barcelona.

In 1707, the regiment contributed to the capture of Puigcerdà and Belver. It was then placed in garrison in Belver and destroyed several neighbouring forts which hindered the communications of the French army.

In 1708, the regiment began the campaign in Roussillon, under M. de Noailles. It then repassed the Pyrenees for the siege of Tortosa and marched to the relief of Roses, where part of the regiment managed to enter into the place despite the blockade.

In 1709, the regiment remained in Roussillon.

In 1710, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Girona where Captain Monnin was killed.

In January 1711, the regiment was then assigned to the garrison of Girona where it was blocked for seven months. At the end of the campaign it was sent to Var in France.

In 1712 and 1713, the regiment once more served in Roussillon.

In 1714, the regiment took part in the siege of Barcelona where it immediately distinguished itself the day after the opening of the trench when it drove back a sortie along with Normandie Infanterie and Artois Infanterie. It lost a lieutenant, killed in this engagement. The regiment distinguished itself once more during the general assault on Barcelona.

In 1715, the regiment formed part of the force under M. d'Asfeld which submitted in the Island of Majorca after the capture of Alcudia and Palma.


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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. 172-175