Duras Cavalerie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was probably raised on 1 October 1682 by the Marquis de Tallard. A free company, maybe of German origin, served as the kernel of the new regiment.

In 1683, the regiment took part in the sieges of Courtrai and Dixmude; and in 1684, in the siege of Luxembourg. In 1685, it was at the camp of the Saône.

On 26 September 1685, the regiment was disbanded with the exception of its mestre de camp company. In 1688, this company became the property of the Duc de Duras.

In December 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was re-established at its full strength. The same year, it took part in the siege of Philippsburg. It then campaigned in Germany and Flanders till the end of the war.

At the death of the Duc de Duras in 1697, the regiment became the property of his brother, Jean-Baptiste de Durfort, Duc de Duras.

In 1698, the regiment was at the camp of Compiègne.

On the eve of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment consisted of two squadrons.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive Mestres de Camp commanding the regiment were:

  • from 18 October 1697: Jean-Baptiste de Durfort, Duc de Duras
  • from 1710 to April 1723: Louis d'Aumont, Marquis de Villequier

Service during the War

In March 1701, the regiment was part of the troops stationed in Upper Guelderland. In July, the regiment was serving in the army of the Maréchal de Boufflers. At the beginning of October, it was posted in Roermond. At the end of December, it took up its winter-quarters in Upper Guelderland.

By 22 April 1702, the regiment formed part of the army stationed in Upper Guelderland, under the Maréchal de Boufflers. On 11 June, the regiment was at the engagement near Nijmegen, where it capture a Dutch standard. By 10 September, at the camp of Beringen near Limbourg, the two squadrons of the regiment numbered 180 men. In December, one squadron took its winter-quarters in Dunkerque, the other in Bergue.

In May 1703, the regiment formed part of the field army in the Low Countries. On 30 June, the regiment was present at the Battle of Ekeren.

At the end of February 1704, the regiment was ordered to take position at Namur. By 23 May 1704, the regiment formed part of the Army of Brabant, which was encamped near Saint-Trond (aka Sint-Truiden)

In 1704, the regiment took part in a skirmish near Lichtenau.

In 1705, the regiment took part in the attack of the Lines of the Lauter.

In 1706, the regiment took part in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the capture of the Marquisat Island.

In 1707, the regiment took part in the attack on the Lines of Stollhofen, and took part in the capture of Pforzheim, Winhig, Schorndorf. It was present at the combat of Lork and participated in the conquest of Schwäbisch Gmünd, in the combat of Seckingen, and in the capture of Laufen and Mannheim.

In 1708, the regiment was transferred to Flanders. On 11 July, it took part in the Battle of Oudenarde, where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing.

In 1709, the regiment took part in the siege of Warneton. On 11 September, it fought in the Battle of Malplaquet.

From 1710, the regiment continued to serve in Flanders under the name of Villequier until the end of the war.

Uniform

The uniform of the regiment seems to have been quite unusual for a French regiment. The coat is described with small lapels, a large white collar with another smaller red collar superposed over it, sleeves à l'allemande, and large Strasbourg buttons. Furthermore the leather jerkin was bordered with a black braid. All these characteristics point to a German origin for this regiment, maybe the free company which had served as kernel for the regiment in 1682 was of German origin.

Standards

Regimental standards (silken standards): isabelle (coffee) field with a black border, embroidered and fringed in gold; centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”.

References

This 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. 129-138
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 337-338

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.