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Origin and History
The creation of the unit dates back to March 1 1574 when the Bandes de Normandie were formed from the Vieilles bandes française.
On 15 August 1615, the regiment was raised mainly from the Bandes de Normandie garrisoning in Amiens by Concini, Maréchal d'Ancre. It inherited its seniority from these bands. On 29 October, it took part in the capture of Clermont-sur-Oise.
In April 1617, after the assasination of Concini, his son was banished. Since he commanded the regiment, the unit was left without an owner. On 16 May, the regiment was then given to M. de Cadenet, the Connétable de Luynes' brother, and received the name of the Province of Normandie. It then served at the siege of Soissons.
At the beginning of the Huguenot rebellions (1620–1628), in 1620, the regiment accompanied the king in his expeditions in the western provinces of France. It was at the attack of the Castle of Pont de Cé. In 1621, it took part in the sieges of Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Clérac, Montauban and Monheurt; in 1622, in the expedition on Riez Island, in the action in front of Sainte-Foy, in the storming of Négrepelisse, and in the siege of Saint-Antonin. The regiment then returned to Languedoc where it was at the captures of Bédarieux, Massillargues, Lunel, Sommières et Montpellier. In 1624, ten companies of the regiment left Montpellier to join the army preparing to march into Piémont. Plans were changed and this army was sent to Valtellina where these companies of the regiment took part in the captures of Tirano, Sondrio, Morbegno, Traona and Dubino. In 1625, these same companies took part in the captures of Chiapino, Bormio, Chiavenna, Corcino and Traona; while the rest of the regiment was at the capture of Bonnac, at the sieges of Saint-Paul and Lamiatte. In 1627, the regiment was posted at Montpellier. In december, a detachment contributed to the capture of Corconne.
During the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–31), on 1 Jnanuary 1628, ten companies of the regiment, under the Prince de Condé captured the Castle of Vauvers and, a few days later, prevented the fall of Montpellier. In March, they were at the siege of Pamiers; in April, at the capture of Réalmont; in May, at the captures of Saint-Sever, Castelnau and Brassac and at the assaults on Sainte-Affrique. Later the same year, the regiment took part in the sieges of Mazamet and Saint-Amand and then returned to Montpellier. In 1629, the regiment took part in the captures of Soyon and Privas, and in the siege of Alais. In 1630, it was transferred to Piémont and was at the combats of Veillane and Pont de Carignan. In 1631, it returned to France where it initially served in Provence, taking part in the captures of Brégançon and Saint-Tropez, and was later transferred to Lorraine where it captured Moyenvic in December.
In 1632, the regiment was attached to the army of Maréchal de La Force, opposed to Monsieur's army in Languedoc. In 1633, the regiment was back to Lorraine where it took part in the capture of Freidembourg and in the siege of Nancy. In 1634, the regiment took part in the capture of La Mothe and then garrisoned Colmar and other places in Upper Alsace.
At the beginning of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), in 1635, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Spires, in the defence of Colmar, and in the siege of the Castle of Moyen; in 1636, in the relief of Ensisheim, in the storming of Turckheim, in a raid on Ruffach, in the storming of Oberhenheim and in the combat of Mont-Saugeon; in 1637, in the campaign in Franche-Comté, in the stormings of Saint-Amour and of the Castle of Chevreaux, in the siege of Lons-le-Saulnier, in the captures of the Castle of Crèvecoeur, of the Castle of Chailly, of Savigny, Château-Châlons, Saint-Laurent de la Roche, in the siege of Bletterans; in 1638, in the sieges of Chossin and Raon, in the storming of the entrenchments of Poligny, in the siege and capture of Poligny, in the capture of Arbois, and in the storming of Blamont. In 1639, the regiment was sent to Roussillon where it took part in the siege and capture of Salces, in the capture of Tautavel, in the relief of Salces where it suffered heavy losses. The regiment was then sent to Languedoc to replenish its ranks. In 1640, it was sent to Piémont as reinforcement. It distinguished itself on 14 September in the combat of Turin. The city surrendered on 19 September. In 1641, the regiment took part in the sieges of Ivrea and Coni; in 1642, in the sieges of Nice and of the Castle of Tortone; in 1643, in the sieges of Trino and Asti; in 1644, in the capture of Santia. In 1645, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia and took part in the siege of Roses. In 1646, it returned to Piémont before sailing to Tuscany where it took part in the capture of Fort San Stefano and in the unsuccessful siege of Orbitello. It then returned to Piémont where it fought in a combat near Alessandria. In 1647, it took part in the siege of Cremona; in 1648, in a new siege of Orbitello, in the capture of Procida Island and in the storming of Salerno; in 1649 and 1650, in the campaign in Italy. In 1651, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia. In 1652, it took part in the defence of Barcelona. In 1653, the regiment was recalled to Guyenne to contain the Fronde Rebellion, capturing the Castle of Lormont near Bordeaux and taking part in the capture of Libourne. In 1654, it returned to Catalonia and took part in the sieges of Villafranca and Puigcerdà and in the relief of Roses; in 1655, in the captures of Cap de Quiers and Castillon; in 1657, in the capture of the Castle of Boraçan. Transferred to Italy, the regiment took part in the siege of Alessandria. In 1658, it was at the capture of Mortare. In 1659, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees, it was stationed in Perpignan.
In 1661, the regiment was reduced to 20 companies but rapidly re-established to 40 companies in 1663.
In 1664, the 10 oldest companies of the regiment took part in the expedition of Djijelli.
During the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment campaigned in Flanders, taking part in the sieges of Berghes, Furnes, Courtrai and Oudenaarde.
At then outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), in 1672, the regiment was at the camp of Dunkerque. It immediately joined Turenne's army, passed the Rhine, took part in the capture of Zutphen and then garrisoned Emmerich. Its first battalion took part in the storming of the entrenchments of Wörden. The entire regiment participated in the raid in Holland. In 1674, part of the regiment was at the defence of Grave. In 1675, it recovered at Oudenaarde and Trier. In 1676, 6 companies of the regiment were at the defence of Philippsburg while the regiment took part in the siege of Bouchain. In 1677, the regiment took part in the siege of Fribourg; in 1678, in the affairs of Seckingen, Kohl and Lichtemberg.
In 1684, the regiment took part in the siege of Luxembourg.
At the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), in 1688, the regiment took part in the siege of Philippsburg. In 1689, the first battalion defended Saarlouis and the second, Luxembourg. In 1690, the regiment campaigned in Germany. In 1691, it took part in the capture of Achdesheim near Mainz; in 1692, in the defence of Worms and in the siege of Rheinfeld (it was increased to three battalions during the same year); in 1693, in the siege of Heidelberg and in the attack on Wingemberg. It was then stationed in Strasbourg till the end of the war. In 1695, one of its battalion was at the defence of Namur.
Normandie was among the six French regiments known as "Vieux Corps".
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:
- since 1 March 1700 till February 1713: Anne-Auguste de Montmorency, Comte d'Esterre
Service during the War
At the outbreak of the war, in 1701, the regiment was still stationed in Strasbourg. It was ordered to march to Italy to join Catinat's army. On 1 September, its three battalions took part in the Battle of Chiari where they lost 63 officers and more than 500 soldiers dead or wounded (including captains Pont-Louis, de Béron, Darmival, Lacombe and Griaudière killed in action).
In 1702, the regiment had to guard the banks of the Secchia River. On 26 July, it was at the combat of Santa Vittoria. On 15 August, it arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Luzzara but served in the captures of Luzzara, Guastalla and Borgoforte.
At the beginning of the campaign of 1703, the regiment was attached to the corps under the command of the Prince Charles of Vaudémont. It took part in the blockade of Bersello where the grenadier company of Captain Dupont distinguished itself by dislodging 100 men from a mill which it occupied. Soon afterwards, the regiment joined the main army, fought at Stradella where Starhemberg was defeated and at Castelnuovo de Bormia before accompanying Vendôme in his expedition against Trento. In September, the regiment, posted on the Secchia, route an Imperialist detachment who had passed the river to make a surprise attack.
In 1704, the regiment opened the campaign by the capture of Robbio where it lost only one drummer, killed by mistake while he was beating the drum to invite the commander of the place to surrender. The regiment then took part in the capture of Rosasco. During the siege of Vercelli, on 16 July, while the regiment assumed guard duty, it lost 1 lieutenant and 2 sub-lieutenants killed and Captain Marignac and Aide-Major de Laussicourt wounded. After the capture of Vercelli, the regiment took part in the sieges of Ivrea and Vérue. The latter lasting until April 1705.
On 1 March 1705, during the siege of Vérue, the regiment took part in the attack on Fort de l'Ile. It then participated in the siege of Chivasson where it lost 2 officers, 14 sergeants and more than 80 soldiers. This laborious campaign ended with the Battle of Cassano and the capture of Soncino.
On 19 April 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Calcinato. On 2 June, it opened the trenches in front of Turin. On 27 August, the grenadiers of the regiment distinguished themselves when the garrison tried to recapture the counterguard of the demi-lune where the French had started to make a lodgment. The grenadiers were posted in front of the breach, in the ditch of the demi-lune. As soon as the enemy debouched, the grenadiers attacked them at the point of the bayonet, ignoring their overwhelming superiority. They finally had to cede in front of such a large force and retired, leaving 1 captain and 99 grenadiers in the ditch. On 7 September, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Turin where it lost captains Charvagnal, Saint-George and Montalembert and several other officers. The regiment, now reduced to only 805 men retired to Pinerolo.
In 1707, the regiment served with the Army of Spain under the Duc d'Orléans and took part in the Siege of Lérida.
In 1708, still serving in Spain, the regiment took part in the siege of Tortosa where it lost only one lieutenant wounded. It then participated in the capture of Pons and Olot and in the attack of the bridge of Montanana where its three grenadier companies stormed the entrenched house defending the bridge. The regiment then took part in the siege of the Castle of Vénasque where it losts lieutenants Cambaressous and La Ferronière.
In July 1709, the regiment recrossed the Pyrenees and was stationed in Roussillon. On 2 September, it took part in the combat of Ter where General Frankenberg was defeated and captured. For the rest of the year, the regiment was used with Artois Infanterie and La Couronne Infanterie to hunt down parties of migueletes. Colonel Comte d'Esterre was lightly wounded in a combat near Olot.
In 1710, the regiment was initially attached to the Army of Dauphiné under Berwick. When a British force landed on the coasts of Languedoc, the regiment rushed to the coasts, driving the British out of Agde and Sète. Afterwards, the regiment returned to Catalonia for the siege of Girona. During an assault, Captain de Montalembert at the head of 15 men dashed forward into a breach and fell so suddenly on the enemy that 150 men surrendered.
On 4 January 1711, Girona, to the exception of its citadel, surrendered and the regiment assumed garrison duty in the place. On 22 January, it almost annihilated a Neapolitan regiment who wanted to forced its way to the citadel still in the hands of the Allies. After the complete surrender of Girona, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Olot.
In the Spring of 1712, the regiment marched from Olot and joined the army after a very difficult march where it was continuously harassed by migueletes. It then defeated a Spanish corps entrenched on the Sègre and took part in the siege of Vénasque where Captain de Samières at the head of 2 coys distinguished himself at the capture of a mill, defending the passage of the adjoining bridge for more than two hours.
In 1713, the regiment took part in the blockade and then, from 25 July 1713 to 11 September 1714, in the siege of Barcelona. During this siege, it lost captains de Roye, Duquesnoy, Bailleux, La Brousse and La Chassagne; and had to replenish it grenadier coys several times.
|Coat||grey-white with pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||grey-white with pewter buttons|
|Stockings||white fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap|
|Gaiters||none at the beginning of the war, white later|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.
Funcken illustrates the following differences (in 1720)
- a red waistcoat edged with a white braid and with white buttonholes
- red breeches
Sergeants wore a uniform similar to those of the privates but were distinguised by:
- a black collar
- black cuffs
Officers wore a uniform similar to those of the privates but were distinguised by:
- a black collar
- black cuffs
The drummers of the regiment wore the Royal Livery: blue coat lined red; red cuffs, waistcoat and breeches; laced with the braid of the small Royal Livery.
Please note that in the accompanying illustration, the drummer carries a drum at the arms of Navarre. The drum barrel should be royal blue decorated with golden fleurs de lys.
Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.
Ordonnance Colour: yellow field with a white cross. These ordonnance colours remained unchanged from 1616 to 1791.
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 3, pp. 176-216, 228
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle, p. 55
Lemau de la Jaisse, P.: Abregé de la Carte Générale du Militaire de France, Paris, 1734, p. 104
Lienhart, Constant; Humbert, René: Les Uniformes de l'Armée Française de 1690 à 1894, Vol. III, Leipzig 1899 - 1902