Surbeck Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised according to a warrant issued on 28 January 1677 during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), under the name of “Stuppa-Jeune”, in Marseille. It initially consisted of eight free companies for a total of 1,600 men and was immediately sent to Sicily to fight the Spaniards. The same year, it took part in the defence of Taormina. In 1678, it returned to France where it received four additional companies. Its twelve companies were then organised in three battalions. It was then sent to Flanders where it took part in the blockade of Mons and in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1679, the regiment garrisoned Rheims and Épernay; in 1680, the two first battalions were sent to Bayonne and the third to Montauban; in 1681, the two first battalions were sent to Pinerolo and occupied Casale while the third went to Ré Island.

In 1684, the entire regiment took part in the passage of the Ter, in the storming of Girona and in the investment of Cap de Quiers. It then returned to Roussillon. In 1686, it was transferred to Châlons, then to Arras, Le Quesnoy and Philippeville.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment occupied Bonn. In 1689, it fought in the Battle of Walcourt. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus. The same year, it was increased to four battalions. In 1691, a battalion served at the siege of Mons and the three other ones with the army of M. de Luxembourg. In 1692, the entire regiment covered the siege of Mons. On 3 August, it fought in the Battle of Steenkerque, where Colonel Stuppa was mortally wounded. On 16 October of the same year, Colonel Jean-Jacques de Surbeck replaced Stuppa at the head of the regiment. During the winter of 1692-93, it took part in the siege and capture of Furnes. In 1693, it took part in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi; in 1695, in the defence of La Knocque, in the bombardment of Bruxelles and in the siege of Dixmude. In 1696, the four battalions served on the Meuse. In 1697, they were at the siege of Ath.

In 1698, the fourth battalion of the regiment was disbanded and the other ones placed in Douai and Condé. In 1699, the regiment was at Lille and Menin.

In 1700, the regiment was stationed in Dunkerque and Furnes.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted 3 battalions.

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

  • from 16 October 1692: Colonel Jean-Jacques de Surbeck (died on 5 May 1714)
  • from 8 may 1714 to 17 May 1729: Colonel Jean-Jacques Hemel

Service during the War

In 1701, the regiment occupied Nieuport and Ostend in the Spanish Netherlands in the name of the new King of Spain, Philip V. A battalion was detached to Damm to repair fortifications. This battalion was decimated by fever. In the autumn, the regiment entered into Dunkerque and Berghes.

In 1702, a detachment of the regiment was taken prisoner at Middelburg. In March, the first battalion was sent to Ghent; the second to Damm and the third to Bruges. By 13 May, the first battalion had joined the third at Bruges. Together, they took part in the unsuccessful attack on the Fort of Kykuit near Holst, losing 120 men. Captain Summer and the sub-lieutenants Budé and Kremety were among the dead. The regiment then escorted a convoy destined to Boufflers’ Army between Breda and Herenthals. It completed the campaign in the Lines of Calloë and the Waas country. And took up its winter-quarters in Ghent.

On 1 February 1703, the regiment marched from Ghent towards Sedan. It was later transferred to Thionville and was then transported downstream to Trier. It took part in the relief of Trarbach and then went to Sarrelouis, then to Metz and Thionville. In May, the regiment was transferred to Alsace: its first battalion going to Strasbourg; its second and third being posted at Molsheim and Mützig on the Brusche. In June, the first battalion was transferred to Nancy. On its way, it intercepted a party of 1,200 Austrian hussars returning to Lauterbourg after a raid in the plain of Schlestadt. It attacked them at the bridge between Sultz-Baden and Castelberg and routed them, taking back their booty. In July, the first battalion was relocated in Strasbourg; the second, in Trier; and the third in Sarrelouis. In August, the entire regiment took part in the siege of Altbreisach which capitulated on 7 September. On 15 October, the entire regiment left the camp of Bionville near Metz and joined the troops which had undertaken the Siege of Landau where it suffered some losses. On 8 November, its three grenadier companies took part in the attack against the contre-gardes. Most officers were wounded; Captain de Gingins de Dorny and Lieutenant Fabricy were mortally wounded. On 15 November, the regiment took part in the Combat of Speyerbach where its brigade was placed between Du Roi Brigade and Royal Brigade. It was facing five large battalions which it charged so impetuously that they turned and took refuge behind the hedges of the village of Heiligenstein. In this charge, Lieutenant Watt was mortally wounded. On 16 November, while Landau capitulated, the regiment brought back the artillery captured at the Speyerbach to Germesheim. After the capitulation of Landau, the regiment returned to Flanders. By the end of November, it was at Sainte-Menehould.

On 5 January 1704, the regiment arrived at Tournai. At the end of February, it arrived at Courtrai. It then passed to Malines, joining the Army of Flanders. It later went to the camp of Tirlemont and then to the camp of Sint-Truiden (Saint-Trond). It finally went to Namur where it took its-winter-quarters.

On 15 April 1705, the regiment left Namur to join the Army of the Moselle under the command of Villars who sent reconnaissances towards Trier. On 15 May, Marlborough concentrated his forces around Trier. Villars advanced against him and took position between Luxembourg and Sarrelouis, where the regiment was posted. In the night of 15 to 16 June, Marlborough finally retired towards Flanders. Villars took advantage of the situation to extend his positions on the Sarre and towards Trier. He then sent troops to support Marsin on the Rhine. On 26 June, the regiment, being part of these reinforcements, left Sarrelouis and marched towards Woerth where it arrived on 3 July. On 4 July, it took part in the capture of Wissembourg and later in the siege of Homburg. On 27 July, Homburg capitulated. The regiment then returned to Alsace. By the end of November, it was at Toul where it took up its winter-quarters.

At the beginning of May 1706, the regiment accompanied Villars who launched an offensive against the Margrave of Baden, retaking Haguenau and breaking the blockade of Fort-Louis. On 16 May, Villars advanced on Speyer where he encamped on 20 May. When he heard of the defeat of Ramillies (23 may), Villars sent reinforcements to the Army of Flanders and adopted a defensive stance. On 27 June, the regiment left Speyer and took part in the construction of the Lines of the Lauter. On 13 September, the Allies passed the Rhine at Philippsburg, advanced up to Haguenau and took position in front of the defensive lines where they remained in observation till 15 November. When they retired, the regiment wintered in Wissembourg.

In 1707, the regiment returned to the Lines of the Lauter where it remained till 8 August. It then left for Provence, as part of Navarre Brigade, to relieve Toulon which was besieged by the Allies. However, this order was countermanded as they had reached Dôle when the news that the Allies had abandoned the siege of Toulon became known. The regiment then returned to the Lauter.

In April 1708, the regiment was sent to the Army of Flanders. On 7 July, the city of Ghent surrendered to the Duc de Bourgogne who encamped between Alost and Oordeghem while Marlborough took position nearby at Aasche. An Imperial army under the Prince Eugène de Savoie then effected a junction with Marlborough's Army. On 11 July, the regiment arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Oudenarde. On 12 July, it formed part of the rearguard who rejoined Lovendigem where the French army was rallying under the cover of the Canal of Bruges. During the siege of Lille by the Allies, the regiment was at the camp of Pottes in La Chartre's Corps. Lille surrendered on 23 October. In November, the Army of Flanders retired behind the canal leading from Bruges to Ghent and behind the Scheldt. The regiment was stationed at Rabot de la Lièvre near Ghent. At the beginning of December, it entered into Ghent which was soon invested by the Allies. On 30 December, Ghent capitulated but the garrison obtained to retire.

By 4 January 1709, the regiment was at Tournai. It then went to Namur where it remained till April. It was then transferred to the Lines of the Lauter in Alsace where it remained till 1710. Its first and second battalion were posted at Langschleithal and the its third at Oberbronn.

In 1710, the regiment spent the first months on the Lauter. In July, it was ordered to rejoin the Army of Flanders. However, as it arrived at Stenay, it was sent back to Longwy to oppose a corps threatening Champagne. It later joined the corps of the Chevalier de Luxembourg at Bouchain, it cantoned for a while in the vicinity of Arras and in November took up its winter-quarters in Namur.

In May 1711, the regiment was at the camp of Douzy, between Valenciennes and Bouchain, where it formed the Sury Brigade together with Brendlé Infanterie. On 23 July, the regiment distinguished itself at the combat of Arleux where it lost 27 grenadiers. It then went to Valenciennes.

In April 1712, the regiment retired on the Sensée. It then followed the movements of the Army of the Scheldt. On 24 July, the regiment took part in the victory of Denain where it played an important role, losing Captain Ployart, Lieutenants Kaibert and Peyer and more than 150 men dead or wounded on a total of 500 men lost by Villars during this engagement. The regiment then took part in the siege of Douai which capitulated on 8 September; in the siege of Le Quesnoy which surrendered on 4 October; and in the siege of Bouchain which surrendered on 18 October. The regiment then marched to Cambrai.

On 26 May 1713, the regiment left Cambrai for Metz. It took part in the siege of Kaiserlautern which capitulated; and, from 22 June, in the siege of Landau which surrendered on 8 August. The regiment then assumed garrison duty in Landau till June 1714.

In June 1714, the regiment returned to the Lines of the Lauter where it remained posted till the end of the war.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Funcken, Marbot, Hall
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced white with a black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat garance red with blue lining; pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps garance red fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with pewter buttons
Breeches blue
Stockings blue fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters none at the beginning of the war, white later
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Waistbelt natural leather (often whitened with pipe-clay) with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Footwear black shoes with a brass buckle


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Other interpretations

Funcken illustrates white trimmed buttonholes on the coat and white stockings.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

n/a

Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colours: a white cross; each canton with 9 alternating blue and yellow flames.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Gilbert Noury


References

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. 45-54

Other sources

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle, p. 55

Hall, Robert: Flags and Uniforms of the French Infantry under Louis XIV, 1688-1714

Lemau de la Jaisse, P.: Abregé de la Carte Générale du Militaire de France, Paris, 1734, p. 118

Marbot, Alfred de: L'Infanterie et de la Cavalerie Francaise et Regiments Etrangers, Paris 1854

Un régiment dans l'histoire, le 76ème de ligne ex 1er léger

Acknowledgement

Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article