Vermandois Infanterie

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

Origin and History

The regiment was created on 24 December 1669 for service at sea under the name of “Régiment de l'Amirauté” which was soon afterwards changed to “Régiment de l'Admiral de France”, in honour of the young Comte de Vermandois, son of Louis XIV and of Mademoiselle de La Vallière.

In August 1670, a detachment of the regiment embarked at Brest for service with Duquesne's Fleet in an expedition to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands. In March 1671, that fleet returned to Brest. The regiment abandoned service at sea and joined the army at Amiens, taking the name of the Province of Vermandois which it retained throughout the Ancien Régime. It garrisoned Guise during the following winter.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the regiment took part in the sieges of Orsoy and Rheinberg, in the passage of the Rhine, and in the capture of Doesbourg, Deventer and Utrecht. It then garrisoned Kampen until June 1673, then taking part in the siege of Maastricht and in the defence of Bonn. In 1674, the regiment served in Flanders under the Prince de Condé and fought in the Battle of Seneffe and took part in the affairs of Ensheim and Mulhausen. In 1675, it took part in the Combat of Turckeim, in the capture of Colmar, in the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg, in the disastrous combat of Consaarbrück; in 1676, in the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire, in the relief of Maastricht and in the Combat of Kokersberg; in 1677, in the capture of Freiburg; in 1678, in the sieges of Ghent and Ypres; and in 1679, in the Combat of Minden.

In 1684, the regiment took part in the siege of Luxembourg.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege of Philisbourg. It remained in Germany until 1690 when it was transferred to Flanders. On 1 July, it fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, the regiment took part in the siege of Mons and in the campaign on the Moselle; 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 and in the siege of Charleroi; in 1694, in the march to Espierres; in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles; and in 1697, in the siege of Ath.

In 1698, the regiment took part in the training camp of Compiégne.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted a single battalion but was soon increased to two battalions in February 1701.

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

  • since 5 May 1696: Antoine de la Vove, Marquis de Tourouvre
  • from January 1706: N. De la Vove, Chevalier de Tourouvre
  • from 27 July 1709 until 26 August 1733: François-Lazare Thomassin, Marquis de Saint-Paul

In 1715, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion as before the war.

Service during the War

In 1701, the two battalions of the regiment were sent to the Spanish Netherlands and occupied Namur for Philip V. By July, the regiment was attached to Rosen's Army. By 3 October, it belonged to d'Artaignan's Corps and was posted along the Line of Aarschot. It took up its winter-quarters at Saint-Trond.

At the end of April 1702, the regiment passed the Rhine. By 3 June, it was brigaded with Crussol Infanterie under M. de Bligny. In September, it set off from Strasbourg under the command of Villars and marched to Huningue. On 14 October, it fought in the Battle of Friedlingen along with Bourbonnais Infanterie.

In February and March 1703, the regiment took part in the Siege of Kehl. On 6 March, it distinguished itself along with Navarre Infanterie in an assault where they stormed all entrenchments and took position on the breach. Shortly afterwards, the regiment followed Villars in his march towards Bavaria. It took part in the attack on the entrenchments of the Hornberg Valley and in the Combat of Munderkirchen. On 20 September, it fought in the Battle of Höchstädt. It later contributed to the capture of Augsburg and took its winter-quarters at Neuburg.

On 13 August 1704, the regiment took part in the disastrous |Battle of Blenheim where it was attached to Marsin's Corps. The much weakened regiment then retreated to France where it participated in the defence of Landau. It was the most senior unit of the garrison of Landau (12 weak bns) which also included Toulouse, Angoumois, Beaufermé, Hessy-suisse, Ponthieu, Agénois, Savigny and Castelet. On 21 September, Grenadier Captain Saint-Ville of the regiment led a sortie. On 17 October around 7:00 p.m, 400 Imperialists launched an assault against the parade located behind the lunette of the France Gate, which was already in their possession, placing gabions on both faces. The two grenadier companies of the regiment rushed to the spot and valiantly attacked, killing 300 men. On the night of 24 to 25 October, the Imperialists managed to blow up that parade but Captain Saint-Ville prevented them from establishing a lodgement. On 30 October, the Imperialists blew up a mine a the salient angle of the left counter-guard, killing 1 lieutenant and 11 grenadiers of the regiment; the rest wounded retired and the Imperialists finally established a lodgement. On 20 November, a grenade blew up the powder magazine of the left counter-guard; its explosion burying about 100 men, including Lieutenant-Colonel des Arennes of the regiment who managed to retire despite his severe wounds. On 24 November, Landau capitulated. When it left Landau, the regiment retired to Strasbourg.

In 1705, the regiment served on the Rhine. Lieutenant-Colonel de Nocey at the head of 300 men made himself master of the Castle of Werth and demolished it. The regiment also took part in an attack against the entrenchments of Field-Marshal Thüngen in front of Lauterbourg,

At the beginning of 1706, the regiment was occupying Rheinzabern. It took part in the relief of Fort-Louis and in the capture of Drusenheim. On 2 July, when it became known that an Imperialist corps was marching upstream along the Rhine, the regiment was thrown into Lauterbourg. Later on, it contributed to an expedition against the Marquisat Island.

In 1707, the regiment participated in Villars' raids in Swabia and Franconia.

In 1708, the regiment remained on the defensive along the Rhine.

In 1709, the regiment was transferred to Dauphiné.

At the end of 1710, the regiment was sent to Spain under the command of the Duc de Noailles. It then took part in the siege of Girona.

In 1711 and 1712, the regiment campaigned in the Alps.

In 1713, the regiment rejoined the Army of the Rhine and took part in the capture of Landau and Freiburg.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1710 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Lemau de la Jaisse, Susane, Lienhart & Humbert, Funcken
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced gold with a white or a black cockade
Grenadier black tricorne laced gold with a white or a black cockade
Neck stock white
Coat grey-white lined red; yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
grey-white fastened with a yellow button
Lapels none
Pockets vertical double pockets, each single pocket with 6 yellow buttons arranged 2-2-2
Cuffs red, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue (red as per Funcken) with yellow buttons
Breeches white
Stockings white 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

Marbot shows a totally different uniform for the period from 1720 to 1734: grey-white coat with yellow buttons and blue cuffs; double vertical pockets, each single pocket with 6 yellow buttons; grey-white waistcoat with yellow buttons.

NCOs

n/a

Officers

n/a

Musicians

Drummer wearing the Royal Livery - Source: adapted from Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

French Royal Livery - Source: reconstruction based on a sample from Jean-Louis Vial's collection


Colours

Colonel Colour: white field with a white cross.

Ordonnance Colour: a white cross with yellow, red, green and violet cantons. Ordonnance flags remained unchanged from 1669 to 1791.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Ordonnance Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

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 6, pp. 108-116, 122-123

Other sources

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. 114

Lienhart, Constant; Humbert, René: Les Uniformes de l'Armée Française de 1690 à 1894, Vol. III, Leipzig 1899 – 1902

Marbot, Alfred de and E. Dunoyer de Noirmont: ‎Les uniformes de l'armée française, T1 "1439 à 1789"‎

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