Cuirassiers du Roy

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Origin and History

Cuirassiers du Roy after the reorganisation of 1761 - Source: Raspe 1762 from User:Zahn's collection

The regiment was originally raised on January 24, 1638 by Charles Marquis d'Aumont, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). As soon as 1656, the regiment was designated as the "Cuirassiers du Roy".

In 1638, the newly raised regiment took part in the siege of Saint-Omer; in 1639, in the siege of Hesdin; in 1640, in the siege of Arras and in the combat of Bapaume; in 1641, in the siege of Aire and Bapaume; in 1643, in the Battle of Rocroi and in the capture of Thionville. At the end of 1643, it was sent to Poitou to quench some troubles. In 1644, it was sent to the Rhine and was at the sieges of Freiburg, Speyer, Philippsburg and Landau.

In 1645, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635-59), the regiment took part in the capture of Cassel, Mardyk, Lencke, Bourbourg, Menin, Béthune and Saint-Venant; in 1645, in the sieges of Courtrai, Bergues and Dunkerque; in 1647, in the sieges of Lens and La Bassée; and in 1648, in the sieges of Arras and Ypres, and in the Battle of Lens.

In 1649, during the Troubles of the Fronde (1648-53), the regiment took part in the blockade of Paris, in the combat of Charenton, and in the sieges of Cambrai and Condé; and in 1650, in the relief of Guise and Mouzon, and in the Battle of Rethel.

In 1651 and 1652, the regiment garrisoned Boulogne. In 1653, it was at the siege of Saint-Ménehould.

In 1654, the regiment took part in the siege of Stenay and Arras; in 1655, in the capture of Landrecies, Condé and Saint-Ghislain; in 1656, in the relief of Valenciennes; and in 1657, in the siege of Montmédy. In 1658, it was at the siege of Dunkerque and at the Battle of the Dunes.

On April 18, 1661, the regiment was reduced to a single company.

On December 2, 1665, the “Cuirassiers du Roy” were re-established as a full-strength regiment.. It was the sole French cavalry regiment to wear the full cuirass over the coat.

In 1666, the regiment was at the camp of Compiègne.

In 1667, at the outbreak of the War of Devolution (1667-68), the regiment took part in the conquest of various places in Flanders; and in 1668, in the conquest of Franche-Comté. At the end of the war, it occupied Lille and Courtrai and was reduced one more time to a single company.

In February 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment was re-established to six companies. In 1672, it took part in the passage of the Rhine at Tholhuys, in the capture of Orsoy and Rheinberg; in 1673, in the siege of Maastricht; and in 1674, in the Battle of Seneffe, where it distinguished itself. In 1675, the regiment covered the sieges of Dinant, Huy and Limbourg; in 1676, the sieges of Condé, Bouchain and Aire. In 1677, it was at the capture of Valenciennes, at the Battle of Cassel and at the capitulation of Saint-Omer and Cambrai. In 1678, it served before Ghent and Ypres and fought in the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1680, the regiment was at the camp of Artois; in 1681 and 1682, in Lower Alsace. In 1683 it was at the camp of the Saône

In 1684, it covered the operations at the siege of Luxembourg. In 1685, 1686 and 1687, the regiment was at the camp of the Saône and took part in the sieges of Courtrai and Dixmude. In 1684, it was before Luxembourg. From 1685 to 1688, it was at the camp of the Saône.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment joined the Army of Germany and took part in the siege of Philippsburg, Mannheim, and Frankenthal in Palatinate. From 1689 to 1691, it campaigned on the Rhine; in 1692, on the Moselle and in Flanders, where it took part in the siege of Namur. In 1693, if fought in the Battle of Landen; in 1694 and 1696, it served on the Rhine; and in 1697, it campaigned in Flanders.

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

In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiments was sent to Northern Italy. In 1704, it took part in the combat of Castelnuovo de Bormia, and in the sieges of Vercelli, Ivrea and Verrua; in 1705, in the siege and capture of Chivasso and in the Battle of Cassano; and in 1706, in the the disastrous Battle of Turin. In 1707, the regiment was transferred to the Rhine where it served until 1712, when it was transferred to Flanders. In 1713, it took part in the campaign on the Rhine and was at the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1727, the regiment was at the camp of the Saône.

In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment was sent to Italy, where it took part in the siege of Pizzighetone. In 1734, it fought in the battles of San Pietro and Guastalla.

In June 1736, the regiment returned to France, where it was placed in garrison at Cambrai and Bouchain.

In 1741 and 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment remained on the frontier, initially occupying Arras, then the vicinity of Sedan. In 1743, it campaigned in Germany and fought in the Battle of Dettingen, where it distinguished itself. In 1744, it was stationed near Menin and Ypres. In 1745, it fought in the Battle of Fontenoy; in 1746, in the Battle of Rocoux; and in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld, where it distinguished itself once more. In 1748, it was present at the capture of Maastricht.

In 1748, the regiment was stationed at Sens and Montereau; in 1749, at Valenciennes; in 1750, at Vitry and Saint-Dizier; in 1752 at Condé; in 1753 at Sens; and in 1755 at Metz.

The regiment counted 2 squadrons since 1745.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 7th among the line cavalry. King Louis XV was the Mestre de Camp of the regiment but the Mestre de Camp Lieutenant commanding the regiment was:

  • from January 1, 1748: Arnaud-Louis-Marie Marquis de Lostanges de Sainte-Alvère
  • from May 30, 1760 to 1764: Louis-Errard Chevalier de Ray

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was increased to 4 squadrons, each of them consisting of 4 companies of 40 troopers, for a total of 640 troopers. The 2 additional squadrons came from Ray Cavalerie) which was incorporated into the Cuirassiers du Roy.

Service during the War

Cuirassiers du Roy circa 1758 - Courtesy of The New York Public Library

In 1756, the regiment was stationed at Haguenau.

Early in 1757, the regiment was transferred to Landau. It later joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. From April 27 to June 17, it was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was among the cavalry of the right wing. After the Convention of Klosterzeven, it followed the main body, led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt, in Prussian territory, from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the first line of the right wing. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in Soest in Westphalia, in the fourth line of the French army.

In April 1758, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed at Xanten. After the successful crossing of the Rhine by Ferdinand of Brunswick's Army on May 31, the regiment retired towards Rheinberg where it joined Clermont's Army on June 2. It remained in this camp, where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, until June 12. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was placed on the right wing of the first line, under d'Armentières. In Mid August, after Ferdinand's retreat to the east bank of the Rhine, the regiment, as part of the Army of the Lower Rhine under the Marquis de Contades, recrossed the Rhine to follow the Allied army. On August 20, it was encamped near Wesel where it was placed on the right wing of the first line. At the beginning of October, the regiment was attached to Chevert's Corps which was sent to reinforce Soubise's Army in Hesse. By October 8, the effective strength of the regiment amounted to only 210 horse, out of a theoretical strength of 320 horse. On October 10, it was at the Battle of Lutterberg where it formed part of Chevert's Corps which won the day by turning the Allied left flank. During this battle, the Cuirassiers du Roy, under the command of the Marquis de Lostanges and of the Marquis of Voyer guided by the maréchal des logis Caulincourt, saw heavy fighting. The first squadron (companies of M. d'Artaguiette, M. de France, M. de Courtemer and M. de Laur) charged the Allied infantry column and suffered casualties from bayonets. Lostanges had a leg pierced and later received a sabre cut to the head; Courtemer, Laur, Panniseau (adjutant-major) and Lieutenant de Fontaine were killed; the standard-bearer de Fillot died later (October 18) of his wounds. All the officers and NCOs were wounded under their killed horses. The second squadron, (companies: M. de Champoléon, M. de Saint-Didier, M. de Voughy and of M. de Tauriac) under Lieutenant-Colonel d’Artaguiette, fought against the Allied cavalry. Almost all the officers were wounded by sabre-cuts, like Major de Pétremand-Valey. The Chevalier of Lostanges, cornette of the Saint-Didier company, was killed. The total losses were 20 killed and 29 wounded for the first squadron; and 13 killed and 31 wounded for the second squadron. The regiment also had 109 horses killed and 35 wounded. Chevert said "Les cuirassiers du Roy ont le plus souffert", reporting about the regiment. The captains de France and de Saint-Didier were commended with the Saint-Louis Cross. Total losses forced the regiment to a halt and the unit was sent back to France for rest and refit.

At the beginning of 1759, the regiment was stationed at Pont-Audemer, in Normandy.

By May 23, 1760, the regiment was part of the second line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of the Prince de Croy. On July 10, the regiment might have been attached to Prince Camille's Cavalry Corps who arrived too late to take part in the Combat of Corbach. By September 19, the regiment was attached to Prince Xavier's Corps, forming part of the third line of his left column. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Grossborsel.

At the beginning of February 1761, the regiment was quartered in the area of Siegen. At the beginning of May, it joined the corps of Prince Xavier near Fulda. On July 16, the regiment fought at the Battle of Vellinghausen. It later attacked the rearguard of the Allies during its retreat towards Einbeck. It took up its winter-quarters at Göttingen.

In March 1762, the regiment was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine. On June 24, it took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. By July 12, it was stationed near Deiderode. On November 20, when Louis XV issued his instructions regarding the French armies serving in Germany, specifying which units should return to France right away and which should stay in Germany till the final evacuation, the regiment was among those left in Germany.



Uniform in 1753 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and Etat Militaire of 1761
completed when necessary as per Funcken
Headgear black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced silver, with a black cockade on the left side fastened with a black silk strap and a small pewter button

N.B.: several authors suggest that this unit wore black bearskin caps since 1748. This is not reflected in the États militaires. However, a text from an inspection in 1749 as well as a request from the mestre de camp, the Marquis de Lostanges, and the answer of the Minister d'Argenson all states that the Cuirassiers du Roy wore a bearskin similar to the one worn in the German cavalry regiments (for more details, see the related article of the Sabretache on

Neck stock probably a black cravate
Coat blue lined red with pewter buttons on the chest and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps white epaulets (as per Mouillard)
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons (as per Mouillard)
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Gloves buff
Waistcoat blue (sole cavalry regiment wearing a waistcoat instead of a buff leather jerkin)
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat blue lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white, contrarily to other French cavalry regiments, the Cuirassiers du Roy carried a single banderole (bandolier) carrying the cartridge pouch as well as the porte mousqueton (musket-carrier)
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with alternated red and white diagonal stripes
Housings blue bordered with an aurore (light orange) braid decorated with alternated red and white diagonal stripes
Blanket roll n/a

Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were the sole French cavalrymen to wear the full cuirass (front and back plates) over the coat, fixed with buff and brass belts and buckles.

The regiment was considered as an elite unit and its troopers sported moustaches.


Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs


King's Livery - Source: PMPdeL

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore a blue coat heavily laced with braids at the king's livery alternating with silver braids.


At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, Royal cavalry regiments carried two distinct models of standards.

The model illustrated hereafter was carried by the regiments du Roy, Cuirassiers du Roy, Royal-Cravate, Royal-Piémont and Royal-Pologne.

carrying a golden royal sun with a gold and silver fringe.

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): blue field embroidered and fringed in gold

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun but without motto, and a golden fleur de lys embroidered in each corner
  • reverse: sown with fleurs de lys sans nombre (i.e. the fleurs de lys located near the edge could be truncated)
Tentative Reconstruction
Royal Cavalry Regimental Standard - Copyright: Kronoskaf


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. 65-75
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 328-329

Other sources

Carnet de la Sabretache, nouvelle serie n 146, Décembre 2000

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

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

Mouillard, Lucien; Les Régiments sous Louis XV; Paris 1882

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolaus: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg, 1762

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Services Historiques de l'Armée de Terre; A1-3484 f° 154 f° 157 f° 165, A1-3489 f° 135

Vial J.-L., Nec Pluribus Impar

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


Dr. Marco Pagan for additional information provided on the role of the regiment during the Battle of Lutterberg.