Difference between revisions of "Volontaires de Soubise"

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==Service during the War==
 
==Service during the War==
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At the beginning of June 1761, during the [[1761 - French campaign in Western Germany|campaign in Western Germany]], the unit was part of the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 27, informed that the Allies were forming a camp on the heights of Ruhne, the [[Soubise, Charles de Rohan, prince de|Prince de Soubise]] occupied the heights of Höingen facing Neheim with the Volontaires de Soubise. On July 28, the Baron de Wurmser launched an attack at the head of French light troops (including the Volontaires de Soubise) against the Légion Britannique near Höingen but was repulsed with heavy loss. By August 10, the unit was in Wesel. On August 30, Soubise was at Appelhülsen when a strong Allied column came out of Münster and marched on Bösensell, occupied by the Volontaires de Soubise and the [[Volontaires de l'armée]] on the French left wing. At 9:00 a.m., informed of the attack on his advanced posts, Soubise went to the support of his left. After a short engagement, the Allied infantry stopped while the Allied cavalry retired. Soubise then ordered M. de Fronsac to attack the Allies who retired from hedges to hedges to the plain of Roxel where they tried to form. The [[Thianges Dragons|Chapt Dragons]] and the dragoons of the Volontaires de Soubise charged them, penetrating the column in two occasions and capturing a few prisoners. The Allies then retired to Münster. M. de Wurmser was severely wounded during this action. At the end of September, M. de Viomesnil at the head of the Volontaires de Soubise and the [[Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince]] burnt several magazines in the County of Dinklage. He also burnt a large magazine at Osnabrück. In November, the unit was posted in the district of Kleve on the right bank of the Rhine between Rees and the Netherlands and along the Issel.
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For the [[1762 - French campaign in Western Germany|campaign of 1762 in Western Germany]], the unit was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine under Soubise. On April 19, M. d'Apchon marched on Dortmund with 4,400 men (including the present unit). On the morning of June 4, Freytag’s Allied detachment reached the heights of Grebenstein. The  [[Volontaires de Saint-Victor]] and the [[Chasseurs du Quartier Général|Chasseurs de Monet]], supported by the [[Royal-Nassau Hussards|Volontaires Royaux de Nassau]] and the Volontaires de Soubise, drove Freytag from the height of Grebenstein, following him beyond the heights of Liebenau. The French then linked the Castle of Arnstein with the neighbouring woods by a chain of entrenchments. On June 20, M. de Clausen advanced to Wilhelmsthal with 8 bns, 4 dragoon rgts, the [[Royal-Nassau Hussards|Volontaires Royaux de Nassau]], the Volontaires de Soubise and the [[Volontaires de l'armée]]. On June 24, the unit was present at the [[1762-06-24 - Battle of Wilhelmsthal|Battle of Wilhelmsthal]], where it formed part of the right vanguard under the command of M. de Castries. By July 12, the unit was at the camp of Helsa under MM. de Guerchy. On July 15 at 3:00 p.m., while Guerchy was establishing his camp, the Allies marched from the height of Hesserode, moved along the woods of Hesserode, then formed into 2 columns and marched swiftly against the French extreme left wing defended by M. de Besenval with 1 infantry brigade, 1 dragoon rgt and the Volontaires de Soubise. Besenval repulsed the Allies and forced them to retire precipitously. On September 9, the [[Royal-Nassau Hussards|Volontaires Royaux de Nassau]], the Volontaires de Soubise and the [[Volontaires de l'armée|Volontaires de Verteuil]] attacked the Allied detachment escorting the pontoon train. They pursued it up to Laubach and captured the pontoons as well as a large number of ammunition wagons and several prisoners. After breaking up the pontoons, the French light troops retired. On September 10, the French light troops, assisted this time by the [[Volontaires de Saint-Victor]], renewed their attack on the pontoon train at Laubach, driving back the 2 Allied bns and making themselves masters of Laubach and of the pontoon train. In this action the French lost about 100 men mostly from the Volontaires de Soubise and [[Volontaires de l'armée|Volontaires de Verteuil]]. After this action the light troops retired on Castries' Corps on the Lich. On September 16, the vanguard under M. de Saint-Victor (Volontaires de Soubise, [[Royal-Nassau Hussards|Volontaires Royaux de Nassau]], with some cavalry and dragoons) passed the Ohm at the extremity of the Allied left wing and advanced on Alsfeld where it caught up with the Allied baggage and bakery retiring towards Neustadt. This vanguard made itself master of the Allied convoy, inflicting much damage, capturing several horses and hamstringing the rest. However, [[Freytag Jägers]] supported by some cavalry had  immediately been sent in search for the French light troops, arriving just in time to save the train of bread wagons and forcing the French light troops to retire to the Ohm and to repass the river. Saint-Victor then recrossed the Ohm at Nieder-Ofleiden, between Schweinsberg and Homberg, pushing forward as far as Niederklein where he surprised the British mobile hospital which had not yet completed its evacuation. Saint-Victor captured several prisoners and horses. Granby's Corps soon forced this French detachment to retire. Saint-Victor retired on Ziegenhain. On November 20, [[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 present unit was among those which remained in Germany.
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==Uniform==
 
==Uniform==
 
For the uniform we have found only one contemporary source: Raspe's publication of 1762.
 
For the uniform we have found only one contemporary source: Raspe's publication of 1762.

Latest revision as of 12:42, 27 October 2020

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Volontaires de Soubise

Origin and History

On February 20 1761, the Prince de Soubise, maréchal de France, received the authorisation to raise a corps of 948 men (1 grenadier coy of 40 men, 8 dragoon coys each of 71 men, and 8 fusilier coys of 40 men each) recruited in Germany and Bohemia. This corps was probably already organised when it entered the French service because it was involved in combat as soon as July 1761.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

In 1766, the unit was renamed “6e Légion de Soubise”.

Service during the War

At the beginning of June 1761, during the campaign in Western Germany, the unit was part of the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 27, informed that the Allies were forming a camp on the heights of Ruhne, the Prince de Soubise occupied the heights of Höingen facing Neheim with the Volontaires de Soubise. On July 28, the Baron de Wurmser launched an attack at the head of French light troops (including the Volontaires de Soubise) against the Légion Britannique near Höingen but was repulsed with heavy loss. By August 10, the unit was in Wesel. On August 30, Soubise was at Appelhülsen when a strong Allied column came out of Münster and marched on Bösensell, occupied by the Volontaires de Soubise and the Volontaires de l'armée on the French left wing. At 9:00 a.m., informed of the attack on his advanced posts, Soubise went to the support of his left. After a short engagement, the Allied infantry stopped while the Allied cavalry retired. Soubise then ordered M. de Fronsac to attack the Allies who retired from hedges to hedges to the plain of Roxel where they tried to form. The Chapt Dragons and the dragoons of the Volontaires de Soubise charged them, penetrating the column in two occasions and capturing a few prisoners. The Allies then retired to Münster. M. de Wurmser was severely wounded during this action. At the end of September, M. de Viomesnil at the head of the Volontaires de Soubise and the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince burnt several magazines in the County of Dinklage. He also burnt a large magazine at Osnabrück. In November, the unit was posted in the district of Kleve on the right bank of the Rhine between Rees and the Netherlands and along the Issel.

For the campaign of 1762 in Western Germany, the unit was attached to the Army of the Upper Rhine under Soubise. On April 19, M. d'Apchon marched on Dortmund with 4,400 men (including the present unit). On the morning of June 4, Freytag’s Allied detachment reached the heights of Grebenstein. The Volontaires de Saint-Victor and the Chasseurs de Monet, supported by the Volontaires Royaux de Nassau and the Volontaires de Soubise, drove Freytag from the height of Grebenstein, following him beyond the heights of Liebenau. The French then linked the Castle of Arnstein with the neighbouring woods by a chain of entrenchments. On June 20, M. de Clausen advanced to Wilhelmsthal with 8 bns, 4 dragoon rgts, the Volontaires Royaux de Nassau, the Volontaires de Soubise and the Volontaires de l'armée. On June 24, the unit was present at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal, where it formed part of the right vanguard under the command of M. de Castries. By July 12, the unit was at the camp of Helsa under MM. de Guerchy. On July 15 at 3:00 p.m., while Guerchy was establishing his camp, the Allies marched from the height of Hesserode, moved along the woods of Hesserode, then formed into 2 columns and marched swiftly against the French extreme left wing defended by M. de Besenval with 1 infantry brigade, 1 dragoon rgt and the Volontaires de Soubise. Besenval repulsed the Allies and forced them to retire precipitously. On September 9, the Volontaires Royaux de Nassau, the Volontaires de Soubise and the Volontaires de Verteuil attacked the Allied detachment escorting the pontoon train. They pursued it up to Laubach and captured the pontoons as well as a large number of ammunition wagons and several prisoners. After breaking up the pontoons, the French light troops retired. On September 10, the French light troops, assisted this time by the Volontaires de Saint-Victor, renewed their attack on the pontoon train at Laubach, driving back the 2 Allied bns and making themselves masters of Laubach and of the pontoon train. In this action the French lost about 100 men mostly from the Volontaires de Soubise and Volontaires de Verteuil. After this action the light troops retired on Castries' Corps on the Lich. On September 16, the vanguard under M. de Saint-Victor (Volontaires de Soubise, Volontaires Royaux de Nassau, with some cavalry and dragoons) passed the Ohm at the extremity of the Allied left wing and advanced on Alsfeld where it caught up with the Allied baggage and bakery retiring towards Neustadt. This vanguard made itself master of the Allied convoy, inflicting much damage, capturing several horses and hamstringing the rest. However, Freytag Jägers supported by some cavalry had immediately been sent in search for the French light troops, arriving just in time to save the train of bread wagons and forcing the French light troops to retire to the Ohm and to repass the river. Saint-Victor then recrossed the Ohm at Nieder-Ofleiden, between Schweinsberg and Homberg, pushing forward as far as Niederklein where he surprised the British mobile hospital which had not yet completed its evacuation. Saint-Victor captured several prisoners and horses. Granby's Corps soon forced this French detachment to retire. Saint-Victor retired on Ziegenhain. On November 20, 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 present unit was among those which remained in Germany.

Uniform

For the uniform we have found only one contemporary source: Raspe's publication of 1762.

Uniform of the Fusiliers

Privates

Uniform in 1762
Uniform Details as per
Raspe
Headgear black mirliton with a black wing edged white with a white tassel
Neckstock black
Coat white
Collar white
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels white with 7 yellow buttons
Pockets vertical pockets, each with 4 yellow buttons
Cuffs white without buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat royal blue with yellow buttons; horizontal pockets with yellow buttons
Breeches royal blue
Gaiters black with white knee covers
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt whitened natural leather
Waistbelt whitened natural leather
Cartridge Pouch black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black


Armaments consisted of a musket, a bayonet and a sabre (similar to the sabre of the grenadiers of the line infantry).

N.B.: Eugène Leliepvre depicts a chasseur in a very different uniform with a black tricorne laced white and a small pewter button on the left side; a red neck stock; a green short coat with a white epaulette on the left shoulder; a green collar edged white; white buttonholes (similar to those of the dragoon) with pewter buttons; white cuffs without button; white waistcoat with a single row of pewter buttons; green trousers; short black boots; cross belt and waistbelt in whitened natural leather.

Officers

no information found yet

NCOs

no information found yet

Musicians

no information found yet

Uniform of the Dragoons

Privates

Uniform in 1762
Uniform Details as per
Raspe
Headgear black mirliton with a black wing with a black tassel (black bearskin with blue cap in the style of the Grenadiers à Cheval as per Leliepvre)
Neckstock black (red as per Leliepvre)
Coat royal blue lined white with 10 white buttons and 10 white laced buttonholes on each side
Collar royal blue edged white
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets, each with 4 white buttons
Cuffs white without buttons (2 white buttonholes and 2 pewter buttons on each sleeve above the cuff as per Leliepvre)
Turnbacks white
Waistcoat white with pewter buttons; horizontal pockets with pewter buttons
Breeches white (buff leather as per Leliepvre)
Boots black with white knee cover
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt whitened natural leather
Waistbelt whitened leather
Cartridge Pouch black
Scabbard black


Armaments consisted of a musket, a bayonet and a sabre (similar to the sabre of the grenadiers of the line infantry).

Officers

no information found yet

NCOs

no information found yet

Musicians

no information found yet

Colours

Colonel flag: probably white with a white cross (the standard infantry colonel flag).

Ordonnance flag (as per Mouillard): white cross; 1st canton red; 2nd canton yellow; 3rd canton blue; 4th canton black (we do not know if this flag was in use during the Seven Years War or if it was issued later).

Colonel Colour - Source: Kronoskaf

Ordonnance colour not yet available.

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, pp. 217, 243-244

Other sources

Bukhari, Emir; Napoleon's Line Chasseurs; Oxford: Oxprey Publishing, 1977

Chartrand, Rene; Louis XV's Army (4) Light Troops and Specialists; Oxford: Osprey, 1997

French Wikipedia:

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

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

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