French infantry regiments

French Infantry Regiments
The French army before Besançon
The French Army before Besancon

1 Origin of the French infantry regiments

1.1 The vieilles bandes

It's useful to say something here about how the French regiments came into existence. According to Daniel1) the foundation of the first regiments took place during the reign of Henri II (1519-1559). He started out with 'vieilles bandes' (old companies), which were called 'vieux corps' when combined in battle, and 'nouvelles bandes' (new companies) a designation for troops which had been raised recently or by Henry II himself2).

During his reign he then formed 'legions' from the nouvelles bandes in 1558. These 'legions' were in fact provincial militia regiments raised in a province and consisted of inhabitants of the province. The situation did however create a lot of confusion for historians because it led to legions and regiments of the same name. One can therefore be tempted to consider the 'Legion Picardie' to be the same as the Picardie regiment, but this was not the case. For the history of the regiments of Louis XIV the legions of Henry II and François I should be disregarded.

1.2 Regimental tables

Thumb of French infantry regiments founded before 1684
Thumb of French infantry regiments founded 1684-1700
Thumb of French infantry regiments founded 1701-1703

To the left are the tables for the French infantry regiments. These tables show that the very old regiments regularly fielded three batallions. The average regiment had two, and the new regiments generally only 1 batallion.

2 Royal regiments, régiments gentilhommes and the king's units

2.1 Names and ownership

There was a distinction between royal regiments and régiments gentilhommes. The royal regiments were essentially owned by the state, and were therefore often named for a province. The régiments gentilhommes were owned by private individuals and therefore bore the names of their owners. Other units were owned by the king himself as colonel.

2.2 Les Vieux Corps

From the abovementioned 'vieilles bandes' Henry II formed regiments that were also designated as regiments. Other regiments that were designated as such were raised by the nobility. Four of these regiments which could trace back their history to the time of Henry II were called 'Les Vieux Corps' together with two others. The Vieux Corps were:

2.3 Les Petis Vieux

Les Petits Vieux were those regiments which ranked right after Les Vieux Corps. We have to look for the origins of the Petits Vieux in the years after 1601 when all regiments except the four oldest of the Vieux Corps were disbanded. Of course new ones were raised in the years following 1601 and the ancestors of les Petits Vieux have to be sought among these. When Louis XIII became king most of the existing troops were disbanded again except for the four oldest regiments and some others. These became known as the Petits Vieux and got the privilege of not being disbanded after a war. Later on the Regiment du Roy became one of them too. These are the regiments of les Petits Vieux:

2.4 52 regiments founded before 1684

In the rest of the French infantry regiments we can distinct those that were raised before 1684. Some of the most famous deserve to be mentioned here:

  • Regiment Royal 2 Battallions
  • Regiment de Poitou 2 B (e. 16 Sep 1616; 1682 Poitou)
  • Regiment de Lyonnais 2 B (e. 13 Nov 1616; 1635 Lyonnais)
  • Regiment du Dauphin 3 B (d. 3 Feb 1617)
  • Regiment d'Antin 2 B (e. 7 Jul 1621; 1665 Crussol; 1702 Antin; 1703 Gondrin; 1712 Gervasais; 1762 Aunis)
  • Regiment de Touraine 2 B (e. 17 Jan 1625; 1673 Touraine)
  • Regiment d'Anjou 2 B (e. 17 Jan 1625; 1670 Anjou; 1753 Aquitaine)
  • Regiment de Maine 2 B (e. 17 Jan 1625; 1675 Maine)
  • Regiment de Charost 2 B (e. 26 Oct 1629; 1702 Charost; 1709 Bethune; 1712 Saillant; 1762 Dauphiné)
  • Regiment de Coetquen 2 B (e. 26 Oct 1629; 1709 Tourville; 1712 Meuse; 1762 Isle de France)
  • Regiment de Grancey 2 B (e. 3 Feb 1630; 1693 Grancey; 1707 La Chesnelaye; 1762 Soissonais)
  • Regiment de La Reine 3 B (e. 3 Oct 1634; 1661 La Reine)
  • Regiment de Limousin 2 B (e. 20 Mar 1635)
  • Regiment Royal Vaisseaux 3 B (e. 13 Mar 1638; 1669 Royal-Vaisseaux)
  • Regiment d'Orléans 2 B (e. Feb 1642; 1660 Orléans)
  • Regiment La Couronne 2 B (e. 25 Jun 1643; 1667 Artois; 1673 La Couronne)
  • Regiment Bretagne 2 B (e. 4 Feb 1644; 1651 Bretagne)
  • Regiment de Perche 2 B (e. Apr 1644; 1690 Perche; 1744 Gardes Lorraines; 1766 de Lorraine)
  • Regiment Artois 2 B (e. 24 Apr 1610; 1673 Artois; rank was sold)
  • Regiment Saint Sulpice 2 B (e. 1 Feb 1647; 1684 La Chatre; 1708 Lannoy; 1712 Louvignies; 1762 Berry; 1788 Vintimille)
  • Regiment Vendome 2 B (e. 25 Feb 1651; 1712 Berry; 1714 Barrois; 1762 Hainaut)
  • Regiment de La Sarre 2 B (e. 20 May 1651)
  • Regiment de La Fère 2 B (e. 21 Oct 1654)
  • Regiment d'Alsace 4 B (e. May 1656)
  • Regiment Royal Rousillon 2 B (e. 25 May 1657; 1661 Royal Catalan; 1667 Royal Rousillon)
  • Regiment de Condé 2 B (e. 11 Jun 1644; re-established 7 Nov 1659)
  • Regiment Bourbon 2 B (e. 8 Jul 1635; c. Jan 1650; r. 1651; c. 1651; r. 26 Oct 1667; 1668 Bourbon)
  • Regiment de Beauvoisis 2 B (e. 12 Jul 1667)
  • Regiment de Rouergue 2 B (e. 20 Nov 1667)
  • Regiment de Bourgogne 2 B (e. 1 Mar 1668)
  • Regiment Royal Marine 2 B (e. 24 Dec 1669)
  • Regiment de Vermandois 2 B (e. 24 Dec 1669)
  • Regiment de Greder 2 B (e. 27 Mar 1670; 1686 Greder; 1716 Sparre; 1786 Salm-Salm) (German)
  • Regiment Royal Italien 1 B (e. 27 Mar 1671)
  • Regiment de Villars-Chandieu 3 B (e. 17 Feb 1672 as Erlach; 1694 Manuel; 1701 Villars-C.) (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Brendlé 3 B (e. 17 Feb 1672 as Stuppa; 1701 Brendlé) (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Castellas 3 B (e. 17 Feb 1672 as Salis; 1690 Polier; 1692 Reynold; 1702 Castellas) (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Hessy 3 B (e. 17 Feb 1672) (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Languedoc 2 B (e. 20 Mar 1672)
  • Regiment de Montsorreau 2 B (e. 30 Oct 1673; 1704 Vaudreuil; 1706 Sourches; 1762 Beauce)
  • Regiment de Gréder 3 B (e. 5 Dec 1673; 1714 d'Affry) (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Médoc 2 B (e. 19 Feb 1674 as Navailles; 1679 Hamilton; 1685 Jarzé; 1691 Médoc)
  • Regiment de Mirabeau 2 B (e. 1 Mar 1674; 1711 Gensac)
  • Regiment de Morangies 2 B (e. 1 Mar 1674 as Castries; 1695 Morangies; 1705 Louvigny; 1711 Bacqueville)
  • Regiment de Royal Comtois 2 B (e. 9 Aug 1674)
  • Regiment de Maulevrier 2 B (e. 15 Nov 1674; 1706 du Fort; 1710 Lyonne)
  • Regiment de Provence 2 B (e. 4 Dec 1674 as Grignan; 1684 Provence)
  • Regiment de Mortemart 2 B (e. 23 Jan 1676; 1688 Thianges; 1702 Mortemart; 1712 Laval; 1762 incorp. in reg. royal)
  • Regiment de Surbeck 3 B (e. 28 Jan 1677;) (Swiss)
  • Regiment d'Isenghien 2 B (e. 22 Feb 1677; incorporated into Poitou 1762) (Walloon)
  • Regiment de Nice 1 B (e. 8 Dec 1678; incorporated into Lyonnais 1762) (Piedmontese)
  • *Regiment de Fürstemberg La Marck 2 B (e. 10 Aug 1680; called Fürstemberg till April 1704) (German)

2.5 74 regiments founded 1684-1700

In 1684 another great expansion and reorganization of the French army started. These are the regiments founded from 1684-1700.

  • Regiment de Toulouse 2 B (e. 20 Feb 1684; 1737 Penthièvre)
  • Regiment de Guyenne 2 B (e. 21 Feb 1684; incorporated into Dauphin 1762)
  • Regiment de Lorraine 2 B (e. 21 Feb 1684; incorporated into Aunis in 1762)
  • Regiment de Zurlauben 2 B (e. Jun 1684; destroyed at Blenheim) (Walloon)
  • Regiment de Flandre 2 B (e. 1 Sep 1684; incorporated into Touraine 1762)
  • Regiment de Berry 2 B (e. 2 Sep 1684; incorporated into Aquitaine 1762)
  • Regiment de Béarn 2 B (e. 3 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Hainaut 2 B (e. 4 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Boulonnais 2 B (e. 5 Sep 1684)
  • Regiment de Angoumois 2 B (e. 6 Sep 1684)
  • Regiment de Périgord 2 B (e. 7 Sep 1684)
  • Regiment de Saintonge 2 B (e. 7 Sep 1684)
  • Regiment de Bigorre 2 B (e. 9 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Forez 2 B (e. 10 Sep 1684; incorporated into Angoumois 1775)
  • Regiment de Cambrésis 2 B (e. 11 Sep 1684; incorporated into Saintogne 1775)
  • Regiment de Tournaisis 2 B (e. 12 Sep 1684; incorporated into Royal Italien 1775)
  • Regiment de Foix 2 B (e. 14 Sep 1684)
  • Regiment de Bresse 2 B (e. 14 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de la Marche 2 B (e. 15 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Quercy 2 B (e. 16 Sep 1684; 1787 Rohan)
  • Regiment de Nivernais 2 B (e. 17 Sep 1684; incorporated into Périgord 1775)
  • Regiment de Brie 2 B (e. 18 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Soissonais 2 B (e. 19 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Isle de France 2 B (e. 20 Sep 1684; dismissed in 1762)
  • Regiment de Vexin 2 B (e. 21 Sep 1684; incorporated into Vermandois 1749)
  • Regiment de Aunis 2 B (e. 22 Sep 1684; incorporated into Languedoc 1749)
  • Regiment de Beauce 2 B (e. 23 Sep 1684; incorporated into the De Talaru regiment 1749)
  • Regiment de Dauphiné 2 B (e. 24 Sep 1684; incorporated into the Médoc 1749)
  • Regiment de Vivarais 2 B (e. 25 Sep 1684; incorporated into the Bonnac 1749)
  • Regiment de Luxembourg 2 B (e. 26 Sep 1684; incorporated into the Vastan regiment 1749)
  • Regiment de Bassigny 2 B (e. 27 Sep 1684; incorporated into the Royal Comtois 1749)
  • Regiment de Beaujolais 2 B (e. 16 Jun 1685; incorporated into the Traisnel regiment 1749)
  • Regiment de Ponthieu 2 B (incorporated into the Provence regiment 1749)
  • *2B Regiment de Miromesnil 2 B (dismissed 1714) (Walloon)
  • Regiment de Sillery 2 B (1707 Chatelet Lomond) (dismissed 1715)
  • Regiment de Croi Solre 2 B (incorporated into the Cambis regiment 1749) (Walloon)
  • Regiment de Robecque 2 B (1704 Saint Vallier) (dismissed 1714) (Walloon)
  • Regiment de Chev. de Crois Solre 2 B (1709 Aunay) (incorporated into Maine 1714) (Walloon)
  • Regiment de Gardes du duc Du Mantoue 1 B (1690 Royal Montferrat) (dismissed 1706) (Piedmontese)
  • Regiment de Froulay marq. de Tessé 2 B (1703 Sanzay) (incorporated into the Rochefort regiment 1749)
  • Regiment de May 3 B (1715 du Buisson) (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Courten 3 B (Swiss)
  • Regiment de Lée 1 B (1733 Dillon) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Clare 1 B (1706 O'Brien; 1720 Clare) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Dillon 1 B (Irish)
  • Regiment de Sparre 2 B (1714 Lenck) (German)
  • Regiment de Thouy 1 B (dismissed 1706) (Piedmontese)
  • Regiment de Montroux 1 B (dismissed 1715) (Italian)
  • Regiment de Perri 1 B (dismissed 1715) (Corsican)
  • Regiment de Noailles 2 B (1704 Beaufermes; 1708 Brichambaut) (incorporated into Nice 1749)
  • Regiment de Chartres 2 B (e. 14 Nov. 1691 for the Duc de Chartres; Philippe II d'Orleans)
  • Regiment de Blésois or Blaisois 2 B (incorporated into Guyenne 1749)
  • Regiment de Gatinais 2 B (incorporated into Lorraine 1749)
  • Regiment de Thièrache 2 B (incorporated into Navarre 1714)
  • Regiment de Barrois 2 B (1713 Conti; 1776 Barrois)
  • Regiment de Albigeois 2 B (dismissed 1714)
  • Regiment de Laonnois 2 B (dismissed 1714)
  • Regiment de Auxerrois 2 B (incorporated into Flandre 1749)
  • Regiment de Agénois 2 B (incorporated into Berry 1749)
  • Regiment de Charolais 2 B (incorporated into Lyonnais 1714)
  • Regiment de Labour 2 B (incorporated into Orléans 1714)
  • Regiment de Bugey 2 B (incorporated into Champagne 1714)
  • Regiment de Santerre 2 B (incorporated into Béarn 1749)
  • Regiment de Orléanais 1 B (dismissed 1714)
  • Regiment de Oléron 1 B (e. 2 Jan 1693; dismissed 1714)
  • Regiment Deslandes 1 B (e. 3 Jan 1693; incorporated into Hainaut 1749)
  • Regiment de Cotentin 1 B (e. 4 Jan. 1693; dismissed 1714)
  • Regiment de Vosges 1 B (e. 5 Jan 1693; dismissed 1714)
  • Regiment de Saint Segond 2 B (e. 24 Jan 1693; dismissed 1715)
  • Regiment de Dorrington 1 B (e. 27 Feb 1689) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Bourk 1 B (e. 27 Feb 1698; 1715 Wauchopp; 1715 to Spain) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Albemarle 1 B (e. 27 Feb 1698; 1703 Fitzgerald; 1708 O'Donnel; 1715 incorp. into Clare) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Berwick 1 B (e. 27 Feb 1698; 1775 incorp. into Clare) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Galmoy 1 B (e. 27 Feb 1698; dismissed 1715) (Irish)

2.6 105 regiments raised after 1700

The regiments raised specifically for the War of the Spanish Succession were of course the least prestigious, anf the most apt to be disbanded after the war. In the end they probably were a good investment because the war lasted 14 years, which was much longer than the previous wars.

  • Regiment de Courrières 1 B (e. 6 Feb 1701; 1706 split into garrison companies)
  • *Regiment de Berthelot 1 B (e. 6 Feb 1701 as Montendre; 1702 Berthelot; 1704 Esgrigny; 1715 inc. in Bourbonnais)
  • Regiment de Lafons de la Ferté 1 B (e. 21 Dec 1701 as Pézeux; 1702 Lafons; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Montarois (e. 21 Dec 1701 as Montpeyroux; 1702 Montarois; 1704 Chatillon; destr. at Pianezza)
  • Regiment de Bouzols (e. 29 Dec 1701; 1705 Caumont la Force; 1711 Lesparre; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de Durfort Boissiere (e. 1 Jan 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Bandeville 1 B (e. 4 Jan 1702; destroyed at Blenheim)
  • Regiment de Chabrillant 1 B (e. 5 Jan 1702; destroyed at Blenheim)
  • Regiment d'Albaret (e. 6 Jan 1702; destroyed at Blenheim)
  • Regiment de Siougeat (e. 6 Jan 1702; destroyed at Blenheim)
  • Regiment de Fourquevaux 1 B (e. 8 Jan 1702; 1703 Sourches; destroyed at Ramillies)
  • Regiment de Villemort (e. 9 Jan 1702; incorp. into Picardie 1713)
  • Regiment de Lassay 1 B (e. 11 Jan 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Gassion (e. 12 Jan 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Marignane (e. 14 Jan 1702; 1705 Serville; dism. 1706)
  • Regiment de Montboissier 1 B (e. 16 Jan 1702; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de La Londe (e. 18 Jan 1702; 1706 Franclieu; 1710 Bougis; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Saint Germain Beaupré 1 B (e. 18 Jan 1702; incorp. into Picardie 1715)
  • Regiment de La Cru (e. 20 Mar 1702; 1705 Carman; 1711 Lannion; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Broglie (e. 22 Mar 1702; 1703 Froulay; 177 Tiraqueau; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Brancas 1 B (e. 22 Mar 1702; 1711 Labadie; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de Saint Aulaire (e. 22 Mar 1702; 1706 Chateauneuf; 1709 Montviel; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Roze (e. 26 Apr 1702; 1704 Provenchères; 1706 Ussy; 1714 incorp in Champagne)
  • Regiment de Nuaillé (e. 26 Apr 1702; 1714 incorp. in Piémont)
  • Regiment de Guittaud 1 B (e. 7 May 1702; 1706 Marloup de Charnailles; 1714 incorp. in Poitou)
  • Regiment de Villenouvet (e. 7 May 1702; 1706 La Fons; 1710 Bourdeilles; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Desclos 1 B (e. 7 May 1702; 1705 Nupcès; 1711 Lespinay; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Turbilly 1 B (e. 7 May 1702; 1714 incorp. in Tallard)
  • Regiment de La Fare Soustelle (e. 7 May 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Vivours 1 B (e. 7 May 1702; 1705 Briouze; 1713 Vasieres; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de Feugerez (e. 7 May 1702; 1706 Girardin de Vauvray; 1707 Barbançon; 1714 incorp. in Boufflers)
  • Regiment de Varennes 1 B (e. 7 May 1702; 1703 Antragues; 1714 incorp. in Boufflers)
  • Regiment de Choisinet (e. 7 May 1702; 1705 Cordes; 1710 Villeneuve; 1712 Caylus; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de Silly (e. 7 May 1702; 1705 Maillé; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Richebourg (e. 7 May 1702; 1704 Barville; 1710 Riberac; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Blaçons 1 B (e. 7 May 1702; 1714 incorp. in Auvergne)
  • Regiment de Tarnault (e. 14 May 1702; 1707 Boissieux; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Louvignies 1 B (e. 14 May 1702; 1712 Siffredy; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Tavannes (e. 14 May 1702; 1714 incorp in Gervasais)
  • Regiment de La Tour Maubourg 1 B (e. 14 May 1702; 1707 Thomassin de Saint Paul; 1709 La Roque; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Lannoy (e. 14 May 1702; 1710 Du Soupa; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Martel 1 B (e. 14 May 1702; 1710 Laubanie; 1714 incorp. in Royal)
  • Regiment de Rousilles (e. 14 May 1702; 1714 incorp. in Normandie)
  • Regiment de La Grise (e. 14 May 1702; 1706 Arville; 1708 Duprat; 1711 Bonneval; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Froulay (e. 21 May 1702 Ch. Fr. de Froulay.; 1711 Létorrières; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de chev. Saint Simon (e. 21 May 1702; 1705 Voluire; 1708 Angennes; 1711 Varennes-K.; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Laval 1 B (e. 14 Jun 1702 as Monmorency de Laval; 1705 Sennectere; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Castelet 1 B (e. 5 Jul 1702; incorp. into Gervasais 1714)
  • Regiment de Conflans 1 B (e. 5 Jul 1702; 1708 Astour; 1711 Hernoton; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Ourches (e. 5 Jul 1702; 1705 Boulay; 1710 Eppeville; incorp. in La Reine 1715)
  • Regiment de Choiseul (e. 12 Jul 1702; 1705 Murat; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Lannion (e. 25 Jul 1702; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Menou (e. 25 Jul 1702; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Tournon (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1709 Paysat; incorp. in Dauphin 1714)
  • Regiment de Bellafaire (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1705 René Fr. de Froulay chev. de T.; 1707 Bulkeley; 1709 Bochet; d. 1714)
  • Regiment de Marcilly (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1710 Bellisle; incorp. in Touraine 1714)
  • Regiment de Talende (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1705 Duchay; 1709 Arcy; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Laigle (e. 25 Jul 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Montmorency la Neuville (e. 25 Jul 1702 as Destouches; 1702 M. de N.; 1706 Masselin; i. in Tallard 1715)
  • Regiment de Damas (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1708 Vallouze; incorp. in vaisseaux and Quercy 1715)
  • Regiment de Lostanges 1 B (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1707 Rasilly; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Trecesson 1 B(e. 25 Jul 1702; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de La Motte 1 B (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1709 Artaignan; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Sanzay (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1703 Sourches; 1706 Choiseul Beuapré; incorp. into Boufflers 1714)
  • Regiment de Gensac (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1711 Piffonel; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Du Bièz (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1710 Flamarens; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Enonville (e. 25 Jul 1702; 1703 Livry; 1704 Belzunce; 1712 Desmortiers de la Planche; d. 1714)
  • Regiment de Saint Evremont (e. 3 Sep 1702; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Guines (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1705 Dampierre; incorp. in Gervasais 1714)
  • Regiment de Chalmazel (e. 3 Sep 1702; incorp. in Picardie 1714)
  • Regiment de Castéja 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1705 Biaudos; 1709 Saint Leger; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Artaignan Montesquiou 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; incorp. in Tallard 1714)
  • Regiment de Coetanfau (e. 3 Sep 1702; 17006 du Roure; incorp. in Champagne 1714)
  • Regiment de Poyanne (e. 3 Sep 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Savigny 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1708 Boisset de Geaix; 1711 Bérard; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Francheville (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1709 Gassaut de Rochefort; 1712 Beauficel; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Broissia 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1708 Fontanges; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Maisonthiers 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; incorp. in Navarre 1714)
  • Regiment de Pujol (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1706 Puységur; 1708 Léotaud; 1712 Valory; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Doigny 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1704 Duthil; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Vallouze 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1704 Grosbois; 1708 Valence; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Permangle (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1708 Maulmont; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de La Raimbaudière 1 B (e. 3 Sep 1702; incorp in Boufflers 1714)
  • Regiment de Carné (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1708 Hoccart; incorp. in Navarre 1714)
  • Regiment de Hérouville (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1704 Thézut; 1710 Conflans st. Remy; i. in Tallard 1714)
  • Regiment de Desmarets (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1709 Verseilles; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Caupos (e. 3 Sep 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Clermont (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1705 Houssaye; 1706 Vassan; inc. in Royal 1713)
  • Regiment de Ch. Fr. Boufflers Rémiancourt (e. 3 Sep 1702; 1710 Choiseul; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Pfiffer 3 B (e. 15 Sep 1702; dism. 1715) (swiss)
  • Regiment de Vigier 3 B (e. 15 Sep 1702; 1708 Tiester) (swiss)
  • Regiment de Berwick etranger (e. 15 Sep 1702; 1704 O'Bergheiz; 1708 O'Davan; inc. in Irish r.) (Irish)
  • Regiment de Rozières (e. 8 Oct 1702; 1707 Chevron; 1712 Bonnières; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de Pisançon (e. 3 Dec 1702; 1707 Villemeneust; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de La Rochedumaine (e. 3 Dec 1702; 1707 Desangles; inc. in Royal 1713)
  • Regiment de Aubigné (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1705 Nogaret; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Vaudreuil (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1706 Brancas; 1710 Lostanges-Béduer; dism. 1713)
  • Regiment de Montluc (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1707 La Rivière Castéras; inc. in Royal 1713)
  • Regiment de Desprèz 1 B (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1705 La Roche Tulou; 1710 Ch. de Rohan; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Lestranges (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1711 Moreton; dism. 1715)
  • Regiment de Perthuis 1 B (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1708 Morogues; 1712 Du Bourg; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Brosses (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1711 Ormoy; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Arginy (e. 10 Dec 1702; 1706 Aubusson; 1708 Varennes-Gournay; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Houdetot 1 B (e. 10 Dec 1702; dism. 1714)
  • Regiment de Lachau-Montauban (e. 10 Dec 1702; inc. in Tallard 1714)

3 Some individual regiments

3.1 Regiment d'Aunis

The Regiment d'Aunis was created in 1684. In 1704 it fought in the Battle of Blenheim. The Aunis regiment was disbanded in 174850.

3.2 21 Foreign infantry regiments

The French army did have a lot of foreign troops and some regiments that had a foreign origin. Here we're concerned with the regiments that were really composed of foreigners. First among these were the Swiss regiments, which could also include other nationalities. In the battle of Oudenaarde the French advance Guard included 7 Swiss battalions.

3.3 Regiment De Chandieu Villars

The oldest of the Swiss regiments was that of Villars. It had been levied by the Bern Canton in 1671100. Its first colonel was Jean Jaques d'Erlach (1628-1694). In 1673 the Erlach regiment participated in the Siege of Maastricht100b. In 1674 the Erlach regiment fought at Seneffe where it suffered heavy losses. In 1684 Erlach became a Roman Catholic. This meant that he was expulsed from the patriciate of Berne, and should thus have lost the regiment because membership of this patriciate was a condition for commanding the regiment. Erlach then became a patrician of Freiburg, and in spite of the treaty by which the regiment had been raised he retained it till his death. Erlach was succeeded by Albert Manuel (1640- 4 January 1701). Manuel became lieutenant-colonel of the regiment in 1690 and commanded it in the Catalonian campaigns of 1691-1693. In 1694 Manuel became its colonel and defended Catell-Folit in that capacity.

The Protestant Captain Charles de Chandieu Villars from Lausanne in Bern Canton (1659- 10 April 1728) became colonel of Manuel's on 18 January 1701100c. This was again a violation of the treaty because the colonel should have been chosen from the officers of the regiment, and at that time De Chandieu Villars was a captain in the Swiss Guard. As a consequence the Bern Canton refused to supply recruits to the colonel's company during the War of the Spanish Succession and only recognized De Chandieu Villars's command in 1715. In 1788 this was the Ernest regiment.

3.4 Regiment Brendlé, previously Vieux Stuppa

The second Swiss regiment was levied in February 1672101. Its first commander was Pierre Stuppa from the County of Chiavenna (1620- 6 January 1701). Under his command the regiment participated in the 1672 invasion of the United Provinces. In 1674 the regiment participated in the Battle of Seneffe101b. On 10 October 1685 Pierre Stuppa became colonel of the Swiss Guard, but retained this regiment. It was given to Jost Brendlé of Oberwyl (1642-1738) on 17 January 1701101c. In 1788 it was the regiment Salis de Samade.

3.5 Regiment Castellas

The third Swiss regiment was levied in 1672102. Its first colonel was Rudolph Baron de Salis de Zizers (? - 16 October 1690). On 18 November 1690 Salis was succeeded by Jean Polier from Lausanne Bern Canton, who had been colonel of another Swiss regiment up till that moment. On 3 August 1692 Colonel Polier was killed in the Battle of Steenkerque. Polier was succeeded by François de Reynold from Freiburg, who quitted his place of lieutenant-colonel of the Gardes Suisses on 30 September 1692. On 25 June 1702 Reynold left the regiment to become colonel of the Swiss Guard and was succeeded by François Albert de Castellas from Freiburg. Castellas was also lieutenant-colonel of the Gardes Suisses. He succeeded in retaining that position and the attached company till his death on 4 August 1722. In 1788 it was the regiment of Sonnenberg from Luzern.

3.6 Regiment de Pfyffer

The fourth Swiss regiment was levied in 1672103. Its first colonel was François Pfyffer seigneur de Wyher. Pfyffer died on 17 November 1689. He was succeeded on 20 December 1689 by Gabriel Hessy from Glarus Canton. Hessy had been lieutenant-colonel of the Vieux Stuppa regiment up till then. Gabriel Hessy died on 21 November 1729. In 1788 this was Rodolphe Castellas regiment.

3.7 Regiment de Greder Suisse

The fifth Swiss regiment was levied in 1673104. One company was levied in Bern, 5 were levied by the Catholic cantons, the 'Ligues Grises' one, the Vallais one and Geneva two. Its first colonel was Wolfgang Greder, who held it from 18 December 1673 till 15 January 1691. On 15 January 1691 he relegated it to his second son Louis Greder, up till then major of the regiment. On 4 February 1703 Louis Greder died. He left the regiment to his younger brother Balthasar Greder. On 28 February 1703 Balthasar, who had up till been lieutenant-colonel of the German Greder regiment, held by the older brother François Greder, became colonel of this regiment.

In an order of battle projected on 10 May 1707 there is indeed a Greder regiment of 3 battalions and a 'Greder allemand' regiment of 2 battalions104b. On 14 December 1714 Balthasar died. On 22 December 1714 he was succeeded by François d'Affry. In 1788 it was the François Robert de Vigier regiment.

3.8 Regiment de Surbeck

The sixth Swiss regiment was levied in 1677105. Its first colonel was Jean Baptiste Stuppa, a younger brother of the 'old' Stuppa. At first this regiment was however not created by a treaty with Swiss authorities, but by uniting 8 free companies into a regiment. On 9 April 1677 the regiment went to aid the Sicilian uprising. In April 1678 it returned to Toulon and then campaigned on the Rhine. In 1679 it was enhanced by a third batallion formed of a Freiburg company, a Neufchatel caompany and two Grisons. During 1680 and 1681 all these companies were acknowledged by their constituant cantons.

On 23 August 1692 Jean Baptiste Stuppa died from wounds received at Steenkerque. On 16 October 1692 he was succeeded by Jean Jacques de Surbeck, up till then colonel of a German regiment. Surbeck died on 5 May 1714. On 8 May 1714 Jean Jacques d'Hemmel, up till then Lieutenant-colonel became colonel of the regiment. In 1788 it was the Jaques André Marquis de Lullin de Chateauvieux from Geneva regiment.

3.9 Regiment de May

The seventh Swiss regiment was levied in 1689106. In December 1689 a treaty was made with the Catholic cantons, Appenzell, the Grisons and Vallais for twenty new companies of 200 men each. Twelve of those were made into a regiment for Jean Baptiste Baron de Salis de Soglio, who became the first colonel of this regiment on 22 December 1689. In order to distinguish it from the other Salis regiment it was designated Young Salis. Salis de Soglio died on 24 January 1702. On 15 February 1702 he was succeeded by Jean Rudolphe de May from Bern, up till then Lieutenant-colonel of the (later) Chandieu-Villars regiment. On 27 May 1715 May died and on 28 May he was succeeded by Amy Buisson from Geneva. In 1788 it was regiment of the Comte de Diesbach.

3.10 Regiment de Courten

The eight Swiss regiment came into existance in 1690. The fact that it was said to have been raised in 1689107 or 1690107b was caused by the fact that it was raised on account of a February 1690 treaty. On account of this treaty King Louis combined four companies which had been raised in 1689 into one regiment with all the other Vallais companies then in French service107c.

On 16 February 1690 Jean Etienne de Courten (1651- 26 February 1723) became the first colonel of the regiment. In 1788 it was still the Courten regiment, held by a family member of the first colonel.

3.11 Regiment de Louis Pfyffer

The ninth Swiss regiment had been raised in Luzern in 1702 under Louis de Pfyffer seigneur de Wyher108. It was disbanded in 1715.

4 Notes

1) Histoire de la Milice Françoise tome II page 330 For this difficult subject.
2) Histoire de la Milice Françoise tome II page 352 says the vieilles bandes dated from the first years of the reign of François I or before and the nouvelles bandes were disbanded after a war.
50) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française volume IV, page 324 for a note about this Aunis regiment.
100) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI by M. May de Romainmotier, Lausanne 1788, page 54 for the regiment oldest Swiss regiment.
100b) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 95 for the participation in the siege of Maastricht.
100c) Dangeau under 15 January 1701 states that the Protestant Captain of the first company of the Swiss Guard got this regiment.
101) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 54 for the second Swiss regiment.
101b) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 100 for actions of this regiment under Stuppa's command.
101c) Dangeau under 15 January 1701 states that the king gave Brendlé the Stoppa regiment and that is ranked second.
102) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 54 for the third Swiss regiment.
103) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 54 for the fourth Swiss regiment.
104) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 54 for the fifth Swiss regiment.
104b) Pelet tome 7 page 298, Projet de l'ordre de bataille de l'infanterie et de la cavalerie, le 10 Mai 1707 for the two Greder regiments.
105) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 54 for the sixth Swiss regiment.
106) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 55 for the seventh Swiss regiment.
107) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 55 for the eight Swiss regiment.
107b) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 122 for the Courten regiment having been established in 1690.
107c) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 122 for the combination of all the Vallais companies into one regiment.
108) Histoire Militaire de la Suisse tome VI, page 55 for the ninth Swiss regiment.