The Normandie regiment, 3 battalions

Vive Normandie

Origins of the Normandie regiment

According to Susane the final establishment of the Normandie regiment dated of 16 August 1615 and that made it the fifth of the Vieux Corps1. The old 'bandes' from which this regiment was formed were however much older. Eight of these companies had been detached from the garrison of Metz and had arrived in Normandie in 1562. These were formed into a regiment under Jean d'Hémery, Seigneur de Villers and participated in the Siege of Rouen. Later that regiment was again split into independent garrison companies. When Henry IV legally became King of France in 1589 these 8 and 4 other companies sided with the Ligue, but when Henry IV changed religion these changed sides. When Amiens was taken by the Spanish In 1597 Sully then asked the most threatened provinces to raise a regiment which would take their name. Normandy united its old companies and soon it had the Normandy regiment ready. The regiment was however split into separate companies again.

It was only on 16 August 1615 that the Maréchal d'Ancre got a final commission to raise a regiment. He went to Amiens and took the companies which had been guarding that place as the nucleus of his regiment. In 1616 he became the King's lieutenant in Normandy and incorporated the old companies which had been left in that province. He then transferred the whole to his son, the thirteen year old Comte de Pesne and the regiment carried the name Maréchal d'Ancre. The Maréchal d'Ancre was assassinated on 24 April 1617 and his son was banished. The regiment then took the name Normandy and was given to M. de Cadenet on 16 May 16172. De Cadenet became Maréchal de France in 1619. In this capacity De Cadenet made it into a large elite regiment that began to rank right after the Champagne regiment. One of the first notable actions of the Normandie regiment was its presence in the 1622 siege of Montpellier, but we'll jump to more recent times.

The Normandie regiment in the 1672 war

In 1672 the regiment started in Dunkirk. Later it was in the army that passed the Rhine and on 22 June it was in the Siege of Zutphen. One of its battalions later garrisoned Zutphen while the other was in the operation to guard Woerden. Later it was in the expedition against Bodegraven and Zwammerdam. In 1673 nothing much happened, but in 1674 it was part of the famous defense of Grave where it sustained heavy losses. In 1675 the main part of the regiment was in Oudenaarde and another part was present in the lost battle of Trier on 11 August 16753. In 1676 the regiment was in the siege of Bouchain. In 1677 the Normandie went to Germany where it started with the siege of Freiburg. It closed this war in 1679 at the encounter of Minden

The Nine Years war

In 1688 the Normandie participated in the Siege of Phillipsburg. In 1689 the two battalions of the Normandie started in the Flanders army and fought at Walcourt, but transferred to Germany in September. In 1690 the regiment arrived on the battlefield the day after the victory of Fleurus and then transferred to Germany again. In 1692 lieutenant-colonel d'Escossois was besieged in the church of Worms with 300 men. After his surrender only 50 were left. That same year the regiment was augmented with a third battalion. In 1693 the regiment was in the siege of Heidelberg and wintered in Strassbourg where it remained for the rest of the war. It did however make a detachment of 1 battalion that defended Namur in 1695. On 1 March 1700 Anne-Auguste de Montmorency Comte D'Estaires (or D'Esterre) was appointed as colonel of the regiment.

The Normandie regiment in the War of the Spanish Succession

In the War of the Spanish Succession the Normandie regiment started at Strassbourg where it received the order to march to Italy. On 1 September the Normandie was at Chiari with all three battalions. Here it lost 563 men killed or wounded. In 1702 the Normandie started with guarding the Secchia and the battle of Santa Vittoria, but was too late for the Battle of Luzzara. It continued with the conquest of Luzzara, Guastalla and Borgoforte. In 1703 the Normandie started in the detachment that blocked Bersello. Later it was in an encounter near Stradella and marched into Tyrol. In 1704 it was in taking Robbio, Rosasco and the Siege of Verceil. It then continued in the sieges of Ivrea and Verrua, the latter lasting till April 1705. It was then in the Siege of Chivasso, where it lost about 100 men. The Battle of Cassano ended this campaign. In April 1706 the Normandie fought at Calcinato. From June onwards the regiment participated in the siege of Turin. After this had failed it retired to Pignerol with 805 men.

In 1707 the Normandie went to Spain. Here it participated in the 1707 Siege of Lérida. In 1708 it was in the Siege of Tortosa and terminated the campaign with the siege of the castle of Vénasque. In the next campaign it was employed in defending Rousillon and fought in the combat on the Ter. In 1710 the regiment was part of Berwick's Dauphiné army. Later that year it participated in the Siege of Girona, which capitulated on 4 January 1711. For the rest of the war the Normandie regiment remained in garrison there and was occupied in the siege of Barcelona till 1714. Meanwhile Pierre Charles Regnauld Comte d'Angennes had been appointed colonel in February 1713.

Notes

1) Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie Françoise tome III page 177 for this date and most of the information on this page.
2) Histoire de la Milice Françoise tome II page 384.has this date as first mention of the regiment
3) See Ordre Bataille perdue par les François contre les imperiaux et leurs alliés près de Trier et Taverne sur le Saar le 11 Aout 1675.