Saturday 3 July 2021

Flags of French light troops Volontaires Royaux, later Légion Royale

Here's something a bit different; the flags of a legion of light infantry and cavalry in the French army, no doubt carried only by the fusilier companies (unless someone knows otherwise!).


From Pajol, Les Guerres Sous Louis XV Volume 7, Paris 1891 [My translation]:

Volontaires Royaux first raised 15th August 1745 from former free companies of infantry and dragoons with the exception of those of Fischer and Goengoesy. They counted at their creation 12 companies, 100 dragoons and a company of hussars.

On the 19th November 1756 they were increased to 2,150 men of whom 900 were dragoons. On the 7th May 1758 on account of their valour and services they were given the title of Légion Royale.

Légion Royale: Formed the 7th May 1758 with 17 companies, of which 2 were grenadiers, 12 of fusiliers, of dragoons, of hussars and 60 workmen [ouvriers = pioneers?], they were also equipped with 2 light artillery pieces à la Suedoise [4 pounders]. In consideration of the fact that it was the oldest of all the light troops and also because of its composition and its recognized utility, it was augmented by the remains of the volunteers of Hainaut made prisoner at Minden. On the 11th November 1758 it was increased to 2.700 men plus a new company of hussars.

The 10th February 1759: "The services which the Légion Royale has rendered, since its creation and particularly in the latest campaigns, the need of light troops in the current wars, either in relation to the different countries that it is so important to know well, or by the need to have troops always in front, to know the movements of enemies, demonstrates the importance of increasing the numbers of these troops - The King"

On the 17th May 1763 the Legion was increased by 8 companies of fusiliers and 8 companies of dragoons.

Service: 1745 in Flanders; 1747 with the Army of the Alps, County of Nice and in the Var, up to the peace; 1757 the advance guard of the Army of Germany; 1758 battles of Rittberg, Hastenbeck and Clostercamps; 1763 Huningue [and more beyond the SYW which I have not listed].

The Legion was reformed in 1776.

Uniforms: Hussars: Blue dolman and pelisse with black braiding and white buttons; red pouch; breeches and shabraque blue.

1759-1767: Fusiliers: waistcoat and coat blue with collar; facings red; breeches white; tricorne laced white.

Dragoons: blue coat; collar, cuffs and turnbacks red; waistcoat and breeches white; shabraque blue with white lace, edged red.


Much more on the history of this unit in the Seven Years War and before can be found on Kronoskaf.

Here's the fusilier uniform in 1756:


Tuesday 29 June 2021

Leuthen Prussian Flags Project - Flags of Prussian Fusilier Regiment 37 von Kurssell

Chefs: From 12/9/1755 Major General Heinrich Adolf von Kurssell, died 26/9/1758 of wounds received at Zorndorf; from 8/12/1758 Major General August Wilhelm von Braun, later Lieutenant General, to 1770

One of the new fusilier regiments, first raised 1740. Part of Schwerin's Silesian Corps in 1756; it reached Bohemia only in 1757, joining the King north-east of Prague on May 6th. In the battle of Prague it was on the left wing in the first line and suffered heavy casualties when the Austrians defeated the first attack there with heavy musketry and artillery fire. The regiment lost 13 officers and 661 men. Christopher Duffy in Army of Frederick the Great 1st Edition (henceforth AFG1) shows around 45% casualties. Schwerin was killed and Winterfeldt wounded. While the Royal Army was overrunning Bohemia, IR37 was sent with the Duke of Bevern's Corps to Silesia, and the 2nd Battalion went to strengthen Schweidnitz. On November 12th the Austrians took some outlying forts and made breaches in the main fortifications. The Prussian commander Major General von Sers then surrendered so the 2nd Battalion IR37 was amongst the prisoners. The grenadiers held Pilsnitz before Breslau during the battle of November 22nd and threw back enemy attacks three times. At Leuthen on December 5th the 1st Battalion covered the left flank between the first and second lines; the grenadiers were on the right of Zieten's right wing. The 1st Battalion captured three cannon in the advance. AFG1 shows around 30% casualties in the 1st Battalion.

During that winter the prisoners from the 2nd Battalion returned via Jägerndorf and Peterswald. The regiment was with the King's army besieging Schweidmitz in 1758 until the storming of the Galgenberg on April 16th; the grenadiers were at Olmütz. Frederick left Bohemia in early August and IR37 went to the Oder to reinforce Dohna's Corps and fought at Zorndorf on August 25th. Its chef Major Gneeral von Kurssell, was mortally wounded. AFG1 shows about 25% casualties in the two battalions. After Zorndorf the regiment was with Prince Frans von Braunschweig at Beeskow. The grenadiers were at Hochkirch on October 14th. As part of Wedell's Corps it was involved in the defeat of the Swedes at Fehrbellin on 22nd September. Recruiting in Lower Silesia continued to be easy.

In 1759 the regiment fought under von Knobloch at Saalfeld on 26th March, at Kronach in May and then on July 30th was with the King heading towards Crossen. But at Kunersdorf on August 12th the regiment was nearly wiped out attacking the Grosse Spitzberg, losing 16 officers and 992 men. AFG1 shows about 70% casualties. On November 9th the grenadiers joined Finck's Corps and were captured at Maxen.

On June 23rd 1760 the 1st Battalion was captured after fierce fighting at Landeshut with Fouque. The 2nd Battalion was with Zieten's Corps at Freiburg. After spending time at Wahlstadt with Zieten and then in camp at Bunzelwitz in August, it went with Platen to the siege of Kolberg, which began on October 2nd. On October 25th the 2nd Battalion was captured at Treptow, and the 1st Battalion suffered a dreadful retreat from Kolberg to Stettin.

In 1762 it was in Silesia, fighting at Adelsbach on July 6th, Friedland July 8th and on July 21st stormed the southern fortifications of Leutmannsdorf "up a coverless slope". Its last action in the war was to help besiege Schweidnitz for 63 days. In 1763 it had 1485 Prussians, 27 Saxons and 342 "foreigners". Christopher Duffy (AFG1) calls it "an unlucky regiment", as it was so often captured in the Seven Years War.

And this was the uniform in 1756: