At the outbreak of the hostilities in 1756 under review there existed 2 regiments of Gardes Françaises and Gardes Suisses, 80 french regiments, 32 foreigner regiments ( Swiss 9, German 12, Irish 7, Scottish 1, Italian 2 ) and the Grenadiers de France. During the conflict by recruiting of new regiment and by amalgamation of regiments their number would be remain almost constant.
As early as the end of the war the new War Minister, the duc of Choiseul, decided to reduce the number of infantry regiments while preserving the infantry strength by increasing the number of battalions in each regiments. After the reorganisation of december 1762 under review there existed 2 regiments of Gardes Françaises and Gardes Suisses, 60 french regiments, 25 foreigner regiments and the Grenadiers of France. Moreover he abolished the venality of captain's company and reduced the number of companies from 17 to 9 in each battalion, he suppressed regiments of gentlemen that became provincial regiments and took the name of French provinces, he kept only Royal regiments, Royal blood princes (La Reine, Conti, Condé, Bourbon ...) regiments and provincial regiments.
For the duration of the war the french troops were distributed in three conflict areas. First in Europe where the most important part of troops was concentrated, also in colonies ( only infantry regiments ), mainly in Canada and India and some regiments in Martinique, Saint Domingue... , a total strength of 22 regiments was affected to the overseas service and finally some regiments were sent on French coasts, essentially dragoons and infantry regiments to prevent an English maritime inroad.
as the other nations maintained foreigners regiments. About
them the duc of Choiseul told " the acquisition of a
foreigner soldier amount to three mens: the one we buy, the
one we prevent to be buy by the enemy, the french we
preserve for agriculture". Historical origins of these
troops differ according to the country whose they were
stemming. German and Liegeoise troops brought to the for the
research of French diplomaty influence along its north-east
frontiers especially with the minor catholic states.
Scottish and Irish troops joined French against our common
COMPOSITION AND ORGANIZATION
OF THE FRENCH INFANTRY REGIMENTS
The usual organisation of the majority of regiments was of 1 or 2 battalions, exceptionally to 3 or 4 battalions. The war showed clearly the weakness of the regiments constituted with only one battalion. Hence the reorganization of the army in december 1762 that increased the battalions in each regiment.
1 August 1755 each battalion consisted of 16 companies of
fusiliers, 1 company of grenadiers and a regimental staff.
The ordonnance on 17 August 1757 increased each battalion
with one more fusiliers company.
The full strength of a battalion comprised 685 soldiers and 35 officers, but companies never were complete because of the insufficient of recruitment, woundeds, diseaseds, deserters or prisoners. In may 1757 a report wrote by M. de Cornillon general major for the infantry indicated an average strenght of 550 men in each battalion in campaign. In order to complete this weakness units an ordonnance on 1st May 1757 allowed to enrol up to five foreigners in the french infantry regiments.
Note that the "grenadiers postiches" were fusiliers temporally incorporated in the grenadier companies when their number to serve were unsufficient. Ordinary the new grenadiers were recruited from these "grenadiers postiches". The ordonnance on the 8 April 1718 imposed to the captain of grenadiers who took off a man in a fusilier company to pay 25 pounds to the captain of fusiliers to recruit another man. Some regiments had the prevote privilege, this privilege entitled them to administer their own military justice. The prevote increased the regimental staff to 1 provost-marshal (prévôt), 1 auditor (auditeur), 1 recorder (greffier), 1 executioner of justice (exécuteur de justice) one or two provost (archers).
Althought regiments were numbered according to their oldness, they were often known by the name of their colonel; thus confusion can arise when colonels changed regiments.
After their return in France in 1760, the regiments that had served in Canada had so hard hit by the war that they will be reorganise.The ordonnance of 1 February 1761 reduced the regiments La Reine, La Sarre, Royal Roussillon, Languedoc, Guyenne, and Béarn to only 12 companies of 20 fusiliers and one company of 40 grenadiers.
At the begenning of the war under review there existed 9 regiments and 10 after the raising of the Eptingen regiment in February 1758. Since the ordonnance of 1 April 1756 swiss regiments consisted of 2 battalions of 6 companies and the company of 120 men including officers. They full strength were 13 800 men in 1758.
Each company comprised 1 captain, 1 lieutenant captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 sub-lieutenant, 1 ensign, 3 sergeants, 1 fourrier, 1 ensign bearer, 1 captain of arms, 1 provost, 4 corporals, 4 ansepessades, 100 fusiliers including fifers and drummers.
At the begenning of the war german infantry consisted of 12 régiments, they were divided in 1, 2 or 3 battalions strength.The organisation for a battalion was to comprise 6 companies and each company up to 85 men.
The regimental staff comprised the colonel, and 1 lieutenant-colonel ( with company), 1 major, 1 aide-major for each battalion, 1 interpreter, 1 chaplain, 1 surgeon, 1 auditor, 1 provost-marshal, 1 clerk, 1 drum-major, 2 provost, 1 executioner of justice. The individual company stood under 1 captain, 1 captain in second, 1 first lieutenant, 2 lieutenants and 1 lieutenant in second that in first and second companies bore the flag and 3 sergeants, 1 fourrier, 2 captains of arms, 1 fourrier-schutz, 3 corporals, 1 carpenter artisan, 2 drummers, 6 ansepessades, 6 grenadiers and 61 fusiliers.
Orders was given in German.
ordonnance of 27 February 1760 reorganized all the German
infantry: "His Majesty having recognized that in His German
infantry there are several regiments too weak to be able to
hold out against campaign, H.M. judge timely to strengthen
them by incorporating others regiments of this nation." In
consequence the regiments of Alsace, Anhalt, La Mark, Royal
Suédois, Royal Bavière, Nassau and Royal
Deux-Ponts increase to one battalion while Lowendhal, Bergh,
Saint Germain, La Dauphine and Royal Pologne are suppressed.
The first battalion of Lowendhal is incorporated in Anhalt
while the second battalion is incorporated in La Mark.
Similarly Bergh is incorporated in Alsace, Saint Germain in
Nassau, La Dauphine in Royal Bavière and Royal
Pologne in Royal Suédois."
Note that the regiment Royal Deux Ponts had a lieutenant colonel besides the proprietor colonel and the commandant colonel.
After the reorganization of 1760 the total strength of German regiment was 19 152 men.
IRISH AND SCOTTISH INFANTRY
Since the ordonnance of January 1757 each regiment was of one battalion of 705 men divided in 13 companies ( 1 grenadier company of 45 men and 12 fusilier companies of 55 men without officers).
Regimental staff consisted of the colonel
and 1 lieutenant-colonel without company, 1 major, 1
aide-major, 1 chaplain, 1 surgeon-major, 1 sergeant
(maréchal-des-logis) and the interpreter.
Regiment Rooth and Berwick obtain by the ordonnance of 25 December 1758 the to have the prevote privilege which increasedthe regimental staff of one provost marshall and its lieutenant, a recorder, five provost and one executioner of justice.There was 2 ensigns by regiments to bore the flag and 12 cadets.
The company of grenadiers understands: 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 lieutenant in 2nd, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 5 lance corporals (ansepessades) , 33 grenadiers and 1 drummer. The ordonnance of the 29 th January of 1757 reorganised the two italian regiment Royal Italien and Royal Corse. They consisted of one battalion of 8 fusilier companies and 1 grenadier company.
staff : a colonel and lieutenant-colonel without company, 1
major, 1 interpreter, 1 chaplain, 1 major drummer. They have
the prevote privilege since the ordonnance of 25 February
1758 which increased the regimental staff to one provost
marshall and its lieutenant, a recorder, five provost and
one executioner of justice .
It concerns two regiments raised in 1757 by the count of Horion and the baron of Vierzet.
regiment was with 2 battalions and was organized as the
German infantry with the alone difference that there was an
ensign to bear the flag instead a lieutenant in 2nd in the
two first companies.