Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Regiment de Foix

As promised, I recently decided that I needed to add to my war of the Spanish Succession forces as somehow I had managed to get out of balance, and the French were lagging behind their opponents by a couple of regiments...


So - the first of the two regiments is the Regiment de Foix, who were formed in 1684 as part of the huge expansion in the French army requested by Louis XIV in that year. Altogether 62 battalions of foot joined the army (31 regiments) that year, and all in all 133 battalions were raised between 1684 and 1701!

The regiment de Foix comprised two battalions when it was established on the 14th September.. my usual sources seem to be at odds as to what the uniform was for this regiment but I've gone with the description as per Grant.. white coats & leggings, blue waistcoat, red cuffs and collar. Grant also seems to agree with the Osprey book on the armies of Louis XIV - a slightly later period but presumably mostly unchanged...



I'm assuming the regiment was raised in and around the town of Foix, which is about 30 miles west of Carcassonne and about the same distance south of Toulouse - it lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees..

At the time of Blenheim, the regiment was commanded by Joseph de Mesmes the Marquis De Ravignan. According to truly excellent book entitled "Histoire de l'Ordre Royal et Militaire de Saint-Louis, Volume 2" (which is available free and online here [click here]), Ravignan (who received said order in 1737) had an interesting and exciting life... the book is in French so the following is courtesy of an online translator and what I can make out (as the French is old style)!



He started his military career in the Musketeers, before leaving a few years later to join a regiment of Dragoons in which regiment he served at Steenkirk (1692), and the bombardment of Charleroi (1693).

Promotion followed with service in the French Guards, and in 1696 he was given the colonelcy of the Regiment de Foix.

The regiment was at both Munderkingen (13 July 1703) and the battle of Hochstad (20th September 1703) - both French victories, and Ravingen performed well enough that he was promoted Brigadier.

He further proved himself in the sieges of Lille and Tournai where Bouflers singled him out specifically to command a number of sorties.. a brilliant attack on entrenched troops at the Chapel of Magdelaine is specifically mentioned and got him a promotion to Maréchal de camp (Field Marshal).

For his exploits he was also made second in command of the defence of Tournai, but when it fell he rejoined the army in time for Maplaquet.

Afterwards he led a contingent of Grenadiers, Dragoons and infantry against a more heavily escorted Allied convoy, which he managed to burn, destroying a huge amount of powder, and then returned to Ypres with 20 prisoners.

He was captured in the fall of Ypres and served the rest of the war as a prisoner of the allies.



After the war and his release, Ravignan went on to serve in Italy in the capacity as Lieutenant Général during the war of 1734, at the end of which he was given the Grand Croix in the Order of Saint Louis.

He was also employed in the war of Austrian Succession. He eventually became sick & died in Straubing, after fifty-three years of service.

Only one word for that - wow!!

These figures are a right bunch of odds and sods - all 15mm of course - mostly Minifigs, but there's one British infantryman in there, and four (I think) Essex figures with those hideous tiny bases. The officers are also a hodgepodge - the standard bearer & drummer are Dixon I think, the enthusiastic gentlemen giving the Allies the benefit of his pistols is Peter Pig...

4 comments:

  1. Nice to see how the uniform pulls all the figures together into one unit irrespective of maker.

    The great Peter Gilder used to put one or two variations into his horse and musket units which really brought them to life. Unfortunately the somewhat less talented have taken this to mean if one variation is good 32 variations must be better!

    Nice units, keep them coming.

    John

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  2. A mix of makers is no bad thing when the figuresare equally good. your regiment there looks splendid - battle honours to come I feel.

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  3. I would not have thought that the figures were a mix unless you'd pointed it out. Very nicely executed Steve, And you have to love those crazy French flags!

    Best wishes

    Giles

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  4. I had looked at the photos before I read your comments as to the variety of figure manufacturers . . . and I agree that the mix is not apparent unless one knows about it and examines the figures at close range.


    -- Jeff

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