French Light Troops of the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

French light troops of the Seven Years’ War, 1756–1763

During the wars of the 18th century, the army of Louis XV. of France employed a great number of hussars, chasseurs, and volontaires who provided vital reconnaissance and security services for the regular troops. Many of these light troops, who excelled at petty warfare, known as »Kleinkrieg« in German and »petite guerre« in French, were created and led by enterprising individuals who had offered their services to the King in times of war.

The following table shows the development of the light troops and »légions« of the French army of the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

Name Period
Chasseurs de Fischer, 1743
Dragons-chasseurs de Conflans, 1761
Légion de Conflans, 1763
1743–1776
Volontaires Royaux, 1747
Légion Royale, 1758
1747–1763
Volontaires de Gantés, 1746
Volontaires du Dauphiné, 1758
1746–1762
Volontaires de Geschray, 1747
Volontaires de Beyerle, 1757
Volontaires d’Alsace, 1758
1747–1759
Volontaires de Flandre 1749–1776
Volontaires du Hainaut 1757–1768
Volontaires Étrangers 1756–1759
Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont-Prince 1758–1766
Fusiliers de Montagne
Volontaires Liègeois
Fusiliers-Guides

In 1760, the number of horseless hussars was so great that each regiment formed two companies of foot chasseurs, commanded by one of the numerous colonels maintained à la suite (4 January 1760). Thus, little by little, these hussar regiments became similar to the corps of light troops.[1]

When the need arose, the light troops were supported by regular grenadiers, dragoons, volontaires de l’armée, and artillery.

Bibliography

Sources

  • [1] Mouillard, Lucien: Armée française. Les régiments sous Louis XV. Constitution de tous les corps de troupes à la solde de France pendant les guerres de succession à l’empire et de sept ans. Ouvrage illustré par 49 planches en lithochromie reproduisant les drapeaux, étendards et costumes des régiments, de 1737 à 1774, augmenté de six reproductions en couleur de tableaux de maîtres du XVIIIe siècle (Paris 1882)

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Seven Years' War Miniatures