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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

cm_spitfire

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**Welcome, reader! What you are about to read has taken me almost 5-years of on/off work in compiling, editing, editing and editing some more. The save file itself commenced under patch 1.12 (I think...) and was finished up approximately 9 months ago. The file was lost, recovered and updated through a number of patches and DLC releases and really was unplayable due to map distortion and half-effective DLC-implemented code changes. Nevertheless, it provided the background for this 60,000 word history book on the campaigns of this imaginary French infantry regiment.

You may come across two faux-pas in the content:
- I have used the console from time to time. This was to generate story lines; I never set out to play an amazing game or try for achievements or such. It was all story driven.
- I have committed plagiarism! I have taken words directly from the inspiration books to this own Record: those of Richard Cannon who authored the wonderful Historical Records of the British Army in 1845ish. I largely suspect that one or two of you may have seen these but otherwise the majority won't recognise those words as having been written before. My justification is simple: I wanted to create something that would fit alongside those Records as if it had been written by the man himself.

I have written for my own pleasure here but am glad to share it with this wonderful AAR community. I hope you don't look down on this as a result of the admissions above but happily read my story and enjoy it for what it is!

Lastly, this is word-heavy. There are no in-game pictures. There are but two pictures in the entire piece. There are also no chapters but I'll break the book up so that you aren't confronted with too many words each time!***


 
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cm_spitfire

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GENERAL ORDERS
VERSAILLES,
1st January, 1810
HIS MAJESTY has been pleased to command that, with the view of doing the fullest justice to regiments, as well as to Individuals who have distinguished themselves by their Bravery in Action with the Enemy, an Account of the Services shall be published under the superintendence and direction of the Adjutant-General; and that this account shall contain the following particulars, viz:

The Period and Circumstances of the Original Formation of the regiment; the Stations at which it has been from time to time employed; the Battles, Sieges and other Military Operations in which it has been engaged, particularly specifying any Achievement it may have performed, and the Colours, Trophies etc it may have captured from the Enemy.

The Names of the Officers, and the number of Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates Killed or Wounded by the Enemy, specifying the place and Date of the Action.

The Names of the Officers who, in consideration of their Gallant Services and Meritorious Conduct in Engagements with the Enemy, have been distinguished with Titles, Medals, or other Marks of His Majesty's gracious favour.

The Names of all such Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Privates, as may have specially signalised themselves in Action.

And,
The Badges and Devices which the regiment may have been permitted to bear, and the Causes on account of which such Badges or Devices, or any Marks of Distinction, have been granted.

By Command of the Right Honourable

MARECHAL DE FRANCE CHARLES LAPOINTE,
Commanding-in-Chief

Jean-Jacques Leclerc,
Adjutant-General.
 

cm_spitfire

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PREFACE
THE character and credit of the French Army must chiefly depend upon the zeal and ardour by which all who enter into its service are animated, and consequently it is of the highest importance that any measure calculated to excite the spirit of emulation, by which alone great and gallant actions are achieved, should be adopted.
Nothing can more fully tend to the accomplishment of this desirable object than a full display of the noble deeds with which the Military History of our country abounds. To hold forth these bright examples to the imitation of the youthful soldier, and thus to incite him to emulate the meritorious conduct of those who have preceded him in their honourable career, are among the motives that have given rise to the present publication.

The operations of the French Troops are, indeed, announced in the Journal Officiel de l’Empire Francais, from whence they are transferred into the public prints: the achievements of our armies are thus made known at the time of their occurrence, and receive the tribute of praise and admiration to which they are entitled. On extraordinary occasions Versailles has been in the habit of conferring on the Commanders, and the Officers and Troops acting under their orders, expressions of approbation and of thanks for their skill and bravery; and these testimonials, confirmed by high honour of their Sovereign’s approbation, constitute the reward which the soldier most highly prizes.

It has not, however, until late years, been the practice (which appears to have long prevailed in some of the other Continental armies) for French regiments to keep regular records of their services and achievements. Hence some difficulty has been experienced in obtaining, particularly from the old regiments, an authentic account of their origin and subsequent services.

This defect will now be remedied, in consequence of His Majesty having been pleased to command that every regiment shall, in future, keep a full and ample record of its services at home and abroad.

From the materials thus collected the country will henceforth derive information as to the difficulties and privations which chequer the career of those who embrace the military profession. In France, where so large a number of persons are devoted to the active concerns of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, and where these pursuits have, for so long a period, been undisturbed by the presence of war, which few other countries have escaped, comparatively little is known of the vicissitudes of active service, and of the casualties of climate, to which, even during the peace, the French Troops are exposed in every part of the globe, with little or no interval of repose.

In their tranquil enjoyment of the blessings which the country derives from the industry and the enterprise of the agriculturist and the trader, its happy inhabitants may be supposed not often to reflect on the perilous duties of the soldier and the sailor, - on their sufferings, - and on the sacrifice of valuable life, by which so many national benefits are obtained and preserved.

The conduct of the French Troops, their valour, and endurance, have shone conspicuously under great and trying difficulties; and their character has been established in Continental warfare by the irresistible spirit with which they have effected debarkations in spite of the most formidable opposition, and by the gallantry and steadiness with which they have maintained their advantages against superior numbers.

In the official Reports made by the respective Commanders, ample justice has generally been done to the gallant exertions of the Corps employed; but the details of their services and of acts of individual bravery can only be fully given in the Annals of various regiments.

These Records are now preparing for publication, under His Majesty’s special authority, by M. LIONEL VOISIN, Principal Clerk of the Adjutant-General’s Office; and while the perusal of them cannot fail to be useful and interesting to military men of every rank, it is considered that they will also afford entertainment and information to the general reader, particularly to those who may have served in the Army, or who have relatives in the Service.

There exists in the breasts of most of those who have served, or are serving, in the Army, an Esprit de Corps – an attachment to everything belonging to their regiment; to such persons a narrative of the services of their own Corps cannot fail to prove interesting. Authentic accounts of the actions of the great, the valiant, the loyal, have always been of paramount interest with a brave and civilised people. France has produced a race of heroes who, in moments of danger and terror, have stood “firm as the rocks of their native shore;” and when half the world has been arrayed against them, they have fought those battles of their Country with unshaken fortitude. It is presumed that a record of achievements in war, - victories so complete and surprising, gained by our countrymen, our brothers, our fellow-citizens in arms – a record which revives the memory of the brave, and brings their gallant deeds before us, - will certainly prove acceptable to the public.

Biographical Memoirs of the Colonels and other distinguished Officers will be introduced in the Records of their respective regiments, and the Honorary Distinctions which have, from time to time, been conferred upon each regiment, as testifying the value and importance of its services, will be faithfully set forth.

As a convenient mode of publication, the Record of each regiment will be printed in a distinct number, so that when the whole shall be completed the Parts may be bound up in numerical succession.
 

stnylan

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This sounds like a very interesting idea.
 

cm_spitfire

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This sounds like a very interesting idea.
Thanks for reading, @stnylan ! I don't recall having ever seen or read an AAR such as mine before, so I hope it continues to intrigue & entertain. Thank you also to everyone who has read these introductory pages. More introduction follows over the next few posts; it may be a week or so before we start to get to the Historical Record-proper.
 
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cm_spitfire

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INTRODUCTION TO THE INFANTRY


THE natives of France have, at all periods, been celebrated for innate courage and unshaken firmness, and the national superiority of the French Troops over those of other countries has been evinced in the midst of the most imminent perils. History contains so many proofs of extraordinary acts of bravery, that no doubts can be raised upon the facts which are recorded. It must therefore be admitted that the distinguishing feature of the French soldier is INTREPIDITY. This quality was evinced by our ancestors, the inhabitants of Gaul, when their country was invaded by Julius Caesar with a Roman army, on which occasion the undaunted Gauls met the Roman soldiers as they came down from the mountain passes; and, although their discipline and arms were inferior to those of their adversaries, yet their fierce and dauntless bearing intimated the flower of the Roman troops, including Caesar’s favourite Tenth Legion. Their arms consisted of spears, short swords, and other weapons of rude construction. They had chariots, to the axles of which were fastened sharp pieces of iron resembling scythe blades, and infantry in long chariots resembling wagons, who alighted and fought on foot, and for change of ground, pursuit, or retreat, sprang into the chariot and drove off with the speed of cavalry. These inventions were, however, unavailing against Caesar’s legions. In the course of time a military system, with discipline and subordination, was introduced, and French courage, being thus regulated, was exerted to the greatest advantage; a full development of the national character followed, and it shone forth in all its native brilliancy.

The military force of the early-French consisted principally of infantry; Thanes, and other men of property, however, fought on horseback. The infantry were of two classes, heavy and light. The former carried large shields armed with spikes, long broad swords or spears only. They had also men armed with clubs, others with battle-axes and javelins.

The feudal troops established by the Duke of Orleans consisted almost entirely of horse; but when the warlike barons and knights, with their trains of tenants and vassals, took the field, a proportion of men appeared on foot, and, although these were of inferior degree, they proved stout-hearted Frenchmen of staunch fidelity. When stipendiary troops were employed, infantry always constituted a considerable portion of the military force; and this army has since acquired, in every quarter of the globe, a celebrity never exceeded by the armies of any nation at any period.

The weapons carried by the infantry were bows and arrows, half-pikes, lances, halberds, various kinds of battle-axes, swords, and daggers. Armour was worn on the head and body, and in course of time, the practice became general for military men to be so completely cased in steel, that it was almost impossible to slay them.

The introduction of the use of gunpowder in the destructive purposes of war in the early part of the fifteenth century produced a change in the arms and equipment of the infantry soldier. Bows and arrows gave place to various kinds of fire-arms, but French archers continued formidable adversaries; and, owing to the inconvenient construction and imperfect bore of the fire-arms when first introduced, a body of men well trained in the use of the bow from their youth was considered a valuable acquisition to every army, even as late as the sixteenth century.

During a great part of the reign of King Charles IX each company of infantry usually consisted of men armed five different ways. In every hundred men forty were “men-at-arms,” and sixty “shot.” The “men-at-arms” were ten halberdiers, or battle-axe men, and thirty pikemen; and the “shot” were twenty archers, twenty musketeers, and twenty harquebusiers, and each man carried, besides his principal weapon, a sword and dagger.

Companies of infantry varied at this period in numbers from 150 to 300 men. Each company had a colour or ensign, and the mode of formation recommended by a French military writer (Sir Auguste Clavet) in 1590 was: “the colour in the centre of the company guarded by halberdiers; the pikemen in equal proportions on each flank of the halberdiers; half the musketeers on each flank of the pikes; half the archers on each flank of the musketeers; and the harquebusiers (whose arms were much lighter than the muskets then in use) in equal proportions on each flank of the company for skirmishing.” It was customary to unit a number of companies into one body, called a regiment, which frequently amounted to over one thousand men: but each company continued to carry a colour. Numerous improvements were eventually introduced in the construction of fire-arms, and it having been found impossible to make armour proof against the muskets then in use (which carried a very heavy ball) without its being too weighty for the soldiers, armour was gradually laid aside by the infantry in the seventeenth century. Bows and arrows also fell into disuse, and the infantry were reduced to two classes, viz., musketeers, armed with matchlock muskets, swords and daggers; and pikemen, armed with pikes from fourteen to eighteen feet long, and swords.

In the early part of the seventeenth century Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, reduced the strength of his regiments to 1000 men. He caused the gunpowder, which had heretofore been carried in flasks, or in small wooden bandoliers, each containing a charge, to be made up into cartridges, and carried in pouches; and he formed each regiment into two wings of musketeers, and a centre division of pikemen. He also adopted the practice of forming four regiments into a brigade; and the number of colours was afterwards reduced to three in each regiment. He formed his columns so compactly that his infantry could resist the charge of the celebrated Polish horsemen and Austrian cuirassiers; and his armies became the admiration of other nations. His mode of formation was copied by the French, English and other European States; but so great was the prejudice in favour of ancient customs, that all his improvements were not adopted until near a century afterwards.

In 1664 Emperor (then King) Louis XIV raised a Corps for sea service, styled Corps Royale d’Infantrie de Marine. In 1678 each company of 100 men usually consisted of 30 pikemen, 60 musketeers, and 10 men armed with light firelocks. In this year the King added a company of men armed with hand-grenades to each of the old French regiments, which was designated the “Grenadier Company.” Daggers, so contrived as to fit in the muzzles of the muskets, and bayonets, similar to those at present in use, were adopted about twenty years afterwards.

An Ordnance regiment was raised in 1685 by the English King James II, to guard the artillery, designated the Royal Fusiliers and was adopted by the French shortly thereafter. This Corps and the companies of grenadiers did not carry pikes.

Two further Marine regiments were raised for sea service in 1686. During the War for Portuguese North Africa each company of infantry (excepting the fusiliers and grenadiers) consisted of fourteen pikemen and forty-six musketeers. The captains carried pikes; lieutenants, partisans; ensigns, half pikes; and sergeants, halberds. After the peace in 1689 the Marine regiments were disbanded, but were again formed on the outbreak of war in 1708.

By imperial decree and following the conclusion of the British/Portuguese Imperial War in 1715, Grenadier Regiments were established following the success of grenadier companies as assault parties when storming fortified positions. Line regiments were required to nominate soldiers and officers of “good character” and who stood “…at least 5’10”, literate and have participated in at least two campaigns” for selection into these new Regiments. Grenadiers received higher rates of pay and enjoyed better conditions of service given the needs of their duties. Each Grenadier Regiment recruited only from the line regiments of their home province.

Pikes were laid aside during Louis XIV’s reign, and every infantry soldier was armed with a musket, bayonet, and sword; the grenadiers ceased, about the same period, to carry hand-grenades; and the regiments were directed to lay aside their third colour. The Corps of Royal Artillery was first added to the army in this reign.

About the year 1745 the men of the battalion companies of infantry ceased to carry swords; during the reign of Emperor Charles X light companies were added to infantry regiments; and in 1764 a Board of General Officers recommended that the grenadiers should lay aside their swords, as that weapon had never been used during the Liberation of Morocco. Since that period the arms of the infantry soldier have been limited to the musket and bayonet.

The arms and equipment of the French Troops have seldom differed, materially, from those of other European states; and in some respects the arming has, at certain periods, been allowed to be inferior to that of the nations with whom they have had to contend; yet under this disadvantage, the bravery and superiority of the French infantry have been evinced on very many and most trying occasions, and splendid victories have been gained over very superior numbers.

France has produced a race of lion-like champions who have dared to confront a host of foes, and have proved themselves valiant with any arms. Despite shameful losses early in The Hundred Years’ War to England, the French Army has learnt and adapted to be the force it is today. During the Seventy Years’ War between the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the Spanish monarchy, the French infantry in the service of the King of Spain were celebrated for their unconquerable spirit and firmness; and in the Thirty Years’ War between the Protestant Princes and the Holy Roman Emperor, the French troops in the service of the Emperor were celebrated for deeds of heroism.

The Army of Marechal de France de Dunois in 15th century set the example, first by defeating the English (and retaining our National Provinces) and hence through its subsequent operations against Castile, Portugal and Brittany. And if we glance at the achievements performed within the memory of persons now living, there is abundant proof that the French of the present age are not inferior to their ancestors in the qualities which constitute good soldiers. Witness the deeds of the brave men, of whom there are many now surviving, who fought in French North Africa in 1801, under the brave Pepin, and compelled the Ottoman army, which had been vainly styled Invincible, to evacuate that country; also the services of the gallant troops during the arduous campaigns in the Iberian Peninsula, under the immortal Gaillard; and the determined performance made by the French army at Bourges, where Georges von Beck, who had long been the inveterate enemy of France, and had sought and planned her destruction by every means he could devise, was compelled to leave his vanquished legions to their fate. These achievements, with others of recent dates in the distant climes of India and The New World, prove that the same valour and constancy which glowed in the breasts of the heroes of Amiens, Monte San Luis, Genoa, Bourges and Bilbao, continue to animate the French of the nineteenth century.

The French soldier is distinguished for a robust and muscular frame; intrepidity which no danger can appal; unconquerable spirit and resolution; patience in fatigue and privation; and cheerful obedience to his superiors. These qualities, united with an excellent system of order and discipline to regulate and give a skilful direction to the energies and adventurous spirit of the hero, and a wise selection of officers of superior talent to command, whose presence inspires confidence, have been the leading causes of the splendid victories gained by the French arms. The fame of the deeds of the past and present generations in the various battlefields where the robust sons of Gaul have fought and conquered surrounds the French arms with a halo of glory; these achievements will live in the page of history to the end of time.

The records of the regiment will be found to contain a detail of facts of an interesting character, connected the hardships, sufferings, and gallant exploits of French soldiers in the various parts of the world where the calls of their country and the commands of their Sovereign have required them to proceed in the execution of their duty, whether in active Continental operations, or in maintaining Colonial territories in distant and unfavourable climes.

The superiority of the French infantry has been pre-eminently set forth in the wars of six centuries, and admitted by the greatest commanders which Europe has produced. The formations and movements of this army, as at present practised, while they are adapted to every species of warfare, and to all probable situations and circumstances of service, are calculated to show forth the brilliancy of military tactics calculated upon mathematical and scientific principles. Although the movements and evolutions have been copied from other Continental armies, yet various improvements have, from time to time, been introduced to ensure that simplicity and celerity by which the superiority of the national military character is maintained. The rank and influence which France has attained among the nations of the world have in a great measure been purchased by the valour of the army, and to persons who have the welfare of their country at heart the records of the regiment cannot fail to prove interesting.
 

stnylan

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Some more useful background
 

KaiserWilhelmI

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Oh I like this idea very much! I happen to have a soft spot for the French monarchy. :D Montjoie Saint Denis!
 

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subbed
 

cm_spitfire

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Oh I like this idea very much! I happen to have a soft spot for the French monarchy. :D Montjoie Saint Denis!
Thank you all for reading & posting! The "Introduction to the Infantry" is one of the sections, as I noted in my OP, where I have "taken liberties" so to speak.... As I said, I wanted this to fit seamlessly in among the other Records, so this is nearly verbatim as the originals but with a few French twists! You'll read more about French North Africa and the Battle of Bourges, for example, in the coming pages! And of course, some context into the formation of Grenadier Regiments in 1715 which becomes particularly relevant!
 

cm_spitfire

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RÉGIMENT DE GRENADIERS À PIED DE NORMANDIE
HAVE BEEN AWARDED THE FOLLOWING HONOURS
The words ‘NANTES/RENNES’ in commemoration of the distinguished services of the RÉGIMENT at those battles, fought in 1463 during the 1st Aragon War for Castilla la Vieja.

The words ‘LEON (1477)’ and ‘MONTE SAN LUIS’ in commemoration of the gallantry displayed at those battles in Spain and Portugal during the 2nd Aragon War for Castilla la Vieja.

The words ‘OCCUPATION OF CORSICA’ in commemoration of the RÉGIMENT’s services against the States of Hungary, Milan and Pisa in the Campaign of the same.
ALSO,​
The words ‘RELIEF OF PROVENCE’ and ‘GENOA’ for the RÉGIMENT’s gallant devotion to duty and steadfastness in those battles during the Occupation of Corsica.

The words ‘NORTH AFRICA 1530-33’ in commemoration of their service in the campaign against the Fez Caliphate in 1530 – 1533.

The word ‘YAROUS’ in recognition of the bravery and skillful endeavour of the RÉGIMENT at that battle during the 2nd French Crusade for Tunis.

‘RELIEF OF LONDON’ in recognition of the RÉGIMENT’s contribution in relieving the siege of London and the expulsion of Portuguese forces from England during the British Conquest of the Cape Coast (1657 – 1663).

The words ‘IBERIA 1667-72’ in notification of the RÉGIMENT’s sacrifice and gallantry against the forces of Spain and Portugal during the British Conquest of Ezorogondo between 1667 and 1672.

‘IBERIA 1709-14’ to signify the RÉGIMENT’s participation in the conflict against Spain and Portugal during the 1st British-Portuguese Imperial War.
ALSO,​
‘VILLARCAYO (1711)’, ‘VILLARCAYO (1712)’ and ‘LEON (1712)’ to recognise the sacrifice, bravery and skill at arms displayed at those battles during the 1st British-Portuguese Imperial War.

The words ‘UNIFICATION OF SAVOY’ to signify the RÉGIMENT’s participation in the four Savoyard Imperial Wars between 1696 and 1739.
ALSO,​
‘CHUR’ to commemorate the valour and intrepidity of the RÉGIMENT at the siege of the fortress of Chur during the 3rd French-Savoyard Unification War in 1738.

‘TERUEL’ to signify the temerity and intrepidity of the RÉGIMENT’s actions at the Battle of Teruel, during the Liberation of Morocco, on the 9th of October, 1756.

‘SIEGE OF BILBAO’ to acknowledge the glory of victory in which the RÉGIMENT participated at the siege of Bilbao on the 7th of June, 1758, during the Liberation of Morocco.

The words ‘1st WAR OF THE GRAND COALITION’ to commemorate the steadfastness, bravery and sacrifice of the RÉGIMENT during the campaign against the Ottoman Turk between 1769 and 1774.
ALSO,​
‘1st and 2nd ISTRIA’, ‘1st and 2nd ZAGREB’, ‘SLAVONIA’ and ‘CONSTANTINOPLE’ to signify the RÉGIMENT’s distinguished service at those battles during the 1st War of the Grand Coalition.

‘BARCELONA’ to acknowledge the RÉGIMENT’s gallant conduct at the Battle of Barcelona on the 20th of January, 1798, during the 2nd British-Portuguese Imperial War.

‘LANDSCHUT’ as recognition of the RÉGIMENT’s gallantry at the Battle of Landschut on the 25th of May, 1804 where they resolutely held off the enemy attack and captured seven guns in the process.

‘RIPANJ’ as recognition of the significance of the actions of the RÉGIMENT, while part of the Grenadier Brigade, at the Battle of Ripanj on the 9th of June, 1805 and to acknowledge the sacrifice made by the officers and soldiers of that RÉGIMENT.

The word ‘KILIA’ to commemorate the actions of the RÉGIMENT at the Siege of Kilia, during the 3rd War of the Grand Coalition, on the 13th of March, 1806.
 

stnylan

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Ok I am very intrigued by some of these hints.
 
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cm_spitfire

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SUCCESSION OF COMMANDING OFFICERS
OF THE
RÉGIMENT DE GRENADIERS À PIED DE NORMANDIE
__________

Colonel Hugues de Belleme, Marquis d’Alencon 03 Nov 1459 – 14 Sep 1471

Colonel Jean-Jacques de Tosny 15 Sep 1471 – 21 Jun 1483

Commandant Bernard Ferrieres (temporary) 11 Jul 1477 – 15 Oct 1477

Colonel Michel Langholme, Marquis de Langholme 22 Jun 1483 – 18 Jan 1488

Colonel Luc de Bernieres 19 Jan 1488 – 02 Jan 1500

Colonel Geoffroi de Tournai 03 Jan 1500 – 28 Aug 1508

Commandant Lucien de Champlain (temporary) 29 Aug 1508 – 12 Sep 1509

Colonel Lucien de Champlain 13 Sep 1509 – 12 Jul 1541

Colonel Hugues Blouet 13 Jul 1541 – 18 Aug 1561

Colonel Bastian Cruel 19 Aug 1561 – 01 Jan 1569

Colonel Pierre de Bosc-Normand 02 Jan 1569 – 13 Feb 1581

Colonel Jean de Perci 14 Feb 1581 – 24 Nov 1589

Colonel Richard de Meulan, Comte d’Amiens 25 Nov 1589 – 10 Oct 1601

Colonel Roger de Pistres, Marquis de Flamanville 11 Oct 1601 – 24 Oct 1610

Colonel Roger le Blond, Marquis de Vouilly 25 Oct 1610 – 07 Oct 1621

Colonel Pierre de Grasse 21 May 1622 – 15 Jan 1642

Colonel Bertrand de Neuville 16 Jan 1642 – 30 Nov 1658

Colonel Herve d’Anjou, Comte de Tours 01 Dec 1658 – 01 Dec 1694

Colonel Charles de Crecy 02 Dec 1694 – 27 Aug 1711

Major-Chef Killian d’Eu (temporary) 28 Aug 1711 – 01 May 1715

Colonel Killian d’Eu, Marquis d’Ibérie 02 May 1715 – 06 Oct 1735

Colonel Jean-Baptiste de Rainecourt 07 Oct 1735 – 16 May 1752

Colonel Henri de Bretteville, Marquis d’Agneaux 17 May 1752 – 12 April 1768

Colonel Charles d’Incourt 13 April 1768 – 09 April 1773

Colonel Alexandre de Caen, Marquis de Caen 26 July 1773 – 11 Nov 1789

Colonel Claude d’Aubernon, Marquis d’Aubernon 12 Nov 1789 – 09 Jun 1805

Colonel Antoine de Bondeville 10 Jun 1805 – ongoing.

**********************
Please note: the formatting hasn't played the game on this page. It'll look much better (and easier to read) in the published book that I'll provide at the very end. Apologies if this is difficult to discern between Name and Period of Time.
 

stnylan

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All apparently nobleman, which certainly limits some of the potential political shenanigans that might have gone on.
 

cm_spitfire

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All apparently nobleman, which certainly limits some of the potential political shenanigans that might have gone on.
That's quite a good observation actually. Firstly, yeah, France remains a Catholic Monarchy throughout my timeline. I wanted to keep it that way for the story for the most part...but equally I think that the constantly changing of patches, DLC and features as I went through the save probably broke some of those features. For example, the map at the end had a number of new provinces in Europe that were "wastelands" but which normally would be occupied provinces.

Secondly, almost every name in the Regiment is from the list of recorded Knights and Retainers that accompanied William the Conqueror across the channel. Just to make sure I kept with the Norman theme!

Next section follows and finally we're into the narrative! There are no chapters throughout the document so I'll try and find good points to break it up but it may be a little disjointed!
 

cm_spitfire

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HISTORICAL RECORD

OF THE

RÉGIMENT DE GRENADIERS À PIED DE NORMANDIE


_______​

In November 1444 during the reign of King Charles VII de Valois, the French Army, and that of the Armies of her Vassals, set in motion a series of manoeuvres that would comprehensively defeat the two English armies on our Sovereign soil and return lands to our Glorious nation. By June 1447, the provinces of Caux, Normandie, Gascogne and Labourd would be returned to France; not one English soldier would remain. In 1450, Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, was famously killed at the Battle of Nancy and without an heir, his lands where returned to France. This paved the way for the reconquest of Calais and the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1454.

Following the dashing success of the War, the French Army went through a period of reorganisation led by military strategist M. Alexandre de Vergennes. Given the substantial size of the country, Vergennes argued that only a standing army would be capable of forming, travelling and engaging an enemy at speed to preclude an invasion. He also argued, again based on the size of the country, that a single army could not achieve this alone and thus a decision was made to establish three separate Army Corps’.

The Corps du Nord would be based in Picardie and would be responsible for the Northern coastline. Popular belief held that the English were likely to reinvade and a Corps here may persuade them otherwise. In addition, Austria had inherited the Dutch territories from Burgundy in 1450 so the Corps du Nord would secure this border as well.

The Corps du Sud was established in Labourd and was responsible for maintaining law and order in that former English territory (as well as in Gascogne). Whilst an alliance had been formed with Aragon in 1445, relations with their neighbours Castille had significantly deteriorated during the Hundred Years’ War and so a reasonable concern of trouble existed in the Pyrenees.

Thirdly, at the behest of the King, the Guarde Royal was formed and based in purpose-built barrack facilities in Champagne. The Guarde would be smaller than the other two Corps’ but would have less defensive responsibilities. The Guarde’s primary role would be one of ceremony: regiments would be paraded regularly in Paris and would form the security detachments at key Royal and governmental properties in the Il de France.

De Vergennes also proposed, in an effort to improve the discipline and standardisation across the three Corps, that a system of military rank be introduced. The Prussians had already introduced this formal recognition for regimental and army commanders but the French system would encompass all positions
from Soldat to Marechal. Those officers with Royal titles would retain them but would also receive an “Army Rank.”

In 1456, the Duke of Provence declared war on the Papacy in an attempt to secure the province of Avignon. This action provoked responses from Savoy, Naples and Aragon; the Provencal army was quickly destroyed. The King of France identified an opportunity to reclaim further territories for the Kingdom once the Provencal Army was destroyed and subsequently declared War. Anjou and Maine were quickly invaded by the Corps du Nord and the Guarde whilst the Corps du Sud moved into a blocking position in Nemours. The declaration had prompted Provence’s allies, namely Bavaria and The Palatinate from the German territories to respond and within a year a combined army had crossed the border into Dauphine intent on capturing French land.

The Corps du Sud was led by the veteran Marechal, Jean d’Orleans, Comte de Dunois and “Bastard of Orleans.” It was he who garnered acclaim at the Battle of Barios where he defeated this combined army of 19,000 men in January 1457. Following his success, his Corps marched on the province of Bar, a subject of Provence, and commenced siege. The battle, which saw the Germans return across the border, and subsequent manoeuvres allowed enough time for both Anjou and Maine to be captured.

In advance of Bar falling, Provence submitted to the Papacy, and sent their remaining men into Languedoc. Before the Corps du Sud could arrive however, the French Vassals had combined and routed this minor army and had commenced the march upon Aix-la-Provence, the Provencal capital. Bar fell in due course, Aix-la-Provence shortly thereafter and the Treaty of Montpellier was signed in February 1458. Anjou and Maine were incorporated into the Kingdom as Crown territories whilst Bar was released as an independent State. Provence was thus reduced to a single territory.

The French Army had demonstrated the success of de Vergennes’ strategy and impressed upon wider Europe the ability and confidence of French arms.

1459 saw further restructure to the Army with an increase of three infantry regiments, as well as a reallocation of regiments to Corps. All three Corps would now be a mix of infantry and horse (mounted Knights) regiments totalling 11,000 men under arms. The three infantry regiments would be drawn from former English territories, Normandie and Caux. The 1e Normandie and 1e Caux regiments marched out in August 1459 and joined the Guarde (the Guarde was home to all 1e regiments in the Army). The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE proudly entered service on the 3rd of November 1459 and joined the Corps du Nord (hereon “the Corps”) in Picardie. Command of the RÉGIMENT was awarded to Colonel Hugues de Belleme, Marquis d’Alencon whom was formerly the military advisor to the Comte de Lyon but was Norman by birth.

The RÉGIMENT was constituted by men raised in Normandie and in the adjacent counties, and consisted of ten companies of a Capitaine, four Lieutenants, three Serjeants, two Drummers, three Corporals and eighty-seven Private soldiers each; the headquarters was fixed in Amiens. The recruiting of the RÉGIMENT was attended with success, and in a few months it was brought into a state of fitness for military duty.

The RÉGIMENT joined the Army at a time of high morale after the success of the last two decades. The Army was the envy of all Europe; leaders in tactical doctrine and in armament, each of the Corps’ were regularly visited by envoys from other nations seeking to learn French methods. Less than a year later, in October 1460, the RÉGIMENT would undergo retraining after new strategies and weapons had been perfected by the War Department. Soldiers would now be known as Men-at-Arms and would be far more suited to supporting the heavy horse regiments, largely constituted by the Knights of the French nobility, in close battle formations.

On the 5th of February 1463 France’s noble Allies Aragon declared war on their brother-state, Castille, for the Conquest of Castilla la Vieja. At this time, Castille was allied with Portugal and Brittany (as yet still
an Independent Nation) and both joined the War. Without question or hesitation, France honoured the Alliance and orders were struck to send our gallant Army to war once again.

The Comte d’Amiens, Marechal Sebastian d’Estrees was promptly appointed command of the Corps and gave instruction to march on the Breton capital of Nantes where a 5,000 strong army awaited. Meanwhile, the Guarde moved into defences around Paris as the Corps de Sud crossed the border into Navarra and hence to assist Aragon. The Corps arrived outside Nantes on the 6th of March to find the Breton army in defensive lines stretching along the eastern approaches to the city. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE, as a junior regiment in the Corps, was ordered to the left flank of the line but was not so far away as to miss the battle.

In a line seven regiments abreast, the Corps advanced steadily towards the centre of the Breton defences whilst the Knights protected the flanks. Shortly before midday, the first engagements occurred and were met with success from the start. Colonel de Belleme led the men over the parapet and jumped down amongst the Breton defenders. So surprised where they with the valour and daring of the Colonel, the Bretons allowed the men of the 2E NORMANDIE to follow him into combat and clash arms for the first time without difficulty. The Breton forces did not last long after coming under such terrible an assault and many begun throwing down their arms and pleading for mercy. The RÉGIMENT suffered only a few men-at-arms killed whilst Lieutenant Ansgot was wounded. Once the Corps had reformed, Marechal d’Estrees surrounded the city and invested the siege. With no siege engines, and the city able to be reinforced by sea, it was expected to take time.

Meanwhile, the war in Spain did not begin well with first the Aragon army and then the Corps du Sud suffering minor defeats before taking time to reform and assess the war goal. In July the Guarde crushed a Castillian army that had crossed into Gascogne and the Corps du Sud, having reformed, began to invest the Castillian city of Burgos. In August, the Corps du Sud won France more fame when, with Aragon, they fought and defeated a combined Castillian, Breton and Portuguese army outside Burgos. Marechal Jean de Xaintrailles was presented with a golden sword from the King of Aragon as thanks.

In June 1464, 446 days after the siege began the Mayor of Nantes ceded the city to Marechal d’Estrees. A small garrison was left behind before marching north into Amor to begin a second investment; this time of Rennes. The siege was rather quiet and no particular sortie from the garrison was forthcoming. Disease became a problem and a number of men from the RÉGIMENT died in the trenches and sleeping quarters. Whilst the Corps du Sud was winning further recognition and fame in Spain, the Corps du Nord got sick and died.
 

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So it begins
 

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Before the Record continues, I just wanted to apologise for the delay! I've been away with work for the past month or so and thus lost all ability to upload. No further, significant, absences are planned hereon!

****************************************************************************************


On the 30th of May 1465, Marechal d’Estrees finally gave the order to storm the Rennes defences. A Forlorn Hope was called and a number of brave men from 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE volunteered for this brave and honourable force. Capitaines Rochefort and de Signy were joined by Lieutenant Succour and Sous-Lieutenants Falaise and Jonquil as well as a number of men from the enlisted ranks. The RÉGIMENT itself would form a part of the second line of assault. At midnight, the order came and the Forlorn Hope charged unto the breach and was met by a firm resistance from the defenders.

Just as the Hope’s assault was weakening, the first wave of regiments joined and the press of attackers was too much for the Bretons and the siege was done. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was ordered forward but did not become decisively engaged other than to secure prisoners. Both Capitaines Rochefort and de Signy as well as Sous-Lieutenant Jonquil were killed during the initial assault, as were four other men; the remainder suffering various wounds. Lieutenant Succour was promoted Capitaine for his bravery while Sous-Lieutenant Falaise was returned to Normandie having lost an arm and not able to serve further.

Following the successful siege of Rennes, the Bretons chose to leave the war and the Corps du Nord returned to Picardie to recover and train reinforcements.

After a series of successful sieges in Spain, the war was concluded on the 12th of May 1465 with Castille ceding the provinces of Madrid and Murcia, as well as monetary reparations to Aragon. France had won prestige on the battlefield and again demonstrated its skill of arms.

Our Gracious King Charles VII passed away on the 17th of August, 1467 and a great military parade was held in Paris to commemorate both his passing and the ascension of his Son, King Louis XI, to the throne. On the 18th of August the new King wrote to the RÉGIMENT to congratulate it upon the success of the last war and award the title of “Nantes/Rennes” to its colour:-

“Sir, By desire of His Royal Highness, I have the honour to acquaint you that His Majesty has been graciously pleased to command that the victories of ‘Nantes’ and ‘Rennes’ shall be inscribed on the colours of the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE, and the same will be recorded in the next issue of the King’s regulations…”
(Signed) P.L. de Berriere.


On the 19th of August, word reached the Corps that an outbreak of influenza had struck Normandie and that the province’s borders and Port had been closed. There had been significant loss of life and thus reinforcements for that year were not forthcoming.

Coinciding with the amalgamation of the Duchy of Orlean’s soldiers into the French Army, after that State was integrated, the War Department released the “1469 Regimental Regulations and Doctrine.” The document made changes to the way in which orders were given on the battlefield as well as introducing a number of new formations for both attack and defence. Officers of the RÉGIMENT were required to study the regulations in detail before the Corps staff conducted their annual Regimental Review.

On the 14th of September, 1471 Colonel de Belleme was placed on half-pay and retired from service. Colonel Jean-Jacques de Tosny, formerly the RÉGIMENT’s Commandant, was promoted and appointed Commanding Officer with effect the 15th of September, 1471. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE returned to Le Havre where a formal parade was conducted to officially signify the transition of command. Colonel de Belleme would be appointed “Colonel-in-Chief” of the RÉGIMENT; a largely inactive but honorific role.

The Second Aragonese War for Castilla la Vieja began on the 24th of January, 1473 with all six major nations from the previous conflict involved once again. The Corps was in action almost instantly. Having received a warning order a week prior from the War Department, only minor tasks were required to break camp and the men were marching within a matter of hours. The Corps was once again directed to engage with and destroy the forces from Brittany and such an opportunity presented itself mid-morning on the 24th February. The horse regiments had been patrolling in three directions from the line of march and it was these that discovered the main Breton army encamped just South of Nantes.

The Corps rushed forward but it was the Horse regiments, taking advantage of their mobility that had the honour of the day. 2,000 Knights galloped clear of a nearby forest and were amongst the Bretons just as they were forming up for the march and did a great slaughter. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was one of the last regiments on the field and was forced to secure prisoners rather than gain any glory in the battle. The engagement was over as soon as it had begun, with barely any casualties amongst the Infantry; the Horse suffered only minor losses.

The Corps then turned north and made for Nantes where they began the investment on the 10th of March. Trenches were dug in similar positions to the previous siege eight years prior. Commanders were familiar with the terrain and it was noted that the Nantes defences had only been temporarily repaired. With the Breton army destroyed, Marechal d’Estrees was happy to be patient once again. At the same time the Guarde had also entered Breton territory and, after dispatching some Breton militia, invested Rennes.

In Spain, the Aragonese and the Corps du Sud had made excellent gains, clashing with the major Castillian/Portuguese army in Santander and winning a famous victory. Despite minor setbacks, 1473 was a successful year for the allies.

On the 17th of January 1474 Rennes fell to the Guarde who then moved onto Brest and commenced a siege once again. In April the same year, during a standard reconnaissance of the siege lines, Marechal d’Estrees was mortally wounded by a Breton arrow. He was rushed back to the medical area but could not be saved. Colonel Barraque of the 2e Poitou Régiment took command of the Corps until a new Marechal could be appointed by Paris.

On the 3rd of July, Bourbon was integrated into the French Kingdom with the 1e Bourbonnais Régiment ordered to join the Guarde, presently outside Brest. On the 16th of September they passed through the Corps’ siege lines on their way north but only a few days later word reached the camp that the Bourbonnais had fought and won a bloody battle in Morbihan. The regiment had been ambushed by renegade Breton soldiers and, despite suffering significant losses, killed them all to a man. It was a wonderful first engagement for a new regiment and one that certainly endeared them to their fellow Guardsmen.

Finally on the 4th of December 1474, Nantes surrendered and the Corps once again marched through the gates to secure the city. The Corps’ new Marechal, Louis de Saint-Chamond, was confirmed shortly after the siege and arrived to take control of the Corps as they marched into Morbihan to invest the city of Rohan. De Saint-Chamond had been the Commanding Officer of the 2e Régiment of Bourbonnais; Paris had chosen to recognise his outstanding deeds with that regiment.

On the 18th of April 1475 with their army destroyed, two of their provinces under French control, and the remainder about to be captured, Brittany sued for Peace and left the war. The Guarde and the Corps then began heading south to join the conflict in Spain where the Corps du Sud had been facing increasing difficulty cooperating with the Aragonese armies.

On the 15th of June, the two formations surprised and destroyed a Castillian army of 5,000 men in Vizcaya. This was followed up by further successes in July and August as they chased the Castillians into Portuguese territory. In September, they separated with the Guarde destroying a Portuguese army in Porto in October; the Corps finishing another in the Asturias in mid-November. Having such a quick sequence of battles had tired the RÉGIMENT and Marechal de Saint-Chamond led the Corps into Burgos to commence a siege and to rest and receive reinforcements from France.

Capitaine Rochefort arrived with 110 reinforcements from Normandie on the 23rd of December, who were met with joy, and put to work improving the siege lines. The RÉGIMENT had responsibility for the North-East sector of the siege and as a result, saw very little activity. Indeed, the Castillians were loath to leave the safety of the walls that the men of the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE and others were generally free to move around without hindrance.

By mid-May 1476 the Castillian garrison had become rather more desperate and undertook a series of actions to disrupt the French siege. On the 19th of May the enemy infiltrated the camp undetected and caused great chaos as tents and supply wagons were set alight. Three nights later, French sentries raised another alarm as a group of knights were seen galloping from the gates seeming intent on escaping to re-join the main Castillian army. The French Horse was not prepared for such an audacious manoeuvre and the Castillians slipped away.

The winter of 1476 was particularly hard and a number of men from the RÉGIMENT were taken ill; most succumbing to disease within a few short days. Reinforcements arrived through July and August as a result of the losses to illness and disease.

As the weather began to improve during spring, Marechal de Saint-Chamond wished to seek an end to the siege that had lasted too long already. Small raids were conducted by most regiments on sections of
the wall to test the defender’s alertness and resolve. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE conducted one such raid in late September and succeeded in gaining the wall’s parapet but were eventually fought off and forced to return to the lines.

Finally, on the 16th of November 1476, the garrison of Burgos surrendered and the Corps was able to enter the city. A small force was left behind to garrison the town and a week later the Corps headed further west and towards Leon, arriving outside the city on the 15th of December. Leon was immediately invested although Marechal de Saint-Chamond was ordered to capture it quickly.

Leon’s defences had already been subject to a number of assaults earlier in the war and the defenders had been unable to repair the walls in any effective way. The presence of forces from Aragon and the French vassal states around Leon meant that they had also been unable to receive appropriate supplies. It was expected that the defenders would surrender within a matter of weeks.

When Leon had still not fallen come the 1st of June 1477, the Corps sprang into action. Incursions against the walls to test for weak points occurred on the following nights and on the evening of the 12th of June, a general assault was called. There would be no Forlorn Hope this time with every regiment allocated a section of wall to attack. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE attacked from the North, rushing forward with a number of ladders with which to scale the walls. Arrows fell upon the RÉGIMENT but such was the energy and impetus of the attack, few arrows found their target.

Lieutenant de Champlain had the honour of being the first of the RÉGIMENT to scale the wall and he was quickly joined by the men of his platoon. The Castillian garrison was overwhelmed as more and more French attackers made their way onto the ramparts and surged towards the centre of town, the lust of battle well upon them. The defenders flag was quickly struck and replaced with the colours of France. When the surviving defenders saw this they threw down their arms and surrendered. The battle was over within an hour.

Capitaine Roussell and Sous-Lieutenant Moncheaux were killed on the ramparts along with 15 other men; another 30-odd suffered varying degrees of wounds. Lieutenant de Champlain was labelled the Lion of Leon for his brave and dashing assault upon the walls; a name he would carry with him the remainder of his career. He was also promoted to Capitaine and into the unfortunate Roussell’s position.

Once again the Corps did not delay for long and soon they were on the march further west towards Portugal. Scouts soon reported the presence of a Portuguese army a few days march ahead and moving slowly towards Portuguese territory. Marechal de Saint-Chamond was heard to orate “enough of these sieges! It is a pitched battle I want!” A week later, the Corps’ Horse began skirmishing with the trailing elements of the Portuguese rear guard and soon enough the Corps was able to bring them to battle.

The Portuguese General had established himself on forward slopes of Monte San Luis, some three kilometres from the city of Porto, which would force the French to attack uphill. Whilst Monte San Luis was not particularly high, the incline was steep and the ground was covered with boulders and small bushes precluding the Horse from significant involvement in the initial phases of battle. Marechal de Saint-Chamond thus chose to send the Horse to surround the Portuguese and leave the hard work to the Infantry.

The following day, the 10th of July, the Corps began the assault. Colours were unfurled and the men cheered the Marechal as he rode along the front of the line. There was an exuberant atmosphere amongst the men and an expectation that this battle would be a short, bloody victory for the French. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was foremost in the line and would be one of the first regiments to engage with the enemy. A great cheer went up from the RÉGIMENT as the order was given and the line surged forward.

Portuguese arrows began falling upon the attackers almost instantly and a number of men from the RÉGIMENT fell, wounded. Despite the incline the men made good speed up the hill but noticeably slowed
about halfway up as they tired from the exertion. This must have been obvious to the Portuguese General as suddenly the enemy was streaming down the hill and was amongst the French line before a withdrawal could be called.

The weight of the Portuguese attack forced the French line slowly backwards but the men held their nerve and did not run such was the discipline instilled through training. A number of men from the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE had already fallen and lay dead or dying on the slope but their brave comrades fought on. The battle here raged in ebbs and flows; where one unit would gain an advantage, another would lose and the line slowly moved up and down the hill.

At midday with the battle still in the balance and many men slain, the order was passed through the French ranks to begin withdrawing down the hill. As they went, the Portuguese followed, expecting that the battle had reached its climax and that soon the day would be theirs. Shortly, the ground began levelling out and the French were nearly back to their starting positions but just as the Portuguese were to make a last push, the French Horse struck their flank.

It was a slaughter. The Portuguese General, having not seen the Horse all day, had neglected their existence, but Marechal de Saint-Chamond had not. The Knights lowered their lances and crashed through the side of the Portuguese, sending them to flight in an instant. The reserves flashed past the bruised and battered line, chasing the retreating Portuguese up the hill; the Corps had its victory. The Portuguese were done for in a single instance of tactical brilliance. The infantry had suffered a high price though. Nearly 2,500 men lay dead on the field, 300 of those from the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE.

Major La Chevelle, Capitaines Reviers and de Villiers, Lieutenants Coulombert, de Maison and le Havre and Sous-Lieutenants Remy, Boulogne, Gascard and de Lorient were amongst the dead. Colonel de Tosny was severely wounded but would make a recovery in time. Despite the losses, it was a great victory. The Portuguese would be unable to recover from the loss of their army and by December, having lost a number of territories, sued for Peace and left the war. In the meantime, the Corps had returned to Burgos to recover and ensure that the city remained in French hands.

At the dawn of 1478, the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was encamped outside Burgos with the remainder of the Corps du Nord. Orders would soon arrive however to begin the march on Salamanca and finally seek an end to the War. On the 14th of February, Saint Valentine’s Day, the Corps arrived outside Salamanca and made preparations for its investment. The defenders seemed content to remain inside the city and made no attempt to disrupt the siege lines.

On the 25th of March, the Mayor of Salamanca rode out under a truce banner and formally surrendered the city to the Marechal. It was a sign of acceptance from the Castillians that they had been beaten. It was now a matter of how much territory the Aragonese desired. On the 14th of October, Aragon agreed a peace deal which saw a number of provinces handed over, essentially cutting Castille in two.

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE had again fought extremely well in lands largely foreign to them. The swift destruction of the Bretons was a significant moment in the early stages of the War, as was the capture of Burgos. The turning point however was the crushing victory at Monte San Luis and the destruction of the Portuguese Army. The RÉGIMENT was recognised by the Marechal upon his return to Paris and a letter arrived from the War Department on the 25th of October 1477:-

“The Marechal de France requests Commanding Officers to have read to their Regiments the General Order of yesterday, conveying the thanks of His Royal Highness, King Louis XI, to the Army. He would wish them also to bring to the notice of the troops the terms by which His Royal Highness shows not only his own approbation but the admiration of France which is felt by their conduct under great privations and hardships.”

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE returned to their encampment in Picardie in late November following a great parade and celebration for the entire Corps in Amiens. The Corps’ defensive and guard
responsibilities had been assumed by local militia forces in their absence and it was to these tasks that the men returned to after a short period of leave.
 

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  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
A very busy few years for the regiment