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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The regiment is getting rather used to North Africa. 81 years - that is one hell of a time, and they did - at times - endure hell :)
Yeah they certainly left plenty of Norman blood on the fields of old Carthage. But that is the last they'll see of North Africa. Newer worlds await them.... ;)
 

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On the 1st of September 1612, the RÉGIMENT disembarked the transports in Languedoc and after a number of weeks, marched north to re-join the establishment of the Corps du Nord, arriving in Picardie, initially, on the 23rd of October. The surviving officers and soldiers of the previous campaign where then invited to a great reception in Amiens where the Duc de Normandie formally welcomed them and the RÉGIMENT back home. On the 26th of October, while celebrations were still underway, the RÉGIMENT was paraded on the grounds of the cathedral at Bayeaux where they were inspected by the Duc and presented with a new second, or Regimental, colour that encompassed the honours the RÉGIMENT had previously been awarded. A Royal warrant was issued at this same time, dated the 1st of July 1612, dictating the style, colours and presentations of the King’s and Regimental colours.

The first, or King’s, colour was to be of white silk quartered by a hollow gold cross, the Royal Embellishment of France in the centre, the upper dexter and lower sinister to be filled with Fleur-de-Lis of gold, the upper sinister and lower dexter to display the two Norman leopards passant gardant armed and langued azure respectively.

The second colour was to be of red silk with the Fleur-de-Lis in the upper dexter, ‘2E’ in the upper sinister; in the centre two lions passant gardant armed and langued azure, per the Duchy of Normandie’s Royal Establishment, surmounted by the King’s Crown, and the honours of Nantes/Rennes, Leon, Monte San Luis, Relief of Provence, Genoa and Yarous displayed equally either side in the lower canton.

On the 15th of December the King was pleased to convey to the troops the re-establishment of an alliance with the Kingdom of Great Britain where both great nations would come to the other’s aid in any act of aggression committed against them, notwithstanding any strategic offensive action that would benefit either nation. Meanwhile, the RÉGIMENT had resumed regular duties with the Corps du Nord and had been stationed at times near Dunkerque, Aire-sur-la-Lys, Lille and Douai between 1613 and 1617.

In anticipation of the war with Genoa, the Corps du Nord was ordered to Lyon near the border with France’s allies the Dukedom of Savoy, in June 1617 and, following the confirmation of safe passage, crossed the border on the 27th of July, arriving at the Italian city of Milan on the 27th of August. Marechal Michel de Chambly joined the Corps at this time before the formal declaration of war was made upon the Genoese for the conquest of the major trading port of Genoa itself on the 2nd of September. On the 9th of September, the RÉGIMENT crossed into Cremona with the Corps du Nord and immediately besieged the city of the same a few days later. The Corps du Sud was also involved in the war; they had mobilised at the same time and had invested Genoa on the 7th of September. Of note, Savoy and France’s other noble ally, the Republic of Venice, also declared a war of conquest upon Genoa which greatly upset the King.

Despite significant representations to the besieged, it was not until the 18th of June 1618 that the defenders of Cremona surrendered; the city of Genoa would hold out longer. Following the capture of Cremona, the RÉGIMENT marched immediately into Parma where the Genoese army had established a strong defensive position along the Po River. The Corps du Nord, numbering approximately 21,000 troops was ordered to sweep the Genoese from the field and the RÉGIMENT would play a gallant but bloody role in the battle.

Marechal de Chambly ordered temporary bridges constructed over the Po and entrenchments were also thrown up as the two armies maintained their posts. While the two confronted each other, frequent skirmishes occurred in the fields and vineyards, in which the RÉGIMENT took a conspicuous part. On one of these occasions a Capitaine from the RÉGIMENT was taken prisoner, who escaped from the enemy a few days afterwards, and brought information that the opposing General had left the Genoese army in consequence of indisposition. This opportunity was not to be missed, and Marcheal de Chambly ordered his legions forward, the RÉGIMENT forming a part of the centre of the line and the first to cross the Po.

As the soldiers began crossing, Genoese cannon commenced firing and a great many men were killed and wounded, some falling into the swollen river and were swept downstream. Owing to the great discipline and organisation of the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE, the Marquis de Vouilly was able to reform the RÉGIMENT and advance quickly as yet more, smaller calibre, cannon commenced firing upon them. The 2E was ably supported on both sides by regiments from Nevers and Bourgogne, and together the three continued their progress forward until well within musket range. A wall of smoke engulfed the Genoese line as they opened fire but their aim was characteristically high, failing to strike down but a few Frenchmen. The regiments gave their own fire and with a great cry, charged the Genoese. In a clash of steel, the two lines met and became locked together as each grappled for the upper hand. As men fell from both sides and neither appeared ready to depart the field, a second great cry went up from the RÉGIMENT’s right flank and in an instant the Genoese opposition faltered and gave way as a massed cavalry formation carried their flank. These were Savoyard horsemen who had marched overnight when word of the departure of the Genoese General had reached them. And a timely arrival too. While French reserves had not yet been committed, the RÉGIMENT itself was in a precarious position; nearly fivehundred officers and soldiers had been wounded or killed. Despite the losses, morale of the RÉGIMENT was high as they had again succeeded against significant odds.

With the Savoy forces pursuing the retreating Genoese, the Corps du Nord moved into position to commence the siege of Parma; the RÉGIMENT itself retiring to the rear and only providing small escort and security parties for foragers. The Genoese shortly hung out a white flag, and agreed to surrender, on the 13th of November; the garrison, consisting of six broken regiments, became prisoners of war. The Corps remained as garrison for the city and the surrounding area until the 1st of April 1619 when they were removed north to the German city-state of Baden, Genoa’s pathetic ally.

The RÉGIMENT was amongst the first to arrive beneath the walls of the city on the 3rd of June and shortly commenced construction of fortifications and entrenchments. After the completion of this service, they were replaced by the 3e Tours in August but returned once more to the trenches in December. A harsh winter set in, come January 1620 and a significant number of the Corps du Nord gave their lives in the freezing conditions, including 112 men from the RÉGIMENT. Despite an arrival of new recruits in April, the Corps du Nord had for too long engaged in a state of war and the weariness of the
soldiery was evident; the Guarde arrived and conducted a relief in place on 12th September and the Corps du Nord returned to Picardie for further rest and recuperation.

Following the eventual fall of Baden, the war was concluded on the 13th of March 1621 with possession of Genoa passing to France. Subsequent to this result, Savoy seized Cremona and Parma from the Genoese.

Between September 1620 and August 1621, the RÉGIMENT was removed to Lille, Amiens, Calais, Caen, Roubaix, Saint-Omer and Dunkerque as their general security and guard tasks continued.

The Dutch Republic of the Netherlands, owing much to quality and singularity of the French forces, declared war upon their enemy Austria on the 8th of August 1621 and once more called upon the King Louis XIII to support their claims upon the province of Hennegau in the Low Countries. The obligation to this satellite state being considered, the King acquiesced to the request and a state of war thus enlivened the Kingdom once more. Austria was supported by their own substantial allies, notably: the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth, the Kingdom of Naples, the Grand Duchy of Bohemia, the Duchy of Mantua and the Imperial Cities of Salzburg and Swabian Memmingen. This great force threatened to abolish the Dutch pretences for war and thus it was vital to seek the resolution of peace as quickly as possible.

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was ordered, with other Corps, for the province of Parma, crossing the Po River once again on the 6th of October. In this endeavour, the Corps du Sud and Guarde were combined into a great Army under the Duc de Lorraine and together with the Corps du Nord sought to do battle with the main Mantuan host encamped near Parma. 60,000 French soldiers entered the field against 34,000 Mantuan and Northern Italians on a day that would echo in the hearts of all French men and women for decades thereon. Despite the obvious differences in the composition of forces, it was the Mantuan army that would attack first.

The RÉGIMENT was posted on the right of the French army, where a slight entrenchment had been made during the preceding night. As the first rays of morning light appeared in the horizon, waving masses of glittering arms, traversing the undulating grounds in front, gave indication of an approaching enemy, when the artillery opened a heavy fire, and the battle began. For some time, the RÉGIMENT was a spectator of the action, while much fighting took place at smaller villages and positions; the fortune of the day was everywhere in favour of the French; but eventually the position was forced at the village of Costa Mezzana and the French cavalry was forced to retire.

Heavy columns of pikemen and arquebusiers, flanked by cavalry, and preceded by a cloud of grenadiers, approach the ground where the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was posted. The Marquis de Vouilly was at the head of the RÉGIMENT, and directed the men to reserve their fire until the near approach of their opponents. As the Mantuan soldiers sprang forward with their characteristic energy, and threw a shower of hand-grenades over the breast-work, a well-directed volley from the RÉGIMENT rent chasms in the Mantuan ranks; but the survivors, being supported by an immense superiority of numbers in this place, and urged forward by their Serjeants and Capitaines, renewed the attack; while the General led a chosen body of men to the charge, and forced the right of the entrenchment.

The RÉGIMENT, and other Corps at this part of the field, were attacked in front and flank and a sanguinary conflict ensued. The Marquis de Vouilly was carried from the field wounded, yet the Normans stood their ground; ranks of opponents ascended the breast-work, and were speedily cut down or forced back. At length the French battalions were overpowered and driven for their ground. Stung with resentment at this disaster, and hearing of a fatal blow having been delivered on the enemy’s opposite flank, they speedily rallied, and, rushing sword, axe and halberd in hand upon their opponents, they once more regained the lost ground. A momentary pause ensued; but soon a fresh body of French regiments from the Guarde arrived and renewed the fight, overpowering the now inferior opponent.

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE evinced the stern valour of French soldiers; their commanding officer, the Marquis de Vouilly, fell mortally wounded; Commandant de Grasse was removed bleeding to the rear; yet they disputed the ground with sanguinary tenacity until the Guarde had been committed. The loss of the RÉGIMENT on this occasion was very severe: the Marquis de Vouilly was an officer of distinguished merit, and Lieutenants d’Eu, des Vaux and Folet were also killed; Capitaine Falaise died of his wounds: among the wounded were Commandant de Grasse, Capitaines Malet, le Despensier and de Hodenc; the loss in non-commissioned officers and private soldiers was very great; but the exact number has not been ascertained.

Following the Battle of Parma, and despite the losses sustained, the RÉGIMENT was ordered to besiege the great fortress at Ferrara. While the Marquis de Vouilly had passed away in the days following the battle, the Duc de Lorraine chose not to appoint a new Colonel but instead led the troops himself. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was detached from the main army and pitched their tents at Sant’ Agostino, a post about five miles from the fortress town on the 1st of November.

On the 9th of November they were on duty in the trenches; on the 11th they marched into the lines of circumvallation, and in the evening of the same day a detachment was engaged in a successful attack against the covered way upon the hill of Uccelino. The attack was made about seven in the evening; and such were the spirit and energy with which the French soldiers rushed upon their opponents, that the palisades were speedily broken down – the covered way carried – the Mantuans overpowered and chased among the works, many of them throwing themselves into stone pits to escape the fury of their assailants.

This success stimulated the soldiers to fresh exertions, and on the 19th of November, when the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE were directed to take part in the storming of the counterscarp, they engaged in this service with a cheerful alacrity, which proved the ardour which glowed in every breast. The grenadiers led the assault, and, rushing to the glacis, cast their grenades over the palisades into the covered way. Following up this attack with spirit, the Mantuans were overpowered, the counterscarp was carried in gallant style, and the Normans were thanked by Duc de Lorraine for their distinguished bravery. They had Lieutenant Wadard killed and Capitaine Silvestre wounded; also a number of private soldiers killed and wounded. The artillery train arrived in mid-December and a few days later the French Mediterranean Fleet arrived off the coast to commence a blockade. The siege was prosecuted with vigour and with such success that before the end of January 1622 the fortress and township was delivered up.

The Corps du Nord then marched into Romagna and occupied a number of towns and villages; the RÉGIMENT went into quarters at Sassuolo to rest on the 12th of March. On the 14th of May a welcome body of reinforcements arrived bringing the strength of the RÉGIMENT back to 761 officers and men. Major-Chef Pierre de Grasse, having recovered from his wounds suffered at the Battle of Parma, was promoted Colonel and given command of the RÉGIMENT with a commission dated the 21st of May 1622. The RÉGIMENT remained in Romagna, at various posts, until the 10th of November when they removed to the siege of Arezzo, arriving outside the city on the 2nd of December. The RÉGIMENT took their turn in the entrenchments later in the month and again in January 1623 but a series of attacks against the walls failed to dislodge the defenders.
 

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A bit of a longer post there, I'm afraid but as this is a rather significant conflict there wasn't a really good place to draw a chapter line. The war continues next post with the epic Battle of Bourges
 

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Well there were not afforded all that much chance to rest before getting well and truly stuck in. The Battle of Parma sounded suitably vicious
 

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A return to Europe and fighting France's enemies closer to home. Many opportunities to defend France's honour and glory await.
 

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Thankfully, the forum fit hasn't affected things too greatly here; just this post in response to your comments and the update that includes the Battle of Bourges (which will follow immediately).

Well there were not afforded all that much chance to rest before getting well and truly stuck in. The Battle of Parma sounded suitably vicious
A return to Europe and fighting France's enemies closer to home. Many opportunities to defend France's honour and glory await.
Just a quick note from me to say thank you for continuing to read and I do hope you are enjoying the Record so far. The Battle of Bourges follows and was one of my more favourite actions to write about. We are roughly halfway through the Regiment's history so there is indeed many opportunities for honour and glory!
 

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On the 18th of March, a Mantuan army was intercepted to the east whilst attempting to circumvent the siege of Arezzo and join with their confederates in the north. A small French force was successful in delaying this army near Citta di Castello enabling the larger siege forces to form and join the battle. A general engagement was brought together on the 19th and a crushing victory was won; the Mantuan army being entirely killed or captured in the process. The RÉGIMENT participated in this victory although their small part was limited to a minor skirmish when the battle had been all but won. The Corps returned to Arezzo and the siege lines but with the loss of their forces and a number of key towns and castles already fallen, Mantua reached a peace accord with the Dutch and formally left the conflict.

While French forces had been winning victory after victory in Italy, Austrian and Bohemian armies had been capturing French provinces and cities without issue. Hundreds of innocent French peasants and irregular garrison forces had been put to the sword by these unforgiving armies and so, with a major threat eliminated from the war, the King ordered his legions home to eradicate the confederate forces.

The 2E RÉGIMENT formed part of the force that marched directly to Nice, where it received further reinforcements, and then onto Franche-Comte, arriving in the province on the 1st of November 1623, quickly sweeping away the tiny Austrian garrison. On the 19th of December they marched into Nevers and, a number of small skirmishes aside, relieved that province without interference. The Duc de Champagne took command of the Corps on the 5th of January 1624 and immediately proceeded to Paris; the fortifications of which had fallen to a besieging Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth force in December the year prior (Paris itself had not capitulated but the surviving garrison was unable to hold out much longer). The arrival of the Corps on the 15th of July, having diverted from the most efficient route to avoid becoming decisively engaged, prompted the Commonwealth army to end their siege save for those forces now garrisoning the captured fortifications.

The Duc de Champagne sought to avoid unnecessary casualties and damage to the City and thus the siege was one of static action; some bombardment occurred against the walls of the Fortress of St. Pierre but no direct assaults occurred. The RÉGIMENT took their post in the entrenchments at various times but did not suffer any casualties related to enemy action. On the 26th of February 1625 the last bastion surrendered and the relief of Paris was complete. The Corps being fresh, at full strength and in a state of high morale, Duc de Champagne was instructed to seek out the marauding confederate armies and defeat them. An opportunity was subsequently presented on the 10th of March in the province of Bourges when scouts reported a Commonwealth army was resting following a failed assault on the castle at Tours. The Corps du Sud was instructed to join and on the 16th of March the combined forces marched forward and engaged the Polish-Lithuanians in what would later be known as the Battle of the Five Armies.

The Commonwealth army was positioned on an open field around the township of Les Vignes des Fets, its right flank protected by the Cher River. Videttes had been posted North at the village of Les Bruns and it was these forces that the vanguard of the French army engaged in the early hours of the morning. The Army advanced in three columns to attack the enemy in his position; the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE, being in the left column under Duc de Champagne, advanced against the enemy’s right flank. This portion of the army carried the village of Les Bruns, and then advanced against the smaller hamlet of Sarl Masson, which was carried in gallant style, the enemy being dislodged at the point of the sword and pike with great slaughter, and the loss of three cannon. Colonel de Grasse was severely wounded, and the command of the RÉGIMENT transferred to Major-Chef Pierre Francois. Towards the close of the action on that day, the left column was ordered to halt while the other columns pushed to catch up having faced stiffer resistance from the enemy.

The following day saw the forces opposing the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE reinforced and a stubborn defence withheld a number of repeated attacks against the enemy’s right flank. The centre and right columns also failed to dislodge the Polish-Lithuanians in what had fast become an artillery duel between the two armies. On the 18th of March French scouts reported the imminent arrival of a combined Austrian and Swabian army to the battle. This arrival precipitated a change to strategy and the left column, being reinforced with cavalry, crossed the Cher and sought to turn the enemy’s right flank.

About one o’clock in the afternoon of the 18th, the Cher River having been crossed without incident, the column was ordered to attack a village full of Austrians called Nourioux which village they had fortified and made so vastly strong and barricaded so fast with trees, plants, coffers, chests, wagons, carts and palisades that it was almost an impossibility to overcome. Before their assault could begin however, the Duc de Champagne was obliged to wait for the right column to get into position for their own attack, they having experienced unexpected delays in crossing difficult terrain to the west of Les Vignes des Fets. This delay meant that the left continued to be exposed to Austrian cannon, unable to move forward.

Finally, at three o’clock, word arrived that the right had drawn up and were ready to attack. The Duc de Champagne wasted no time, turning to his commanding officers, he calmly instructed: “Gentlemen, to your posts. Let us be about this valorous business.”

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was front and centre of the French line and thus endured a significant portion of the Austrian cannon fire. They first pushed back two battalions of Swabian soldiers who had been holding the area surrounding two water mills. They then forded the water at its shallowest point, and awaited the rest of the line to arrive before proceeding forward once more. Cover was limited and still they received the brunt of the cannon fire. With great courage and steadfast resolve the French line advanced upon the village and, when within 100 yards of the palisades, began to receive fire from the Austrian infantry. Any loss of momentum would have been catastrophic at this point and so the arqubusiers were ordered not to fire until they could strike the palisade with their swords. A second volley ripped through the ranks of the French with a mere 30 yards to go but still they came on despite dozens of men falling dead and wounded. Finally they reached the palisade and dispensed their pieces into the teeth of the enemy.

The Austrians and Swabians recoiled in turn but their numbers were such that fresh troops could push to the front and fill the gaps where others had fallen or retired. Their repeated volleys forced the French back through the second line and they were harassed by enemy cavalry as they did so. The RÉGIMENT had suffered grievous casualties in this first assault that had lasted only a few minutes but this setback was only a temporary delay. A cavalry action now entertained the front as charging Germans were counter-charged by the French; the Germans being repulsed with great loss. Seeing his cavalry fleeing the field, the Austrian Marshall Matthias von Stark committed his reserves to the defence of the village; a catastrophic mistake that would leave him unable to reinforce the Polish-Lithuanians on the western bank of the Cher. All the while, the RÉGIMENT continued to be exposed to the enemy’s cannon fire.

At four o’clock, the French line was ordered forward once more although this time the cavalry would support them, taking post on their left flank. Von Stark, on seeing the French infantry in the open once more, ordered his remaining cavalry and reserve infantry to charge the line with a fierce assault. The cavalry charge pushed back the first line of screening French cavalry but then foundered on the dense volleys and pikes from the infantry behind. As they hovered indecisively, ahead of their own supporting infantry, the French cavalry swept in from the flank with vigour, broke them, and drove them back upon the arriving Austrian infantry. The confusion brought upon by this sudden and decisive counter-charge enveloped the entire enemy force; the Duc de Champagne eagerly pushed his infantry forward to support the cavalry and to take advantage of this unexpected circumstance.

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE, giving their famous “blood of the Normans” cry, were amongst the second line of French infantry to charge into the chaos of men and horses and it was this impetus that saw the enemy legions turn and run. Leaving behind hundreds of dead and wounded, the Germanic forces fled for the relative safety of the barricades in the village but the advance of the French was irresistible; the second line pushing through the first with barely a stumble through the palisades and obstacles that had halted them an hour before. The combatants fought, hand to hand, in the streets and gardens of the village in dozens of melees. And while the Austrians and Swabians fell and died, the French lines simply replaced one another as they advanced and eventually routed the enemy.

The confederate right flank had collapsed spelling disaster also for the Polish-Lithuanians, who had been reinforced by an army from Salzburg at midday. As darkness began to descend, the Germanic forces fled back across the Cher to link up with their Commonwealth allies although many soldiers were drowned in their haste to cross. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE, exhausted from the day’s exertions, held a position just beyond Nourioux, where they rested having been excused from further activity. During the night, with all five armies in various states of disrepair, the confederates left their positions around Les Vignes de Fets and took up a subsequent stand near the bridge at La Sauliere – an important crossing point on their withdrawal route. Despite the arrival of the Salzburg army, the confederates were all but defeated. Thousands of their dead remained on the battlefield and many more left wounded.

The following morning, French cavalry reported that the enemy force had crossed the Cher; a small delaying force of cannon and infantry were all that remained. With fears that this bridge would soon be destroyed by the Austrians, the left column, being already on the Eastern bank of the river, was instructed to pursue the retreating confederates. The RÉGIMENT remained amongst this force that first advanced to Foecy where a brief engagement took place with the enemy’s rear guard. Following Foecy, they came across a larger Polish-Lithuanian Corps holding ground North of Mehun-sur-Yevre. The French infantry were forced to deploy into line once more but, following discharge of their cannon and a feint by the escorting cavalry, the Commonwealth force left their positions and moved further south to Bourges. These delaying actions served to allow the bulk of the confederates to withdraw to more favourable ground.

After clearing a final position of Swabian infantry at Bouy, the column halted as word of a strong defensive position had been established by the confederate army at Bourges. On the 20th of March, to the sound of a great cannonade, the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE broke camp at Bouy and advanced with haste towards Bourges. The batteries of the right column having produced an impression upon the enemy’s position, a general assault upon the works was ordered for 10 o’clock of which the RÉGIMENT would form part of the second line of assault.

At the agreed time, the French forces advanced across open terrain and were at once engaged by approximately 40 cannon firing from behind the enemy’s hasty defensive works. A distance of 300 yards was covered in relatively quick time but once within 50 yards, those in the first line were exposed to a deadly interlocking fire from the defenders. The first line staggered upon the onslaught but kept their discipline and facing and, as the enemy were reloading, fired their own weapons before the second line rushed past them and fired once more, decimating the confederate troops to their front. With smoke obscuring the field and the cacophony of battle raging around, the first line burst forward and fell upon those remaining defenders as a decisive hand-to-hand battle broke out. The men of the 2E RÉGIMENT also stormed through the smoke and joined the melee, driving the enemy from their ground. The enemy’s arqubusiers rallied under the protection of their formidable cavalry, and opened a galling fire, which was returned by the RÉGIMENT with steadfastness and precision. The valour and intrinsic merit of the Corps were now tested as they faced the threat of the Germanic cavalry whilst still receiving fire from the infantry.

In vain, the opposing cavalry charged upon the RÉGIMENT and their compatriots but neither the superiority of their numbers nor the fury of their charge availed against the Frenchmen. The RÉGIMENT stood firm, and resisted every attack of the enemy with an unshaken fortitude which reflected honour upon the Corps. At the moment which this gallant steadfastness may finally have escaped them, French cavalry suddenly appeared on the right flank and charged through the tiring Austrians and Swabians to the cheers of the French infantry. Their losses having amounted so greatly, the confederates began throwing down their arms and calling for quarter. Similar scenes occurred across the battlefield as the enemy finally accepted their defeat.

The 2E RÉGIMENT suffered 620 killed and wounded through the five-day battle; Colonel de Grasse was seriously wounded, as were Capitaines Alevi, de Munneville and de Peis and Lieutenants de Neuville, Corbet, d’Orbec and de Saint-Valeri. Capitaine de Ros, and Lieutenants de Balon and du Merle were killed. The RÉGIMENT suffered the majority of its casualties on the 18th of March during the attack on Nourioux; near 400 falling in the initial failed attack upon the defences. The Battle of Bourges, known more colloquially as the Battle of the Five Armies, delivered a significant blow upon the otherwise rampant confederate forces and served to turn the tide of the war in the allies favour, if only for a moment. The honour of the battle was later bestowed upon the RÉGIMENT, and those others that had been present, by the King the following year.
 

stnylan

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I can't actually remember for sure what I wrote. Something, I believe, about the Regiment being well and truly along that road where a reputation of deeds past helps inspire deeds present iirc.
 

Cromwell

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Well the regiment has survived its first encounter with massed cannon fire and passes the test with flying colours. Even their fiendish Austrians could not destroy our brave Norman boys!
 

cm_spitfire

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Following the battle, the RÉGIMENT, and indeed much of the Army, remained in Bourges to reconstitute. On the 11th of April they moved to Angers before returning to Bourges on the 24th of May and hence to Bordeaux on the 17th of July. With the tide of war turning against the Confederates, the Austrian Emperor sought the assistance of forces that may wrest control of the campaign back to their favour once more. On the 11th of September 1625, the Portuguese formally entered the war, immediately dispatching an Army through Spain and towards France. Before they could cross the Pyrenees though, the Dutch, recognising their own fallibility, sued for Peace with the Austrians and brought an end to the four-year long war on the 6th of October. The Treaty of Sundgau saw a number of concessions to be made and while no land exchanged hands, the Franco-Dutch alliance was abolished.

By late November the RÉGIMENT was back in Caen to recruit and train before re-joining the Corps du Nord in February 1626. The attachment to the Corps was short-lived however as the King’s colonial ambitions began to take precedence. Captured Spanish corsairs had confirmed earlier rumours that Spain had established a colony in the New World, North of the Thirteen Colonies, a British protectorate. The land was reportedly very fertile for subsistence farming but it was the prevalence of beavers and a burgeoning fur trade that enlightened the King. Thus His Highness determined to send a military force to support the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France in its expedition and it was this force, the Armee du Canada, which the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE joined in Rouen on the 1st of October 1626. The 6,000 strong Corps departed in a fleet of 10 ships on the 17th of October, making landfall at the Baie-Rouge colony on the 19th of January 1627. The voyage itself, having been made during the winter months, was particularly harsh and the Army lost a number of men and livestock to disease and weather effects.

In 1627 Baie-Rouge was no more than a few squalid huts, surrounded by a dense forest; the soldiery and colonists both continued to suffer until suitable accommodations could be made. But by March, a wooden palisade had been erected to protect the settlement with improved buildings following shortly thereafter. Grave news reached the colony on the 12th of April with the death of King Louis XIII and the ascension of his nephew, Hughes II di Savoia thus ending the Angevin dynasty. The rise of the di Savoia family would eventually lead France in a new direction with further glory to be won on the field of battle.

The RÉGIMENT began conducting patrols into the surrounding territories once the snows cleared in late April, marking down the coastline, inland waterways, forests and other geographical information for the creation of the first maps of the region. On the 5th of August, first contact was made with local indigenous Indians, the tribe of the Pequot people. Despite the communication difficulties, trade was established with the savages and the first shipments of fur shortly began their journey back to Europe. Contact became regular with the roving parties of Indians from the various Pequot tribes but not all were peaceful exchanges for fur. On the 12th of November, only a few miles South-East of the fort at Baie-Rouge, a party from the RÉGIMENT was ambushed during the night with five men killed, tents burned and a number of horses and other sundry stores carried off.

Meanwhile in Europe, tensions with the Spanish continued to mount. The Spanish King Alphonso IV was incensed to learn that France had established a colony in Spanish Canada and subsequent to advice from his Counsel of Bishops used his power as Defender of the Faith to have the Holy Father excommunicate a second French King. Thus on the 16th of December 1627, King Hughes II upon hearing of his excommunication, banished the Spanish ambassador from Versailles and ordered his ministers to increase colonisation efforts in Nouvelle France.

This escalation in tensions was experienced in the New World perhaps more directly than in France as it gave rise to ever-increasing skirmishes and ambushes between Spanish and French forces. In these minor, unofficial engagements the 2E RÉGIMENT acquitted themselves admirably. The first conflict between a French force and Spanish-Canadians occurred in the Trois-Riviere region in January 1628 when opposing patrols faced each other across an important river crossing; two Spanish-Canadians were killed but both sides withdrew in good order.

In March, members of the RÉGIMENT were involved a chase of Spanish colonists who had slaughtered a Pequot Indian encampment. Over three days the colonists were pursued but eventually were able to reach safety at a Spanish-Canadian fort from which a detachment of Spanish soldiers sallied forth. The French patrol, refusing to be overawed, calmly formed line and made to ready to fire to which the Spanish responded by returning inside the walls of the fort.

While small patrols like these were engaged across the vast territory on various mapping and reconnaissance duties, the majority of the RÉGIMENT remained in Baie-Rouge ostensibly to provide security to the colony but in reality as trainers for the fledgling colonial irregular units that had been stood up. These units lacked the discipline and fortitude of the brave Normans but eventually would be capable of performing the security details freeing the RÉGIMENT to take a much more active role in the territory. In time, the RÉGIMENT would train four such colonial infantry regiments.

On the 12th of February 1634, the Colony of Quebec was established and the RÉGIMENT was part of the force that accompanied the colonists to claim the land. A few minor brushes with local Indians aside, the occupation was peaceful and the RÉGIMENT found itself once again responsible for building defences and providing protection to foraging parties and the colony-proper.

In April 1635 whilst still in Quebec, a new pamphlet on Infantry tactics arrived directing a method to better fire muskets and arquebuses in battle order. In essence, as soon as the first rank has fired, it retires to the rear of the line to be replaced by the second rank. This rank fires and performs the same manoeuvre followed by the third and subsequent ranks. By the time the first rank has returned to the front again it will have reloaded. This rank or volley fire technique ensures that a consistent fire is directed upon the enemy. This new drill would take some time to master but would be a critical tactic of any infantry RÉGIMENT in the future.

The provision of this tactic was as a result of the resumption of the formal alliance with the Dutch Republic of the Netherlands on the 14th of April 1635, 10 years after it was abolished in the Treaty of Sundgau. As it was then, a particularly strategic relationship, the Dutch brought a Navy that could compete in both size and strength with the Spanish fleet which would prove essential in future conflicts. Furthermore, the Netherlands was a former Spanish protectorate; the separation proving to be a particularly embarrassing moment for the Spanish King. Thus France’s recognition of the Dutch as worthy friend and ally further tested the relationship with Spain.
 

stnylan

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There is no doubt that the Regiment certain gets sent about places.
 

guillec87

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American Adventures!
 

cm_spitfire

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Subbed. This is a great idea for an AAR.
Thanks for reading! I'm delighted that I've been able to write an AAR in this way. I hope you continue to enjoy.

There is no doubt that the Regiment certain gets sent about places.
It's as if some....god-like.....person....is controlling the destiny of the Regiment and of France...!!

American Adventures!
Nouvelle France adventures, thank you sir. None of this "America" tripe! ;)

The next part follows with the Franco-Spanish tension boiling over!
 

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This alliance was eventually put to use on the 7th of October 1637 as the King, seeking to take the advantage, ordered French forces to seize the province of Girona in mainland-Spain as well as a number of colonies in Spanish-Canada. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE wasted little time and made very short work of a number of these colonies: on the 20th of November Maliseet fell followed by Kespeck on the 3rd of January 1638, Siknikt (6th of February), Mikmaq (12th of March), Sipekrekatik (16th of April), and Kespukwitk (19th of May). Each of these locations had been empty save for the colonists themselves and thus no physical engagements actually occurred. In each village, irregular forces were left behind to ensure the province remained in French control while the Armee du Canada itself advanced onward.

On the 7th of June 1638, the Army finally found the Spanish-Canadian force near the township of Epekwitk. 5000 Spanish-Canadian irregulars where drawn up on an elevated piece of ground, with a narrow but deep, muddy and miry river in their front. A small contingent of cavalry formed a right angle upon the right of their infantry and they have several small-calibre and more than obsolete guns upon the left.

Under the cover of the guns, which had the range over Spanish-Canadian gunners, the RÉGIMENT moved through the river in the centre column and in about twenty-minutes by a rapid advance the position was carried, the enemy scattering and leaving behind quantities of arms and ammunition. Such was the ill-discipline of the irregular enemy, they did not reform for the remainder of the conflict and only scattered pockets of resistance where met with.

Epekwitk-proper fell on the 9th of July, followed by Eskikewakik (20th of August), Unamakik (31st of October), Wolystoq (28th of December), Madawaska (5th of February 1639) and lastly Passamaquoddy on the 22nd of March 1639. The fall of Passamaquoddy drew an end to the fighting in the New World as the RÉGIMENT and comrades transitioned to securing these provinces against revolt and intermittent Indian incursions (the Spanish were at war with the Huron and Shawnee tribes at the same time; their war bands roamed freely across the territories). Little distinction or honour could be won in such engagements in this phase of the war; the true fighting and glory was to be found on the continent.

In 1639, French and Dutch armies crossed the Pyrenees’ and won major battle after major battle. The double victories of the 5th and the 9th of June at Madrid (12,000 Spanish dead) and Cueta (14,000 Portuguese dead) respectively were portents of how the war would conclude. Toledo, the Spanish capital, fell on the 10th of September 1639 before further crushing victories on the 3rd of March 1641 at the Battle of Jaen (25,000 Portuguese mercenaries dead) and on the 15th of July 1641 at the Battle of Grenada (30,000 Spanish and Portuguese dead). The crippled Iberian nations, bankrupt in coinage and men, sued for peace on the 13th of December 1641. The Treaty of Sociedad saw Gironne and Barcelone ceded to France, as were the colonial provinces of Bas St. Laurent, Gaspe and Miscou. A humiliating defeat for France’s greatest enemy – but far from the end of the tussle for control of Western Europe and the New World.

With the secession of three provinces to Nouvelle France, the RÉGIMENT had greater responsibilities to manage. As one of the few professional bodies of troops in the New World, the RÉGIMENT was split in three in order to occupy each of the provinces and were accompanied in each location by a colonial RÉGIMENT. Colonel de Grasse’s 20-year tenure as Commanding Officer concluded on the 15th of January 1642 as he retired after almost 40 years of service to his King. He was replaced by Colonel Bertrand de Neuville, an experienced New World officer, who would hold his headquarters in Quebec in order to be closer to the regional Governor.

The French erected for themselves huts and other conveniences in these outposts, so as to be provided against the inclemency of the weather which was notably harsh this year. Some of the newly arrived reinforcements from France were inexperienced soldiers and, unused to the difficulties and privations inseparable from field-service, suffered the conditions worse than the veterans. The wet season set in and a severe winter succeeded; the RÉGIMENT suffered much from sickness; Colonel de Neuville found himself obliged to break the encampments and proceed to better locations, with the loss of a considerable portion of his troops by disease.

After passing the winter in garrison, the RÉGIMENT took to more active duties in the spring of 1642. Interaction with local Indian tribes was paramount as an increasing number of raids on the smaller settlements began taking place. Much opposition had, however, been met with from the native chiefs, who availed themselves of all the means within their power to attempt to exterminate the Christian occupants of this part of Nouvelle France. Indeed Gaspe itself was placed under siege in June 1642 by a Confederation of Indians who attacked incessantly during the month before a relief force arrived to drive them off.

The RÉGIMENT continued to conduct training for the burgeoning colonial regiments and as such spent much time in Bas St. Laurent, Gaspe and Miscou instructing the militias on firearms and patrolling techniques. In many ways, this experience was mutually beneficial; the militias were native “woodsmen” and their own skills in tracking, hunting and building temporary accommodations in the forest were received by the Normans with the greatest of interest. In October 1644 two of these colonial regiments were formally passed out of training and joined the wider Armee du Canada – thus easing the security and patrolling burden the RÉGIMENT had experienced.

All was not peaceful in the Colony however as only a matter of months later, the Armee was marched into Gaspe to quell a mob of rioting Spanish colonials. Much of the population of the recently captured territories still retained their Castilian cultural roots which caused friction with arriving Francien colonists and their rule. 73 rioters were put down over the four-day riot with a number of buildings, including food storehouses, having been burned down. Martial rule would become inevitable in these areas with poor cultural integration as many more lives were unnecessarily lost.

The second edition of Parchement’s Doctrine for the Application of Defensive Formations was released on the 5th of March 1645 including the notable mention of establishing “killing grounds” – those areas on the field of battle where fire from the defensive line has its greatest effect upon the enemy formation. Subsequently, the RÉGIMENT participated in a number of training evolutions to facilitate the introduction of this doctrine.

Further Spanish-Canadian insurrections developed in the following 18 months. On the 4th of August 1646, 3000 separatists arose in Miscou and burnt villages and killed livestock as they sought to decimate the area. The uprising was short-lived, if bloody, with the Armee meeting them on the 26th of August and killing or capturing all 3000. 252 men of the RÉGIMENT were killed or wounded in the battle owing largely to the unreliability and poor discipline of the colonial regiments in the Armee.

In March 1647 the RÉGIMENT was reformed in its whole in Trois-Rivierre as the garrison for the town. By this time five Colonial regiments had been established and trained in anticipation of the formation of Nouvelle France as a self-governing colony; the RÉGIMENT’s arrival in Trois-Rivierre was symbolic of the handover of the truly frontier regions to the Colonial force itself. Nouvelle France was declared on the 5th of May 1647. With this proclamation, the RÉGIMENT’s actions were significantly reduced to guard and ceremonial functions only and a number of men left to pursue land grants from the new colonial government.

In January 1649 the RÉGIMENT was required for active military service again as Dutch colonial ambition saw them come into contact with a tribe of the Pequot Indians; three companies from the RÉGIMENT accompanied a Dutch force that first besieged and thereafter stormed the Indian encampment of Arisgantegok and forced the tribe West into the greater wilderness.

A truce between France and the Kingdom of Spain expired in March 1652 and thus on the 1st of April war enveloped the countries once more as King Hugues II sought to further expand France’s colonial holdings. While the large continental armies clashed on a grand scale in France and Spain, the colonial battlefield was far more irregular with skirmishes between smaller bodies of troops and cavalry actions sweeping through enemy territory. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was detached with the 2E de Finistere to Nipissing on the 2nd of May, pushing the tiny Spanish garrison out of the town on the 28th of May. They then advanced on Penobscott in July and captured that town on the 17th of August after a brief siege. Their final major action in the 2nd French-Spanish Colonial War was to secure Passamaquoddy on the 18th of September and where they remained for the duration of the war; other regiments from the Armee du Canada had captured the remaining territories and defeated the poorly trained Spanish colonial troops.

In November 1652 despite the ongoing war with Spain, a revolutionary pamphlet reached the colonies regarding the obsolescence of the pike and the general issue of the bayonet to all line infantry regiments. The prevalence of gunpowder and increased availability of arquebusiers and early-muskets meant that battles were less frequently categorised by the melee phase but by the firing phase. The bayonet would then be used ultimately as a last resort should a melee be required. With the bayonets arrived new uniforms for the RÉGIMENT as well; the blue breeches were retained and a white surcoat was added specifically suited for the continental climate. In France, soldiers wore an all-blue ensemble. In this time the only item distinguishing the RÉGIMENT from others was the specific hat badge, which featured the RÉGIMENT’s name and number, worn on the tricorn headdress.

King Hugues II di Savoia passed away on the 10th of August 1653, still mid-war, and was succeeded by his son Louis albeit under a regency led by his mother, Queen Margretha. The war carried on in Spain where French and Dutch troops had won a series of battles and sieges and bringing the country closer to the brink of capitulation. Spain still held out hope for favourable peace terms.

Finally, in April 1655 the Treaty of Barcelone was signed bringing an end to the war. Ninety percent of Spanish-Canada would be ceded to Nouvelle France, all but eliminating Spanish influence in the Northern Americas. The colony moved its capital to Maliseet and the RÉGIMENT joined the remainder of the Armee in Bas St. Laurent to celebrate the victory.
 

stnylan

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One hopes the Regiment is at no risk of going native. They seem to be getting rather well acclimatised to the new world.
 

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War would quickly return to the colonies however as the Dutch pressed home claims against the Pecquot Indians. While formally involved in the war, the Armee du Canada did nothing more than patrol the border territories and did not suffer any casualties.

Following the conclusion of the 2nd French-Spanish Colonial War much of the Armee du Canada’s operations were stability-focussed as a result of the acquisition of the largely Castilian territories. Small riots and attacks against French officials were commonplace and required armed troops to enforce the law. In one such incident, three Privates from the RÉGIMENT were killed in an ambush in Miscou; the perpetrators were later captured and hanged.

After 31 years of service in Nouvelle France, the RÉGIMENT was ordered home in 1658. On the 12th of July, fresh French regiments from the Corps du Nord arrived in Passamaquoddy and began dispersing to the various forts in the country as those departing for home took their place on the ships. The RÉGIMENT’s culture was still largely Norman; recruitment had not stopped in the years since they departed France but this was certainly a very different unit returning than had left. On the 24th of November 1658 the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE arrived in Normandie; they paraded through Rouen to great fanfare and a celebration was held at the Duc’s residence for the officers that evening. The celebrations would be cut short however with the news that Great Britain, France’s ally, had declared war against the Portuguese for their own colonial ambitions on the African Cape Coast.

Colonel de Neuville, whose tenure as Commanding Officer was served only during the RÉGIMENT’s time in Nouvelle France and, being borne of the colonies, submitted the resignation of his Commission to return to Quebec following the outbreak of war. Herve d’Anjou, Comte de Tours was appointed Colonel in his place, assuming command on the 1st of December 1658.

On the 7th of December the RÉGIMENT departed Rouen and was welcomed back to the Corps du Nord on the 10th of January 1659 during a parade in Picardie. While French forces in the North of Africa were occupied with the enemy, the war largely failed to impact those units remaining in France. The RÉGIMENT resumed their old security duties along the border in the North-East and very little of any substance saw to shake them from this peaceful existence.

The situation changed dramatically in March 1661 as word from the British reached Paris that the island nation had been invaded by a Portuguese force and, indeed, London itself was under siege. On the 18th of March, the Corps du Nord was force-marched to Normandie, where a fleet of transport ships had gathered, in order to prepare for an expedition to relieve London. As the Corps arrived in Normandie, Hampshire fell and the noose began to tighten around London; a further 36,000 Portuguese soldiers landed in Somerset while the Portuguese Armada busied itself in the Channel, disrupting trade and ultimately preventing any chance of French assistance to the British.

The Armada however was nowhere to be seen on the morning of the 26th of April and, when they still had not appeared on the 27th, the Corps was immediately embarked to commence the counter-invasion. The RÉGIMENT itself was amongst those troops that landed in Cornwall on the 5th of the May and advanced into Hampshire over the next week, slowly pushing back the rear guard posted by the Portuguese to secure captured territory and delay any follow-on forces. On the 20th of May the Guarde arrived in Somerset and joined the Corps du Nord in pushing back those outposts. Command of the force, now numbering some 42,000 men, was placed upon General Jacques de Rochemaure who promptly finalised the liberation of Hampshire on the 1st of July and placed the Army in position to attack approximately 20km West of London. Giving the General pause however was the return of the Portuguese Armada to the Channel with another army of unknown quantity and ready to be disembarked. The threat of this force, which would tip the balance of numbers in the Portuguese favour, indeed held the French Army in abeyance for some months until an opportunity presented itself.

The French posed a threat of their own and the Portuguese commander sought to wrap up the siege of London as quick as he could. On the 15th of January 1662, a grand assault by the Portuguese divisions was thrown against the walls but was repulsed bloodily; thousands of Portuguese were killed and wounded as their morale plummeted. This was the opportunity General de Rochemaure was seeking. His legions burst forth from their positions and advanced at a rapid pace to close with the besieging force whilst they were at their weakest point. Predictably, the Portuguese army in the Channel was landed; 15,000 troops were now in the French rear.

On the 20th of January 42,000 Frenchmen clashed with 38,000 Portuguese and left 17,000 of them killed or captured outside the walls of London. Despite suffering 7,000 casualties of their own, the Army pursued the retreating Portuguese into Kent catching them near Maidstone and taking a further 2,000 prisoners on the 26th of February. At this time, the additional 14,000 Portuguese reinforcements had encamped themselves in the former French positions in Hampshire and it was to there that the survivors made their way to. On the 3rd of March after days of gruelling marching and fighting, the French caught up and a third pitched battle occurred near Farnborough. With the Portuguese soldiers rapidly losing faith in their commander, they capitulated quickly; 11,000 were killed or captured before the force was routed once more. On the 28th of March, General de Rochemaure accepted the Portuguese surrender at Burgess Hill near Brighton with the remaining 23,000 Portuguese passing into captivity for the remainder of the war. The threat to Britain was eliminated.

Church bells rang loud throughout Paris when news of this dramatic victory was received. The soon-tobe King Louis XIV visited the troops, escorted by his mother and retainers, and expressed his great approbation at the French success of arms. In a letter to General de Rochemaure some weeks later he wrote:

“…while the loss of life should not be celebrated, the sacrifice of our Brave and Erudite French soldiers should indeed thus I cannot express more my heartfelt approbation of your men. You and yours have the Kingdom’s eternal gratitude. Those Regiments who served under your Command shall be recognised in due course for their Bravery, Steadfastness under Fire and Sacrifice for France and her Allies.”

The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE was engaged heavily throughout the campaign and yet suffered relatively few casualties; the regimental diary records 752 officers and soldiers on parade at Burgess Hill on the 30th of the March. Following the surrender, the Army remained in Britain to discourage further Portuguese incursions and reinforcements began to arrive from the continent bringing the RÉGIMENT back to full strength over the next few months.

The loss of almost 55,000 soldiers crippled the Portuguese war effort. With much of their colonial possessions occupied by British and French forces, capitulation was only a matter of time. On the 26th of February 1663 the Treaty of Oporto was signed bringing an end to the conflict. Shortly thereafter, the RÉGIMENT returned across the Channel to Rouen and eventually returned to their peacetime duties in Picardie.

His Highness King Louis XIV di Savoia ascended the throne on the coming of his 16th birthday on the 23rd of February 1665. Representatives of the RÉGIMENT were present in Paris for the coronation and subsequent week of celebrations. As is traditional, the King made a number of proclamations following his coronation which in this instance included acknowledgement of the RÉGIMENT’s contribution to the relief of London and elimination of Portuguese forces in England during the previous war. The words “Relief of London” would henceforth be added to the Regimental Colour as a recognised battle honour.

Between 1663 and 1666 the RÉGIMENT continued to be occupied by their security responsibilities in Picardie and around Calais. At the dawn of 1667 however, the Kingdom of France received confidential information from its allies in Great Britain that a grand war would soon be declared against the Spanish. The Corps du Nord thus mobilised in preparation for this great undertaking, ensuring that recruitment and training were finalised and logistical needs where organised and satisfied. On the 4th of March 1667, Great Britain declared war on the Kingdom of Spain for the Conquest of Ezorogondo; France answered the call.
 

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Perfidious Albion keeps dragging France into new wars I see.
 

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Such was the preparation of the force that the RÉGIMENT and its comrades were swiftly on the march South shortly after the declaration. They would reach Provence on the 28th of the April where transport ships were ready to ferry them to the Spanish island of Cerdena in the Mediterranean Sea. On the 19th of May, the Corps du Nord sprung forth from the beach at Sassari and commenced occupation of the province, killing or capturing the pitiful Spanish garrison. The Duc de Bourges, commanding the Corps du Nord, was satisfied with this operation by the 20th of June and thus the force moved south to invest the city of Cagliari, completing the encirclement in April 1668.

With little opposition from the garrison and with supplies running low due to the naval blockade, Cagliari surrendered on the 20th of February 1669 with its few remaining forces marching into captivity. A most successful operation where more men were killed by disease than by enemy action. The Sardinian people welcomed the French occupation too; a most eclectic mix of native Sardinians, Italians, Spanish and French, they saw the Spanish as occupiers rather than governors thus the RÉGIMENT were well received during their time on the island.

This time was short-lived however as the French contribution to the war swung to the Spanish mainland. The Corps du Nord was tasked, on the 5th of April, to conduct a second maritime assault, this time against the city of Valencia which was presently stoutly defended by a division of regular Spanish soldiers. On the 23rd of May the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE disembarked, under cover of darkness, on the peninsula of land that jutted north of the harbour and advanced towards the heavily-walled city. The staccato pop and crack of arquebusier weapons shortly announced the presence of the Spanish defenders as the RÉGIMENT and its fellows probed and pushed the outposts. As daylight dawned, and a mixture of French and Spanish soldiers littered the land, those defenders, now seeing the full weight of the Corps du Nord bearing down upon them, fell back through the city walls and joined their compatriots upon the ramparts.

The investment of Valencia was not commenced in its entirety until the 3rd of July; some difficulty was experienced by the Corps in attempting to cross the marsh land to the North-West of the city. Like Cagliari before it, Valencia simply did not have the wherewithal to withstand the impetuous siege and so struck their flag on the 9th March 1670, allowing the victorious Frenchmen through the gates. Such victories were experienced in all theatres of the war and so further movements and demonstrations were required to convince the Spanish the futility of perseverance.

The RÉGIMENT was dispatched, with 12 other regiments of infantry, horse and artillery, to capture the outpost at Teruel which was achieved bloodlessly on the 25th of April. Cuenca would subsequently fall to this Brigade on the 8th of June before the Corps du Nord was re-formed at the siege of Toledo on the 13th of August. To the Duc’s great surprise, the fortifications therein established to protect the Royal Family and the garrison of the Spanish Royal City were in an appalling state. In less than four months, the walls crumbled under the sustained attack by the Corps’ guns and the flag of surrender was flown from above the Keep.

The Corps then moved immediately to press home the momentum of the attack and besieged Madrid on the 11th of January 1671; it too fell a few short months later on the 13th of April. The provinces of Cordoba, Sevilla, Badajoz and Extremadura all fell to the Corps du Nord before the 24th of September 1671.

Owing to the speed of the Corps’ advance through Valencia and the capture of many towns, major and minor, the Duc de Bourges ordered a halt following the capture of Extremadura so that each regiment may take stock and rest their men. The RÉGIMENT had not suffered greatly through the campaign’s exertions but nonetheless appreciated the opportunity to pause.

On the 1st of the December the Corps placed Cadiz under siege as the last few remaining fortresses and cities began to surrender under the weight of French arms.

France and Britain’s common Iberian enemy Portugal entered the war on the 13th of December, eight and half years after the last war between the nations concluded. Their contribution would be limited to France’s North African territories before the victorious French legions crossed their border and besieged their cities. Their involvement would not be enough to save the Spanish.

Cadiz fell to the Corps du Nord on the 20th of March 1672 following which the Corps embarked once more upon the transport ships for travel to the French North African province of Melilla which had been occupied by the Portuguese. They arrived offshore on the 12th of May and, whilst being ferried ashore that same day, received the news of the Spanish capitulation to the British. French interest and Norman sacrifice had not been in vein during the war as the Northern province of Sardinia and township of Sassari was ceded in recognition. Following a short period of time in Melilla to assist with the reestablishment of order and repairs to fortifications, the RÉGIMENT returned with the Corps to Picardie, arriving via ship on the 1st of August.

The regimental diary records a total of nearly 300 soldiers of the 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE lost their lives during the British Conquest of Ezorogondo, a war of almost five years in length. This figure may not seem particularly high when giving consideration to the length of the conflict though compared to the number of major engagements the RÉGIMENT participated in, it remains a fascinating study. 103 of these casualties were an effect of disease rather than the actions of the enemy. 58 soldiers fell during the marine landing at, and subsequent siege of, Valencia. Spain had truly been cowed; their army but a shadow of the force it once was.

In evidence of their pettiness and determination to bring the world against the Kingdom of France, Spain arranged for King Louis XIV to be excommunicated by the corrupt and soulless Holy Father in Rome. Like his father and Great-Uncle before him, King Louis XIV rejected any notion of spiritual condemnation and marked future retribution upon both the King of Spain and the hapless Pope Alexander IV.

In September 1680, after many years of preparation, French forces were ordered across the border into Savoy in the first of the Wars for the Unification of Savoy. While the King ultimately wished to annex the entirety of the Dukedom, such a casus beli was difficult to attain. However, Ligurie had long been an isolated pocket of French interest in the Italian states and only accessible via ship for the French. With Savoy unwilling to grant regular access as a final act of defiance, a war of conquest seemed a fait accompli. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE marched, with the Corps du Nord, from Picardie to Franche-Comte, arriving on the 20th of October where General Duquesne took command of the force. The 2E was amongst the initial regiments of the Corps that crossed into the province of Savoie in early November but was held back in reserve during a battle on the 19th against those few Savoyard forces defending the city of Chambery.

Following the conclusion of the battle, and with regiments from the Corps du Sud arriving to invest the city, the RÉGIMENT marched east to the fortress in Graubunden in the former Swiss territories. The force arrived on the 5th of January 1681; the 2E was immediately instructed to commence construction of the trenches and breastworks for the siege artillery. The lines of circumvallation were completed in March and the first shells began landing against the walls shortly thereafter on the 12th of March. The RÉGIMENT rotated through the siege works from time to time but no assault was ordered; a sense of predication existed amongst the troops that the fortress would simply surrender in mere months.

On the 5th of July, Chambery fell to the Corps du Sud as the noose tightened yet further around Savoy’s neck. This precipitated the Duc de Savoy to seek terms and on the 10th of September the Genoa Accord was reached seeing both Vaud and Albenga ceded to France. Ligurie was now linked to the remainder of mainland-France. The 2E RÉGIMENT DE NORMANDIE received direction to Bourgogne where they would be placed to respond to any insurrections in the province of Vaud. Patrols would regularly take place through the new territory with a keen eye towards the border with Savoy.

After occupying Dijon Castle barracks for a few months, the RÉGIMENT marched to Besancon and Pontarlier before returning to Dijon Castle in February 1682. The RÉGIMENT remained at Dijon until October 1685 where its appearance, discipline and interior economy were commended at the half-yearly inspections made by the Duc de Bourges, who was commanding the Corps du Nord at the time. It subsequently entered cantonments near Provence on the 11th of October 1685 before being transported to Sardaigne on the 20th of December.
 

stnylan

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The war with Spain almost sounds like a holiday jaunt. Almost.