Saturday 4 July 2015

WAS in Italy (10): Piedmontese La Marine Regiment

In 1701Duke Victor Amadeus II gave orders to raise a battalion of militia from the county of Nice and the princedom of Oneglia. A Regiment of National Ordinance of 10 companies with the name of ‘Nice’ was raised. Only in 1714 did it become La Marine. It’s main duty, it would appear, was to service the galley fleet. It’s numbers fluctuated but by 1734 it consisted of two battalions.  The 1st had 10 companies but the 2nd only had five companies.  In 1738 La Marine dropped to one battalion, and then by 1741 was again up to two battalions. By 1747 it had dropped to one battalion and thereafter stayed at this establishment until 1798.

The War of the Polish Succession.
La Marine,during the War of Polish Succession, had a total strength of two battalions. The 1st battalion fought in the land theatre with the rest of the Sabaudian army, while the 2nd served as marines on the Sabaudian Royal Navy. After garrison and escort duties, the first battalion of La Marine saw its first action in the battle of Guastalla (19 September 1734). The battalion spent the follow year campaigning in the Po Valley and on the Adige  until the end of the hostilities. The second battalion served on the Galley fleet during the war patrolling the Ligurian Sea between the harbours of Nice, Villafranca, Oneglia and the Sardinian cities.

The War of the Austrian Succession.
In 1742 La Marine was campaigning in north-east Italy on the Po plains. In October La Marine marched on the Alps to face the mounting Spanish offensive. From the camp at Bussoleno in Piedmont the Regiment's second battalion united with the first battalion for the counter-offensive against the invading Spanish army. On the 3 January 1743 La Marine returned again to Piedmont. After the debacle in Savoy the operational theatre for La Marine was now the Varaita Valley where the main Franco-Spanish army had chosen to invade Piedmont. The whole regiment fought at the battle of Casteldelfino (8 October 1743), when Charles Emmanuel's army stopped the first offensive against Piedmont. The follow year the whole regiment was present at the hard combat around the entrenched camp of Villafranca (20-21 April 1744) in the Mediterranean theatre. During the defence of Mount Alban, the Regiment  faced and beat off an attack by the dismounted troopers of the French Regiment of Dragons ‘La Reine’. Elements of the first battalion held the Citadel of S. Elm to cover the retreating garrison.
After the bloody defeat in Varaita Valley, the fortress city of Cuneo was under siege. The Regiment La Marine marched with the Piedmontese army in order to break the siege and during the battle near Madonna dell'Olmo (30 September 1744) its battalions were situated in the centre of the first line. After the maelstrom of 1745, the Sabaudian army was able to retake the initiative.Then the two battalions fought in the south-west in the Mediterranean theatre.

Regimental Colonels

Jacob D'Alerthon -From 25- 4- 1728

Giuseppe Federico Canale di Cumiana -From 15- 1- 1734

Bartolomeo Sforza Pallavicino -From 1- 3- 1735

Camille du Thaon - From 11- 4-1739


  1. Lovely figures! Which manufacturer?

  2. Again a seldom and wonderful unit you present us - really exciting uniforms in Piemont.
    I adore your output of painting - incredible..
    All the best, Peter