Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
The old bandes from which this regiment was formed consisted of eight companies detached from the garrison of Metz and arrived in Normandie in 1562. These were formed into a regiment under Jean d’Hémery, seigneur de Villers, and participated in the Siege of Rouen. Later that regiment was again split into independent garrison companies. When Henry of Navarre was crowned King Henri IV of France in 1589 these garrison companies sided with the Catholic League, but when Henry IV changed religion they rejoined the royal army. When Amiens was taken by the Spanish in 1597, the duc de Sully then asked the most threatened provinces to raise a regiment which would take their name. Normandy united its old companies and soon it had the Normandy regiment ready. The regiment was however split into separate companies again.
In 1615 that the Maréchal d’Ancre received a commission to raise a regiment. He went to Amiens and took the companies which had been guarding that place as the nucleus of his regiment. In 1616 he became the King’s lieutenant in Normandy and incorporated the old companies which had been left in that province. He then transferred the whole to his son, the thirteen year old comte de Pesne and the regiment carried the name Maréchal d’Ancre. The Maréchal d’Ancre was assassinated on 24 April 1617 and his son was banished. The regiment then took the name Normandy and was given to Cadenet on 16 May 1617; Cadenet became Maréchal de France in 1619 and Cadenet made it into an elite regiment which ranked immediately after the Champagne regiment in precedence.
Normandy served throughout the Huguenot campaigns of 1621 and 1622 and saw action at Saint-Jean-d’Angély, Montauban, Massillargues, Montpellier; the regiment remained in Montpellier following the truce in 1622 as an occupying force.