The Petit-Vieux or "little old" were a prestigious group of regiments serving to the Ancien Régime during the XVII and XVIII centuries. They had special status among the French infantry regiments with privileges such as not being disbanded after a war.
Their origin can be traced back to the period after 1601 when all regiments except the four oldest of the Vieux Corps were disbanded. When Louis XIII became king most of the existing troops were disbanded again except for the four oldest regiments and some others. These became known as the Petit-Vieux and were constituted of the following six regiments:
- Regiment de Leuville (known as Béarn from 1762)
- Regiment Bourbonnais
- Regiment Auvergne
- Regiment de Sault (known as Flandre from 1762)
- Regiment de Nettancourt (known as Guyenne from 1762)
- Regiment du Roi
Especially notable was Regiment Du Roi, it was raised on 2 January 1663, and king Louis XIV became colonel himself, however, the colonel-lieutenant was the real commander. The king later ordered that the sons of noble families could start their military career in this regiment, and also permitted noblemen to enter as soldiers in the colonel's company.They fought in the first line at the Battle of Minden and the Battle of Krefeld. Regiment du Roi served until 1795.
Regiment Auvergne was raised on March 6 1597 by the Baron du Bourg de Lespinasse when the Spaniards marched on Amiens. It initially was a gentleman regiment bearing the name of its commanding colonel, however, in September 1635, it became a permanent regiment incorporated into the French army. It then took the name of the province of Auvergne.
Its behaviour in the Seven Years' War was generally distinguished when the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Comte de Saint-Germain, along with Anhalt brigade, it covered the retreat of the defeated French army. The regiment served until 1794.The Vieux and Petit-Vieux corps were formed as elite units made up from noblemen, and participated in all major conflicts of the XVII and XVIII century, however, during the reforms after the French Revolution and the fall of the Ancien Régime they were incorporated into other units, thus marking their end as independent and privileged units.
ModelThe in game model of the Infanterie Petit-Vieux seems to resemble the Seven Years' War period uniform of Du Roi infanterie. They are armed with the generic in game flintlock musket model which in this case most likely depicts a Charleville musket.