French colonial infantry muskets
French colonial infantry muskets
18 Mar 2017 / Nino /

French colonial infantry were organized as independent companies under the jurisdiction and in the pay of the Ministry of the Marine (hence Compagnies Franches de la Marine). From the close of the 17th Century, the soldiers of the Compagnies Franches were issued flintlock muskets manufactured by the gun factory of Tulle, France.

By the early 1730s these muskets, referred to as Tulle Fusil Ordinaire and Fusil Genanadier, strongly resembled the army regulation model of 1717, which by then had been replaced by the M1728 pattern (with the barrel fixed to the stock by means of bands as opposed to pins). The difference beteen Fusil Ordinaire and Fusil Grenadier consisted in the latter being fitted with rings to support a shoulder strap (as the M1717 pattern), which the former did not have.

In view of the above, I have made one master which I will use to represent  either the Marine Fusil Genanadier or the army M1717 regulation model. As for the masters of my other muskets, I have used the lock plate of a scrap casting of my Fusil de Chasse.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Tulle musket was the peculiar, long-shank socket bayonet manufactured for colonial service. This bayonet had a total length of about 45 cm, with the blade measuring only about half of it.

From the early 1740s the M1728 musket started to be issued also to troops serving in the colonies, so a mix of Fusils Grenadier and M1728 muskets seems appropriate for soldiers of the Compagnies Franches, the former fitted with either long-shank or solid-bladed bayonets.

****

Sources

Bouchard, R., The Fusil de Tulle in New France 1691-1741, Museum Restoration Service, 1998.

Chartrand, R., The French Soldier in Colonial America, Museum Restoration Service, 1984.

Goldstein, E., The bayonet in New France, Museum Restoration Service, 1997.

Viau, J-L., Le Fusil Mle 1717, Tradition No. 11 et 13, 1987-88).