Category: Regiment of Erlach

Categories: War of the Spanish Succession | Belgian History | Swiss History | Scots in Service of United Netherlands


In the 17th century many of the von Erlach family left Switzerland to find work as Swiss mercenaries, often in service to the King of France. Johann Jakob von Erlach (25 May 1628-1694) became the first commander of the Bernese regiment in the French army in 1671. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General in 1688, but then converted to Catholicism and lost all his Bernese titles and his citizenship in Bern.

A cousin, Hieronymus von Erlach (31 March 1667 Bern-28 February 1748), was one of this family. He initially served in the Bernese regiment in the French army, but in 1702 he was a colonel of a regiment in the Imperial Austrian army during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Early successes brought him promotions and in 1704 he was made a lieutenant field marshal. One of the units founded by the family became known as the Regiment of Erlach.

This unit was stationed at Ypres, then part of the Austrian Netherlands but today in Belgium, during United Netherlands campaigns against France in 1770 where they fought alongside the units of the Scots Brigade.


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abt 1740 Canton of Bern, Switzerland




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