Military Review

In memory of the Swiss Guard

All revolutions are alike. Not many of them remain "velvet." Europe generously poured its blood, changing regimes, until it learned to spare itself.

In memory of the Swiss Guard

They carried out the order. Almost none of the soldiers of the regiment defending the Tuileries palace survived. They fought for every ladder, every hall.

This tragic history reminded me of the revolutionary events of this winter in Kiev. The history is geographically very far from us - it was in Paris. Yes, and not close in time - what I tell you happened 10 August 1792 of the year. Nevertheless, all revolutions are somehow alike.

By that summer, the great French distemper had lasted for three years. King Louis XVI - a weak-willed fat man - still sat on the throne, but decided nothing. All power was with the National Assembly and the Parisian street crowd. In fact, there was no power. Anarchy began.

The king tried to escape from Paris. He was already almost on the border - in the Lorraine town of Waren. But he was returned — through the door of the carriage, the postal employee who sympathized with the revolution recognized the characteristic profile of the king, familiar to him from coins.

Louis was placed in the Tuileries Palace, in fact - in a golden cage, and forced to declare war on Austria. With tears in his eyes, the poor fellow agreed - the Austrian emperor was his father-in-law, they lived in perfect harmony and were not going to fight at all.

But one thing - to declare war. And the other is to go to the front. Most of the Parisians, even those who are confident that they are in favor of a right-wing revolutionary cause, did not want to leave their houses and shops and go to war for the new government appointed by the National Assembly.

Army in France was not. Three years of revolution destroyed her. Aristocratic officers who sympathized with the king were already hunted down as "enemies of the people." Most of them just fled abroad. The soldiers did not know what to do and whom to listen. They were at a loss. Many have deserted.

THE BIRTH OF THE NATIONAL GUEST. Instead of the army, the National Assembly announced the formation of the National Guard (la Garde Nationale). All citizens of Paris, and then the provincial cities, who expressed a desire, went to serve in it under the command of elected officers. But since the officers were elected and, moreover, fellow countrymen, they were little obeyed. The guard was very national, but almost uncontrollable. She really did not want to fight, and became famous only when suppressing popular uprisings (and there was such a thing!) In support of the old regime, which many French considered better than the revolutionary one.

Passions ran high. It was rumored in Paris that the Austrian army was approaching the capital. That wild “croats” (the so-called soldiers of the Austrian emperor, recruited from the Balkan Slavs) are about to enter Paris and start cutting and robbing everyone. That the king is in secret relations with them (and he really corresponded with his Austrian father-in-law and asked for forgiveness for the war started against his will) and that it is better to simply overthrow him and live without him - in his own mind.

On August 10, a huge crowd of national guards, sympathetic Parisians and revolutionary militants (Brest and Marseilles battalions) who came from the province surrounded the Tuileries palace. The exact number of them is not installed. Most often, historians call the number in 25 thousands of people. The insurgent people had several cannons captured in the arsenal, spikes and guns, but few rounds - no more than three per person.

And the king was defended by only one regiment of the Swiss Guard, numbering about a thousand soldiers. At that time, Switzerland was still a rather poor country. Its inhabitants already knew how to make good cheeses and watches. And also children. Due to unemployment and the complete absence of any minerals in Switzerland (neither oil, coal, nor iron ore are still there today), there were nowhere to go for these children. Therefore, the Swiss cantons leased them to various European rulers - in the army.

This was considered in Switzerland an extremely fortunate fate. The healthiest and bravest left their homes and went to serve on the plain - the Pope of Rome, the German princes, and most often the French king.

In the French army, the Swiss regiments (the prototype of the current Foreign Legion) have existed since the beginning of the 16th century. The most famous of them was the regiment of the Swiss Guard, founded in 1616 year. At the time of the revolution, it numbered more than a century and a half of military history.

Louis XVI forgot about his guards. In fact, they defended ... emptiness.

Zakopav Znamena. Apparently, the Swiss Guards were well aware of what they were up to. Leaving their barracks in the outskirts of Paris, they buried their six banners in the basement. Only the white flag with the gold lilies of the General's regiment and two banners of the 1 battalion, which carried the guard in the palace, were in Tuileries.

One of the leaders of the revolution, Danton, gave the order: “To besiege the palace, destroy there all, and especially the Swiss, capture the king and his family, escort them to Vincennes and guard them as hostages.”

The king lost their nerves. Early in the morning, when everything was just beginning, he left the palace with his family and ministers and went to the National Assembly. The Swiss guards who held posts did not know this. They were simple honest soldiers, accustomed most of all to honor the charter and obey orders. They did not know that the king, as usual, was playing a double game and trying to negotiate with the leaders of the revolution in order to preserve his throne and palaces. They did not know about the order of Danton, who did not leave them the slightest chance of salvation. They did not even know that the commander of the Tuileries garrison, the Marquis de Manda, who had been summoned to the town hall, had already been declared a “traitor” and killed. In those days there was no special communication and mobile phones. Orders passed by notes. It was impossible to call a friend in a neighboring area, and even more so in a neighboring city to find out the situation. The Swiss Guard was in the Tuileries surrounded by a revolutionary mob in a complete information blockade.

One of the rebels shot from a pistol at the windows of the palace. Rounded broken glass. Sergeant Landy raised his gun and aimed at the arrow. But he was stopped - you can not shoot without an order! In the absence of senior officers, the Swiss regiment was commanded by Dürler. The leader of the rebels, Westerman grabbed his arm and shouted hysterically: “Come on, you will get along well, surrender to the nation!” Dürler replied: “I will consider myself dishonored if I surrender. If you leave us alone, we will not harm you, but if you attack, you will force us to defend ourselves. ”

The negotiations went into battle. Westerman began to yell at Dürler, demanding immediate surrender. But he remained surprisingly calm. Looking directly into the face of a screaming Westerman, the Swiss captain snapped: “I am responsible for my behavior before the Swiss cantons, my sovereign authorities. I will never add weapons! ».

This phrase is worth explaining. The regiment of the Swiss Guard existed in a strict legal field, defined by the agreement between the cantons (subjects of the Federation of Switzerland) and the French royal government. France did not just pay money for service to Dürler’s countrymen, but transferred them to a mountainous country that could live well only if its soldiers were immaculately serving Louis XVI. The Swiss Guardsmen felt a double responsibility - both to the legitimate government of France, and to their own.

One of the rebels (for the Guardsmen, he was just a rebel) unexpectedly struck Duerler with a pike strike. But he managed to take her hand. The attacker became clear that no one would give up without a fight.

Subsequently, the surviving members of the assault described its beginning in different ways. The revolutionaries argued that the Swiss "insidiously lured" them into the palace, and then, "suddenly" starting the shooting, "killed many innocent victims." But the lieutenant of the Guardsmen de Luz, recalling those events, replied: “I swear to God that we did not open fire. Our regiment did not shoot until the National Guard fired three or four cannon rounds at the palace. ”

It is clear that the nerves of all were at the limit. The crowd wanted to capture the Tuileries. The Swiss regiment, according to the oath, was obliged to hold it. A gunshot from the rebels untied his hands to everyone.

Napoleon: “Never later did any of my battlefields make such an impression on me ...”

Entangled order. At this time, a huge crowd has already filled the Royal Courtyard of the Tuileries. Lined up in front of the palace, four companies, at the command of the officers, raised their guns and fired a volley. The rest of the regiment began to shoot from the windows in support. The large-caliber bullets of the then flint rifles produced terrible havoc among the rebels. More than a hundred died on the spot, including the commander of the Marseille battalion Moisson. The royal courtyard of the Tuileries was a terrible sight — the crowd drained away, everywhere only bloodied corpses, hats, and abandoned guns lay around.

Two dozens of Marseilles, who did not have time to escape, rushed to the feet of the Swiss Guards, begging for mercy. Dürler ordered to disarm them and put them in the guardhouse - guard room. The Swiss could finish them off with bayonets, but they did not. They were professional soldiers, not killers. All the guns of the rebels were in the hands of Dürler and his soldiers.

But to the rescue of the Parisians came the new troops of the rebels with guns. The Swiss ran out of ammo. The charges had to be taken out of the bags of dead comrades and given to the best shooters. Under the shots of grapeshot, Durler’s detachment retreated to the palace. The guns had to be broken so that they did not get the attacker. The Swiss had no bullets left. Acting with bayonets in cramped spaces was pointless. Most of the guards left only infantry half sleeps, relying on them by state.

At that moment, a messenger arrived from the National Assembly from the King, Count d'Hervilly. Louis XVI finally remembered the guards and handed him a note saying: “The king orders the Swiss to retreat to their barracks. He is inside the Assembly. ”

But messenger confused order. Instead of “returning to the barracks” he shouted: “The order of the king is to arrive at the Assembly!”. Someone from the French nobles pathetically shouted: "Noble Swiss, go and save the king!" Your ancestors did it more than once! ”

The order of Danton said: “To besiege the palace, to destroy everyone there and especially the Swiss, to capture the king”

“SAVE THE KING!”. Not all soldiers dispersed across a huge palace could hear this order. But about two hundred of them, under a hail, raised the royal flag with lilies and rushed towards the National Assembly. Bullets shot down the leaves in the garden over their heads, pieces of plaster flew, and the dead fell. Captain Durler’s hat was pierced by a bullet. From all sides, the Swiss were shouting: “Executioners of the people, give up!”.

When the Swiss officers rushed into the National Assembly Hall, some deputies jumped out the windows. But the king's order discouraged them. “Surrender the weapons of the National Guard,” said Louis to Dürler, “I don’t want as brave people as you to die.” Dürler's squad was forced to lay down their arms.

But in the Tuileries there were still about 450 guardsmen. They did not hear the order and continued to fight on every staircase, in every hall. Virtually none of them survived. The rebels even finished off the wounded and the surgeon who made them dressings. Even two boys-drummers, who were crying near the corpse of their father, were killed with bayonets. In the cellars of the Tuileries, the crowd found a wine cellar. Ten thousand bottles immediately snapped up and uncorked. A huge bonfire of royal furniture was lit in the courtyard. The corpses of Guardsmen were thrown into the flames and watched as they were roasting. As one of the eyewitnesses recalled, some distraught women cut out the heart of a dead soldier and began to devour it.

Behind all this, trying to be unrecognized, was observed by one of the royal officers - the future Emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte. He hid in one of the shops, whose windows overlooked the square where the massacre took place. Subsequently, already in exile on St. Helena, he recalled: “After taking the palace and leaving the king, I dared to get into the garden. Never later did any of my battlefields have made such an impression on me of many corpses as this one, entirely covered with the bodies of the dead Swiss. Perhaps the reason for this was in tight spaces. Or the fact that the first impression of such a spectacle is always a little stronger. I saw there women who committed the most wild mockery of the corpses. "

Swiss experience. Nevertheless, the young Bonaparte believed that the outcome of the battle hung literally in the balance, despite the inequality of forces. On the same day, when the Tuileries stormed, Napoleon sent a letter to his brother with these words: “If the king seemed to be riding a horse, the victory would have remained behind him.” The young officer mentally put himself in the place of Louis XVI and made it clear what he would have done if he were in the royal skin. Subsequently, he will do just that, always inspiring his soldiers with a personal example. After many years, in 1821, a monument was erected in the Swiss city of Lucerne in honor of the feat of fellow countrymen in distant Paris. He is a slain lion resting on broken spears and two shields. On one of them - the royal lilies of the Bourbons. On the other is the Swiss Cross. Roman numbers are reminiscent of the date - 10 August 1792. The monument is called the “Lucerne Lion”.

Today Switzerland is one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. But, being in Europe, it is not a member of the European Union. She lives her mind. In the depths of Switzerland, as before, no minerals, except salt, were found, which does not prevent it from entering the top ten of the most developed world economies. By statehood, Switzerland is a federation. She has four state languages ​​- German, French, Italian and Romansh, which is spoken by only one percent of citizens. Every Swiss conscript has a weapon at home. But none of them, despite the linguistic and ethnic differences, would not even think of killing each other. Truth be told: the cartridges are not in the trunks, but in the heads.
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  1. buzer
    buzer April 9 2014 09: 35
    This is what cowardice, indecision and betrayal of the people in charge of the state lead to.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik April 9 2014 09: 36
    They say the truth: the cartridges are not in the trunks, but in the heads ... Unfortunately, the current junta in Kiev does not want to understand this ..
  3. DON-100
    DON-100 April 9 2014 10: 05
    Hats off to the courage of the Swiss guard. Real soldiers who died the death of the brave, but did not stain their honor.
  4. tlauicol
    tlauicol April 9 2014 10: 31
    Monument to the Swiss Guards - Dying Lion
  5. Hort
    Hort April 9 2014 11: 14
    well, actually there are enough wounded from a gunshot. But rather due to careless handling
  6. Starfish
    Starfish April 9 2014 11: 19
    Louis ended his life on the block. Yanukovych managed to escape into exile. Gorbachev still smokes.
    three rags, three traitors - and what are different fates.
  7. black_falcon
    black_falcon April 9 2014 11: 53
    Quote: DON-100
    Hats off to the courage of the Swiss guard. Real soldiers who died the death of the brave, but did not stain their honor.

    I totally agree with you. Heroism is held in high esteem regardless of nationality. A worthy example of the courage of real men and warriors. I would like to thank the author for filling the knowledge gap.
  8. svp67
    svp67 April 9 2014 12: 08
    Swiss guard of King Louis - "Berkut" 18th century ...
  9. rezident
    rezident April 9 2014 12: 59
    Hmm framed the Swiss. But I did not sympathize with the king. He brought the country to a pen and then proved to be a jerk.
  10. nvn_co
    nvn_co April 9 2014 13: 15
    How this is all familiar. And as it was again !!! It is a pity that our politicians do not know history and allow such repetitions. I take off my hat and respectfully I will honor the memory and heroism of the Swiss guard and the guys from Berkut!
  11. dmb
    dmb April 9 2014 14: 07
    Nice, poetic and good for some of the site's readers. But here is a quote from a neighboring branch "Of particular concern is the fact that about 150 American specialists from the private military organization Greystone, disguised as soldiers of the Falcon unit, are involved in this operation. It is noted that they have been tasked with forcefully suppressing the protests of residents of the south east of the country against the policy of the current Kiev authorities. "If desired, these" specialists "are quite consistent with the same Swiss guard. Especially for those who consider the Rada legal. This is not because I like Yatsenyuk and Yarosh, but to the fact that historical analogies are not always appropriate.
    1. Nuar
      Nuar April 9 2014 17: 58
      So what? It is believed that 150 American specialists will stand to the end?

      Yes, in conditions when there is no air support, they, on suspicion of a possible threat, chuke under the table and declare that under the terms of the contract they cannot go on a mission "since they did not receive the ice cream required by the daily norms."
  12. smprofi
    smprofi April 9 2014 15: 59
    Quote: dmb
    Of particular concern is the fact that about 150 American specialists from a private military organization Greystone

    why not remember the mythical Blackwater fighters?

    But everyone is satisfied with the "legend" of "self-defense", which was "covered" by the entry of 18 personnel of the 000th Guards Airborne Red Banner Order of Kutuzov of the II degree of the division and units of the GRU General Staff, which were brought into Crimea. and then reinforced with artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, VOP ...

    150 is bad, and 18 is good!
    1. dmb
      dmb April 9 2014 19: 10
      I recommend reading my commentary again. The appearance of 150 amerikosov does not cause alarm for me. I wrote that the "Elder" gentleman quite in vain compared the Swiss mercenaries with the "Berkut", for it is more appropriate to compare them with the Americans. As for Crimea, this is a completely different song. I strongly doubt that the valiant rangers will be loved by the majority of the population of Lugansk and Donetsk, and you clearly have no reason to assert that the majority of the population of Crimea is groaning under the yoke of the 7th Guards.
    2. xan
      xan April 9 2014 19: 47
      Quote: smprofi
      But everyone is satisfied with the "legend" of "self-defense", which was "covered" by the entry of 18 personnel of the 000th Guards Airborne Red Banner Order of Kutuzov of the II degree of the division and units of the GRU General Staff, which were brought into Crimea. and then reinforced with artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, VOP ...

      What nonsense wrote? In Crimea, fighters with weapons were not visible. What for it was to enter 18 thousand (nifiga a division), when 20 people were sitting in the Verkhovna Rada in Simferopol, and they showed about this in YouTube - we arrived on two buses. And 18 thousand to Lviv will be needed, and even then most likely less.
      And about self-defense in an Internet full of letters from local and participants.
  13. smprofi
    smprofi April 9 2014 21: 44
    Quote: xan
    In Crimea, fighters with weapons were not visible.

    Well, if you watch only Russian TV and topwar ...
    look, spend time:
    you can skip the text (in English there), but there are plenty of photos and videos. from the very beginning liberation occupation

    Quote: xan
    And about self-defense in an Internet full of letters from local and participants.

    and on the fence they also write ...
  14. samoletil18
    samoletil18 April 10 2014 22: 43
    Well done, Oles Buzina! Directly about Yanukovych and "Berkut". Article, definitely +.
  15. helen25
    helen25 April 11 2014 10: 33
    Quote: smprofi

    Can’t you be more specific? There is a solid Maidan. Or command all 122 pages to flip? Enough, seen enough and most importantly HEARED these crazy online ...