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Grenadiers of Fribourg

 

Official honour guard of the highest authority of state and canton Fribourg (Switzerland)


 Historical Summary of the Contingent of Fribourg Grenadiers

 

In 1157, Duke Berthold IV of Zaehringen founded the city of Fribourg on the linguistic border. From its beginnings, Fribourg owned a militarily-organised civil brigade. During the development of weapons for this brigade in 1634, the hand grenade came into being which gave the grenadier - the hand grenade thrower - his name. Since 1667, the Swiss people from Fribourg (those from Fribourg served in French regiments too) were trained in the use of these weapons. The damage created by the hand grenades made the grenadier an elite soldier and helped him attain a position of honour in the army

 


In 1799, French revolution troops invaded Switzerland and remained until Napoleon withdrew his army in 1803.  After Napoleon’s withdrawal, Fribourg reorganised its military system and in 1804, the ‘Friskers' were founded.  The original Friskers wore the same blue uniform as the contemporary contingent of Fribourg grenadiers.

The Fribourg troops participated in the Swiss neutrality protection campaigns of 1805, 1812, 1813 and 1815. The most influential action during those campaigns was the occupation of Geneva in 1814 by Fribourg and Solothurn to prevent French encroachment. This occupation was the first step towards Geneva joining the Swiss Confederation. The Fribourg troops were also deployed during internal disturbances.  In 1830 troops were deployed within Fribourg.  Fribourg troops were also deployed in 1831 due to disturbances in Basel and Neuenburg and in 1839 to deal with trouble in Valais.

When Geneva celebrated its hundredth anniversary of joining the Swiss Confederation in 1914, the authorities of the city asked the Canton of Fribourg to reconstruct the detachment of the Fribourg troops in the old blue uniforms. Enthusiastically, some of the participants of this historical

delegation decided to found the Fribourg contingent as an association to maintain military tradition. The number of active members was set at 80, in memory of the 80 Fribourg grenadiers who fell on September 10, 1792 in Paris while defending the Tuileries.

The Fribourg Council of State named the contingent of Fribourg grenadiers as the Guard of Honour of the Fribourg Government on October 2, 1964.  The grenadiers were armed with guns from 1774 to 1778 which they fired a salvo in accordance with the military regimentation of 1790.
 

They are proud to serve their country, their canton and their city according to the ancient motto of,


 

honour and fidelity

 

Colonel Pierre Dessibourg, Commander