Battle of San Marcial, painting by Augusto Ferrer Dalmau
The Spanish infantry is legendary. Anyone interested history, knows about the Spanish tertsi, their power and sunset after the battle of Rocroi. However, after this, and until the end of the XIX century, the majority of such people gaped into failure, right up to some comments released by some people like, “Did the Spaniards have regular infantry?”. Meanwhile, Spain at all times contained a sufficiently numerous and trained army, and although it already lacked stars from the sky, it was not the worst in Europe. The army, like many others, was recruited by recruiting or recruiting volunteers. The priority was given to the Spaniards proper, the number of foreigners in the army was insignificant, and then - mostly they were withdrawn into separate national formations. At the same time, there was also a system of militia recruitment of additional regiments on the territory of Spain proper, but this will be described below.
As the infantry became the basis of the Spanish army, so the line infantry (infanteria de linea) became the basis of the Spanish “queen of the fields”. The 1808 year in the Spanish army included the 35 regiments of infantry delinea (one of them with an incomprehensible status, sometimes simply not taken into account in the calculations), each of which consisted of 3 battalions. According to the established traditions of the Spanish army, the infantry regiments had two states. In peacetime, for the sake of cost savings, the number of infantry was reduced, and before the war an additional set of recruits was carried out to bring the units into full combat readiness. Thus, in the peacetime state, the line infantry regiment had to consist of 1008 soldiers and officers, and in the military staff - 2256 people. Undoubtedly, such a system made it possible to save a lot of money in peacetime, but at the same time there was also a minus - all this made the Spanish army sluggish in the initial period of any conflict, since the new recruits needed not only to recruit, but also to train that took a lot of time.
As in many other armies of the world, there were grenadiers in Spain. But if in Russia the grenadiers were reduced to separate regiments, then in Spain, like other Western Europe, the grenadiers gathered in fairly small units of high-quality reinforcement of infantry. For the first time, grenadiers at the official level appeared in Spain in 1702, when it was established that out of 13 there were  battalion one must be grenadier. In 1704, the composition of the battalions was changed - now instead of 13 there are 12 companies, one of them is grenadier. Soon followed by new changes in the organization - in the 1715, the regiments of permanent staff were formed, each of the two battalions of the 6 company. At the same time, the grenadier companies relied on each battalion, i.e. the proportion of these units within the Spanish army has doubled. From 1735, the grenadiers relied on the provincial militia, but not as separate companies, but as an immediate addition to the ranks with ordinary soldiers, in the number of 15 people in each company. In the future, the share of the grenadier among the police only increased - by the 1780 year, the battalions of the provincial police should have been in a regular company of grenadiers each. Larger formations with the participation of the grenadiers in Spain practically did not exist, although attempts to establish such a thing were met. Thus, according to the 1802 staff, each infantry brigade was required to form a separate battalion of grenadiers, bringing together companies from all the regular infantry regiments. The 8 separate battalions of the grenadier were also created by decree of the 1810 of the year, but they did not reach the regular strength, as did the grenadier companies before that. The reason for this can be called a fairly rigid selection of candidates for grenadiers in Spain - in addition to outstanding physical characteristics, the grenadiers were also required to have high moral qualities, which, coupled with the shortcomings of the recruitment system, led to a constant shortage of people in the grenadier companies.
There was in Spain and a fairly large light infantry. On the 1808 year, it listed 12 battalions with 6 mouths. Each battalion in the state consisted of 780 people in peacetime and 1200 in the military. There were three terms for light infantry in Spain: cazadores (cadadors), hostigadores (ostigadores) and tiradores (tiradors) , moreover, all three could be used simultaneously, and therefore it is worth “chewing” them separately. The term "Ostigadors" was applied to all light infantry, regardless of its function and time of appearance - so, in Spanish, the Origadators will be Russian huntsmen of the Crimean War, and Greek Peltasts, and English longbowmen. Actually, this term could not be remembered at all, if not for some strange love for him in some sources. Maybe I don’t know something, and this term was still widely used in the time of Napoleonica in Spanish, but I hardly ever met him in Spanish sources. Where the term “Casadors” can be found more often, the Spanish light infantry formations are called in Spanish, the analogue of which was the rangers' regiment. The first Casadorian units (as well as separate units of light infantry in Spain in general) were two regiments of volunteers recruited in Aragon and Catalonia in 1762, in the image and likeness of other European units of light infantry. Already in 1776, separate companies of the Cadadors appeared in the battalions of the regular army and provincial militia, and in 1793, the first special Cacadorian regiment, Barbastro, recruited instead of volunteers, was formed to serve in the Pyrenean Mountains. The term “tiradors” also occurs at a specified time, but its use raises some questions. Thus, it has been possible to read texts in which light infantry companies or individual teams assigned to battalions of line infantry are called Tiradors, in order to distinguish them from independent squad formations, but during the Pyrenean wars and the formation of light infantry formations based on the militia, separate Tyradoran forces also appeared shelf, which causes doubt the above information. However, there is reason to believe that the creation of individual Tirador regiments was more a deviation from the norm than the rule.
There were also among the Spanish infantry of the beginning of the 19th century, units that were distinct from other principles of recruitment and organization. They were named infanteria de linea extranjera, or foreign line infantry. As it was possible to guess, they were recruited from among the foreigners, and there was a division based on nationality. According to the permanent staff, each regiment of foreign infantry had a little more than a thousand people as part of two battalions. Total number of such regiments was 10. Six of them were Swiss, three were Irish, and one regiment was recruited from among the Italians.
Speaking of the infantry of Spain, it is also worth recalling the regimentos provincials de milicias, or the regiments of the provincial militia. All these regiments in Spain were 42, and in fact they were semi-regular formations. These were fairly convenient for use territorial units that had a slightly lower combat capability than the regular army. Organizationally, each such regiment consisted of only one battalion numbering from 600 to 1200 men. 13 regimentos milicias de urbanas can also be added to this list. the city militia, which, perhaps, in its fighting qualities was even worse than provincial. The largest regiment of the city militia was Cadiz, consisting of as many 20 companies, while the smallest was the regiment of Alcatelus, which had only one company in its composition. In total, there were about 30-35 thousand people in the city and provincial police.
All in all, the Spanish army had 1808 infantry regiments in 57, the number of which, in the event of war, was supposed to reach 103.400 people without taking into account the police; in fact, the number of infantry at the beginning of hostilities reached approximately 75-90 thousand people. However, the war that broke out soon turned out to be completely different from what was expected - instead of the usual maneuvers and sieges of the fortresses, a fierce guerrilla war broke out, which, in turn, hardened the active armies and led Spain and France to confrontation, during which Napoleon’s army suffered losses, more than there were only French losses in 1812 in Russia . For Spain, this war became truly popular, which also led to the formation of many new regiments of militias and volunteers. Excluding the regular army, Spain in the 1808-1812 years deployed 100 light regiments and 199 infantry regiments on the battlefield, in total about 417 battalions. There are other figures - by the end of 1808, at the very beginning of the war, the Spanish army put thousands of soldiers and officers on the battlefield of 205, and in 1814, i.e. after five years of war and brutal losses, the number of the Spanish army reached 300 thousands of people without taking into account the independent unorganized partisan forces. For that time and the population of the Spanish metropolis (about 10,8 million) it was a huge army, and these figures vividly characterize the scale of the war, which we would have called the Great Patriotic War without hesitation.
Spain Joseph Bonaparte also exhibited an army recruited from among the Spaniards, but its strength was insignificant, and the reliability of such units left much to be desired. The overwhelming majority of units of the Spanish regular army went over to the side of the uprising and came out against the French immediately after Joseph Bonaparte was proclaimed king. In this case, it would be appropriate to recall the division of La Romana. She was recruited from Spain in the 1807 year from among the Spaniards and became the first compound that was to assist the French in their wars in Europe. Marquis Pedro Caro-i-Suredou de la Romana was appointed to command her. Its original purpose was Northern Germany. The Spaniards showed themselves well, distinguished themselves during the storming of Stralsund, under the command of Marshal Bernadotte, who even made a personal escort of Spanish soldiers. Later, the division was stationed on the Jutland Peninsula, where it was supposed to protect the coast from possible landings of Sweden and the United Kingdom. but news from the Motherland they reached the Spaniards, one more disturbing than the other - the Bourbons were overthrown, Joseph Bonaparte was seated on the throne, a massacre of civilians occurred in Madrid, an uprising began against the French government ... Marquis de La Romana, being a true Spaniard, after such a turn of events firmly decided that the French had betrayed his country, and entered into secret negotiations with the British, who promised to evacuate the division of La Romana to Spain by sea. A revolt broke out, the Spaniards managed to seize the port of Fionia for evacuation, with several regiments from the division were surrounded by other allies of France and were forced to lay down weapon. From Denmark, 9 managed to evacuate thousands of people from 15 - the rest were either captured or remained loyal to the French. In the future, the division of La Romana took an active part in the war with the French, where they showed high morale and courage, while suffering significant losses. Those who remained loyal to Napoleon (about 4 thousand people) were in for the grave fate of the Russian campaign 1812 of the year, the battle of Borodino, death or captivity, and repatriation to Spain. In hostilities, they, contrary to past achievements in the composition of the division of La Romana, did not show themselves.
Hussar Regiment "Maria Luisa", 1808 Year
Spain was famous for its light cavalry since the times of the Reconquista, and its sufficiently high fighting qualities remained until the beginning of the XIX century. At the same time, heavy cavalry was not seriously developed. For several reasons, the number of cavalry in Spain has steadily declined, and by the year 1808 was already estimated as very moderate. Cavalry regiments of all types in Spain had a permanent staff - 5 squadrons numbered 670 soldiers and officers, of which 540 were mounted.
The bulk of the cavalry were the shelves of the linear cavalry (caballeria de linea). From the other cavalry, they differed more sturdy horses and a little more content. Traditionally, these regiments acted as “donors” - many regiments of other types of cavalry were initially formed as regiments of linear cavalry, after which they were transformed into hussars, casadors or dragoons. In fact, the heavy Spanish cavalry was limited to this - there were no longer any heavy dragoons or cuirassiers we were used to in the army for the 1808 year. Total regiments of linear cavalry to the specified time there were 12 units.
Dragones in the Spanish army were considered light cavalry, and appeared in 1803 . They differed from the linear cavalry in the worst selection of horses and in the standard ability of the dragoons to act both on horseback and on foot. Strictly speaking, the cavalry regiments possessed a similar ability, but their maintenance was more expensive, and it was sharpened more under shock functions, as a result of which the Spanish generals were often “greedy” to use it as a simple riding infantry. Total for the 1808 year in Spain were listed 8 dragoon regiments. They did not last long - already in 1815, they were reformed.
Horse tzadador appeared in Spain after the reorganization in the 1803 year, part of the regiments of the linear cavalry. There were two such regiments, and both of them were formed long before the appearance of horse-drawn horse promenades in the Spanish army as such. In terms of tactics of use, this was the classic light cavalry, but already in the course of the war with France, the Cacadors began to receive their peaks, having approached their abilities to the lancers. Moreover - many regiments of the linear cavalry and dragoons were transformed during the war into parts of horse-drawn horsemen.
Hussars in Spain were quite unpopular type of light cavalry. For the first time they appeared at the end of the XVIII century, and by the year 1808 they were represented by only two regiments. Differences from the other light cavalry - dragoons and casadors - consisted mainly of expensive, but spectacular uniforms. During the war, the popularity of this type of cavalry began to grow dramatically, with the result that even in conditions of total war, a sufficiently large number of hussar regiments were formed.
We should also talk about the Carabinieri and equestrian grenadiers. With the exception of the guard units, they did not constitute any independent formations, and were included in the squadrons of dragoons and linear cavalry. Carabinieri acted as skirmishers armed with rifled carbines, and after the shelling of the enemy were to retreat from the ranks of his squadron to reload weapons. By the time of the start of the Iberian War, experiments with the creation of independent connections of carabineers, as far as I know, were completed, and the carabineers of the dragoon regiments and the linear cavalry were fighting in general formation. Horse grenadiers were essentially the same foot grenadiers, only mounted on horses. Similarly, there were high physical and moral requirements for them, just as they wore a distinctive uniform, and in the same way were relatively few and constantly under-rescued in relation to the standard amount.
During the war, the composition of the Spanish cavalry has changed dramatically. As in the case of the infantry, the conditions of a “popular” war and a large influx of people into the armed forces affected it. In all, during the war 1808-1812 of the year, the Spanish army had 11 new regiments of linear cavalry, 2 regiment of spearmen, 10 regiments of hussars, 10 regiments of mounted horsemen and 6 regiments of dragoons. Many of them were formed on their own initiative by the local population, and therefore the formal membership of some type of cavalry could be very conditional. Borders and between regular cavalry were eroded — uniform was changing, the quality of equestrian personnel was falling, new armament appeared. Thus, formally, during the war, the Spanish cavalry did not have lancers, but the cavalry peaks already in the course of hostilities turned out to be so popular weapons that during the war two lanceros regiments were formed, spearmen, and peaks began to appear as permanent personal weapons in all shelves - as light cavalry, and linear. In this case, de facto, none of these riders were ulanom, as belonging to the lancers was determined not only by cavalry lance with a weather vane, but also by individual items of clothing that were distinguished by their stylishness and high cost. Passion for spikes in the Spanish army continued after the expulsion of the French, as a result of which, for a short time, all the regiments of the Spanish cavalry were called Uhlan, though without acquiring an expensive “status” uniform.
It is curious that in some sources (mostly Russian-speaking) it is indicated that there were uhlans in the Spanish army (namely, lancers, and not just spearmen), and cuirassiers - despite the fact that not a single ulansky or kirassyrsky regiment existed. Most likely, we are talking about some formations recruited in Spain by supporters of Joseph Bonaparte, or even the French cavalry units who fought in Spain. Alas, I could not find out the details, except that in the Spanish army the cuirassiers disappeared as such after the Bourbons came to power, and after that they did not appear again.
Spain’s Marines are the oldest in the world. The date of its creation is February 27, 1537, when King Carlos I (aka Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles V) signed a decree on the consolidation of the Neapolitan sea companies to the Mediterranean galley the fleet. Directly, the Marine Corps itself as a separate formation appeared in 1717, and by the end of the century it already had its own artillery and engineering units (since 1770). In terms of status, the Spanish marines occupied a position between the guards and ordinary infantry, and it was closer to the guard. Despite the gradual decline of Spain, the corps remained highly combat-ready, with well-trained and armed personnel.
The main part of the corps was Infanteria de Marina - the infantry itself. According to the 1808 staff, the corps consisted of 12 infantry battalions, which were combined into 6 regiments with a total of 12.528 soldiers and officers. The corps also included its own military engineers and, probably, field artillery. As a result, Cuerpo de Infanteria de Marina was a completely self-sufficient combat unit, and, if necessary, could act as an expeditionary corps without the involvement of additional compounds. The regiments of the marines were quartered in Ferrol, Cartagena and Cadiz.
Spanish gunners firing from a light gun. Modern reconstruction
Real Cuerpo de Artilleria, or the Spanish Royal Artillery Corps, was founded in 1710, under King Philip V Bourbon. By the year 1808, there were 4 artillery regiments in the corps, each of which consisted of 2 battalions, and those in turn from 5 batteries (mouth) with 6 guns, of which 4 were on foot, and 1 were mounted. Thus, the Spanish field artillery consisted of 40 artillery batteries with 240 guns. However, there is also other information - 4 field pedestrian artillery regiment and 6 separate batteries of horse artillery, in the amount of 276 guns. In addition, the corps included 15 garrison artillery companies, 62 Veteran artillery companies (their purpose is not entirely clear), and Academia de Artilleria de Segovia, which at that time studied 150 cadets. The material part of the Spanish artillery was not obsolete, although it could not be called the most modern either. The main problem of Cuerpo de Artilleria was a relatively small number - if in 1812, the French and Russian army had one gun per 445 and 375 soldiers, respectively, then the Spanish regular army had one gun per 480-854 man . The Spanish artillery and sufficiently developed industry, sharpened for the production of artillery, did not save the famous factories of La Cavada, Trubia, Orbasieta and others with the beginning of the war, or switched to the production of more relevant firearms, or simply ceased production due to the capture of the French or the departure of workers to partisans . As a result, the Spaniards had to deal with the artillery that they already had or that they managed to capture from the French or get from the Allied British, which greatly limited its capabilities. Spanish patriots had to rely more on saber, bayonet and rifle than on the support of their own artillery, while the French had quite numerous and modern artillery parks and could count on the help of the “god of war” in the battles.
1) In Spanish compañia, literally - the company. Often used in relation to artillery batteries, squadrons and other small units.
2) Cazadores - hunters; hostigadores - skirmishers; tiradores - arrows.
3) In 1812, Napoleon lost about 200 thousands of dead, 150-190 thousands of prisoners, 130 thousands of deserters, plus about 60 thousands of peasants. In Spain, the losses of France and its allies (mainly Polish national units) reached 190-240 thousands killed and 237 thousands wounded, with a relatively small number of prisoners - the hatred with which the Spaniards treated the French invaders, resulted in an extremely low percentage of prisoners. left alive. All in all, as a result of battles, repression, guerrilla war, from severe wounds and diseases during the Iberian War more than a million people died on both sides, including civilians.
4) Before that, dragoons also existed in 1635-1704 years.
5) Depends on the estimate of the strength of the Spanish army; the minimum is taken by the regular army staff at the beginning of 1808 of the year, the maximum is estimated by the total number of Spaniards who opposed Joseph Bonaparte by the end of 1808 of the year.
Uniformes Españoles de la Guerra de la Indepencia, Jose Maria Bueno Carrera.
Uniformes Militares Españoles: el Ejercito y la Armada 1808; Jose Maria Bueno Carrera.
Materials that are freely available on the Internet.