Military Review

Organization of the Royal Guard of Spain in 1808

11
In the previous article I briefly described the organization and strength of the Spanish army: its organization, recruitment system, brief history combat arms and strength throughout the Pyrenean War 1808-1814 of the year. However, as some colleagues might have noticed, the review was incomplete - there were no guards in it at all. It was caused by the fact that even without a guard, the article was far from small, and I had to compress it a bit and throw out some optional information. The guards also wanted to consider in more detail, paying more attention to their history. This article is entirely devoted to them. Like last time, the current material is a by-product of one of my projects, and therefore may contain inaccuracies, understatements and assumptions. Moreover, without me, there are enough lacks in the structure of the Royal Guard of Spain ...


Royal Guard

The royal guard in our usual form was created in Spain during the first Bourbon, Philip V, in 1704. However, this does not mean at all that before this there were no Guards divisions in Spain - on the contrary, the new guard absorbed some of the Guard units that existed before. Until 1704, all the remaining units served exclusively as the king’s personal guard, be it the palace guard, or an armed escort. The number of these units hardly exceeded a thousand people, and more often it was even less. The reforms of Philip V added to them units that were already classic military units, designed to participate in field battles. Before that, similar divisions also existed in Spain - talking about the Guardias de Castilla, the choice of noble heavy cavalry in the service of the Spanish kings, created in 1493, under the Catholic kings. By 1704, the number of Castilian Guardsmen reached 1800-2000 people in 19 companies (companies), but their organization did not satisfy the tastes and views of the Bourbons, and therefore this part of the guard was disbanded, and the personnel were transferred to new regiments. Guard was divided into Guardia Real Exterior - exterior, and Interior - internal. The outer one was engaged in protecting the palace or castle in which the king was located, and the inner one was already providing his direct protection in the palace itself - however, this division was more conditional than the official level. All in all, by the 1808, the Royal Guard included about 6 thousands of people, including foot, equestrian, palace guards, and additional services such as the Guards Orchestra.

Monteros de espinosa


Such were the Monteros de Espinosa in the Middle Ages.


Spain has not only the oldest marines in the world, but also the oldest royal guard - a unit called Monteros de Espinosa (literally “Hunters from Espinosa”, “Ranger from Espinosa”) leads its history right from 1006 since Christmas! According to legend, the ancestor of Monteros was the squire of the count of Castile Sancho Garcia, who received from his overlord a gift of possession near the city of Espinosa as a sign of gratitude for the good service and revealing a major betrayal that saved the life of the graph. In addition to possessions, the squire also received the right for his descendants to be the personal guard of the Counts of Castile. Since then, people from this city or its environs began to be recruited in Monteros de Espinosa (later this rule was abolished), and the guard detachment that appeared accompanied the Count of Castile everywhere in his castle and on the battlefield. Over time, the earl became king, gunpowder began to appear on the battlefield, and Reconquista was nearing its end, but Monteros continued to serve, defending the king. True, with 1504, their functions were somewhat curtailed - with the advent of Alabarderos, they were partially removed from their obligations to protect the royal palace, and Monteros turned into an armed royal escort, while still being part of the internal guard. They continued to exist under the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. They existed in 1808, although their status at that time was not entirely clear - information about them could not be found. It is only known that at least part of Monteros de Espinosa joined the anti-French movement.

Alabarderos

The first Alabarderos appeared in Spain under King Ferdinand the Catholic in 1504 year. The organizer of this unit was a certain Gonzalo de Ayora, who also invented the guards detachment of the abstruse and furious name El Real y Laureado Cuerpo de Reales Guardias Alabarderos - literally “The Royal and Laureate Corps of the Royal Guards Alebardists”. Of course, their full name was rarely remembered ... The Alabararderos became the classic palace and ceremonial guards and supplemented the "escort" Monteros de Espinosa, removing some of their responsibilities as an internal guard. The ranks of this unit of the Royal Guard were recruited not so much by nobles, but by trustworthy veterans from the Guard units and the active army, without regard to the origin [1]. Their number has always been small, and by 1808 was about 100 people. During the Pyrenean War, apparently, most of them joined the anti-French forces, although there were a couple of mentions that Alabarderos guarded Joseph Bonaparte along with French units. This part of the royal guard was always distinguished by special loyalty to the ruling monarch and his family, always acting as a reliable shield on the way of possible conspirators and rebels.

Guardia de corps

Bodyguards (as translated Guardias de Corps) first appeared in Spain in 1704 as Guardia Exterior, and it was created as the classic Bourbon Horse Guards, in the style and likeness of the French. Initially, it consisted of three companies (companies) for 225 people - Spanish, Flemish and Italian. In 1795, a fourth was added to them - American; thus, the number of Guards de Corps reached almost a thousand horsemen. In 1797, a battery of horse artillery from 6 guns was also attributed to them, but it was disbanded in 1803. After the start of the war, this unit hesitated for some time with a speech on the side of the uprising, and then only limitedly participated in military operations. The reason for this was the difficulty in the dialogue between the command of the Guards and the High Junta, which actually personified power in Spain at the time when King Ferdinand VII was captured by Napoleon. Since the beginning of 1809, the Guardia de Corps has finally “got involved” in the fighting. So the Spanish Guards cavalry went through the war, but it did not last long to exist - in 1841, the unit was disbanded. There were several reasons for this - on the one hand, in Spain, due to economic problems, the army was constantly shrinking, and this process could not but affect the Guards cavalry (with its very expensive content), and on the other, during the “external” 1841 coup attempt The guards, to which the Bodyguards belonged, allowed detachments of rebellious Spanish generals inside the royal palace, where they were going to kidnap the young Queen Isabella II, and only active actions of Alabarderos allowed them to prevail over them. Guards cavalry finally discredited itself, and its end was a bit predictable.

Brigada de Carabineros Reales


Spanish Royal Carabinieri. Here they are given for a somewhat earlier period - the end of the XVIII century, but as far as I know, the uniform of the guard in Spain has not changed for a long time.


The Royal Carabinieri Brigade was the result of experiments using them throughout the 18th century, and was not originally a guard unit. The history of this compound began in the 1721 year, when the Carabinieri, who were in the general ranks of the linear cavalry regiments, were united into companies that were to fight separately. The results turned out to be unsatisfactory, and the Carabineros were returned to their old companies, but some generals decided that the whole problem was the low concentration of Carabineros in battle, and it was necessary to simply increase their numbers. So it was decided to create the first and last [2] completely independent unit - the carabinieri brigade. A decree on its formation was issued in the 1730 year, but in fact the creation process began only in the 1732 year. From the very beginning, the brigade had a semi-elite status, being equated in some privileges with guards regiments, until, finally, in 1742, the brigade was officially classified as Guardia Real. The connection staff was constantly changing, and by 1808, 4 companies were in its composition, each of which, in turn, consisted of 3 squadrons. In total, the brigade listed 684 soldier and officer. The brigade went over to the side of the people immediately after the start of the war with the French, and was later actively used during the conflict. Like the Guardia de Corps, a team of Royal Carabinieros briefly survived the war - in 1823, it was disbanded, and the personnel were included in other regiments of the Guards cavalry.

Guardia de Infanteria Española

The first regiment of the foot guard in Spain was created, like many other Bourbon guard units, in 1704. Initially it was an extremely strong compound - the guard consisted of four battalions, and those in turn from the 6 linear and 1 grenadier companies (companies) numbering about 100 people. Thus, the entire regiment recruited almost three thousand personnel. In 1793, the state expanded even more - to the 6 battalion, with each also adding a company of Guards Cadadors (“artillery hunters” - cazadores artilleros) of 105 men; thus, the Spanish Guard infantry consisted of approximately 5 of thousands of soldiers and officers, acting as an extremely powerful formation. However, shortly thereafter, the guards were subjected to "purging" - in the 1803 year, the 3 battalion was reduced, the remaining three disappeared from the Cadron and part of the line infantry [3]. In this form, Guardias de Infanteria Española met 1808 year. The regiment showed itself well during the conflict, speaking out against the French at the earliest opportunity, and soon after the end of the war it was renamed the 1 th Regiment of the Royal Guard.

Guardia de infanteria valona


Uniforms of the Walloon Guard and the Banners of the Walking Guard of Spain


The Walloon Guard is perhaps the most famous part of the whole of Spain’s Guard of the New Age, but we don’t even know much about it. For example, in Russian (yes, there is something in Spanish too) there is information that the Walloon Guard consisted of several regiments; however, it is also known from Spanish sources that the Walloon Guard was, by organization, generally consistent with the Spanish, and it was divided into battalions, for the regiment was only one! Its strength also turned out to be questionable - though, it’s probably not a lack of information that was to blame, but frequent changes in the regular organization of troops in the Spanish Royal Army. In order to avoid problems with understanding, the term “battalion” will be used in connection with the connections of the Walloon Guard, and the Guard itself will be understood as Regimento de Guardia de infanteria Valona, ​​i.e. The Walloon Pedestrian Guard Regiment (officially Real Regimento de Guardias Valonas - Royal Regiment of the Walloon Guard).

The Walloon Guard was created at the same time as the other Bourbon Guard - in 1704, and initially consisted of four registered battalions, to which two more were later added (according to other information - three). In general, the organization of the regiment completely repeated the organization of the Spanish regiment of foot guards, however there were serious differences between them, and they concerned the recruitment - only Catholic volunteers from Wallonia and Flanders took the regiment. On the battlefield, these guards showed themselves from the best side, showing courage, ingenuity and high discipline, and even to our time, a society of descendants of soldiers and officers of the Walloon Guard has survived. In the 1803 year, this regiment, like the Spanish, was shortened - the Brabante, Flandes and Bruselas battalions ceased their history, and the remaining three recruited just over a thousand people. However, there were also quite rational reasons for this - every year the military enlistment office in Liege provided fewer and fewer volunteers, in connection with which the regiment was threatened with serious shortages. In 1808, the Walloon Guard, together with the Spanish army, came out against the French, and led active hostilities until the very end of the war. At the same time, because of the losses, the regiment's number was constantly decreasing, in the 1812, they even had to leave only two battalions in the ranks and start recruiting from among Spanish volunteers, but this was not enough. Soon after the end of the war, the regiment began to be completed mainly by the Spaniards in 1815-1818, and it was renamed the 2-th regiment of the Royal Guard. In 1824, not a single volunteer arrived from Wallonia for the first time, and this date is considered to be the end of the Wallonian guard as such. [4].

Notes

1) The lack of control over the origin of Alabarderos candidates has been seen in several sources, but it’s not clear how true this is for the 1808 year, so this item can be called insufficiently reliable.

2) More precisely, there were other divisions, but they were quickly transferred to other types of troops - so, the Maria Luisa Carabinieri regiment created in 1793-1795 was reorganized into a hussar already in 1803.

3) The available information on infantry reductions in companies is somewhat doubtful - in the linear companies Xusch fusilers were left for 50, and the number of grenadiers throughout the regiment was limited to 100 people. In this scenario, it turns out that the Spanish Foot Guard reduced to about a thousand soldiers and officers.

4) With the expiration date of the Walloon Guard, there are some “neponyatki”: for example, some sources say that this is 1815 year, others - 1818, and third - 1824. There is also a fourth date - 1820 year, and even the fifth - 1821. It is not clear which one is correct, but it is certain that the reorganization of the Spanish Royal Guard began in 1815 and took some time.
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Organization of the Spanish Army in 1808
11 comments
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  1. Cat
    Cat April 28 2018 05: 52
    +4
    Hooray! Yummies continue !!!
    I sincerely rejoice when you read a good article in the morning in VO, in double - reading its continuation.
    Thanks, with respect, Kitty!
    1. arturpraetor
      April 28 2018 10: 55
      +2
      Quote: Kotischa
      Hooray! Yummies continue !!!

      And in the near future there will be a couple more articles. Hereafter - without a clue what and how ... The story has ended on the real story laughing
      1. kalibr
        kalibr April 29 2018 12: 02
        +4
        Good stuff, congratulations!
        1. arturpraetor
          April 29 2018 12: 34
          +1
          Thank you!
  2. CentDo
    CentDo April 28 2018 09: 55
    +1
    A good continuation of the previous article. Thanks to the author.
    1. arturpraetor
      April 28 2018 10: 56
      +1
      Quote: CentDo
      A good continuation of the previous article.

      Thank you!
  3. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
    Andrei from Chelyabinsk April 28 2018 10: 46
    +3
    Our regiment arrived, however!
    Wonderful article, dear Arthur Praetor!
    1. arturpraetor
      April 28 2018 10: 56
      +1
      Quote: Andrey from Chelyabinsk
      Wonderful article, dear Arthur Praetor!

      Thank you, dear colleague!
  4. Monarchist
    Monarchist April 28 2018 15: 40
    +1
    Quote: Kotischa
    Hooray! Yummies continue !!!
    I sincerely rejoice when you read a good article in the morning in VO, in double - reading its continuation.
    Thanks, with respect, Kitty!

    I agree with you: to read sensible work on history and with the continuation of it is very good
  5. anzar
    anzar April 28 2018 16: 18
    +3
    An interesting article dear arturpraetor, although I am not a connoisseur of the issue. In connection with this, I have a question - I read somewhere / when it was that the hats began to be worn across the French first after the Revolution, in order to differ from the royal officers, and then (Napoleon) from the British. You only have such illustrations, and write that they are "for a slightly earlier period ... "Is that so?
    Regards: Anzar

    ,
    1. arturpraetor
      April 28 2018 16: 39
      +2
      Quote: anzar
      Interesting article dear arturpraetor

      Thank you!
      Quote: anzar
      I read somewhere / when the hats across began to be worn first by the French after the Revolution, to be different from the royal officers, and then (Napoleon) from the British. You only have such illustrations, and you write that they are "for a slightly earlier period ..." Is that so?

      I won’t tell you exactly when the two-cornered hats appeared in Spain, but during the American War of Independence (1775-1783) the officers and gunners of the Royal Army of Spain already wore them, unlike the line infantry, which continued to wear hats until the introduction of shakos (tentatively 1803 year , but maybe earlier). Although I still made a mistake regarding the drawing - it’s been in uniform for about 1805 a year.