Portuguese Line Infantry Organisation

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Portuguese Army >> Portuguese Line Infantry Organisation


At the outbreak of war with Spain, in 1762, the Portuguese line infantry counted 23 regiments. On April 20 1762, 3 additional regiments were created when the regiments of Porto, Chaves and Bragança were each split into 2 distinct regiments, bringing the total to 26 regiments. Furthermore, on June 27, 2 battalions of Swiss infantry were raised. The Portuguese army could thus theoretically field 41,640 men...

These were the official numbers, however when the Spaniards invaded Portugal , the Portuguese regiments were far from being at full strength, lacking both officers and soldiers. Recruits were hastily and forcibly raised to bring the complete the regiments. These recruits were integrated in the regiments encamped in and around Tomar where the Portuguese army was concentrating. On August 4, the count of Lippe-Bückeburg wrote from Abrantes to the Secretary of State Sebastião José de Carvalho e Mello, informing him that within 5 or 6 days, he should have a Portuguese army corps of 30 infantry battalions and 16 squadrons of cavalry at his disposal. However on August 7, he could count only on 18 infantry battalions, 4 regiments of cavalry and some artillery for a total of only 5,582 men, far below the theoretical strength.

Other Portuguese units were deployed in the northern regions of Minho and Tras-os-Montes (5 rgts) or as garrisons at Elvas (2 rgts), Almeida (1 rgt) and Estremôz (1 rgt).

On September 20 1762, the count of Lippe-Bückeburg decided to make each Portuguese battalion a distinct and autonomous unit.

Composition and Organisation

Regimental Staff

The staff of an infantry regiment consisted of:

  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 sergeant-major
  • 1 adjutant
  • 1 tambour-major (drum-major)
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 chaplain

Organisation of a Regiment

Before being subdivided into 2 regiments, each Portuguese line infantry regiment consisted of 2 battalions. Each battalion counted 14 companies of 55 men each. Therefore, such a regiment had a theoretical strength of 1,540 soldiers.

Therefore, excluding the 1,600 men of the Swiss regiments, the Portugal line infantry could theoretically field 40,040 men. However, at this time, 9 line infantry regiments, totalling 13,860 men, were assuming garrison duties in various forts and places and were therefore not available to join the field army. Thus this field army should have counted some 27,000 infantrymen if it had been at full strength.

In reality, on August 7 1762, the 18 infantry battalions placed under the command of the count of Lippe-Bückeburg had an average strength of 250 soldiers per battalion...

Battalion Guns

No information available yet

Battalion Staff

No information available yet

Organisation of a Company of Musketeers

A musketeer company totaled 55 men and consisted of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 alferes (flag-bearer)
  • 2 sergeants
  • 4 corporals
  • 2 drummers
  • 44 soldiers

Organisation of a Company of Grenadiers

A grenadier company totaled 56 men and consisted of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 alferes (flag-bearer)
  • 2 sergeants
  • 4 corporals
  • 2 drummers
  • 1 fifer
  • 44 soldiers

N.B.: grenadier companies were always kept at full strength by replacing killed and captured grenadiers with soldiers taken in the musketeer companies of the same regiment


No information available yet


No information available yet


Before Lippe came to Portugal, the army used French ordinances. Lippe introduced the Prussian drill for infantry, cavalry, artillery and military. This continued until 1810 when the British drill was introduced.


Pereira Sales, Ernesto Augusto; O Conde de Lippe em Portugal, Vila Nova de Famalicao: Publicacoes da Comissao de Historia Militar, 1936, pp. 55-56, 59

Ribeiro Rodrigues, Manuel; Uniformes Militares


Manuel Ribeiro Rodrigues and Joseph O'Neill for the initial version of this article.