Balbases Cavalry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Balbases Cavalry

Origin and History

In April 1701, the Governor of the Duchy of Milan, the Prince de Vaudémont reorganised the cavalry of this principality. On 20 April 1701, a review of the four cavalry regiments born from this reorganisation took place:

  1. “Regimiento del general de la caballeria” or Marquis de Balbases (the subject of the present article)
  2. “Regimiento del teniente general prince de Trivulzio”
  3. “Regimiento de caballeria napolitana” or Valdefuentes
  4. “Regimiento de la caballeria extrajera del estado de Milan”

The regiment of the Marquis de Balbases counted 12 companies, 74 officers, 404 mounted troopers and 16 dismounted troopers.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive colonels of the regiment were:

  • since 20 April 1701: Carlos Felipe Antonio Spinola y Colonna, Duc de Sesto y San Severino, Marquis de los Balbases (Colonel General of the cavalry of the principality and last viceroy of Sicilia)
  • from 1704: Francisco Maria Spinola, Prince de Molfetta, Comte de Solito, Marquis de Noe (promoted to Maréchal de camp in 1706, a rare example of a general officer continuing to command his regiment; appointed Captain General and Governor of the Kingdom of Valencia)
  • from 171?: Comte de Fantaguzzi

The regiment was disbanded in 1715.

Service during the War

In November 1703, the regiment was part of the Franco-Spanish army stationed in Piedmont. It was attached to the corps of MM. de Colmenero and d'Estaing; half the regiment was posted at Mortare and the other at Gheme in the region of Novara.

By 27 January 1704, the regiment was still part of d'Estaing's Corps near Novara. By mid-February, it was posted between Castello d'Agogna and Nicorvo.

In 1707, after the conquest of the Duchy of Milan by the Austrians, the regiment was transferred to Pamplona in Spain.

From 1708 to 1710, the regiment formed part of the Army of Andalusia.

In 1715, the regiment was disbanded.


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Uniforms of officers differed from those of privates and NCOs by the finer material used. Their waistcoat, saddle cloth and housings were edged with a wide golden braid. They always wore a tricorne notwithstanding the headgear worn by soldiers.

The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • colonel: a baton with a gold knob
  • lieutenant-colonel: a baton with a silver knob
  • sargento mayor: a baton with a silver topped knob
  • captain: silver or golden epaulettes (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on both shoulders
  • lieutenant: silver or golden epaulette (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on the right shoulder
  • cornet: silver or golden epaulette (according to the metal colour of the regiment) on the left shoulder


The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • sergeant : baton without knob and halberd
  • mariscal de logis (quartermaster): small woolen epaulette (red or of the distinctive colour of the regiment)
  • brigadier: swagger stick
  • corporal of squadron: swagger stick
  • second corporal of squadron (rank suppressed in 1706): swagger stick


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Dragonas Magazine

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.


Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article.