Reales Guardias Españolas

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Reales Guardias Españolas

Origin and History

In May 1703, King Philip V created a new Household infantry regiment similar to the Reales Guardias Valonas raised the previous year. This regiment initially counted four companies and was entirely constituted of Spanish soldiers taken from Spanish regiments. These companies were first assembled on 5 May 1703 at the camp of Alcantara. The new unit ranked first among all infantry regiments of the Spanish Army.

The Spanish Household units were modelled along French lines. The Reales Guardias Españolas assumed a similar role as the French Garde Françaises.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from: 1703: Colonel Count de Aguilar

The lieutenants of the Reales Guardias Españolas also ranked as lieutenant-colonel of the Spanish army. Similarly, its colonel was a captain-general of a lieutenant-general of the Spanish army and Grandes de España.

Service during the War

no information found yet

Uniform

The Spanish Household units were uniformed along French lines. The Reales Guardias Españolas had a uniform similar to those of the French Garde Françaises to the exception of the cockade which was red.

Fusilier, officer, grenadier and drummer of the Guardias Españolas (same uniform as Guardias Valonas) between 1702 and 1716 - Source: Conde de Clonard, Álbum de la Infantería española

Troopers

Uniform in 1703 – Copyright Richard Couture
Uniform Details in 1703 as per Dragonas
Headgear black felt tricorne laced white with a red cockade
Neck stock white cravate
Coat turquin blue with red lining; white buttons; red ribbons at both shoulders; 12 white buttons and 12 buttonholes laced with wide white braids arranged 3-3-3
Collar none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets each with 4 white buttons and 8 buttonholes laced with wide white braids
Cuffs red, each with 3 white buttons and 3 buttonholes laced with wide white braids
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat scarlet; silver buttons and buttonholes laced with a wide white braids
Breeches turquin blue
Stockings red
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt natural leather
Waist-belt natural leather
Cartridge Pouch natural leather
Scabbard black leather with a white metal tip
Footgear black leather shoes with a buckle


Troopers were armed with a sword, a bayonet and a musket

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of privates but with the following differences:

  • all braids in silver instead of white

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of privates but of a better quality. Furthermore, they were distinguished by the following differences:

  • all braids in silver instead of white
  • no ribbon at the shoulder
  • 24 silver buttons and 24 buttonholes laced with wide silver braids on the front of the coat
  • red cuffs edged silver, each with 4 silver buttons and 4 buttonholes laced with wide silver braids

Musicians

no information found yet

Colours

The coronela (colonel colour) was carried by the first company of the first battalion. All other companies of the regiment, to the exception of the grenadier companies, each carried a sencilla.

Colours according to the ordananza of 28 September 1704:

  • Coronela (colonel colour): purple field spangled with golden fleurs de lys; centre device consisting of a golden castle surmounted by a royal crown
  • Sencillas (ordonnance colours): white field with a red Burgundian cross; upper and lower triangles formed by the branches of the cross decorated with a golden castle; left and right triangles formed by the branches of the cross decorated with a red lion

N.B.: as per Abheilé, the crowned arms of Philip V surrounded by the necklace of the order of the Toison de Oro (Golden Fleece) and flanked by two golden lions appeared on the sencillas only in 1715.

References

Abeilhé, Juan Álvarez.: La Bandera de España'. El origen militar de los símbolos de España, Revista de historia militar, Madrid, 2010, pp. 35-44 Dragonas Magazine, No 3, Sept. 1993

Memorias para la historia de las troas de la Casa Real de Espana 1818

Ministerio de Defensa – El Ejército de Fernando VI, 1993, pp. 24-25, 36-39

Acknowledgement

Jean-Pierre Loriot for the initial version of this article