Spanish (Bourbon) Dragoons Organisation

From Project WSS
Jump to navigationJump to search

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

Introduction

Dragoons had their origins in the French armies of the early XVIIth century. This type of troops could fight mounted or dismounted, acting as cavalry or infantry depending on the situation. Usually, dragoons rapidly moved by horse and then fought on foot. However, sometimes they also fought on horse like normal cavalry.

At the beginning of the XVIIIth Century, dragoons suddenly acquired more importance inside the Spanish Army. In 1703, it was decided to create three new tercios: Pons de Mendoza, Camprodon and Mahony. Simultaneously, the number of companies in each regiment was increased to 10, each counting around 50 men.

In 1705, three additional dragoon regiments were created: Valleje, Grafton and Ferrari (unidentified unit). At the same time, the number of companies was increased to 12 companies per regiment (including 1 horse grenadier company).

In 1706, a new dragoon regiment was created, the Fitz-Hary Dragoons, from Irishmen exiled during the Nine Years' War (1688–97) and from Irish or British prisoners captured during the previous campaigns of the current war. In 1707, the Osuna Dragoons were raised, they were under the effective command of Don Diego Gonzalez.

During the war, ten additional regiments were created. Their names were fixed and did not vary according to the name of their proprietor.

After the war, the total number of regiments was reduced to ten regiments.

Officers

The highest ranking officer in a regiment was the colonel, who could also had a rank of general. The regiment was designated by the name of its colonel.

When the colonel had to assume the charge of general, the lieutenant-colonel (or more exceptionally a colonel-in-second) assumed his functions in the regiment.

Musicians

Not much is known of the organisation of the drummers and fifers accompanying regiments, except the fact that they were present in all of them.

Composition and Organisation

In 1703, the number of companies in each regiment was increased to 10, each counting around 50 men.

In 1705, the number of companies was increased to 12 per regiment. Each company comprised:

  • 1 capitàn (captain)
  • 1 teniente (lieutenant)
  • 1 alfèrez (standard-bearer)
  • 1 mariscal de logis (quartermaster)
  • 2 brigadieres (brigadiers) i.e. NCOs
  • 1 tambor (drummer)
  • 1 pífano (fifer)
  • 28 dragoons

Tactically, the 12 companies of a dragoon regiment were organised in three squadrons (4 companies each).

References

Acknowledgements

Michele Savasta Fiore for the initial version of this article