Tercio Nuevo de la Armada del Mar Océano

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Tercio Nuevo de la Armada del Mar Océano

Origin and History

On 13 May 1682, the king of Spain authorised the creation of a tercio of 1,000 in ten companies in the city of Jaen and appointed Don Pedro Fernandez Navarrete as Maestre de Campo of this new unit which was destined to the Navy. Consequently, the new unit was designated as the “Tercio Nuevo de la Armada del Mar Océano”. During the Autumn, the tercio marched to Andalusia. In 1683, it embarked aboard the fleet.

In 1688, after six years of service at sea, a part of the tercio was assigned to the garrison of Oran and the other part to the garrison of Gibraltar.

On 19 July 1689, the tercio received orders to embark aboard the galleys of Cerdanya and sailed to join the Army of Catalonia. On 27 July, these orders were changed and the unit was instructed to go to Cartagena and wait there for the arrival of its two companies previously detached to Ceuta. Finally, on 10 September, new orders arrived specifying to transport the tercio from Cartagena to Oran and then to Larache to reinforce the garrison. However, the tercio was unable to force its way to Larache. In 1690, when the maritime campaign came to an end, it marched from Cádiz to its new quarters in Sevilla. In 1694, the tercio was sent from its quarters at Sevilla to the relief of Ceuta, besieged by a Moroccan army. In March 1695, it was transferred to Gibraltar but soon recalled to Ceuta which was threatened once more. In 1696 and 1697, it took part in the defence of Ceuta.

In 1700, the tercio was relieved at Ceuta and returned to Spain where it was quartered in the Province of Sevilla before being sent to Cádiz.

On 28 February 1707, the tercio was transformed into a regiment designated as the “Regimiento de Armada”.

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

  • from 1699: Don Carlos de San Gil y la Justicia
  • from 19 May 1703: Don Bernardino Delgado y Alarcon
  • from13 February 1707 to 1718: Marquis de Santa Cruz

On 10 February 1718, the regiment was renamed “Regimiento de Mallorca”.

Service during the War

In 1702, the tercio was cantoned at Cádiz. The Spanish forces around Cádiz were under the command of the Captain-General Marquis de Villadarias. At the end of August a large Anglo-Dutch amphibious force arrived to lay siege to Cádiz. On 26 August, the Anglo-Dutch disembarked troops in the Cove of Cañuelos. The tercio was assigned to the defence of the Castle of Matagorda. It immediately repaired fortifications and cleaned the moat. On 3 September, General Sparre, at the head of an Allied corps of 4,000 men with a few pieces, opened the trenches in front of Matagorda. From 11 to 15 September, an Allied battery fired on Matagorda. On 1 October, the Allies re-embarked. The tercio remained in the Province of Cádiz. On 14 December, a detachment of the tercio, who had been posted at Peñon de la Gomera on the coast of North Africa since 23 June, rejoined the unit.

In 1703, the tercio was sent to the Province of Extremadura.

In the Spring of 1704, the tercio joined the Army of Extremadura under King Philip V for the war against Portugal. On 8 May, the place of Salvatierra surrendered to the Franco-Spanish army. The tercio was then assigned to the corps of General Don José de Salazar who marched against Idanha-a-Nova defended by six Irish companies. Salazar made himself master of the town and the garrison took refuge in the castle and then escaped during the night. The tercio then went to Monsanto where it joined the corps of the General Marquis de Thoy. On 19 May, this corps marched from Monsanto and laid siege to Castelo Branco. On 23 May, the tercio took part in the storming of this place. On 28 May, it fought in an action at Sárceda where the enemy was routed and two Dutch battalions captured. On 29 May, the Franco-Spanish army decamped from Andoyco to pass the Tagus on a bridge of boats at Niza. The tercio for its part escorted the baggage and the artillery who passed by the bridge of Alcántara. When the king decided to lay siege to Castelo de Vide, the tercio was assigned to the corps of General Don Pedro Ronquillo who was charged to make a diversion. After a brief engagement against the forces of Das Minas, Ronquillo's Corps bivouacked between Salvatierra and the Zarza. The campaign was then suspended because of the intense heat. Six companies of the tercio entered into Valencia de Alcántara; five companies with Major Don Diego Amarilla, into Salvatierra; and one company under Captain Don Francisco Arias, into Marvão.

On 3 May 1705, an Allied under General Fagel laid siege to Valencia de Alcántara. Five companies of the tercio repulsed five assaults but was finally forced to retire in the castle. After a siege of nine days, the place surrendered and the soldiers were taken prisoners of war. Meanwhile, the General Baron de San Juan had attacked Marvão which capitulated. Salvatierra soon surrendered too.

In 1706, the tercio was exchanged and returned from Portugal to join the Army of Extremadura. It then marched to New Castile under the command of the Maréchal de Berwick, reaching Madrid on 19 June. On 26 June, the Allies led by Archduke Charles appeared in front of Madrid. The tercio was brigaded with Vitoria, Arcos, Cádiz, Palencia and Armada Viejo. The archduke retired towards Valencia, closely followed by the Franco-Spanish vanguard (including the present tercio) under General Geoffreville. The vanguard effected a junction with the troops of the Bishop of Murcia and stormed Orihuela. On 18 October, this corps appeared in front of Elche and, on 21 October, the place surrendered. At the end of the tercio encamped in the region of Murcia.

On 2 January 1707, the tercio was reviewed at the camp of Cartagena. On 28 February, the tercio was transformed into a regiment designated as the “Regimiento de Armada”. It then joined the army assembling at Chinchilla where it was attached to the Córdoba Brigade in the second line. On 25 April, it took part in the victorious Battle of Almansa. On 8 May, as part of Geoffreville's Division it participated in the reconquest of Valencia. On 26 July, now attached to a corps under the command of the Count de Mahony, it laid siege to Alcoy which surrendered on 3 August.

In 1708, the regiment, under the command of General Don Pedro Ronquillo, took part in the siege of Dénia. On 7 November, the trench was opened. On 12 November, the assault was given to the place and, after ferocious combats, the regiment managed to penetrate into the place. The British garrison retired into the castle and capitulated on 17 November. The regiment was immediately sent to Alicante where the siege started on 30 November. The town surrendered on 3 December but the garrison retired into the castle.

At the beginning of 1709, the garrison of the Castle of Alicante still resisted. On 1 April, it finally surrendered and the colonel of the regiment, the Marquis de Santa Cruz, was charged to bring the good news to the king. In June a second battalion was added to the regiment.

In 1710, the regiment was sent to join the garrison of Mequinenza. From this place, a detachment of the regiment made itself master of seven boats at Mora on the Ebro. The regiment was then ordered to join the Royal Army in Catalonia. The army then retired in Aragon. On 20 August, the regiment took part in the disastrous Battle of Sagarossa and was forced to retire to Old Castile where it received new recruits, arms , uniforms and equipment. It then marched to Extremadura. On 15 October, it was reviewed by the king at Plasencia. It then marched to the Tagus and encamped near the bridge of Almaráz. During the following winter campaign, the regiment took part in the Combat of Brihuega on 9 December and in the decisive Battle of Villaviciosa on 10 December, pursuing the enemy up to the frontier of Catalonia.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the campaign of Ibars and Balaguer.

In 1712, the regiment was sent to garrison Tortosa. Detachments conducted raids in the Catalan region of Empordà and assisted during the blockade of Gerona.

In 1713, the regiment fought the insurgents in the area of Seo de Urgel.

In 1714, the regiment made itself master of Castell-Ciutat and fought against the Catalan partisans during the siege and reconquest of Barcelona.


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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.

In the infantry, officers wore a silver or gold gorget and a spontoon.

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: baton as worn under the reign of the Habsburg
  • lieutenant: baton as worn under the reign of the Habsburg
  • sub-lieutenant: baton with a horn band and a silver ring


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

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


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This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería, vol. X, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 82-96