Tercio auxiliar de Flandes

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Tercio auxiliar de Flandes

Origin and History

The regiment was created on 1 November 1637 under the name of “Tercio de Saavedra” according to the name of its first Maestre de Campo but was soon renamed “Tercio auxiliar de Flandes”.

In 1637, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the tercio took part in the relief of Corvi and in the recapture of Emmerich; in 1638, in the siege of Saint-Omer; in 1639, in the relief of Hesdin; in 1640, in the defence of Arras; in 1641, in the failed attempt to relieve Aire; in 1642, in the capture of Lens and Bassée; in 1646, in the failed attempt to relieve Courtrai and in the capture of Menin; in 1647, in the siege of Armentières and in the recapture of Lens, Landrecies and Dixmude; in 1648, in the storming of Courtrai and in the battle of Lens; in 1649, in the siege of Ypres and in the relief of Cambrai; in 1650, in the capture of Chapelle and in the unsuccessful siege of Mouzon; in 1651, in the siege of Berg-Saint-Winock; in 1652, in the capture of Gravelines, Dunkerque, Chatelet and in the protection of the sieges of Saint-Menout, Bois-le-Duc and Ligny; in 1653, in the capture of Rocroi; in 1654, in the battle of Arras; in 1656, in the relief of Valenciennes; and in 1658, in the battle of the Dunes near Dunkerque.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the tercio reinforced Maastricht. In 1674, it took part in the battle of Seneffe; in 1676, in the coverage of the unsuccessful siege of Maastricht; and in 1678, in the battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio joined the army assembling at Arche. In 1690, it took part in the battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the failed attempt to relieve Mons; in 1692, in the defence of Namur; in 1693, in the battle of Landen and in the defence of Charleroi; in 1694, in an engagement near Marbaix; and in 1695, in an engagement near Bossu and in the siege of Namur.

On 10 April 1702, the tercio was reduced from 15 to only 3 companies, each of 37 37 arquebusiers and 10 pikemen. On 28 September 1704, one of the 10 tercios who had been raised during the reign of Charles II to fight France formed the basis of a new regiment designated as the “Regimiento de Jaen”. However, on 17 August 1713, the former “Tercio auxiliar de Flandes” became the “Regimiento de Jaen”, integrating the younger regiment as its second battalion.

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

  • from at least 1701: Don Antonio del Valle
  • in 1706?: Don Luis del Valle
  • from at least 1709: Don Alvaro Pantoja

In 1727, the regiment was disbanded and incorporated into the “Regimiento de la Corona” as its second battalion.

Service during the War

On 3 May 1702, the tercio joined the army of the Duc de Bourgogne at Xanten and marched on Nijmegen. On 10 June, the tercio took part in an engagement against the Allied cavalry. On 1 July, it encamped at Genappe between the Meuse and the Niers. On 23 July, it was at the cannonade of Peer between the Dommel and Beringen. It concluded the campaign with the bombardment of Deger.

In June 1703, while the Allies were besieging Bonn on the Rhine, the tercio, which was attached to Tserclaes 's Corps, advanced from the Lines of Antwerp against Opdam's Army and, on 30 June, defeated it in the Battle of Ekeren and pursuing it up to Breda and dislodging the Allies from the Lines of Liefkenshoek.

In 1704, the tercio defended the Lines of Brabant.

On 28 May 1705, the tercio set off from the Lines of Brabant in an army led by the Maréchal de Villeroy which undertook the siege of Huy, surrounding the forts Picard, Joseph, Trogne and Rouge. On the night of 30 to 31 May, these forts were attacked. On the night of 4 June, they were finally stormed after a combat of three hours. On 5 June, Huy surrendered. The tercio then returned to its positions at Jardin in the Lines of Brabant. On the night of 18 to 19 July, Marlborough attacked these positions and the tercio retired to Louvain. It then took position in a new line between Neerische (probably Neerijse), Betlem (probably Bertem) and Corbec (probably Kortenberg) to support Bruges, threatened by the Dutch General Spaar.

On 10 May 1706, the tercio joined the army assembling near Louvain under the Elector of Bavaria and Villeroy. The army passed the Dyle and encamped between Tillemont (porbably Tirlemont) and Tudogne (probably Judoigne). On 23 May, the tercio took part in the Battle of Ramillies and then retired towards Dendermonde. The place was invested on 31 July and the Allied artillery opened on 1 September. On 5 September, Dendermonde capitulated and the tercio evacuated the place.

In 1707, the tercio served in Flanders once more but saw no significant action.

On 11 July 1708, the tercio fought in the Battle of Oudenarde, It then retired to Ghent. On 28 July, the tercio was part of a force who passed the Rhine and threatened Dutch Flanders. The tercio then received orders to join an army trying to cut the communications of the Allies besieging Lille with the coast. On 1 September, it passed the Scheldt and reached the plain of Lille. On 10 September, it passed the Margne (unidentified location) and took position near the line of cicumvallation surrounding Lille. As part of La Motte's Corps it then came to the relief of Bruges and Plassendale. On 28 September, it took part in the Engagement of Wijnendale and retired to Ghent. In this action, its colonel, Don Alvaro Pantoja was wounded. The Duc de Vendôme then ordered La Motte to cut the communications between the Allied army besieging Lille and its main supply base at Ostend. On 19 October, the tercio took part in the attack launched by the La Motte against the bridge of Leffinge where its grenadiers under Captain Don Gonzalo Maneyro stormed a defensive work in the cemetery. Nevertheless, Lille capitulated on 23 October. On 26 November, the tercio, now attached to the corps of the Elector of Bavaria, laid siege to Bruxelles. On 27 November, it was preparing to launch a second assault when the commanders were informed that an Allied army was marching to the relief of the place. The corps then retired to Mons.

At the end of May 1710, the tercio arrived in Spain where it joined a corps under the command of Don Juan Antonio de Amézaga. On 2 June, the tercio took part in the storming of the village of Estadilla located between the Cinca and the Segre. The garrison took refuge into the castle but soon surrendered. The tercio then took part in all operations on the line of the Segre and Noguera until the Franco-Spanish army evacuated Catalonia. The tercio occupied Monzon where, in the first days of August, it delayed an Imperialist corps attempting to pass the bridge of Monzon. It then retired towards Sagarossa. On 20 August, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Saragossa before retiring to Siguenza. Recruits from various provinces reinforced the tercio who, after a sojourn in Extremadura, re-entered into Castile. On 8 December, it took part in the Combat of Brihuega and, on 10 December, in the victorious Combat of Villaviciosa.

In 1711, the tercio operated in the mountains of Aragon, defended Barbastro and took part in an engagement against the migueletes at Verdú. In February, it followed the Rivagorza and drove the militias of Graus and Benavarre back to the banks of the Ebro. It also forced the garrison of the Castle of Miravete to surrender, and, led by General Marquis de Valdecañas, occupied the Conca de Tremp.

In 1712, the tercio was charged to drive the rebels out of the mountains of Catalonia and to protect convoys.

In 1713, during the blockade of Barcelona, the tercio continued to operate against the rebels under General Don José Armendariz. In August, this corps razed Manresa. On 17 August, the tercio was renamed “Regimiento de Jaen” and incorporated as its second battalion the unit previously designated by this name.

In 1714, the tercio took part in the capture of the Castle of Biosca and in the siege and capture 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. IX, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 160-187