Tercio de Asturias

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

Origin and History

The tercio was created on 6 July 1703 for the “Maestre de campo” Viscount del Puerto. It consisted of only 600 men (arquebusiers and pikemen).

On 28 September 1704, the tercio was reorganised as a regiment.

On 28 February 1707, the tercio was renamed “Regimiento de Asturias”.

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

  • from 6 July 1703 until 1734: Viscount del Puerto (later became Marquis de Santa Cruz de Marcenado)

On 20 April 1715, the regiment incorporated the disbanded “Regimiento de Salamanca” as its second battalion.

Service during the War

In 1703, the tercio served in Galicia along the Minho River on the Portuguese border and made itself master of the Island of Calderas.

On 1 January 1704, the tercio was ordered to relieve the Tercio Provincial de Valladolid in Ciudad-Rodrigo. On 31 March, it took part in an engagement between Alfayate and Villamayor. On 20 May, the Marquis Das Minas presented himself in front of Ciudad-Rodrigo at the head of a large Allied army. On 25 May, the place capitulated and the tercio was allowed to retire to Navarra on the condition that it would not serve for the rest of the year. Despite the terms of the capitulation, the tercio served against the insurgents in the districts of Tudela, Cascante and Tarazona and in the siege of Magallon. On 18 December, the regiment marched from Tudela to the camp of Saluza. On 20 December, it stormed the place of Egea de los Caballeros defended by Aragonese migueletes who lost 400 men in the affair. It then guarded the line between Sádaba and Sangüesa. It was later attached to the column of General Saluza to relieve the place of Jaca.

On 6 March 1707, the regiment arrived at a ford on the Aragon River at Jabierre where a detachment of Austrian cavalry and infantry was posted in bushes along a hill. The Spanish dragoons crossed the ford first followed by the regiment with the rest of the infantry. They deployed in order of battle. The Austrians suddenly turned and flee, leaving many dead, prisoners, colours and weapons behind. General Saluzo continued his advance on Jaca and managed to introduce a convoy of 425 carts of ammunition and provisions into the place. On 10 June, the regiment marched under the command of General Saluzo and, passing by the mountains, reached Ainza by the end of the month. The regiment was in one of the three columns who attacked Ainza and captured 200 prisoners which they escorted to Jaca. The conquest of Ainza facilitated communications with the County of Rivagorza and allowing to resupply troops operating in Upper Aragon. The insurgents assembled a force of 1,500 men in the region of Lascuarre and threatened to attack the quarters of the regiment which was accompanied by the hussars of Saluzo. The insurgents were defeated and lost 150 men killed. The regiment then went to Barbastro. On 16 November, 150 men of the regiment assisted by 50 horse they drove back the migueletes (500 foot and 60 horse) occupying Naval. The regiment also took part in an engagement near Benavarre.

In 1708, the regiment was sent to garrison Lérida. On 30 March, its grenadier company along with the grenadiers of the Regimiento de Pamplona and 30 dragoons made a sortie to attack Finestrat, plundering the town and bringing back some cattle. On their way back to Lérida, they were ambushed in a defile by the insurgents but managed to drive them back and to return to Lérida. In May, the regiment and the “Regimiento de Pamplona” set off from Lérida and took position at Benavarre to occupy the bridge of Montañana and reduce the Benasque Valley to obedience. The regiment then took part in the Siege of Tortosa until its surrender on 10 July. It was then assigned to garrison the place. On 4 December, Field-Marshal Starhemberg tried to capture Tortosa by surprise. The lieutenant-colonel of the regiment was wounded while driving the Austrians out of the suburbs.

In 1709, the regiment was transferred to the District of Valencia to participate in a secret expedition which would land in Italy. In May, it embarked at Alicante for the Island of Elba.

On 2 June 1710, the regiment sailed for the Island of Sardinia under the command of General Armendariz. However, the British forced the expedition to re-embark and to take refuge in Corsica.

In September 1711, the regiment embarked for Porto Longone on the coast of Tuscany where it would join another force sailing from the Island of Elba under the command of the Duke de Uceda.

In 1712, the regiment landed at Porto Ercole on the coast of Tuscany. In April, a detachment of the regiment along with other troops advanced on the Tower of Peschiera defended by part of the garrison of Orbitello. However, as the Austrian defenders rapidly received reinforcements, the Spaniards retired to their camp at Cristo and re-embarked. This force was later besieged by the Austrians in Porto Ercole and forced to capitulate. The regiment retired to Sicily.

In 1714, when the Spanish forces retired from Italy, the regiment embarked for Spain. On their way, three companies were attacked by Turkish corsairs near Mahon and forced to jump ashore. The rest of the regiment resumed its journey and, upon its arrival in Spain, took part in the blockade of Barcelona where it was soon joined by the three companies left at Mahon. On 17 May, the regiment took part in the assault on Fort Capuchinos under the command of Major Don José Tineo. On the night of 16 to 17 July, it joined the troops working at the trenches until the general assault on 11 September. On that day, along with six other battalions, it entered into Barcelona by the breach at the Puerta-Nova.


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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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Tentative reconstructions of the colours of the regiment based on the successive ordenanzas of 1704, 1706 and 1707 (for more details see our article Spanish (Bourbon) Line Infantry Colours).

Tentative Reconstructions
Colours according to the ordenanzas of 1704, 1706 and 1707 – Copyright: Kronoskaf


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. XI, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 124-133