Tercio de Navarra

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

Origin and History

The tercio was created on 21 July 1705 in the Kingdom of Navarra for the “Maestre de campo” Don Francisco Ignacio de Mencos.

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

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

  • from 6 August 1705 to September 1707: Don Francisco Ignacio de Mencos
  • from 8 November 1707: Don Francisco García Salcedo

On 20 April 1715, the disbanded “Regimiento de Pamplona” was incorporated in the regiment as its second battalion. Effective incorporation took place on 9 June.

Service during the War

At the end of the Summer of 1705, the new tercio was barely organised, uniformed and armed when it marched towards Aragon as part of a corps under the command of the General Baron Witerfeld, lieutenant-colonel in the Reales Guardias Valonas. It arrived at Saragossa at the end of September. By October, the tercio was occupying Fraga and defending the Cinca. On 1 November, it was attacked by a large number of Catalan insurgents led by Don Antonio and Don Manuel Desvalls, under cover of a thick fog. The tercio joined the “Tercio de Pamplona” in a strong place and opened its way at the point of the bayonet, dislodging the insurgents who had taken possession of San Pedro Square and driving them down from the height of San Miguel outside the village. In this attack, the colonel of the tercio received two gunshots in a foot. After a honourable capitulation, they set off with arms and baggage and rejoined the division of General Amézaga at Barbastro. This division then marched to effect a junction with the forces of the Count de las Torres campaigning in the Province of Valencia.

On 1 January 1706, the tercio marched to San Mateo to take part in the siege of the place which surrendered on 8 January. The tercio was then employed in the siege of Villareal. On 12 January it took part in the storming of the place. It then captured Ontiniente and took part in the siege of Alcira. The siege was lifted when Archduke Charles advanced on Valencia. The tercio first retired in Aragon and then in Navarra. The Allies were later to turn their back and to take refuge in Catalonia. The tercio then joined the army of General Don Carlos de San Gil y la Justicia in Valencia to drive the migueletes out of the area. It seized Mallen; relieved the garrison of Sádaba and defeated the enemy at Magallon, Tarazona, Cascante and Tudela. It then joined the French troops who had crossed the Pyrenees. The Duc d'Orléans assigned the tercio to the detachment of the General Marquis de Saluzo. On 19 December, this detachment threatened Egea de los Caballeros and stormed it the following day, killing 400 insurgents and taking the rest of the defenders prisoners.

On 28 February 1707, the tercio was renamed “Regimiento de Navarra”. It continued to operate with Saluzo's detachment, relieving the place of Jaca. On 6 March, the detachment crossed the Aragon River and attacked the rebels. It then escorted a convoy of ammunition and provision to Jaca. 16 July, it made itself master of the Castle of Ainsa, capturing 200 migueletes. At the beginning of September, it rejoined the main body under the Duc d'Orléans to undertake the siege of Lérida. During the siege, Colonel Mencos was killed in a duel. On 12 October, the city of Lérida surrendered. On 11 November, its castle capitulated.

In 1708, a detachment set off from Lérida and attacked the migueletes in Siniesto, driving them back and taking 24 prisoners. The regiment was then allocated to the corps of the General Comte d'Estain to create a diversion during the siege of Tortosa. The corps operated in Upper Aragon and in the mountains to protect the lines of communication. In May, the regiment took position at Benasque but was soon forced to abandon the place in front of a great numbers of insurgents. It retired to Benavarre and occupied the bridge of Montañana which it defended stubbornly under General Pons de Mendoza.

On 20 July 1709, the Court of Navarra authorized the creation of a second battalion. Meanwhile the first battalion took part in the defence of Arenys. During the siege, the grenadiers of the regiment distinguished themselves and their captain, Don Juan Francisco Balanzat was wounded.

At the beginning of the campaign of 1710, the regiment was attached to the corps of the Marquis de Villadarias for the reconquest of Estadilla. Afterwards, it went to the camp of Balaguer where it took part in the action of 13 June. It then garrisoned Ainsa where it was encircled for six months while the Royal Army was reorganising after its defeat at Saragossa (20 August). In November, 100 men of the regiment were attacked by 600 migueletes at the bridge of Medianos on the Cinca. About 300 migueletes passed the river to turn the positions of the detachment who, after a long resistance, asked to capitulate. However, the Catalans refused to give them quarters. Then the 100 men launched a desperate charge at the point of the bayonet and drove through the enemy, losing only 7 men. They retired in the castle of Ainsa.

In 1711, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Tortosa. On 25 October, it drove back a surprise attack launched against Tortosa by General Wetzel, taking more than 400 prisoners.

In 1712, the regiment campaigned under the command of the Prince Tserclaes de Tilly against the insurgents in the mountains of Catalonia.

In 1713, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Tarragona, supplying detachments to garrison neighbouring towns.

Uniform

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Privates

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Officers

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

NCOs

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

Musicians

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Colours

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References

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. 237-250