Tercio de Saboya

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

Origin and History

On 30 March 1633, the Tercio de Lombardia gave birth to the Lombardia, Saboya and Nápoles tercios. The new “Tercio de Saboya” established itself in the city of Cremona in Northern Italy. It counted 11 companies for a total of 109 officers and 1,200 soldiers.

In 1636, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the tercio took part in the action of Cerano in the province of Novara and in the battle of Tornavento. In 1637, it was part of the Spanish force who entered into the Valtellina Valley, made itself master of the Castle of Rodovano and fought the battle of Monbaldone. In 1638, the tercio took part in the capture of Ponzone and Vercelli; in 1639, in the occupation of Pontestura and in the capture of Trino, Asti and Turin; in 1640, in the failed relief of Casale. In 1641, the tercio took part in the battle of Bestagno. In 1642, it defended Tortona. In 1643, it took part in the recapture of Tortona; in 1645, in the siege of Vigebano and in the battle of Mora; in 1646, in the encounter of Bozzole; in 1647, in the Battle of Rivarolo; in 1648, in the defence of Cremona; in 1649, in the recapture of Pompanasco, Gualtieri and Castel-nuovo; in 1650, in the failed storming of Asti; in 1651, in the siege and capture of Trino and Crescentino; in 1653, in the Battle of the Cerro; in 1656, in the battle of Fontana-Santa; in 1658, in the defence of the Lines of the Adda.

In 1659, after the war, the tercio garrisoned Lodi.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio dismantled the fortifications of Guastalla. In 1690, it took part in the battle of Staffarda; in 1691, in the siege and capture of Gazzuolo; in 1692, in the siege of Embrun in Dauphiné; in 1693, in the siege of Pinerolo and in the battle of Marsaglia; in 1695, in the siege and recapture of Casale; and in 1696, in the fortification of the line from Turin to Mortara.

In 1699, a detachment of the tercio joined a force of 3,000 men sent to settle a dispute in the Principality of Castiglione delle Stiviere before returning to Lodi.

In 1707, the tercio was reorganised as a regiment and designated “Regimiento de Saboya”.

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

  • from 1693 to 1702: Pedro José Pimentel y Quinones, Marquis de Mirabel, Comte de Branteville
  • from at least 1707: Count de San Estevan de Gormaz
  • from 1707: Marquis de Sentmanat
  • in ????: Marquis de Aguilar del Campo

Service during the War

In 1701, at the outbreak of the war, the tercio was reinforced with recruits sent from Spain. It then defended Mantua in Northern Italy which was blockaded for five months.

In 1702, the Imperialists finally abandoned the blockade of Mantua. On 15 August, the tercio distinguished itself in the Battle of Luzzara and King Philip V promoted its maestro de campo, the Marquis de Mirabel, to general of artillery. The tercio then took part in the capture of Guastalla before returning to Milan.

In 1703, the tercio joined a force of 3,000 foot and 1,000 horse under General Albergotti who took position on the road between Finale and Mirandola. During its retreat, this corps was attacked by an Imperialist force led by General Strarhemberg where the tercio suffered heavy losses and its Grenadier Captain Don Eusebio de Francisco de Astorga was grievously wounded.. The tercio was at the camp of San Benedetto when the Savoyard units forming part of the army where taken prisoners of war after the defection of the Duchy of Savoy to the Imperialists. The tercio then escorted the prisoners to the Castle of Milan and then to Genoa. On its return, it took post on the Stradella and fortified its positions.

At the beginning of 1704, it became prisoners of war while defending its positions on the Stradella. Three months later, it was exchanged and went to Novara. It then took part in the capture of Vercelli (21 July) and Ivrea (17 September).

In 1705, it took part in the long and difficult siege of Verrua. After the surrender of the place, the tercio escorted prisoners to Alessandia. At the end of the campaign, it assumed garrison duty in Finale.

In 1706, the tercio incorporated various companies from other units to form a second battalion. After the Battle of Castiglione, the tercio retired to Pavia where it was forced to capitulate as prisoners of war. It was then transferred to Alessandria.

In 1707, after the surrender of the Duchy of Milan, the tercio marched to Spain. Upon arriving at Pamplona, it marched across Aragon and Valencia, establishing its quarters at Alcira. A few detachments joined the cause of the Habsburg but the tercio remained faithful to Philip V and took part in the siege of Alcoy. The same year, the “Tercio de Saboya” then under the command of the Count de San Estevan de Gormaz became the “Regimiento de Saboya” under the Marquis de Sentmanat.

In 1708, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Dénia (12 November) and in the capture of Alicante (6 December). However, the garrison who had taken refuge into the castle continued to resist.

In 1709, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of the Castle of Alicante which finally surrendered on 19 April. It then defended Lérida. Its second battalion was sent to Pamplona.

In 1710, it fought in the battles of Balaguer, Almenar and Pefialva. On August 20, it was routed in the Battle of Saragossa and the remnants of the regiment retired to the banks of the Ebro and was rapidly brought back to normal strength. It then rejoined other troops at the camp of Casa-Tejada. In December, it was at the victorious combats of Brihuega and Villaviciosa.

In 1711, the regiment took part in the recapture of Cardona (17 November).

In 1713, the regiment garrisoned Tortosa where it received orders to march on Barcelona.

In 1714, the regiment was at the siege and capture of Barcelona. In the final assault of 11 September, it formed part of the corps led by General Castillo and Brigadier Puerto who stormed the Puerta Nova. The regiment then went to Rosas.

Uniform

Uniform circa 1700 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Picouet
Headgear
Musketeer black felt tricorne laced white with a red cockade
Grenadier no information found
Neckstock white
Coat red with yellow lining and with tin buttons on the right side and 1 tin button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 tin buttons
Cuffs yellow, each with 3 tin buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat yellow with tin buttons
Breeches yellow
Stockings red fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters no information found
Leather Equipement
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard black
Footwear black shoes with a brass buckle


Rank and file were armed with a sword, a bayonet and a musket

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

no information found yet

Colours

no information found yet

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. IX, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 96-118