Tercio de la Mar de Nápoles

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

Origin and History

The unit was initially raised in Spain on 27 February 1566 by Don Pedro de Padilla. It counted 5 companies. It was soon sent to the Kingdom of Naples.

In 1569, this tercio, designated by the name of its owner, took part to the expedition of Don Juan de Cordoba to the Island of Malta. It then returned to Spain where it joined the forces destined to fight in Morocco. In 1571, it took part in the Battle of the Gulf of Corinth. In 1572, it returned to Naples. From 1573 to 1575, it took part in various campaigns in Tunisia.

On May 3 1577, the tercio counted 4,000 men and was known as the Tercio de Nápoles.

In 1580, the tercio took part in the occupation of Portugal.

In 1588, 10 companies of the tercio served aboard the Invincible Armada.

In 1601, the tercio served aboard a fleet sent to the coasts of Calabria to clear them from Turkish pirates. The same year, part of the tercio garrisoned Milan. In 1603, the tercio returned to Spain. In 1605, it took part in the capture of Durazzo in Albania then went to Naples. In 1606, it operated against the pirates on the Island of Elba. In 1608, it took part in the capture of Larache in Morocco.

In 1614, a detachment of the tercio took part in the landing at Oneglia in Italy and in the captures of Monbaldone, Dente, Rocaberedo and Cortemiglia. In 1615, it defended the town of Bistagno. In 1617, it was at the siege of Vercelli.

From 1625 to 1630, the tercio served in Italy against the French and Piemonteses.

On July 28 1633, the unit was renamed Tercio de la Mar de Nápoles. In 1634, it operated on the coasts of Provence. In 1635, it reinforced the Spanish army of Lombardia where it served until 1653.

From 1655 to 1657, the tercio took part in various campaigns in Italy.

In 1678, the tercio garrisoned Milan.

On August 18 1690, the tercio fought in the battle of Staffarda where it suffered heavy losses. In 1691, it defended Carmagnola. In 1692, the unit counted only 300 men, it joined the army who invaded Dauphiné and took part in the capture of Embrun (August 19). It then campaigned in Italy until 1696.

In 1700, the tercio garrisoned Cremona.

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

  • in 1701: Don Francisco de Córdova
  • in 1702: Don Antonio de la Cabra y Cardona
  • in ????: Baltasar de Moscoso, Marquis de Navamorquende
  • in ????: Lucas de Spinola, Marquis de Siruela
  • in ????: Luis de Aponte
  • in 1710: Antonio de Castro y Cárdenas

Note: L. Sanchez Martin gives Luca Spinola, Count de Siruela as commander of the tercio from 1694 to 1704

Service during the War

In 1701, at the outbreak of the war, the tercio sided for the Bourbon. On 31 August, it joined the brigade of Lombardia and, on 1 September, took part in the Battle of Chiari.

In 1702, the tercio garrisoned the Castle of Tortona. On 15 August, it took part in the Battle of Luzzara.

From 1 May to 21 July 1704, the tercio took part in the siege of Vercelli. From 2 September to 30 September, it was at the siege of Ivrea.

In 1705, the tercio was transformed into a regiment and renamed “Corona”. It served in Torralba's Division in Vendôme's Army. Its second battalion was sent under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Don Francisco Rubin de Celis to occupy the Heights of San Ossetto. On 20 May, during a combat against Imperialist grenadiers, Rubin de Celis passed to the enemy but his battalion did not follow him; on the contrary, Captain Don José de Torres stubbornly defended his position.

In 1706, the companies of Don Martin Galiano and Don José de Torres were transferred to the new Regimiento de Saboya.

In 1707, the regiment vainly defended the City of Milan against an Imperialist attack. On 1 April, it evacuated the Citadel of Milan and retired to Spain where it served at Pamplona and Valencia.

From 20 June to 10 July 1708, the regiment played an active part in the reconquest of Tortosa.

In 1709, the regiment stormed the Castle of Arenys and sustained a sanguinary combat in view of Monzon.

In 1710, the regiment joined the army commanded by King Philip V. On 20 August, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Saragossa. The remnants of the regiment then retreated to Castile.

In 1714, the regiment took part to the pacification of Catalonia and then garrisoned Cádiz.



Uniform in 1702 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
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


no information found


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. VIII, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 5-42