Tercio departamental del Bravante

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Tercio departamental del Bravante

Origin and History

The tercio was created in Naples in 1591, from the union of several companies from the Tercio de Saboya in addition to those raised in Naples. Initially, it counted 194 officers and 1,334 soldiers, organised in 27 companies. It was designated as the “Tercio departamental de Bravante”.

In 1592, the tercio took part in the battle of Aumale and in the sieges of Neuchatel and Caudeberk; in 1593, in the siege of Noyon; in 1593, in the siege of Huy and in the relief of Grol; in 1596, in the sieges of Calais, Ardres and Hulst.

In 1598, the tercio took part in the operations in the Duchy of Cleves, participating in the capture of Orsoy and in the siege of Rheinberg.

In 1599, the tercio took part in the attack on the Island of Bommel; in 1600, in the Battle of Nieuwpoort; and in 1601, in the relief of Rheinberg and in the siege of Ostend.

In 1604, the tercio briefly abandoned the Spanish service and joined the Dutch but its commanders were soon persuaded to rejoin the Spanish army. In 1605, it took part in the siege of Oldenseel in Frisia and Rheinberg; in 1606, in the capture of Lochen, in the attack on Grol and in the siege of Rheinberg. It was then known as the Tercio de la Sangre (Blood Tercio) because of its valour. From 1607 to 1614, the tercio garrisoned Lierre in Brabant.

In 1614, the tercio took part in the campaign against Brandenburg, in the invasion of the Duchy of Jülich and in the siege of Wesel.

In 1620, the tercio joined the army who marched on Frankfurt and laid siege to Trarbach. In 1621, it was at the siege of Jülich; in 1622, at the blockade of Bergh; in 1624 and 1625, at the siege of Breda. In 1629, the tercio took part in the invasion of Holland. In 1634, the tercio took part in the relief of Breda.

In 1635, at the outbreak of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the tercio took part in the battle of Les Avins, in the relief of Louvain and in the siege of Diest; in 1636, in the capture of Chapelle, Chatelet and Corbie; in 1637, in the relief of Breda and in the capture of Menlau and Charlemont; in 1638, in the relief of Saint-Omer; in 1639, in the defence of Hesdin; in 1640, in a failed attempt to relieve of Arras; in 1641, in the defence of Aire; in 1642, in the sieges of Lens, Bassée, Aire, Landrecies and Armentières. In 1643, the tercio fought in the battle of Rocroi; in 1644, in the defence of Saint-Omer; in 1645, in the recapture of Mardick; in 1647, in the sieges of Armentières and Lens, and in the recapture of Landrecies and Dixmude; in 1648, in the siege of Courtrai and in the battle of Lens; in 1649, in the siege of Ypres; in 1650, in the capture of Chapelle, Retel and Mouzon; in 1652, in the capture of Gravelines and in the siege of Dunkerque; in 1654, in the relief of Stenay; in 1656, in the capture of Condé; and in 1658, in the battle of the Dunes near Calais.

In 1673, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), the tercio took part in the failed attempt to relieve Maastricht; in 1674, in the battle of Seneffe; in 1677, in the unsuccessful siege of Charleroi; and in 1678, in the battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1690, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio took part in the battle of Fleurus and then took refuge under the guns of Bruxelles; in 1691, in the defence of Bruxelles and in the relief of Luxembourg; in 1692, in the defence of Namur; in 1693, in the battle of Landen; and in 1695, in the siege and recapture of Namur.

During the reign of Philip V, the regiment asked to be considered “inmemorial”, because its origins were supposedly lost far in the past. This was not admitted, and after studying several documents, it was established in 1739 that the tercio was raised in Naples in 1591.

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

  • since 4 August 1693: Don Cárlos de Zuñiga
  • from April 1702 until at least May 1706: Don Pedro de Zuñiga
  • from at least 1707: Don Pedro de Sotomayor y Benavides, Marquis de Melin
  • from 15 January 1711: Don Manuel Solis y Gante

In 1715, after the War of the Spanish Succession, following the reforms of the army, the unit was renamed Regimento de Soria and, on 14 June, incorporated the Regimiento de Utrera, initially raised in 1704. In July, it embarked at Barcelona, to Mallorca, the city fell and it remained there as garrison.

Service during the War

In 1703, the tercio was in Flanders, assigned as garrison at Namur. It was then transferred to the line of entrenchment near Antwerp. On 30 June, it took part in the Battle of Ekeren.

In 1704, the tercio was posted in the Lines of Brabant.

In 1705, the tercio took part in the siege of Huy and then in the unsuccessful siege of Liège which was relieved by an Allied army. The tercio then took post at Hilleskeim in the Lines of Brabant. In September, it was forced to retire to Louvain. Afterwards, it garrisoned the Citadel of Ghent.

On 23 May 1706, the second battalion fought at Ramillies. It then retired to Bruxelles which it defended. Meanwhile, the first battalion was in garrison in Ghent when this city fell before Marlborough. After the capitulation of Bruxelles, the second battalion was transferred to Northern Italy.

In March 1707, when Spain ceded the Duchy of Milan to Austria, the second battalion returned to Spain where it was initially stationed in Alicante. Soon afterwards , the battalion was sent to Mazalquivir (present-day Mers El Kébir) on the coast of Northern Africa.

In January 1708, the second battalion returned to Spain and was reorganised in Navarre.

In 1710, the first battalion returned from Flanders. On 3 June, it was attacked in the camp of Balaguer. On 27 July, it took part in the Battle of Almenar and, on 20 August, in the Battle of Saragossa where it was virtually annihilated. In the took refuge in Castile.

In 1711, the first battalion fought against the insurgents in Aragon and Catalonia. Meanwhile, the second was sent to Extremadura where it took part in the blockade of Yelves (probably Elvas) and in the relief of Carvajales.

In 1712, the second battalion took part in the siege of Campomayor and then took up its winter-quarters in Old Castile.

In 1713 and 1714, the reunited tercio fought in Catalonia, ending with the fall of Barcelona. It remained as garrison in this city.

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. VIII, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 455-489