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1808 Spanish Napoleonic Cavalry

My latest project has been a 15 mm Spanish Army for the early years of the Peninsular War, and I hope you find these notes useful. You can read about my infantry here, this post is a brief note about the cavalry figures I’ve used. The paintwork is still lacking some details – especially the hussars would benefit from having their facial hair painted.

Battle Honors Cavalry BSP8

Battle Honors Cavalry BSP8

The Spanish Cavalry was perhaps the least efficient force in the entire Peninsular War. The main reason for their hapless performance was the lack of good mounts. Before the uprising of May 1808 the Spanish were allied to the French, and the neglected and poorly funded army had to provide a large contingent to serve with the Grande Armee in Northern Europe. Most of the good horses went to this force, leaving the remaining regiments poorly mounted at best. The lack of good horses was also making the life of artillery men difficult, and they often had to use mules and oxen to haul their cannon around the battlefield.

Battle Honors Hussars BSP11

Battle Honors Hussars BSP11

Most of my 15 mm Spanish army is infantry, as even though the Spanish fielded a large number of heavy, medium and light cavalry regiments on paper, in practice these formations could usually mount only one or two squadrons of troopers. So far I have painted a few regiments of Battle Honours figures – BSP11 hussars and BSP8 Dragoons.

The hussar figures don’t have anything particularly Spanish about them, and could probably be used for any nation really. The poses are quite static, a few officer figures per pack are waving their sword about, but the troopers are trotting along quite serenely.

The Dragoons are much more animated. I actually painted half of them as line infantry (blue uniforms) and half as yellow-clad dragoons. At this scale the differences are not noticeable anyway, and I don’t mind the fact that they have carbines at all bothersome. The only gripe I have with these figures is the unfortunate casting of the sword flush with the hat with some of the figures. You can either leave it as is, and it will resemble cooked spaghetti, or you can cut it free and risk losing the sword.

In addition to these I also have a pack of Lancers BSP9, but as they are wearing a helmet they don’t really fit the 1808-09 Spanish patriot armies. These were used as a basis for conversion into garrochistas – mounted bull fighters. You can read about the conversion work I did in a separate post. 

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