Spanish Militia Uniforms in May 1808

This is a list of the uniform colours of Spanish Militia and Provincial Grenadier battalions in May 1808. It is based on a scan of a primary document I found on the website of the Ciudad Real tourist board, and I have translated (imperfectly, I’m sure) the main table here. Most of the battalions are dressed (at least temporarily) in brown uniforms, which at least to me came as a surprise, since I thought that the units would have had white (or the earlier blue) uniforms still at the start of the war. The “Old” uniform is white 1790s pattern, “Middle” refers to the blue coat of the 1802 pattern, and the “New” is the white 1806 pattern. All units had red cuffs, collars, lapels and turnbacks. All of the battalions were listed as being well armed. Battalion Province Location Strength Missing State of uniform 1. Gr.Bat. 1. Div. Portugal Setubal 864 42 New 2. Gr.Bat. 1. Div. Portugal Setubal 864 81 Middle 2. Gr.Div. Portugal Lisboa 1440 10 New 2. Gr.Bat. 4. Div. Portugal Porto 720 11 Old 3. Gr.Div. Andalucia Campo de Gibraltar 1440 27 Old Jaen Andalucia Alxeciras 600 16 New, provisional, brown Lorca Andalucia Alxeciras 600 38 New, provisional, brown Siguenza Andalucia Quartel de Buenabina 600 21 New Guadix Andalucia San Roque 600 12 Could not provide info Chinchilla Andalucia Estepona 600 42 Could not provide info Malaga Andalucia Los Barrios 600 199 Could not provide info Cuenca Andalucia Tarifa 600 4 New, provisional, brown Ecixa Andalucia Cadiz 600 11 New, provisional, brown Xerez Andalucia Cadiz 600 26 Could not provide info Cordova Andalucia Cadiz 600 16 Could not provide info Toledo Andalucia Cadiz 600 21 Could not provide info Ronda Andalucia Cadiz 600 26 New, provisional, brown cloth Ciudad-Real Andalucia Puerto de Sta Maria 600 25 Do not have uniforms Truxillo Andalucia Puerto de Sta Maria 600 33 New, provisional, brown Sevilla Andalucia Xerez de la Frontera 600 53 New, provisional, brown Burgos Andalucia Xerez de la Frontera 600 23 New, provisional, brown Alcazar Andalucia San Lucar de Barram 600 5 New, provisional, brown Buxalance Andalucia San Lucar de Barram 600 6 New, provisional, brown Granada Andalucia Isla de Leon 600 47 New, provisional, brown Toro Andalucia Isla de Leon 600 47 New, provisional, brown Logrono Andalucia Isla de Leon 600 42 Could not provide info Plasencia Andalucia Isla de Leon 600 7 Could not provide info Ciudad Rodrigo Andalucia Isla de Leon 600 15... read more

Spanish lancer conversion

My Spanish 1808 army has many small one-off units. One of these intriguing formations is the lancers that fought at Bailen “Los Garrochistas de Utrera”. This unit is fascinating as it was raised from the mounted bull-fighters, and they wore their normal work-gear into battle. I ordered a bag of Battle Honors Spanish Lancers BSP9 for these troops, but unfortunately the figures are completely wrong for this unit. So I had to do a bit of converting to get my hombres on the table. The original figures are good castings, but are probably best used for depicting lancer in the pro-French army of King Joseph. The horses are nicely animated and have lots of variation. The troopers are mostly identical, and the pack has two different commander types – one with a saber and a trumpeter. I decided to do a fairly light-weight conversion for the troopers, changing the headgear from helmet to wide-brimmed hat, removing shoulder straps and replacing the cast lances with brass wire. I did not bother to carve away their carbines or sabers, but left them in place. I carved and filed away the crest of the helmet. The brim of the hat was thin plasticard. I used a hollow punch to cut out the shape of the hat and the hole in the middle for the filed-away crown of the head to poke through. A set of hollow punches has proven to be a very good investment. I use it a lot to punch out small round markers to glue on unit bases, using different colours to indicate to which larger unit a stand belongs to, or individual stand capabilites – for example red for automatic weapons in my Force on Force figures. I cut away the lances and drilled a hole for a brass wire replacement. I usually try to replace thin flag posts and lances with thin brass wire, as I hate how the white metal shafts always bend and break away in the heat of the battle. The figures were primed with white, and painted to match the usual pictures I’ve seen online – green jackets and brown hats. I used two or three variations of green, to get the usual variety I like in my troops. I left the officer figures unmodified – I thought the chaps probably passed the hat around to get some properly martial gear for the jefes to impress the senoritas, and maybe the men in... read more

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. 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. 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.... read more

52nd Regiment of Foot – Model of the Day

 15mm Essex figures with AB trumpeteers. Oxfordshire regiment was light... read more

Napoleonic Camp Follower – Model of the Day

This 15 mm model was a ready painted freebie in a magazine. I applied a wash, highlights and varnish, and based the model. Perfect for my Spanish... read more

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