Sunday, 1 March 2015

Imperial de Toledo Regiment - Volunteer Line Infantry

The Battle of Medellin, March 28th 1809
The next unit completed in General Portago's 3rd Spanish Infantry Division at Talavera is the Imperial de Toledo Regiment. 

Spanish Army of Estremadura
3rd Division: Major-General Marquis de Portago
1st Battalion Badajoz Infantry Regiment - Volunteer Line Infantry
2nd Battalion Badajoz Infantry Regiment - Volunteer Line Infantry
2nd Antequera Infantry Regiment  - Volunteer Light Infantry in Shakos
Imperial de Toledo - Volunteer Line Infantry in Shako
Provincial de Badajoz  - Militia Infantry
Provincial de Guadix - Militia Infantry

Rey Cavalry Regiment - Regular Line

Soldier & Colonel of the Imperial de Toledo Regiment
This regiment is listed in Oman as a new battalion of Levies as part of the Army of the Centre under Cuesta at the Battle of Medellin in March of 1809. Like the Badajoz Regiment it was almost destroyed in the battle and had to be hastily rebuilt in the months leading up to the Talavera campaign. Thus I have chosen to model this new battalion in the brown with yellow facings, befitting a Junta raised volunteer unit.

Battle of Medellin

Spanish Army at Medellin 28 March l809
Commanding General: Cuesta (24,000 men total)

Forces from Army of Estremadura:
4/Spanish Guard Infantry Regiment
4/Walloon Guard Infantry Regiment
2nd Majorca Infantry Regiment
2nd Catalonia Light Infantry Regiment
Provincial of Badajos
Provincial Grenadiers
Badajoz Infantry Regiment (2)
Zafra Infantry Regiment*
Truxillo Infantry Regiment*
Merida Infantry Regiment
Plasencia Infantry Regiment*
La Serena Infantry Regiment
Leales de Ferdinando VII (2)*
Total l5 Battalions

Troops of old Army of Reserve of Madrid
2/Walloon Guard Infantry Regiment
Jaen Infantry Regiment (2)
Irlanda Infantry Regiment (2)
Parovincial of Toledo
Provincial of Burgos
2nd Volunteers of Madrid
3rd Seville Infantry Regiment

Troops from the Army of the Center
Campo Mayor Infantry Regiment
Provincial of Guadix
Provincial of Cordova
Osuna Infantry Regiment (2)
Granaderos del General
Tiradores de Cadiz
Cavalry (3,000 to 3,200)
Old Army of Estremadura
4th Hussar (Volunteers of Spain) Regiment
lst Hussars of Estremadura (formerly Maria Luisa)

From La Romana's Danish Division:
Rey Cavalry Regiment
Infante Cavalry Regiment
Almanza Cavalry Regiment

New Levies:
Cazadores de Llerena
Imperial de Toledo

Reyna Cavalry Regiment

Artillery & Sappers:
30 guns - (650)
2 Sapper Coys - 200 men

* Not at battle.
Oman, A History of the Peninsular War

When the Imperial de Toledo took it's place in the line at Talavera, it was a very raw unit composed of young conscripts lacking proper training, mixed in with the survivors of the harrowing defeat at Medellin only four months previously. Little wonder then, that, like the Badajoz Regiment, they too fled after the volley fired at French cavalry vedettes on the evening prior to the Talavera battle.

In the second Osprey title on the Spanish troops, Rene Chartrand suggests that the Toledo Regiment were in the brown with yellow facings uniform by 1811, and so my Toledo boys are possibly premature in having the look they do, but with an eye on 1811 and Albuera where the Toledo Regiment re-appear and, as Chartrand states, with them changing to a blue uniform in 1813, I feel justified in going for the brown look to give me a fairly generic Spanish army that will be around in future scenarios.

Mike Chappell's illustration based on the
Dighton sketch from Cadiz in 1813
Interestingly Haythornthwaite and Chappel have the same uniform of brown and yellow illustrated from a portrait of Colonel Don Juan de Gonzalez from Dighton's illustrations entitled "a sketch from Cadiz" dated 22nd June 1813; this when they are supposedly changing to blue. So I think we have to be pragmatic when it comes to illustrating the Spanish forces at any given time allowing for approximate timings of change. It's quite possible that the regiment was looking like a rabble in peasent dress, but given that we have these illustrations of them close to the time we are looking at I am happy to have them thus, and they make a colourful addition to the ranks .

To illustrate the joys of planning and researching the Spanish armies, I put up a couple of illustrations in my post, in January, on the Army of Estremadura that were wrong and the Toledo Regiment was part of the error. The illustrations and colour guide were for the French raised troops of King Joseph shown in their brown uniform and light blue facings. I compounded the error by showing similar illustrations of the Seville and Madrid Regiments.

My error stemmed from not properly checking the original document put together by another author and being misled by illustrations posted on another site erroneously portraying them as Junta forces rather than Afransecados. I have updated the PDF to correct those errors. In addition, as a prelude to posting on the Antequera Light Infantry, I have included an illustration of a light infantryman in a shako, of a unit the was with Romana's Danish expeditionary force and will be the look of my volunteer light units.

Painting the Spanish Army of Estremadura (revised)

My Toledo Infantry Regiment is composed of figures from the AB range with the Coronella from GMB flags

References used for this post included
Talavera, Wellington's first victory in Spain - Andrew W Field
Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars (2) - Osprey, Rene Chartrand & Bill Younghusband
Uniforms of the Peninsular War 1807-14 - Blandford, Philip Haythornthwaite and Michael Chappell
History of the Peninsular War - Sir Charles Oman

Next up the action at Casa de Salinas game two and the Antequera Volunteer Light Infantry


  1. Fantastic work, they look like 28mm.

  2. Love the colours, brown and yellow together, they work so well together and you don't usually see them!

  3. Great paintjob as always, great presentation as always (love the Mike Chappell's illustration), great post as always...thanks!

  4. Terrific looking minis and bases!

  5. Awesome work as always! I really like how they turned out.

  6. Thanks guys, I'm glad you like them. As you will know, the Spanish present quite a few challenges compared with a well documented force like the French or British, so you are forced to make educated guesses a lot of the time. They are a lot fun to do though.

  7. Amazing stuff JJ. I have also been addicted to the Peninsula War since very young (first attempt to refight it aged 14)and an aficionado of the Spanish (have 10 divisions in 25mm - crazy)in general and Army of Extremadura in particular since 1974. Would you be interested in pooling organisational and uniform infos on them? Did you know that your next project Antequera were at Mengibar and Bailen as the 6th Volunteers of Granada? (I don't have uniform details for them).
    (Teodoro Reding)

    1. Hi Teodoro, thank you and welcome to the blog. Thanks for the update on the Antequera, I still had to do the research on the previous activity of the unit, so that will help in my reading.

      I couldn't find any references on their look, which I anticipate will be the case with a lot of the units. The plan I have adopted is that in the absence of contrary data I will produce a generic unit that takes its inspiration from depictions of others of the period. So, for the Antequera, I am planning to portray a light infantry unit in the shako look of the Barcelona Bn that went on tour with Romana.

      I would be very happy to include any insights you would care to share on the Spanish forces as I am trying to create a reference for others interested in producing similar units. At the moment I am searching for any information on the 1st & 2nd Hussars of Estremadura.

      So far I have information suggesting they were formed from troops of the disbanded Maria Luisa Hussars, having blue trousers and pelisse, with a suggestion they might have worn a colpack with green hanging cloth. I have nothing about the horse furniture. Any help gratefully accepted. I know there is a Spanish language source, " Los Husares Espanoles en La Guerra de Independencia 1800-14' but don't know if it has the information I am looking for.
      Thanks for getting in touch

    2. Hi JJ
      On the Hussars of Estremadura,
      Yes both were formed from the Maria Luisa Hussars and, as far as I know at least started wearing that uniform - pictured in Bueno (El Ejercito y Armada en 1808 plates 75-78). The hussar elite companies wore a kind of colpacks, the Cazadores (and dragoons dressed as Cazadores) by 1808 wore real colpacks (shakoes for normal companies - both with plumes on the left side (Almansa and Villaviciosa painted in Hamburg and Denmark in 1807).
      Bueno (El Ejercito y Armada en 1808 p 80) has a picture of a hussar from regiment Espanoles in an 1805 regulation hussar "colpack" - which is actually very much like the tall British hussar busby of 1808, but with a flame in regimental facing colour (here green) edged white - with white cords - wrapped round the busby (as a flame was wrapped round the mirleton of the normal companies) in addition to a bag in plain facing colour (here green).
      More recent Spanish works (Almena's "Guerreros y Batallas" series) show hussars in bell topped shakoes - plumes at front - by 1809. I have Maria Luisa as the 1st Regiment and the Usares de Iberia (identical uniform - red dolman, blue breeches and pelisse - with shakoes/colpacks: Bueno "Uniformes Espanoles de la GDI" p83) as thre 2nd Hussars of Extremadura (supposedly historically formed in the Basque country in Sep 1809 by the former guerrilla "El Medico" - hard to believe they really wore such a fancy uniform working behind enemy lines though)..

      Arteche Vol 1 App 9 p428 says Maria Luisa were stationed at Badajoz at the outbreak. It was in fact unusual to split up an existing regiment with all its squadrons together, so they must have been under a cloud.

      On a project pooling infos, I'd very, very seriously like to do this - and maybe try and persuade Gerard Cronin & Stephen Summerfield (whom I do not know) to do a book - but I am afraid it will have to wait a couple of months - I'm seriously up to my ears in work at the moment.

      Have you had any contact with Steven of Steven's Balgam (or whatever the name is) - he's keen on Albuhera.

      Anyway: I'm happy to answer specific questions off the top of my head, but a systematic collation of infos is going to have t wait a white, I'm afraid.
      Best wishes
      Brian (Teodoro Reding - I .live in Switzerland)

      PS: By the way: Granadan regiments (e.g. like Antequera): People tend to assume these units wore top hats ("round hats" = sombreros redondos). In fact of the circa 30,000 uniforms produced in Granada between June 1808 and 1st Sep 1809, headwear was 11,979 sombreros (round presumably) and 16,918 morriones (= shakoes, bell shaped), plus 27,377 forage caps (presumably nightcap style with pointy end). In order words, about 60% shakoes and 40% round hats.(Cuadernos de Bicentario No 2/Dec 2007: p16).
      (I'd still probably do Antequera in round hats though!)

    3. Hi Brian,
      Thank you. Your previous insights into the Antequera has helped me track down other sources that confirm their origins, together with a clearer idea of their battle experience leading up to Talavera. I will make good use of this in the post on them when done.
      I will highlight your data on supplies of uniform items alongside my shako standard look to point others in an alternative direction, should they want to create that look,so thanks for that.

      Thanks for the data on the Hussars, I wasn't sure if they were using a French model of elite companies in colpacks, but suspected it when I read the reference. The saddle furniture is also a key look as I also suspect that they may have had the standard hussar saddle cloths used by the Marie Louise, but if I use a French hussar in shako and colpack I will have the unit on sheepskins, which certainly became fashionable with later units such as the Almansa Hussars that look very British in appearance. Ah well a touch of artistic licence may have to rule in the end.

      Thanks for offering to share your insights, I would be happy to include all contributions into my work so as to act as reference for others and help save a bit of time in getting these kind of forces put together. I have looked at Steve Balagan's excellent site and have copied his notes for my work on Albuera, when I get to it. I am looking forward to doing some Spanish Guards in shakos, together with a few more of the Cadiz units for Barossa.

      Keep in touch and please drop in any comments or thoughts when you have the opportunity. I like your "nom de plume", very appropriate, hailing from Switzerland with an interest in the Spanish in the Peninsular War, General Teodoro Reding would approve.