Thursday, 19 March 2015

Provincial de Badajoz - Militia Infantry

Next unit in General Portago's Division at Talavera was the Provincial de Badajoz, one of two militia regiments in the division.

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
Imperial de Toledo - Volunteer Line Infantry in Shako
Provincial de Badajoz  - Militia Infantry
Provincial de Guadix - Militia Infantry

Rey Cavalry Regiment - Regular Line

The militia regiments in the Spanish army were, in the main, one battalion regiments and would under the 1806 uniform regulations have been dressed similarly to the regular infantry in a white uniform with red facings on collars, cuffs, lapels and turn-backs. However I was really interested to see Asku's post on his blog GeMiGaBoK, see link below, which suggests that, as in the illustration header, many units went to war in brown jackets.

I quite like the fact that the militia had a lot of units dressed this way as I intend to use it as a way of clearly identifying my militia units from the white coated regulars and so, unless their is a clear reference otherwise, will use this feature to define my Spanish army

The first reference I have of the Provincial de Badajoz is in September 1808 as part of the Army of Estremadura under General Galluzo

Spanish Army of Estremadura - September l808
Commanding Officer: Teniente General D. Jose Galluzo

lst Division: Mariscal de Campo Conde de Belveder
4/Guardias Espan~oles
Granaderos provinciales
2nd Mallorca Infantry Regiment (2)
2nd Catalun~a Infantry Regiment (l)
Tiradores (l co)
Total Infantry (4,l60)

Volontarios de Espan~a (Cavalry) (360)
lst Foot Artillery Division (92)
lst Horse Artillery Division (62)
l/2 Sapper Battalion (254)

2nd Division: Mariscal de Campo Juan Henestrosa
4/Guardias Walonas
Badajoz Infantry Regiment (l)
Voluntarios de Valencia y Albuquerque (l)
Voluntarios de Zafra (l)
Total Infantry (3,300)

lst Hussar Regiment (298)
lst Foot Artillery Division (92)
lst Horse Artillery Division (94)
l/2 Sapper Batatlion (254)

3rd Division: Mariscal de Campo Francisco de Frias
Trujillo Infantry Regiment (l)
Provincial de Badajoz
Voluntarios de Merida
Voluntarios de Serena
Total Infantry (3,580)

2nd Hussar Regiment (300)

In September 1808 the Army of Estremadura was part of the Spanish national mobilisation following the Madrid uprising in May and the defeat of Dupont's French army at Bailen in July. The French occupation army had fallen back to behind the Ebro and the Central Junta was directing the forming of the various Spanish armies. These various armies were organised and gradually followed the French to the Ebro with the Army of the Centre under Castanos and Galluzo, Blake's Army of the left composed of troops from Galicia and Asturias and the Army of the Right under Palafox and Vives.

Galluzo's force was tardy in its arrival alongside Castanos, not arriving until October, with the blame being laid at the reluctance of the Provincial Junta in Seville to release the Estremaduran troops for the national cause.

With the inability of the Central Junta to appoint Castanos as overall Spanish supreme commander and thus coordinate a Spanish offensive on a weak French army, the initiative swung back to the French and with the arrival of Napoleon in November and significant reinforcements the Grande Armee numbered over 350,000 men. The French offensive was a masterpiece in swift manoeuvre and the line of the Ebro was soon  pierced.

The Army of Estremadura now under the command of a headstrong young aristocrat, the Conde de Belevedere, following the recall of Galluzo to answer charges by the Supreme Junta, was caught and badly defeated at the Battle of Gamonal (Burgos) (see the post on the Badajoz Volunteer Infantry Regiment). The Provincial de Badajoz as part of the 3rd division failed to move up in time to join the rest of the army and so were spared the worst of its results.

The complete destruction of the Spanish armies was averted with General Sir John Moore's campaign, drawing the bulk of Napoleon's forces away into the Galician mountains as he was pursued back to Corunna.

The Army of Estremadura, was back in its home province by the spring of 1809, facing off against the French forces south of Madrid under Marshal Victor. Like their comrades in the Badajoz Volunteers, we see the regiment included in the order of battle for Medellin in March 1809 under General Cuesta, where they were involved in the defeat by Victor.

On the 4th of April 1809 they are shown with a strength of 500 men and with the Army of Estremadura, forced to retire on their home city, Badajoz, to "lick their wounds" and prepare for the upcoming campaign with a new British army, into the Tagus Valley and the retaking of Madrid.

My Provincal de Badajoz Regiment is composed of figures from AB with my Colours from GMB Flags. As a single battalion regiment I have given the Badajoz Militia two Colours, the Coronella and Ordenanza, alongside Colonel Montoya.

References and sites consulted for this post includes:
Spanish Militia Uniforms 1808
The Peninsular War Atlas - Colonel Nick Lipscombe
History of the Peninsular War, Sir Charles Oman


  1. Hi JJ, another great looking unit. I have visited your blog a few times now, and am impressed by not just the attractive quality of your units, but the care you have taken to research and present their historical context. Well done!

    1. Hi Craig, thank you. I'm glad you enjoy the history, I think it is another interesting part of our hobby and from a wargamers point of view, if you are trying to assess the quality of your units in a particular scenario then having an understanding of where the unit had been prior to that moment and its experiences to date really help.
      We all know about the Old Guard and the Light Division, but that doesn't help when you want to model the Army of Estremadura.
      It all helps to give the units their character and you get more enjoyment when they perform far above any expectation.
      Thanks for your comment

  2. I like the brown coats (local; fabric?), and will have to remember that when I start on my own Espagnoles in 2016!

    1. Yes the Spanish/Portuguese local cloth was brown, and I think they cut a cool look in the Napoleonic period, with all their variations on a theme.

  3. Hi JJ, glad to read you found my Militia Uniform info useful in painting this absolutely gorgeous unit. Excellent work!

    1. Hi Asku, thanks for sharing your info, I found your blog very inspiring when planning my collection.

  4. I agree with the brown coats looking very good and that's and excellent choice of shade. Which company and color is it?

    1. Hi HistoryPhD, thank you, the colours I use are Vajello, Base coat - Burnt Umber, mid coat - Flat Earth, Highlight - Light Brown.

  5. Well done sir, absolutly usual!