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Friday, 16 September 2016

Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division at Talavera - Infante Cavalry Regiment


The second unit completed in General Albuquerque's cavalry division is the first of the four heavy cavalry regiments, the Infante (Prince's) Regiment.
Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division- Army of Estremadura
Hussars of Estremadura


Spanish heavy cavalry was composed of regiments of heavy cavalry and dragoons and in 1805 consisted of twelve regiments of heavy cavalry and eight regiments of dragoons principally distinguished by the former being dressed in blue coats and the latter yellow.


The Infante Regiment could possibly be considered one of the best of the heavy regiments having been selected in 1807 to form part of General La Romana's 15,000 strong Spanish Army of the North that was composed of the best units in the Spanish army to join Napoleon's Grande Armee, being sent to Hamburg in March of that year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evacuation_of_the_La_Romana_Division


The regiment was pictured in the uniform plates of Spanish forces in Hamburg and produced by the Suhr Brothers. The pictures are presented at the link below to the Napoleon Series and are interesting in that they appear to show the regiment wearing the 1803 uniform common to all the regiments with the white lapels and crimson red collar cuffs and turn-backs. This uniform was not that popular in some quarters having dispensed with the distinguishing regimental facing colours.


http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/organization/Spain/c_Suhrspanish.html

The Infante were repatriated to Spain by the British Royal Navy in 1808 following the Dos de Mayo rising and the commencement of the Peninsular War. The cavalry regiments of La Romana's force were sent south after landing at Santander to Estremadura to gather remounts and rebuild their strength before becoming part of the forming Army of Estremadura.


I have made the assumption with my unit that they have been re-equipped with the 1805 uniform that saw a return to the regimental facings of white cuffs, lapels and collar as pictured in the illustrations. I have however gone for the brown leather and wood sword scabbards as depicted by the Suhr Brothers in Hamburg.

As with most thoughts on the look of Spanish units, this can be speculative, educated guess work, but at least shows you my thinking as to why I have this regiment looking this way for Talavera.


On the 30th January 1803 all cavalry regiments, light and heavy, were directed to have the same organisation and establishment with each regiment having five squadrons of two companies each company numbering 71 troopers and 54 horses. This gave a theoretical total of 670 men per regiment with 540 mounts when the regimental staff were added in.


On the 1st October 1808 all regiments reorganised to four squadrons each of three companies which saw the regimental strength rise in theory to 869 men with 648 mounts, however as mentioned in the post looking at the Estremaduran Hussars losses in 1809 reduced many regiments to at most three squadrons as they struggled to maintain squadron strengths.


Thus in theory with a full strength squadron of 195 mounted troops and a regimental staff numbering 16 men, a regiment could have 601 men, but as can be seen from the total number of 2,500 men in the 2nd Cavalry Division with about twenty squadrons in total, the average squadron would have had nearer 125 men.


My Infante Regiment is composed of figures from AB and is depicted as a four squadron unit numbering about 500 men commanded by Colonel Ribera.

References consulted:
Napoleonic Armies - Ray Johnson
The Armies of Spain and Portugal - Nafziger
History of the Peninsular War - Sir Charles Oman
The Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars(2) Chartand & Younghusband (Osprey Men at Arms)
http://www.eborense.es/batalla_talavera1809_indice.html

16 comments:

  1. Very pretty mate, but this is just delaying the waiting white sea....

    Vince

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    1. Thanks Vince. I love painting white, I love painting white, I really love painting white!
      What do you think of the self talk?
      JJ

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  2. Wonderful brushwork sir. Your horse tones are gorgeous.

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    1. Hi Micheal, thank you. I'm using the Coat d'Arms horse tones as a base coat and they really have some nice colours to play with.

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  3. So, so nice! I agree with Michael; I was immediately drawn to your horses too. Excellent!

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    1. Thank you Jonathan. The Coat d'Arms range of paints can be quite thin which makes them a bit of a pain to use generally, but they do have some exceptional colours and the horse tones are some of their best

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    2. Very good effort JJ. The cavalry I could manage, but I would be worried by the knowledge that all those "white guys" were waiting for me" !

      I am sure it will be fine though. Chas tells me that white is easy. Just take a run up with a loaded roller.

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  4. Superb again, agree with the comments on Coat d'Arms horse tone paints, the Brown and Chestnut give the best coverage I have found, the Dun and Bay being a bit of a pain to get a good coverage.

    Tony.

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    1. Hi Tony, thank you and yes I know what you mean about the coverage which has been a problem with Coat d'Arms with some of their other colours. That said the horse tones work really well with the Games Workshop washes and give a good base to highlight on.

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  5. Really nice, JJ. A question - I noticed that your officer has gold banding on the bicorne rather than the yellow. Do you know if this was this the case and would it also apply to the dragoons (i.e. silver as opposed to white)? Or is it your own interpretation? I haven't found much in this regard in my pretty limited research and as you know, the Spanish is hard to nail down!

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    1. Cheers Bill. Ah yes Spanish officers and their lace seems to be an area not well covered in most of the source material.
      I based my assumption on an officer following most martial dress codes of replicating gold for yellow or silver for white lace by the Suhr Brothers illustration of the mounted ensign who appears to have gold bullion lining his sash for carrying the standard and it looks very similar to the lace on his bicorne. One of those educated guesses that you have to fall back on when painting the Spanish.

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  6. Thanks, JJ. I think I will follow suit - helps the officers stand out a bit more.

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  7. Lovely looking cavalry unit, the horse colours are great but I really like the contrast with the musicians red.
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain. I think the Spanish cavalry should add a huge splash of colour sitting at the top of the northern valley, hopefully not getting into too much action if the allied players are wise.
      JJ

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