Friday, 4 November 2016

Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division at Talavera - Pavia Dragoon Regiment

2nd Spanish Cavalry Division - Lieutenant General Duque de Albuquerque
Infante Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment
Pavia Dragoon Regiment
Almanza Dragoon Regiment
1st & 2nd Hussars of Estremadura

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was celebrating the 100th post to the blog, presenting my effort at recreating one of the many bell towers that were a feature of the Oporto river crossing.

This post marks a bit of a landmark as the 500th to the blog and it is the Spanish Pavia Dragoons that grab the honour. Thank you to everyone who has joined me on this e-journal of my gaming and other historical, be they military or natural, activities. Here's looking forward to 1000th posting. It will be fun looking back to see where things have progressed to.

So on with the blog and specifically the Pavia Dragoons.

In 1803 under the Godoy reforms the corps of dragoons were disbanded and the regiments converted into hussars and mounted chasseurs, but in 1805 Prime Minister Godoy realised the folly of this decision and reestablished the eight regiments, instructed to wear yellow coated uniform with red turnbacks, with regimental colours displayed on the collars, cuffs and cuff-flaps.

This change took time to complete and several illustrations like the one below and the Suhr Brothers illustrations of the Villaviciosa Regiment in Hamburg in 1808 depict regiments still wearing the 1803 uniforms three or four years later.

3rd Almanza Cazadore (right), subject of the next post, in the pre-1809 uniform
before the Cazadore's reverted back to Dragoons dressed in the familiar yellow
The first reference I have for the Pavia Dragoons shows them assigned to the Spanish Army of Aragon being put together in May of 1808 with a cadre of men listed in the February of 1809

Spanish Army of Aragon, May l808 - February l809

Force                                   Raised     Force        Observations
Dragones de Pavia                   -             14                  2/09

Source: Gomez de Arteche Y Moro, Guerra de la Independencia, Historia Militar de Espana de l808 a l8l4

However other references shown below have them at a strength of three to four squadrons attached to the Army of the Centre in and around Madrid as they fell back before the French offensive in the November of 1808. Ah the joys of researching the Spanish!

In June 1808 following the Spanish insurrection, Oman lists in detail the forces on hand with a list of the available cavalry regiments and their strengths: Note the dragoons are still listed as Cazadore's.

Cavalry (---H) - number of horses
lst Rey Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(38/634)(467H)
2nd Reina Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(4l/668)(202H)
3rd Principe Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/573)(434H)
4th Infante Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/6l5)(494H)
5th Borbon Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/6l6)(450H)
6th Farnesio Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(39/5l7)(359H)
7th Alcantara Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/589)(490H)
8th Espana Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(39/553)(358H)
9th Algarve Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/572)(455H)
l0th Calatrava Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(44/679)(369H)
llth Santiago Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(44/549)(370H)
l2th Montesa Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(40/667)(259H)
lst Rey Cazadore Regiment (5)(40/577)(l85H)
2nd Reina Cazadore Regiment (5)(42/58l)(42lH)
3rd Almanza Cazadore Regiment (5)(38/598)(479H)
4th Pavia Cazadore Regiment (5)(42/663)(507H)
5th Villaviciosa Cazadore Regiment (5)(35/628)(448H)
6th Sagunto Cazadore Regiment (5)(39/499)(l89H)
lst Numancia Hussar Regiment (5)(4l/630)(327H)
2nd Lusitania Hussar Regiment (5)(42/554)(409H)
3rd Olivenza Hussar Regiment (5)(37/558)(468H)
4th Voluntarios de Espana Hussar Regiment (5)(34/548)(460H)
5th Maria Luisa Hussar Regiment (5)(40/680)(394H)
6th Espanoles Hussar Regiment (5)(38/692)532H)


By the October of 1808 the Pavia are listed as part of the Army of Castile under General Pignatelli which formed part of General Castanos' Army of the Centre joining forces at the end of that month.

Army of Castile - Source Oman
Division: General Pignatelli (Cartaojal after 30/10/08) 
Cantabria Infantry Regiment (2)
Leon Militia Infantry Regiment (l)
Grenadiers del General (l)(new levee)
Cazadores de Cuenca (l) (new levee)
lst, 2nd & 3rd Volunteers of Leon (3)(new levee)
lst, 2nd & 3rd Tercoios of Castile (3)(new levee)
Tiradores de Castilla (l)(new levee)
Volunteers of Benavente (l)(new levee)
Volunteers of Zamora (l)(new levee)
Volunteers of Ledesma (l)(new levee)
Cavalry (3,292 on 29 October)
Farnesio Cavalry Regiment
Montesa Cavalry Regiment
Reina Cavalry Regiment
Borbon Cavalry Regiment
Olivenza Cavalry Regiment
Espana Cavalry Regiment
Calatrava Cavalry Regiment
Santiago Cavalry Regiment
Sagunto Cavalry Regiment
Principe Cavalry Regiment
Pavia Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment

In January of 1809 the regiment is shown as part of the Army of the Centre now, following the dismissal of General Castanos, under the command of the Duke of Infantado and based around Cuenca threatening the eastern approaches to Madrid

Spanish Army of the Centre, llth January l809
Cavalry: (l,8l4)
Reyna Cavalry Regiment (276)
Principe Cavalry Regiment (l4l)
Borbon Cavalry Regiment (ll9)
Espana Cavalry Regiment (342)
Santiago Cavalry Regiment (74)
Tejas Cavalry Regiment (l3l)
Pavia Cavalry Regiment (428)
Lusitania Cavalry Regiment (l58)
Dragones de Castilla (l25)
Farnesio Cavalry Regiment
Montesa Cavalry Regiment
Calatrava Cavalry Regiment
Sagunto Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment

At some stage that I have been unable to determine exactly when it happened, several cavalry regiments were, including the Pavia Dragoons, detached from the old Army of the Centre to join the newly formed Army of Estremadura.

The Pavia are not listed with Cuesta's Army that was defeated at the Battle of Medellin on the 24th of March and, as Andrew Field mentions four regular dismounted cavalry regiments being sent to the area around Badajoz to gather remounts, I assume the Pavia Dragoons were part of that group.

As well as tracing the movements of this regiment, another challenge for the prospective modeler is getting a reliable reference on the look of the regimental musicians. The only dragoon trumpeter illustration I have been able to track down is the one below of the Reina regiment.

Nafziger describes the Reina regimental facings as 'Carnation' (light red) whilst the Pavia are described as  'Carnation' (red). Interestingly Chartrand has the Pavia with yellow facings for collar, cuffs and cuff flaps, but I cannot find any other references that agree with that so I am sticking with Nafziger.

Thus my Pavia trumpeter sports a red outfit similar to the Reina illustration below and I am reserving artistic license when it comes to the Almanza Dragoons which both Nafziger and Chartrand agree on Sky Blue facings.

Trumpeter from the Reina Dragoon Regiment
illustrates the facing colour worn by musicians
My Pavia Dragoon Regiment are composed of figures from AB supplied by Fighting 15s and are the fourth regiment completed as part of 2nd Cavalry Division.

Next time we will look at the last of the two dragoon regiments, namely the Almanza Regiment, and we will get to see the division as a whole with General Albuquerque at its head, but before that we will have some more 28mm Dark Age Saxons from Tom and some Vikings from Steve M.

References consulted:
Talavera - Wellington's First Victory in Spain, Andrew W. Field
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(1) Chartand & Younghusband (Osprey Men at Arms)


  1. Wonderful brushwork sir and a most thorough and interesting background!

  2. Wonderful looking regiment Jonathan! Its going to look great on the table.

  3. As a Spanish fan myself these are great !

  4. Great looking unit and extensively researched

  5. Great job on the figures and the information!

  6. This wonderful yellow color will illuminate the battlefields....excellent and very impressive!

  7. Thanks for your comments chaps. The yellow in the Dragoons, the blue of the heavies and the red of the hussars should make Albuquerque's cavalry sat at the top of the northern valley a sight for sore eyes. I only hope the allied commander in that area doesn't get tempted into trying to unleash them on the French, well not until he can see a flank or rear to aim at.

    Really looking forward to getting stuck into Bassecourt's infantry and then we can get this game rocking and rolling.

    Cheers all

  8. Marvellous artwork, and a most informative post! thanks for sharing!! :)

  9. Lovely bicorne wearing unit and your usual informative post. I might nip down to Badajoz at the weekend as I'll be working in the area.
    Best Iain

    1. Thank you Iain. You lucky chap, Badajoz is still on my bucket list of places to visit.