Spanish infantry

Spanish Dragoon Facings
Spanish Heavy Cavalry Facings
Spanish Hussars
Spanish Line Infantry 1790s
Spanish Line Infantry 1805

Spain's armies had suffered badly in the lead-up to war with France in 1808 and much of the blame has been laid at the feet of Manuel Godoy.

Under his influence the military was allowed to stagnate and when hostilities broke out its officer corps was found badly wanting.

Its senior commanders were often unimaginative in battle and sometimes almost criminally negligent, as in the case of Don Gregorio de la Cuesta at Talavera and Medina del Rio Seco.

To boost its officer quality, Spain had opened military academies and by 1808 was producing batches of promising leaders.

The rank and file Spanish soldier had a bad reputation with both the French and its own ally, the British.

Few professional soldiers could overlook slow rates of fire - two volleys a minute - and a brittleness in battle that could often mean a heroic defence suddenly falling into panic and rout.

However, it must be remembered that the first instance of a French army's surrender came at Spanish hands at Bailen.

British officers thought Spanish troops had good potential and were happy and generally content with their lot, which was usually far harder than their northern European counterparts.

The most respected of the Spanish forces was that which accompanied General Pedro la Romana. His army was incorporated into France's Grande Armee and was in Denmark when war between the nations broke out.

La Romana's troops were evacuated by the Royal Navy and went on to fit credibly when returned to Spanish shores.

Spain's armies were based on regions and included the Army of Galicia, Aragorn, Extremadura, Catalonia, Granada and the Army of the Centre.





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