Guardias Valonas

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army >> Guardias Valonas

Origin and History

The regiment of Walloon Guards was raised on May 1 1704. It served in the Household Troops.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment distinguished itself. After the war, its strength was greatly reduced, loosing most of its officers.

During the reign of Ferdinand VI, the regiment consisted of 6 battalions, each of 7 companies.

A Royal Decree dated December 6 1759 established the composition of the regiment as follows:

  • Regiment (4255 men and 168 officers)
    • Staff
      • 1 colonel
      • 1 lieutenant-colonel
      • 1 sargento mayor
      • 1 commissaire
      • 7 first adjutants ayudantes (warrant officers)
      • 7 second Ayudantes (warrant officers second class)
      • 1 fourrier major
      • 3 chaplains
      • 2 surgeons
      • 1 tambour major
      • 5 corporals of the sappers
      • 30 sappers
      • 10 first fifers
      • 10 second fifers
    • 6 battalions, each consisting of:
      • 6 companies of fusiliers, each consisting of:
        • 1 captain
        • 1 1st lieutenant
        • 1 2nd Lieutenant
        • 1 Alférez (1 sublieutenant)
        • 4 sergeants
        • 4 drummers
        • 5 1st corporals
        • 5 2nd corporals
        • 82 fusiliers
      • 1 company of grenadiers, consisting of:
        • 1 captain
        • 1 1st lieutenant
        • 1 2nd Lieutenant
        • 1 Alférez (1 sublieutenant)
        • 4 sergeants
        • 4 drummers
        • 5 1st corporals
        • 5 2nd corporals
        • 82 grenadiers

The ordonnance of July 2 1762, created four companies (each of 50 chasseurs and 2 NCOs), designated as Compañías de alternación. This reform lasted only until November 25 of the same year when the companies of chasseurs were disbanded and their troops distributed among the other companies.

In 1763, the regiment staff was increased by these additional troops: 1 corporal of the sappers, 6 sappers, 6 fifers and 6 master armourers.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from 1755 to 1778: colonel Jean-Juste de Croy Havré, comte de Priego assisted by:
    • as lieutenant-colonel:
      • from 1755 to 1764: lieutenant-colonel Pier de Blondel, chevalier du Barlet
    • as sargento mayor (during this period the sergeant-major was responsible for the administration, instruction and discipline of the regiment, he ranked third in the regiment and was considered a lieutenant-colonel):
      • from 1749 to 1762: Philip de Wits de la Boucharderie
      • from 1762 to 1764: Jean Flodorp, marquis de Siply
Sergeant, officer, grenadier and fusilier of the Guardias Valonas (same uniform as Guardias Españolas) in 1751 - Source: Conde de Clonard, Álbum de la Infantería española reproduced with the kind authorisation of the Asociación Cultural de Modelismo Histórico Alabarda

N.B.: the uniforms depicted in the above illustration from the Conde de Clonard differ in some respects from the illustrations of the Album de Taccoli of 1759. For instance, the Conde de Clonard depicts coats with red lining while the Album de Taccoli and the État Militaire of 1767 (from the Archivo Histórico Nacional) both show blue linings. Furthermore, the Album de Taccoli shows additional white laces on the sleeves and pockets.

Service during the War

In 1762, the regiment was part of the army led by the marques de Sarria against Portugal. The chasseurs of the regiment were assigned to the protection of a bridge of boats on the Esla River where the army should cross.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Ibrahim90 and Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
the Album de Taccoli of 1759
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade
Grenadier black bearskins white metal frontplate wearing the Royal Arms and a red flame laced white
Neckstock white
Coat blue with 9 white buttons and 9 white buttonhole grouped 3 by 3, and 3 white buttonholes in the small of the back
Collar red
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets double horizontal pockets, each single pocket with 3 white buttons and 3 white buttonholes
Cuffs red with 3 white buttons and 3 white buttonholes and 3 white buttonholes on the sleeve above the cuff
Turnbacks blue (a lighter shade than the coat because the lining was made of a cheaper fabric)
Waistcoat red laced white with white buttonholes
Breeches blue
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

N.B.: the bearskin became taller during the reign of Charles III. It kept the white metal frontplate wearing the Royal Arms but the white braid decorating the upper part disappeared.

Officers

Same uniform as the troopers with the following exceptions:

  • no buttonholes on the coat which was bordered with a white lace
  • cuffs bordered with a white lace
  • no buttonholes on the waistcoat which was bordered with a white lace

Musicians

The drummers of the Guards units wore the same uniform as the troopers but heavily laced (covering the coat and cuffs almost completely) with a braid looking very similar to the one used for the King's livery in the French infantry regiments (for example: the drummers of Picardie Infanterie).

Colours

As per the Album de Taccoliof 1759, the coronela (colonel flag) of the regiment was white with a red Burgundian cross terminated in each corner a golden crown. In the middle: the arms of Charles III surrounded by the necklace of the order of the Toison de Oro (Golden Fleece) and flanked by two golden lions.

As per the Album de Taccoliof 1759, sencillas (ordonnance flags) of the regiment was blue with a red Burgundian cross terminated in each corner a golden crown. In the middle: the arms of Charles III surrounded by the necklace of the order of the Toison de Oro (Golden Fleece) and flanked by two golden lions.

Colonel Colour - Source: Richard Couture
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Richard Couture

References

Clonard, Conde de, Álbum de la Infantería española, 1861

Funcken, Liliane and Fred; Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Gonzalez, Manuel Gimenez, El Ejercito y la Armada desde la antiguedad hasta 1862, Almena, Madrid, 2003

O'Hara, Danny, Eighteenth Century Wargaming Resources On-Line

O'Hara, Danny, The Forces of King Charles III, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3

Acknowledgment

Juan José Torres and the Asociación Cultural de Modelismo Histórico Alabarda for the information and counselling provided for this article and for their kind authorisation to publish the plates of the Conde de Clonard.