Saboya Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army >> Saboya Infantry

Origin and History

On March 30 1633, the Lombardía Tercio gave birth to the Lombardía, Saboya and Nápoles tercios. The new “Saboya Tercio” established itself in the city of Cremona in Northern Italy. It counted 11 companies for a total of 109 officers and 1,200 soldiers.

In 1636, during the Franco-Spanish War (1635–59), the tercio took part in the action of Cerano in the province of Novara and in the battle of Tornavento. In 1637, it was part of the Spanish force who entered into the Valtellina Valley, made itself master of the Castle of Rodovano and fought the battle of Monbaldone. In 1638, the tercio took part in the capture of Ponzone and Vercelli; in 1639, in the occupation of Pontestura and in the capture of Trino, Asti and Turin; in 1640, in the failed relief of Casale. In 1641, the tercio took part in the battle of Bestagno. In 1642, it defended Tortona. In 1643, it took part in the recapture of Tortona; in 1645, in the siege of Vigebano and in the battle of Mora; in 1646, in the encounter of Bozzole; in 1647, in the Battle of Rivarolo; in 1648, in the defence of Cremona; in 1649, in the recapture of Pompanasco, Gualtieri and Castel-nuovo; in 1650, in the failed storming of Asti; in 1651, in the siege and capture of Trino and Crescentino; in 1653, in the Battle of the Cerro; in 1656, in the battle of Fontana-Santa; in 1658, in the defence of the Lines of the Adda.

In 1659, after the war, the tercio garrisoned Lodi.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio dismantled the fortifications of Guastalla. In 1690, it took part in the battle of Staffarda; in 1691, in the siege and capture of Gazzuolo; in 1692, in the siege of Embrun in Dauphiné; in 1693, in the siege of Pinerolo and in the battle of Marsaglia; in 1695, in the siege and recapture of Casale; and in 1696, in the fortification of the line from Turin to Mortara.

In 1699, a detachment of the tercio joined a force of 3,000 men sent to settle a dispute in the Principality of Castiglione delle Stiviere before returning to Lodi.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was garrisoning Mantua in Northern Italy. On August 15 1702, the tercio distinguished itself in the Battle of Luzzara and King Philip V promoted its maestro de campo, the Marquis de Mirabel, to general of artillery. The tercio then took part in the capture of Guastalla before returning to Milan. In 1703, the tercio joined a force of 3,000 foot and 1,000 horse ender General Albergotti who took position on the road between Finale and Mirandola. During its retreat, this corps was attacked by an Imperialist force led by General Strarhemberg where the tercio suffered heavy losses. It was at the camp of San Benedetto when the Savoyard units forming part of the army where taken prisoners of war. The tercio then escorted the prisoners to the Castle of Milan and then to Genoa. On its return, it took post on the Stradella and fortified its positions. At the beginning of 1704, it became prisoners of war while defending its positions on the Stradella. Three months later, it was exchanged and went to Novara. It then took part in the capture of Vercelli and Ivrea. In 1705, it took part in the long and difficult siege of Verrua. After the surrender of the place, the tercio escorted prisoners of Alessandia. At the end of the campaign, it assumed garrison duty in Finale. In 1706, the tercio incorporated various companies from other units to form a second battalion. After the Battle of Castiglione, the tercio retired to Pavia where it was forced to capitulate as prisoners of war. It was then transferred to Alessandria. In 1707, the tercio marched to Spain. Upon arriving at Pamplona, it marched across Aragon and Valencia, establishing its quarters at Alcira. A few detachments joined the cause of the Habsburg but the tercio remained faithful to Philip V and took part in the siege of Alcoy. The same year, the “Tercio de Saboya” then under the command of the Count de San Estevan de Gormaz became the “Regimiento de Saboya” under the Marquis de Sentmanat. In 1708, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Dénia and in the capture of Alicante. In 1709, it defended Lérida. Its second battalion was sent to Pamplona. In 1710, it fought in the battles of Balaguer, Almenar and Pefialva. On August 20, it was routed in the Battle of Saragossa. In December, it was at the victorious battles of Brihuega and Villaviciosa. In 1711, the regiment took part in the recapture of Cardona. In 1713, it garrisoned Tortosa. In 1714, it was at the siege and capture of Barcelona.

In 1715, the regiment returned to Tortosa. On April 20, it integrated the first battalion of the “Vitoria Infantry Regiment”. In 1716, it was transferred to Valencia. In 1717, it went to Barcelona and then to Majorca.

In 1718, on the eve of the War of the Quadruple Alliance, the regiment was sent to Sicilia where it participated in the capture of Messina. In 1719, it fought in the victorious Battle of Francavilla. Its second battalion took part in the defence of the Castle of la Mola.

After the war, in 1720, the regiment returned to Barcelona. In 1722, it garrisoned Tortosa and Valencia.

In 1726, the grenadiers of the regiment took part in the defence of Ceuta. In 1727, it was at the siege of Gibraltar. In 1732 and 1733, a detachment of the regiment participated in the defence of Oran.

In 1741, at the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was transferred to Italy. In 1747, it was sent to Majorca.

In 1749, the regiment defended Oran.

In 1753, the regiment was transferred from Alicante to Valencia where it assumed garrison duty.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 5th and was under the command of:

  • no information available yet

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was transferred from Valencia to Barcelona where it served as garrison.

In 1759, the regiment returned to Valencia to garrison the town.

In 1762, when war broke out with Portugal, the regiment was ordered to move towards the Portuguese border. It penetrated into Portugal without meeting opposition. A detachment occupied the town of Bragança abandoned by the Portuguese army. However, these initial gains proved to be untenable and the regiment had to retire to Spain where the army concentrated at Ciudad-Rodrigo. Another attempt was made towards Valdelamula but to the exception of the attack of the lines of the Talladas and the battle of Escalos, the operations of this campaign were not particularly brilliant. In these two actions, the steadfastness of the regiment prevailed over the resistance of the Anglo-Portuguese army. The regiment then covered Castello Branco, contained the incursions of Portuguese parties and supported the line of the Tagus. Several detachments of the regiment also took part to operations against Chaves and various smaller fortified towns. During the following winter, the regiment was cantoned at Garrovillas.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per
the Album de Taccoli of 1759
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a red cockade fastened with a white button
Grenadier black bearskins probably with a blue flame (red from 1755 to 1765 as per Clonard)
Neckstock probably white
Coat white with white buttons on the right side
Collar blue (red from 1755 to 1765 as per Clonard)
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs blue (red from 1755 to 1765 as per Clonard) with 3 white buttons
Turnbacks white with red “heart-shaped” fasteners
Waistcoat blue (red from 1755 to 1765 as per Clonard) with white buttons and horizontal pockets
Breeches white
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard brown


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

N.B.: in 1765, black became the distinctive colour of the regiment.

Officers

no information available yet

Musicians

no information available yet

Colours

The coronela (colonel flag) of the regiment was white with a red Burgundian cross terminated in each corner by a medallion carrying the arms of Savoy (a white cross on a red field) surmounted by 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).

As per an État militaire, towards 1750 the batallonas (ordonnance flags) of the regiment were white with a red Burgundian cross terminated in each corner by a medallion carrying the arms of Savoy (a white cross on a red field) surmounted by a golden crown.

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

References

This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería
    • vol. VII, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 102-103, 124
    • vol. IX, pp. 96-124

Other sources

Album de Taccoli, 1759

Acknowledgment

Juan José Torres and the Asociación Cultural de Modelismo Histórico Alabarda for the information and counselling provided for this article.