Friday, June 18, 2010

Uniforms: Coraceros Espanoles

The Coraceros Espanoles was formed on the 24th May 1810 in Reus Tarragona.
Comprising 6 companies of 70 men in 2 squadrons, being one squadron taken from the Cazadores de Olivenza and one squadron from the Hussars de Grenade (The Cazadores de Olivenza had also been used to form the Husares de Grenade in June 1808).

They were equipped with weapons, cuirasses and helmets captured by the Numancia Dragoon Regiment from the French 3e Provisional Cuirassiers at the battle of Mollet del Valles.

About 200 cuirassiers were killed or captured at Mollet, the prisoners were taken to the fortress of Lerida  and the equipment was used to create the Coraceros Espanoles Regiment.

However only one squadron received the cuirass and helmet

The uniform was a red coatee (supposedly of English origin) with green collar and cuffs, white piping and turnbacks, pewter buttons, white pantaloons, black high boots and a white cape. The white sheepskins were edged with red wolfsteeth and the green saddle-cloth with white lace. The portmanteau was green edged in white. The saddle cloth was not of French origin and differs in that it has a rounded front corner.

The source for this is "Conde de Clonard Album de la Caballeria".

In 1815, as part of a larger reorganisation of the Spanish army, the Coraceros Espanoles were renamed the 3e Coraceros Espanoles, the saddle-cloth and the portmanteau had the numeric "3" added. All contemporary prints which show the numeric "3" are of the post reorgansiation unit not the Peninsular War unit.

Napoleon formed three provisional cuirassier regiments for the campaign in Spain. The first two regiments were formed in Tours in November of 1807 while the 3rd Provisional Regiment was formed in Poitiers in 1808.
The 2e Provisional Regiment was captured at Baylen (all their equipment was eventually returned to France). On 24 December 1809 the 1e Provisional Regiment was reinforced with the remnants of the 2e Regiment and became the 13e Cuirassiers. The 13e Curassier regiment was attached to Suchet Corps in Aragon. When Suchet entered in Catalonia on the 19th of May 1810 and conquered Lerida (April 1810) the French prisoners were liberated and the surviving men of the 3e Provisional Curassiers were incorporated into the 13e Curassiers.

The 3e Regiment was, however, not formally disbanded until early 1811 in Barcelona.

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