Tercio

Last updated

A tercio (Spanish pronunciation:  [ˈteɾθjo] "third") or tercio español ("Spanish third") was a powerful Spanish infantry division during the time of Habsburg Spain known for its victories on European battlefields in the early modern period.

Infantry military personnel who travel and fight on foot

Infantry is a military specialization that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers or infanteers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Habsburg Spain Reigning dynasty in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Habsburg Spain refers to Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1516–1700), when it was ruled by kings from the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg rulers reached the zenith of their influence and power. They controlled territory that included the Americas, the East Indies, the Low Countries and territories now in France and Germany in Europe, the Portuguese Empire from 1580 to 1640, and various other territories such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. This period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion".

The early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages of the post-classical era. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the post-classical age, known as the Middle Ages, through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions and is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Renaissance period in Europe, the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent, and the Age of Discovery and ending around the French Revolution in 1789.

Contents

The tercio was an administrative unit with command of up to 3,000 soldiers, subdivided originally into 10, later 12 compañías, made up of pikemen, swordsmen and arquebusiers or musketeers. These companies were deployed in battle and were further subdivided into units of 30 soldiers. These smaller units could be deployed individually or brought together to form what were sometimes called Spanish squares. These powerful infantry squares were also much used by other European powers, especially the Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire.

Pike (weapon) pole weapon

A pike is a pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear formerly used extensively by infantry. Pikes were used regularly in European warfare from the Late Middle Ages to the early 18th century, and were wielded by foot soldiers deployed in close quarters, until their replacement by the bayonet. The pike found extensive use with Landsknecht armies and Swiss mercenaries, who employed it as their main weapon and used it in pike square formations. A similar weapon, the sarissa, was also used by Alexander the Great's Macedonian phalanx infantry to great effect. Generally, a spear becomes a pike when it is too long to be wielded with one hand in combat.

Arquebus Type of long gun that appeared in Europe during the 15th century

The arquebus, derived from the German Hakenbüchse, was a form of long gun that appeared in Europe during the 15th century. Although the term arquebus was applied to many different forms of firearms from the 15th to 17th centuries, it originally referred to "a hand-gun with a hook-like projection or lug on its under surface, useful for steadying it against battlements or other objects when firing". These "hook guns" were in their earliest forms defensive weapons mounted on German city walls in the early 1400s, but by the late 1400s had become handheld firearms. The development of the arquebus is somewhat tied to technology developed for the crossbow as without the stock from the crossbow, the arquebus would not have a stable platform to rest one's shoulder on. Priming pans also were placed on the arquebus. A matchlock mechanism was added around 1475 and it became the first firearm with a trigger.

Musketeer historical profession

A musketeer was a type of soldier equipped with a musket. Musketeers were an important part of early modern armies, particularly in Europe, as they normally comprised the majority of their infantry. The musketeer was a precursor to the rifleman. Muskets were replaced by rifles in most western armies during the mid-1850s. The traditional designation of "musketeer" for an infantry private survived in the Imperial German Army until World War I.

The care that was taken to maintain a high number of "old soldiers" (veterans) in the units, and their professional training, together with the particular personality imprinted on them by the proud hidalgos of the lower nobility that nurtured them, made the tercios for a century and a half the best infantry in Europe. Moreover, the tercios were the first to efficiently mix pikes and firearms. Tercio companies dominated European battlefields in the sixteenth century and the first half of the 17th century and are seen by historians as a major development of early modern combined arms warfare.

<i>Hidalgo</i> (nobility) members of the Spanish and Portuguese nobility; a nobleman without a hereditary title

An hidalgo or a fidalgo is a member of the Spanish or Portuguese nobility; the feminine forms of the terms are hidalga, in Spanish, and fidalga, in Portuguese and Galician. In popular usage, the term hidalgo identifies a nobleman without a hereditary title. In practice, hidalgos were exempted from paying taxes, yet owned little real property.

Firearm Gun for an individual

A firearm is a portable gun designed for use by a single individual. It inflicts damage on targets by launching one or more projectiles driven by rapidly expanding high-pressure gas produced by exothermic combustion (deflagration) of chemical propellant. If gas pressurization is achieved through mechanical gas compression rather than through chemical propellant combustion, then the gun is technically an air gun, not a firearm.

Combined arms military operations and doctrine utilizing different branches in combination

Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. According to strategist William S. Lind, combined arms can be distinguished from the concept of "supporting arms" as follows:

Combined arms hits the enemy with two or more arms simultaneously in such a manner that the actions he must take to defend himself from one make him more vulnerable to another. In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if simultaneously, then in such combination that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one also defends himself from the other(s).

History

Deployment of disembarked Tercios, 1583. Desembarcoislasterceiras.jpg
Deployment of disembarked Tercios, 1583.

The use of massed pikes by Spanish armies began in the Granada War (1482–92). During the Italian Wars, under the direction of the Spanish general Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, called "the great captain", the system of combined groups of pikemen, arquebusiers and swordsmen developed. The conflicts at the end of the 15th century and early 16th century evolved into a tactically unique combination of combined arms centered around armored infantry. [1] To counter the French heavy cavalry, a colonelcy could theoretically have up to 6,000 men, but by 1534 this had been reduced to the tercio with a maximum of 3,000. [2]

Granada War war

The Granada War was a series of military campaigns between 1482 and 1491, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, against the Nasrid dynasty's Emirate of Granada. It ended with the defeat of Granada and its annexation by Castile, ending all Islamic rule on the Iberian peninsula.

Italian Wars Wars in Italy from the 15th to 16th centuries

The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy during the Renaissance. The Italian peninsula, economically advanced but politically divided between several states, became the main battleground for European supremacy. The conflicts involved the major powers of Italy and Europe, in a series of events that followed the end of the 40-years long Peace of Lodi agreed in 1454 with the formation of an Italic League.

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba Spanish general

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba y Enríquez de Aguilar was a Spanish general and statesman who led successful military campaigns during the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. His military victories and widespread popularity earned him the distinction of being called "El Gran Capitán". He also negotiated the final surrender of Granada and later served as Viceroy of Naples. Gonzalo was a masterful military strategist and tactician. He was the first to introduce the successful use of firearms on the battlefield and he reorganized his infantry to include pikes and firearms in effective defensive and offensive formations. The changes implemented by Gonzalo were instrumental in making the Spanish army a dominant force in Europe for more than a hundred years.

Armies using tercio companies of up to 300 generally intended to field them in brigades of at least three, with one in the front and two behind. The rearward formations echeloned off on either side so that a unit called a coronelía ("colonelcy"), commanded by a colonel , was created. The Spanish tercios rarely had more than 1500 men. They were called tercios, meaning "thirds", because they were, in theory, made up originally of 1/3 pikemen, 1/3 swordsmen, and 1/3 of firearms. In time, the number of swordsmen was reduced. The only tercio to have 3,000 men was the Tercio de Galeras or the Galleys' Tercio, dedicated only for deployment in galleys and galleons and specialized in naval warfare and amphibious operations. It was assigned in 1537 by royal assent to the Spanish fleets in the Mediterranean and is the ancestor of today's Spanish Marine Infantry.

Echelon formation An echelon formation is a formation in which its units are arranged diagonally

An echelon formation is a formation in which its units are arranged diagonally. Each unit is stationed behind and to the right, or behind and to the left, of the unit ahead. The name of the formation comes from the French word échelon, meaning a rung of a ladder, which describes the shape that this formation has when viewed from above or below.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

Spanish Marine Infantry Elite unit of the Armed Forces of Spain

The Spanish Marine Infantry is the marine corps of the Spanish Navy responsible for conducting amphibious warfare by utilizing naval platforms and resources. The Marine Corps is fully integrated into the Armada's structure.

Composition and characteristics

A tercio in "bastioned square," in battle Tercio.jpg
A tercio in "bastioned square," in battle

Although other powers adopted the tercio formation, their armies fell short of the fearsome reputation of the Spanish, who possessed a core of professional soldiers, which gave them an edge that was hard for other states to match. [3] That army was further supplemented by "an army of different nations", a reference to the fact that many of the troops were mercenaries from Germany (Landsknecht), and the Italian and Walloon territories of the Spanish Netherlands, as was characteristic of European warfare before the levies of the Napoleonic Wars. In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the core of Spanish armies were formed by Spanish subjects, who were frequently praised by others for their cohesiveness, superiority in discipline and overall professionalism. [4]

Landsknecht Mercenary footsoldiers in 16th century Europe

The Landsknecht,, plural: Landsknechte, were mercenary soldiers who became an important military force through late 15th- and 16th-century Europe. Consisting predominantly of German mercenary pikemen and supporting foot soldiers, they were the universal mercenaries of early modern Europe, sometimes fighting on both sides of a conflict. Several thousands of landsknechte were in permanent service for Austria between 1486 and 1560, forming the bulk of the Imperial Army. Their front line consisted of doppelsöldner, renowned for their use of arquebus and zweihänder in the early modern period.

Wallonia Region of Belgium

Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is primarily French-speaking, and accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory, but only a third of its population. The Walloon Region was not merged with the French Community of Belgium, which is the political entity responsible for matters related mainly to culture and education, because the French Community of Belgium encompasses both Wallonia and the majority French-Speaking Brussels-Capital Region.

Spanish Netherlands Historical region of the Low Countries (1581–1714)

Spanish Netherlands was the name for the Habsburg Netherlands ruled by the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs from 1556 to 1714. They were a collection of States of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries held in personal union by the Spanish Crown. This region comprised most of the modern states of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France, southern Netherlands, and western Germany with the capital being Brussels.

Formations

Schematic battle formation of a Tercio around 1600. Tercio 1.jpg
Schematic battle formation of a Tercio around 1600.

Within the tercio, ranks of pikemen arrayed themselves together into a hollow pike square (cuadro) with swordsmen – typically equipped with a short sword, a buckler, and javelins – inside; as the firearm rose in prominence, the swordsmen declined and were phased out. The arquebusiers (later, musketeers) were usually split up in several mobile groups called sleeves (mangas) and deployed relative to the cuadro, typically with one manga at each corner.[ citation needed ] By virtue of this combined-arms approach, the formation simultaneously enjoyed the staying power of its pike-armed infantry, the ranged firepower of its arquebusiers, as well as the ability to conduct assaults with sword-and-buckler men. In addition to its inherent ability to repulse cavalry and other units along its front, the long-range firepower of its arquebusiers could also be easily reorganized to the flanks, making it versatile in both offensive and defensive evolutions, as demonstrated by the success of the tercios at the Battle of Pavia 1525.

Tercio companies advancing during the battle of Nieuwpoort 1600. Terciosmarchando.jpg
Tercio companies advancing during the battle of Nieuwpoort 1600.

Groups of tercios were typically arrayed in dragon-toothed formation (staggered, with the leading edge of one unit level with the trailing edge of the preceding unit; see the similar hedgehog defence concept). This enabled enfilade lines of fire and somewhat defiladed the army units themselves. Odd units alternated with even units, respectively one forward and one back, providing gaps for an unwary enemy to enter and outflank itself, where it would become subjected to the combined direct and raking crossfire from the guns of three separate tercios. From their inception, tercio formations were meant to co-ordinate their field operations with cavalry.

Leadership of the Tercio

Officers of a tercio: an alabardero, alferez and arcabucero 1650 - tercio.jpg
Officers of a tercio: an alabardero, alférez and arcabucero

Mirroring military organization today, the Tercio was led by a Maestre de Campo appointed by the King as the commanding officer and guarded by eight halberdiers. Assisting him was the sergeant major and a Furir Major in charge of logistics and armaments, with companies led by a Captain, also of royal appointment, with an Ensign in charge of the company color.

Companies had Sergeants, Furirs and Corporals in them. The Sergeants served as seconds-in-command of the company and brought the captain's orders to his soldiers; the Furirs were at orders to provide the necessary weapons and munitions, as well as additional men to the companies; and the Corporals, who led groups of 25 (similar to today's platoons), were always in obedience to the Captain's orders and brought to him any possible cases of disorder in the unit.

Each company had corps of drums made up of drummers and fifers, sounding duty calls in battle, with the drum major and fife major being provided by the Tercio headquarters.

The Tercio staff included a medical component (made up of a professional medic, a barber, and surgeons), chaplains and preachers, and a judicial unit, plus military constables enforcing order. They all reported to the Maestre de campo directly.

Organization

Tercios that initially served in Italy and the Spanish Netherlands were organized into:

  • 10 companies of 300 led by Captains, in which
    • 8 were Pikemen's Companies and
    • 2 were of arquebusiers

The companies were later reduced to 250-strong units.

During the actions in the Netherlands the Tercios were reorganized into three Colonelcies (Colonelías), led by Colonels (the predecessor of today's battalions), but subdivided into the same 12 companies of 250, two of arquebusiers and 10 of pikemen. Colonels were also of royal appointment. The Colonelcies were composed of a HQ unit and 4 companies each.

Staff

Organization of a Tercio. Organizacion de un tercio.jpg
Organization of a Tercio.
Schematic depiction of the pikemen's combat drill. Tercio piquiers.jpg
Schematic depiction of the pikemen's combat drill.

Company

Tercios and the Spanish Empire

Surrender of Breda, by Velazquez, shows Ambrosio Spinola, commander of the Spanish tercio, receiving the keys to the city from a defeated Dutch general in 1625. Velazquez - de Breda o Las Lanzas (Museo del Prado, 1634-35).jpg
Surrender of Breda , by Velázquez, shows Ambrosio Spinola, commander of the Spanish tercio, receiving the keys to the city from a defeated Dutch general in 1625.

Tercios were deployed all over Europe under the Habsburg rulers. They were made up of volunteers and built up around a core of professional soldiers and were highly trained. Sometimes later tercios did not stick to the all-volunteer model of the regular Imperial Spanish army – when the Habsburg king Philip II found himself in need of more troops, he raised a tercio of Catalan criminals to fight in Flanders, [5] a trend he continued with most Catalan criminals for the rest of his reign. [6] A large proportion of the Spanish army (which by the later half of the 16th century was entirely composed of tercio units: Tercio of Savoy, Tercio of Sicily) was deployed in the Netherlands to quell the increasingly difficult rebellion against the Habsburgs. Ironically, many units of Spanish tercios became part of the problem rather than the solution when the time came to pay them: with the Spanish coffers depleted by constant warfare, units often mutinied. For example, in April 1576, just after winning a major victory, unpaid tercios mutinied and occupied the town of Antwerp, threatening to sack it if their demands were not met. [7] Completely reliant on his troops, the Spanish commander could only comply. [8]

Specialized Tercios

On 24 February 1537 the Tercio de Galeras (Tercio of Galleys) was created, considered the first Marine unit in history. Today, the Real Infantería de Marina (Spanish Marine Infantry) consider themselves successors of the legacy and heritage of the Galleys Tercios. There were other units of Navy Tercios with names such as Tercio Viejo de Armada (Old Navy Tercio) or Tercio Fijo de la Mar de Nápoles (Permanent Tercio of the Sea of Naples). Such specialized units were needed for the protracted war with the Ottoman Empire over the entire Mediterranean Sea.

Naming conventions

Most Tercios were given names according to the place where they were cantoned or first deployed: thus they were Tercio de Sicilia, de Lombardía, de Nápoles (Tercio of Sicily, of Lombardy, of Naples) and so on. Some other Tercios were named for their commanding officer, like the Tercio de Moncada for its commander Miguel de Moncada (whose most famous soldier was Miguel de Cervantes). Some Tercios were named by their main function, such as Galeras or Viejo de Armada. Some others were named for their recruitment area.

Colours

The Portuguese terços

Portuguese tercos in the Battle of Alcacer Quibir (1578) Lagos46 kopie.jpg
Portuguese terços in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir (1578)

Portugal adopted the Spanish model of tercio in the 16th century, calling it terço. In 1578, under the reorganization of the Portuguese Army conducted by King Sebastian, four terços were established: the Terço of Lisbon, the Terço of Estremadura, the Terço of Alentejo, and the Terço of Algarve. Each had about 2,000 men, formed into eight companies.

The infantry of the army organized for the expedition to Morocco in 1578 was made up of these four terços together with the Terço of the Adventurers (totally made up of young nobles), three mercenary terços (the German, the Italian, and the Castilian), and a unit of elite sharpshooters of the Portuguese garrison of Tangier. This was the Portuguese force which fought the Battle of Alcácer Quibir.

While united with the Spanish Crown, from 1580 to 1640, Portugal kept the organization of terços, although the Army had declined. Several Spanish tercios were sent to Portugal; the principal of them, the Spanish infantry Tercio of the City of Lisbon, occupied the main fortresses of the Portuguese capital. The Terço of the Navy of the Crown of Portugal, the ancestor of the modern Portuguese Marines, was created in this period.

After the restoration of Portuguese sovereignty in 1640, the Army was reorganized by King John IV of Portugal. The terços remained the basic units of the Portuguese infantry. Two types of terços were organized: the paid terços (first line permanent units) and the auxiliary terços (second line militia units). Portugal won the Restoration War with these terços.

At the end of the 17th century, the terços were already organized as modern regiments. However, the first line terços were only transformed into regiments in 1707, during the War of the Spanish Succession – after the Spanish tercios were transformed into regiments in 1704. The second line terços were only transformed into militia regiments in 1796. Some of the old terços are direct ancestors of modern regiments of the Portuguese Army.

Obsolescence

The Battle of Rocroi (1643) marked the end of the supremacy of the Spanish Tercios, painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau picture Rocroi, el ultimo tercio, por Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau.jpg
The Battle of Rocroi (1643) marked the end of the supremacy of the Spanish Tercios, painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau picture

The first challenge to the dominance of the tercios came at the Battle of Nieuwpoort (1600). The victor of Nieuwpoort, the Dutch stadtholder Maurice, Prince of Orange, believed he could improve on the tercio by combining its methods with the organisation of the Roman legion. These shallower linear formations brought a greater proportion of available guns to bear on the enemy simultaneously. The result was that the tercios at Nieuwpoort were badly damaged by the weight of Dutch firepower. Yet the Spanish army very nearly succeeded in spite of internal dissensions that had compromised its regular command. The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) in the Low Countries continued to be characterized by sieges of cities and forts, while field battles were of secondary importance. Maurice's reforms did not lead to a revolution in warfare, but he had created an army that could meet the tercios on an even basis and that pointed the way to future developments. During the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) tercio formations began to be tested in more linear formations by the brilliant Swedish soldier-king Gustavus Adolphus. Eventually, however, the tried-and-true Spanish tactics defeated the supposedly invincible Swedish army at the Battle of Nördlingen (1634). [9]

Throughout its history, the tercio's form and composition was never static as it evolved to meet new challenges. Tercio formations employed by well trained troops with good cavalry support continued to win major battles such as Wimpfen (1622), Fleurus (1622), Breda (1624), Nördlingen (1634), Thionville (1639), Honnecourt (1641) and Valenciennes (1656). It was not until Rocroi (1643) that the Spanish tercio's reputation in major battles was shattered. Even then, the Rocroi defeat was precipitated by the collapse of the supporting cavalry rather than the failure of the tercios themselves, which had come close to besting the opposing infantry. Tercios continued to win important battles for a time after Rocroi and even after the Thirty Years War, but were already greatly modified from their older forms. By then, improvements in firearms and field artillery had given the new linear style a decided advantage. In response, the later 17th century "tercios" adopted so much of the linear style's organisation and tactics as to have little resemblance to the classic tercios of the previous century, with the men now armed with the musket. In 1704, the Spanish regular tercios were transformed into regiments, those of the reserves and the militia would later be transformed into similar formations.

Famous battles

Victories

Defeats

See also

Notes

  1. This emphasis on the infantry was the result of Spain's shortage of cavalry and dependence on mules in daily life. Davies, T. R. 1961" Davies, T. R. (1961).
  2. Davis, Trevor. The Golden Century of Spain, 1501–1621 London: Macmillan and Co, 1961. Page 24.
  3. Lynch, John. The Hispanic World in Crisis and Change, 1578–1700 Cambridge: Blackwell, 1992. Page 117.
  4. Davies, T. R. 1961
  5. Lynch, John. Spain Under the Habsburgs, Volume One: Empire and Absolutism, 1516 to 1598. Oxford: Blackwell, 1964. Page 109.
  6. Lynch, Spain Under the Habsburgs page 200.
  7. Israel, The Dutch Republic, p. 185.
  8. Lynch, Spain Under the Habsburgs page 284.
  9. Laínez, Fernando Martínez (2011). Vientos de Gloria : grandes victorias de la historia de España. Madrid: Espasa. ISBN   9788467035605.

Related Research Articles

Dragoon mounted infantry soldiers

Dragoons originally were a class of mounted infantry, who used horses for mobility, but dismounted to fight on foot. From the early 18th century onward, dragoons were increasingly also employed as conventional cavalry, trained for combat with swords from horseback.

Battle of Nieuwpoort battle between the Dutch and the Spanish in the city of Nieuwpoort, now in Belgium

The Battle of Nieuwpoort, between an allied army under Maurice of Nassau and Francis Vere and a Spanish army under Albert of Austria, took place on 2 July 1600 near the present-day Belgian city Nieuwpoort.

Battle of Rocroi battle

The Battle of Rocroi of 19 May 1643 resulted in the victory of a French army under the Duc d'Enghien against the Spanish Army under General Francisco de Melo only five days after the accession of Louis XIV of France to the throne of France, late in the Thirty Years' War. The battle is considered by many to be the turning point of the perceived invincibility of the Spanish Tercio that dominated European battlefields in the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century. After Rocroi, the Spanish abandoned the tercio system and began to use linear Dutch-style battalions like the French.

Battle of Turnhout (1597) battle

The Battle of Turnhout also known as the Battle of Tielenheide was a military engagement which took place on 24 January 1597 in the border area between the Northern and Southern Netherlands at Turnhout during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).

Battle of Pavia 1525 battle during the Italian War of 1521–1526

The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26 between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg empire of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor as well as ruler of Spain, Austria, the Low Countries, and the Two Sicilies.

Swiss mercenaries Swiss mercenaries in European armies

Swiss mercenaries (Reisläufer) were notable for their service in foreign armies, especially the armies of the Kings of France, throughout the Early Modern period of European history, from the Later Middle Ages into the Age of Enlightenment. Their service as mercenaries was at its peak during the Renaissance, when their proven battlefield capabilities made them sought-after mercenary troops. There followed a period of decline, as technological and organizational advances counteracted the Swiss' advantages. Switzerland's military isolationism largely put an end to organized mercenary activity; the principal remnant of the practice is the Pontifical Swiss Guard at the Vatican.

Battle of Fleurus (1622) battle in the Thirty Years War, 1622

The Battle of Fleurus of August 29, 1622 was fought in the Spanish Netherlands between a Spanish army, and the Protestant forces of Ernst von Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick during the Eighty Years' War and Thirty Years' War. The bloody struggle left the Protestants mangled and the Spanish masters of the field, but unable to block the enemy's march.

Battle of Cerignola

The Battle of Cerignola was fought on 21 April 1503, between Spanish and French armies, in Cerignola, Apulia. Spanish forces, under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, formed by 6,300 men, including 2,000 landsknechte, with more than 1,000 arquebusiers, and 20 cannons, defeated the French who had 9,000 men; mainly heavy gendarme cavalry and Swiss mercenary pikemen, with about 40 cannons, and led by Louis d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, who was killed. It was one of the first European battles won by gunpowder weapons, as the assault by Swiss pikemen and French cavalry was shattered by the fire of Spanish arquebusiers behind a ditch.

Battle of Gravelines (1558)

The Battle of Gravelines was fought on 13 July 1558 at Gravelines, near Calais, France. It occurred during the twelve-year war between France and Spain (1547–1559).

Battle of Ceresole

The Battle of Ceresole took place on 11 April 1544, during the Italian War of 1542–46, outside the village of Ceresole d'Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. A French army, commanded by François de Bourbon, Count of Enghien, defeated the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain, commanded by Alfonso d'Avalos d'Aquino, Marquis del Vasto. Despite having inflicted substantial casualties on the Imperial troops, the French subsequently failed to exploit their victory by taking Milan.

Portuguese Army land forces of the Armed Forces of Portugal

The Portuguese Army is the land component of the Armed Forces of Portugal and is also its largest branch. It is charged with the defence of Portugal, in co-operation with other branches of the Armed Forces. With its origins going back to the 12th century, it can be considered as one of the oldest armies in the world.

Battle of Zutphen

The Battle of Zutphen was fought on 22 September 1586, near the village of Warnsveld and the town of Zutphen, the Netherlands, during the Eighty Years' War. It was fought by the forces of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, aided by the English, against the Spanish. In 1585, England signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with the States-General of the Netherlands and formally entered the war against Spain. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was appointed as the Governor-General of the Netherlands and sent there in command of an English army to support the Dutch rebels. When Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and commander of the Spanish Army of Flanders, besieged the town of Rheinberg during the Cologne War, Leicester, in turn, besieged the town of Zutphen, in the province of Gelderland and on the eastern bank of the river IJssel.

Pike and shot

Pike and shot is a historical infantry combat formation that evolved during the Italian Wars before the late seventeenth century evolution of the bayonet. The infantry formations of the period were a mix of pike and early firearms ("shot"), either arquebusiers or musketeers.

Rodeleros, also called espadachines ("swordsmen") and colloquially known as "Sword and Buckler Men", were Spanish troops in the early 16th century, equipped with steel shields or bucklers known as rodela and swords . Originally conceived as an Italian attempt to revive the legionary swordsman, they were adopted by the Spanish and used with great efficiency in the Italian Wars during the 1510s and 1520s, but discontinued in the 1530s.

Battle of Dahlen battle

The Battle of Dahlen was fought on April 23, 1568, between a Dutch rebel army led by Jean de Montigny, Lord of Villers, and a Spanish army commanded by Sancho Dávila y Daza. As a part of William of Orange's planned invasion, the Dutch rebels were trying to conquer the town of Roermond when the arrival of the Spanish force compelled them to withdraw. Dávila pursued the retreating force and inflicted a defeat upon Villers near the small town of Dahlen. The survivors of this encounter sought refuge under the walls of Dahlen, where the Spanish infantry finally defeated them. This battle is sometimes considered the official start of the Eighty Years' War.

Army of Flanders

The Army of Flanders was a multinational army in the service of the kings of Spain that was based in the Netherlands during the 16th to 18th centuries. It was notable for being the longest-serving standing army of the period, being in continuous service from 1567 until its disestablishment in 1706. In addition to taking part in numerous battles of the Dutch Revolt (1567–1609) and the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), it also employed many developing military concepts more reminiscent of later military units, enjoying permanent, standing regiments (tercios), barracks, military hospitals and rest homes long before they were adopted in most of Europe. Sustained at huge cost and at significant distances from Spain, the Army of Flanders also became infamous for successive mutinies and its ill-disciplined activity off the battlefield, including the Sack of Antwerp in 1576.

History of infantry

Although the term infantry dates from the 15th century, the foot troops of the previous eras in history who fought with a variety of weapons before the introduction of the firearms are also referred to as infantry. During the Ancient and Middle Ages Infantry were categorized by the types of weapons and armour they used, such as heavy infantry and light infantry. Since the introduction of firearms, classifications have changed initially to reflect their formations on the battlefield as line infantry, and later to reflect modes of transport and type of tactics used by specific units as Mechanized infantry or airborne infantry.

Conquest of the Azores

The Conquest of the Azores, but principally involving the conquest of the island of Terceira, occurred on 2 August 1583, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, between forces loyal to the claimant D. António, Prior of Crato, supported by the French and English troops, and the Spanish and Portuguese forces loyal to King Philip II of Spain, commanded by the Admiral Don Álvaro de Bazán, Marquis of Santa Cruz, during the War of the Portuguese Succession. The victory of the Marquis of Santa Cruz resulted in the rapid Spanish conquest of the Azores, facilitating the integration of the Kingdom of Portugal and its colonial possessions into the Spanish Empire.

References