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"Spanish Infantry Question for Mr Cronin & Dr Summerfield" Topic

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Westerner Inactive Member16 Mar 2017 11:19 a.m. PST

Ownership of 'Spanish Infantry of the Early Peninsular War' has really opened up this subject for me. It is indispensable for the English language reader, and I am happy to have recently acquired the cavalry volume too.

I have come across one apparent inconsistency, however, and as I would like to produce a wargames unit of the regiment concerned, I thought I might raise it. Apologies if it has already been covered.

One of the most useful sections, for me, is found on pages 102-105, where we find a table listing what are thought to have been the uniforms actually worn by the line infantry as at April 1808, followed by a schematic illustration of the Fusilier uniforms as worn at the same date. The content of both the table and the schematic are credited to Sorando Muzàs (2012).

Here lies the apparent inconsistency. In relation to Regimento de Jaén (30th), the table says:

"White M1797 uniform with red collar and lapels, black turnbacks and white buttons was issued in April 1802. This white M1797 uniform was still worn on 29 Mar 1808. Some of its officers by May 1808 wore the M1805 uniform …"

Yet, the schematic shows the M1805 uniform (faced blue).

Both the table and the schematic are said to represent the position 28 April 1808, so I cannot reconcile the apparent difference.

The table gives no note to suggest that the M1805 uniform was issued subsequent to April 1808, indeed, one might think that unlikely, though one instance of a Junta issuing a line regiment its M1805 uniform late in 1808 is recorded.

I suspect the table should be preferred, but I wondered if the position could please be confirmed?

Westerner Inactive Member20 Mar 2017 5:44 a.m. PST

Happy to throw this one open to the floor if neither of the authors are about the place.

Could anyone able to do so, please comment on which regulation uniform Regimento de Jaén (30th)most likely wore by summer '08?

Thanks in advance.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 11:05 a.m. PST

My friend… hope our fellow authors could help you soon… modestly I can show you this…








If you need help with translation… it would be my privilege to help you…

Hope it's help you a little.


Westerner Inactive Member20 Mar 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

Brilliant, thank you.

Armand, as ever, you are a gentleman.

I know that Dr Summerfield used to post here quite frequently, so had hopes of a response from that quarter, but I am grateful for you stepping into the breach.

I notice on the image search a reconstruction of a Grenadier officer's uniform to the 1805 Regs, but there is portrait evidence that at least some officers seem to have had the new uniform (the men might not have done).

However, one of your links is to re-enactment regiments for Bailen and I noticed with interest that the Jaen re-enactors have chosen the new uniform. The re-enactors, who usually know their stuff, certainly seem to have preferred the 1805 uniform.

Incidentally Reina re-enactors have the 1802 uniform and 3rd Swiss the 1796 uniform (both thought to be correct for 1808).

Thank you.

Three Armies20 Mar 2017 2:34 p.m. PST

Surely your biggest problem is going to be the Spanish figures uniforms that are available to purchase and what uniforms they are in will dictate what ones you will be painting? ie 1805 uniform or whatever???

I have some coming out of the moulds this week if you are interested in 28mm. link

If it is any other scale surely it doesn't matter a fig what you paint no one can see it. lol

By the way Stephen Summerfield as of this week is currently "in Loughborough. Preparing to torture some Chemistry Masters students." lol

I'm sure he will get to your question in time.

Westerner Inactive Member20 Mar 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

Three Armies, you are quite right, figure choice makes it difficult, but the matter cannot be shirked; aside from Jaen, 2 other regiments on the Spanish side are believed to have worn the 1790s uniform, and probably at least one, if not both, of the two Swiss regiments 'co-opted' by Dupont.

Great figures, by the way.

Westerner Inactive Member21 Mar 2017 1:16 a.m. PST

Thanks again for the replies.

Postscript, for now, in case no clearer information emerges, one dodge might be to depict the first battalion (2 Grenadier Companies and 2 Fusilier companies, in the blue-faced white 1805 uniform, and the 4 companies of the second battalion in the red-faced white 1797 uniform, but with the officers, and perhaps SNCO in the 1805 rig.

As ever, any further thoughts and information very welcome.

Brechtel19821 Mar 2017 3:01 a.m. PST

This might not (and probably won't) help you very much, but there is a truism in studying uniformology, penned by the late Roger Forthoffer:

'There are three sorts of uniforms for every period of history: those described in the uniform regulations; those shown by the artists of that period; and what the soldiers really wore.'

I have found that to be true today on campaign.

4th Cuirassier21 Mar 2017 4:17 a.m. PST

There are three sorts of uniforms for every period of history: those described in the uniform regulations; those shown by the artists of that period; and what the soldiers really wore

I would speculate that the second and third are probably closer together than the first and second.

At least some art was painted from life. What such works do not tell us is how typical the results were.

Westerner Inactive Member21 Mar 2017 1:25 p.m. PST

Very true comments. My figures, I confess, represent the ideal, somewhat, and are too, well, uniform for troops on campaign, but I am representing a unit with a handful of figures, after all, and I quite like the consistency that uniformity gives them.

I need to make a decision as to which uniform(s) are most appropriate to represent this unit at this time.

(I know they won't have turned up looking anything like!)

Three Armies21 Mar 2017 5:09 p.m. PST

what figure size are you using?

Westerner Inactive Member22 Mar 2017 6:39 a.m. PST


This means HaT Industrie. They represent an ideal state, even for 1808. All sport plumes, breeches and gaiters (no trousers), and all wear both coat and waistcoat.

That would not suit everyone, but I like the uniform appearance it gives to the relatively small numbers of figures we use to suggest larger bodies of men. It's a personal and subjective choice.

Having said that, were I planning white-coated battalions for 1809, say Talavera, I might want to dumb them down a bit, and certainly feature trousers. Who said I was consistent?!?

This does give me a problem with the 1797 cut-away uniform, however, especially as I would prefer them otherwise consistent with the HaT figures in the 1802 and 1805 uniforms, i.e. no back packs and with breeches and gaiters.

A problem of my own making, of course!

Three Armies22 Mar 2017 5:19 p.m. PST

shame I was going to offer some samples of my 28mm rannge.

If you think it is bad just imagine I grew up on a diet of airfix waterloo figures and that was all you had. Todays gamers are immensely spoilt.

John Miller Inactive Member22 Mar 2017 7:10 p.m. PST

Tango01: Great stuff! I would like to echo Westerner comments above and add my thanks to his. Thanks, John Miller

Westerner Inactive Member10 Apr 2017 7:20 a.m. PST

As Dr Summerfield was here today dealing with the shakoes of the 95th (and very helpful, too, as I thought for a dreadful minute that all my figures might turn out to be wrong!), I hope I am forgiven for bumping this topic up the list in an effort to gain his attention!

summerfield11 Apr 2017 3:07 a.m. PST

The contradiction is simply in the sources. The written explanation is the most reliable. The illustrations were prepared before we had the information. It seems likely that I missed correcting this.

In May 1808, most units were in transition. The new recruits would have had different uniforms to the veterans.

TeodoroReding Inactive Member19 Apr 2017 7:50 p.m. PST

Dear Westerner,
Jaen were the first Spanish I painted (1975, Minifig S range AWI), in the 1805 uniform after Clonard of course. Now I have about 100 Spanish battalions in 25mm – and pretty much all the sources. Stephen Summerfield is right that things were in transition (uniforms were sometimes shared too), at least some 1805 uniforms were still in stores and not yet issued and at least in Malaga for which documentary evidence exists, in 1808 they didn't make any cocked hats for uniforms they produced, only shakoes and round hats (one third former two thirds latter if I remember correctly).
You are right that we have to / like to make compromises, and some of us like fairly uniform uniforms (I'm sure some officers at the time did too).
And finally, it's impossible to avoid copying someone's error. What's great about the Cronin & Summerfield book is the detail on sources, but in the end we have to conjecture. Spanish illustrations of Jaen (often in relation to Bailen) always show the regiment in the 1805 uniform. They may well be wrong, but they look very nice and at the ed of the day one can only hope that the overall look of the whole army is right, even if a flag here of a uniform there is 'wrong.'
I admire your attention to detail!!

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