A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 19 August 2013

More on Spanish Cavalry Standards

Following comments and emails received as a result of my little post on Spanish cavalry flags, here's a little more evidence. These are taken from Jose-Maria Bueno's Uniformes Militares Espanoles - El Exercito y la Armada en 1808.

I reproduce these without any permission - I own the book, and they are offered here for purposes of private study(!) - if anyone is offended or compromised please shout and I'll delete the post.

With apologies for my rather approximate grasp of Spanish, I translate part of the second excerpt thus:

By a Royal Ordnance of 1768 the regiments of cavalry of the guard, of dragoons and of line and light cavalry were to employ banners of damask or velvet of colour blue, red or white according to the regiment, with the royal arms embroidered in relief in gold or silver on the obverse, and the insignia of each regiment on the reverse. In the 4 corners, embroidered in gold or silver, fleurs-de-lys [Bourbon symbol].

Cravats for all standards and flags to be red, for this is the national symbol.

Spearheads, fringes, cords and braid of the pole were also to be gold and silver, according to the lace of each regiment. The lance or pole to be covered with crimson fabric or velvet.

These regulations lasted until 1833, so were still in force in the period of our study.

Bueno's book is obviously not the Bible, but he is regarded as a serious authority - especially by me. His work was published in 1982, which is a year or two after Terry and I were scratching around in the dark!

The text for Fig.156 suggests that the various squadrons of this regiment had different coloured flags - white for the first squadron, red for the remainder. All just clues, remember. Sadly, the passing years, countless generations of moths and the occasional political upheaval have removed most of the actual evidence.


  1. Touché! Mi opinion was based on Wise but I acknolewdge that Buneo is the author of reference for Spanish armies in the Napoleonic period.
    And the Bueno's flags are nicer than the proposed by Wise!
    Best regards

    1. Thanks Rafa - I wasn't trying to score any points! Coincidentally, I just happen to know a bit of the history of those particular Osprey books - I am not being unfair about them either. They were a product of their day - it is astonishing how long ago 1980 was. There was no internet and - more importantly, perhaps - there was hardly any international collaboration on these things. Almost by chance, I had some excellent contacts on Portuguese subjects in the late 1970s - especially an elderly Brazilian gentleman who had access to old Portuguese colonial archives in Brasilia, including army Ordenanza do Dia sheets by Beresford etc which no longer existed in Lisbon. That gentlemen put me in touch with some historians in Spain he had been corresponding with.

      Terry Wise's flag books were great - they were a first step in the desert in many ways - for the hobbyist reader, there was virtually nothing before that. Keith Over's book was similar - a good start and a big help, but covered a lot of ground a bit sketchily and formed the basis for subsequent research, some of which has changed our views.

      Bueno has some mistakes - even I can spot a few(!) - but they are usually typos or occasional things that got confused in lists and tables - some of his slips are faithfully reproduced and quoted elsewhere. But for their energy and scope, and the terrific artwork, his books are fantastic - I have the 1808 one, the Guerra de Independencia one plus the two on the French and their Allies in Spain, and I have a couple of CDs full of assorted Bueno plates I have picked up here and there. Always fun, and you always find something interesting or useful.

      You are quite right to correct me - I frequently talk complete rubbish...!

      Best regards - always good to hear from you - Tony

  2. Late update - after a lot of searching, I found some interesting pictures on Alfons Canovas' very useful blog, at


    Figures 95 and 96 show the "escudos" for the light cavalry regts Voluntarios de Espana (4 small crowns in a flat diamond pattern, on a yellow disc) and Maria Luisa (ML's monogram, with a laurel wreath either placed above or as a surround - I've seen both, on a yellow disc). These should be the correct regimental symbols on my flags, then - I'll re-do them sometime. No hurry ...(yawn)...


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