Across the world these last months of 1945 were months of retribution. In Europe the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders were being prepared. In Rangoon and Singapore Japanese officers were arraigned as war criminals. Dozens passed through the Gothic central prisons of these cities, interrogated persistently, aggressively, week after week, but without the benefit of whips, bamboo splinters beneath the fingernails, or bastinadoes, as had been commonplace with the Japanese secret police, the Kempeitai. In Tokyo Allied judge advocates prepared the trials of bigger figures in the war. Emperor Hirohito escaped, but the chain of events had been set in motion that led inevitably to the hanging of Hideki Tojo and his associates, sacrifices for the imperial house. In this atmosphere the British were determined to bring the INA to some kind of reckoning.

The first arrests were in Malaya and Singapore, where the INA was not merely a scattering of renegade military units but a citizen army. The arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in Singapore in July 1943 had created an unprecedented wave of mobilization among the Indians of Southeast Asia. Many INA personnel were Malayan residents who had never seen India but identified with it as their great national community. The sons of middle-class families joined up; so too did the daughters, by enlisting in the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, named after the heroine queen of 1857. The civilian organization – the Indian Independence League – supplied propagandists and administrators of Bose’s Azad Hind government; virtually the whole Indian business community was co-opted in one way or another, as were Ceylonese professionals, in spite of the island being peripheral to Bose’s vision. The INA had connected the educated townsmen to the largely illiterate Tamil masses on the rubber estates as never before.

On reoccupying Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, the British threw most of the leaders of the Indian Independence League into jail. This included some of the most educated and prominent personalities of the pre-war era, such as the London-educated lawyer, N. Raghavan, in Penang and S. C. Goho, a Singapore barrister who had quasi-diplomatic status before the war as the official ‘agent’ of the government of India. Not all of them had been unequivocal in their support for Bose. Journalists were a particular target, such as the most senior Asian editor of the pre-war era, Francis Cooray, a Ceylonese who ran the Kuala Lumpur daily Malay Mail. In the cells they were given a form on which to declare their work for the INA. But the pattern of arrests seemed hasty and arbitrary. The British, Cooray complained, ‘acted no better than the Japanese did on the uncorroborated evidence of accomplices and informers, who had axes to grind and grudges to pay off.’ The treatment of the troops of the INA was also haphazard. The 1,940 soldiers of the INA captured in Thailand were truculent and uncooperative. British interrogators complained of the ‘brazen insolence’ and ‘outward veneer of bravado’ with which they boasted of their defeats of Allied troops, and of the false statements they made to annoy them. But the around 2,500 INA personnel in Malaya were more mildly treated. They merely had to await repatriation until ‘loyal’ Indian soldiers were sent home and, like the Japanese, were put to work in the interim. The young British historian Eric Stokes and his mountain artillery regiment was sent to escort members of the INA back to internment in India. The local INA recruits melted away. One Indian from Singapore garrisoned in Perak was told simply: ‘If you want to go, you are free to go.’ Some of the more educated recruits were even employed by the British military. Mountbatten did not see himself as bound by policy in India, and he did not want responsibility for the INA. He tried to slow the process down: ‘There are’, he ordered, ‘to be no executions without my approval.’

The decisive moment came in the autumn when the Indian government and military authorities decided to try a group of INA officers. Indians in the army recruiting areas in the northwest told British officials ‘if only they had been shot in Rangoon or Singapore everyone would have been pleased’, but they warned that a show trial in India would be a political disaster. Why did the British proceed? The desire for retribution was strong but more than that, many officials including the viceroy believed that Congress was going to use the INA as a ‘spearhead’ in some forthcoming revolt. So Captain Shahnawaz Khan, Captain P.K. Sehgal and Lieutenant G.S. Dhillon were arraigned. These three young Punjabi officers of the INA were all graduates of the Indian staff college. They were accused of torturing and executing INA soldiers who had tried to return to their British allegiance very late in the war, in March 1945, at the INA camp near Mandalay, Mount Popa. Subhas Bose, defeated but still defiant, had urged his officers to root out treachery and backsliding as Slim’s advance into Burma gathered pace. The three officers had carried out Bose’s orders.

On 5 November 1945 three ‘smart young men, unbadged, but with a sense of command’, were ushered into a military court in the great Moghul Red Fort of Delhi. The British may have thought that the date of the trial, the 340th anniversary of the gunpowder plot against the English Parliament, was appropriate. The venue, however, was not. Among Indians, the Red Fort still echoed with memories of the previous British show-trial staged there, that of the last Moghul emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, after the rebellion of 1857–8. It was earth from the tomb of Bahadur Shah, who had died in exile in Rangoon, that Bose’s men had intended to convey in a silver casket on their ill-fated march from Burma to India in 1944.

The arguments between the prosecution and defence were hurled back and forth for days. The Indian public hung on every word. Court transcripts were published daily. One proclaimed: ‘This trial is far more sensational than the trial of Jesus Christ and many other trials around the world.’ Vallabhbhai Patel, general secretary of the Congress, got in a shrewder blow. The man who should really be on trial, he asserted, was Lord Linlithgow, the former viceroy, for sentencing 3 million Bengalis to death by famine in 1943. Points of fact arose: were the INA deserters actually executed and, if so, by whom? The British judge advocate general belittled the INA as a Japanese quisling army. The men who had joined it were either traitors or they were forced by bad treatment into its ranks. In rebuttal, the defence team argued that the INA was Indian-officered and led. Were the British quislings to the Americans simply because General Eisenhower was supreme commander in Europe? The accused exculpated their personal actions. Shahnawaz Khan said that he had sacrificed ‘my life, my home, my family and its traditions’ for his country. Dhillon is supposed to have said that the Japanese were ‘leaders of the Buddhist religion’ which was born in India. Indians should therefore work with the Japanese.

The most telling arguments, though, were those that brought international law into the scales. The British, the defence argued, had abandoned their status as a government in Malaya and Burma. Four years before in Singapore, as the garrison surrendered, Colonel Hunt had told captured Indian troops that they should ‘obey the orders of the Japanese in the way that you obeyed the British government. Otherwise you will be punished.’ Other evidence seemed to suggest that the Singapore commander, General Percival, had endorsed this position. So, said the accused, P. K. Sehgal: ‘In return for the loyalty of the Indians, the British representative handed them over to the Japanese like a flock of sheep. Thereby the British had cut off all our bonds of allegiance to the British crown.’ Buoyed up by the public reaction to this claim, the defence went on to argue that Bose’s Azad Hind government was an independent administration created by war. It controlled its own territories, even if they were only the sparsely populated Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It had an effective and autonomous army, and its government had been recognized by, among others, the government of Eire. The Azad Hind government enjoyed exactly the same status as the United States of America after the declaration of independence in 1776. The fact that Bose had failed was neither here nor there. The INA soldiers were officers of an independent army. The floggings and executions they administered in Burma and Malaya were perfectly compatible with the British Army Act of 1911.

What was striking about this line of argument was that it had been put together not solely by the three determined Congressmen among the defence lawyers, Nehru, Bhulabhai Desai and Asaf Ali, but by several hoary old Indian liberals who had been decorated by the British government and were widely regarded as loyalists by both British and Indians. If such men were arguing that the independent Indian nation already existed, how could it be otherwise? The three young officers were ultimately convicted, but only of the lesser charge of rebellion against the king-emperor. The sentences passed were never imposed. Wavell later acknowledged that the first trials should have been of men who could actually be convicted of brutality or murder. The three were later released from jail and given dishonourable discharges from the army. But the British Raj had already suffered a lethal blow. Its legitimacy, long questioned, was now seeping away. Even Ajit Rudra, a senior Indian officer who had once believed passionately that the INA had betrayed their loyalty to the king-emperor, had second thoughts. If the British had willingly released the Indian troops from their allegiance, how could they be classed as traitors?

The effect on soldiers and civilians up and down the crescent was electrifying. As the debate over the INA raged on, hundreds of thousands of Indian troops remained in Southeast Asia under British command. By far the majority were scattered over a demoralized and devastated Burma, suspicious of the BNA and doubting the intentions of the British. Nehru and other Congress politicians had already warned Auchinleck, the army’s commander-in-chief, that it would be impossible to use Indian troops to put down nationalist rebellions in fraternal countries. This hamstrung Dorman-Smith in his attempt to bring the BNA to heel over the next nine months. As Wavell reminded the cabinet on 17 October: ‘SEAC depends almost entirely on [the] loyalty and discipline of Indian troops’. Yet Attlee brushed aside his objections to the despatch of fresh levies of men from India in the face of new tasks confronting the British. It caused new difficulties as the British tried to rebuild their rule in Malaya. Indian troops were also in French Indo-China, attempting to reassert French authority in the face of communist and nationalist rebellions. And such was the drain on manpower that Britain had to risk sending 5 Indian Division from Malaya to Indonesia, where they would fight alongside British troops against the Indonesian nationalists in what was to be the bloodiest of the first wars of peace.

In Burma and elsewhere the INA issue raised the temperature of politics. There never had been a question of treating the BNA in the same manner as the INA, except among the most intransigent old British civil servants. If the INA were not really guilty of rebellion, Burmese thought, the BNA must surely be the legitimate military wing of their national movement. There was, however, one exception to Britain’s relatively prudent approach to the BNA: early in 1946 Dorman-Smith tried to bring against Aung San a charge of murder very similar to those which the British authorities had sought to pin on the ‘blacks’ of the INA. The resulting showdown ensured that either Aung San or Dorman-Smith had to go. The witch hunt against Indian civilians in Southeast Asia rapidly lost all moral force. The full weight of South Asian public opinion made itself felt in Malaya. In November a new ‘agent’ of the government of India arrived in Singapore. S. K. Chettur, an Oxford graduate and Madras civil servant, carried himself as if he were the representative of a friendly, independent power. Urbane and at ease in colonial circles, he put pressure on the British authorities to release the detainees, especially by engaging a legal team on the Red Fort trial model, and by drawing the attention of Indian public opinion to the conditions of solitary confinement of the detainees held in Kuala Lumpur. There were dark hints of racism when an Indian defendant and his Indian lawyers came in front of white judges and prosecutors. By early December 1945 this issue was causing so much difficulty in India that it led Wavell to plead with Mountbatten to either try the men or release them. The prosecutions unravelled: by the end of the year, of the 114 arrested, only three were accused of treason; of the fifty-eight cases handed to the magistrates, thirty-one accused were provisionally released and nineteen conditionally released, with the rest in abeyance. Chettur argued that all those who were innocent of violence should be freed. Any suggestion of this in November, he observed, would have thrown the British ‘into a fit’. But by January 1946 Mountbatten was willing to agree.

There was even less clarity as to British treatment of others who had worked with the Japanese. Mustapha Hussain was one of the many Malay radicals arrested. Fully expecting to be tried by the British, he surrendered himself to a local Force 136 officer, Colonel Peter Dobree, who was attached to a group of Malay fighters of the ‘Loyal Malay Soldiers’ in Perak. Mustapha discovered that his name was on an ‘arrest on sight’ list. Confined in the local police station, he warned the Malay soldiers not to be duped by the British, and found them to be already disenchanted. ‘Tuan Dobree used to eat wild-growing fiddle-head ferns with us in the jungle,’ they told him. ‘Now that he is dining with the Sultan, he hardly remembers us.’ Mustapha was moved to another police station then to Batu Gajah jail. It had a black reputation in these years: many prisoners of the Japanese, including the Force 136 agent Lim Bo Seng, had died there. Mustapha spent long months in grim conditions in a lock-up with a rag-bag of aristocratic Malay officials, former policemen and their narks. Their fates varied dramatically. Mustapha was released without trial in 1946, after an appeal from 400 former Malay Regiment soldiers for whom he had interceded after the fall of Singapore. But others with him in Batu Gajah faced imprisonment or even death. Many arrested spent nearly two years in jail without trial. Some later took their own lives. Nominally a free man, Mustapha found himself shunned by his community, sacked by the British from his old job as a lecturer, prohibited from re-entering politics and subjected to further interrogations on the history of the Malay radicals. It was but a short step from the retribution of war to the preventive detentions of counterinsurgency.

By this time there were around 1,392 complaints under investigation, but most were withdrawn through lack of evidence. Roughly half the cases that came before the special courts were dismissed. Of the 385 Malayans detained, most were released, some conditionally. At the end of January 1946 the British announced that they would accept no more complaints. A defining moment was the trial in Singapore of a Eurasian, C. J. Paglar. He was a respected medical practitioner who, for the lack of any other candidate, had acted as a figurehead leader of the Eurasian community and made a number of broadcast messages, for example on Emperor Hirohito’s birthday. He was one of the few people charged with treason. The principal defence witness was a Japanese civilian administrator in Singapore, Mamoru Shinozaki. During the war he had taken upon himself the protection of vulnerable Anglophone groups, such as the Eurasians and the Straits Chinese. Shinozaki argued that Paglar acted upon instructions, and under the compulsion of protecting his community. The Japanese regime, he said, was ‘like a stepfather after the real father, the British, left their children behind. The stepfather was brutal… Now, alas, the real father has returned and is blaming these leaders for obeying their stepfather.’ The trial was adjourned sine die. The trial divided public opinion, but most Eurasians took the view that ‘somebody had to stand up for the people to be representative.’ The Muslim president of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, R. Jumabhoy, a man who had spent the war in India, reflected on the prosecutions: ‘Had I been here I’m not certain that I would not have done the same to save myself and my family.’

It was bitterly ironic that these vendettas struck hardest at those key groups the British needed to rebuild their authority. The police force was shattered by the war, and by the stigma of working with the Japanese. In Malaya, the British discharged 500 Sikh policemen, and 400 others enlisted by the Japanese. It would be many years before public trust in them would be rebuilt. This denunciation of a Chinese police inspector was not untypical:

The Wildebeeste of Syonan and the Black Snake Spitfire of Gestapodom, fit to rank with the street sweepings and organized gangsters. His very name spells doom and anathema… He experimented with the barbaric cruelties of the Spanish Inquisition. By jingo & the heavens! He was a bad egg, rotter and wicked blighter in his heyday.

Yet the British desperately needed experienced officers, and tended to listen to pleas from those who had worked under duress: ‘If I had really collaborated with the Japanese’, petitioned one officer, ‘I would have arrested hundreds of persons and not only twenty.’ The British were caught in a bind. On the one hand, many Malayans felt that old-style colonial retribution could have no further place in a territory where so many – above all the British themselves – had played morally and politically ambivalent roles during the war. Yet equally, the sight of known collaborators and profiteers on the streets alienated popular opinion. Above all, it was the unevenness and inconsistency of British justice that was the source of lasting anger. A sharp distinction emerged between colonial justice and popular justice. As soon as the newspapers began to publish again, denunciations crowded their pages: of the schoolmaster for removing the word ‘Britain’ from textbooks, ‘thereby treating Britain as an enemy’; the arrogant mistresses who had escaped arrest; charges of ‘fawning on the Japanese without shame’; even of pushing a Japanese officers’ car when the engine broke down. Reputations were blackened by dark innuendo, and this fed undercurrents of corruption, blackmail and extortion. Men with guilty consciences turned to the triads for protection. As the vengeful fury of the British began to subside, a long, slow internal reckoning was only just beginning, and for many it would never be complete.

Fay, Peter W. (1993), The Forgotten Army: India’s Armed Struggle for Independence, 1942-1945., Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press., ISBN 0-472-08342-2.

The first complete history of the Indian National Army and its fight for independence against the British in World War II.


The last days of the Raj bring to mind Gandhi’s nonviolence and Nehru’s diplomacy. These associations obscure another reality: that an army of Indian men and women who tried to throw the British off the subcontinent. The Forgotten Army brings to life for the first time the story of how Subhas Chandra Bose, a charismatic Bengali, attempted to liberate India with an army of former British Indian soldiers–the Indian National Army (INA).

The story begins with the British Indian Army fighting a heroic rearguard action against the invading Japanese down the Malaysian peninsula and ends with many of these same soldiers defeated in their effort to invade India as allies of Japan. Peter Ward Fay intertwines powerful descriptions of military action with a unique knowledge of how the INA was formed and its role in the broader struggle for Indian independence

Fay incorporates the personal reminiscences of Prem Saghal, a senior officer in the INA, and Lakshmi Swaminadhan, leader of its women’s sections, to help the reader understand the motivations of those who took part. Their experiences offer an engagingly personal counterpoint to the political and military history.

Peter Ward Fay is Professor of History, California Institute of Technology.

Praise / Awards


“Fay has made a magnificent attempt to analyse all the credible information on the history of [Subhas Chandra] Bose’s legendary Indian National Army (INA).”

–Times Higher Education Supplement

“This fine study of the Indian National Army (INA) seeks to demonstrate this army’s significance in the attainment of Indian independence and the termination of the British Empire. . . . Throughout, Fay seeks to explain why ‘constant and true’ Indians like Sahgal and Swaminadhan chose to fight alongside the Japanese and against the British . . . .”

–Pacific Affairs

“. . . a well-crafted and thought-provoking mixture of oral history and original research, providing the most comprehensive account yet published of the events leading to the formation of the INA.”


“In the standard histories of World War II military operations in Southeast Asia, the 40,000-strong Indian National Army (INA)led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose . . . under Japanese sponsorship, gets brief mention, if not a mere footnote. . . . Fay has offered the first detailed account of the formation and operations of the INA during 1942-45. . . . A welcome addition to existing literature on the subject, the work is a well-researched and written book, particularly in its use of personal diaries and interviews with Prem[nath Saghal] and Laxmi [Swaminadhan].”

–Journal of Military History

“Written engagingly in a conversational (and occasionally discursive) style,informed throughout by great sympathy for the men and women of the INA, Fay’s book deserves to become the standard account of the subject.”

–American Historical Review

“Few research-based monographs have been penned with such an engaging elegance. . . . a felicitous combination of substance and style. . . .”


“. . . one of the most interesting, well written, and significant monographs I have recently encountered in the field of modern Indian historiography. . . . [A] decidedly original and stimulating addition to the field.”

–Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire

“. . . [A] lucid and compassionate book. . . . Fay presents the most balanced account yet written of the political and military aspects of the INA. . . . [T]he book tells the INA’s story with a style and verve too often missing in historical writing.”

–Journal of the South Asian Studies Association

“. . . a very interesting book. . . . excellent.”

–War in History


Ferdinand’s Army

The structure of Ferdinand’s army: Wallenstein

In theory, Ferdinand, as Kaiser, had at his beck and call a Reichsarmee but this concept was not worth the paper on which it was written. The German princes who made up the patchwork of the Holy Roman Empire had long had local forces to support their own interests but the ‘right’ of the Kaiser to require the supply of a contingent was a frequent source of contention. The circumstances of the Reformation forced the Kaiser to appoint two Field Commanders, one Catholic and one Protestant.

Such contradictions did not make any easier the so-called Simplum whereby a minimum of 40,000 soldiers were in theory available to the Emperor. Other difficulties arose from the fact that the local nobility and the Church were reluctant to part with their staff and workers who contributed so much to the upkeep of their estates. As a result, the Landesaufgebot (contingent) rarely materialised.

Thus the Kaiser was really only able to establish his own army if he was prepared to finance it exclusively himself. But such an army required logistics and money, both of which were lacking as Ferdinand II at the beginning of his reign found himself confronted with a vast conflict. Unsurprisingly he panicked and called for international support, thus helping transform a local dispute into a full-scale European war.

The presence of the ‘usurper’ Frederick of the Palatinate and his English wife, Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England (the Winter Queen, as she became known) on the throne of Bohemia further widened the conflict. Frederick’s father-in-law sent two British regiments to support him though they never ventured beyond Berlin where they became, fortunately for Ferdinand, ‘horribly drunk’.

As these forces gathered against him, the absence of the essentials of war put the Habsburg in a precarious position. He had either to remain a dependant of the Catholic League, whose leader the King of Bavaria was a Wittelsbach and therefore also potentially a rival of the Habsburg family, or he had to make peace somehow with the rebels. Or there was a third way: he could find a warlord prepared to organise his war effort in return for Imperial ‘favour’.

In Alfred Eusebius Wallenstein (1583–1634), who was raised to the rank of Duke of Friedland in 1625, Ferdinand was fortunate to find a man who was prepared to build an army for the Emperor from entirely private funds. Wallenstein, the scion of a cadet branch of the Waldstein family, had fought against the Turks and had converted to Catholicism under Jesuit instruction. Marrying a wealthy widow with impeccable connections he had defected to the Imperial cause in 1619, shortly after Dampierre’s cuirassiers had saved Ferdinand in Vienna.

Through the Jesuits, Wallenstein came to be trusted by the Archduke. The first encounter between this inscrutable monarch and the blunt warlord cannot have been easy for either party. Wallenstein had a reputation for violence: he had flogged half to death one of his servants when he was a student. Ferdinand, on the other hand had learnt from the events of June 1619 that in an age of violence he was defenceless without troops. Might Wallenstein be the answer to his prayers?

This ‘soldier under Saturn’, as a later biographer called him, as well as being the greatest commander of his age also offered the Habsburgs a way of making war which was truly new, relying on artillery and cavalry to an unprecedented extent. Discipline and leadership were organised along strict lines of command indifferent to the religious controversies of the time. In return Wallenstein sought not money, for Ferdinand’s treasury was empty, but the one thing the Habsburg had in abundance, thanks to the turmoil in Bohemia: land and titles.

As the conflict in Bohemia progressed through the 1620s it provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for a radical reorganisation of wealth and a comprehensive redrawing of the aristocracy. The revolt of the Bohemian nobles brought the House of Habsburg the power of redistribution on a vast and hitherto unprecedented scale. It is estimated that some 670 estates changed hands as vast tracts of Bohemian territory were stripped from the rebels and given to 200 adventurers and officers prepared to embrace the Catholic faith. These included such men as the Friulan Collalto and Strassoldo, the Italian Gallas, Colloredo, Montecuccoli and Piccolomini (who received respectively Reichenberg, Nachod and Opočno) as well as such Celtic miscreants as Leslie and Butler (Neustadt and Hirschberg).

None benefited more from this unique redistribution than Wallenstein himself, who set about erecting at the heart of Europe, along the strategically vital Bohemian and Saxon frontier, a territory which would furnish him not only with prestige but with the wealth in agriculture and minerals needed to sustain a vast army. No costs were to be incurred by the Imperial house. All Wallenstein sought was the required charter of authority and the freedom to choose his officers and recruitment depots. The charter was quickly granted by Ferdinand, who also gave Wallenstein the impressive designation of ‘General-Colonel-Field-Captain of the Imperial Armada’.

Armed with this title and his logistical genius, Wallenstein set about granting recruitment patents to various warlords and landowners who pledged to equip and dress their ‘regiments’, whereupon they would be assembled for the Kaiser’s strategic wishes. At this point the Kaiser undertook to pay the soldiers. But even when the Kaiser failed to pay, Wallenstein, supported by a network of financiers, raised the vast sums necessary to create the conditions which enabled him to be the closest Europe north of the Alps had ever seen to the ‘Condottiere’ warlords of the early Renaissance. Throughout the 1620s, Wallenstein’s financial architecture kept the bankers of Europe in business.

With money came a new organisation. Each regiment had its Obristen or colonels, each of whom was assigned an area for recruitment. The local civilian administration was ordered by the Emperor to support the recruitment as best they could. Once the recruits had received their ‘hand-money’ they were no longer under civilian law but governed by the rules of war. This system proved most effective but it led invariably to abuses. The financing of the system through the 1620s commercialised every aspect of the art of war. Equipment and soldiers became commodities to be speculated with by consortia of usually canny civilian tradesmen who well knew that the colonels had an interest in keeping their numbers of recruits as high as possible. Perhaps this explains why some accounts have tended to set the size of the armies at about 35 per cent above the actual figure.

The feats of logistics hinted at here could not have been achieved without the help of the tax system, which fell with remarkable consistency through the 1620s on the crown lands of the House of Habsburg. For example, Upper Austria needed to pay 53,000 gulden (in modern values $53 million, at a rate of 10 gulden = $1,000). Silesia needed to finance the equipment for 28 regiments while in Lower Austria a poll tax was levied which cost every landowner 40, every priest 4, every doctor 30 and every craftsman 6 gulden. Even servants contributed, though only15 kreutzer (100 kr. = 1 gulden). In this way a regiment of foot soldiers cost about 260,000 gulden a year while a regiment of cavalry was 450,000 gulden a year, each regiment consisting of between 1,200 and 2,000 men. Each foot soldier cost the Kaiser 8 gulden while each cavalry-man cost a staggering 20 Reichthaler ($20,000: 10 gulden = 1 Reichthaler). These costs were of course dwarfed by that of the new technology: artillery. Twelve guns and their crews cost at least 600,000 gulden a year.

Wages reflected rank but were modest. The Colonel received 185 gulden, his Lieutenant-Colonel 80 and so on down to the ordinary foot soldier who received 3.5 Reichthaler a year. According to a document dated 1623 from Znaim (Znojmo) each foot soldier received 2 pounds of bread, one pound of meat, 2 pints of beer or one pint of wine each day. A cavalry captain by contrast was entitled to 20 pounds of bread and 12 pounds of meat, two hens, half a sheep or cow, 8 pints of wine and 12 pints of beer (!). These ‘rations’ of 1623 contain the concluding sentence signed by Field Marshal Tilly that troops ‘requiring more than this should pay for supplies out of their own money’.

Tilly and the evolution of tactics

Count Jean Tserclaes Tilly (1559–1632) was another outstanding product of Jesuit training. First seeing service in Spain, the Walloon learnt the art of war from the age of 15, serving under the Duke of Parma in his war against the Dutch. In 1610, he was appointed commander of the forces of the Catholic League, established in 1609 as a loose alliance of Catholic principalities and minor states. Like Wallenstein, Tilly brought in important reforms, especially from his experience of the formidable Spanish infantry. Nicknamed the ‘monk of war’, he soon proved to be a highly capable organiser of infantry tactics, which were quickly adopted by Ferdinand’s troops.

The infantry at this stage still consisted of pikemen and musketeers. The pikemen wore armour and carried a pike, which at that time was between 15 and 18 feet long, made of ash with a sharp metal point. Their officers carried shorter pikes with coloured ribbons. The musketeers were a kind of light infantry with a light metal helmet, later replaced by a felt hat. The heavy musket they carried needed to be rested on a wooden pole with an iron fork to be fired. The ‘ammunition’ was contained variously in a bandolier, a flask of gunpowder and a brass bottle of combustible material, the so-called Zundkraut as well as a leather bag containing small metal balls. A small bottle of oil was also carried to ensure that the ‘alchemy’ required to fire the weapon functioned smoothly. This was far from straightforward. A hint of the complexity of firing this primitive musket is given by the fact that ninety-nine separate commands were needed to fire and reload the weapon.

A further forty-one commands existed for dealing with the musket at other times. As this suggests, the need to increase the rate of fire and simplify the munitions were priorities for all commanders throughout the Thirty Years War. These problems would only be solved with the advent of the Swedes, who entered the fray against the Habsburg in 1630. They had a modern solution to many of these problems: the introduction of small cartridges wrapped in paper.

The only tactical unit at this time was the company, which was deployed in a large square made up usually of between 15 and 20 companies. This formation was 50 men deep with its flanks protected by 10 rows of musketeers. Despite much practice at marching to form such elaborate formations as the so-called ‘Cross of Burgundy’ or ‘Eight-pointed Star’, it takes little imagination to realise that manoeuvring in such formations was virtually impossible. The idea of marching to a single beat of the drum had still to be widely introduced and cohesive movement was only possible by extended rank.

Where Tilly proved so successful in organising infantry tactics, Wallenstein proved no less formidable in handling cavalry. Cavalry like infantry were divided into heavy and light. The heavy cavalry were cuirassiers and lancers, both armoured down to their boots. In addition to their main weapon, lancers were also armed with a sword and two pistols, symbols of their privileged status as bodyguards to the commanders in the field. The cuirassiers carried the heavy straight sabre or ‘pallasch’, which was designed to cut as well as thrust.

The horsed ‘carabiniers’ were organised as light cavalry as their only armour was a metal helmet and a light breastplate. Equipped with a shorter musket and 18 cartridges, these horsemen also carried pistols and a short sword. The dragoons were also equipped with a short musket and were indeed originally horsed musketeers. As the barrels of their muskets were often decorated with a dragon, they became known as dragoons. Deployed as advance guard cavalry they carried an axe with which, in theory, they could batter down doors and gates.

To these conventional groupings Wallenstein added new elements. An important part of the horsed advance guard was the ‘ungrischen Hussaren’, or Hungarian hussars. Together with the Croats they formed the irregular elements of the army who could be deployed to plunder and terrorise their opponents as well as perform scouting and reconnaissance.

The origin of the term ‘hussar’ to this day is a source of debate. The word most likely stems from the Slavic Gursar or Gusar. Other theories link the word to the German Herumstreifender or Corsaren; this last with its imagery of piracy perhaps being nearer to the truth than many a Hungarian would care to admit. Famous for giving their enemies no quarter, they became the nucleus of what would become the finest light cavalry in the world.

As with the infantry, the cavalry were grouped into companies. Often these were called Cornetten and hence the title of the junior officer of each such company was ‘Cornet’. As these were formed into a square, the custom arose to call four of these companies a ‘squadron’ from the Italian quadra, meaning square. In theory every cavalry regiment consisted of ten companies each of a hundred riders but in reality no cavalry regiment had more than 500 men.

Drill of these formations was aimed at disordering infantry by charging the last 60 paces at the enemy’s pikemen or cavalry. There was to be no firing from the saddle until the cavalry could ‘see the white in the eye of the foe’ (‘Weiss im Aug des Feindt sehen thut’). Led by such Imperial officers as Gottfried Pappenheim, famous for his many wounds and refusal to be impressed by titles, or the redoubtable Johann Sporck, a giant of a man with hair like bronze, perhaps the most feared cavalry general of his time, the Imperial cavalry was trained in shock tactics relying on aggression and surprise to demoralise their opponents.

The artillery remained a strict caste apart. Each unit of artillery was in theory organised to have 24 guns of different calibre. Mortars and other guns were added to each unit. Every gun had as its team a lieutenant and eleven gunners. These were supported by the so-called Schanzbauern or Pioneers, who were organised into units as large as 300 under an officer of the rank of Captain. The unit had its own flag made of silk which displayed as its badge a shovel and its men were also skilled carpenters able to strengthen bridges, not just demolish them.

Imperialist versus Rebel – Thirty Years’ War

Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia

The Battle of Stadtlohn was fought on 6 August 1623 between the armies of Christian of Brunswick and of the Catholic League during the Thirty Years’ War. The League’s forces were led by Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly.

Such an army for all its appearance was not in any way comparable to the armies of later years. There was no obvious way of telling one army from another. As any army advanced across the ravaged plains of Germany during the horrors of the Thirty Years War, it was accompanied by bands of irregulars, bandits and marauders, including spies and other n’er-do-wells who plundered the local landscape like locusts.

Armies learnt to distinguish each other by what would in modern parlance be called ‘call signs’. At Breitenfeld in 1631, a battle which threw into sharp relief the energy and skill of the Swedes under their king, Gustavus Adolphus, the Imperialists under Tilly shouted ‘Jesus-Maria’ as they fought while the Swedes used the phrase: ‘God with us’. As battles were fought and won, it became the custom to reward the officers and men with financial gifts. Thus after Lutzen, General Breuner was given 10,000 gulden while the brave Colloredo regiment was awarded collectively 9,200 gulden.

The names of the Imperial officers came from two sources. The aristocrats who had preferred to convert to Catholicism took full advantage of the political support Ferdinand offered them. Many of the names we encounter here for the first time will pop up again and again in our story: Khevenhueller, Trauttmannsdorff, Liechtenstein, Forgách, Eggenberg and Althan (these last two left behind them world-class works of architecture to commemorate their position and wealth: Schloss Eggenberg, on the outskirts of Graz, and Vranov – Schloss Frein – in Moravia). Then came a group whose careers were made in the long Turkish wars. These included not only Ferdinand’s enemies Thurn, Hohenlohe, Schlick and Mansfeld, but a large number of his most important military commanders from Wallenstein downwards.

By 1620, Ferdinand was ready to move on to the attack. He now had no fewer than five separate armies with which to renew the offensive. Dampierre held Vienna with 5,000 men. Bucquoy was advancing along the Wachau with 21,000; from Upper Austria, the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian, advanced alongside Tilly with 21,000, while a Spanish army invaded the Lower Palatinate. The previously Protestant lands of Lower Austria and Upper Austria were cleared of the rebels and more than sixty Protestant noblemen fled to Retz with their families. Half of these would be proclaimed outlaws. Both provinces had been recovered for Ferdinand and the Church with barely a shot being fired.

As the armies advanced into Lusatia and Moravia, the irregular forces of the Emperor began to introduce a far more brutal and indiscriminate warfare. Plundering, rape and other atrocities became widespread, especially among the Cossacks sent by the Polish Queen who was Ferdinand’s sister. On the rebels’ side Hungarian irregulars proved no less capable of atrocities and had in Ferdinand’s own words ‘subjected the prisoners to unheard of torture …’ killing pregnant women and throwing babies on to fires. Ferdinand would later note: ‘So badly have the enemy behaved that one cannot recall whether such terror was the prerogative of the Turk.’

These acts of cruelty set the tone for much of what occurred later. On 7 November 1620 Maximilian and Tilly finally reached the outskirts of Prague where they faced the new rebel commander, Prince Christian of Anhalt, who had taken up a potentially strong defensive position exploiting the advantage of the so-called White Mountain, in reality more of a hill, a few miles to the west of Prague.

Anhalt’s forces consisted of about 20,000 men of whom half were cavalry. Some 5,000 of these were Hungarian light cavalry. His artillery consisted of only a few guns. The entrenching tools to convert his position into something more formidable never arrived. Thus was the stage set for destruction of the Bohemian rebels. The Imperial forces were superior in artillery, but more importantly in morale. The commanders were divided on what they should do next and it was only when an image of the Madonna whose eyes had been burnt out by Calvinist iconoclasts was brandished in front of Wallenstein’s ally Bucquoy that he suddenly ordered the attack.

Anhalt deployed his cavalry but they made no impact on the Imperial horsemen and they fled after an initial skirmish. The Bohemian foot followed rapidly and even the feared Moravian infantry dissolved when Tilly appeared in front of them. The Battle of the White Mountain was over by early afternoon. The Imperial forces had suffered barely 600 casualties and the rebels more than 2,000 but what turned this skirmish into a decisive victory was Tilly’s determination to keep up the momentum against a demoralised enemy. Prague, despite its fortifications, surrendered as rebel morale everywhere collapsed. Frederick joined the fugitives streaming out of the city to the east, leaving his crown behind him along with the hopes of a Protestant Europe. As the Czech historian Josef Pekař rightly observed, the Battle of the White Mountain was the clash between the German and Roman worlds and the Roman world won. Had the German world won, Bohemia would have rapidly been absorbed by Protestant Germany and Czech culture would have ceased to exist.

For Protestantism, with the departure of the Winter King and his wife into exile in Holland, the tide of history which had seemed to run in the direction of the new faith in the sixteenth century now appeared to have turned irrevocably. Increasingly perceived as divisive, unhistorical and radical, Protestantism unsettled those who feared anarchy and extremism. The population of Prague sought refuge in the old certainties and comfortable verities of the Catholic Church and within a year the Jesuits had made the city into a bulwark of the Counter-Reformation.

As Professor R.J.W. Evans has pointed out, the demoralised forces of the new faith had little reply to the intellectual and practical solutions of the Society of Jesus. Those who sought refuge in the occult and Rosicrucian view of the world were ‘qualified at best only for passive resistance to the attacks of the Counter-Reformation’.

Moreover not only did Ferdinand’s personal piety inspire his subjects through the widespread dissemination of the Virtutes Ferdinandi II penned by his Jesuit confessor Lamormaini, but the international flavour of the new orders, like Ferdinand’s army, was a powerful intellectual weapon. At the opening of the Jesuit University of Graz the inaugural addresses had been given in eighteen languages. When Ignatius Loyola had founded the Society of Jesus in 1540 he had from the beginning conceived it as a ‘military’ formation led by a ‘general’ who expected unhesitating obedience and the highest intellectual and spiritual formation among his recruits. These principles guided Ferdinand’s vision of his army. The offensive of the intellect was supported by more practical steps. In 1621, all of the ringleaders of the Bohemian rebels were executed on Ferdinand’s orders in the Old Town Square in Prague.

It was typical of Ferdinand II that while these ‘Bohemian martyrs’ were brought to the gallows, the Habsburg went on a pilgrimage to the great Marian shrine of Mariazell in his native Styria specifically to pray for their souls. In the years that followed, prayer and sword moved in perfect counterpoint for the Habsburg cause. If Ferdinand was the spearhead of spiritual revival, on the battlefield the corresponding military reawakening was to be organised by Wallenstein.

Wallenstein stood out from the newly minted nobility around Ferdinand because of his logistical skills, which he deployed with unrivalled expertise despite his physical disabilities. Plagued by gout which often forced him to be carried by litter, Wallenstein ceaselessly instructed his subordinates to organise his affairs to the last detail. Agriculture was virtually collectivised under his control to ensure that every crop and animal was nurtured efficiently to supply his armies. A fortunate second marriage to the daughter of Count Harrach, one of Ferdinand’s principal advisers, brought him yet more support at court. In April 1625, Ferdinand agreed to Wallenstein raising 6,000 horsemen and nearly 20,000 foot soldiers. Wallenstein’s force gave the Emperor freedom of manoeuvre. He now had formidable forces to counterbalance the armies of the Catholic League led by Tilly, who always showed signs of answering in the first instance to his Bavarian masters rather than to the Emperor Ferdinand.

Imperial pikemen, Thirty Years War

Wallenstein’s ‘system‘

At Aschersleben, Wallenstein created a depot for some 16,000 troops. More would follow. By 1628 the Imperial armies would number 110,000, of whom a fifth would be cavalry. From 1628, Wallenstein’s prestige grew and he was given control of all forces in the Empire with the exception of those in the crown lands and Hungary. Many foreign soldiers of fortune, including English, Irish and Scottish officers and even well-known German Protestants such as Arnim, joined Wallenstein as the Imperial army rapidly expanded. Despite the religious feuds of his era, the ‘Generalissimus’ was indifferent to the faith of his commanders. What he valued above all was loyalty and ability.

Wallenstein is largely credited with mastering the logistics of war on a scale hitherto not achieved. By forcing officers to be responsible for the upkeep and pay of their men, Wallenstein obliged villages and towns to contribute to war, thus allowing the impoverished Ferdinand to wage war without regard to the sorry state of his treasury. By levying contributions from enemy states his forces occupied, Wallenstein systematised plunder. In addition, thanks to his own vast resources, he constructed an elaborate system of loans and financing to assist his hand-picked officers with their quotas and his senior commanders with their expenses. By 1628 a colonel in one of Wallenstein’s regiments was receiving 500 florins (approx. $500) a week, more than an officer in other armies received in a month. The normal pay for a foot soldier was at this time barely 8 florins a month.

The imposition on the local population defied both convention and even Imperial law. According to this soldiers could demand lodging but were expected to pay for food. In practice this was impossible, owing to the scale of Wallenstein’s forces and their vast cohort of camp-followers. The villages and unfortified towns were ruined, with those houses refusing to pay levies often being torched. More funds could be acquired by ‘tributes’ from wealthy parts of the country, which could be exempted from supplying troops or occupation in return for large payments. Many of these sums were significant; for example Nuremberg paid half a million florins. But the cost, however great, was considered preferable to the destruction that accompanied occupation. Large swathes of Germany thus existed in a state of near-perpetual extortion in which Imperial decrees and laws appeared utterly overtaken by the rules of war. From Saxony to Brandenburg and Pomerania, from Mecklenburg to Württemberg expropriation became the order of the day. Elsewhere, in the crown lands, the ‘Soldier Tax’ became a weekly feature of urban life.

This ‘system’, such as it was, could be open to abuse. At a time of mercenary recruitment the commercial possibilities of all these activities were not lost along the many links of the chain. Bribes, ‘Spanish’ practices such as drawing supplies for non-existent soldiers, flourished in an era where the drawing up of accounts left much to be desired. Nor were these crimes the exclusive prerogative of any one army. For the populace of Germany, the Thirty Years War was truly a terrible era.

Elsewhere in the Habsburg domains taxation was used to preserve the great armouries in the cities of Inner Austria and maintain the Military Frontier which had developed in the late 1570s into a ragged line of frontier posts stretching some fifty miles alongside the Ottoman frontier. This was extended to include the approaches to Graz along the Drave around Varaždin and the area around Karlstadt (Karlovac) in Croatia proper as well as the three sections of the Hungarian frontier. Central funds from the Reichstag covered the costs of the principal garrisons (1.2 million florins a year) but elsewhere families were encouraged to take on the responsibility of particular areas of land, leading eventually to the creation of a warlike caste of military families with their own laws, customs and indeed dialect (Militärgrenze-Deutsch, for example ‘Ist Gefällig’ for ‘Izvolite’, which was heard around Koprivnica in eastern Croatia/Slavonia up to the mid-1970s).

That Wallenstein’s ‘system’ was capable of functioning at all was the result of his bankers, notably Jan de Witte who deploying an extensive network raised money for Wallenstein in sixty-seven cities between London and Constantinople. The powerful financiers of the time, de Witte and Fugger, would lend to Wallenstein when they would never lend to a Habsburg, their fingers having been burnt too often in the past by Ferdinand’s family’s hopelessness with money. But the financial architecture these resourceful and able men now constructed was only possible through generous interest rates and as their financing system came more and more to resemble a giant pyramid scheme it could be sustained only by the sale of vast estates enabled by royal prerogative. Ferdinand dealt with Wallenstein’s bills the only way he could – by ceding yet more land to the warlord.

Imperial musketeer and caliverman of the Thirty Years’ War.

The strategic tide was flowing in Ferdinand’s direction. Everywhere the anti-Habsburg coalition was faltering. As the 1620s wore on, Tilly dealt with the Danes at Lutter where in 1626 for 700 casualties he routed an army under Prince Christian, inflicting thousands of dead, wounded and captured. At one point the battle appeared to be turning in the Danes’ favour but the dispatch of 700 of Wallenstein’s heavy cavalry turned the tables with dramatic effect.

Wallenstein meanwhile had negotiated a truce with the Hungarian rebel leader Gabor Bethlen, a zealous Calvinist who claimed to have read the Bible twenty-five times and who had led an anti-Habsburg insurrection one of whose victims indeed had been the cavalry officer Dampierre. But though the Hungarian Protestants harboured many grievances against the Habsburgs, without external support there was little they could hope to achieve.

At the same time the Danes had retreated, leaving Saxony and Silesia to Wallenstein’s mercy. In May 1627 Wallenstein received the Duchy of Sagan instead of 150,850 florins owed to him by the Emperor, who now continued to write off any further debts to Wallenstein through granting him land. Titles fell to Wallenstein as rapidly as his opponents on the battlefield. He was elevated to Reichsfurst (with its concomitant right of access to the Emperor) and enfeoffed as a duke (Mecklenburg). Even his own coinage began to circulate, to the irritation of the court in Vienna.

Caesar’s Legions at Alesia I

It is not a simple matter to elucidate the number and types of Roman troops involved in the Battle of Alesia. Caesar fails to provide us with even the basic information, let alone give specific mention to the legions involved. We are left, therefore, to supposition and speculation for the most part. Caesar mentions eleven legions specifically in his commentaries on the Gallic campaigns, namely: the First, Sixth, and Seventh to Fifteenth Legions. Suetonius provides another legion, the Fifth, which he says Caesar specifically raised for the battles in Gaul. The Fifth Legion seems to have replaced the First Legion during the Alesia campaign. Armies in Caesar’s legions often had the bull as their emblem, although the adoption of individual emblems was also practised. The following is a brief summary of Caesar’s legions known to have taken part in the Gallic campaigns, and an account of their more important later actions.

Legio V Alaudae – Fifth Legion (‘The Larks’)

This legion was founded in Transalpine Gaul in the 50s BC. Suetonius states that it was raised specifically for the Gallic campaigns. Paid for by Caesar himself, it was only recognized by the Senate afterwards.

‘he added to the legions which he had received from the state others at his own cost, one actually composed of men of Transalpine Gaul and bearing a Gallic name too (for it was called Alauda), which he trained in the Roman tactics and equipped with Roman arms; and later on he gave every man of it citizenship.’

[Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, 24]

By including provincials in a Roman legion, Caesar had begun the process of Romanization of the provinces, a practice that continued to the end of the Empire. By allowing provincial citizens to fight he was conferring on them the same rights as those of Roman citizens from mainland Italy. It is interesting to note that the nickname ‘The Larks’ has, at its root, a Gallic term and not a Latin one. This must have emphasized the provincial character of the unit to the rest of the army. The term has been associated with the wearing of feathers, sticking up on the helmet, reminiscent of the feathers on the head of the crested Lark. Then again, it may refer to Gallic-like wings or a crest on the helmet, or even to specifically pointed helmets. It is possible the legion was originally entitled the V Gallica and this might suggest that a distinctive physical characteristic of the legion may have led to a nickname that stuck. Whatever the physical manifestation of the cognomen, the unit certainly seems to have been conspicuous from the first. Following Alesia, the Fifth Legion fought well in the Civil Wars, its role being particularly noted at Thrapsus (Tunisia) in 45BC and Munda (Spain) the following year. The Fifth Legion fought across North Africa and the quality of the men of Caesar’s Fifth Legion is evident from one quote from the battle at Thrapsus:

‘And here we must not omit to notice the bravery of a veteran soldier of the Fifth Legion. For when an elephant which had been wounded and, roused to fury by the pain, ran against an unarmed camp follower, threw him under his feet, and kneeling on him with his whole weight, and brandishing his uplifted trunk, with hideous cries, crushed him to death, the soldier could not refrain from attacking the animal. The elephant, seeing him advance with his javelin in his hand, quitted the dead body of the camp follower, and seizing him with his trunk, wheeled him round in the air. But he, amid all the danger, preserving his presence of mind, ceased not with his sword to strike at the elephant’s trunk, which enwrapped him, and the animal, at last overcome with the pain, quitted the soldier, and fled to the rest with hideous cries.’

[Caesar, The African Wars, 84]

It was this event that won the legion the emblem of the elephant. In the Civil Wars both Caesar’s and Pompey’s armies fought with prolonged lines of fortifications, each attempting to gain a better position to strike out at the other. On one such occasion men of the Fifth Legion are again mentioned. Caesar’s forces were attacked while undertaking construction of the fortifications and so two centurions from the Fifth Legion made an attempt to stabilize the situation:

‘two centurions of the Fifth Legion passed the river, and restored the battle; when, pressing upon the enemy with astonishing bravery, one of them fell overwhelmed by the multitude of darts discharged from above. The other continued the combat for some time, but seeing himself in danger of being surrounded, endeavoured to make good his retreat, but stumbled and fell. His death being known, the enemy crowded together in still greater numbers, upon which our cavalry passed the river, and drove them back to their entrenchments.’

[Caesar, The Spanish Wars, 23]

After the Civil Wars the Fifth Legion may have been disbanded, but it was reformed later under the control of Marcus Antonius in the 30s BC, possibly fighting at Actium. In the empire Augustus created in the wake of the Republic, the Fifth Legion fought in the Western Empire until their defeat and disbandment in the Batavian revolt of AD69.

Legio VI Ferrata – Sixth Legion (‘Ironclad’)

Another legion created for the Gallic War in 52BC, it was possibly raised in Cisalpine Gaul, although little is known about its origins. The title Ferrata refers to either the legion’s iron will or some form of iron equipment. The term might be equated with the more modern term Cuirassier. Metallic armour of the period was usually mail links, so using the distinguishing term ‘Ferrata’ may have been a deliberate attempt to mark the unit out for its individualistic style of armour. Caesar mentions that the Sixth Legion was stationed at Saône, along with the Fourteenth, through the winter of 51BC, so its presence there means it was likely to have previously taken part in the Battle of Alesia. After the Gallic campaigns a ‘Sixth Legion’ is mentioned fighting in the Civil War on Pompey’s side. In Africa this legion deserted to Caesar, along with the Fourth Legion, so may have been Caesar’s old legion reverting to their old commander. Later, the Sixth Legion is identified as fighting in both Egypt and Syria. At Zela (now in modern-day Turkey) the Sixth Legion, although under strength from fighting in Egypt, fought well against a surprise attack by Pharnaces:

‘After a sharp and obstinate conflict, victory began to declare for us on the right wing, where the Sixth Legion was posted. The enemy there were totally overthrown, but, in the centre and left, the battle was long and doubtful; however, with the assistance of the gods, we at last prevailed there also, and drove them with the utmost precipitation down the hill which they had so easily ascended before.’

[Caesar, The Alexandrian War, 76]

Caesar later ordered the Sixth Legion to return to Italy to receive the honours and rewards it had won. In the Spanish War the Sixth Legion was again caught in a surprise attack, this time from Pompey’s forces:

‘About nine at night, the besieged, according to custom, spent a considerable time in casting fire and darts upon our soldiers, and wounded a great number of men. At daybreak they sallied upon the Sixth Legion, while we were busy at the works, and began a sharp contest, in which, however, our men got the better, though the besieged had the advantage of the higher ground. Those who had begun the attack, being vigorously opposed on our side, notwithstanding all the inconveniences we fought under, were at length obliged to retire into the town, with many wounds.’

[Caesar, The Spanish War, 12]

After the Civil Wars the Sixth Legion remained in the east and was commanded by Marcus Antonius in the 30s BC. During the Empire the legion returned to the east, where it ended its days in the third century AD. The legion’s emblem was the she-wolf and twins – symbolic of the Romulus and Remus myth.

Legio VII – Seventh Legion

Caesar often mentions the Seventh Legion, confirming its presence in the invasion of Gaul in 58BC, fighting against the Nervii in 57BC, again in the Veneti campaign of 56BC and also its involvement in both the British campaigns in 55BC and 54BC. During Vercingetorix’s revolt the Seventh Legion fought under Labienus at Paris:

‘But when the issue of the victory was still uncertain, and the circumstances which were taking place on the left wing were announced to the tribunes of the Seventh Legion, they faced about their legion to the enemy’s rear and attacked it: not even then did any one retreat, but all were surrounded and slain.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, VII. 62]

After the defeat of the Parisii, the remnants of the Seventh followed Labienus and united with Caesar before the march to Alesia. It is likely that they were in the heavy fighting with Labienus on the foot of Mont Réa. Following Alesia, the legion took part in the Bellovaci Campaign of 51BC, where Caesar marks it out along with the Eighth and Ninth Legions as having outstanding fighting ability. The legion went on to fight in the Civil War, being disbanded in 46BC. Reconstituted in 44BC by Augustus, the unit seems to have fought against Marcus Antonius. The Seventh Legion first won the title Claudia Pia Fidelis for being loyal to Claudius during Scribonianus’ rebellion in AD42, finally winning it for a sixth time in the third century AD Pia VI Fidelis VI (‘Six Times Faithful, Six Times Loyal’). The unit was still in existence in the fourth century AD on the middle Danube frontier. Its emblem was the Bull.

Legio VIII – Eighth Legion

This legion was raised around 59BC and fought in the Gallic War, where Caesar mentions it engaged in the fighting against the Nervii in 57BC and at Gergovia in 52BC. At Gergovia Caesar picks out the legion and cites the bravery of its centurions:

‘Lucius Fabius, a centurion of the Eighth Legion, who, it was ascertained, had said that day among his fellow soldiers that he was excited by the plunder won at Bourges, and would not allow any one to mount the wall before him, finding three men of his own company, and being raised up by them, scaled the wall. He himself, in turn, taking hold of them one by one, drew them up to the wall.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, VII. 47]

‘Marcus Petreius, a centurion of the same legion, after attempting to hew down the gates, was overpowered by numbers, and, despairing of his safety, having already received many wounds, said to the soldiers of his own company who followed him: “Since I cannot save you as well as myself, I shall at least provide for your safety, since I allured by the love of glory, led you into this danger, do you save yourselves when an opportunity is given.” At the same time he rushed into the midst of the enemy, and slaying two of them, drove back the rest a little from the gate. When his men attempted to aid him, in vain, he says, “you endeavour to procure my safety since blood and strength are now failing me, therefore leave this, while you have the opportunity, and retreat to the legion.” Thus he fell fighting a few moments after, and saved his men by his own death.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, VII. 50]

Given the legion was in Gaul, it is likely to have been one of those that fought at Alesia, particularly as it is mentioned in relation to the Bellovacan Campaign of 51BC. In that campaign Caesar again marks it out for comment, along with the Seventh and Ninth Legions, as having outstanding fighting ability. After the Gallic Campaign the legion was given the title Gallica, following which the Eighth Legion crossed into Italy with Caesar and continued to fight with him in the Civil War. The legion fought at Ilerda in Spain, in 49BC, where the fighting techniques of the Spanish were disconcerting for Caesar’s troops:

‘Almost the whole army being daunted at this, because it had occurred contrary to their expectations and custom, Caesar encouraged his men and led the Ninth Legion to their relief, and checked the insolent and eager pursuit of the enemy, and obliged them, in their turn, to show their backs, and retreat to Ilerda, and take post under the walls. But the soldiers of the Ninth Legion, being overzealous to repair the dishonour which had been sustained, having rashly pursued the fleeing enemy, advanced into disadvantageous ground and went up to the foot of the mountain on which the town Ilerda was built …’

[Caesar, The Civil War, I. 45]

Soon after Ilerda, the legion was commanded by Marcus Antonius at the battles of Dyrrachium (Albania) and Pharsalus (Greece) in 48BC. At Pharsalus the Eighth Legion, still under strength from the fighting previously at Dyrrachium, was placed alongside the Ninth on the left wing, in an attempt to bolster them both. This formation proved successful and was repeated again in Africa against Scipio’s forces. Following its disbandment, after the Civil War, the legion was reconstituted in 44BC by Augustus, and fought with him against Marcus Antonius as the ‘Gallic Augustan’ legion. The legion went on to be attested along the Rhine–Danube frontier until the fourth century AD, and can possibly be identified as the ‘Octaviani. Legio Palatina’ (derived from the conjoining of Augustus’ original name Octavian and Palatina, denoting a senior unit) in the late fourth century AD manuscript the Notitia Dignitatum.

Caesar’s Legions at Alesia II

Legio IX (possibly titled ‘Hispana’) – Ninth Legion (‘Spanish’)

Probably raised by Caesar before 58BC, little is known of this legion, although given its cognomen it is likely to have been either constituted or stationed in Spain. It fought against the Nervii in 57BC and is likely to have also fought at Alesia. After Alesia the legion took part in the Bellovacan Campaign of 51BC, where Caesar remarked on its outstanding fighting ability, along with the Seventh and Eighth Legions. The Ninth Hispana fought on Caesar’s side in the Civil War and was allied with the Eighth Legion on at least two occasions, in Africa and Greece. The Ninth is mentioned as coming under attack during the skirmishes around Dyrrachium (Albania) in 48BC. In response the Ninth replied bravely:

‘The soldiers of the Ninth Legion suddenly closing their files, threw their javelins, and advancing impetuously from the low ground up the steep, drove Pompey’s men precipitately before them, and obliged them to turn their backs; but their retreat was greatly impeded by the hurdles that lay in a long line before them, and the palisades which were in their way, and the trenches that were sunk. But our men being contented to retreat without injury, having killed several of the enemy, and lost but five of their own, very quietly retired, and having seized some other hills somewhat on this side of that place, completed their fortifications.’

[Caesar, The Civil War, III. 46]

Later, Pompey tried again to break through the fortifications that were surrounding his camp and again he met with solid resistance from the Ninth Legion, only this time a multi-pronged attack led to success for Pompey:

‘For when our cohorts of the Ninth Legion were on guard by the seaside, Pompey’s army arrived suddenly by break of day, and their approach was a surprise to our men, and at the same time, the soldiers that came by sea, cast their darts on the front rampart; and the ditches were filled with fascines: and the legionary soldiers terrified those that defended the inner rampart, by applying the scaling-ladders, and by engines and weapons of all sorts, and a vast multitude of archers poured round upon them from every side. Besides, the coverings of osiers, which they had laid over their helmets, were a great security to them against the blows of stones that were the only weapons that our soldiers had. And therefore, when our men were oppressed in every manner, and were scarcely able to make resistance, the defect in our works was observed, and Pompey’s soldiers, landing between the two ramparts, where the work was unfinished, attacked our men in the rear, and having beat them from both sides of the fortification, obliged them to flee.’

[Caesar, The Civil War, III. 63]

Later that year, at Pharsalus, the Eighth Legion – still under strength from the fighting at Dyrrachium – was placed alongside the Ninth on the left wing, in an attempt to bolster them both. This formation was repeated again in Africa against Scipio’s forces. The earlier valour of the Ninth Legion was not reflected by its behaviour at Placentia (Greece). Here its soldiers mutinied, saying they had served too long and demanding back pay. Caesar’s response was swift: he threatened decimation (the execution of one in ten men). This threat seems to have worked, with Caesar ultimately conceding that only the twelve instigators should be executed. After the Civil War the legion was disbanded, but later reconstituted by Augustus in 41BC. The legion went on to fight in Germany and in the invasion of Britain in AD43. Up until recently, this legion was last attested in the historical record in second century AD Britain, the account of its destruction inspiring a number of books, such as Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth. More recent evidence has shown its presence on the Danube frontier in the third century AD and so now it is thought that the legion may have been destroyed either there or during the Second Jewish War.

Legio X Equestris – Tenth Legion (‘Mounted’)

The Tenth Equestris was one of four legions Caesar inherited as governor of Cisalpine Gaul, and quickly rose to become one of Caesar’s favourites. This legion was possibly raised in 61BC. Caesar mentions it in the Gallic campaigns, in the battle against the Nervii, taking part in the invasion of Britain and fighting at the Siege of Gergovia. It is very likely that this legion was at also Alesia, as Caesar singles it out a number of times, and on one occasion mentions that he placed his faith in the Tenth Legion.

‘But that, if no one else should follow, yet he [Caesar] would go with only the Tenth Legion, of which he had no misgivings, and it should be his praetorian cohort. This legion Caesar had both greatly favoured, and in it, on account of its valour, placed the greatest confidence.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, II. 40]

The legion went on to win the title ‘Equestris’, due to an unusual event from Caesar’s conflict with Ariovistus, the so-called ‘King of the Germans’ in 58BC. Caesar had set out to stop Ariovistus’ control of the Aedui and Sequani, a Roman client kingdom. Caesar openly writes that he was concerned that Ariovistus’ intrusion into Gaul would end in the expansion of Germanic rule, and ultimately to the invasion of the Italian peninsula, as the Cimbri and Teutoni had previously done. Memories of Rome’s failure when tested by the Germans galvanized Caesar to act. After lengthy negotiations, Caesar managed to bring Ariovistus to a meeting. Ariovistus had stipulated that no infantry attend the meeting, as he did not wish to be ambushed. Knowing Caesar had mainly Gallic cavalry, Ariovistus had tried to put Caesar on the back foot with this demand.

‘Caesar, as he neither wished that the conference should, by an excuse thrown in the way, be set aside, nor durst trust his life to the cavalry of the Gauls, decided that it would be most expedient to take away from the Gallic cavalry all their horses, and thereon to mount the legionary soldiers of the Tenth Legion, in which he placed the greatest confidence; in order that he might have a bodyguard as trustworthy as possible, should there be any need for action. And when this was done, one of the soldiers of the Tenth Legion said, not without a touch of humour, that Caesar did more for them than he had promised; he had promised to have the Tenth Legion in place of his praetorian cohort; but he now converted them into knights …’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, II. 42]

The Tenth went on to fight with Caesar in the Civil War, taking the prestigious place on his right wing at Pharsalus in 48BC. The valour of one of its centurions prompted Caesar to comment:

‘There was in Caesar’s army, a volunteer of the name of Crastinus, who the year before had been first centurion of the Tenth Legion, a man of pre-eminent bravery. He, when the signal was given, says, “Follow me, my old comrades, and display such exertions in behalf of your general as you have determined to do: this is our last battle, and when it shall be won, he will recover his dignity, and we our liberty.” At the same time he looked back to Caesar, and said, “General, I will act in such a manner today, that you will feel grateful to me living or dead.” After uttering these words he charged first on the right wing, and about 120 chosen volunteers of the same century followed.’

[Caesar, The Civil War, III. 91]

Later that year the Tenth were in Africa and Caesar relates how they came into contact with one of Caesar’s old generals, Labienus.

‘Labienus, with his head uncovered, advanced on horseback to the front of the battle, sometimes encouraging his own men, sometimes addressing Caesar’s legions thus: “So ho! You raw soldiers there!” says he, “Why so fierce? Has he infatuated you too with his words? Truly he has brought you into a fine condition! I pity you sincerely.” Upon this, one of the soldiers said: “I am none of your raw warriors, Labienus, but a veteran of the Tenth Legion.” “Where’s your standard?” replied Labienus. “I’ll soon make you sensible who I am,” answered the soldier. Then pulling off his helmet, to discover himself, he threw a javelin, with all his strength at Labienus, which wounding his horse severely in the breast “Know, Labienus,” says he, “that this dart was thrown by a soldier of the Tenth Legion …”’

[Caesar, The African Wars, 16]

Two years later the Tenth Legion mutinied, asking for discharge and back pay. To the legionaries’ surprise, Caesar acknowledged their petition, granting them discharge and addressing them as ordinary citizens. After realizing they were now defenceless civilians the legionaries were soon asking to be taken back into service, fighting on Caesar’s right wing at Munda in 45BC. Finally disbanded after the Civil War in 45BC, the Tenth Legion was later reconstituted by Augustus as the X Gemina (‘Twin’). Well attested through the Roman Empire, the legion won the title Pia VI Fidelis VI (‘Six Times Faithful, Six Times Loyal’) in the third century AD and is finally mentioned as being stationed at Vindobona (Vienna) in the fourth century AD. The legion’s emblem was the bull – typical of Caesar’s legions.

Legio XI – Eleventh Legion

One of the two legions recruited specifically to fight against the Helvetii in 58BC, the Eleventh Legion also fought the Nervii in 57BC, at the Siege of Bourges in 52BC, after which it was likely to have followed Caesar to Alesia. In the Civil War the Eleventh was sent to Macedonia but no further information is forthcoming. Disbanded in 45BC, it was reconstituted by Augustus and is attested until the early fifth century AD. Reasonably well attested throughout the Roman Empire, the legion won the titles Claudia Pia Fidelis for being loyal to Claudius during Scribonianus’ rebellion in AD42, and went on to be awarded the title for the sixth time in the third century AD Pia VI Fidelis VI (‘Six Times Faithful, Six Times Loyal’). Vexillations (detachments of the legion) are attested around the Empire during the third century AD and the legion is last mentioned in the fifth century AD, guarding the lower Danube frontier at Durostorum (modern-day Silistra, Bulgaria). Its emblem seems to have been either the she-wolf and twins or the sea-god Neptune.

Legio XII Fulminata – Twelfth Legion (‘Wielders of the Thunderbolt’)

The second of the two legions recruited specifically to fight against the Helvetii in 58BC, the Twelfth Legion also fought against the Nervii in 57BC. In 56BC Caesar describes the Twelfth Legion as opening the route through the Alps under Servius Galba and encamping near Geneva. Suddenly the camp was overrun with a mixed army of Seduni and Veragri and for the under strength legion the onslaught was almost too much to bear:

‘When they had now been fighting for more than six hours, without cessation, and not only strength, but even weapons were failing our men, and the enemy were pressing on more rigorously, and had begun to demolish the rampart and to fill up the trench, while our men were becoming exhausted, and the matter was now brought to the last extremity, P. Sextius Baculus, a centurion of the first rank, whom we have related to have been disabled by severe wounds in the engagement with the Nervii, and also Q. Volusenus, a tribune of the soldiers, a man of great skill and valour, hasten to Galba, and assure him that the only hope of safety lay in making a sally, and trying the last resource. Whereupon, assembling the centurions, he quickly gives orders to the soldiers to discontinue the fight a short time, and only collect the weapons flung [at them], and recruit themselves after their fatigue, and afterwards, upon the signal being given, sally forth from the camp, and place in their valour all their hope of safety.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, III. 5]

‘They do what they were ordered; and, making a sudden sally from all the gates [of the camp], leave the enemy the means neither of knowing what was taking place, nor of collecting themselves. Fortune thus taking a turn, [our men] surround on every side, and slay those who had entertained the hope of gaining the camp, and having killed more than the third part of an army of more than 30,000 men (which number of the barbarians it appeared certain had come up to our camp), put to flight the rest when panic-stricken, and do not suffer them to halt even upon the higher grounds. All the forces of the enemy being thus routed, and stripped of their arms, our men betake themselves to their camp and fortifications.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, III. 6]

The Twelfth fought with Labienus against the Parisii in 52BC, where it was hard-pressed by the attacking Gauls.

‘on the left wing, which position the Twelfth Legion held, although the first ranks fell transfixed by the javelins of the Romans, yet the rest resisted most bravely; nor did any one of them show the slightest intention of flying. Camulogenus, the general of the enemy, was present and encouraged his troops.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, VII. 62]

The Twelfth held on until further legions could turn the assault. The legion’s brave fighting at Paris meant it undoubtedly was with Caesar at Alesia. It is likely the Twelfth Legion was part of Labienus’ tough fight on the foot of Mont Réa. In the year following Alesia the Twelfth Legion was given to Marcus Antonius, who commanded it under Caesar at the Siege of Uxellodunum. The legion went on to fight with Caesar in the Civil War and later with Marcus Antonius in the East from the 40s BC. From then on the Twelfth Legion saw all of its service in the East, finally being recorded guarding the banks of the Euphrates in the fifth century AD. With its service mainly in the East of the Empire, some authors even suggest that Legio XII has been mentioned as far from Rome as Azerbaijan. Although its emblem was Caesar’s bull, it is thought that the thunderbolt was a more commonly used symbol.

Legio XIII Gemina – Thirteenth Legion (‘Twin’)

One of the two legions recruited specifically to fight against the Belgae in 57BC, hence its cognomen ‘Twin’. It is also mentioned in the battle against the Nervii and at Gergovia and so we could expect it to be at Alesia. The following year it was at winter quarters in the territory of the Bituriges, after which it was summoned to Caesar for the Bellovacan Campaign of 51BC, where it took part in the Siege of Uxellodunum. In 55BC the legion was to be found protecting the north of Italy, and later it had the honour of crossing the Rubicon with Caesar in 49BC. The legion fought alongside Caesar during the Civil War, in Egypt, Tunisia and at Munda in Spain, after which it was disbanded. Reconstituted by Augustus as the Legio XIII Gemina (‘Twin Legion’), it was celebrated on coins at least twice during the third century, finally being attested in the fifth century AD in Egypt. The emblem of the legion was the lion, symbol of Jupiter.

Legio XIIII – Fourteenth Legion

Possibly the second of the two legions recruited specifically to fight against the Belgae, there is no mention of the cognomen ‘Gemina’ at this date but if the Fourteenth was recruited along with the Thirteenth, then the ‘Twin’ nickname might be appropriate. Caesar refers to the legion in Gaul in 53BC, during his conflict with Ambiorix and the Sugambri.

‘Then, having divided his forces into three parts, he sent the baggage of all the legions to Aduatuca. That is the name of a fort. This is nearly in the middle of the Eburones, where Titurius and Aurunculeius had been quartered for the purpose of wintering. This place he selected as well on other accounts as because the fortifications of the previous year remained, in order that he might relieve the labour of the soldiers. He left the Fourteenth Legion as a guard for the baggage, one of those three which he had lately raised in Italy and brought over.’

[Caesar, The Gallic War, VI. 32]

Given Caesar’s seeming lack of confidence in the fresh unit, its place at the Battle of Alesia may have been marginalized somewhat in favour of other veteran legions. There seems no doubt that the legion was at Alesia, as the Fourteenth is mentioned as being stationed with the Sixth, on the Saône, through the following winter. The legion fought in the Civil War with Caesar and was fighting at Thrapsus in 46BC. The Fourteenth fought with particular note in Spain, at Ilerda.

‘In the first encounter about seventy of our men fell: among them Quintus Fulgenius, first centurion of the second line of the Fourteenth Legion, who, for his extraordinary valour, had been promoted from the lower ranks to that post.’

[Caesar, The Civil War, I. 45]

Caesar once more recounted the bravery of the officers of the Fourteenth Legion, this time in the African Wars. A group of Caesar’s soldiers had been captured, and Scipio had them brought to him and asked them to join him against Caesar:

‘Scipio having ended his speech, and expecting a thankful return to so gracious an offer, permitted them to reply; one of their number, a centurion of the Fourteenth Legion, thus addressed him: “Scipio,” says he “for I cannot give you the appellation of general. I return you my hearty thanks for the good treatment you are willing to show to prisoners of war; and perhaps I might accept of your kindness were it not to be purchased at the expense of a horrible crime. What! Shall I carry arms, and fight against Caesar, my general, under whom I have served as centurion; and against his victorious army, to whose renown I have for more than thirty-six years endeavoured to contribute by my valour? It is what I will never do, and even advise you not to push the war any further. You know not what troops you have to deal with, nor the difference betwixt them and yours: of which, if you please, I will give you an indisputable instance. Do you pick out the best cohort you have in your army, and give me only ten of my comrades, who are now your prisoners, to engage them: you shall see by the success, what you are to expect from your soldiers.”’

[Caesar, The African Wars, 45]

‘When the centurion had courageously made this reply, Scipio, incensed at his boldness, and resenting the affront, made a sign to some of his officers to kill him on the spot, which was immediately put in execution.’

[Caesar, The African Wars, 45–6]

The legion went on to fight in Tunisia, and after the Civil War the Fourteenth Legion seems likely to have been reconstituted, together with another legion as the Legio XIIII Gemina (‘Twin’) in the 40s BC. The legion was given the titles Martia Victrix (Victorious in Battle) by Nero after its victory over Boudicca in AD61. The legion then passed on to be stationed along the Rhine–Danube frontier, where it is attested in the fourth century at Carnuntum (in lower Austria). The emblem of the later legion was the Capricorn, like many of Augustus’ legions, although it may be anticipated that the emblem of the legion at Alesia was Caesar’s bull.

Legio XV – Fifteenth Legion

Little is known about this legion. It is possible that the legion fought at Alesia with Caesar. It did not serve in the Siege of Uxellodunum, Caesar preferring to send it to protect the Roman colonies in northern Italy. Subsequently, in 55BC, when Caesar was ordered by the Senate to send a legion to the conflict in Parthia, it was the Fifteenth he chose. It is possible that he chose the weakest of his units, as the rest of his legions were left to protect Gaul, which he had high personal interest in retaining. The Fifteenth Legion went on to become embroiled in Caesar’s dispute with Pompey. On returning to Italy he discovered the Fifteenth still in Italy. The legion, along with the First (another of Caesar’s legions), had not been sent to Parthia, but had been handed to Pompey and kept in Italy. At this point Caesar’s fears over the political wrangling that had gone on in Rome while he campaigned in Gaul had come to fruition. At the Battle of Pharsalus in 48BC, Pompey used Caesar’s old legions, the Fifteenth (now numbered the Third) and First, against him. These should have been some of Pompey’s most experienced units in the battle, but they faced Caesar’s favourite, the Tenth Legion. Whether because they lacked fighting ability or had split loyalties, Pompey’s legions fought nowhere near as effectively as Caesar’s. The result was a rout and disaster for Pompey. Caesar permitted the legionaries to surrender but the auxiliaries were slaughtered. It is likely the unit was reconstituted after the Civil War by Augustus (in 40BC) as the Legio XV Apollinaris (‘Devoted to Apollo’), although there is no direct connection between the two units and the Augustan unit may simply have taken the number of a legion that had previously been disbanded. The Fifteenth Legion is attested throughout the Empire and seems to have finished in the east at Satala (Turkey).

Spanish Military Power – First Half of the Eighteenth Century I

In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries Spain was Europe’s foremost military power. By the later seventeenth century, however, it had lost that primacy. The War of the Spanish Succession represented a nadir of Spain’s military fortunes as war engulfed the peninsula and the Monarchy lost the territories which had hitherto housed two of its three main, permanent fighting forces, the Army of Flanders and the Army of Lombardy, the third being the Army of Catalonia. Indeed, Philip V’s triumph in the succession struggle owed much to the military support of his grandfather, Louis XIV. After the conclusion of that conflict, however, Philip’s Spain reemerged as a significant independent military power.

Spain’s military revival after 1713 owed much to the fact that Philip’s opponents in Europe, notably the Austrian Habsburgs, both were weak and prioritised other theatres of war. Those successes also owed something in the 1730s and 1740s to the support of allies, above all, France, who not only diverted Philip’s opponents in those other theatres, the Rhine and Flanders, but also collaborated with his forces in Italy. Yet Philip could not always find allies, fighting alone between 1717 and 1720, while allies had their own priorities, Louis XV ending the War of the Polish Succession before the Spanish court had achieved all of its objectives in Italy. Philip therefore needed an independent military capability rooted in Spain. He had gone some way towards achieving this in the succession struggle, during which Spain’s Habsburg military inheritance was transformed. The multifaceted overhaul included the replacement of the distinctive tercios by regiments; the introduction of a new hierarchy of ranks and the assertion of greater royal control over appointments; the adoption of new weaponry; the establishment of new corps, including that of engineers; the elaboration of a structure of royal commissaries; and last but by no means least, a marked expansion of the army, which by 1713 was not only larger than that which Philip had inherited but also a standing force stationed in Spain rather than in Flanders and Lombardy.

Unfortunately, however, while much attention has rightly been paid to these initial reforms, Philip V’s army after the War of the Spanish Succession is in many respects terra incognita. Spanish historians have enhanced our understanding of that army in recent decades. But other historiographical trends, including the prevalence of prosopographical studies, mean that they have largely ignored it as the fighting instrument abroad which so impressed contemporaries. They also neglect the sheer extent of the military effort represented by major operations in Africa and Italy and the impact of that effort not only on the army itself, in terms of additional reform and the way this contributed in turn to further progress in the direction of modernisation and state formation, but also on Philip’s subjects.

How far was Philip building on as well as overhauling the legacy of the Spanish Habsburg state? Just how he and his ministers responded to the logistical challenge of major operations and how far they innovated in preferring public, state administration over the private sector asiento favoured by the Habsburgs offer one area of comparison. For many later commentators Philip’s Spain was not only a fiscal-military state but also a nation-state, but it is not at all clear that the composition of his army fully justifies the claim. As for the impact of Philip’s military adventures on his subjects, some have suggested that early Bourbon Spain, echoing developments elsewhere, was militarised, but this too is questionable.

Commitments and Numbers

Philip V oversaw a substantial increase in the size of his army in Spain in the course of the War of the Spanish Succession, during which large numbers of his subjects were mobilised, to a total of 100,000 men in 1714. He continued to maintain large, permanent forces thereafter. As is true in the case of all armies in early modern Europe, it is not easy to be precise about the size of those forces. It is not always clear whether the figures given in contemporary sources or those used by later historians are complete: there was frequently a difference, for example, between a unit’s establishment, that is, the number of men when it was complete, and the number of effectives. This helps explain the widely varying figures sometimes given for the same forces. Nevertheless, as long as we recognise that the official figures, often derived from the periodic musters or reviews, do not always represent the true picture, they remain a useful indicator.

Philip V had lost Flanders and Italy by 1713, but his defence commitments thereafter continued to span the Atlantic. Before the reign of Charles III there was no permanent Army of America. Instead, apart from scattered garrisons in key fortresses there, men were despatched to the Indies as and when required. In 1726 troops were sent to Havana as Anglo–Spanish relations deteriorated between the alliances of Vienna and Hanover and following the departure of an English squadron to the Caribbean, while the outbreak of the War of Jenkins’ Ear in 1739 triggered the departure of more units to Spanish America. Within a few years, however, the war in Europe—in Italy—was once again centre stage: Spanish troops no longer fought in Flanders, but in terms of military priorities Europe came first for the Spanish court, as it had before 1700.

In Europe, Spain’s land frontiers and extensive coastline required constant defence, the new British presence at Gibraltar adding to Philip V’s commitments in this respect before, during, and after the siege of 1727. But the disposition of Philip’s troops in Spain itself was not determined just by external threats; a substantial military presence in the territories of the Crown of Aragon mirrored the fact that the exercise of greater royal authority from 1707 onwards rested on Philip’s assertion of a right of conquest. Throughout the reign large numbers of troops were deployed in Aragon, Valencia, and above all Catalonia. In the summer of 1717, 43 of 81 infantry battalions in Philip’s pay were stationed in the crown of Aragon, 35 of them in Catalonia. Twenty years later it was claimed that there were rarely fewer than 20–30,000 troops in Catalonia, in part to contain its population.

Philip could not neglect either the islands or the garrisons beyond the peninsula. After its reconquest in 1715, a large garrison was also stationed on the island of Majorca, whose strategic importance was increased by the British occupation of neighbouring Menorca and the threat it posed. Indeed, in 1740, following the outbreak of war with Britain, an expedition against Menorca was discussed in Madrid but was abandoned in favour of intervention in Italy. What was left of empire in north Africa and Italy, that is, the coastal garrisons, or presidios, also had to be manned. In Africa these included Alhucemas, Ceuta, Melilla, el Peñón, and, from 1732, Oran. In Italy the presidios meant Porto Longone, off the Tuscan coast. In 1734 Philip, as we have seen, ceded Porto Longone, along with Naples and Sicily, to Don Carlos, but it continued to be garrisoned by Philip’s troops.

The concentration of troops on Spain’s eastern seaboard also reflected the military thrust into the Mediterranean after 1713. Apart from the achievement of a large standing army in Spain itself, the most striking feature of Spanish military activity between 1713 and 1748 was the occasional expeditions overseas, which often triggered a more substantial military commitment. They also helped to determine the size of Philip’s army, which expanded and contracted with his changing commitments in Africa and Italy (table 1). In 1715, following the conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip effected a substantial reform, or reduction, but the first cycle of intervention in the Mediterranean triggered the recruitment of about 33,000 men between the summer of 1717 and 1720, an increase of almost 50 percent. There was another bout of cost cutting after 1720, in which most of the new units disappeared. But the War of the Polish Succession and Spanish intervention in Italy meant renewed expansion. In February 1734 José Patiño envisaged raising the number of troops in Philip’s pay by just over 40,000, an increase of 50 percent, to give an army of 123,900. In fact, 20 new regiments were raised, while existing ones were increased in size, such that this target was exceeded, the Spanish army peaking at more than 130,000 men. The end of the Polish succession struggle was followed by another round of reductions, so that war in the Caribbean from 1739 and in Italy from 1741 prompted another expansion. Initially, in 1741, this involved adding a third battalion to existing regiments of just 2 battalions—10 battalions in all, a total of 6,500 men—although all were disbanded by the end of 1744. By means of various separate agreements concluded throughout the war, other units were taken into service. Peace in 1748 was followed by the usual reform.

Recruitment of Foreign Troops

Philip V and Ferdinand VI found men in a variety of ways, some abroad, some at home, preferring volunteers but also using compulsion. Whereas the cavalry was levied almost entirely within Spain, simply because it was easier to recruit, the infantry was much more cosmopolitan. In general, more than 50 percent of the infantry were Spanish, as in 1716 and 1724, but these were years of peace, and the foreign component tended to expand and sometimes to predominate when overseas operations were undertaken. In 1731, for example, of 8 infantry battalions which were to accompany Don Carlos to Italy, just two were Spanish. The foreign component continued to loom large but may have fallen in the course of the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1745 Spaniards contributed 32,500 of the 49,000 infantry in the Infante’s army in Italy, while in the spring of 1747 the marqués de la Mina thought Spain’s contribution to an allied total in Italy of 75,000 infantry would comprise 591/2 battalions, of which 47 were Spanish and the rest, just 20 percent, were foreign. Whatever the explanation for the decline, in the latter stages of the Austrian succession conflict, the Spanish monarch may have been recruiting more of his own Spanish subjects.

Foreign troops were attractive for various reasons, the most important being Spain’s limited manpower. Establishing the population of Spain in the early eighteenth century is no easy matter. Nevertheless, the basic trends are clear and were positive. Spain’s population may have grown by two million between the late seventeenth century and the middle of the eighteenth to a total of about eight million around 1713 and to just over nine million by 1768. Certain areas were more populous, including Galicia, in the northwest, the capital, Madrid, which drew immigrants from the rest of the country, and Andalusia, making these attractive recruiting grounds. Nevertheless, Philip V’s Spain could not boast the demographic resources of France and this fact, as Spanish and foreign commentators made clear, limited the number of Philip’s Spanish subjects who could be diverted into the military without disrupting Spain’s economy and antagonising those same subjects. Foreign troops, on the other hand, were less likely to desert in Spain, where they had fewer kin and friends to shelter them, and, while costly, they might be easily raised in wartime close to where they might have to serve and just as easily disposed of, that is, be demobilised, at the end of a conflict. These factors helped ensure that, like his Habsburg predecessors, Philip relied on a substantial minority of foreign troops rather than on an entirely Spanish army drawn from the Iberian peninsula and islands: 15 of the 18 new infantry regiments levied for Italy in 1717–20 were raised in Italy and Switzerland. While Spaniards may have loomed larger between 1741 and 1748 (above), thereafter Ensenada saw the taking on of foreign units, 28 battalions, as a key part of the solution to the problem of recruitment.

Foreign troops included entire units such as companies, battalions, and regiments as well as individuals, some of them drawn from foreign communities long resident in Spain. There had long been a substantial French contingent in Spain, one swelled during the succession conflict, and this was one source of men. Portuguese, too, were frequently recruited, in large part along the frontier with that state. Another source of foreign recruits was the Irish resident in Spain. Their numbers grew in the early eighteenth century with the influx of many of those who had abandoned Ireland following the Williamite conquest in 1689–91 and who, often after a brief residence in France, moved to Spain during and after the War of the Spanish Succession. For some of these Irish exiles military service was a stepping-stone to high office in Spain. Exemplary in this respect was the career of Ricardo Wall: having fought in the marine corps on the Sicilian expedition in 1718, he served in the army in Italy in the War of the Austrian Succession before being appointed secretary of state by Ferdinand VI.

Some of the foreign units in Philip V’s service were essentially the inheritance of the past and served a nonmilitary as well as military purpose. Thus units of both the Flemish, or Walloon, Guards and the Italian Guards (below), which helped maintain the connection between the Spanish court and the elites of the former Flemish and Italian territories of the Monarchy throughout the century, fought in most of Philip’s African and Italian campaigns. So, too, did various units raised in Italy in the War of the Spanish Succession, units which followed Philip to Spain when Spanish Italy collapsed. Some other Italian units were raised during the later Italian expeditions, between 1718 and 1720 (above), from 1734, and in 1741–42.

Other foreigners served in whole units which Philip V took into pay for a fixed period. This meant above all the Swiss Catholic regiments, whose attractions included the proximity of their recruiting ground(s) to the theatres, notably Italy, where they would serve. In 1720 a capitulation for such a regiment was agreed with one Charles Ignacio Niderist and was renewed in November 1724, and in May 1725 another, for 3,200 men in 16 battalions of 200 men each, with one Charles Alfonso Besler. In 1732 more agreements of this sort were agreed with a number of Swiss officers. The Swiss could be problematic: they were expensive and sometimes effectively went on strike until paid their arrears, as happened on campaign in Italy in 1735. However, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages, and in 1737 Philip renewed the capitulation with Besler for ten years. In the summer of 1742 a number of Swiss officers already in Philip’s service agreed to raise a further 10 battalions, most of which served in Italy. This helped ensure that in the summer of 1745 there were at least 14 battalions of Swiss in Spanish service in Savoy and Nice, totalling about 3,500 men. Spanish commanders and ministers continued to debate the value of the Swiss, but they remained an essential ingredient of Spain’s fighting machine.

The distinction between Spanish and non-Spanish troops should not be exaggerated: between 1717 and 1720 some of the supposed Spanish regiments in Sardinia and Sicily were, necessarily, recruited locally, either from the population of those islands or in adjacent mainland Italy. By the same token non-Spanish units include Spaniards. In 1717 Philip allowed his Irish, Italian, and Walloon regiments to recruit in Spain, in view of the difficulties they faced in recruiting in their home territories, and he did so again during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1745 all 4 battalions of the Milan and Brabant (Walloon) infantry regiments were recruiting in Spain and Italy. As for the Irish regiments, which, according to privileges granted to the Irish community by earlier Spanish monarchs, were treated as native Spaniards, they recruited more widely in Britain. In 1733, for example, Colonel Raimundo Burk was allowed to complete his Limerick regiment by recruiting English and Scots as well as Irish. Those Irish units also included many Spaniards by 1748. War had thus facilitated, even accelerated, the hispanisation of some of the foreign units in Spanish service.

Whatever their nationality and arguably more important in giving the army of Philip V, the Catholic King, an identity was that it was overwhelmingly Christian and, above all, Roman Catholic. The association of Philip’s cause with Roman Catholicism had played an important role in his winning the succession struggle and remained influential after 1713. In October 1746 deserters from the Irish Ultonia regiment were condemned to the galleys, but that sentence was commuted to perpetual military service following their conversion to Roman Catholicism.

Spanish Military Power – First Half of the Eighteenth Century II

Recruitment of Spanish Troops

Despite Philip V’s reliance on foreign troops, his army was largely Spanish, that is, recruited from among his subjects in Spain. This is hardly surprising. Spaniards had long been prized for their endurance, their fighting qualities, and their supposed loyalty as well as for the fact that they were cheaper and less likely to desert than foreign troops. In addition, the loss of the non-Spanish European territories restricted recruiting opportunities in those areas after 1713. In any case, Spanish efforts to recruit abroad were not always welcome: in 1736 the activities of Spanish recruiters in Rome prompted riots there and the expulsion of all Spanish residents. Practical necessity, then, ensured that Spain itself would see much recruiting activity, especially in 1717–20, 1732, and 1735 and again between 1741 and 1748.

Before 1700 recruitment in Spain had been overseen by the Council of War, guided by the Comisario General. However, the War of the Spanish Succession and its aftermath saw important changes in the role of the council, whose executive role largely passed to the newly established office of Secretary of State for War (below), while in 1704 the office of Comisario General had been replaced by that of Director General of Infantry. In the localities, however, recruitment was still largely left to the bodies and officials who had been responsible for it before 1700, namely, the alcaldes, or magistrates, of the numerous settlements inhabited by a largely scattered population, corregidores, and, where they existed, the officials of the Chancillerías and Audiencias, which in Spain as in the Americas were as much administrative as judicial bodies. Briefly, between 1718 and 1721, and, not coincidentally, at the height of Philip V’s first bid for Italian dominion, there was an abortive experiment with intendants, or intendentes, of the army and provinces; but between 1721 and the full-scale reintroduction of a network of provincial intendants in 1749, the only intendants were those of the army, in the three realms of the Crown of Aragon, Majorca, and the other frontier provinces, Andalusia, Castile, Estremadura, and Galicia, plus the intendants who accompanied each overseas expeditionary force (see below). Local recruitment in Spain during the Wars of the Polish and Austrian Successions was thus largely the responsibility and achievement of an older, effective administrative setup.

Most historians of the Spanish military in the eighteenth century have focused largely on involuntary recruitment and the Bourbon state’s imposition of an obligation to serve. There is good reason for this (see below), but it ignores the preference of monarch and ministers for, and the continued importance of, voluntary enlistment, as many men responded willingly to the recruiting captain or sergeant. Evidence of this is provided by both royal legislation and the discharge certificates given to those leaving the army. In June 1745 one Antonio de Plata, a soldier in the Lisbon infantry regiment, was discharged. When he was press-ganged almost three years later in 1748, his certificate was produced by his wife in support of her petition for his release; according to that document, Antonio had enlisted voluntarily in 1736. Volunteers still accounted for the largest number of recruits in the Spanish army towards the close of the War of the Austrian Succession, when recruiting captains were still expected to find men of this type.

Explaining why men in a society which does not appear to have held the soldier in high regard enlisted is not easy, not least because little evidence survives as to why they did so. However, many of the reasons which have been identified for earlier periods no doubt continued to apply in the early eighteenth century: camaraderie, a desire to escape family, village, or town and embarrassing entanglements there, and, not least for those hoping to escape poverty, enlistment money and army pay: in 1731 recruits in Murcia were offered eight and even sixteen pesos on joining up. Enlistment money, pay at a time when wages were falling in real terms, and the guarantee of food in hard times, as in the thirties and early forties, when harvests were poor and mortality rates high, might also attract volunteers. Some others may have been attracted by the fuero militar, the distinctive military jurisdiction or privilege, the proliferation of which triggered occasional confrontations between the civil and military authorities. Such spats necessitated the imposition of limitations by the crown, not least when the fuero was abused, as it had been under the Habsburgs, to cover fraud. Whatever drew them, volunteers could always be found.

A variant on the system of voluntary recruiting just described, in which all the costs of the levy were borne by the king, was the practice whereby the monarch accepted an offer to recruit a company or even a whole regiment from an individual. The recruiter would then bear those costs before the men entered the royal service in return for various benefits, including the right to appoint officers, otherwise a royal prerogative. This privatisation or devolution of recruitment by means of an asiento agreed with a contractor was not entirely new, having been practiced in the Habsburg era. In some respects it simply represented a variant on the so-called military entrepreneurship of an earlier age. It also manifested a venality which was widespread in Philip V’s Spain. For the applicant, or asentista, it often meant buying promotion within the army or a fixed post or both and also offered the prospect of social advancement. Typically, in 1719 D. Felipe Serrano y Contreras, a “reformed” lieutenant colonel of cavalry, offered to raise at his own cost a company of 100 infantry. To fund this operation he sought permission to burden his entail with loans, to the value of 4,000 ducados. Philip V referred the request to the Council of Castile and its adjunct, the Cámara de Castilla, which monitored and protected entails. The Cámara expressed concern, wanting to consult the heir to the entail, whose interests would be affected by the grant. Philip, however, while acknowledging these misgivings, insisted that the petition be granted, immediately, given his urgent need of troops, implying that the demands of war underpinned the assertion, if only briefly and episodically, of greater royal authority, absolutism, at the expense of traditional practices and constraints.

The speed and economy involved in this method of raising men had great attraction for the king and some of his ministers, but such offers were not simply rubber-stamped by them. Some bargaining was always necessary, as when, in 1719, the Sicilian duke of San Blas offered 300 cavalry. Sometimes, too, the agreement required subsequent adjustment. In 1748 D. Jayme Torrijos was granted the captaincy of a company in the Lisbon infantry regiment in return for raising 70 men, to be delivered to Badajoz in Estremadura. Upon his arrival in Valencia to recruit the men, however, the captain general of that realm, the duque de Caylus, thought the original destination inappropriate. The distance the recruits must travel was too great, with potential loss through desertion and sickness, and the duke urged instead that Torrijos give his recruits to a captain in the Murcia regiment who already had the king’s commission to recruit in Valencia. Last, units raised privately had to be approved by royal officials before being accepted into the king’s service and pay.

Recruiting in this way was both cheap and speedy and highly attractive at the start of a conflict; it may have been the largest single source of new regiments under Philip V. Between 1718 and 1720, 40 battalions of infantry of 13 companies each, 6 cavalry squadrons of 4 companies, and 40 squadrons of dragoons of 3 companies—a total of 664 companies—were raised by this means. During the War of the Polish Succession, of 20 new regiments levied in 1734–35, just 3 were raised at royal expense; as for the War of the Austrian Succession, privatisation of this sort raised 10 new battalions in 1742.

But voluntary recruiting, despite efforts to make the army more attractive by, for example, reducing the length of service (as in 1741, to three years), did not always yield sufficient men. In these circumstances, compulsion of some sort was the answer. Impressment took various forms. It had long been usual to condemn convicted criminals and other malefactors to the African garrisons, which men were reluctant to volunteer for, and the practice continued. In 1701 penalties imposing presidio service laid down in 1684 for the defrauding of the royal tobacco monopoly were confirmed, in 1724 five men condemned after anti-seigneurial disturbances in Galicia were sentenced to service in an African presidio, and in July 1741 the captain general of Catalonia despatched thirty-four convicts to Oran, condemned to presidio service by the criminal court of the royal Audiencia and by the auditor general of the Army of Catalonia. Other convicted offenders might themselves elect such service as an alternative to prison or have it chosen for them by local communities eager to be free of the threat they posed and the cost of their incarceration. In 1748, following the arrest of one Joseph Madrid for defrauding the king’s salt revenues, his community requested that he and two accomplices serve with the army for four campaigns. The courts supplied a steady trickle of men for the African garrisons and for other, regular units throughout Philip V’s reign. Other criminals might seek a pardon in return for military service.

Another tried-and-tested means of forcible recruitment, one which could claim to be trying to solve the problem of delinquency at a more general level, was the impressment of the rootless poor, as had happened before 1700 and during the War of the Spanish Succession. Roundups of this sort were ordered in July 1717, July 1718, 1732, December 1733, December 1744, and in April and June 1745. Philip’s periodic drives against vagabonds coincided with and were driven by his need for troops for operations in Africa and Italy.

Rounding up of this sort was often designated a levy, or leva, to distinguish it from another method of impressment, the so-called quinta. Originally signifying, as its name suggests, the imposition on communities of an obligation to provide one-fifth of their eligible menfolk, the quinta, another tried-and-tested method, inevitably attracted a monarch needing men for his Mediterranean adventures. A quinta was an integral part of the preparations for the Oran expedition in 1732, and, following its departure, another was expected as part of a larger recruitment drive which would both supply more men for Oran and replace 25,000 men recently despatched to Majorca, Italy, and the other African garrisons. In fact, a quinta of 7,153 men was ordered in December 1732, justified as a last resort on the grounds of the king’s failure to find sufficient volunteers. It is no coincidence that the major eighteenth-century Spanish work on this subject, Francisco de Oya y Ozores’s Tratado de levas, quintas y reclutas de gente de Guerra, was published a couple of years later, in 1734, at the height of the War of the Polish Succession. These two means of the forcible recruiting of men remained the poles around which discussion and practice revolved. In 1741 the president of the Council of Castile, which in some respects spoke for the Castilian towns, vetoed a quinta proposed by the secretary for war, but a forcible levy to raise 7,919 men was ordered in December 1741, as Philip V prepared to intervene in Italy. As the Austrian succession struggle progressed, the need for men meant further drives of this sort. In December 1746 Ferdinand VI ordered a combination of quinta and levy to secure 25,000 men for 1747, the largest such mobilisation throughout this period, more than three times the number of men ordered to be levied in 1741–42.

How did it work? The king and his ministers having decided upon the number of men required, the total was broken down into provincial quotas which bore some relationship to demographic capacity. The largest quota in the quinta levy ordered in December 1732, for example, was that assigned the populous Galicia, 878 men, or just over 10 percent of the total number the levy was intended to yield. In Old Castile, by contrast, the province of Burgos, with a much smaller population, was expected to give 367 men, or just under 5 percent of the total, and the city of Burgos, the assembly point for the quotas of that province and for those of Toro, Palencia, Soria, Avila, Segovia, Salamanca, and Valladolid, just 19 men. Quotas remained fairly constant. In December 1741, following Philip V’s decision to impose another quinta, of 7,919 men, the province of Burgos was asked for 400 men and the city itself just 17, a proportionate increase on the number requested towards the slightly smaller overall levy of 1732. Individual quotas were communicated to the provincial officials responsible for their implementation. In December 1746, for example, the intendant of Galicia was informed of that realm’s share (1,181) of the 25,000 men Ferdinand VI hoped to find, and he in turn assigned quotas to the realm’s seven principal cities. The intendant would also contact the local magistrates. The magistrates oversaw the lottery, or sorteo (below), which was increasingly the method used to identify those who should fulfil the community’s quota, and arranged for the men selected to be sent to the assembly point. Captains would then escort the men to the ports where they embarked for their destination.

It was rarely so simple in practice. Quinta levies were unpopular with those called up, and observers were often pessimistic about their likely yield. In 1726 the introduction of quintas provoked riots in Catalonia. Their unpopularity was one reason they were not the first resort of the king and his ministers, who often justified other measures to raise men on the grounds of their reluctance to impose a quinta. Those who could exploited any relevant privileges to avoid being taken. In December 1732 the town of Solera in Cuenca, which was expected to find 76 men, successfully petitioned for exemption from both quintas and levas, pleading its obligation to maintain the royal sheepwalk along which the flocks of the Mesta moved. The following year one of the directors of the tobacco revenues, D. Jacobo Flon, complained that the corregidor of León had included in the sorteo employees of the tobacco monopoly, despite a royal order exempting them. The king ordered the release of any of these men who had been levied and who had been employed in the monopoly fifteen days before the publication of the quintas. Reflecting the unpopularity of levies of all types, new grants of privilege in these decades frequently included exemptions from them.

Not all claims of exemption succeeded. In December 1741 the corregidor of Burgos demanded 3 men of the town of Torrecilla of a total of 82 men assigned the district, or partido, of Logroño. In response, the magistrates of Torrecilla pleaded a royal exemption, granted for ten years, from January 1735, but to no avail. Those unable to plead a privilege sometimes simply fled. Some of those unlucky enough to win this lottery purchased substitutes, resulting in accusations of collusion by officials. In 1735, following an extensive investigation, charges were prepared against the prince of Campoflorido, the captain general of the realm of Aragon, the intendant, and others responsible for the execution of the quintas of 1733–34 there. The charges included allowing those who had been selected in the lottery to buy themselves out. Others who were forcibly levied might be rescued by more violent means: in 1733 a diplomatic incident was triggered when the Dutch ambassador’s servants forcibly freed men who had been impressed in Seville.

Not all resisted, and many fugitives were recovered or replaced, to an extent that although the yield of the forced levies was sometimes poor they did contribute large numbers of men to the various expeditions to Africa and Italy. In January 1742, for example, the corregidor of Burgos delivered up 180 quintados of that province, almost half of its quota of 400 men, who then left for Barcelona and Italy. Two weeks later D. Joseph López Colmenero, the captain of the Burgos infantry regiment, led another 142 quintados to Barcelona, so that just 78 men remained to be found to meet the quota. A week later, the recruiting captain D. Joseph Alberto Bonnet reported the arrival from Soria of 71 men, although he had to dismiss seven of them as ineligible or incapable. From the announcement of the quinta in December 1741 it had taken less than two months for Burgos to raise 96 percent of its quota. Burgos was by no means exceptional, as other cities and provinces too fulfilled their quotas, even if belatedly. Quotas might even be exceeded: in January 1748 Juan Francisco de Urdainz despatched 109 men from Salamanca, more than the 100 demanded from that city and its district. Not surprisingly, local magistrates involved in quintas and levies cited their services and their success when petitioning for royal favours.