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Battalion la Muerte


The Battalion la Muerte (Battalion of Death or Batallón de la Muerte) was formed in Vigo on 23rd March 1809 from volunteers and using a company of the line regiment Zamora recently returned from Denmark as its cadre. Its commander was D. Francisco Colombo.

Some illustrations of this unit say 1808 although this seems unlikely.

In 1810, it was merged into the Lobera line infantry regiment.


As can be seen from its cut, the uniform was supplied by the British, this was probably the first (or one of the first) units to be so equipped.

The Battalion la Muerte wore a green single-breasted jacket with blue facings and silver buttons. They wore blue trousers. The headgear was a tapered stovepipe shako with a green tuft above the red Spanish cockade, a skull & crossbones plaque and the slogan "death struggle against the French invaders" (lucha a muerte contra el invasor francés).

La Muerte appear to wear French-style tan hide knapsacks with blue/white greatcoat cover.

Officers: The officers' uniform was the same style as that of the private but of better quality and with long tails as well as epaulettes, buttons and lace in silver. Boots would have replaced gaiters and a gilt gorget would have been worn.

Drummers: Nothing is known about the drummers' uniform, but if it followed the normal Spanish practice, it could be expected to be the same as that of the private but with red and white lace.


Prior to 1802 a battalion carried two 1762 pattern colours: one Coronela with the royal coat of arms on a field of white and one Sencilla with the red cross of Burgundy on a field of white. The Royal Decree of 1802 set the number of flags to one per infantry battalion. From that time on, the first battalions carried the Coronela and the other battalions the Sencilla. The excess colours were often placed in storage in churches.

It was common practice for newly formed units to do one of the following:

  • Reuse one of the excess flags taken from storage in a church.
  • Create a new flag of 1762 pattern.
  • Create a new flag with a religious motive such as a crucifix.
  • Create a new flag with the units slogan on a plain background.

Whether the Battalion la Muerte carried a flag is unknown.

If you are looking for a flag for your wargames unit, two possibilities could be either the units slogan on a field of the units facing colour or a reused Sencilla.


  • Spanish Army in the Peninsular War – Charles J Esdaile
  • Uniformes de la guerra de la Independencia - José María Bueno
  • Osprey – Spanish Armies Of The Napoleonic Wars II
  • Nafziger – The Armies of Spain and Portugal 1808-14