Painting Guide for the Spanish-Moroccan War

Painting guide for the Spanish-Moroccan War. The main source is Bueno (1998), however, where Hardman (1996) differs I tend to favour his view as he spent the entire 1860 campaign with the Spanish Army and was a professional observer. On the other hand Bueno is a professional historian, so you can make up your own mind.


Hardman (1996) said the Moorish irregulars only garment was a white haik (long loose tunic with a hood). Their skin colour ranged from almost African black to European white.

Spanish Army of Africa

From left to right:
Line Infantry, Artillery, Rifleman, Lancer, Marine Artilleryman, Princess Hussar, Engineer
(from the Illustrated London News, 10 Nov 1859)


Brown frock coat with a red collar (Bueno, 1998; Hardman 1996). The coat reached almost to the knees and had a built in cape over the shoulders that extended down to the elbows (presumably like the cape on an ACW great coat). The Illustrated London News (1859) says the tunic was a royal blue, silver buttons, with red facings and cuffs, but this was probably the dress uniform.

The Illustrated London News (1859) mentions a grey cloak for the Light infantry.

“Ros” shako of grey felt bound with black leather (Hardman, 1996). It was low like a kepi, but higher in front than back. It was called a “Ros” as it was invented by General Ros de Olano – the guy who commanded the 3rd Corps. Note, Bueno (1998) has the shako in white, but as mentioned above I favour Hardman, and in 1885 the Infantry were still in grey Ros’s s white seems unlikely (Grávalos & Calvo, 1998). The Fusiliers had a green feather in their cap and the Grenadiers a red one (Illustrated London News, 1859).

Trousers of the Line infantry were pale blue (Bueno,1998; Illustrated London News, 1859), and red for the light infantry (Bueno; Hardman, 1996; Illustrated London News)

The men’s waist belt and centrally attached cartridge box were black (Bueno, 1998; Illustrated London News, 1859).

All infantry wore a long cloth gaitor reaching from knee to foot and buttoning over the trouser (Hardman, 1996). Bueno (1998) and the Illustrated London News (1859) have these in black – at least for the Light Infantry and Engineers, and I presume this colour was universal for the foot. Bueno doesn’t show buttons on the outside of the Light Infantry, but does for the Engineers.


The Illustrated London News (1859) says the officers of all arms were difficult to distinguish from the men, although they had a sword in a steel sheath and a revolver . Bueno (1998) gives officers a white wait belt, black revolver holster, and black strap to the “purse” style officer’s haversack, and black boots.


Speaking of the Engineers, Bueno (1998) has them in a fairly distinctive uniform. They had a narrow topped peaked hat (British WWI style) with mid-blue top and white band, mid-grey frock-coat the same length as the brown infantry one but without the cape and with a red stand-up collar and shoulder wings. Trousers were dark blue with a red side stripe covered by particularly long black gaiters with side buttons. All equipment is white except the cap box and bayonet scabbard which are black.

In contrast the Illustrated London News (1859) gives the Engineers a helmet trimmed with horse hair and with a metal spike (similar to the Prussian helmet), a blue coat with buttons and silver epaulettes (like the Cavalry). It is possible items were part of the dress uniform, and Bueno (1998) is describing the campaign dress. The Illustrated London News, however, agrees with Bueno on the blue trousers with red strip, black gaiters, and white leather. They carried a musket without a bayonet.


As the Engineers except with a black shako with a red feather and boots (Illustrated London News, 1859). The also carried a sword, pistol and musket.


The Illustrated London News (1859) says the cavalry wore a very short blue tunic with a red collar and silver epaulettes. Trousers were royal blue; cartouche-box white.

The Cuirassiers left their armour in Spain (Hardman, 1996).

Bueno (1998) has: Lancer Regiment España silver metal helmet with gilt/gold spike and black plume, chain and front badge, mid blue frock coat trimmed red including collar, white/silver shoulder straps and rolls, pale blue booted-overalls with black leather bottoms and red side stripe, white leather equipment, pale blue saddle covers with red trim, and the lance has a yellow swallow-tailed pennon.

Acosta (1998) has: Cabo de Lanceros de Santiago in the same uniform as the Regiment España, but with no helmet plume, and with a lance pennon pale blue over white.


Acosta Guerrero, J. M. (1998). El Ejercito Espanol en Campana 1643-1921. Madrid.

Barrow, Andrew. (u/d). The Spanish In North Africa, 1859. Colonial Conquest, 10.

Bueno Carrera, J. M. (1998). Soldados de Espana, El Unifome Militar Espanol desde Los Reyes Catolicos hasta Juan Carlos I. Madrid

Griffiths, Maj Arthur. Spanish Battles in Morocco: 1859-60, Castillejos, Tetuan, Guad El Ras. Battles of the Nineteenth Century,

Hardman, F. (1996). The Spanish Campaign in Morocco. Pallas Armata. (Originally published in 1860)

Grávalos González, L., & Calvo Pérez, J. (1998). Nuestro Ejército etropolitano en 1885: Regencia de María Cristina. Valladolid, Spain: Quiron Ediciones. [Spanish and German text].

Illustrated London News (10 Nov 1859). The War between Spain and Morocco: The Costumes of the Spanish Army. Illustrated London News, 486-487.

Rey, Miguel del. (2001). La Guerra de Africa 1859-1860; Uniformes, Armas y Banderas. Madrid.

Woolman, D. S. (1968). Rebels in the Rif. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

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