Spanish Civil War Painting Guide: Moroccans (Nationalist)

There appear to have been three types of Moroccan units during the Spanish Civil War:

  • Regulares, both Infantry & Cavalry
  • Tiradores de Ifni (literally Riflemen of Ifni)
  • Mehal-la Jalifianas (Military Police)

Use descriptions from the Nationalist Service uniform except for the items below.

Figures A1, A2, and A3 in Turnball (1978) show officers and men of Moroccan units. Note: A1 is from the Tiradores de Ifni, the others from Regulares.

General Painting Guide

There were only minor differences between the the three troop types.

Item Regulares Tiradores de Ifni Mehal-la Jalifianas
Boots (if worn), Straps, pouches, large belt wallet Brown leather Early Tiradores: Brown leather
Late Tiradores: Black leather
Brown leather
European Officer’s fore-and-aft forage cap (if worn) Band around bottom: Lentil coloured (Coat D’arms 228 Buff)
Crown and tassel: distinctive colour of the unit
Piping: gold.
Band around bottom: Red
Crown and tassel: green
Piping: gold
Rank and service badges: green (in the usual places)
European Officer’s peaked cap (if worn) Red crown, piped gold with a gold chinstrap, Lentil coloured band, and cloth-covered peak, also lentil coloured (Coat D’arms 228 Buff). Badge of service appeared on the crown at the front, and the rank device appeared below it on the band.  Early Tiradores: Red crown, piped gold with a gold chinstrap, green band, and brown leather peak. Badge of service appeared on the crown at the front, and the rank device appeared below it on the band.
Late Tiradores: Bright blue crown, piped gold with a gold chinstrap, green band, and brown leather peak. Badge of service appeared on the crown at the front, and the rank device appeared below it on the band.

Green crown, piped gold with a gold chinstrap, red band, and black leather peak. Badge of service appeared on the crown at the front, and the rank device appeared below it on the band.
Branch-of-service badge Regulares Infantry: Group number on a silver crescent superimposed on crossed gold rifles
(see Bueno, 1971, inset on page IX).
Regulares Cavalry: Group number on a silver crescent superimposed on crossed silver lances
(see Bueno, 1971, inset on page XIII).
Five-point star in gold above a silver crescent. Six-point star in gold with Arabic lettering in the centre (see Bueno, 1971, inset on page XVI).
Skin colour (their own) Most officers were European (pale), and all men were Moroccan (brown). A few junior officers were Moroccan (brown).
Turban (“rexa”) (if worn) Usually white, but could be greenish-tinged khaki (Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown) or lentil coloured (Coat D’arms 228 Buff). All colours could appear in the same unit. 
Fez (“tarbouch”) (if worn) Typically Red, but could be greenish-tinged khaki (Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown). Branch-of-service badge on front. Both Red or khaki would have been found in the same unit. Officers had a rank badge below the branch-of-service badge. (All Native officers wore the fez, plus some European officers.)
European Officers Cloak (if worn or rolled on back of saddle) Bright azure blue. 
Rank devices Galleta were in the distinctive colour of the unit, but otherwise as per Nationalist Infantry, eg for a Corporal the 3 bars, chevrons, or diagonals are red. 
Military overcoat/cape (“capote”) (if worn) greenish-tinged khaki (Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown)
Chilaba, Moorish poncho-cape () (if worn)  (A distinctive cape with a large pointed hood called a “djellaba” in English.) Service issue chilaba were greenish-tinged khaki (Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown), but most would have been striped in tribal colours (eg brown with white stripes). All were piped in the distinctive colour of the unit, and had intricate Moorish designs on the back.
Long Military Tunic (if worn) Lentil coloured (Coat D’arms 228 Buff) with brown buttons. Tunic had branch-of-service and ranking devices in the usual places. 
Short Military Tunic (if worn) greenish-tinged khaki (Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown)
Shirt (if seen)  Cream coloured (Coat D’arms 233 Linen). 
Trousers Lentil coloured (Coat D’arms 228 Buff). 
Waist Sash (if worn) Distinctive unit colour
Puttees (if worn) greenish-tinged khaki (Cote D’arms 528 Russian Brown) (most common), sandy yellow (I used (Coat D’arms 228 Buff) or blue. Any could appear in the same unit. 
Bayonet sheath Black with bronze fittings. 
Shoes (if worn) White canvas. 

regulares_P1030358_CC_side.jpg (83107 bytes)

Regulares Command

Distinctive unit colours:

Each Moroccan unit had a distinctive colour for their waist sash and for the officers Galletas (patch on their left breast). (It would seem only the Infantry Regulares used waist sashes – I haven’t found illustrations of Cavalry, Tiradores of Ifni, or Mehal-la Jalifianas with sashes.)

Unit Name Colour
Grupo de Regulares de Tetuan no. 1 Red
Grupo de Regulares de Melilla no. 2 Blue
Grupo de Regulares de Ceuta no. 3 Green
Grupo de Regulares de Larache no. 4 Dark blue
Grupo de Regulares de Alhucemas no. 5 Dark red
Grupo de Regulares de Xauen no. 6 ?
Grupo de Regulares de Llano Amerillo no. 7 ?
Grupo de Regulares de Rif no. 8 ?
Grupo de Regulares de Arcila no. 9 ?
Grupo de Regulares de Bab-Tazza no. 10 ?
Early Tiradores de Ifni Red
Late Tiradores de Ifni Bright Blue
Mehal-la Jalifianas Green

Typical Illustrations

Typical uniforms are given by the following illustrations:

Unit Rank Illustration
Regulares Private Bueno, 1971, fig. 31
Regulares de Melilla Private Bueno, 1971, fig. 30
Regulares de Larache no. 5 Private Bueno, 1971, fig. 32
Regulares de Larache no. 4 Corporal Bueno, 1971, fig. 29
Regulares Sergeant Bueno, 1971, fig. 28
Regulares Second Lieutenant (provisional) Bueno, 1971, fig. 27
Regulares de Ceuta no. 3 Lieutenant Bueno, 1971, fig. 25
Regulares de Melilla no. 2 Captain Bueno, 1971, fig. 26
Regulares of a Cavalry Tabor Private Bueno, 1971, fig. 36
Regulares of a Cavalry Tabor Lieutenant Bueno, 1971, fig. 35
Mehal-la Jalifianas Askari Bueno, 1971, fig. 43, 45
Mehal-la Jalifianas Kaid ?? Bueno, 1971, fig. 42
Mehal-la Jalifianas Major Bueno, 1971, fig. 38

3 comments to Spanish Civil War Painting Guide: Moroccans (Nationalist)

  • Lee Robertson

    This is great stuff Steve. I dont suppose you know whether or not the fez was common issue amongst the soldiery of the Regulares and worn as frequently as the turban OR was it chiefly worn just by native officers and NCO’s other than on parade?

    • Steven Thomas

      From what I can tell turban v Fez was partly a unit preference, particularly an individual preferences, and partly due to the fortunes of war.

  • Lee Robertson

    good to know. I think Ill use that as the basis of my Spain in Flames Regulares.Martin, at Peter Pig, has just knocked up some Moroccan turban heads at my requests so Im going to plunge ahead with them now 😀

Leave a Reply