Tercio Viejo de Nápoles

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The Tercio Viejo de Nápoles is one of the thirds of the Spanish army during the hegemony of Spain in Europe and is known for being the oldest of all thirds thirds existed as old.

The Tercio Viejo de Nápoles was born with the ordinances of Carlos I of Spain, 1534 and 1536 where they formed the first three thirds: the Tercio Viejo de Nápoles, the Tercio Viejo de Sicilia and Tercio Viejo de Lombardía.
However it should be noted that initially the Tercio Viejo de Nápoles also grouped and Sicilia, being called Tercio Viejo de Nápoles y Sicilia, but soon breaking up into two: the Tercio Viejo de Nápoles and Tercio Viejo de Sicilia. With these ordinances, the king formed the basis of the troops for a century and a half gave Spain a hegemony over other European nations of those two centuries, the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
The third was always formed by the Spanish, despite its name is the name of the city of Naples.
The third old name was because (besides that it was one of the first thirds created) in the third were the troops of more ancient date in Italy.

At first, the Tercio Viejo de Nápoles was in charge of the garrisons of Campania, the provinces of Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Salerno and, of course, Naples. In addition guarnicionaba also castles Castel de Oro, Rocasecca (near Montecassino), and the fortresses of Gaeta and Castelnuovo (at the gates of Naples), and small detachments on the islands of Capri, Ischia and procide.
Of course, the Tercio Viejo de Nápoles, because of the continuing conflict in the provinces of the Spanish Empire, had to leave their positions several times, as in the struggles of Flanders.


The tercio (Spanish for Third) was a Renaissance era military formation made up of a mixed infantry formation of about 3,000 pikemen, swordsmen and arquebusiers or musketeers in a mutually supportive formation. It was also sometimes referred to as the Spanish Square. It was widely adopted and dominated European battlefields in the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century.


The tercio was the product of the Italian Wars, in which the Spanish general, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, reorganized the Spanish army throughout a series of conflicts at the end of the 15th century and early 16th century, into a tactically unique combination of combined arms centered around armored infantry. At first the army consisted of units of around 6000 men, called coronelias, which by 1534 had been reduced to the tercios of 3000, for increased mobility on the offensive.
Armies using the tercio generally intended to field them in brigades of at least three, with one tercio in the front and two behind, the rearward formations echeloned off on either side so that all three resembled a stepped pyramid, hence the name tercio, which means "one third" (that is, one third of the whole brigade or battle group).

Composition and Characteristics

Although other powers adopted the tercio formation, their armies fell short of the fearsome reputation of the Spanish, who possessed a core of professional soldiers, which gave them an edge that was hard for other states to match. That army was further supplemented by "an army of different nations", a reference to the fact that many of the troops were mercenaries from Germany (Landsknecht), Italian and Walloon territories of the Spanish Netherlands, as was characteristic of European warfare before the levies of the Napoleonic Wars. In the 16th and 17th centuries however, the core of Spanish armies were formed by Spanish subjects, who were frequently praised by others for their cohesiveness, superiority in discipline and overall professionalism.


Within the tercio, ranks of pikemen arrayed themselves together into one large block (cuadro), similar to a pike square. The arquebusiers were usually split up in several mobile groups called sleeves (mangas) and deployed relative to the cuadro, typically with one manga at each corner. By virtue of this combined-arms approach, the formation simultaneously enjoyed both the staying power of its pike-armed infantry, as well as the ranged firepower of its arquebusiers. In addition to its inherent ability to repulse cavalry and other units along its front, the long-range firepower of its arquebusiers could also be easily reorganized to the flanks, making it versatile in both offensive and defensive evolutions, as demonstrated by the success of the tercios at the Battle of Pavia (1525).
Groups of tercios were typically arrayed in dragon-toothed formation (staggered—the leading edge of one unit level with the trailing edge of the preceding unit; see similar hedgehog defense concept). This enabled enfilade lines of fire and somewhat defiladed the army units themselves. Odd units alternated with even units, respectively one forward and one back, providing gaps for an unwary enemy to enter and outflank itself, where it would become subjected to the combined direct and raking cross fire from the guns of three separate tercios. From their inception, tercio formations were meant to co-ordinate their field operations with cavalry.

- Recruits:
  • Voluntario - Volunteer - Vol
- Soldier:
  • Piquero - Pikeman - Piq
  • Arcabucero - Arquebusier - Arc
  • Lancero - Lancer - Lnc
  • Ingeniero - Engineer - Ing
- NCO:
  • Cabo - Corporal - Cbo
  • Sargento - Sergeant - Sgt
- Officers:
  • Alférez - 2nd Lieutenant - Alf
  • Teniente -  Lieutenant - Tte
  • Capitán - Captain - Cpt
- General Staff:
  • Furriel mayor - Quarter Major - FurM
  • Capellán mayor - Chaplain Major - CapM
  • Sargento mayor - Sergeant Major - SgtM
  • Maestre de Campo - Field Master - MdC
- Special:
  • Pito - Pífano - Pif
  • Porta Estandarte - Banner Carrier - Pst
  • Cirujano - Surgeon - Cjn
  • Furriel - Quarter - Fur
  • Capellán - Chaplain - Cap