Pikes At The Ready! The Tercios Muster Again On The Streets Of Old Madrid

The feared Spanish Tercios of old are back displaying their prowess with a drill of arms in the Plaza de la Villa, followed by a parade through the Madrid Austrias district,today, 30th January.

The men from the 31 Enero Tercios re-enactment assocation are mustering to celebrate the day of the Tercio in recognition of their unique place in Spanish and military history.

The tercios were a feared military formation – and can claim to have revolutionised warfare on the continent of Europe,being the amongst the first of the “trained bands” of voluntary – as opposed to levied troops.

They were the first pikemen and musketeer ( or arquebus)  formation, which allowed for a lethal military combination which reversed the dominance of armoured cavalry on the battlefield.

Their combat effectiveness made more so by their abilility to move from the defence to the attack including to move forward in smaller melee units to defeat a fleeing enemy.

They were formally adoped by the Charles I , who inherited the Spanish throne as Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and who is considered their founder, using them extensively in his battles in the Spanish Netherlands and Italy.

The Tercios dominated the European battlefield from the mid 16th to 17th centuries.

Contrary to modern perspectives, the vast majority of the tercio soldiers were non Spanish, indeed comprised of many nationalities including in the main, Swiss, German and Italians.





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