European naval infantry 1500-1650?

May 2019
215
Earth
Did any European nations during this period have specific units of naval infantry/marines, rather than just army soldiers embarked on vessels? Given that boarding combat was still a notable feature of naval tactics during this era (particularly among countries like Spain), I had thought some might. I'd be particularly interested in the overseas powers of this period (Spain, Portugal, England, France, Netherlands).
 
Sep 2019
88
Turkey
Did any European nations during this period have specific units of naval infantry/marines, rather than just army soldiers embarked on vessels? Given that boarding combat was still a notable feature of naval tactics during this era (particularly among countries like Spain), I had thought some might. I'd be particularly interested in the overseas powers of this period (Spain, Portugal, England, France, Netherlands).
You can take a look at the " Battle of gravelines " , this battle gives you some ideas of that naval period .

Sent from my GM8 go using Tapatalk
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,513
Japan
Spain I believe raised some of the earliest Marines.
They were raised in 1537.

Portuguese raised theirs in 1618. However they had other dedicated naval infantry and troops from 1585.

British had dedicated marines from 1664, but often just used infantry companies to supplement these.

Netherland’s marine corps started in 1665, Prior to this marine duty was done by regular soldiers.

France had marines from 1622.

In almost all these cases I think most countries bolstered marines with regular troops.
 
Last edited:
May 2019
215
Earth
Spain I believe raised some of the earliest Marines.
They were raised in 1537.
Do you have any details? Wikipedia only has a brief blurb:

The Infantería de Armada (Navy Infantry) was created by Charles V in 1537, when he permanently assigned the Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies) to the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley Squadrons). But it was Philip II who established today's concept of a landing force. This was a pure naval power projection ashore by forces deployed from ships that could maintain their ability to fight despite being based on board. This is the period of the famous Tercios (literally "One Third", due to its organisation: one third of musketeers, one third of spearmen and the final third of pikemen):
  • Tercio Nuevo de la Mar de Nápoles.
  • Tercio de la Armada del Mar Océano.
  • Tercio de Galeras de Sicilia.
  • Tercio Viejo del Mar Océano y de Infantería Napolitana.
source: Spanish Marine Infantry - Wikipedia

Would be interesting to know more about their organization and operational histories.

EDIT:

Portuguese raised theirs in 1618. However they had other dedicated naval infantry and troops from 1585.

France had marines from 1622.
Your edit came after my post...
Again, same question. Any details to share?
 
Last edited:

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,513
Japan
I’m afraid not much more than what’s on wiki.
You can google them all and see what’s out there. I have a book about the Royal Marines somewhere...
Martin37 might have more information about Spanish marines.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,969
Portugal
Portuguese raised theirs in 1618. However they had other dedicated naval infantry and troops from 1585.
There is a historiographical question if the date of founding of the “Terço da Armada da Coroa de Portugal” is indeed 1618 or 1621. It seems that it was the last one, 1621, 18th April, as stated in this article in the navy magazine, by J. Matos:

Revista da Armada

What do you mean by “they had other dedicated naval infantry and troops from 1585”?

There were armed personnel on board since, at least, the end of the 15th century, but I don’t know if that qualifies was “Marines” or “Naval Infantry”. But why 1585?
 
May 2019
215
Earth
There is a historiographical question if the date of founding of the “Terço da Armada da Coroa de Portugal” is indeed 1618 or 1621. It seems that it was the last one, 1621, 18th April, as stated in this article in the navy magazine, by J. Matos:

Revista da Armada
I can't read Portuguese, so I'll probably have some unanswered questions here. Were those "Terço da Armada da Coroa de Portugal" part of the Portuguese navy? What sort of roles were they tasked with (boarding parties, guard duty, amphibious assault)? Did any see action in Portugal's overseas campaigns during the time period I mentioned?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,969
Portugal
I can't read Portuguese, so I'll probably have some unanswered questions here. Were those "Terço da Armada da Coroa de Portugal" part of the Portuguese navy? What sort of roles were they tasked with (boarding parties, guard duty, amphibious assault)? Did any see action in Portugal's overseas campaigns during the time period I mentioned?
As far as I know, the Portuguese Terços (as well as the Spanish Tercios) didn’t saw action outside Europe as an all, as an unit. Besides, for the Portuguese in the overseas empire in the Orient there were used generally smaller and had-hoc units.

The Portuguese in the Terço da Armada were scattered in the ships, in small sub units, and as such they saw action were the ships were, meaning, everywhere doing everything: “boarding parties, guard duty, amphibious assault”. Their first action is stated in the article was in Brazil against the Dutch, in Bahia, 1625 (the article says that they leaved Lisbon in 1524, but it is a typo, is 1624). It was an amphibious assault also with men from the Terço de Socorro (literally "help Terço", probably a unit made for that action). Let us recall that at the time the crown of Portugal had the same king as the crowns of Castile and of Aragon and there were also Spanish there.

As for the question if it was part of the navy or part of the army, that question is much seen at today’s eyes. It was a Terço, a unit of its own, that the main task was to protect the ships.

Also, for reference (at least mine):

Revista da Armada

Setembro, 1976, p.18 (in Portuguese) - note that in this article appears again the 1618 date.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hyuzu
May 2019
215
Earth
Thanks Tulius.

As for the question if it was part of the navy or part of the army, that question is much seen at today’s eyes. It was a Terço, a unit of its own, that the main task was to protect the ships.
You'll have to forgive me for that assumption then. I'm not from Spain or Portugal, so the history and status of the Tercios/Terços is beyond my knowledge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tulius

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,969
Portugal
Thanks Tulius.

You'll have to forgive me for that assumption then. I'm not from Spain or Portugal, so the history and status of the Tercios/Terços is beyond my knowledge.
Don't worry, even I, that read in Portuguese and Spanish, often struggle with it. It is not linear. Glad that my post could help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hyuzu