Captured Without Resistance:

         Photo Images of the Colonial Period.          

Posted 05/31/06   Updated 01/21/07 



NEWSLETTER: The New Tropical Telegraph








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*New images added as they become available*

Welcome to the Project's photo gallery.  Presented here are original images form the Los Rayadillos archive of Spanish military photography from the colonial period, including the Spanish American War.  The study of period images is one of the most important tools used to discover the true appearance of the Spanish fighting man, his officers and environment.  Photographs from both the colonies and Spain will be included to show the contrast between the home army and colonial forces.  New images will be added as they, and time, become available.

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Infantry - Infantería

Colonial Infantryman: Regimiento Garellano #43, Cuba 1895-98

A well equipped soldier dressed in a Guayabera pattern tunic and trousers of rayadillo.  His straw hat of jipijapa is standard for the tropics.  The accoutrements are the 1886 Peninsular pattern in black leather with a brass belt plate embossed with the regimental number "43".  He still retains the old pattern cartridge pouches used with the Remington Rolling Block rifle.  He is armed with a Model 1893 Mauser rifle and bayonet.



Colonial Infantryman: Possibly Regimiento Zaragoza #12, Cuba 1895-98

This young man is ready for action. He is dressed in a Guayabera pattern tunic and trousers of rayadillo.  His straw hat of jipijapa has the regulation black hat band.  Unfortunately, his hat does not fit him very well.  The wears the 1886 Peninsular pattern in black leather accoutrements with the new cartridge pouches for the Mauser rifle introduced in 1895.  The regiment number on the brass belt plate not very clear but appears to be "12".  He is posed loading a clip of 7 mm cartridges into his Model 1893 Mauser rifle with fixed bayonet.  Note the 'jungle' studio background.


Colonial Infantry Officers: Regimiento Zaragoza #12,Cuba 1896-98

A group image of several officers that show some interesting uniform details.  All these gentlemen wear a variation of the rayadillo 'guerrera' or tunic that has a concealed button fly front.  The garment actually closed with simple horn or bone buttons but most of these officers have decorative brass Infantry buttons attached to the fly.  These buttons were most likely held by wire rings so they could be easily removed when the uniform was laundered.  The same would be true for the rank stars on the cuffs and the rank braid would have been attached with safety pins.  All display the regimental number "12" in brass on the collar.  Four of the subjects wear the white visor caps with rank braid around the band authorized for colonial officers by Royal Order C.L. 221 in 1896.  The central officer, a Captain, wears a blue wool Garrison Cap or "Gorro de Cuartel" trimmed in rank braid and piped in red.  Vests of white cotton or rayadillo also seam to be popular with this relaxed group.

Peninsular Infantryman: Regimiento Zaragoza #12, Spain 1886-1908

Peninsular Infantry Musician: Regimiento Zaragoza #12, Spain 1900

Colonial Infantry Officer: Cuba 1895-98

Colonial Infantry Sergeant : Regiment Magallanes #70, Permanent Establishment Philippines 1897-98

Light Infantry - Cazadores

Colonial Light Infantrymen: Cazadores Battalion de Tarifa #5, Cuba 1899

A well known commercial image taken in Havana by an American photographer immediately after the war.  The soldiers on at the center and left both wear rayadillo Guayaberas while their comrade sports a Cuban pattern Guerrera.  Two of the men have blanket rolls slung over their shoulders, a popular practice with Spaniards in the field.  All have 1895 improved accoutrements to service their Mauser rifles, on which they have fixed the knife bayonet.  Their brass belt plates are embossed with the hunter's horn with a "5" in the twist.  All three men are crowned with slightly different styles of straw hats.

Colonial Light Infantry Corporal: Cazadores Expeditionary Battalion, Philippines 1896-98

15 special Light Infantry Expeditionary Battalions were raised for service in the Philippines.  This NCO wears the rayadillo tunic distinctive to the Philippines with standing collar and concealed button fly front closure.  The collar has the Light Infantry horn insignia in brass with unit number in the center.  Unfortunately, the image is not clear enough to determine the battalion number.  His Corporal or "Cabo" rank insignia of red and black braid is displayed on both cuffs.  His straw hat also has the wide linen binding on the brim commonly seen on issue hats in this colony.  The brown leather belt with brass frame buckle is part of the Model 1896 Colonial Infantry equipment and he is armed with a Model 1893 Mauser bayonet.  The photograph was taken in Manila.


Colonial Light Infantrymen: Cazadores, Cuba 1895-98

Volunteers - Voluntarios

Volunteer Infantryman: 4th. Battalion 5th. Company Voluntarios de Habana, Cuba 1872


Volunteer Infantryman: 1st. Battalion G D C G. Voluntarios de Habana, Cuba 1870's

This CDV of a well equipped volunteer during the Ten Years War reveals a number of intriguing details.  He is dressed in a white drill jacket and trousers with, presumably, green collar and cuffs with yellow sardinetas on the cuffs' upper edge.  His trousers have an peculiar cuff decoration with a three button placket.  He also wears a straw hat with a leather chin strap and leather leggings.  He is armed with an American made Model 1871 Remington rolling block rifle with a Spanish made bayonet, identifiable by its noticeably longer blade.  Locally made leather accoutrements of substantial quality round out his attire.  The 'belly' cartridge box has a brass plate pierced with the initials "G D C G".  The image was taken in havana.  This unit is currently unidentified.  Your input is welcome, as always.

Volunteer Infantry Pioneer: 1st. Company Voluntarios de San Antonio, Cuba 1885-98

Volunteer Infantryman: 7th. Company Voluntarios de Habana, Cuba 1895-98

Volunteer Infantryman: 8th. Company Volunteer Marine Infantry, Voluntarios de Habana, Cuba 1895-98

Volunteer Infantrymen: Unidentified Company, Voluntarios de Habana, Cuba 1895-98

Volunteer Infantrymen: Unidentified Company, Cuba 1870's-80's

Volunteer General of Division: 3rd. Company Pioneer Detchment, Voluntarios de Matanzas, Cuba 1870's-80's

Volunteer Light Infantry Captain: 1st. Company, Voluntarios de Matanzas, Cuba 1885-98

Volunteer Light Infantry Officer: Unidentified Company, Voluntarios de Matanzas, Cuba 1885-98

Volunteer Cavalryman: Voluntarios de Manila, Philippines 1895-98

Volunteer Infantry and Cavalry Mascots : Voluntarios de Manila, Philippines 1895-98

Volunteer Infantry Parade: Pioneer Company "Batallón Urbano", Voluntarios de Habana, Cuba 1895-98

Artillery - Artillería

Colonial Artilleryman: 4th Regiment Mountain Artillery, Cuba 1895-98

Civil Guard - Guardia Civil

Colonial Civil Guard: Cuba or Puerto Rico 1884-98

Civil Guard: Cuban War Veteran, Spain 1900


A studio image of a Civil Guard NCO in Gala dress wearing a Cuban Campaign Medal with three clasps.




Military Corps of Public Order - Orden Publico

Colonial Public Order Enlisted Man: Havana, Cuba 1889

Colonial Public Order NCO: Havana, Cuba 1890-98

The Navy - La Marina

Sailor: Crew of the Reina Mercedes, Havana Cuba 1895-98

Forts and Blockhouses

Blockhouse and Barracks with Infantry Garrison: Cuba 1895-98


All material is Copyright 2006 by William K. Combs.  No portion may be used without permission.