1902 Encyclopedia > Spain > Spain - Army and Navy

(Part 3)


Spain - Army and Navy

Army. Military (or naval) service is obligatory on all Spaniards, but in certain cases recruits are allowed to buy themselves off. According to the law of January 8, 1882, the period of service for all arms is twelve years, of which three years must be passed with the colours, three years in the active reserve, and six years in the second reserve. The minister of war is empowered, however, on financial grounds to transfer troops serving with the colours to the active reserve before the period of three years' service has been fulfilled. Liability to service begins with the first day of the calendar year in which the twentieth year is completed. Persons holding a civil appointment or pursuing any handicraft independently are allowed to buy themselves off for 1500 pesetas (£60), and brothers are allowed to take each others' place in service, or to exchange the numbers that have fallen to them by lot in the raising of the recruits for the year. For carrying out the law Spain is divided into fourteen military districts, the boundaries of which do not at all coincide with those of provinces.

The actual strength of the regular army is fixed at about 94,000 men for the kingdom (including the Balearic and Canary Islands), but this number may be brought up to 400,000 in time of war. The strength of the regular army in Cuba is about 22,500 men, in Porto Rico about 3200, and on the Philippine Islands about 8200. The active army is divided into 140 battalions, besides the same number of depot and reserve battalions ; 24 cavalry regiments, and the same number of depot squadrons and reserve cavalry regiments; 9 regiments of field artillery, and 3 of mounted artillery, besides 6 reserve regiments of artillery, and 10 battalions of engineers. There are also 13 battalions of fortress artillery.

Navy. The following statement shows the strength of the navy in Navy. 1885 :—First Class—4 ironclad frigates (55 guns), 4 screw frigates (97 guns), 6 cruisers (48 guns); Second Class—5 frigates (104 guns), 3 cruisers, 12 corvettes and troopships (39 guns); Third Class—1 ironclad monitor (3 guns), 1 floating battery, 79 gunboats, transports, &c. (124 guns).

There were at the same time building one ironclad of the first class, five cruisers of the second class, besides torpedo boats, tugs, and other vessels. For the defence of the colonies, and more particularly those of the West Indies, there are thirty-five screw gunboats, all of the same size (about 5 feet draught), and each carrying a 100-pounder pivot-gun at the bow.

The navy is manned by conscription in the maritime districts. In 1885 the number of seamen was about 14,000, that of marines about 7000.

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