Line Infantry Belt Buckles
Most Spanish enlisted men wore brass rectangular belt plates as part of the Model 1886 accoutrements. Infantry plates bore the number of the regiment. Other branches were embossed with the insignia of their service or unit numbers. Buckles exist with many small variations.
Infantry - Infantería
Infantry plates can be found in at least three styles; numbers embossed, numbers applied and pierced numbers.
EMBOSSED NUMBER PATTERN
10th Infantry Regiment "Córdoba" - Santiago Division, Cuba - with tag from Bannerman
APPLIED NUMBER PATTERN
73rd Infantry Regiment "Joló" -Permanent Establishment, Philippines. This particular manufacture style, with a cast body and applied numbers or devises, appears unique to the Philippines. It reflects Spain's attempt to ease the long distance supply line problem with items of local manufacture, even if they were slightly substandard in quality.
PIERCED NUMBER PATTERN
62nd Infantry Regiment "Alfonso XIII" - Sancti Spíritus Division, Cuba
MORE EXAMPLES OF INFANTRY BUCKLES
3rd Infantry Regiment "Principe" - Santiago Division, Cuba
This unit was one of the defenders of Guantanamo Bay against the US marines, June 1898.
13th Infantry Regiment. Philippines made belt plate with applied numbers. No Spanish Infantry unit with the number 13 served in the Philippines with the exception of the 13th. Expeditionary Cazadores Battalion. That unit was issued with the Model 1896 Colonial Infantry equipment which utilized a brass frame buckle. If they had been issued a belt plate it would logically have been embossed with an hunter's horn and the number 13 inside the twist. It is possible that this plate was a simplified expedient for that unit. But another intriguing possibility exists. It is well known that military outfitters in Manila, such as Adolfo Roensch who had supplied the Spanish army, immediately converted their sales stock to meet the needs of their new American clients. In many cases they simply replace Spanish insignia on articles such as officers's white gorra de plato visor caps with U.S. regulation emblems. This plate may be an example of such a conversion intended for sale to the souvenir hungry lads of the 13th. Minnesota, a unit where it was already popular to adorn their campaign hats with 13th. Cazadores collar insignia.
36th Infantry Regiment "Burgos" - Santa Clara Division, Cuba
51st Infantry Regiment "Vizcaya" - Manzanillo Division, Cuba
1st Regional Infantry Regiment of Baleares. This regiment served in Spain. However, in July, 1896, 140 men from this unit were sent to Cuba as replacements for losses there. This particular belt plate was the souvenir of a Tennessee soldier.
All material is Copyright 2006 by William K. Combs. No portion may be used without permission.