Smaller armies of the War of the Spanish Succession

Apart from the major powers there were also a lot of smaller powers involved in the war. These had their own armies and some of them operated independently for a time.

The Bavarian Army

The Bavarian Army was a standing army that had been founded by the previous elector of Bavaria. In 1682 Max Emanuel had doubled its size to 7 infantry regiments, 4 cavalry regiments and 4 dragoon companies. This size of this army was substantially below that of any of the major powers, but even then it could not be maintained by the income and credit of Bavaria. The substantial participation of the Bavarian army in the war against the Turks, where it gained a lot of experience, was therefore only possible on account of subsidies. After the peace of Rijswijk the size of the Bavarian army was reduced.

We have an overview of the strength of the Bavarian army in 17011. In 1701 the regular infantry counted a guard regiment of three battalions, five regiments of two battalions and four independent battalions. The militia counted 12 battalions and so the infantry totaled 29 battalions. The cavalry consisted of 17 cavalry squadrons and 12 dragoon squadrons. We'll see that according to its numbers the Bavarian army was very comparable to the Prussian.

1701 was also the year Bavaria started to deal with France and concluded a first treaty. By this it was obliged to raise the strength of its army to 15,000 men in return for a monthly subsidy of 45,000 dollars. The regiments stationed in the Spanish Netherlands were meanwhile returned to Bavaria a movement which was completed in April 17012. In August 1702 the first treaty with France was followed by a treaty which obliged Max Emanuel to raise his army to 25,000 men. Apart from adding a Cuirassier regiment in 1702, an additional infantry regiment in 1703 and a third battalion to the infantry regiments the basic organisation of the Bavarian amry did however remain unchanged till early 1704.

Meanwhile Max Emanuel started to strengthen his militia troops. In the early summer of 1704 the Bavarian army reached its zenith: 8 cavalry regiments fielding 47 squadrons and 9 regular infantry regiments fielding 26 battalions. This for a 'soll' strength of 28,250 men which was probably nearer to 19,000 in reality3.

In 1704 the Bavarian amry suffered heavy losses in the battle of the Schellenberg and comparably light losses in the battle of Blenheim. The loss of the troops which were in Bavaria when the country was subsequently reduced did however lead to only a small force continuing the struggle in the Spanish Netherlands. The Bavarian troops then suffered again in the battle for the Brabant lines and the battle of Ramillies, but did continue the fight till the end of the war.


1) Pelet tome 1 page 470: Ordre de Bataille de l'armée de M. l'Electeur de Bavière.
2) Die Schlacht von Hochstädt the Battle of Blenheim, chapter by Klaus Ulrich Hammel, page 52: has this movement completed by the end of April 1701.
3) Die Schlacht von Hochstädt the Battle of Blenheim, chapter by Klaus Ulrich Hammel, page 52: about these numbers.