Regimiento de Infanteria “Leon” No. 38

(Infantry Regiment “Leon” Nr. 38)

Contributed by Francisco Jose Diaz Diaz


This unit served in Havana, Cuba during the Spanish American War.


This regiment had two battalions and one Staff detachment. Each battalion had 20 officers and 326 men during peacetime; In war, each battalion increased to 39 officers and 1001 men.

Size of Regiment: 83 officers, 2004 men.

Losses: Not known

Location of service: 1st battalion: Cuba. 2nd battalion: Spain.

Actions: No actions against American forces. Actions against Cuban forces unknown.


Infantry Regiment "America" was created in 1694. Originally it was known as "Tercio Provincial Nuevo de León". The unit was under the command of  Maestre de Campo (ancient name for Colonel) D. José Vélez de Cossío. This unit was garrisoned in some Spanish cities as Pamplona, Barcelona and León.

Over time, the name of the unit changed. In 1700 the designation was changed to Tercio de los Amarillos Nuevos, followed by Regimiento Provincial de León (1704), Regimiento de León nr 22 (1741), Regimiento de Infantería León nr 28 (1815) and Regimiento de Infantería de Linea León nr 38 (1847).

Before the Cuban War, this regiment was based in Spain. Its served in the"1ª Región Militar" (1st Military District).

When the Cuban Insurrection began, the Spanish Minister of War, General Azcarraga, ordered that a number of Spanish regiments be sent to Cuba, with regiments coming from the various battalions. By the Royal Order of Campaign, in July 29, 1895, twenty infantry regiments were ordered to send one battalion to Cuba. The battalion sent by "León" infantry Regiment nr 38 was its first Battalion. The total number of men in the battalion was 1040, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Tomás Fernández Fernández.

When this Battalion arrived at Cuba was sent to Havana and brigaded into Headquarters' Brigade, defending the city. During the Cuban Insurrection (1895-1898). The unit was involved in ctions in several sectors of Cuba.

This battalion included:

Staff Detachment: 1 Lieutenant Colonel, 2 comandantes (major in US Army), 2 captains, 1 alferez (2nd lieutenant in US Army) for carrying the regimental flag, 2 medical doctors (officers), 1 chaplain (officer), 1 sergeant, 1 cornet corporal and 1 gunsmith

6 companies, 1st and 2nd companies having 1 captain, 3 lieutenants, 1 alferez (2nd lieutenant in US Army), 5 sergeants, 10 corporals, 4 cornets, 4 soldiers of 1st class (veterans) and 144 soldiers of 2nd class. 3rd to 6th companies having 1 captain, 3 lieutenants, 1 alferez (2nd lieutenant in US Army), 5 sergeants, 10 corporals, 4 cornets, 4 soldiers of 1st class (veterans) and 143 soldiers of 2nd class

After the war, in 1931, the unit was redesignated as Regimiento de Infantería nr 6. In 1944, it was again redesignated, this time as  Regimiento de Infantería León nº 38. This Regiment was dissolved in 1985.

The unit was involved in many other actions, including the following:

War against France (1695-1697): Campaing of Rosellón.

Spanish Succession War (1704-1714) Campaings of Portugal, Castilla and Cataluña.

War against England (1744) Naval Battle of Cabo Sicié

War against England during American Revolution (1777-1783): Naval Battle of Martinica

War against France during French Revolution (1793-1795): Defence of San Sebastián

War against England (1797-1802): Defence of El Ferrol

Spanish Independence War against Napoleon (1808-1814) Battles of  Espinosa, Tamames, Medina de Rioseco, Cáceres and Tolosa.

Independence Wars of Hispanic America (1814-1826): Some actions near to Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)

War against Morocco (1859-1860): Battles of Wad-Ras and Tetuan

3th Carlist War (1872-1876) Actions of Mañuecas and Galdames, Battle of Treviño

African Campaing (1921-1924) Actions of Ain-Gorra.


Grávalos, Luis, Die Spanische Armee, (Quirón Ediciones,1998) translation of the 1885 Leipzig edition.

Carrasco García, Antonio En guerra con los Estados Unidos. Cuba 1898 (In War against United States. Cuba 1898), (Madrid: Editorial Almena S.L, 1898).

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Unoficial website about spanish infantry

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