Thursday 15 May 2014

I have been to ... the Historical Military Museum of Coruña

I visited the Historical Military Museum of Coruña (Museo Histórico Militar de Coruña) some years ago, and enjoyed myself. At the time the Museum was a bit old-fashioned, with a large number of poorly-labelled objects on display in glass-fronted, dark-coloured wooden cabinets, but there were lots of interesting things to see. Since then the Museum has undergone a refurbishment and is now much improved.

The Museum is located just across the road from the San Carlos Gardens that houses Sir John Moore's tomb.

Upon entering the Museum you pass up a grand staircase ...

... that is dominated by a picture of King Juan Carlos, ...

... and lit by a stained-glass skylight.

The central design in the skylight is that of the Spanish Artillery as the Museum is housed in one of the numerous fortifications that were manned by the Coastal defence Artillery branch of that Arm of the Spanish Army.

Because of the way in which the exhibits are now displayed, the following description of what I saw has been themed rather than covered in strict gallery order.

One room contains a display of modern firearms, ...

... including a large number of machine guns.

At the end of this room a number of standards are on display in wooden cases, in front of which are some examples of small cannons.

Scattered around the Museum are a number of paintings that depict the various uniforms worn by the Spanish Army.

Rayadillo Uniforms
There are two interesting and very different styles of rayadillo uniforms on display.

Note: Rayadillo was a blue and white striped cotton fabric used to make the military uniforms worn by Spanish colonial soldiers during the late nineteenth century. The word means 'striped material' and at a distance uniforms made from rayadillo look very light blue or blue-grey in colour.

Model Ships
The Museum has a small but interesting collection of model ships.

A Spanish 74-gun line-of-battle ship

The Spanish corvette Maria Pita

Columbus's Pinta, Niña, and Santa Maria

A cutaway model of a typical Spanish galleon

Battle of Elviña diorama
The museum houses a very impressive diorama of the Battle of Elviña.

Models of the fortifications of Coruña
The Museum also houses some interesting models of the fortifications built to protect La Coruña, including a model of the building used by the Captain-General of Galicia.

As a former base of the Spanish Artillery, it is no surprise that the Museum houses a collection of full-size and model artillery pieces.

88mm Flak 18 Anti-aircraft Gun

152mm Schneider Medium Gun

105mm M1919 Schneider Mountain Howitzer

The breech of a 15-inch/381mm M1929 Vickers Coastal Defence Gun

75mm M1896 Krupp Mountain Gun

5.5-inch Vickers Coastal Defence Gun

57mm M1898 Nordenfelt Quick-Firing Gun Mark II

240mm M1881 Coastal Defence Gun

240mm M1916 Coastal Defence Howitzer

150mm Coastal Defence Gun

Miscellaneous Exhibits
The Museum also contains a number of displays that do not fit into other categories very easily.

Badges of the various units of the Spanish Foreign Legion (El Tercio or La Legion)

A company flag of the División Azul (or División Española de Voluntarios)

Note: The División Azul (or División Española de Voluntarios) was formed in 1941 to fight against Soviet Russia. Its German designation was 250. Infanterie-Division, and it comprised:
  • 262nd, 263rd, and 269th Infantry Regiments
  • 250th Artillery Regiment of four battalions
  • 250th Panzerjäger Battalion
  • 250th Reconnaissance Battalion
  • 250th Replacement Battalion
  • 250th Pioneer Battalion
  • 250th Signals Battalion
  • Supply Troops
It was disbanded in 1943 although some of its members continued to serve alongside their German allies in various units.

A German four-rotor Enigma machine

A display in honour of those members of the Spanish Army who have served as United Nations Peacekeepers

A diorama of Carlist troops

Various regimental and unit standards

Miscellaneous items (this is how many of the Museum's exhibits used to be displayed)

Spanish Army uniforms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Napoleonic Wars
One of the new sections added to the Museum contains exhibits that cover Spain's involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. These were mainly some very nicely constructed dioramas ...

... and full-size figures in uniforms of the period.

Temporary Exhibit
Next to the entrance to the Museum is a small separate area which houses temporary exhibitions. At the time of my visit this was devoted to the history of the Civil Guard (La Guardia Civil), which was founded 170 years ago.


  1. Bob

    Thanks. Lots of work here and a great result.


  2. Arthur,

    I am pleased that you enjoyed this blog entry.

    All the best,



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