1st Grenadier

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Origin and History

The regiment was established by an Empress's order of March 30, 1756 and raised in June 1756 by P. A. Rumyantsev with the third grenadier companies (200 men) of the following line infantry regiments which were thus reduced to two grenadier companies per regiment:[2, 3]

N.B.: the official regimental history book [1] rather lists the following regiments; however four of them are also listed in other sources among those used for the raising of the [[2nd Grenadier|2nd Grenadier Regiment]:

The new grenadier regiment consisted of 2 battalions of 5 companies each.

The companies were to be detached from their initial regiments being fully equipped with armament, baggage and horses. Soldiers and officers were not to be transferred between companies. Many lower ranks were discarded due to poor health or insufficient height and replaced by more suitable ones. Rumyantsev also discarded 12 of the 60 initial officers mostly for illness and senility.

During its establishment, the regiment was encamped in Dreilingbusch near Riga and was commanded by Major Count Kozlovskiy detached from Novgorodskiy Infantry for this duty. On July 3, 1756, he was replaced by Premier-Major Alexey Stupishin who nominally commanded the regiment for 1,5 month until Lieutenant-Colonel Alexey Maslov arrived. Meanwhile, Colonel Stepan Yazykov had to complete his duties in the Military Collegium in Saint-Petersburg and was finally able take command of the regiment during the winter of 1757.

Officers included 4 staff-officers, 9 captains, 21 lieutenants, 31 sub-lieutenants and 2 adjutants. Staff-officers were between 33 and 38 years old, companies' captains between 29 and 40 years old, and lower officers between 17 and 41 years old. Overall, 84% of officers were of noble birth, others were commoners, 13% were foreigners from Prussia and Courland. By the end of the summer of 1756, the regiment had completed its formation and equipment, including regimental baggage. For the first time, grenadiers were to use grenadier mitres and leather equipment bearing the coats of arms of their former regiments. Fatigue caps were made of red cloth with yellow pompom and laces.

Regimental artillery was equipped with two 3-pdr guns and four hand mortars from the Riga arsenal. When the new regimental artillery staff was introduced, on November 11, 1756, the regiment received two additional more 3-pdr guns from the Riga arsenal and all artillery servicemen were included into the regimental staff.

On October 30, 1756, the regiment left the Dreilingbusch camp and took up its winter quarters in the suburbs of Riga.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from July 1, 1756 till August 30, 1757: Colonel Stepan Antipovich Yazykov (wounded at Gross-Jägersdorf).

Service during the War

After its creation in 1756, the regiment was stationed in Estonia.

In 1757, the regiment took part in the campaign in East Prussia under Field-Marshal Count Apraxin. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was part of Lubomirsky's Brigade belonging to the Reserve. When the Russian Army deployed, it was placed in the reserve of the centre.

In January 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of East Prussia. At the beginning of August, the regiment accompanied the Russian Army in its invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, the regiment fought in the Battle of Zorndorf where it was part of Panin's Brigade in the first line of the infantry right wing. About mid-November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters from Königsberg (present-day Kaliningrad) to Wehlau (present-day Znamensk) as part of Resanov's 2nd Division.

On July 23, 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to the 1st Division commanded by Fermor. It was deployed in Panin's Brigade on the right of the first line of the infantry centre. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the sanguinary Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the centre 2nd Division as part of Panin's Brigade.

To do: more details for the campaigns from 1760 to 1762

Uniform

Russian regiments of grenadiers all wore the same uniforms.

N.B.: the entire section on uniform is based on information provided by Arthur Yushkevich and Daniel Milekhin

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Summer uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer n/a
Grenadier until 1759: the new M1756 mitre with a brass frontplate embossed with trophies of weapons and standards and carrying in its centre the coat of arms of Russia (a double-headed Imperial Eagle and the monogram of Empress Elizabeth), instead of specific regimental arms as for the musketeer regiments; a black leather skull-cap and neck guard with brass reinforcements and decorations; a white wool pompom

exception in 1757: the 1st Grenadier Regiment went to war in cloth caps since they had not yet received the new M1756 leather caps
from 1760: a mix of M1756 and plain red cloth mitres, however some modern sources pretend that the mitre was replaced by a black felt tricorne laced white with a white cockade on the left fastened with a bronze button, we have not found proof of this, it might be a confusion with the reform that took place for the horse grenadiers
for more information on the evolution of the grenadier mitre cap, see our article Russian Line Infantry Uniform

Neckstock black
Coat dark green with 9 copper buttons on the right side on the chest and 2 copper buttons (one on each side) in the small of the back

N.B.: During summer campaigns, the coat was not worn, being left with the baggage. Soldiers carried a cornflower blue cape rolled over the shoulder. Since the waistcoat was red, Russian line infantry appeared to be entirely clad in red.

Collar red
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs red without buttons (some authors illustrate 3 copper buttons but we followed Leonov)
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat long sleeved red waistcoat lined green with 9 copper buttons, and with 2 en patte d'oie pockets each with 3 copper buttons, small green collar and green cuffs
Breeches red
Gaiters black leather with 10 large buttons covered with black fabric (white for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt elkskin leather
Waistbelt elkskin leather
Cartridge Box black covered with a copper plate decorated with the double-headed Imperial Eagle and the monogram of Empress Elizabeth (not specific regimental arms as for the musketeer regiments)
Bayonet Scabbard ???
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear black shoes


During winter, line infantry wore knee-length cornflower blue cape.

Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates, but were distinguished by gold laces on their tricorne, collar, and cuffs, more precisely:

  • Sergeant: gold laces on cuffs (in 3 rows) and collar
  • Fourrier, Master-at-arms and Sub-Ensign: gold laces on cuffs (in 2 rows) and collar.
  • Corporal: gold lace on collar

Officers

Grenadier officers wore a grenadier mitre, similar to that of grenadiers (or an earlier Modified M1731 model), but with a coloured double-headed Imperial Eagle.

Officer’s coat was similar to that of rank and file , but with a gold laced collar and lateral pockets closed by flaps en patte d’oie with 3 golden buttons each. Generally officers wore their coat with opened turnbacks. They also wore white cravates, green breeches and beige gloves.

Officers wore a gorget with the double-headed Imperial Eagle. For officers from ensign to captain, it was covered with silver; for majors, lieutenant-colonel and colonel with gold.

Officers carried a musket in action, the use of halberds and spontoons was abandoned. They also carried a sword suspended to a red leather belt.

Officer’s cartridge box was edged in gold.

Officer’s saddlecloth and holsters were red with round posterior corner, edged with one or two gold stripes (the inner broader), as rank distinction. EPI ciphers on the corner and holsters.

Officers wore a black and yellow (higher ranks - black and gold) silk sash.

Musicians

Grenadier Regimental Musician (Oboist) Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Grenadier Company Musician (Drummer or Fifer) Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf

Company musicians (drummers and fifers) wore the same uniform as privates with swallow nests on shoulders and braids on cuffs, pockets and collar.

Regimental musicians (oboists) wore the same uniform as privates with braids on cuffs, pockets and collar. Buttonholes and buttons were laced. Each sleeve was decorated with 4 chevrons with 2 wide drummer laces on each side.

The Drum Major had gold braids on cuffs and collar.

Drums were made in copper, the double-headed Imperial Eagle engraved in the front, bordered in red and green, green and white cords.

Important notice: Even though our illustrations depict yellow laces, the colour of the braids on the uniforms of the musicians were chosen by the colonel. For instance, it could have been the distinctive colour of the regiment (shown on the ordonnance flag). They were often decorated with red “XXXX” in the middle.

N.B.: During summer campaigns, the green coat was not worn, being left with the baggage. Since the waistcoat was red, Russian line infantry musicians appeared to be entirely clad in red.

Colours

The flags were mounted on a 3,02 m. the flagpole had a gilded finial. The flag was nailed to the pole with gilded nails.

Colonel Colour: white field with, in its centre: an Imperial Eagle bearing on a central breastplate the illustration of St. George killing the dragon. The breastplate encircled by the necklace of the St.George’s Order. The Imperial Eagle stands on a trophy of flags and grenadier equipment (mitres, grenades...). In the center of the trophy of flags stands a cipher PR (for "Premier Regiment"). The Imperial Eagle was surmounted by a cloud bearing Elizabeth's cipher in gold. In each corner: a black grenade on a red flame pointing at the centre.

Regimental Colours: red field with, in its centre: an Imperial Eagle bearing on a central breastplate the illustration of St. George killing the dragon. The breastplate encircled by the necklace of the St.George’s Order. The Imperial Eagle stands on a trophy of flags and grenadier equipment (mitres, grenades...). In the center of the trophy of flags stands a cipher PR (for "Premier Regiment"). The Imperial Eagle was surmounted by a cloud bearing Elizabeth's cipher in gold. In each corner: a black grenade on a white flame pointing at the centre.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

[1] История Лейб-гвардии гренадерского полка 1756-1906 г.г. Том I / History of Leib-Guard Grenadier regiment 1756-1906, vol.1

[2] Гребенщиков - История Лейб-гвардии гренадерского полка / Grebenshikov - History of Leib-Guard Grenadier regiment

[3] Императорская Гвардия / Imperial Guard

Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, p. 3, Anlage 1

Konstam, Angus, and Bill Younghusband: Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Vol. 1, Osprey Men at Arms Series, No. 297, 1996

Lubimow, A.J.: Die Feldzeichen der russischen Armee 1741-1761, in. Die Zinnfigur, Uniformheft 18

Pengel and Hurt: Russian Infantry of the Seven Years War, Birmingham, 1976

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989.

Viskovatov, A. V.: Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, vol. 3, Petersburg: 1900

Ziegler, Volker: Die Russische Linien-Infanterie zur Zeit des 7-jährigen Krieges, Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für hessische Militär- und Zivilgeschichte 3, 2005

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.

Acknowledgements

Roman Shlygin for the section on origin and history

Carlo Bessolo for the initial description of the uniforms