Origin and History
Until 1731, the regiment was a unit of dragoon known as the "Vyborgskiy Dragoon Regiment". In 1731, when Baron Munnich reorganised the Russian Army, the regiment was converted into the "Munnich Cuirassier Regiment", becoming the first cuirassier regiment of the Russian Army.
In March 1756, the regiment was renamed the "3rd Cuirassier Regiment".
N.B.: another regiment had been designated as the "3rd Cuirassier Regiment" at his creation in 1732 but, by the time of the Seven Years' War, it was known as the "Fedorovitch Cuirassier Regiment".
The regiment counted 5 squadrons (10 companies for a total of about 800 men) and was stationed in Courland. Because of recruitment difficulties, it usually fielded only 4 squadrons while the fifth served as a reserve and for replenishing the ranks of the other squadrons. Each company consisted of 4 officers, 5 NCOs, 2 musicians and 69 troopers.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- no information available yet
Service during the War
In July 1757, the regiment could field only 2 or 3 squadrons. It took part in the campaign in East Prussia under General Apraxin. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was probably part of the combined cavalry held in reserve.
In January 1758, the regiment took part in the Russian invasion of East Prussia. At the beginning of August, it followed the Russian army in its invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, the regiment fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it was part of the first line of the cavalry left wing. About mid November, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Rosenburg and Prussian Markt 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 Jeropkin's Brigade deployed in the second line of the left wing. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the second line of the right wing as part of Homiakov's heavy cavalry brigade.
To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1762
Russian cuirassiers had three distinct uniforms:
- a parade uniform
- a service uniform
- a uniform while not on active duty
Our plate depict the service uniform.
The parade uniform was very similar but a leather jerkin (kollet) was worn instead of the coat and waistcoat. While not on active service, the heavy chamois coat made of thick leather was simply replaced by a more comfortable blue coat lined and edged in red with a red collar, red lapels and red cuffs.
|Headgear||black tricorne (reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat) laced gold, with a white cockade on the left side fastened with a white strap and a small copper button|
|Coat||chamois lined and edged in red; fastened with hooks and eyes
|Waistcoat||sleeved red waistcoat fastened with hooks and eyes|
|Breeches||buff with white knee covers|
Troopers were armed with a short carbine, two pistols and a sabre. Cuirassiers also wore a blackened iron breastplate decorated with a brass imperial cipher and bordered red. This breastplate was worn over the coat and waistcoat.
The horses of the troopers were mostly black or dark brown.
Corporals, armourers, quartermasters and sergeants wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- gold stripes above the red lace on collar, lapels and cuffs (1 stripe for corporals, 2 stripes for armourers and quartermasters, 3 stripes for sergeants)
Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers but made of fabric instead of leather and with the following distinctions:
- golden laced tricorne bordered with golden plumes
- gold stripes on the red lace of the coat edges, collar, lapels and cuffs (thin 1/3” stripe for subaltern officers and large 3/4” stripe for superior officers)
- red waistcoat edged with a chamois braid carrying a gold stripe (thin 1/3” stripe for subaltern officers and large 3/4” stripe for superior officers)
- red breeches
- black and gold silken sash worn over the breastplate
- red saddlecloth and housings laced gold (thin 1/2” stripe for subaltern officers, one thin 1/2” stripe and one wide 1” stripe for superior officers) carrying the imperial cipher
Sometimes, for sulbaltern officers, the holster caps were edged with blue lace.
Musicians wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:
- swallow nests at the shoulders
The kettle-drum and the trumpets were made of copper to the exception of those of the first company which were made of silver. The banners were light blue. The banner of the kettle-drum was embroidered and fringed in gold.
Cuirassiers still carried standards of the 1731 pattern, measuring 60 cm by 70 cm fringed in gold. The flagpole had a gilt finial.
Leib Standard: white damask field with;
- obverse: centre device consisting of an Imperial Eagle bearing the regimental arms on a breastplate encircled by the necklace of the St. George’s Order and surmounted by a red and gold crown; corner devices consisting of the crowned imperial cipher within a wreath all in gold.
- reverse: centre device consisting of the crowned imperial cipher on a silver field, surrounded by a wreath of palm branches and surmounted by a gold and red crown; corner devices consisting of the crowned imperial cipher within a wreath all in gold.
Regimental Standards: light blue field, centre device consisting of the crowned golden imperial cipher on a silver field surrounded by a wreath of golden palm branches; corner devices consisting of the crowned imperial cipher within a wreath all in gold.
The first squadron carried the white colonel (Leib) standard while the 4 other squadrons each carried one regimental standard.
Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen, Part 3: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin 1902
- chapter A: Das Kaiserlich Russiche Heer, page 1-46
- appendix: supplement 1, Das Kaiserlich Russiche Heer, page 3-18
Konstam, Angus, and Bill Younghusband: Russian Army of the Seven Years War, vol. 2, Osprey Military, London, Reed International, 1996
Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by the KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989
Viskovatov, A. V.: Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, vol. 3, Petersburg: 1900
Volker Ziegler, Brühl: Die Russische Kavallerie zur Zeit des Siebenjährigen Krieges (1756-1763
Zweguintzov: L'Armee Russe, 1973
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.