Butyrskiy Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Russian Army >> Butyrskiy Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1642 as the “2nd Moskovskiy Selective Regiment” and by the time of the Seven Years’ War, it was along with 1st Moskovskiy one of the two oldest regular regiments of the Russian Army.

At its creation in 1642, the regiment was one of the “new organization” (also called foreign organization) regular infantry regiments that were raised during the reign of Alexey Mikhailovich because the experience of the Russo-Polish wars and of the Thirty Years’ War indicated that the old organization in irregular and semi-feudal units was quite ineffective. The regiment was completed with picked volunteers from the Strelets regiments and counted between 52 and 60 companies, each of 100 men. These companies were converged in a few battalions for action. Nevertheless, the regiment still retained some irregular characteristics and its peacetime effective strength was lesser.

In 1657, the regiment was settled in the suburb of Moscow – Butyrskaya sloboda (a sloboda being a kind of settlement, bigger than a village but smaller than a town).

The regiment took part in the Russo-Polish War (1654-1667). It was attached to the main army under the Tsar but saw no serious actions.

In 1662, the regiment took part in the suppression of the “Copper Riot” in Moscow.

The regiment then took part in Russo-Turkish War (1676-1681). In 1677, it was attached to the army that forced the Turkish army to raise the siege of the Fortress of Chigirin. In 1678, the Russian army unsuccessfully tried to reinforce the garrison of the Fortress of Chigirin which was once more besieged by the Turks. At the end of the campaign, the garrison left the fortress and the Turks destroyed it. Detachments of the Butýrskiy Regiment were present in the garrison of the fortress as well as in the main army. In 1679, a picked detachment of the regiment (2,338 men) was part of the Russian army that garrisoned Kiev.

From 1683, children of soldiers of the Butýrskiy Regiment were among those forming the “Toy Army” (poteshniy regiments) of young Peter I which would, in 1695, form the Russian Guard.

In 1687, the new commander of the regiment, Lieutenant-General Patrick Gordon, reorganized the regiment on the model of modern European regiments. From then on, the regiment counted only 2 battalions for a total of 1, 000 men (by 1696 this number had been increased to 1,200 men).

In 168,7 the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Crimean campaign.

From 1695 to 1697, the regiment took part in the successful Azov campaigns of Peter I.

To do: the campaigns of the Great Northern War

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

To do: identify the successive commanders during the SYW

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Ingria and Estonia.

In 1757, the regiment took part in the campaign in East Prussia under General Apraxin. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was part of the vanguard and belonged to Schilling Brigade. When the Russian army deployed, it was placed in the first line of the left wing.

In January 1758, 2 battalions of the regiment took part in the invasion of East Prussia (German sources mention a “Prul Regiment”). On February 17, Prince Dolgoruki reported from Mitau (present-day Jelgava) that the regiment had begun its march and that it planned to reach Janischky (present-day Joniškis) on March 16. At the beginning of August, the regiment took part in the invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, it fought in the Battle of Zorndorf where it was part of Prince Dolgoruki Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing. About mid November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in Culm (present-day Chelmno) and surrounding villages as part of Rumyantsev's 3rd Division.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Most Russian regular line infantry regiments wore the same uniforms.

Privates

Grenadier mitre in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Summer uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black felt tricorne laced white with a white cockade on the left fastened with a copper button
Grenadier until 1759: the M1756 mitre with a brass front plate embossed with trophies of weapons and standards and carrying in its centre the regimental coat of arms surmounted by the Imperial Eagle; a black leather skull-cap and neck guard with brass reinforcements and decorations; and a white wool pompom.

from 1759: the modified M1731 mitre with the brass front plate taken from the M1756 mitre; cloth cap most likely(*) of the same colour as the coat with red turnbacks with white lace (golden for officers) on the seams of the cap and on the edges of the turnbacks; a white wool pompom.

(*)Note: grenadiers still used cloth leftovers after the making of uniforms, and, for example, the grenadiers of the Observation Corps 1st Musketeer used red cloth for both caps and turnbacks.

...for more information on the evolution of the grenadier mitre cap of the Russian infantry, see Russian Line Infantry Uniform

Neckstock black
Coat dark green with 9 copper buttons on the right side on the chest and 9 red trimmed buttonholes, 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 none
Cuffs red with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks red, each fastened with a copper button
Waistcoat long sleeved red waistcoat lined green with 9 copper buttons and 9 red trimmed buttonholes, and with 2 en patte d'oie pockets each with 3 copper buttons and 3 red trimmed buttonholes
Breeches red
Gaiters black leather with 10 large copper buttons (white for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt red leather
Waistbelt red leather
Cartridge Box black covered with a copper plate
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 troopers but were distinguished by their gold laces on their tricorne, collar, and cuffs.

Officers

Most officers wore gold laced tricorne (gold/black pompons) but some officers wore a mitre.

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

Officers carried a musket in action, the use of halberds and spontoons was abandoned.

Officers 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.

Staff officers wore a black and gold sash.

Musicians

Line Infantry Fifer Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Line Infantry Drummer Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert

Drummers wore the same uniform as the troopers with swallow nests on shoulders and braids on cuffs, pockets and collar.

Fifers wore the same uniform as the troopers with braids on cuffs, pockets and collar (no swallow nests on the shoulders).

The Drum Major had a gold edge on his tricorne, and gold braids on cuffs and collar.

Drums were made in copper, the regimental coat of arms 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 measured 1,62 m. x 2,66 m., were fringed in gold and mounted on a 3,35 m. red wooden pole.

Colonel Flag: white field with, in its centre, an Imperial Eagle bearing the regimental arms on a breastplate encircled by the necklace of the St.George’s Order. In each corner, a red flame pointing at the centre.

Regimental Flag: green field, in its centre, a gold crown surmounting a gold shield bearing the regimental arms. In each corner, a red flame pointing at the centre.

Colonel Colour - Regimental arms from Minikh Armorial 1730 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Ordonnance Colour - Regimental arms from Minikh Armorial 1730 - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

The section on origin and history of this regiment is mainly based on two works:

Other sources

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, Appendix 1

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

Pengel, R.D. and G.R. Hurt: Russian Uniforms and Flags of the Seven Years War, Birmingham 1980

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

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

Acknowledgements

Roman Shlygin for the information on the origin and history of the regiment.

Carlo Bessolo for the description of the uniforms