Companeiskiy Cossacks

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Russian Army >> Companeiskiy Cossacks

Origin and History

From 1732 to 1741, while he was at the head of the Russian Army, Count Burkhard Christoph von Münnich attempted with limited success to create some regular Cossack units.

Some Ukrainian Cossacks were enlisted in permanent units called Companeiskiy and placed under the authority of local Ukrainian authorities. Thus they did not belong to the Russian regular army.

Service during the War

This unit does not seem to have taken part in the successive Russian campaigns in East Prussia, Brandenburg and Silesia. It probably remained in Ukraine for the entire conflict.

Uniform

Illustrations of Cossacks
The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection at Brown University make available a large number of illustrations depicting Cossacks. Even though they are mostly of the 1812-1815 period, they give a fairly good idea of the way Cossacks dressed during this era.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, these Cossacks did not wear uniforms. The following description is very conjectural and based on the clothing of other Cossack units.

Caftans and waistcoats were often made of blue cloth. Their hair was cut in roundel. They wore a high bonnet of sheepskin. Coats of rank and file were girdled with an ordinary sabre strap or a belt of coarse fabric material. Leaders wore silken belt from Persia or Poland over the sabre belt. Sabre was worn over the waistcoat. Some cossacks, especially the rank and file had only a mustache, beard was less common. They wore woollen trousers, half boots of black Morocco leather or simple leather. The Cossacks trousers were similar to the Turkish ones, but much tighter.

Troopers were usually armed with a lance, a sabre and a pistol. They could also carry a knife and a musket.

Musicians

Kettle-drummers are sometimes mentioned with Cossack units.

Colours

These units had probably no official standard even though they may had some unofficial ones.

References

Konstam A. & B. Younghusband : Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Osprey, London, 1996