Observation Corps 4th Musketeer
Origin and History
The 4th Musketeer regiment was created in 1756 and should consist of 4 battalions. The theoretical organisation of this regiment was as follows:
- Regimental staff
- Senior staff
- 1 colonel
- 2 lieutenant-colonels
- 4 majors (2 first-majors and 2 second-majors)
- Junior staff
- 1 quartermaster
- 3 adjutants
- 1 auditor
- 2 doctors
- 2 popes
- 4 surgeons
- 1 clerk
- 1 superintendent
- 1 quartermaster's clerk
- 1 drummer
- Senior staff
- Regimental ordnances
- 148 servicemen
- 73 artillery servicemen
- 141 paramedics
- 1 chaplain
- 6 oboists
- 1 foreign blacksmith
- 5 Russian blacksmiths
- 1 foreign farrier
- 9 Russian farrier
- 1 regimental provost
- 4 battalion provosts
- 4 masters of horses
- 1 cleric
- 4 field battalions, each of:
- 4 companies of musketeers and 1 company of grenadiers, each of:
- 1 captain or 1 major (1st first-major with the 3rd coy, 2nd first-major with the 14th, 1st second-major with the 7th coy, 2nd second-major with the 10th)
- 1 lieutenant
- 2 second-lieutenants (3 in the grenadier company), including 8 standard bearers distributed among the musketeer coys
- 4 sergeants
- 1 captain of arms (Kaptänarmusse)
- 1 quartermaster (Fourier)
- 8 corporals
- 4 drummers
- 1 fifer (only in the grenadier company)
- 192 privates
- 9 privates non-combatants (12 in the grenadier company)
- 2 canoniers
- 8 gunners
- 1 carpenter
- 1 clerk
- 1 barber
- 4 companies of musketeers and 1 company of grenadiers, each of:
- Regimental artillery (18 pieces):
- 4 x "secret" howitzers
- 2 x ¼-pud unicorns
- 12 x ½-pud unicorns
N.B.: the pud is an old Russian unit of measure equivalent to 40 or 48 pounds.
The regiment was finally ready at the beginning of 1758. However, it could field only 3 battalions instead of the 4 originally planned. The entire Observation Corps was disbanded at the beginning of 1760.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- no information found yet
Service during the War
In 1756, the Observation Corps was still recruiting and organising in Moscow and did not take part to the campaign.
By the autumn of 1757, the regiment was at Novgorod. It counted only 3 battalions instead of the 4 originally planned.
In January 1758, the Observation Corps was finally ready and marched to the theatre of operation. The 3 battalions of the regiment then took part in the invasion of East Prussia. In July, the Observation Corps could align only 12,000 men. On August 6, during the invasion of Brandenburg, it marched from Paradise Kloster through Birnbaum to Schwerin on the Wartha river where it encamped. On August 10, Czernichef was instructed to march from Schwerin to Landsberg with the Observation Corps. On August 23, the Observation Corps marched from Landsberg to make a junction with Fermor's main army at Zorndorf. The junction was made at 2:00 PM on August 24 and the Observation Corps was deployed en potence on the flank facing Quartschen. On August 25, the regiment took part in the battle of Zorndorf where it was deployed in Thiessen's Brigade in the first line of the Observation Corps. About mid November, the regiment took its winter quarters in an area extending from Thorn (present-day Torun) to Culm (present-day Chelmno) as part of Braun's corps.
On July 23 1759, the regiment did not take part in the battle of Paltzig. It was rather assigned to guard the camp. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the bloody battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing as part of Fast's brigade. During this battle the Observation Corps suffered so heavily that it was no longer able to operate as an autonomous corps.
At the beginning of 1760, the entire Observation Corps was disbanded.
All Russian musketeer regiments of the Observation Corps wore the same uniforms.
|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 Observation Corps appeared to be entirely clad in red.
|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|
During winter, the musketeers of the Observation Corps wore knee-length cornflower blue cape.
Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre. The sabre differed from those of the regular line infantry: it had a curved handle and no guard.
NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers but were distinguished by their gold laces on their tricorne, collar, and cuffs.
Most officers wore gold laced tricorne (gold/black pompons) but some officers wore a mitre.
The gorget worn by the officers the same device carried on the colours. It was the main feature to differentiate ranks:
- colonel: gold with a coloured decoration (same colour as those used on the flags)
- lieutenant-colonel: gold
- major: gold
- captain: silver bordered gold with the entire decoration in gold
- lieutenant: silver with the entire decoration in gold
- second-lieutenant: silver with golden cipher and rays
- ensign: silver
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 one broader), as rank distinction. EPI ciphers on the corner and holsters.
Staff officers wore a black and gold sash.
Officers wore black dragoon boots.
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.
Each regiment of the Observation Corps carried 1 white flag and 7 coloured flags. The flags measured from 1,32 to 1,42 m. high by 1,58 x 1,73 m. wide. They were mounted on a 3,02 m. the flagpole had a gilded finial. The flag was nailed to the pole with gilded nails.
Colonel Flag: white field with flames (unknown colour) in the corners. In its centre: an Imperial Eagle bearing on a central breastplate the illustration of St. George killing the dragon. The Imperial Eagle stands on a trophy of red flags and infantry equipment (drums, mitres, grenades...). The Imperial Eagle was surmounted by golden rays bearing the crowned Elizabeth's cipher in gold. The whole scene rested on a white cloud.
Regimental Flag: coloured field with flames (see note) in the corners. In its centre: an Imperial Eagle bearing on a central breastplate the illustration of St. George killing the dragon. The Imperial Eagle stands on a trophy of red flags and infantry equipment (drums, mitres, grenades...). The Imperial Eagle was surmounted by golden rays bearing the crowned Elizabeth's cipher in gold. The whole scene rested on a white cloud.
N.B.: the regiments of the Observation Corps were distinguished by the colour of the field and flames of their flags. These distinctives are known (blue with raspberry red flames; cherry red with white flames; green with raspberry red flames; light blue with yellow flames; yellow with gold flames). However, we not been able to find a source associating them with the respective regiments. Here we arbitrarily chose to illustrate the regimental flag with a light blue field and yellow flames.
Funcken, L. and F.: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Großer Generalstab: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763, Vol. 4, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Berlin, 1902, pp. 1-46
Konstam, Angus, and Bill Younghusband: Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Vol. 1, Osprey Men at Arms Series, No. 297, 1996
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.
Tatarnikov, K.: Obsyervatzionniy Korpoo. 1756-1760 gugu. Obmoondirovaniye i snaryaʐyeniye, “Stariy kaptyenarmoos”, nr 1/2011
Viskovatov, A. V.: Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, vol. 3, Petersburg: 1900
Ziegler, Volker, Das russische Observationskorps in Siebenjährigen Krieg, in Jahrbuch des Gesellschaft für hessische Militär- und Zivilgeschichte 1 (2001)
Zveguintzov, Vladimir, L'armée russe, Paris, 1967
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the detailed unit breakdown