Preobrazhenskiy Leib-Guard

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Russian Army >> Preobrazhenskiy Leib-Guard

Origin and History

The Preobrazhénskiy Leib-Guard was initially raised from the children regiments, the potiéchnyi used by Peter I during his childhood to play the little war.

In 1700, the regiment was one of the few uniformally dressed unit of the Russian army.

In 1742, Elizabeth Petrovna created the Leibkompanie from the grenadiers of the regiment in recognition of the help that this unit had given her when she had walked upon the Palais d'hiver.

At the beginning of the Seven Years War, the regiment counted some 4,500 men (3,720 men including 432 non-combatants according to the work of the Grosser Generalstab) and consisted of:

  • Senior Staff (7 officers)
  • Junior Staff
    • 3 officers (quartermaster and adjutant)
    • 337 non-combatants
  • 1 Leibkompanie of grenadiers (364 men)
  • 4 battalions (for a total of 16 officers, 714 men and 18 non-combatants), each battalion consisted of:
    • 4 musketeer companies (each of 210 men)
    • 1 grenadiers company (284 men) the work of the Grosser Generalstab mentions only 1 grenadier company for the entire regiment
      • 5 officers
      • 277 men
      • 2 non-combatants
  • 1 bombardier company (107 men)
    • 3 officers
    • 83 men
    • 21 non-combatants
    • 12 x 3-pdr guns (each including 2 x 6-pdr mortars affixed to its carriage) the work of the Grosser Generalstab mentions only two 3-pdr guns for each battalion

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

To do: identify the successive commanders during the SYW

Service during the War

During the entire Seven Years War, the regiment was stationed in Sankt. Petersburg.

In 1762, the regiment took part to the coup which overthrew Peter III and replaced him by Catherine II.

Uniform

Privates

Guard grenadier mitre in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer large black felt 1742 pattern tricorne laced white with 2 white pompons and a white cockade with a golden link on the left fastened with a golden button
Grenadier until 1759: mitre with a brass frontplate 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 reinforments and decorations, a red ostrich plume

from 1759: large black felt 1742 pattern tricorne laced white with 2 white tassels and a white cockade with a golden link on the left fastened with a golden button

Neckstock white cravate
Coat dark green with 9 golden buttons on the right side on the chest and 9 red buttonholes, and 2 golden buttons in the small of the back

N.B.: the coat was usually not worn during summer campaigns

Collar red
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs red with 3 golden buttons
Turnbacks red, each fastened with a golden button
Waistcoat long sleeved red waistcoat with 9 golden buttons and 9 red trimmed buttonholes, and with 2 en patte d'oie pockets each with 3 golden buttons and 3 red trimmed buttonholes
Breeches red
Gaiters white with 10 copper buttons (black in winter)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt red leather
Waistbelt red leather
Cartridge Box troopers of the Leibkompanie carried cartridge boxes covered with red cloth while troopers of other companies carried black leather box covered with a copper plate
Bayonet Scabbard ???
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear black shoes


During winter, guard units wore knee-length dark green cape.

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

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 green breeches and yellow gloves.

For all Guard officers, a two pieces metallic decoration was fixed on the lapel: the upper half (removable) represented EP and two grenades, the lower an eagle with two grenades. The waist belt was heavily embroidered in gold.

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.

Leibkompanie’s officers carried shoulder-belt cartridge-boxes covered in red velvet, with EP and weapons and grenades trophies embroidered on the lapel, bandoleer were made in gilt mail. Similarly the lyadunka was in red velvet, lined by a golden edge, trophies and grenades. Officers of other companies had a red leather cover to protect and decorate the patronna sumka.

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

Preobrazenskiy Guard Fifer Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Preobrazenskiy Guard 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.

Colours

The flags measured 1,62 m. x 2,66 m., with a gold finial and silver cords and tassels. The flags were fringed in gold and mounted on a 3,35 m. white wooden pole. The three Guard regiments had flags of similar design. However, the distinctive colour of each regiment (red in the case of Preobrazenskiy) was used on the outer border and the part wrapped around the flagpole. Moreover, the Colonel flag seems to have more gilding than the Ordonnance flag.

Colonel Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Ordonnance Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

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, Anlage 1

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

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

Carlo Bessolo for the initial description of the uniforms