Russian Dragoons Organisation

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Introduction

Dragoon regiments were the first regular Russian mounted troops. They were formed at the beginning of the 18th century. Unlike dragoon regiments of other western powers, the Russian dragoon regiments should be considered as medium cavalry. Indeed, Russian dragoons had initially poor quality horses of various coat colours. By 1758, the quality of their horses had improved.

In 1757 and 1758, most of the dragoon regiments taking part to the campaigns in Europe could field only 3 to 4 squadrons. The 4th and 5th squadrons were often used as reserve squadrons. In 1759, the 5th squadron was officially designated as a reserve squadron.

Composition and Organisation

A dragoon regiment totalled about 1,000 men and consisted of:

  • senior staff:
    • 1 colonel
    • 1 lieutenant-colonel (also led a squadron)
    • 1 first-major (also led a squadron)
    • 1 second-major (also led a squadron)
  • junior staff
    • 1 quartermaster
    • 1 warrant officer
    • 2 commissaries
    • 2 trumpeters
    • 8 oboists
    • 1 kettle-drummer
    • non-combatants:
      • 1 chief of train
      • 1 chaplain
      • 1 doctor
      • 1 assistant doctor
      • 3 clerks
      • 2 provision clerks
      • 2 provosts
  • 5 dragoon squadrons, each of:
    • 2 dragoon companies, each of :
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 1 cornette
      • 8 NCOs
      • 1 clerk
      • 2 drummers
      • 1 surgeon
      • 82 dragoons
  • 1 grenadier company of:
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 sub-lieutenant
    • 1 cornette
    • 8 NCOs
    • 1 clerk
    • 3 drummers
    • 1 surgeon
    • 100 grenadiers
  • other troops
    • 30 workers
    • 106 various troops (coachmen, horse keepers...)

The dragoon companies were grouped into squadrons as follows:

  • 1st squadron: 1st company and 6th company
  • 2nd squadron: 2nd company and 7th company
  • 3rd squadron: 3rd company and 8th company
  • 4th squadron: 4th company and 9th company
  • 5th squadron: 5th company and 10th company

Note: exceptionally, Lutskiy Dragoons and Olonetskiy Dragoons regiments were slightly larger, each counting 34 officers and 1,217 men (including 163 non-combatants).

Regimental guns

The regulation stated that each regiment of dragoons had a regimental artillery consisting of:

  • 2 x 3-pdr cannon (each with 2 small 6-pdrs mortars affixed to its carriage)

These pieces were served by 2 gunners, 4 fusiliers and 6 wagoners from the Russian artillery. Furthermore, the regiment was accompanied by 4 two-horses artillery ammunition wagon and 6 two-horses cartridge ammunition wagons and an additional two-horses wagon transporting grenades.

In the field, a regiment rarely had more than 1 piece.

From 1758, the guns were gradually replaced by 8-pdr unicorns.

Train

The train of a dragoon regiment consisted of 60 to 70 vehicles including ammunition, cartridge and hand grenades carts, and some bridging material.

References

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 Men at Arms Series, No. 297, 1996

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by the KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989, pp. 54-55

Ziegler, Volker: Die Russische Kavallerie zur Zeit des 7-jährigen Krieges (1756-1763), in: Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für hessische Militär- und Zivilgeschichte, vol. 4, 2007, pp. 62-80

Zweguintzov, L'Armee Russe, 1973