Russian Garrison Dragoons Organisation

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Introduction

It is quite difficult to find comprehensive information about the organisation of Russian garrison troops so the information in this article combines various sources.

Evolution of the garrison dragoon regiments organization

By 1731 each dragoon regiment (field or garrison) counted 9 dragoon companies and 1 horse grenadier company grouped in 5 squadrons.

Since July 14, 1731, all horse grenadier companies were disbanded and grenadiers distributed among 10 dragoon companies (10 grenadiers per company).

Since May 14, 1741, horse grenadier companies were reestablished and each garrison dragoon regiment now counted 10 dragoon companies in 5 squadrons and 1 horse grenadier company [2]. No changes seem to have taken place between 1741 and 1762. As per Maslovskiy, garrison dragoon regiments had only 10 dragoon companies, he makes no mention of horse grenadiers) [3].

Essential assumptions

It seems that no staffing establishments for garrison dragoon regiments are known after the introduction of those of 1731. Maslovskiy [3] cites the following staffing for garrison dragoon regiments:

  • 997 officers, NCOs and soldiers for a total (including non-combatants) of 1,199 men for a garrison dragoon regiment.

Nevertheless, this does not correlate with other sources. Thus the following theoretical staffing of garrison dragoon regiments is based on the 1731 establishment [1], considering:

  • the fact that the grenadier company was reestablished;
  • information from reports of a junior staff shortage made in the winter of 1757-1758;
  • changes in field cavalry regulations that could affect garrison dragoons too.

Reports on junior staff shortage indicate that some regiments had 820 soldiers (Sibirskiy and Novouchrezhdyonniy) while others (Voronezhskiy and Astrakhanskiy) had 920 soldiers, probably due to the addition of 100 horse grenadiers. Finally the strength of some other regiments is unclear but they probably counted 920 soldiers excluding staff or could have had their own staff peculiarities.

Composition and Organisation

Garrison Dragoon Regiments

A Garrison Infantry Regiment consisted of:

Senior Staff:

  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 premier-major

Junior Staff (12 musicians and 61 non-combatants) including:

  • 1 commissar
  • 1 regimental clerk
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 commissariat clerk
  • 2 provosts
  • 2 fitters
  • 5 saddlers
  • 5 blacksmiths
  • 5 carpenters
  • 5 farriers
  • 20 cabmen
  • 13 staff-officers’ batmen (6 assigned to the colonel; 4 to the lieutenant-colonel; and 3 to the premier-major's)
  • musicians
    • 1 drummer
    • 2 trumpeters
    • 8 oboists

5 garrison squadrons, each of:

  • 2 companies of dragoons (3 officers, 7 NCOs, 82 soldiers, 2 musicians, 6 non-combatants), each of :
    • 1 rittmeister
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 ensign
    • 1 wachtmeister
    • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmus)
    • 1 sub-ensign
    • 4 corporals
    • 82 dragoons
    • 2 drummers
    • 6 non-combatants
      • 1 clerk
      • 1 barber
      • 4 officers’ batmen (2 for the rittmeister; 1 for the lieutenant; and 1 for the ensign)

1 company of horse grenadiers (3 officers, 6 NCOs, 100 soldiers, 2 musicians, 6 non-combatants):

  • 1 rittmeister
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 sub-lieutenant
  • 1 wachtmeister
  • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmus)
  • 4 corporals
  • 100 horse grenadiers
  • 2 drummers
  • 6 non-combatants
    • 1 clerk
    • 1 barber
    • 4 officers’ batmen (2 for the rittmeister; 1 for the lieutenant; and 1 for the sub-lieutenant)

For a total of 1,193 men in a regiment: 36 officers, 76 NCOs, 920 soldiers, 161 non-combatants.

Notes:

According to the 1731 establishment, one captain could be promoted to second-major rank while still leading a company.
It seems that staff quartermaster was usually the captain of a company who had been appointed to this function.

Independent Garrison Dragoon Squadron

The independent garrison dragoon squadrons seem to have retained the organization described in the 1731 establishment with some deviations:

Senior Staff:

  • 1 lieutenant-colonel

Junior Staff (2 musicians and 12 non-combatants) including:

  • 1 comissar
  • 1 squadron clerk
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 provost
  • 1 commissariat clerk
  • 2 blacksmiths
  • 1 farrier
  • 4 lieutenant-colonel's batmen
  • 2 trumpeters

5 companies of dragoons (3 officers, 7 NCOs, 92 soldiers, 2 musicians, 6 non-combatants), each of:

  • 1 rittmeister
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 ensign
  • 1 wachtmeister
  • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmous)
  • 1 sub-ensign
  • 4 corporals
  • 10 horse grenadiers
  • 82 dragoons
  • 2 drummers
  • 6 non-combatants:
    • 1 clerk
    • 1 barber
    • 4 officers' batmen (2 for the rittmeister; 1 for the lieutenant; and 1 for the ensign)

For a total of 16 officers, 35 NCOs, 460 soldiers and 54 non-combatants for the squadron.

References

[1] Complete collection of laws of the Russian Empire, vol.43, Part 1, pp. 58-62

[2} Viskovatov, A. V., Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, vol. 2 and 3, Petersburg: 1900

[3] Maslovskiy, Dmitrij Fedorovich: Russkaia armija w siemieletnjuju wojnu

[4] Zvegintsov, V.V.: Russian army. Part I. 1700-1763. / В.В. Звегинцов. Русская армия. Часть I. 1700-1763

[5] Beskrovniy, L. G.: Russian army and navy in XVIII century / Л.Г. Бескровный. Русская армия и флот в XVIII веке

Acknowledgements

Roman Shlygin for the initial version of this article