Russian Garrison Infantry 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 infantry regiments organization [2]

By 1731 each infantry regiment (field or garrison) counted 7 fusilier companies and 1 grenadier company in 2 battalions (144 soldiers in each company for a total of 1,152).

Since July 14, 1731 all grenadier companies were disbanded and their grenadiers distributed among 8 fusilier companies (16 grenadiers per company), simultaneously the total strength of a garrison regiment was reduced to only 1,102 soldiers.

Since May 14, 1741 grenadier companies were reestablished and each garrison infantry regiment now counted 8 companies in 2 battalions and 1 grenadier company. No changes seem to have taken place between 1741 and 1756.

Essential assumptions

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

  • 1,147 officers, NCOs and soldiers for a total (including non-combatants) of 1,281 for Ostzee regiments and of 1267 for inner 2-battalion garrison regiments.
  • 1717 officers, NCOs and soldiers for a total (including non-combatants) of 1,884 for 3-battalion garrison regiments.

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

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

Composition and Organisation

Garrison Infantry Regiments

A Garrison Infantry Regiment consisted of:

Senior Staff:

  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel (led a battalion)
  • 1 premier-major (led a battalion)

Junior Staff (7 musicians and 18 non-combatants) including

  • 1 quartermaster (see note below)
  • 1 regimental clerk
  • 1 proviantmaster
  • 1 surgeon
  • 7 oboists
  • 2 provosts
  • 2 blacksmiths
  • 2 fitters
  • 9 staff-officers’ batmen (4 assigned to the colonel; 3 to the lieutenant-colonel; and 2 to the premier-major's)

2 garrison battalions (some regiments had three battalions), each of:

  • 4 companies of musketeers (3 officers, 7 NCOs, 120 soldiers, 2 musicians, 5 non-combatants), each of :
    • 1 captain
    • 1 lieutenant
    • 1 ensign
    • 1 sergeant
    • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmus)
    • 1 sub-ensign (color bearer)
    • 4 corporals
    • 2 drummers
    • 120 musketeers
    • 5 non-combatants
      • 1 clerk
      • 1 barber
      • 3 officers’ batmen (1 for the captain; 1 for the lieutenant; and 1 for the ensign)

1 company of grenadiers (3 officers, 6 NCOs, 128 soldiers, 2 musicians, 5 non-combatants):

  • 1 captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 sub-lieutenant
  • 1 sergeant
  • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmus)
  • 4 corporals
  • 2 drummers
  • 128 grenadiers
  • 5 non-combatants
    • 1 clerk
    • 1 barber
    • 3 officers’ batmen (1 for the captain; 1 for the lieutenant; and 1 for the ensign)

For a total of:

  • 1,268 men in a 2-battalion regiment: 30 officers, 62 NCOs, 1,088 soldiers, 88 non-combatants
  • 1,816 men in a 3-battalion regiment: 42 officers, 90 NCOs, 1,568 soldiers, 116 non-combatants

Notes:

Officers of the Ostsee regiments had more batmen: 6 for the colonel, 4 for the lieutenant-colonel, 3 for the premier-major, 2 for the captain, 1 for the lieutenant, and 1 for the ensign; thus giving 101 non-combatants for a total of 1,281 in a 2-battalion regiment.
The Yakutskiy 3-battalion regiment also had a horse grenadier company.
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.
In wartime, one ensign should be appointed as adjutant.
According to the 1731 establishment, only officers owing less than 100 serf peasants or with no estate at all could have batmen at the expense of the regimental staff.
Reports of shortage of junior staff made during the winter of 1757-1758 usually indicate a staff counting 2 to 5 lower ranks less than we calculated, but we can consider this immaterial.

Independent Garrison Infantry Battalions

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

Senior Staff:

  • 1 lieutenant-colonel

Junior Staff (7 non-combatants) including:

  • 1 battalion clerk
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 provost
  • 1 fitter
  • 3 lieutenant-colonel's batmen

4 companies of musketeers (3 officers, 7 NCOs, 136 soldiers, 2 musicians, 5 non-combatants), each of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 ensign (standard bearer)
  • 1 sergeant
  • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmous)
  • 1 sub-ensign (color bearer)
  • 4 corporals
  • 16 grenadiers
  • 120 musketeers
  • 2 drummers
  • 5 non-combatants:
    • 1 clerk
    • 1 barber
    • 3 officers' batmen

For a total of 13 officers, 28 NCOs, 544 soldiers and 35 non-combatants for a battalion

Ladozhskiy Canal Battalion

Due to its specific duties, the Ladozhskiy Canal Battalion had a special staff [6].

Senior Staff:

  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 premier-major

Junior Staff (1 officer and 44 non-combatants) including:

  • 1 adjutant (ensign)
  • 1 battalion clerk
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 provost
  • 6 oboists
  • 35 officers' batmen

4 companies of musketeers (4 officers, 8 NCOs, 160 soldiers, 3 musicians, 2 non-combatants), each of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 sub-lieutenant
  • 1 ensign
  • 2 sergeants
  • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmous)
  • 1 sub-ensign (color bearer)
  • 4 corporals
  • 160 musketeers
  • 3 drummers
  • 2 non-combatants:
    • 1 clerk
    • 1 first-aid men

For a total of 19 officers, 32 NCOs, 640 soldiers, 64 non-combatants for a battalion.

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

[6] Complete collection of laws of the Russian Empire, vol.43, Part 1, pp. 209-211

Acknowledgements

Roman Shlygin for the initial version of this article