Russian Line Infantry Weapons

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Firearms

Firearms of common soldiers

During the Great Northern War (1700-1721), Russian manufacturers could not produce enough firearms to satisfy the needs of the army. Many fusils (in Russia flintlock muskets were named in French manner Fuzeya) were imported from abroad, thus causing confusion because of the various calibres used. The first fusil of a standard calibre (19.8 mm, 0.78, 38 g. ball) was the M1715.

By the middle of XVIIIth Century, Russian manufactures in Tula, Olonets and Sestroretsk produced enough firearms to supply the army with modern weapons. For example, manufactures in Tula – the main weapon manufacturing centre – produced about 25,000 fusils a year. Considering this production rate, it can be assumed that during the Seven Yeras' War, Russian Line Infantry was supplied with the latest models of fusils: the M1753, M1756 (Observation Corps) and M1758. However garrison and land militia units probably used older models: the M1715, M1731 and M1737.

Usually, fusil-belts were made of elk leather.

Russian Musket M1715

This model was the first standardized musket of the Russian Army.

Technical details
Characteristic as per Makovskaya
Overall length 1404-1425 mm
Length of barrel 1016-1026 mm
Calibre 19.8 mm
Weight 5-5.5 kg

Russian Musket M1731

Technical details
Characteristic as per Makovskaya
Overall length 1460-1470 mm
Length of barrel 1070-1080 mm
Calibre 19.8 mm
Weight 5.6-5.7 kg
Weight of barrel 2.5 kg

Russian Musket M1737

Russian Musket M1737 - Source: detail of an illustration in L. K. Makovskaya's book
(see the Refence section of more info)


Technical details
Characteristic as per Makovskaya
Overall length 1420-1440 mm
Length of barrel 1050-1060 mm
Calibre 19.8 mm
Weight 5.6 kg
Weight of barrel 2.4 kg

Russian Musket M1753

This model is the modification of the previous M1737 musket. In 1753, it was modified for better balancing by widening the buttstock comb and reducing the weight of the well-crafted fore-end (pivot).

Russian Musket M1753 - Source: Digby Smith


Russian Musket M1753 - Source: detail of an illustration in L. K. Makovskaya's book
(see the Refence section of more info)


Technical details
Characteristic as per
Makovskaya
Specimen of the
Tula Museum of Arms
Overall length 1480 mm 1500 mm
Length of barrel 1050-1060 mm 1080 mm
Calibre 19.8 mm 19.8 mm
Weight 5.1-5.5 kg 4,4 kg
Weight of barrel 2.05-2.25 kg not available
Overall length of bayonet not available 45 cm
Length of bayonet blade not available 33,5 cm
Width of bayonet blade not available 2,9 cm

Russian (Austrian) Musket M1756

The M1756 musket is of Austrian manufacture; 24,360 were bought by Russia for its Observation Corps. The fittings were of iron until 1758, thence copper. The ramrod was iron.

Russian (Austrian) Musket M1756 - Source: Digby Smith


Russian (Austrian) Musket M1756 - Source: detail of an illustration in L. K. Makovskaya's book
(see the Refence section of more info)


Technical details
Characteristic as per
Smith
as per
Makovskaya
Overall length 1630 mm 1450 mm
Length of barrel n/a 1040 mm
Calibre 18 mm 19.8 mm
Weight n/a 4.5 kg
Weight of barrel n/a 2.25 kg

Officers and men of the Leibkompagnie all carried shorter fusils, 1420 mm long.

Russian Musket M1758

Technical details
Characteristic as per Makovskaya
Overall length 1460 mm
Length of barrel 1050 mm
Calibre 19.8 mm
Weight 5.3 kg
Weight of barrel 2.1 kg

Firearms of officers

The usage of halberds and spontoons was abandoned in 1736 when EmpressAnna Ioanovna ordered to replace them by fusils (in fact flintlock muskets). In 1740, spontoons were briefly reintroduced. However, the same year, arsenals received orders to produce officer's fusils.

In 1746, spontoons were abandoned once more the M1746 officers' fusil was introduced. Officers were to pay for their weapon, so many officers ordered fusils with individual ornaments and fittings at their own expense. A wide variety of officer's fusils were designed by masters in firearms factories. Various types were produced in the weapon factories of Sestroretsk and Tula.

By 1762, the arsenal in Tula contained 20 different reference samples of the officer's fusils.

Russian Officer's Musket M1743

Russian Officer's Musket M1743 - Source: photography taken by Roman Shlygin at the Tula Museum of Arms


Technical details
Characteristic Specimen of the
Tula Museum of Arms
Overall length 1400 mm
Length of barrel 1015 mm
Calibre 17.3 mm
Weight 4.2 kg

Russian Officer's Musket M1746

Technical details
Characteristic as per Makovskaya
Overall length 1512-1514 mm
Length of barrel 1122-1124 mm
Calibre 15-16 mm
Weight 3.95-4.05 kg

Russian Officer's Musket M1760

Technical details
Characteristic as per Makovskaya
Overall length 1435-1475mm
Length of barrel 1075-1080 mm
Calibre 13.5-14 mm
Weight 3.3-3.375 kg

Edged Weapons

As sidearm, musketeers carried a sabre with a copper hilt in a black leather scabbard decorated with copper fittings. The sabre was hanged to a 6 cm wide elk leather belt with copper fittings.

Edged Weapons of Common Soldiers

Russian Infantry Backsword M1756

Russian Infantry Backsword M1756 - Source: photography taken by Roman Shlygin at the Tula Museum of Arms


Technical details
Overall length 875 mm
Length of the blade 700 mm
Width of the blade 43 mm
Weight no information available

Edged Weapons of Officers

Russian Officer Typical Sword and Scabbard - Source: Viskovatov


Officers carried a sword with a gilded hilt and an approx. 800 mm long blade. Models differed widely because many officers privately purchased their own sword. On almost all blades of that epoch were engraved the words "Виватъ Елисавета Великая" (“Vivat Elizabeth the Great”) and "Богу и Отечеству" (“God and Fatherland”). A sword was suspended to a 6 cm wide elk leather belt with golden lace and gilded fitting.

References

Konstam, Angus, and Bill Younghusband, Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Osprey Men at Arms Series, 1996

Leonov, O. G. and I. E. Uljarnov, Regularnia Piechota 1689 – 1801, Moscow, 1995

Makovskaya, L. K.: Ручное огнестрельное оружие Русской Армии конца XIV - XVIII веков (Firearms of Russian Army from the end of XIVth to XVIIIth Century), Moskow 1992

Tula Museum of Arms

Viskovatov, A. V.: Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, vol. 3

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article and Roman Shlygin for additional data and pictures.