Semenovskiy Leib-Guard

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

Origin and History

The regiment 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 uniformly dressed unit of the Russian army.

At the beginning of the Seven Years War, the regiment (totalling 2,536 men including 327 non-combatants) consisted of:

  • Senior Staff (6 officers)
  • Junior staff
    • 3 officers
    • 265 non-combatants
  • 3 battalions, each of these battalions (totalling 16 officers, 664 men and 20 non-combatants) consisting of:
    • 4 musketeer companies (of 210 men each)
    • 1 grenadier company (200 men)
  • 1 artillery command with 8 x 3-pdrs guns (each including 2 x 6-pdr mortars affixed to its carriage) only six 3-pdr guns according to the work of the Grosser Generalstab

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 Saint Petersburg.

Uniform

Privates

Guard grenadier mitre in 1757 - Source: rf-figuren from a Not By Appointment template
Uniform in 1757 - Source: rf-figuren from a Not By Appointment template
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 light blue
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

Semenovskiy Guard Fifer Uniform in 1757 - Source: rf-figuren from a Not By Appointment template
Semenovskiy Guard Drummer Uniform in 1757 - Source: rf-figuren from a Not By Appointment template

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 (light blue for Semenovskiy). 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. red wooden pole. The three Guard regiments had flags of similar design. However, the distinctive colour of each regiment (light blue in the case of Semenovskiy) was used on the outer border and the part wrapped around the flagpole.

Colonel Colour - Source: rf-figuren from an original black and white plate by Viskovatov
Ordonnance Colour - Source: rf-figuren from an original black and white plate by Viskovatov

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