Origin and History
The Smolénskiy Regiment was formed in 1708-1709 when Peter the Great reorganized the Russian infantry regiments and renamed each of them as per a city or province of his empire.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
To do: identify the successive commanders during the SYW
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Ingria and Livonia
In January 1758, 2 battalions of the regiment took part in the Russian invasion of East Prussia. On January 24, under the command of Brigadier Nummers, they marched to Labiau. At the beginning of August, the regiment followed the Russian army in its invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, the regiment took part in the battle of Zorndorf where it was deployed in Dietz's Brigade in the second line of the infantry centre. Around mid-November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in Creutzburg and Zinten (present-day Kornewo) as part of Resanov's 2nd Division.
To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762
Most Russian regular line infantry regiments wore the same uniforms.
|Coat||dark green with 9 copper buttons on the right side on the chest and 9 red trimmed buttonholes, and 2 copper buttons (one on each side) in the small of the back|
N.B.: During summer campaigns, the coat was not worn, being left with the baggage. Soldiers carried a cornflower blue cape rolled over the shoulder. Since the waistcoat was red, Russian line infantry appeared to be entirely clad in red.
|Waistcoat||long sleeved red waistcoat lined green with 9 copper buttons and 9 red trimmed buttonholes, and with 2 en patte d'oie pockets each with 3 copper buttons and 3 red trimmed buttonholes|
|Gaiters||black leather with 10 large copper buttons (white for parade)|
During winter, line infantry wore knee-length cornflower blue cape.
Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre.
NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers but were distinguished by their gold laces on their tricorne, collar, and cuffs.
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 white cravates, green breeches and yellow gloves.
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.
Officer’s cartridge box was edged in gold.
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.
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 (shown on the ordonnance flag). They were often decorated with red “XXXX” in the middle.
N.B.: During summer campaigns, the green coat was not worn, being left with the baggage. Since the waistcoat was red, Russian line infantry musicians appeared to be entirely clad in red.
The flags were mounted on a 3,35 m. red wooden pole.
Colonel Flag: white field with, in its centre: an Imperial Eagle bearing the regimental arms on a breastplate encircled by the necklace of the St.George’s Order. In each corner: a yellow flame pointing at the centre.
Regimental Flag: blue field, in its centre: a gold crown surmounting a gold shield bearing the regimental arms. In each corner: a yellow flame pointing at the centre.
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, Appendix 1
Konstam, Angus, and Bill Younghusband, Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Vol. 1, Osprey Men at Arms Series, No. 297, 1996
Lubimow, A.J., Die Feldzeichen der russischen Armee 1741-1761, in. Die Zinnfigur, Uniformheft 18
Pengel and Hurt, Russian Infantry of the Seven Years War, Birmingham, 1976
Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989.
Viskovatov, A. V., Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army, vol. 3, Petersburg: 1900
Ziegler, Volker, Die Russische Linien-Infanterie zur Zeit des 7-jährigen Krieges, Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für hessische Militär- und Zivilgeschichte 3, 2005
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Carlo Bessolo for the initial description of the uniforms