Butyrskiy Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Russian Army >> Butyrskiy Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1642 as the “2nd Moskovskiy Selective Regiment” and by the time of the Seven Years’ War, it was along with 1st Moskovskiy one of the two oldest regular regiments of the Russian Army.

At its creation in 1642, the regiment was one of the “new organization” (also called foreign organization) regular infantry regiments that were raised during the reign of Alexey Mikhailovich because the experience of the Russo-Polish wars and of the Thirty Years’ War indicated that the old organization in irregular and semi-feudal units was quite ineffective. The regiment was completed with picked volunteers from the Strelets regiments and counted between 52 and 60 companies, each of 100 men. These companies were converged in a few battalions for action. Nevertheless, the regiment still retained some irregular characteristics and its peacetime effective strength was lesser.

In 1657, the regiment was settled in the suburb of Moscow – Butyrskaya sloboda (a sloboda being a kind of settlement, bigger than a village but smaller than a town).

The regiment took part in the Russo-Polish War (1654-1667). It was attached to the main army under the Tsar but saw no serious actions.

In 1662, the regiment took part in the suppression of the “Copper Riot” in Moscow.

The regiment then took part in Russo-Turkish War (1676-1681). In 1677, it was attached to the army that forced the Turkish army to raise the siege of the Fortress of Chigirin. In 1678, the Russian army unsuccessfully tried to reinforce the garrison of the Fortress of Chigirin which was once more besieged by the Turks. At the end of the campaign, the garrison left the fortress and the Turks destroyed it. Detachments of the Butýrskiy Regiment were present in the garrison of the fortress as well as in the main army. In 1679, a picked detachment of the regiment (2,338 men) was part of the Russian army that garrisoned Kiev.

From 1683, children of soldiers of the Butýrskiy Regiment were among those forming the “Toy Army” (poteshniy regiments) of young Peter I which would, in 1695, form the Russian Guard.

In 1687, the new commander of the regiment, Lieutenant-General Patrick Gordon, reorganized the regiment on the model of modern European regiments. From then on, the regiment counted only 2 battalions for a total of 1, 000 men (by 1696 this number had been increased to 1,200 men).

In 1687 the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Crimean campaign.

From 1695 to 1697, the regiment took part in the successful Azov campaigns of Peter I.

During the Great Northern War the Regiment was at Narva, 1700. Then in the Baltic theatre, Noteborg 1702, Nyenskans 1703, Narva 1704. In 1705-06 under the command of A. Repnin, I. Bush and the Prince Solnzev-Zasekin was in Poland and Lithuania. In 1709 at Oposchna and Poltava. At the siege of Riga, 1710, then in 1711 in the unfortunate Pruth campaign. Then in Germany, at Stettin and Wismar 1712. At Tönningen 1713 and Copenhagen 1716.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from June 1, 1756 to ??? (not earlier than November 12, 1757): Colonel Alexander Petrovich Melgunov

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Ingria and Estonia.

In 1757, the regiment took part in the campaign in East Prussia under General Apraxin. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was part of the vanguard and belonged to Schilling Brigade. When the Russian army deployed, it was placed in the first line of the left wing.

In January 1758, 2 battalions of the regiment took part in the invasion of East Prussia (German sources mention a “Prul Regiment”). On February 17, Prince Dolgoruki reported from Mitau (present-day Jelgava) that the regiment had begun its march and that it planned to reach Janischky (present-day Joniškis) on March 16. At the beginning of August, the regiment took part in the invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, it fought in the Battle of Zorndorf where it was part of Prince Dolgoruki Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing. About mid November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in Culm (present-day Chelmno) and surrounding villages as part of Rumyantsev's 3rd Division.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Most Russian regular line infantry regiments wore the same uniforms.

N.B.: the entire section on uniform is based on information provided by Arthur Yushkevich and Daniel Milekhin

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Summer uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black felt tricorne laced white with a white cockade on the left fastened with a copper button
Grenadier
Grenadier mitre in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf

until 1759: the M1756 mitre with a brass front plate embossed with trophies of weapons and standards and carrying in its centre the regimental coat of arms surmounted by the Imperial Eagle (sometimes painted black); a black leather skull-cap and neck guard with brass reinforcements and decorations; and a white wool pompom.

from 1760: red cloth cap with red turnbacks with white lace (golden for officers) on the seams of the cap and on the edges of the turnbacks; a white wool pompom.

(*)Note: grenadiers still used cloth leftovers after the making of uniforms, and, for example, the grenadiers of the Observation Corps 1st Musketeer used red cloth for both caps and turnbacks.

...for more information on the evolution of the grenadier mitre cap of the Russian infantry, see Russian Line Infantry Uniform

Neckstock black
Coat dark green with 9 copper buttons on the right side on the chest, 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.

Collar red
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs red without buttons (some authors illustrate 3 copper buttons but we followed Leonov)
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat long sleeved red waistcoat lined green with 9 copper buttons, and with 2 en patte d'oie pockets each with 3 copper buttons, small green collar and green cuffs
Breeches red
some illustrations suggest that white breeches were also worn during Summer
Gaiters black leather with 10 large buttons covered with black fabric (white for parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt elkskin leather
Waistbelt elkskin leather
Cartridge Box black covered with a copper plate
Bayonet Scabbard ???
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear black shoes


During winter, line infantry wore knee-length cornflower blue cape.

Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates, but were distinguished by gold laces on their tricorne, collar, and cuffs, more precisely

  • Sergeant: gold laces on cuffs (in 3 rows) and collar
  • Fourrier, Master-at-arms and Sub-Ensign: gold laces on cuffs (in 2 rows) and collar.
  • Corporal: gold lace on collar

Officers

Dmitriy Alexeevich Rezanov, lieutenant ('poruchik') of line infantry by Mina Kolokolnikov, 1752 - Source: Wikimedia Commons

Musketeer officers wore a gold laced tricorne (gold/black pompoms) or a simpler tricorne without lace. Grenadier officers wore a grenadier mitre, similar to that of grenadiers (or an earlier Modified M1731 model), but with a coloured regimental coat of arms.

Officer’s coat was similar to that of rank and file , but with a gold laced collar and lateral pockets closed by flaps en patte d’oie with 3 golden buttons each. Generally officers wore their coat with opened turnbacks. They also wore white cravates, green breeches and beige gloves.

Officers wore a gorget with the regimental coat of arms. For officers from ensign to captain, it was covered with silver; for majors, lieutenant-colonel and colonel with gold.

Officers carried a musket in action, the use of halberds and spontoons was abandoned. They 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.

Officers wore a black and yellow (higher ranks - black and gold) silk sash.

Musicians

Line Infantry Regimental Musician (Oboist) Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Line Infantry Company Musician (Drummer or Fifer) Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf

Company musicians (drummers and fifers) wore the same uniform as privates with swallow nests on shoulders and braids on cuffs, pockets and collar.

Regimental musicians (oboists) wore the same uniform as privates with braids on cuffs, pockets and collar. Buttonholes and buttons were laced. Each sleeve was decorated with 4 chevrons with 2 wide drummer laces on each side.

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.

Colours

The flags were mounted on a 3,35 m. red wooden pole.

Colonel Colour: 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 red flame pointing at the centre.

Regimental Colours: green field, in its centre, a gold crown surmounting a gold shield bearing the regimental arms. In each corner, a red flame pointing at the centre.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

The section on origin and history of this regiment is mainly based on two works:

Other sources

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

Höglund, Lars-Eric and Ake Sallnäs: The Great Northern War 1700-1721, II. Swedish Allies and Enemies, Colours and Uniforms, Acedia Press, Karlstadt, 2006

Konstam, Angus, and Bill Younghusband: Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Vol. 1, Osprey Men at Arms Series, No. 297, 1996

Pengel, R.D. and G.R. Hurt: Russian Uniforms and Flags of the Seven Years War, Birmingham 1980

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

Roman Shlygin for the information on the origin and history of the regiment.

Carlo Bessolo for the description of the uniforms

Daniel Milekhin for the revised description of the uniforms