Preobrazhenskiy Leib-Guard

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

Origin and History

The regiment was initially raised as a single company by Tsar Peter I in 1687 from the children regiments, the potiéchnyi used by the future tsar during his childhood to play the little war in the village of Preobrazhenskoye near Moscow. The regiment received its name from this village. In 1690 it became a distinct regiment.

In 1695-1696 the regiment participated in the Azov campaigns.

In 1698, the regiment already had 16 fusilier companies (later consolidated into 4 battalions), as well as bombardier and grenadier companies. By 1700, the personnel of the regiment numbered 3,454 people.

In 1700, the regiment was named the Leib-Guard Preobrazhenskiy Regiment. The regiment participated in all major battles of the Northern War, and in the campaign on the Prut (1711). It suffered heavy losses in the Battle of Narva (1700), while its commander, Colonel Baron I.I. Bloomberg, was forced to surrender. Having withstood all the Swedish attacks, the regiment retreated in good order with weapons and banners. In honour of the steadfastness of the regiment, an inscription with the date of the Battle of Narva appeared on the officers' gorget: "1700 NO19".

In 1722 and 1723, the regiment took part in the Russo-Persian War.

After the death of Peter I, the Preobrazhenskiy Regiment took an active part in the enthronement of Catherine I (1725) and in all subsequent palace coups. Realizing the exceptional position of the regiment, chief patronage of the regiment was occupied by all Russian emperors.

In addition to participating in palace intrigues, the regiment participated in combat operations: Russian-Turkish War of 1735-1739, and the Russian-Swedish War of 1741-1743.

On December 31, 1741, a grenadier company, brought Elizabeth Petrovna to the throne. In 1742, the empress created the Leibkompanie from the grenadiers of the regiment in recognition for the help that this unit had given her when she had walked on the Palais d'hiver.

At the beginning of the Seven Years War, the regiment counted some 4,500 men (3,720 men including 432 non-combatants according to the work of the Grosser Generalstab) and consisted of:

  • Senior Staff (7 officers)
  • Junior Staff
    • 3 officers (quartermaster and adjutant)
    • 337 non-combatants
  • 1 Leibkompanie of grenadiers (364 men)
  • 4 battalions (for a total of 16 officers, 714 men and 18 non-combatants), each battalion consisted of:
    • 4 musketeer companies (each of 210 men)
    • 1 grenadiers company (284 men) the work of the Grosser Generalstab mentions only 1 grenadier company for the entire regiment
      • 5 officers
      • 277 men
      • 2 non-combatants
  • 1 bombardier company (107 men)
    • 3 officers
    • 83 men
    • 21 non-combatants
    • 12 x 3-pdr guns (each including 2 x 6-pdr mortars affixed to its carriage) the work of the Grosser Generalstab mentions only two 3-pdr guns for each battalion

During the Seven Years' War, the successive nominal commanders of the regiment were:

However, the effective commanders were:

Service during the War

During the entire Seven Years War, the regiment was stationed in Sankt. Petersburg.

In 1762, the regiment took part to the coup which overthrew Peter III and replaced him by Catherine II.



Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer large black felt 1742 pattern tricorne laced white with 2 white pompoms and a white cockade with a golden link on the left, fastened with a golden button
Guard grenadier mitre in 1757 – Copyright Kronoskaf

black leather M1748 mitre with a brass badge embossed with an Imperial Eagle with the shield of the coat of arms of St. George, gold embroidery on the edge, skull-cap and neck guard, a crowned oval brass badge with the monogram of Elizabeth in a wreath at the back of the mitre, and 22 ostrich red plumes and 3 white ones

Neckstock white cravate
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
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 with 9 golden buttons and with 2 en patte d'oie pockets each with 3 golden buttons, small green collar and green cuffs
Breeches red
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 with a brass badge embossed with an Imperial Eagle and 4 triangles at the corners
Grenadier Bag
and Waist Pouch
black bag covered with a full-size brass plate embossed with the Imperial Eagle in a wreath and with 4 grenades on the edges; black waist pouch covered with full-size brass plate embossed with Elizabeth monogram surrounded by a grenade on both sides
Bayonet Scabbard brown leather
Scabbard black leather with copper fittings
Footgear black shoes

During winter, guard units wore knee-length dark green cape.

Rank and file were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre.


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

NCOs of grenadier companies were wearing the same mitre hats as rankers, but with another plumes combination: • sergeant: 15 white plumes on the top and mid, 15 red around

  • corporal, fourrier, master-at-arms and sub-ensign: 12 white plumes on the top and mid, 12 red around

Sergeants, master-at-arms and corporals still kept halberds.


Musketeer officers wore a gold laced tricorne. Grenadier officers wore a grenadier mitre hat, similar to that of grenadiers, but with a richer decorated front plate framed on the edge with a gilded rim, with 42 white ostrich plumes.

The coat of the officer was similar to that of rank and file, but with a gold laced green 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 engraved X symbol surrounded by a wreath and with a crown on top, to its left was the number 1700, and to its right was 19NO (in memory of the Battle of Narva, which took place on November 19, 1700). For officers from ensign to captain, the gorget was silver-plated; for majors, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, it was gilded.

Officers carried a musket in action, and spontoons with crowned Elizabeth monogram or crowned oval with wreathed crucifixion of St. Andrew. They also carried a sword suspended to a leather belt covered with red or crimson velvet and edged with gold braid.

The cartridge box of the officer was edged in gold. Often the officers carried the gold silk sash over the left shoulder. Grenadier officers have the same grenade bags over the right shoulder as rankers, but made of gilded brass and with a leather belt covered with red or crimson velvet and edged with gold braid.

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.

The saddlecloth and holsters were red with round posterior corner, edged with one or two gold stripes (the inner stripe broader then the outer), as rank distinction. EPI ciphers on the corner and holsters. Officers wore a black and yellow (higher ranks - black and gold) silk sash.

Ivan Illarionovich Vorontsov, captain of the Preobrazhenskiy Leib-Guard Regiment by Georg Caspar Prenner, 1750s - Source: Wikimedia Commons
Pyotr Stepanovich Mitusov, officer of the Preobrazhenskiy Leib-Guard Regiment by an unknown artist, circa 1760 - Source: Wikimedia Commons


Preobrazenskiy Guard Regimental Musician (Oboist) Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Preobrazenskiy Guard 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 four chevrons with two 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 of copper, the state coat of arms (Imperial Eagle) was engraved in the front, bordered in red and green.

Important notice: Even though our illustrations depict yellow laces, the colour of the braids on the uniforms of the musicians according to Zvegintsov were red with yellow bordered “XXXX” in the middle.

Since 1741, all guard musicians also had red ceremonial uniforms, similar to ordinary ones, but with gold laces.


The flags were mounted on a 3,35 m. white wooden pole. The three Guard regiments had colours of similar design. However, the distinctive colour of each regiment (red in the case of Preobrazenskiy) was used on the outer border and the part wrapped around the flagpole.

Moreover, the Colonel colour seems to have more gilding than the Ordonnance flag.

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

А fourier also carried a fanion (a small company flag), which was made of white silk fabric trimmed with gold ribbon at the edges. The Imperial Eagle was painted on one side, and the monogram of Elizabeth surrounded by a wreath on the other side. On both sides, the abbreviated name of the regiment (Л.Г.П.П) was on the bottom left, and the company number (1 РО.; 2 РО.; etc.) on the bottom right.


Sources: Azanchevskiy, M.P.: History of the Leib-Guard Preobrazhenskiy Regiment

Bobrovskiy, P.O.: History of the Leib-Guard Preobrazhenskiy Regiment

Article ‘Preobrazhenskiy Leib-Guard Regiment’ in Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary

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


Carlo Bessolo for the initial description of the uniforms

Daniel Milekhin for a major update of the article