Suzdalskiy Infantry

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

Origin and History

In 1705, during the Great Northern War (1700-1721), Peter I sent an Auxiliary Corps to reinforce the Saxon army of August the Strong who was fighting against the Swedish army.

On February 13, 1706 this Auxiliary Corps took part in the Battle of Fraustadt. At the beginning of the battle, the Russian Corps counted 6,362 men in 7 infantry and 2 Strelets regiments (totalling 10 battalions). It was deployed on the left flank of the Saxon army. The first attack of the Swedes against the Saxon center and right flank forced them to retreat. But when two mercenary regiments – de Martinier (under Colonel de Joyeuse) and Mallerack – suddenly sided with the Swedes, the Saxons were overthrown and fled. The Russian Corps defended its initial positions until the night, being surrounded and repulsing attacks of the Närke-Värmlands Infantry, Kronobergs Infantry, Nylands Dragoons and Livdragoner. In the night Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Renzel (a German officer in the Russian service) escaped at the head of 1,920 men. All Russian prisoners of war (at least 500 men) were slaughtered by the Swedes. Russian survivors were converged into a three-battalions regiment, which remained in Saxony till the late autumn of 1706, when August the Strong capitulated to the Swedes. With the rest of the Saxon army, the regiment marched to Austria, where the Saxons were interned. The Russian officers' council decided to march back to Russia, however the regiment had no supply and doubtful legal status. After the hard march through the Austrian and Polish territories the regiment (which by that time counted no more than 1,500 men) finally joined the army of Peter I at Lublin in June 1707. On July 2 of the same year, it was officially established as the “Renzel Infantry Regiment”. For its extraordinary and glorious history, it was also called the “Saxon Infantry Regiment”.

On July 14, 1708 the regiment took part in the Battle of Holowczyn. In the winter of 1709, it took part in the combat of Oposhnya. On July 8, 1709, counting about 1,000 men in 2 battalions, it took part in the Battle of Poltava. In 1709 and 1710, the regiment took part in the siege of Riga; in 1710, in the campaign on the Pruth River; in 1714, in the Russian campaign in Pomerania and Mecklenburg. In 1716, it served in Copenhagen.

On February 27, 1727 the regiment was renamed “1st Tverskoy Grenadier Regiment”. On November 24 of the same year, it was renamed as “Súzdalskiy Infantry Regiment”.

During the Seven Years’ War, the regiment was under the command of:

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was stationed in Estonia.

In 1757, the regiment took part in the campaign in East Prussia under General-in-Chief Count Apraxin. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was part of Leontiev's Brigade attached to Browne's 3rd Division. When the Russian army deployed, it was placed in the second line of the right wing.

In January 1758, 2 battalions of the regiment took part in the Russian invasion of East Prussia. At the beginning of August, the regiment followed the Russian army in its invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, the regiment fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it was part of Prince Dolgoruki's Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing. Around mid-November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in the area of Bischoffswerder (present-day Biskupiec), Deutsch Eylau (present-day Ilawa), Liebenmuhl and Osterode (present-day Ostroda) as part of Rumyantsev's 3rd Division.

In 1761, the regiment took part in the Siege of Colberg.

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

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.

Acknowledgements

Carlo Bessolo for the initial description of the uniforms

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