Russian Horse Guard

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Origin and History

The unit was raised in 1705 as the personal Leib-Squadron of A. D. Menshikov who was the closest associate of Peter I and the second most important person in Russian Empire. In 1709, during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) the squadron, counting about 125 men, took part in the combat of Oposhnya and in the battle of Poltava.

In 1719, it was planned to create a “Leib-Regiment” on the base of Menshikov's Leib-squadron (25 officers, 435 NCOs and dragoons and 48 non-combatants), Sheremetev's own “Home company” (2 officers, 50 NCOs and dragoons) and the Squadron of the Saint-Petersburg Governorate (2 officers and 343 NCOs and dragoons). But these plans were upset by the possible entry of Great Britain into the Great Northern War and all enlisted units served on posts between Kronshtadt and Koporje. Finally, all the aforementioned units were combined into single regiment on March 18, 1721. Even though the new regiment had in fact guard duties, it was not included as a guard unit and was rather designated as the “Kronshlotskiy Dragoon Regiment”. Its colonel was Alexander Borisovich Buturlin.

In 1722 and 1723, the regiment took part in the Russo-Persian War, however it was kept in reserve.

In 1724 and 1725, the regiment remained in service on the Lower Volga.

On December 15, 1725 by order of Empress Catherine I, the regiment was finally renamed as “Leib-Regiment”. In 1726, it was transferred to Novgorod, where it was stationed from 1726 to 1729. In 1730, it was transferred to Dmitrov.

On January 11, 1731 the regiment was renamed “Horse Guard” by Empress Anna Ioanovna who also finally promoted it to guard rank. Usually the regiment was named “Leib-Guard Horse Regiment”. In 1733, it was transferred to Saint-Petersburg.

The regiment counted five squadrons and was stationed in Saint-Petersburg. It consisted of 44 officers and 1,332 men including 267 non-combatants.

Each squadron comprised:

  • 7 officers
  • 18 NCOs
  • 4 trumpeters
  • 191 troopers
  • 16 non-combatants

The title of colonel belonged to the Emperor (Empress) and the regiment was in fact commanded by a lieutenant-colonel. When the latter rank became an honorary title too, effective command of the regiment was confided to its majors.

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

  • from 1744 to 1762: Premier-Major Prince Peter Cherkasskiy
    • assisted from 1742 to 1758 by: Second-Major Grigoriy Korf

Service during the War

  • no information available yet


Ordonnance standard of Garde à Cheval Regiment - Source: Hermitage Museum, Sankt-Peterbourg

Garde à Cheval still carried standards of the 1731 pattern, measuring 60 cm by 70 cm fringed in gold with a silver braid. The flagpole had a flat gilt finial.

Regimental Standard: white damask field centre device: an two headed Imperial Eagle with gold crowns bearing the arms of Moscow on a breastplate encircled by the necklace of the St. George’s Order and surmounted by a gold crown. Under the centre device: two branches with a ribbon all in gold. In each corner: the crowned imperial cipher within a wreath all in gold.

Squadron Standard: red damask field centre device: the imperial cipher on an orange field, surrounded by a wreath of palm branches and surmounted by a gold crown. In each corner: the crowned imperial cipher within a wreath all in gold on an orange field.


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

Other sources

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


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