Russian Line Infantry Organisation

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Introduction

The Russian line infantry consisted of 46 musketeer regiments, of which 32 took an active part to the Seven Years' War, and of 4 grenadier regiments.

Composition and Organisation

Musketeer Regiments

Up to 1757, a musketeer regiment consisted of:

  • staff:
    • 1 colonel
    • 1 lieutenant-colonel
    • 2 majors
    • 1 quartermaster
    • 2 adjutants
    • 1 auditor
    • 1 superintendent
    • 1 train guide
    • 1 chaplain
    • 1 surgeon
    • 2 assistant surgeons
    • 3 clerks
    • 1 drummer
    • 3 provosts
    • 7 oboists
  • 2 field battalions, each of:
    • 4 companies of musketeers, each of :
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 2 second lieutenants
      • 2 sergeants
      • 1 standard bearer (officer or quartermaster)
      • 1 captain of arms (Kaptänarmusse)
      • 1 quartermaster
      • 4 corporals
      • 3 drummers
      • 144 troopers
    • 1 company of grenadiers
      • 1 captain,
      • 2 lieutenants
      • 3 second lieutenants
      • 4 sergeants
      • 1 standard bearer (officer or quartermaster),
      • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmous)
      • 1 quartermaster
      • 6 corporals
      • 4 drummers
      • 2 fifers
      • 200 troopers
  • 1 depot battalion for recruitment and training
    • 4 companies of musketeers (same composition as the musketeer companies of the 2 first battalions)

After 1757, each Musketeer Regiment was reduced to 2 battalions. Each battalion consisted of 4 companies of musketeers and 1 company of grenadiers. Some regiments were not affected by this reorganisation and retained their 3 battalions, these regiments were Moscowskiy, Kievskiy, Narvskiy and Ingermlandskiy.

Throughout the war, the grenadier companies of the Musketeer regiments were often converged into standalone grenadier battalions.

Grenadier Regiments

After 1731, grenadiers were the most reliable and deserving soldiers in each regiment.

The four grenadier regiments were established in 1756 and consisted of :

  • 2 battalions each of
    • 4 field companies each 200 grenadiers
    • 1 depot company of 200 grenadiers

A company of 200 grenadiers consisted of:

  • 1 captain,
  • 2 lieutenants
  • 3 second lieutenants
  • 4 sergeants
  • 1 standard bearer (officer or quartermaster),
  • 1 captain of arms (kaptenarmous)
  • 1 quartermaster
  • 6 corporals
  • 4 drummers
  • 1 fifer (Schirmer states that there were 2 fifers in each company).
  • 200 troopers

After 1757, each Grenadier Regiment was reduced to 2 battalions, each 4 companies strong.

Battalion guns

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, each Russian infantry regiment could rely on four 3-pdrs guns accompanied by 8 munition wagons. Each gun had 2 small 6-pdrs mortars affixed to its carriage. In battle, these pieces were intended to be deployed in the front of the regiment. Observation Corps had Shuvalov howitzers instead of mortars.

Until 1756, there were no officer directly responsible for regimental artillery. In October 1756, infantry regiment was assigned an officer responsible for the organisation of gun crews. This officer was subordinated to the regiment commander.

During the campaign of 1757, the artillery attached to each regiment was reinforced by 7¼-pdrs Shuvalov howitzers.

After 1758, this changed to 4 unicorns (8, 10 and 20-pdrs) for each regiment (5 by 1759). Toward the end of the war, some 8-pdrs guns were assigned to infantry.

Each regiment had a little detachment of artillerymen supplied directly by the Artillery Corps:

  • 1 NCO
  • 5 gunners
  • 10 fusiliers
  • 15 labourers (to manoeuvre the guns).

Artillery ammunitions were packed in 10 caissons with a 2 horse’s team. The complete reserve per regiment was 750 cannon balls and cartouches (75 per caisson).

Train

Each regiment had 14 two-horse ammunition carts, 2 two-horse hand grenades carts (20 in the grenadier regiments) and more than 200 two-horse supply wagons.

References

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

Pengel and Hurt, Russian Infantry Uniforms and Flags of the Seven Years War

rf-figuren, Die Russische Armee im 7-jährigen Krieg 1756 - 1763, 2008

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by the KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 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, 2005

Acknowledgements

Carlo Bessolo for the initial version of this article and Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for additional information