You are on page 1of 4

Russian Infantry 1700-09: Organization and Structure.

Vlad Velikanov

©Vlad Velikanov 2007

(This is a summary of my article that appeared in the Russian military magazine “Voin”
#4, 2007 with some updates. Illustrations by A. Ezov from the same article)

Russian foot regiments raised before 1700 usually had 10 companies, totaling 1,032 men:
1 Polkovnik (Colonel), 1 Podpolkovnik (Lieutenant-Colonel), 2 Majors, 1 Kapitan-leitenant
(Captain-Lieutenant), 7 Kapitan (Captain), 10 Poruchik (Lieutenant), 10 Praporshik (Ensign),
200 Sergant and Kapral (Sergeants and Corporals), 800 Soldat (Soldier). Most of the regiments
did not have grenadiers or pikmen, but the 2
Moscow Vyborniy (selected) Foot Regiment
under Patrick Gordon (also known as Butyrskiy) had grenadiers.
Streltzi, after 1682, were organized in regiments and companies instead of “prikaz” and
“sotnia”. Regiments were of 10 (so-called Moscow Streltzi) or 5 (most of regional troops)
companies of 102 men each.
For the forthcoming war with Sweden, Peter the Great planned to organize the field army
in 3 Generalstvo (Division) of the standard structure: 1 “old” Moscow “Vyborniy” foot regiment,
8 newly raised foot regiments and a dragoon regiment. The Preobrazenskiy and Semenovskiy
regiments in the beginning of 1700 officially were 1
and 2
“tysacha” (thousand) of the 3

Moscow “Vyborniy” regiment under A. Golovin. Two Generalstvo under Weide and Golovin
were planned to be raised in Moscow, one (Repnin) in Kazan
The 16 new foot regiments raised in 1700 in Moscow were of 12 companies each, 1, 238
men: 1 polkovnik (colonel), 1 podpolkovnik (lieutenant-colonel), 1 majors, 1 kapitan-leitenant
(captain-lieutenant), 9 kapitan (captain), 11 poruchik (lieutenant), 12 praporshik (ensign), 1
Polkovoi obozni (Regimental Train Master), 1 Polkovoi pisar (Regimental Clerk), 36 Sergeants,
12 Kaptenarmus, 12 Podpraporshik, 48 Kapral (Corporal), 12 Rotni pisar (Company clerk), 46
Denshik (Officer's batman), 24 Barabanshik (Drummer), 24 Sipovshik (Flutist), 986 soldat
(privates). No grenadiers or pikemen.
Regiments raised in the summer of 1700 in Kazan were also to be of 12 companies,
similar to the Moscow-based troops. Initially, 9 regiments were raised, 8 as foot and 1 as a cadre
for dragoons. But Repnin did not have enough time, and the Berner regiment remained a foot
regiment. In August 1700, the Kazan troops were reorganized in 11 regiments with an average
strength of between 900 and 1,000 men. 9 of these were sent to Moscow and 2 were sent to
Belgorod on Tartar frontier. In September 1700, the Kazan regiments arrived in Moscow were
they were organized in regiments of 1 grenadier and 8 fusilier companies. Evidently, the
Butyrskiy regiment, which joined Repnin’s Generalstvo, had the same organization.

Fusilier of the Yuri Bush regiment, 1704-08
(raised 1704, since 1708 – Azovskiy).
Grenadier of the Vasiliy Poroshin regiment,
1704-08 (raised 1700 as Yungor in Moscow,
since 1708 – Vladimirskiy)

Besides the regiments in Moscow and Kazan, two weak regiments of 8 companies each
were raised in 1700 in Novgorod. Information about them is limited. Evidently, they had an
organization similar to pre-1700 units, i.e. companies of 100 men. Repnin’s Generalstvo was late
joining the Narva campaign. Despite the absence of Kazan troops, the siege army included a
Generalstvo under Prince Trubetskoi. It consisted of 2 Novgorod regiments and 4 Streltzi
regiments from Pskov and Novgorod of 500 men each.
Consequently, in the campaigns of 1700 and 1701 the Russian field army included foot
regiments of five types: pre-1700 foot of 10 companies, 1700-Moscow foot of 12 companies,
1700-Kazan troops of 9 companies, Streltzi of 5 companies and two Novgorod regiment of 8
companies; however, as a result of high losses at Narva in 1700 the two latter regiments were
combined into a single unit. During campaigns of 1701-1702 most of the Moscow-raised
regiments were reduced to 10 companies because of depleted strength. At the same time, in some
of these regiments grenadiers and pikemen appeared. It was not a systematic process. Their
introduction depended on the inclination of the colonel. In 1701, Fliverk received pikes for 1/3 of
his soldiers. The same year, Yungor established grenadiers. In summer of 1702, Gulitc, Sharf,
Tolbugin and Scot had both pikemen and grenadiers. Information about other regiments in most
of cases is unavailable. In 1705 British ambassador Witworth wrote that the “Russians (he saw
Main Army in Lithuania) do not use pikes”
A new regulation was proposed in Oct 1704 by GFM George O’Gilvy. He proposed a
foot regiment of 1 grenadier and 8 fusilier companies, totaled 1,364 men. A regimental staff of 1
Polkovnik, 1 Podpolkovnik, 1 Major, 1 Quartermaster, 1 Polkovoi secretar (regimental clerk), 1
Priest, 1 Adjutant, 1 Doctor, 4 doctor’s assistances, 1 Wagonmeister, 1 Profos. Nine companies
totaling 9 Kapitan, 10 Poruchik, 8 Praporshik, 10 Sergeant, 8 Podpraporshik, 9 Fourier, 9 Rotniy
pisar (company clerk), 54 Kapral, 108 Efreitor (gefreiter), 27 Barabanshik (drummer), 27
Denshik (officer’s batman), 1,071 Soldat. It gives 150 men (incl. 119 soldiers) per company.
This new organization started to be introduced in the winter of 1704-05, but was not completed
until the end of 1705 because of a lack of soldiers. At the Battle of Gemäuerthof in 1705, the
regiments of Chamber’s Brigade evidently were of 9 companies each. It numbered 78 officers
and 2,875 other ranks in 3 regiments. This gives about 26 officers per regiment, and is close to
the 9-company structure.
From the autumn of 1704 through the summer of 1705, many regiments were reduced to
a single battalion due to depleted strength. In August 1705, Repnin’s Division of 13 battalions
moved to Mitau: Preobrazenskiy – 3, Semenovskiy – 2, Ingermanlandskiy – 2, GFM Sheremetev
-1, GFM O’Gilvy – 1, v. Schweiden – 1, Butyrskiy – 1, Aigustov – 1, Balk -1 (total 9,146 men).
At the end of August 1705, a brigade under GM v. Werden was also of single-battalion
regiments: Mews (635 men), Gulitc (500), Deldin (650), Angler (520). Troops of the Main Army
at Grodno were strengthened in autumn 1706; howver, by the start of Grodno campaign their
average strength was still below authorized strength: about 800 per regiment (390 per battalion).
Converged grenadier battalions were formed in the autumn 1705. By the February 1706
the Main Army at Grodno contained 4 grenadier battalions. There were 21 regiments in the
Grodno encampment. Three of them (Preobrazenskiy, Semenovskiy and Ingermanlandskiy)
formed a separate “Guard” brigade. The remaining18 regiments were formed into 6 brigades (3
divisions). The grenadiers from these were gathered in four converged grenadier battalions. Their
structure is unclear. Either they were combined by brigades (3 coy per battalion, 2 brigades
saved grenadiers in the regiments), or they were of standard 4-companies structure and were not
attached directly to brigades. The grenadiers of the Auxiliary Corps serving with Saxon Army
under Schulenburg were gathered in a single converged battalion under Karr. The number of
companies in it is unclear. In Ingria, converged grenadier battalions were formed by 1708
(battalions under Lutkovskiy and Grekov). In March 1708, the grenadiers of the Main Army
were combined into regiments, one per division: Tailor-Lesly in Repnin’s Division, Bush in
Weide’s Division, and Bils-Buck – in Hallart’s Division. In Ingria (Apraksin’s Division)
grenadiers were gathered in a single regiment (de Boa) in May 1709.
In the summer 1706 (the exact date is unknown) the regiments of the Main Army
received a new organization of 1,180 NCOs and privates per regiment (8 fusilier companies),
grenadier companies were shown separately in converged grenadier battalions. On February 3,
1707, the Tsar ordered that 1/8 of a company had to be pikemen. At this time, the Russians used
a 4-rank line. It means that ½ of the first line were pikemen. Under the Tsar’s ordinance of 2
May 1707, the number of officers and NCO’s in a company was fixed: 1 Kaptain, 1 Poruchik, 1
Podporuchik, 1 Fendrik (as in the Ordonance), 1 Sergeant, 1 Kaptemarmus, 1 Fourier, 1
Oboznichiy, 1 Profos, 4 or 6 Korporals. That same summer, fusilier companies were increased to
148 privates, resulting in 161-163 men per company. Grenadier companies stayed at 100
privates, for a total of 110 men.
There is no exact information about regimental artillery in the newly formed regiments in
1700. Evidently, they received two 3-pdr cannons (Fliverk’s regiment stated in its regimental
papers that he lost two pieces at Narva). Even if the regiments had them, they were lost at Narva.
In summer campaign of 1702, 9 foot regiments under Sheremetev had 13 3-pdr cannons and 7
foot regiments under GM Gulitc had 5. By 1704, most of regiments had 1 3-pdr cannon per
battalion. V. Werden in April 1704 had 18 3-pdr cannons in 9 foot regiments. In autumn 1705 v.
Werden (5 foot regiments: Aigustov, Mews, Balk, Keling, Rydder) had 2 3-pdr cannons and 1
howitzer per regiment. Sheremetev in spring 1705 had 22 cannons in 11 regiments. In the
summer of 1705, regimental artillery was increased to 2 3-pdr cannon per battalion (4 in a
regiment) for Main army in Lithuania. After the spring campaign of 1706, this number was
reduced to 1 3-pdr per battalion. Consequently, by Poltava most of Russian infantry regiments
consisted of 8 fusilier companies in 2 battalions with 1 3-pdr cannon per battalion. A company’s
paper strength was about 160 officers and other ranks. Yet in spite of the 1704, 1706 and 1707
Regulations many regiments differed from it. At Poltava, at least five regiments were of 10
companies in 2 battalions: Pskovskiy, Koporskiy, Troitskiy, v. Fihtengeim, Apraksin. Six
regiments were of 12 companies in 3 battalions: Ingermanlandskiy, Moscovskiy, Kievskiy,
Narvskiy, Ivangorodskiy, Permskiy. The Belgorodskiy regiment was of 15 companies in 3