Before the revolution, each guards regiment had a regimental museum, where all its regalia, as well as samples of uniforms from different years, were carefully preserved. Then on the anniversary of the regiment it turned out like this historical photos. Well, historians had a lot of freedom: come, look, feel, describe ...
... for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for one hundred and fifty.
2nd book Chronicles 17:1
2nd book Chronicles 17:1
Military affairs at the turn of the eras. The army has always cost the state dearly. So Peter I, starting up a regular army in Russia, apparently thought a lot of how to make it European and at the same time cheap enough, of course, by his own standards, so that foreigners, God forbid, would not laugh at Peter's troops. And it is clear that he could not do without cavalry, but decided, as far as possible, to make it cheap. Therefore, he did not start any expensive cuirassiers, but limited himself, in general, to the universal dragoon cavalry, which was a "riding infantry", and only gradually, over time, learned to fight not only on foot, but also in horse ranks.
The tax on the maintenance of the dragoon cavalry was paid separately and was called the dragoon tax, and it was introduced in 1701. First, former spearmen, reitars and noble niggards (at least some elite!), Only 10012 people, turned up in the dragoon regiments (with a count of nine). From each court they were supposed to collect: from landowners and estates - 20 kopecks, from church and palace departments - 25, from merchants - a tenth of the income. But the number of regiments was constantly increasing and by 1706 reached 28. The budget of the Russian state spent 420000 rubles a year on their maintenance! And this despite the fact that the Russian dragoons rode on "thin horses", and their uniforms did not differ from the infantry, with the exception of high boots made of hard leather, which are absolutely necessary for action in close formation. Nevertheless, horsemen, partly similar to cuirassiers, nevertheless appeared in Russia under Peter I, albeit in a small number and only for a while.
Cavalry guard of Catherine's times. From the book by Jacob von Lude "Images of the uniforms of the Russian imperial army". Artist and engraver H. G. G. Geisler. SPb., 1793
As already noted here, Peter was a rather thrifty monarch, but having signed the Decree on the coronation of Empress Catherine in 1723, he decided not to stint on the celebrations on this occasion. Peter himself refused the official ceremony, but decided to legally formalize the status of his wife as his heiress. At the coronation, Catherine was to be accompanied by cavalry guards, or trabants (drabants), - knights of the special guard, an honor guard, a live demonstration of the power and glory of the empire. Although it was a "one-time" unit, Peter's closest associates fought for the right to form it. So, Count Tolstoy had already received an order to carry out the final fitting and adjustment of the luxurious uniform and knightly armor, but then he was pushed aside by Menshikov and Yaguzhinsky, who clashed in the last major palace intrigue of the era of Peter's reign. As a result, His Serene Highness Prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov was unlucky: he did not even become one of the cavalry guards. And Yaguzhinsky became the main cavalry guard, and this despite the fact that formally the captain of the cavalry guard Peter I appointed himself. However, the happiness of Prosecutor General Yaguzhinsky was also short-lived. After the coronation, which took place in March 1724, the life campaign was disbanded, and the luxurious uniforms and silver trumpets were handed over to the warehouse. On April 30, 1726, the cavalry guard was restored, but Catherine I herself now became its captain. Anna Ioannovna did not trust the cavalry guards, representatives of noble Russian families, and decided to form the Horse Guards in opposition to them, and officers began to be taken into it mainly from foreigners without family tribe. Elizaveta Petrovna did not establish cavalry guards. But Catherine II restored this honorary guard again, and in it, "60 privates served in the ranks of seconds-major, captain and lieutenant." True, it is rather difficult to call this part a military unit. She was very small in number. Well, the Cavalier Regiment in the Imperial Russian Army became a full-fledged combat unit only in 1800.
At the coronation of 1724, the cavalry guards were dressed in caftans of green cloth with gilded buttons and with gold laces, red trousers and camisoles, and over the caftan there was also a red supervest (something like the same cuirass or vest, but made of fabric), trimmed with wide gold galloon. A silver star of the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called was embroidered on the chest of the supertests, and on the back was a golden two-headed eagle. They were armed with broadswords with a gilded hilt and a sheath of white leather, with a lanyard of gold threads, as well as a carbine and two pistols, also trimmed with gold. Beautiful, to be sure, and such a guard should have made a strong impression.
Cavalier Guards 1724 From the book by A.P. Sapozhnikov "Drawings from the Brief History of the Cavalier Guards Her Imperial Majesty Regiment from 1724 to 1832"
Well, the honor of creating proper cuirassier regiments in Russia belongs to Burkhard Christopher Munnich, who was one of the chicks of Petrov's nest and who, after Peter's death, already served his niece, Empress Anna Ioannovna. Another war with Turkey was brewing, and Minich, having carefully studied the Austrian experience of fighting the Turkish cavalry, in 1730 proposed to the empress a project to create a heavy cuirassier cavalry in Russia. The Empress thought and on December 31, 1730 issued a decree on the creation of the first Life Guards Cavalry Regiment, in which she herself would be listed as a colonel. For the lower ranks, who continued to be called reiters, it was supposed to buy 1111 German horses abroad. The officers should have bought horses at their own expense. In 1732, the cost of purchasing and shipping 1201 horses from Germany for the Horse Guards reached 80 thousand rubles. So the pleasure of having cuirassiers for Russia was not at all cheap.
“For non-commissioned officers, timpani, trumpeters, corporals and cuirassiers, do not put horses less than 36 and more than 38 vershoks, so that their breasts and butts are wide, from 4 to 6 years old mares and geldings with black or brown and chestnut hair, which are always the mouths are separated by wool in the shelf. For horses bought in Russia, pay from 30 to 50 rubles, and for horses bought in Germany from 60 to 80 with a drive for officers. From the German edge, you can contract to deliver from 100 to 200 rubles for each ",
- indicated by Anna Ioannovna in the document dated November 18, 1731 "On the establishment of the Cuirassier regiment from the cavalry".
The prices for horses, as you can see, were simply exorbitant, the German horses of the famous Holstein breed were especially expensive.
Cavalry guard in full dress during the reign of Empress Catherine II (1764-1796). From the book by A.P. Sapozhnikov "Drawings from a Brief History of Her Imperial Majesty's Cavalry Regiment from 1724 to 1832"
One more subtlety should be noted here: in addition to the "storm for the Turks", the empress conceived the new cuirassier regiments as a "counterweight" to the old Peter's guard: the Semenovsky and Preobrazhensky regiments, whose loyalty she doubted, and not without reason. And so in order to seduce young noblemen with officer service in these cavalry regiments, and not in the old guard, special privileges were invented for them, or, in the then, "avantages". There were several of them, and all of them are very typical for that time:
1. They will never be sent to Persia.
2. Except during wartime, the service will be in the capital and the surrounding area, and they will be accommodated in the best apartments.
3. Salaries are higher than all other regiments.
4. Both privates and corporals - all higher in rank above other regiments.
5. Even ordinary people will not be beaten with sticks for any offenses.
Since in the army at that time they were flogged for any offense, the latter privilege, of course, had a particularly attractive force, although the flogging was looked at differently at that time than it is now. There was even such a saying: "They don't beat, it is so well known - they teach badly!"
However, the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment, where the empress was a colonel, was created so slowly that the first cuirassier regiment was not he, but ... the army regiment of Minich. And then, in 1731, the Vyborg Dragoon Regiment was simply renamed the Cuirassier Regiment. And on November 1, 1732, the Nevsky Dragoon Regiment, which turned into the Leib Cuirassier Regiment, and the Yaroslavl Dragoon Regiment, which became the 3rd Cuirassier Regiment, became cuirassiers.
Cuirassier of the Kazan regiment of the era of Catherine II. From the book by Jacob von Lude "Images of the uniforms of the Russian imperial army". Artist and engraver H. G. G. Geisler. SPb., 1793
By 1740, there were already four cuirassier regiments in the Russian imperial army. According to the states, the regiment should have a strength of 977 people and ... 781 combat horses. And again, it must be emphasized that not only the horses in the regiments were originally German, but their composition was also largely ... German, since Germans were willingly recruited into cuirassiers, who fought well and had no ties with the Russian aristocracy. The Russian cuirassier, in particular, was also Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Minihausen - the future famous Baron Munchausen. Even with my own uniform, and with that at first there were big problems ...
Cavalry officers in 1742. From the book of A.P. Sapozhnikov "Drawings from the Brief History of the Cavalier Her Imperial Majesty Regiment from 1724 to 1832"
Russian cuirassiers had dark-colored horses, but traditionally light-colored uniforms. Since the tunic and leggings (tight-fitting leggings) were sewn from dressed elk leather (suede), they initially had a yellowish color and only later began to wear a white uniform made of white cloth. The shelves were distinguished by the color of cuffs and lapels on uniforms, that is, the colors of "applied cloth". For example, the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment, the very one that was established first, but actually appeared second, had cuffs and lining in red.
Cavalier guard in everyday form 1764-1796 From the book by A.P. Sapozhnikov "Drawings from a Brief History of Her Imperial Majesty's Cavalry Regiment from 1724 to 1832"
Cuirassiru, in contrast to the dragoon, in 1732-1742. you had to have two uniforms. One, called every day, consisted of a blue caftan, the same as in the dragoon cavalry, but a red jacket and trousers made of moose leather. The hat had a metal oval crown, called a cassette, with a brim trimmed with gold braid along the edge. Cuirassiers wore high boots with flaps of hard leather and spurs on their feet. The second uniform was a combatant. It included an elk tunic, a boot and trousers. The tunic was a narrow and short caftan with a turn-down collar, with cuffs and wrapped floors, which were trimmed along the edge with a ribbon of red cloth 2,5 cm wide. Both pricks and padding were fastened with hooks. The underwear was a short, collarless and sleeveless vest. The "second uniform" was complemented by a black downy hat (cocked hat), a white tie, gloves and high boots with boot-cuffs, and instead of an overcoat there was an epancha made of red cloth. In the ceremonial formation, as well as during hostilities, a cuirass with a suede lining, with metal spikes along the edges, a red cloth (for officers velvet!) Edging and a copper or gilded plaque with a royal monogram on the chest was worn over a moose tunic. The belts, with the help of which the cuirass was attached to the rider on the chest, were reinforced with metal plates, for officers - gilded. The weight of the cuirass was about 10 kg. So people of strong build had to carry such weapons ...
Chief officer of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. From the book “Drawings for the history of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment: the uniform of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. 1731-1848 "
The cuirassier's armament was a straight broadsword with a brass guard and a straight handle, two pistols in saddle holsters (olstrakh) and a carbine. However, such a complete set of weapons could hardly be found in at least one of the regiments. Here are broadswords - yes, all cuirassiers had them. They also tried to arm them with pikes - longer than those that the uhlans had, with an inflow of weighted lead.
Chief Officer and Reiter of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment, 1731-1742. From the book “Drawings for the history of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment: the uniform of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. 1731-1848 "
The cuirasses were used painted black, with brass fittings. The cavalry guards, which represented a particularly privileged regiment of the same cuirassiers, cuirass at a certain period of their history were scarlet with gold trim.
Private of the Cavalry Corps of Paul I. Only during his time the superstations of the Cavaliers were decorated with the Maltese cross. From the book by A.P. Sapozhnikov "Drawings from a Brief History of Her Imperial Majesty's Cavalry Regiment from 1724 to 1832"
Among the cuirassier units of the Russian army, the regiments of His Majesty and Her Majesty stood out, which had competed with each other since the time of Peter the Great. Over the years, both regiments have changed many names. The emperor's cuirassiers trace their history back to the Dragoon regiment, formed by Prince Gregory Volkonsky in 1702. Only in 1761; during the Seven Years' War, the regiment received its final name, and the guards status was assigned to it by Alexander I in 1813. The barracks were located in Tsarskoe Selo, therefore, in common parlance, they began to call it Tsarskoye Selo. The ancestor of the Empress's cuirassier is the Dragoon Portes regiment, organized by the boyar Tikhon Nikitich Streshnev in 1704. In 1733 the regiment became the Leib cuirassier regiment, in 1762 - the Cuirassier general-in-chief of Korf regiment. In 1796, Empress Maria Feodorovna became the chief of the regiment, and the regiment was renamed in her honor, the name did not change afterwards. True, the Gatchina cuirassiers (they were located in Gatchina) received the right to be called guards much later than the Tsarskoye Selo cuirassiers - in 1856, which increased the rivalry. The poet Athanasius Fet made a choice in favor of the empress's regiment:
“In the meantime, I really wanted to be transformed into a formal cuirassier, and I dreamed of a white sling, a lacquered chest, broadsword, copper cuirass and a helmet with a ponytail crest, towering over the St. George's star.”
Usually His and Her Majesties' cuirassiers were called "yellow cuirassiers" and "blue cuirassiers" - according to their instrument colors. Collars, cuffs, shoulder straps, edging, edging, rims and horse saddles were yellow for some and blue for others. Most contemporaries believed that the empress's blue cuirassiers looked more impressive.
Photo for the 200th anniversary of the Tsarskoye Selo cuirassiers. Niva magazine for 1902
On the eve of the Seven Years War in Russia there were already five cuirassier regiments, both guards and army. The regiment was supposed to number 946 people, but usually there were slightly fewer. All regiments fought, and the 3rd cuirassier even took part in the capture of Berlin. But ... the same Rumyantsev assessed their combat work as unsatisfactory and wrote to the Empress-Empress Catherine the following:
“Cuirassier and carabinieri regiments are planted on both expensive and delicate and heavy horses, which are more for the parade than they are capable of doing. Throughout the campaign, they had to store dry fodder, since they are exhausted in the field feed. For this, in the past operations, it was impossible to produce our cavalry, to which it could have had the opportunity ... "
That is, the cuirassier horses required special food and careful care, and for some reason it turned out to be difficult to arrange all this for them in our army. Although Rumyantsev noted that for some reason the Prussian cuirassiers do not experience such difficulties ...
Breastplate officer of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. Russia, XVIII century. Steel, brass, leather, chasing, engraving Monogram of Catherine I. (State Historical Museum, Moscow)
Peter III decided to increase the number of cuirassier regiments to 12, Catherine II, during whose reign this war was completed, the decision was canceled, and Russia remained with five regiments of heavy cavalry: the Life Cuirassier Regiment, the Cuirassier Regiment of the Heir to the Tsarevich, the Regiment of the Military Order ( former Minich regiment), Yekaterinoslavsky (former Novotroitsky), and Kazan regiment.
Breastplate officer of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. Russia, 1730s. Steel, brass, chasing, engraving. On the cuirass is the monogram of Empress Anna Ioannovna. State Historical Museum, Moscow
Subsequently, the number of cuirassier regiments in Russia was constantly changing. New monarch, new whim, new shelves. It was only in 1801 that Alexander I in the cuirassier regiments for some reason canceled the cuirass. And it turned out ... big losses in these regiments in the wars with Napoleon in 1805-1807. But later, either the sovereign himself thought of this, or someone suggested to him, the cuirasses were returned to them in 1811. Literally a year before the start of "thunderstorm 12". However, why be surprised? In the Russian army of that time, such "eccentricities" occurred constantly. For example, when we brought in a regiment of lancers, we exactly borrowed its uniform from the Poles, but ... forgot about the main thing weapon lancers - lances that this regiment again received only on the eve of 1812!
Breastplate of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Museum of Military History. Vein
To be continued ...