Notes on Russian "Old Army" Units in the Great Northern War

Vladimir Velikanov



In summer of 1698 the Russian Streltzy numbered 20 Moscow and 29 Gorodovie (Town) regiments. This number does not include small, less than regimental size, units of Streltzy in numerous strongholds and towns.

Moscow Streltzy
(all stationed out of the city)

1. Fedor Kozlikov (Velikie Luky),
2 .Afanasiy Chubarov (Velikie Luky),
3. Ivan Cherniy (Velikie Luky),
4. Tikhon Gundetmark (Velikie Luky),
5. Ivan Kanishev (Azov),
6. Ivan Ozerov (Azov),
7. Dmitriy Vorontsov (Azov),
8. Martimian Sukharev (Azov),
9. Venedikt Baturin (Azov),
10. Mikhail Vorontsov (Azov),
11. Ivan Ushakov (Kiev),
12. Ivan Nechaev (Kiev),
13. Ivan Skripitsin (Kiev),
14. Mikhail Sukharev (Kiev),
15. Vasiliy Elchaninov (Belgorod),
16. Mikhail Krivtsov (Belgorod),
17. Ilia Durov (Belgorod),
18. Zborniy (combined) Regiment under Peter Golovin (Belgorod),
19. Stepan Strekalov (Sevsk)
20. Ivan Speshnev (Astrakhan)

Velikie Luky - 4 regiments under command of M.G. Romonadovskiy:
1. Fedor Kozlikov (in Corb's memories this regiment is given as Fedoseev),
2. Afanasiy Chubarov,
3. Ivan Cherniy,
4. Tikhon Gundetmark
These troops mutinied in September 1698. This mutiny is described in Corb's memories and was quickly put down. During the investigation 799 Streltzy were executed, 29 arrested and 193 were released. The remaining 2,671 were gathered in a single converged regiment under Polkovnik (Colonel) Semen Shenshin and settled in Novobogoroditck on Samara river (southern frontier). This unit was on rolls until 1709 and evidently was disbanded in 1710-11. The data above gives an idea of the real regimental strength of Moscow Streltzy, close (3,700 in 4 rgts) to paper strength, about 900-1000 men each.

Azov - 6 regiments:
5. Ivan Kanishev,
6. Ivan Ozerov,
7. Dmitriy Vorontsov,
8. Martimian Sukharev,
9. Venedikt Baturin,
10. Mikhail Vorontsov
The Moscow Streltzy in Azov mutinied in 1699, but were quickly put down without any serious resistance. Some of Streltzy were gathered in a zborniy (converged) regiment under polkovnik Peter Golovin and sent to the main army. The history of the other regiments was following:
Regiment under Kanishev (5) was sent to Sevsk and in 1700 transformed to a regular infantry regiment. Regiments Ozerov (6) and Protopopov (7) were moved to Smolensk and became regular infantry, but retained their old organization (sotnia instead of company) and privileges until 1702. Sometime after 1710 they became the Smolensk and Dorogobuz Garrison Infantry. These troops were stationed in Smolensk and in 1720's they had red coats despite the fact that the Regulations of 1720 ordered green coats for infantry. They wore a red coat with blue lining and cuffs, blue vest, red trousers, tin buttons. It is known that they wore this uniform until the 1730's.
Regiment Sukharev (8) was evidently disbanded in 1700.
Regiment Baturin (9) was sent to the main army and took part at Narva in 1700 and the siege of Dorpat in 1704. In 1706 it was disbanded and its ranks were added to the Kargopol Infantry.
Regiment Vorontcov (10) was sent to Belorussia and was part of the garrison of Bykhov. During 1706-08 it took part in operations against Swedes, and in 1713 was converted to Land Militia.

Kiev - 4 regiments
11. Ivan Ushakov,
12. Ivan Nechaev,
13. Ivan Skripitsin,
14. Mikhail Sukharev
In 1702 Regiment Nechaev (12) was sent to Baturin under command of Mazepa. It was later disbanded and its ranks were added to the Streltzy Regiment Grigoriy Annenkov (50). In 1707 it fought against Swedish and Leshinskiy forces under Getman's command, and in 1711 took part in the Prut campaign. Then it was disbanded.
The other 3 regiments were transformed in 1711 to Garrison Infantry: Commendant (Commandant) (11), Ober-Commendant (13), Ushakov (14).
As far as I know, these regiments became the 1st (11), 2nd (13) Orel and 1st Sevsk (14) Garrison Infantry Regiments on 16 Feb. 1727. On 11 November 1727 they were named after their permanent posts: Kiev(11), Chernigov(13), Poltava(14). On 16 April 1764 they became the 1-6 Kiev garrison infantry battalions. On 10 May 1770 the 5th and 6th battalions were disbanded and their ranks were added to the garrisons of the frontier strongholds. The remaing 4 battalions became the 1st and 2nd Kiev Garrison Regoments in 1790. On 9 Jan. 1797 they amalgamated in a single garrison regiment named after GL Vigel, (14 April 1798 GM Pakhmanov, 25 May 1798 GM Masse, 22 July 1801 again Kiev). In 1811 this regiment was disbanded, 6 companies became a part of newly raised Orel Infantry (1917 36th Orel Infantry Regiment), the other 6 companies became part of the Perm Infantry Regiment (1917 105th Orenburg Infantry Regiment).

Belgorod District - 4 regiments
15. Vasiliy Elchaninov,
16. Mikhail Krivtsov,
17. Ilia Durov
18. Peter Golovin
On 13 January1700 these regiments were disbanded and the most of their ranks were demobilized, but young Streltzy were gathered in two new regiments under V. Elchaninov (51) & I. Durov (52)(later Martemian Sukharev). I'm not sure, but it seems to me that these regiments contained 5 sotnia instead of usual 10. Nevertheless they took part at Narva in 1700 and were in Baltic region till 1706, when they were disbanded and their ranks were added to Kargopol Infantry (see also 9 & 19). Regiment Golovin (18) was disbanded in 1700 and its ranks were added to the streltzy in Belgorod and Kiev.

19. Regiment Strekalov was exiled to Sevsk but in 1700 was called to army. It was at Narva in 1700, 1703-05 in the Corps under Apraskin and in garrison in Ladoga and Narva. In 1706 it was disbanded and its ranks added to Kargopol Infantry. This regular infantry regiment was disbanded in 1713 (see also 9).

20. Regiment Speshnev was exiled to Astrakhan and mutinied with the other troops of garrison (see #30-38)


Gorodovie (Town) Streltzy

Kazan Razriad (District)- 9 regiments:
21. Regiment of Seven Hundred Men
22. Red Regiment
23. Gliatkovskiy
24. Dobygin
25. Rzevskiy
26. Staritskiy
27-29. unknown

In 1698 these units mutinied and were disbanded, from their ranks five "settled infantry" regiments ("old" army) were raised.
(In the brackets are given numbers with letter R, they are taken from Rabinovich's "Regiments of Peter's army" similar to Tessin.)
51. Denis Serbin (R87), garrison of Astrakhan, took part in the mutiny of 1705-06 and was disbanded afterwards.
52. Alexander William Sharf (R92), 1700 with the main army, but missed Narva?, actions near Pskov and on Chudskoe Lake, 1708 Olonetckiy Infantry, at Poltava, then garrison of Chernigov, 1712 disbanded
53. Timofei Bordovik (R93), 1700-05 garrison of Kazan, 1706 repression of Astrakhan mutiny, then garrison of this town
54. Andrew William Shaft (R94), garrison of Tsaritcin, 1701 main army, 1704 garrison of St.Peterburg, in 1727 Levashov, 11 November 1727 Kronslot Garrison Infantry.
55. Yuriy Bush (R95), till 1704 in Dmitrievsk (a fortress on southern frontier, a very dangerous place), 1705 on Kotlin Island, by 1712 disbanded.

Astrakhan & on river Terek -9 regiments:
Mounted regiments:
30. Mikhail Zazarskiy
31. Nikolai Zazarskiy
32. Iakov Pekov.
Foot regiments:
33. Boris Karentov
34. Dmitriy Golochalov
35. Ilia Nekrasov
36. Peter Kozlov
37. Belosonov
38. unknown
In Astrakhan district & in strongholds on river Terek were stationed 9 Streltzy (#30-38). They mutinied in 1705-06 & were disbanded in 1706-07, some ranks were added to the Tver, Smolensk & Selivanov's garrison infantry & a garrison dragoon regiments, raised for garrisons of Astrakhan province in 1706-07.

Kursk - 1 regiment:
39. Aleksiy Chichagov
Regiment Chichagov was stationed in 1698 at Kursk. In 1700-08 garrison of Kursk, Kameniy Zaton and Kazikermen (all towns on southern frontier), in 1708 took part in repression of Bulavin's mutiny on Don, disbanded between 1709 and 1712.

Putivl - 1 regiment:
40. Golova Grigoriy Meshkov
Regiment Meshkov was in garrison of Putivl and Novobogoroditck (southern frontier) until 1706, then disbanded.

Arkhangelsk & Kolsk - 4 regiments:
41. Mikhail Krivtsov
42. Fedosiy Kozin
43. Osip Derevetskiy
44. unknown
3 Streltzy regiments from Arkhangelsk were converted to regular infantry in 1699, and two of them, M. Krivtcov & F. Kozin, were moved in 1700 to the garrison of Moscow. I haven't found any information on their subsequent development, evidently by the 1720's they became v.Gaden's (disbanded 1726) and Korobov Garrison Infantry (1727 Kolomna or Kolomenski).
Regiment Derevetckiy (43) of 500 men was stationed in Kolsk. In 1699 it was converted to the garrison infantry. Subsequent development is unknown, evidently this regiment became Gulitz Garison Infantry (1727 Arkhangelsk)

Pskov - 2 regiments:
45. Yuriy Vestov
46. Danila Zagoskin
2 Streltzy regiments from Pskov (45-46) and 3 from Novgorod (47-49) were with main army at Narva in 1700, then the seige and capture of Dorpat in 1704. In 1705 the Pskov regiments of Danila Zagoskin (then Vasiliy Kozodavlev) and Yuri Vestov were gathered in Nekludov's Infantry.

Novgorod - 3 regiments:
47. Zakhariy Vestov
48. Miron Bashnev
49. Fedor Bashnev
The Streltzy under F. and M. Bashnev were disbanded in 1706 and their ranks were added to regular infantry. The regiment under Vestov was converted to the Yamburg Infantry in 1708, and disbanded in 1712.


The information above is for Streltzy regiments available in 1698. As you can see, the statement that Peter the Great annihilated them before GNW is incorrect. He did not hesitate to disband all disloyal troops, but the rest took an active part in the Great Northern War. They fought in all actions in 1700-09, but between 1705 and 1711 most of them were amalgamated in regular army; however, some survived until 1728.

After the defeat at Narva in 1700 Peter the Great lacked trained troops and was forced to use the ranks of disbanded Streltzy to strengthen his army. In 1702 Russian officials raised three Streltzy regiments of 1,000 men each ( Ivan Nechaev, Mikhail Protopopov, Vasiliy Koshelev) in Smolensk and Dorogobuz. These troops regained the social status and privileges lost after repression in 1690's. Nechaev's and Protopopov's regiments were sent to Poland, then acted with main army until 1711, when Protopopov's was disbanded and Nechaev was converted to a "settled" streltzy regiment (?), which was disbanded in 1713. Koshelev was converted to the settled infantry in 1705-06. Its subsequent development is unknown.
On 31 May 1703 two more Streltzy regiments were raised: Grigori Annenkov (in Baturyn) and Vasiliy Danilov (in Sevsk). Then a regiment under Danila Yudin (later Yakov Postelnikov) was added. Annenkov and Postelnikov were converted to the "settled" infantry in 1705-06 , but their subsequent development is unknown.

The history of Danilov's Regiment is very interesting. In June 1703 in Smolensk an Auxiliary Corps for service with Saxons consisting of 9 infantry and 2 Streltzy (Danilov & Kakhovski) regiments was formed . Through 1706 this Corps acted around Warsaw and Poznan, and it took part in the Battle of Fraustadt. The Russians had huge losses in this battle, and the remnants of the 11 regiments were gathered in a single regiment of 3 battalions under Rentzel (this regiment was also called Saxon). After the capitulation of Saxony this regiment fought its way through the whole of Poland on its own. Later this regiment distinguished itself at Poltava, and was one of Peter's favorite units.. In the 1720's it was named Suzdal (or Suzdalski) and took part in most of Russia's wars. In 1760's its commander was the famous Suvorov.

The Streltzy military was also rebuilt in Novgorod and Pskov 1700-03 . In 1700-02 four regiments were raised in Pskov: Yuri Shkot, Yuri Polibin, Fedor Karr, Ushakov. They were present at Narva, and then with Sheremetiev in Baltic region. In 1704 they were converted to the regular infantry. In 1703 two more Streltzy regiments were raised: Boshmakov and Rukh. In 1704 they were converted to the garrison infantry in Dorpat. These six regiments were recruited from the Streltzy of small strongholds and towns of the northwest of Russia. In 1711 Streltzy from the Olonetck and Ladoga area were formed into the Schl├╝sselburg Garrison Infantry Battalion. The order of battle of the Russian army at Vyborg (1710) includes two Streltzy regiments: Stubenski and Baushev. Their roots are unknown, possibly the first was raised from ex-Astrakhan Streltzy.
In 1719-25 the most of the Streltzy lost their privileges and social status, and became so-called odnodvortcy. Nevertheless, in 1727-28 some Streltzy troops continued to serve in garrisons in at least of 17 strongholds and towns.

"Settled" Units

In 1698 a "settled" infantry regiment GM A.A. Gulitc, 1700 A.T. Voznitcin, was raised from settled soldiers of the Komaritc volost.

Reitar Regiments

From the Smolensk and a part of Belorussia Szlachta the Horse Regiment GM B.S. Korsack (R526) was raised . This unit of the Pomestnaia Konnitca was active until the end of the Great Northern War and retained its old militia organization
Reitar Regiment Z.N. Cro (R512) was in garrison of Taganrog, disbanded in 1704?
Reitar Regiment S. Norov (R513) was moved to Taganrog in 1703, previous destination is unknown, disbanded in 1707?
Reitar Regiment S.Stanckevich (R514) in garrison of Smolensk till 1704 then disbanded.
Reitar Regiment M.Murzenck (R515) was also in Smolensk, in 1701 with the main army, 1703 Yamburg, 1704 Gumolova Myza, Dorpat, 1705-06 garrison of Dorpat.
Reitar Regiment Sheivitc (R516) in Sevsk, disbanded in 1702.
Reitar Regiment Pozdnev (R517) in Kiev, disbanded in 1719.
In 1700 in Novgorod there were 3 Reitar Regiments (R518-520), they took part in actions in 1700-02 and were disbanded in 1702.
Reitar Regiment Aznageev (R521) in Pskov, disbanded 1702.
Combined Reitar-Lancer (kopeini) Regiment Y.I. Viacheslov (R522) raised in Sevsk in 1703, disbanded in 1704.
Reitar Regiment Verevkin (R523) also was raised in Sevsk in 1703, disbanded in 1704.
Reitar Regiment Lvov (R524) was raised in Novgorod in 1703, disbanded in 1704. This unit was probably raised from the ranks of the regiments disbanded in 1702 (see 518-520).
Reitar Regiment Protasov (R525) was moved to Novgorod in 1700, previous location is unknown, 1701 Repnin's Myza, 1702 Everst's Myza, disbanded in 1704. (Myza = farmstead in Estland and Livland

Leonov O., Ulianov I., Regular infantry 1698-1801, Moscow 1995.
Novitcki, V.F. (ed.), Military Encyclopedia, Vol. I-XVI, Moscow 1911-15
Rabinovich, M.D., "Streltzy in the 1st Quarter of the 18th Century", Istoricheski Zapiski (Historical notes), Vol. 58, Moscow 1956.
Rabinovich, M.D., Regiments of Peter the Great's Army 1698-1725, Moscow 1977.


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