четверг, 10 февраля 2011 г.

Russian dragoon colors 1700-12

This is a re-post from the closed site northernwars.com. It is updated summary of my article published in 2009 in the Russian Military Historical Magazine “Old Zeughaus” (Великанов В.С. Знамена русских драгунских полков 1700-09. // Совместный выпуск «Военно-исторического журнала» и журнала «Старый Цейхгауз», посвященный 300-летнему юбилею Полтавского сражения. М. 2009. с. 82-88). Drawings & plates are made by Dan Schorr. See also other posts labeled “Dragoons” & “Colors & Standards” on my blog.
The most widely held view concerning Russian dragoon colours from the Great Northern War is that they were of the same pattern as infantry colors (palm branches, arm with sword coming out of a cloud, St. Andrew’s cross) but smaller & with fringe. This was first written by Viskovatov and then repeated in the most of the subsequent works. On the other hand, available surviving colours and their descriptions refute this. Only one surviving colour meets the pattern described above. It is light-blue, with gold branches & white (light-blue?) cloud, gold fringe. The remaining colours are completely different.
The colours of the first dragoon regiments, Schnevetc (raised 1698, in 1706 – Kievskiy) and Gulitc (raised 1700, in 1706 - Moskovskiy), are known thanks to Swedish Trophy Collection and surviving documents in the Russian archives. Both received one white regimental colour (carried by the 1st company) and colored ones for the remaining companies. At Narva in 1700, the Shnevetc Dragoons lost their regimental and 5 company colours. The regimental colour was white, size 107x139 cm, with gold palm breaches, a brown Russian double-headed eagle with golden scepter and globe under three gold crowns, and a gold ribbon with motto “Симъ побъждаю враги своя” (Win over my enemies by this). Company colors were black, 100x137 cm, with gold palm branches and a straight cross, and a silver ribbon with the same motto “Симъ побъждаю враги своя” (Win over my enemies by this). The finial is flat with cutout Orthodox Cross. [Plate 1.1]
At Narva, the Gulitc Dragoons lost their regimental and 8 company colours (the Swedes reported the capture of the regimental and 6 company colours). The regimental colour was white, 105x133 cm, with a black eagle with 3 gold crowns above, gold scepter and globe. There was no ribbon with motto. Company colours were green, 98x140 cm, silver (in documents concerning their production – gold) palm branches, silver straight cross, silver ribbon with motto «Симъ знакомъ побъждаю» (Win by this sign), and 8 gold stars. [Plate 1.2] Colours in the Swedish Trophy Collection are without fringe and tassels but documents about their production mention them both in gold. The finial is a St. Andrew’s cross. The regiment was raised in 1700 and the finial was the same as for infantry colors of 1700 pattern. [Plate 1.3]

After the losses at Narva, the Gulitc (Moskovskiy) Dragoons were reduced from 12 companies to 10 and received 6 new colors to replace those lost. They were white (regimental) and green (company) with silver decorations but the details are unknown. By 1706, these were in bad shape and were turned in to the Kiev Arsenal. As replacements, the Moskovskiy Dragoons received 5 worn out green colours with silver decorations from Kievskiy (ex-Schnevetc) Dragoons. In 1707, the Moskovskiy Dragoons received 5 new colours (see details below). 

The roots of the green colours in the Kievskiy Dragoons are unclear. The losses from Narva’s were replaced by 17 April 1701 (all 12 colours are mentioned available in the table), but no details about their production or appearance have been found. Perhaps the green colours mentioned above were transferred to the Kievskiy Dragoons from Maloletniy (Youth) Dragoons. The Maloletniy was raised in 1701 from young nobles as a kind of training unit. It received 6 colours. The regimental colour was white with gold cross, silver ribbon (motto is unknown). Company colours were green of the same pattern as Gulitc’s. Both had gold fringe, green cords with gold tassels. [Plate 1.4] The Maloletniy Dragoons was disbanded by 1703.
In spring and summer of 1701, 10 new dragoon regiments each of 10 companies were raised: Kropotov (Troitckiy), N. Mesherskiy (Novgorodskiy), de Muline (Sibirskiy), Lvov (Astrakhanskiy), Zdanov (Vladimirskiy), Shenshin (Kazanskiy), Novikov (Pskovskiy), Poluactov (St.Peterburgskiy), Ragozin (Permskiy), Deolov (Tverskoy). They were formed in Moscow and immediately 8 of them (all except the last 2) were sent to the Main Army in Pskov and Novgorod. There was no time to manufacture colours in Moscow, so material was sent to Pskov. The material consisted of eight sets of ten colors in white, red, orange, light blue, green, brown, black & yellow. Each regiment received 1 white regimental & 9 colored company colours. Kropotov Dragoons got white company’s colors. Other regimental colors are unknown. Their pattern is also unknown [but possibly similar to those of the Mesherskiy (Vladimirskiy) regiment below].
The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg has 7 dragoon colours pre-1712. One of them is black, gold palm branches & cross, silver ribbon with motto «Симъ знакомъ побъждаю». The cross is with budded (trefoil) end caps and has rays (3?) between arms. These were probably similar in appearance to the 1707 colours of the Mesherskiy (Vladimirskiy) Dragoons (see below). The finial is a flat spearhead, lance - black. [Plate 1.5] The remaining 6 colours are from one set. They are white with gold (?) palm branches, silver cross and ribbon with motto «Симъ знакомъ побъждаю», and gold fringe. The cross is with budded (trefoil) end caps* & gold rays between arms. Size: 137x104 to 121x102. [Plate 1.6] These were probably similar in appearance to the 1700 Gulitc Dragoons, but without the stars.
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* - In original version I wrote that the cross was straight, but it’s wrong see my post:
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The Artillery Museum in Saint Petersburg has 2 black colours, each with a gold, straight cross with silver rays between arms, silver ribbon with motto «Симъ знакомъ побъждаю», and blue silk fringe. No palm branches. The finial is a flat spearhead. The lance is light blue. Size: 122x86 cm. [Plate 2.1]
Moscow Kremlin Armory Collection has a red silk dragoon colour with gold palm branches, a silver cross and ribbon with motto «Симъ знакомъ побъждаю» (“Win by this sign”). Size 133x89 cm.[Plate 2.2] The regiment is unknown. Perhaps this is Ragozin (Permskiy) Dragoons. In 1701 it was sent to the southern frontier at Taganrog. In autumn 1702 it was dismissed for the winter. It was gathered again in spring 1703 in Moscow, where it received 1 white and 9 red colours from Moscow Armory. Possibly, some of them were later returned to Moscow Armory.
Swedish Trophy Collection in addition to the Narva trophies has colours from two other dragoon regiments. The Sukhotin (Tverskoy) Dragoons lost their regimental and two company colours at Jakobstadt on 25 July 1704. The Regimental colour is 90x140 cm, white with golden state eagle under 3 crowns. Company’s colors are a dark yellow silk, 59x68 cm. On one side is St. Iokin the Warrior with 6 stars, on the other a golden cross. Also, there is a note (in Russian) on both sides: “драгунскаго полку полковника Григорiя Андреевича Сухотина» = “Colonel Grigoriy Sukhotin’s Dragoon regiment”.[Plate 2.3] These colours are interesting because of the saint’s image. It is the only known instance of the use of a saint’s image on a colour from Peter’s reign. The use of an image of a saint was more common in the 17th Century. Sukhotin took over the regiment in March 1703 in Novgorod, so the colours were manufactured soon after that. By the end of 1704, Sukhotin’s Dragoons got 3 new colours of unknown pattern as a replacement for those lost at Jakobstadt.
The other trophy is similar to Gulitc’s of 1700. It is dark olive, 92x152 cm, with gold palm branches and silver cross between them. The cross is Greek with budded (trefoil) end caps, silver ribbon with motto «Симъ знакомъ побъждаю». [Plate 2.4] It’s similar to the colour from Hermitage Collection. It is unknown when and where it was captured. Instances of the loss of colours following Narva are limited, so evidently this colour belonged to the Mesherskiy (Vladimirskiy) Dragoon Regiment and was lost at Gemäuerthof in 1705. It was made in the autumn of 1701 in Novgorod with the other 7 regiments raised in the same year. Evidently all of these colours were of this pattern.
These are all of the available dragoon colours descriptions identified as 1700-06. There are numerous instances where only the color of the colour is mentioned without any other details. For example, Belozerskiy Dragoons received in 1706 one regimental and nine black company colours without any details. Available descriptions allow us summarize the appearances of Russian dragoon colours for 1700-06. It had the following details:
- Regimental colour was white with double-headed eagle (gold, black or brown) with scepter and globe under three gold crowns. No palm branches or motto (with the exception of a single regiment – Schevetc, 1698).
- Company colours were colored, with a cross (4 variants are available), palm branches (8 of 10 known cases) and the motto «Симъ знакомъ побеждаю»
The average length of service for a colour was 5 years, and in 1705-06 most of the Russian dragoons regiments received a new set of colours. The details of this 1705-06 issue are less well known. In many cases, the manufacture of colours was not centralized, but they were made locally by the regiments themselves. In all probability, some of them copied the pattern of previous ones. On the other hand, some surviving ones are completely different. In the Artillery Museum in Saint Petersburg there are two green colours with Peter’s monogram (letters P-A-C) in gold under crown and with silver palm branches, gold fringe, finial with cutout cross (simple with 4 ends, not Orthodox). This monogram differs from the monogram used in 1710s that’s why it has been identified as pre-1712. Also, most researchers have identified that Peter’s monogram became widespread as a symbol (not only on colors) after 1706. In 1707, the Moskovskiy Dragoons received one white and 4 green colours each with black double-headed eagle. [Plate 2.5] After 1706 it became colour practice that a dragoon regiments only received five colours or one per squadron of 2 companies instead of one per company. A similar colour was in Artillery museum collection, but has been lost. It was blue, with gold double-headed eagle with scepter and sword, a St. Andrew’s cross on eagle’s breast, gold fringe, and finial with cutout cross. Size:114x112 cm. [Plate 2.6] In spite of eagle’s presence, I have identified it as company colour because since 1630s the Russians used white for regimental colours. Evidently it was a common practice to use Peter’s monogram or an eagle on the dragoon colours in the period 1706-12.
Consequently, at Poltava some dragoon regiments could have had 5 (one per squadron) or 10 (one per coy) colours. One of them was the regimental and was white with the State Eagle. The remainder were colored and had one of the following decorations: cross with motto and palm branches, the State Eagle, or Peter’s monogram. Probably, several regiments might also have old-fashioned colours with the image of a saint, or colours repeating the infantry pattern of 1700 (cloud, arm with sword, palm branches). In 1712 when the time came to replace colours, they were replaced by the well known 1712-pattern with town or provincial arms.


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