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Örjan Martinsson

Russian Uniforms in the Battle of Narva

Peter the Great is credited for modernising the Russian army along the model of western armies. However, at the time of the battle of Narva the Russian army still looked like an eastern army. Western style uniforms would not begin to be issued until 1702. So during the first years of the Great Northern War the Russian army was still dressed in traditional kaftans of Hungarian cut. A visual impression of how the Russian army looked like in the battle of Narva is given on this page. Unfortunately I do not have uniform information or even the names of the participating cavalry regiments. But for the infantry this type of information can be found in Lars-Eric Höglund's book about Russian uniforms which I have used here as well as the work by the Swedish General Staff "Karl XII på slagfältet" which contain a Russian order of battle for Narva.

I have after my best ability tried to identify the regiments which the General Staff mention with those that can be found in Höglund's book. I have with the exception of the two guard regiments written with green text which name the regiments have in Höglund's book and if such text is missing then they are not included in his book. Höglund mention on the other hand several regiments as participating in the battle of Narva even though they are not included in the order of battle found in the work by the General staff. The names of these regiments are included at the bottom of this page. A big question mark also surrounds Gordon's regiment which according to the General Staff fought in the left wing (and was the only regiment with that name). But according to Höglund there were two regiments commanded by a Gordon at the time of Narva (Butyrski and Astrachanski) and both took part in the battle. I have chosen to illustrate the mysterious Gordon's Regiment with Butyrski's red kaftan. Astrachanski's uniform is unknown for this time but it had green coats with red facings in 1711.

There is unfortunately not much information about the Russian uniforms in the battle of Narva and usually only the colour of the kaftan is mentioned I have in those cases where such information is missing completely chose to illustrate them with the same colours they had later when they were issued western style uniforms. It does appear, with a few exceptions, as if the regiments kept their old colour when they changed from Hungarian kaftans to Western coats. But either way these highly speculative uniforms have been depicted with a grey background.

The colours of the lace on the front of the kaftan are in all cases wild guesses from my side. The known Streltsy uniforms mentioned by Höglund only have red or black lace. I have therefore chosen red lace if the regiments Western style uniforms had red facings or black lace if the facings were of a different colour. The colours of the boots are also in all cases unknown. Judging by the known Streltsy uniforms, yellow appear to have been the by far most common colour. Red and green boots could also be found but only in combination with yellow or orange kaftans.

Among the Streltsy and apparently also among the Western regiments, the by far most frequent colour on the caps was red (raspberry red or cherry red). But dark grey, dark green, green and brown could also be found. There was no correlation between the colour of the cap and the kaftan, not even between the two shades of red (for example 12th Moscow Streltsy had raspberry red caps but cherry red kaftans).

Right (North) Wing

Guard Regiment

1 766 men

Guard Regiment

1 262 men

800 men

Schnewentz Dragoon Regiment
721 men

860 men

815 men

708 men


972 men

M. Treiden
1 122 men

Infantry & dragoons: 9 026 men
Irregular cavalry: 5 000 men
Artillery (ca 25 guns): 115 men
Sum: 14 141 men



258 men


908 men

343 men

Z. Westhof
729 men
(Streltsy Regiment from Novgorod)

486 men

M. Bajov
 647 men

Infantry: 3 369 men
Artillery (ca 17 guns): 78 men
Sum: 3 447 men

(The infantry sum is actually 3 371 men. It seems like the General Staff miscalculated)

Left (South) Wing

239 men

(Moscow's 19th Streltsy Regiment)


467 men

385 men
(Moscow's 17th Streltsy Regiment)

934 men

951 men
(Butyrski or Astrachanski?)

Gulitz Dragoon Regiment
667 men

I. Treiden
1 103 men

von Werden
807 men

N. Balk
1 061 men

von Schweden

933 men

957  men

F. Balk
801 men

W. von Delden
964 men

I. von Delden
986  men

Infantry & dragoons: 11255 men
Sheremetev's cavalry: 4000 men
Artillery (ca 28 guns): 128 men
Sum: 15 383 men

The part of the Russian army which participated in the battle of Narva numbered 32 971 men. Apart from these there were also 4 000 men in Narva's siege works who defended themselves from an attack by Narva's garrison. The General Staff consider it probable that the following regiments were among them manning the siege works:

Narva's Siege Works

F. Bajov
647 men

J. Westhof
500 men
(Streltsy Regiment from Pskov)

von Belt
972 men

500 men

But for the sum to come up to 4 000 the General Staff assumes that 1 582 men had been detached from the regiments facing the Swedish main army. Lars-Eric Höglund states however in his book that apart from the already mentioned an additional six Russian (Streltsy) regiments took part in the battle of Narva. That is: D. Zagoskin (from Pskov) a well as M. Bashnev and F. Bashnev (both from Novgorod). Also present were 9th Moscow Streltsys led by Buturin as well as V. Elchaninov and I Durov (both descended from Moscow Streltsys).

Read also about the Swedish uniforms or the Swedish order of battle.