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  POLTAVA 1709
 
  Road to Poltava
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  Redoubt battle
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Örjan Martinsson

The Redoubt Battle

The images above show the Swedish infantry's movements during the redoubt battle. The battalions led by Roos which got separated from the main force are depicted with red colour while the others are in blue. The green squares with red edges are redoubts defended by the Russians while the white ones are redoubts taken by the Swedes. In the upper right corner the Russian fortified  camp can be seen.

The Swedish main force which was intended to fight the battle of Poltava consisted of 18 infantry battalions and 109 squadrons of cavalry and dragoons. It was forced to pass a system of ten redoubts during its march north. The redoubts were manned by between 3 000 and 4 700 Russian infantry soldiers and they were also defended by a cavalry force of about 8 000 men. The Swedish infantry marched in four columns when they attempted to pass the redoubts. A third of the infantry became however so involved in attacking redoubts and the Russian cavalry that they did not notice when the rest of the army left the area. Ignorant of the whereabouts of the main force these six lost battalions led by major general Roos regrouped at the edge of a forest east of the redoubts (read more about these battalions on this page).

Swedish Infantry Columns
(Battalions in red got separated from the main force)

Fourth Column
Axel Sparre
(2 600 men)

Jönköping
Regiment
Närke-Värmland
Regiment
Västmanland
Regiment
Third Column
Berndt Otto Stackelberg
(1 900 men)
Uppland
 Regiment
Östergötland
 Regiment
Västerbotten
Regiment
  Second Column
Carl Gustaf Roos
(2 300 men)
Livgardet's
2nd battalion
Livgardet's
 3rd battalion
Dal-regiment
First Column
Carl Magnus Posse
(2 100 men)
Skaraborg
Regiment
Kalmar
Regiment
Livgardet's
grenadier bat
Livgardet's
1st battalion

Swedish Cavalry Columns
(Rode behind the infantry and became divided into two groups of three columns each during the redoubt battle, passing the redoubts on separate sides)

Sixth Column
Hugo Johan Hamilton
Skånska Stånds-dragoons

Åbo & Björneborgs Cavalry Regiment

Östgöta Cavalry Regiment

 
  Fifth Column
Anders Torstensson
Nyland Cavalry Regiment Uppland's 3-männings
 
  Fourth Column
Carl Gustaf Dücker
Gyllenstierna's Dragoon Regiment Dücker's Dragoon Regiment
 
  Third Column
Gustaf Adam Taube
Hielm's Dragoon Regiment Taube's Dragoon Regiment Södra Skånska
 
  Second Column
Gustaf Horn
Norra Skånska Cavalry Regiment Småland Cavalry Regiment
 
  First Column
Carl Gustaf Creutz
Livregementet till häst Dra. Liv-dragoons


Redoubt Garrison

There are several different suggestions about how many and which regiments were manning the redoubts. Depending on who you put most faith in the force consisted of either 3 000 men (Valery Moltusov), 4 000 men (Peter Englund and Angus Konstam) or 4 730 men (Pavel Krutov and Nicholas Dorrell). Furthermore Angus Konstam contradicts himself by also stating in a table that redoubts were only manned by the Belgorodski Regiment (with one battalion in the third redoubt and the second distributed between the other nine redoubts). The latter is however based on an older and incorrect view. Moltusov and Krutov are actually not in a disagreement regarding the number of soldiers in the redoubts. Moltusov has however allocated 1 700 men of this force south of the Russian fortified camp because he believes that there were two additional and larger redoubts in that location, which means that only 3 000 men remain in the ten redoubts blocking the Swedish army's advance. Bertil Wennerholm does not state how many men were in the redoubts but that the number of battalions was 7 or 8.

A presentation of all the details follows below (the information from Krutov has been passed on to me by Bengt Nilsson). Regiments in green are the ones who are included in the redoubt garrison by each historian and regiments in red are left out by the same. Regiments in yellow are the ones Dorrell has guessed to be part of the redoubt garrison.

  Wennerholm Krutov Moltusov Dorrell
Belgorodski

3 battalions

1 067 1 067 (3 battalions) 674 (2 battalions)
von Delden's   893    
Ivangorodski       707 (3 battalions)
Yamburgski (Vestov's)   682 682 (2 battalions) 800 (2 battalions)
Nelidov's   749 749 (2 battalions)  
K. Nekludov'

2 battalions

705 705 (2 battalions) 650 (2 battalions)
Nechaev's Streltsy Reg. 2 or 3 battalions 634 634 (2 battalions) 250 (1 battalion)
Pereslavski       700 (2 battalions)
Verden's     893 (2 battalions)  
Sum 7-8 battalions 4 730 men 4 730 or which 3 000 manned the ten redoubts 2 031 known
1 750 speculative
949 completely unknown

The uniforms for all the possible regiments are shown below. Von Delden's Regiment is missing because there were three regiment with that name and I do not know which one of these Krutov referred to.

Belgorodski
Regiment
Ivangorodski
Regiment
Yamburgski
Regiment
(Vestovs reg.)
Nelidov's
Regiment
K. Nekludov's
Regiment
Nechaev's Streltsy Regiment Pereslavski
Regiment
Verden's
Regiment
(grey coat?)

Russian Cavalry at the Redoubts

At the redoubts there was also Russian cavalry commanded by Menshikov fighting the advancing Swedish army. Its composition is not less uncertain than the redoubt garrison. According to the poorly preserved Plan boevye porjadki the cavalry was deployed in two lines in the following manner:

First Line: (from right to left): Unknown horse grenadier regiment, Life Regiment, Bauer's regiment (?), Ingermanlandski, Vyatski, Sibirski, Archangelgorodski, unknown regiment, Moscowski, unknown regiment, unknown horse grenadier regiment.
Second Line: Nizhegorodski, Nevski or Kievski, Novotroitski, Vladimirski.

Another source from the Swedish War Archive (Krigsarkivet) has the following order of battle. The number of regiments is consistent with the 17 unnamed units in Peter the Great's Plan (which I have used for the Russian order of battle of the Main battle).
 
Third Line
(behind the rear redoubt line)
 
Second Line
(behind the rear redoubt line)
First Line
(in front of the rear redoubt line)
Parallel with the Forward Redoubt Line

 


Four unnamed regiments


Ingermanlandski


Vologodski


Vladimirski


Novgorodski


Moscowski


Byalostokski
(Belozerski?)


Yaroslavski


Sibirski


Life Regiment


Menshikov's Life Squadron


Kievski

Archangelgorodski

von der Roop's Horse Grenadiers

During the redoubt battle at least two of these regiments captured colours from the Swedish battalions. Novgorodski Dragoon Regiment captured the colonel's colour and a company colour from Hälsinge Regiment (which fought as a part of the Dal-regiment during the battle of Poltava). Von der Roop's horse grenadier were however even more successful and captured no less than 11 colours. These were taken from Dal-regiment (3), Jönköping (3), Västerbotten (1) and Närke-Värmland (4). However, of the colours taken from Närke-Värmland Regiment only one was actually their own colour. One of them came from Nyland regiment and two from Åbo & Björneborg's 3-männings, all of which fought as part of Närke-Värmland Regiment during the battle.

Read also about the order of battle for the main battle, or read about the fate of the lost battalions led by Roos.