Armies Battles and Sieges Colours and Standards












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 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 both Lars-Eric Höglund and Alexander Bespalov's book "Stora Nordiska kriget 1700-1721, III"  and Boris Megorsky's book "The Russian Army in the Northern War 1700-21". Since these books contradict each other, I have chosen to consistently follow Megorsky on this page since his book is the most recent (2018). Only when Megorsky does not have information on a regiment have I used Höglund/Bespalov and those regiment have grey background. I have added information about the regiment's colours (flags) in red text if these are known, The colour of the flags might be a clue to what colours their coats had.

The order of battle on this page is taken from the work by the Swedish General Staff "Karl XII på slagfältet". I have after my best ability tried to identify the regiments which the General Staff mention with those that can be found in the uniform books. I have with the exception of the two guard regiments written with green text which provincial name the regiments would later have and if such text is missing then I have not been able to identify them (perhaps these regiments did not survive the battle. However, Höglund/Bespalov mention 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 there were two regiments commanded by a Gordon at the time of Narva (Butyrski with red kaftans and Astrachanski with green kaftans) and according to Höglund/Bespalov both took part in the battle.

The colours of the lace on the front of the kaftan are in all cases wild guesses from my side (with the possible exception of Troitski which had a kaftan with dark green facings). The known Streltsy uniforms mentioned by Höglund/Bespalov only have red or black lace. I have therefore consistently chosen red lace for all unknown cases except when the kaftan was red in which case they are depicted with black lace. But it is also possible that they did not have that type of lace and instead decorated the seams of the kaftan.

The colours of the boots are also in all cases, except for the Preobrazhenski Guard, unknown (the blue boots of the Semenovski Guard comes from Höglund/Bespalov who mention that Preobrazhenski had green). 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 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). On this page I have consistenly chosen to depict all regiments with red caps which was also the colour used by the Preobrazhenski Guard.

Finally I can also mention that while all regiments below are depicted as armed with swords, that was actually unusual among infantry at the time of the battle of Narva.

Right (North) Wing

Guard Regiment

1 766 men

Guard Regiment

1 262 men

800 men

(Green colours 1700)

Schnewentz Dragoon Regiment
721 men

(Black colours 1700)

860 men

(Grey-green colours 1701)

815 men

708 men

(Straw yellow colours 1701)


972 men
(Cherry red colours 1701)

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
(Dark red colours 1701)


908 men
(Dark blue colours 1701)

343 men

(Red colours 1705)

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 Astrakhanski?)

(Butyrski had red coats 1700 and red colours 1705)

Gulitz' Dragoon Regiment
667 men

(Green colours 1700 and lemon colours 1701)

I. Treiden
1 103 men

(Light grey colours 1701 and green coats 1703)

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.