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Örjan Martinsson

Russian Auxiliary Corps
in Saxon Service 1704-1706

As a consequence of the Saxon army's setbacks in Poland the Russian tsar promised to assist the Saxon elector August the Strong with an auxiliary corps of 12 000 men. A corps numbering 10 000 men commanded by Johann Reinhold von Patkul also arrived to the theatre of war in 1704 when they conquered Warsaw and laid siege on Posen (Poznan). But it retreated to Saxony when the Swedish main army approached. A Cossack force of 1 200 man on foot was destroyed by the Swedes when they did not manage to cross the river Oder in time. In Saxony the corps, now only 6 000 men strong, reorganised and later took part in the battle of Fraustadt 1706. There they suffered a catastrophic defeat with over 4 000 men killed. The remains of the corps were merged into a single Regiment which would join the Russian main army.

The information I have on the auxiliary corps in the tables below come from Vlad Velikanov's blog Oderint dum probent and Oskar Sjöström's book "Fraustadt 1706 - Ett fält färgat rött". Velikanov's notes refer to 14 June 1704 when the corps left Kiev to join the Saxons while Sjöström has focused on 1706. Between these dates a reorganisation of the corps occurred in Saxony which explains the different lists of regiments.

According to Höglund/Bespalov
  According to  Vlad Velikanov
  According to Oskar Sjöström
1704 Battalions Strength 1704 Battalions Strength 1706 Battalions
Biltz 2 800 Bils 9 956 Bilits 1
Leviston 1 310 Lewinston 9 979 Schöpping 1
Romanovski 2 696 Romanowskiy 9 895 Arnstedt 1
Kahovski (streltsy) 1 500 Kakhowskiy (streltsy) 4 438 Cadeus (streltsy) 1 (400 men)
Danilov (streltsy) 1 500 Danilov 8 910  
Kanishev 2 1000  
Nelidov 2 1000 Nelidov 8 865
Goltz 1 400 Gulits 8 937 Gulitz 1
Hertigen av Holstein 2 800 Holstein 9 985 Holstein


E. von Delden
(Hallart 1706)
2 700 Herman Deldin 8 919  
Kro 2 800 Krikowskiy 8 942
Buturlin 1 300 Baturyn 8 972
von Patkul 2 1000   Patkul 3 (including a grenadier battalion)
Belikov (Belling) 1 400 Belling 1
Polentz 2 800
Sytin 1 350
Dedyt 1 300

26 battalions,
over 10 600  men
plus officers and NCOs


88 companies,
 9 798 men plus
54 man in the
corps staff


10 battalions,
6 300 men

  = Regiments that according to Höglund/Bespalov and Vlad Velikanov were raised in 1700 and had experience of campaigns against Sweden.
  = Streltsy regiment (according to Höglund(Bespalov from Smolensk).
  = According to Vlad Velikanov, these regiments were raised in Sevsk in the autumn of 1703. According to Höglund/Bespalov they were raised in Sevsk in 1700 except Holstein which was raised in Moscow in 1703, but most of the men were former streltsies and Danilov was still a streltsy regiment.
  = Raised in Moscow during the winter of 1703-04.
  = According to Vlad Velikanov, Baturyn consisted of recruits. Höglund/Bespalov has no information about Buturlin, which I assume is the same regiment.
  = I have no information about the creation of these regiments.

The 1 800 Russians who survived the battle of Fraustadt and escaped captivity created a new regiment (3 battalions) led by Rentzel. This then found their way to Russia and participated in the Poltava campaign. It received the provincial name of Suzdalski. 1718.

Because of this I chose not to report Höglund's descriptions of the auxiliary corps' uniforms. But regardless of the accuracy of this data it is actually not particularly relevant for the battle of Fraustadt.

Only Höglund/Bespalov mention the uniforms of each regiments and these are described on this page. But these description are not particularly relevant for the battle of Fraustadt. During its stay in Saxony the auxiliary corps was reorganised in such manner that the number of regiments was reduced. It is likely that several regiments then received white coats with red facings. The sources have however conflicting information whether the Russians had green or white coats at Fraustadt. But one source says that they had both and that seems most likely to be true. In any way, from the Swedish point of view at Fraustadt the Russians would have appeared as if they were wearing red coats. The Saxon commander von Schulenburg had actually ordered the Russians to turn their uniforms inside out so that they would look like Saxons.

There are also pages covering the Saxons and Swedes in the battle of Fraustadt.