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As the body-guard of Catherine the Great, as well as the main supporter of her bloodless coup against her husband Peter III, this regiment was declared the highest in the order of military precedence from 14 July 1762.
In spite of its distinguished record, part of one battalion of the regiment mutinied in June 1906, at a time of general unrest in the Russian Empire. The mutiny was quickly suppressed and 190 soldiers sentenced to service in disciplinary battalions.
1796 - Battalions of the Preobrazhensky regiment are named according to their chiefs: 1st battalion - His Majesty, 2nd battalion - Lieutenant-General Tatischev, 3d Battalion - General Field-Marshal Suvorov, Grenadier Battalion - Major-General Arakcheev.
1805 - As a part of the Grand Duke's Corps of Guards the 1st and 3rd battalions leave St. Petersburg for Austria on 22 August; on 2 December take part in the battle of Austerlitz and return to St. Petersburg on 19 April 1806.
1807 - In February the Regiment, consisting of all 4 battalions, starts the march as a part of Grand Duke's Corps of Guards; on 5 June engages Ney's troops near Guttstadt and Altkirchen and on 14 June takes part in the battle of Friedland; returns to St. Petersburg in August.
1809 - On 10 March, being a part of the Corps of Lieutenant-General Prince Bagration, starts its march to Sweden through the Aland islands; on 14 March fights the enemy's rearguard on the island of Lemland; on 17 March stops on the Eckerö island, closest to the Swedish shore, and after the talks with Sweden begins moving back; returns to St. Petersburg in October.
The Preobrazhensky Regiment soldiers proclaim Elizabeth the empress of Russia.
Young Modest Mussorgsky as a cadet in the Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Imperial Guard
1811 - The regiment is transformed into 3 battalions; each battalion now comprises one grenadier company (grenadier and tirailleur platoons) and three fusilier companies.
1812 - As a part of the Grand Duke's Corps of Guards, the regiment moves in March to Vilno, where it joins the 1st Western Army of Barclay-de-Tolly; on 7 September takes part in the battle of Borodino. During the French retreat from Moscow the regiment was in the reserve all the time and returns to Vilno in December.
1813 - On 13 January, the Guard crosses the Nieman river in the presence of the Emperor; on 2 April participates in the grand parade in the presence of the Emperor and King Frederick William III of Prussia; on 14 April triumphantly enters Dresden; on 2 May takes part in the battle of Lutzen; on the 19th, 20th and 21 May the regiment is a central reserve under the command of Grand Duke in the battle of Bautzen; on 28 August and 29 August, being a part of 1st Guards Infantry Division under the command of General Yermolov, is distinguished in the Battle of Kulm.
1814 - On 13 January in the presence of the Emperor Alexander I, the Regiment crosses the Rhine at Basel and as a part of the reserve of the Main Army under Barklay-de-Tolly, participates in every offensive and retreat until the battle of Paris (30 March); on 31 March triumphantly enters the capital of France; 1st battalion of the regiment has its bivouac near the Palace of Tuileries. After staying in Paris for more than two months the Regiment leaves for Normandy, embarking at Cherbourg on 15 June and on 12 August entering St. Petersburg through the Triumphal arch, constructed by the Emperor's order in the memory of excellent service of the Guard in 1812--1814.
1877-1878 - War against Ottoman Empire.
1906 - First Battalion excluded from the regiment and stripped of Life-Guard privileges, instead the new first battalion of the regiment is formed from cavaliers of the Order of St. George and heroes of the Russo-Japanese War.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, officers of the Preobrazhensky Regiment were young Russian aristocrats and appointment was considered a proof of loyalty to the government and the tsar. Among its membership was the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.
After 1874 ordinary soldiers of the Preobrazhensky Regiment were mainly conscripts undertaking their obligation to serve for three years in the active army and fifteen years in the reserve (Opolchaniya). For the Preobrazhensky Regiment conscripts were selected for their height and fair hair (in order to provide a standardised appearance on parade).
This colour was given to the regiment in order to celebrate its action at Kulm, where the outnumbered Preobrazhensky regiment withstood the charge of French troops.
Preobrazhnesky Barracks in St. Petersburg
Throughout its history the regiment wore the standard uniform of the Infantry of the Imperial Guard, which from 1683 to 1914 was predominantly of a dark green (eventually verging on black) colour. The main distinctions of the Preobrazhensky Regiment were the red facings (plastron, collar, cuffs and shoulder straps) edged in white piping. Distinctive regimental patterns of braid (litzen) were worn on the tunic collar, plus the tsar's monogram on the soldiers' shoulder straps and officers' epaulettes.
Following the Russo-Turkish War, the regiment was awarded a small bronze scroll to be worn as a battle-honour on shakos and other headdresses. In 1883, in recogition of its overall distinguished record, officers of the regiment were authorised to wear a large metal gorget inscribed "1683-1850-1883". A second model of gorget, designed in imitation of that worn during the 18th century was approved for the regiment in 1910.
Sailors of the Preobrazhensky
An unusual feature of the Preobrazhensky Regiment was that it included a small detachment of sailors. Intended to commemorate a period during the reign of Peter the Great when the regiment served on board ship as temporary marines. This unit provided rowers for members of the Imperial Family when embarked on ceremonial barges on the Neva. The Preobrazhensky sailors wore naval dress, distinguished by orange stripes on the neck-collar.
Preobrazhnesky March of Peter The Great, 1911
The "Preobrazhensky Regiment March" (Russian: ? ?-? ) is one of the most famous Russian military marches. It was used as an unofficial national anthem in imperial times. The march has been often used in modern Russia, particularly in the annual Victory Day Parade for the trooping the colours and the inspection of troops.