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Messages - Coldstream

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Olga Nicholaievna / Re: Olga's Regiment and Military Duties
« on: July 09, 2010, 05:24:30 PM »
The photograph depicting a rear view of the uniforms was printed reversed.  Tatiana's pouch belt ought to be over the left shoulder and the plume on her czapska (Uhlan cap) ought to be on the left.  The busby bag of Olga's busby ought to hang from the right side as correctly illustrated by other photographs.  The caps shown in the color photograph of the uniforms are undress caps worn when not in full dress uniform (e.g. without the busby or pelisse).  There is a painting by a famous French military artist, Edouard Detaille, depicting Nicholas II at the head of the Life Guard Hussar Regiment while on maneuvers wearing the regimental full dress scarlet uniform with the peaked forage (undress) cap.  The enlisted men are wearing the peakless EM's forage cap.


I note with interest the comments made regarding the white bearskin worn by the bass drummer of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards as having been presented to the regiment by Czar Nicholas II when Colonel-in-Chief.  This is a myth.  The cap was introduced between 1885 and 1889 as an experiment by the Band President.  A photograph of the kettledrummer of the Royal Scots Greys (2d Dragoons) wearing the cap in 1889, five years before the appointment of Nicholas as C-in-C, is proof positive that he did not present it to his regiment.  There is also another photograph taken in 1892 showing the white cap in wear.

In reply to Mr. Wilhelm's query concerning Nicholas' wearing of military uniform, I remember reading that the emperor served in the Life Guard Horse Artillery and the Life Guard Hussar Regiment when he was still the Czarevitch (heir apparent).  He enjoyed the comradeship of the officer's mess and seemed to savor military life.  There are photographs showing Nicholas in the uniform of both regiments and a superb painting by the French military artist Edouard Detaille depicting Nicholas at the head of the Life Guard Hussars whilst on maneuvers in, I believe, 1894 or 1895, is currently on tour with an exhibition.  

If you go to, you will find a number of books listing recipients of the St. George Cross during the First World War. ¬ Separate volumes list the recipients from the Preobrazhensky, Pavlovsky, Litovsky, Yeagersky, and Semyonovsky Guard regiments. ¬ Three volumes of the St. George Archives are also available which presumedly list all recipients of the award (Army, Navy and Air Service). ¬ I hope these will be of some help.  All of the books have Russian text, but the St. George Archive volumes are illustrated with photographs.

Coldstream (AKA Bill McCaughey)

I believe the highest award for bravery under fire was the Cross of St. George which came in several classes.  I understand that a soldier awarded the George Cross could not be struck by his NCO for an infraction.  I am sure that Michael or some other expert could give more detailed information.

The Russian Revolution / Re: Americans Fought Bolsheviks in Russia
« on: April 12, 2005, 02:29:54 PM »
There exists an interesting book on the subject of the American intervention:

    The Midnight War: The American Intervention in Russia, 1918-1920 by Richard Goldhurst, McGraw-Hill, 1978.

The Russian Revolution / Re: Americans Fought Bolsheviks in Russia
« on: April 12, 2005, 02:26:30 PM »
The main reasons for the Allied intervention in North Russia and Siberia were a desire to keep Russia in the war, fear of Bolshevik domination, and the possibility of German submarine bases being established in North Russia.  Allied military stores falling into the hands of the "Reds" was also a concern.  In May 1918, the old cruiser USS OLYMPIA (Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1898) arrived in Murmansk to assist British forces already there (Royal Navy and Royal Marine Light Infantry).  Sailors from the OLYMPIA were engaged in firefights with Bolsheviks south of Archangel.  They were eventually joined by elements from the American 85th Division (339th Infantry Regiment, 1st Bn 310th Engineers, 337th Field Hospital and the 337th Ambulance Company).  The force would eventually number 5500 men.  The troops were withdrawn in June 1919 after suffering numerous casualties from combat and disease.  The 31st Infantry Regiment served in Siberia (Vladivostok) alongside troops from Britain, France and Japan.

It is interesting to note that the bulk of American infantry were armed with the Russian Moisin-Nagant 7.62 rifle, large quantities of which were manufactured by the Remington and Westinghouse companies in the United States for the Imperial government.  British Lewis guns and Vickers machine guns were also used.


I would say that it is an example of a spiked helmet worn by the Corps of Pages until the end of the monarchy.  The Model year I leave up to the other experts.  I personally feel that the style is of the Alexander II or Alexander III period.  The earlier Russian "Pickelhaubes" were rather high in the crown as were their Prussian counterparts.  The spiked helmet was discontinued for the line regiments after the Crimean War (1853-1856) although, I believe, the Guard infantry regiments continued to wear it until Alexander III issued new uniform regulations.  Most of the Russian Army adopted the French style kepi after the Crimean debacle.

Coldstream (AKA William McCaughey)

The Russian Revolution / Re: What's your opinion Part 2
« on: March 16, 2005, 03:41:19 PM »
For those who think that communism was a great improvement over the Imperial system, they should have a look at the following web site detailing "Uncle Joe's" charming treatment of the Ukrainian people.  See

Under the Imperial system, a peasant middle class was evolving (the "Kulaks") which Stalin utterly destroyed, along with a great many other peasants and intellectuals.  During the reign of Nicholas II there was, at least, some respect for basic human dignity.  The repression in Imperial Russia was relatively mild compared to the Soviet brand.


Imperial Russian History / Re: discussion about orthodox religion
« on: March 09, 2005, 05:03:26 PM »
Bluetoria, I must admit that the "Dies Irae" of the old Requiem Mass was sobering as it was meant to be.  The fate of one's immortal soul at death was very much a part of the old rite.  The Russian Orthodox Requiem is also rather sober, but beautiful and sublime.  During the liturgy, the coffin is open and at the end of the service, the faithful pass the coffin and kiss the corpse (not being Orthodox, I am not clear whether this custom is just relegated to the immediate family of the deceased or everyone in attendance.  Perhaps an Orthodox member could clear this up).  Incidentally, black is the color of the vestments worn at Orthodox funerals, as it was for Catholic funerals before the liturgical revolution.  Non-Catholic observers probably thought wwhat they heard was "mumbo jumbo" because they were unfamiliar with the latin.  The old requiems were quite biblical.  Try reading the commentaries on the various Requiem Masses written by famous composers.


Imperial Russian History / Re: discussion about orthodox religion
« on: March 09, 2005, 04:28:55 PM »
Bluetoria, I am assuming that you are a post-Vatican II Catholic.  I was basically brought up in the pre-Vatican II Church.  The Epistle and the Gospel readings were  read in English from the pulpit just prior to the sermon in the Tridentine Mass.  The Mass was in latin and the faithful followed along with the aid of their missals which were in latin with the English translation on the opposite page.  The beauty of latin as a liturgical language was in its universality.  The Mass was the same throughout the world.  I remember going to Mass in Denmark and being able to use my missal.  The only thing unfamiliar was the sermon which, of course, was in Danish.  The doctrine of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist was reinforced by our kneeling for communion and receiving the host on the tongue.  Even the Russian Orthodox, who also believe in the Real Presence, receive on the tongue via a spoon from the chalice.  The whole atmosphere surrounding the Mass prior to 1969 was different.  I experienced a similar feeling of reverence when attending a vesper service at St. John of Kronstadt's convent in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The liturgical language in the Russian Church is Church Slavonic (a very old form of Russian which has to be studied separately from regular Russian).


Imperial Russian History / Re: discussion about orthodox religion
« on: March 09, 2005, 01:46:14 PM »
Bluetoria, there are a small number of Russians who remained united to the "Pope of Rome" while retaining the Eastern liturgy and spiritual discipline (strict fasting and Lenten observances).  They are generally known as "Greek Catholics" or, among the Russian Orthodox, as "Uniates," a term regarded as derogatory by Russian "Greek Catholics."  My wife and I are attending St. Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church in El Segundo, California.  The Byzantine liturgy is used and it is in English with a smattering of Greek and Russian.  The Russian tone is used and the singing is unaccompanied by musical instruments as is the custom in Eastern Orthodox churches.

I was originally baptized as a Latin Rite Catholic.  When Vatican II threw the liturgical baby out with the bath water and virtually destroyed the beautiful Latin liturgy and hymns (though it was not the intention of the Council Fathers), I began looking for some stability.  I found it in the Eastern Rite of the Church.  Vatican II did not affect them.  They retained their traditional liturgy and liturgical practices.  While the Eastern fast is far more demanding than that in the west (even more than the pre-Vatican II fast regs!), I still prefer the beautiful Eastern liturgy to the bland post-Vatican II offerings.


Vladik, I just recently purchased the book.  The photos are quite interesting, but the captions are sometimes erroneous (eg., there are some photos identified as being of Imperial Guard types which are really line infantry.  Also, some of the photos were probably taken in the 1890s as the Alexander III uniform is shown on a number of the pre-war types).  I have not looked at the photos thoroughly as of yet.  I would say that any book coming out with photographs of soldiers and sailors of Imperial Russia is worth getting, although the text may leave something to be desired.  

Djedj, there are several reference books you can consult regarding the uniforms of the Russian hussar regiments. One of the best available sources on the Guard regiments is Gerard Gorokhoff's book "Russian Imperial Guard," which has photos of the two Guard hussar regiments.  "Russian Guard Cavalry 1914-1917" by Derabin and Dzys (Russian text) is also good.  As regards the line regiments, there was a very good soft-bound (magazine format) publication which covered all of the line cavalry regiments in detail and included excellent color plates.  I believe it is out-of-print now.  The author was a Russian by the name of Zweguintsov (Sp?).  The Shenk schemas are also informative and can be viewed on the web.

Yoyo, most of the books listed at the Atlantic Crossroads site are in Russian although a small number are in English.  some have Russian text but English captions for the photos or illustrations.  As far as the books on uniforms and related militaria go, there are books available in English that can be used to supplement the books with Russian text.  Some of these books, such as Mollo's "Uniforms of the Imperial Russian Army," are now out of print but might still be obtained from outlets such as Barnes & Noble that sell out of print books.  I have a very extensive library of books and prints dealing with military uniforms, so books with photographs, but Russian text, pose no real problem for me.  I am delighted to see the photographs which, for the most part, make a book worth the cost.

If you can find a copy of Gerard Gorokhoff's "Russian Imperial Guard," you will have a nice foundation for identifying other photographs and prints of Russian Guard Regiments ca. 1881-1914.  The new edition is in Russian and ENGLISH, and is full of photographs depicting the regiments of the Imperial Guard.  An older edition was in French.  The book is carried by an English dealer at Landmark Books (  Click on Imperial & WWI and scan the list.  You ought to find it there.  I believe he sells it for 50 pounds sterling.  You will also find a number of books dealing with the uniforms of the pre-1914 German and British armies as well.

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