The Unusual Award to the Phanagoria Grenadiers

By Aleksandr Popov.



 [From Tseikhgauz No. 14, 2/2002. Pages 26-29.]


Among the collective awards to units and organizations of the Imperial Russian army there was one that was quite out of the ordinary—the right to pass by in a ceremonial march holding weapons (rifles) in the charge-bayonet position [“na ruku,” literally “at hand” or “at arm’s length”]. Strictly speaking, this distinction was not an award but in fact it did fulfill the function of an award.[1]


                The first Russian army unit to receive the right to pass in a ceremonial march holding weapons in the “guard” or “charge-bayonet” position as if in a bayonet attack was the Life-Guards Pavlovsk Regiment, to whom such a privilege was awarded after the foreign campaign of 1813-14.[2] In 1912 this distinction was granted to the 11th Generalissimus Prince Suvorov’s, now His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich’s, Phanagoria Grenadier Regiment. According to regulations of that time passing by in a ceremonial march was supposed to be done holding rifles in the position “shoulder arms” [“na plecho”].[3] The present article is devoted to the history of the granting of this distinction to the Phanagoria Grenadiers. We recall that in 1912 the Phanagoria Grenadier Regiment held the following awards: St.-George flag, St.-George silver trumpets, for lower ranks a headdress badge of distinction inscribed “For the taking of Izmail by storm in 1790 and Praga in 1794,” and a special pattern of gorget for officers.[4] This last award was granted on 11 December 1910, the day of the 120th anniversary of the capture of Izmail, in great part thanks to regimental chef Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich interceding with the emperor .[5]

                Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich first visited the regiment of which he was chef on 3 June 1912 in camp near Moscow in the Serebryanyi [Silver] Forest at the village of Khoroshev.[6] In honor of this occasion a church parade was held and the regimental flags brought forth. Here is what the regimental orders of 4 June say regarding the chef’s visit:


Yesterday at the end of the parade held during his visit to the regiment our Most August chef, His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich, expressed his surprise that the regiment could achieve such magnificence in its firm step and overall splendid appearance while passing by in a ceremonial march in the position of “charge-bayonet.” “You surprised me with your parade,” said His Highness. “I have seen many of them, but rarely have I viewed one like this.” In the officers’ club His Highness repeatedly recalled all that he had seen and again stated that the ceremonial march at “charge-bayonet” made an especially strong impression on him.[7]


                Certainly, this ceremonial march was not demonstrated to the grand duke without premeditation, but rather was calculated to support a request through him that the regiment be granted the right to pass in review in such a manner. The favorable impression that the parade made on the chef prompted the regimental commander, Colonel M.K. Dyugaev, to submit on 30 June a request to the commander of the 3rd Grenadier Division, Lieutenant General V.N. Gorbatovskii, to present the regiment to the emperor on 30 August, the regimental holiday.[8] In 1912 the Phanagoria Grenadiers’ holiday fell on the same day as the 100-year jubilee of victory in the 1812 Patriotic War. It was planned that from 27 to 30 August 1912 Nicholas II and his family would be in Moscow to take part in the jubilee celebrations. The petition was delivered to the emperor, who agreed to review a parade by the deserving regiment, and this was announced in an order by the Phanagoria Regiment’s commander on 28 August: “The Sovereign Emperor has been pleased to order that the regiment entrusted to me be presented to His Imperial Majesty on its regimental holiday, the 30th of this August, at 10 o’clock in the morning in the Kremlin. I trust that all ranks of the regiment, especially leaders, will apply all their effort to present with a splendid appearance to His Majesty.”[9]

                On the eve of the parade, 29 August, an order to the regiment announced the uniform to be worn, the route of march to the parade site at the Kremlin, and the sequence in which the regimental regalia was to be carried past:


The regiment is to march forth in full strength from the Seminarskie barracks[10] at 8 o’clock in the morning, go along Nemetskaya Street, Denisovskii and Gorokhovskii lanes, Pokrovka, Kitaiskii passage, Lubyanskaya Square, Teatral’nyi passage, Teatral’nyi Square, and further on to the Borovitskie Gate.


The line men [lineinye] under Staff-Captain Frolov are to arrive at the Borovitskie Gate by 9 o’clock in the morning. Lieutenant Yevtsikhevich and Sublieutenant Fogeleis are to be attendants [assistenty] to the flag and regalia. Ensigns (16 total) and senior non-commissioned officers (2 men) are to carry the flags and regalia.[11]


Uniform is to be winter parade [in tunics – A.P.].[12]


                It was obligatory that old flags and regalia preserved by military units be carried out in formation during regimental holidays and especially when in the Highest presence. In such circumstances, when the troops were dressed in parade uniforms the flags were carried in formation uncased.[13] In the files of the General Staff’s Main Directorate kept at the Russian State Military Historical Archive is preserved a memorandum signed by the Phanagoria Grenadier Regiment’s commander regarding the order of march.[14] All 4 battalions of the Phanagoria Regiment took part in the parade, and in formation there were 7 field-grade officers, 61 company-grade officers, 233 non-commissioned officers, 58 musicians, 1103 privates, and 40 non-combatant personnel. Of the indicated lower ranks 1 man held the medal of the Military Order, 3 had gold or silver medals worn around the neck, and 46 extended-service non-commissioned officers had gold and silver chevrons.[15]

                Contemporary periodicals and memoirs record descriptions of the parade of the Phanagoria Grenadiers.[16] The regiment was formed up on the small square in front of the Great Kremlin palace. On the right flank of the formed-up regiment, in accordance with the established order for parades in the Highest presence,[17] there stood Minister of War Lieutenant General V.A. Sukhomlinov, Chief of the Main Staff General-of-Infantry N.P. Mikhnevich, Chief of the General Staff General-of-Cavalry Ya.G. Zhilinskii, the commander of troops of the Moscow Military District, General-of-Cavalry P.A. Pleve, the commander of the 25th Army Corps, General-of-Infantry D.P. Zuev, the commander of the 3rd Grenadier Division, V.N. Gorbatovskii, and personnel of the emperor’s suite. The chef of the regiment, Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich, made his way in front of the formation, greeting the regiment and congratulating the grenadiers on their holiday.

                At exactly 10 o’clock the emperor came out of the palace accompanied by his duty officers. Nicholas II was dressed in the uniform of the 12th Emperor Alexander III’s Astrakhan Grenadier Regiment, which was quartered in Moscow at that time and whose chef he was. This Astrakhan Grenader uniform, by the way, was preferred above all others by the last Russian emperor for visits to the first capital. We also note that 30 August was the holiday of the order of St. Alexander Nevsky and so in accordance with the requirements of “Rules for wearing orders, medals, and other badges of distinction,”[18] Nicholas II wore the ribbon of this order over his tunic even though he possessed the higher order of St. Andrew the First-Called. Because the occasion was a holiday accompanied by a ceremonial appearance by the emperor, the duty officers from his suite included a general-adjutant, a major general of the suite, and an aide-de-camp. On this day there were on duty: General-Adjutant General-of-Infantry and member of the State Council A.I. Panteleev; Major General of His Majesty’s Suite and commander of the Life-Guards Combined Cossack Regiment Graf M.N. Grabbe; Aide-de-Camp and Staff-Captain of His Majesty’s Life-Guards Cuirassier Regiment N.A. Petrovskii. After receiving the report of the regimental commander, Nicholas II accompanied by the chef inspected the formation and congratulated the grenadiers on their holiday. The emperor then went to a small table set up in front of the formation and raised a small glass up to toast the military glory of the Phanagoria grenadiers. In reply Colonel M.K. Dyugaev pronounced toasts in honor of the emperor, his most august family, and the chef of the regiment.

                The regiment reformed from its extended formation and passed in review in front of Nicholas II in a ceremonial march, holding rifles at “charge-bayonet” and with its chef at its head. The Sovereign Emperor thanked the regiment for the parade and to reward the services of the Phanagoria grenadiers he granted them a special distinction—the right to pass in review during parades and other ceremonial occasions holding their weapons at “charge-bayonet.” After the parade Nicholas II changed into the uniform of the 2nd Emperor Alexander III’s Pavlograd Leib-Hussar Regiment, of which he was also chef, and together with his family set off for Uspenskii Cathedral for a ceremonial liturgical service in honor of the 100th anniversary of victory in the Patriotic War.

                For presenting the regiment to the emperor “in splendid order and condition,” by a supplement to a Highest Order of 30 August 1912 monarchal gratitude [monarshee blagovolenie] was formally expressed to the Phanagoria officers,[19]  and to the lower ranks—the tsar’s thanks [tsarskoe spasibo]. In addition, lower ranks were awarded with money: 5 roubles for holders of the medal of the Military Order, 3 roubles for those with chevrons, and 1 rouble for each remaining man.[20] Awarding money to lower ranks for parades and reviews in the Highest presence was foreseen by regulations and enabled by a special fund charged to the account of the Main Staff.[21] It is likely that the successful parade held in the Highest presence to a certain extent influenced the promotion on 26 April 1913 of Colonel M.K. Dyugaev to major general “for excellence in service” and his assignment as district duty general on the staff of the Caucasus Military District.[22]

                Regarding the parade, Nicholas II made the following emotionally sparse entry in his diary: “It was raining early in the morning but it passed by 10 o’clock. The Phanagoria Regiment formed up in front of the windows. I inspected it, congratulated them, and drank to their health. Then I permitted them to make a ceremonial march at charge-bayonet.”[23] One’s attention is drawn to the fact that the words “the regiment presented itself in a splendid manner” were missing. These were usually used by the last Russian emperor in his diary when mentioning parades and reviews in his presence.

                Order No. 442 to the troops of the Moscow Military District, dated 19 October 1912 and signed by the commander of the districts forces, General-of-Cavalry P.A. Pleve, announced the award of a new distinction to the Phanagoria Regiment:


On 30 August of this year in the city of Moscow, on the regimental holiday of the 11th Generalissimus Prince Suvorov’s, now HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS Grand Duke DIMITRII PAVLOVICH’S Grenadier Regiment, the SOVEREIGN EMPEROR was pleased to grant the said regiment the right to pass in review in HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY’S HIGHEST presence and in special ceremonial marches holding rifles at “charge-bayonet.”


I make this announcement of MONARCHAL graciousness for the information of the troops of the district entrusted to me, and to the 11th Phanagoria Grenadier Regiment to be carried out.


                Awards to units and organizations of the Russian army were normally announced by Highest orders issued on the day the distinction was granted.[24] That this award to the Phanagoria soldiers was announced by an order to the military district’s troops more than one and a half months after being granted may be explained by its unusual character.

                Many congratulations from other military units as well as former Phanagoria men arrived at the regiment regarding the award of such a rare distinction. The regiment’s remarkable manner of passing by in parades and other ceremonies drew the attention of the Moscow public, as evidenced by a newspaper notice regarding a parade in honor of the tercentennial of the Romanov dynasty’s reign, which took place on Red Square on 21 February 1913: “The defiling battalions of the Phanagoria Regiment presented an especially impressive spectacle, as this regiment along with the Pavlovsk is uniquely honored by Highest Authority with the right to hold its rifles at ‘charge-bayonet’ during a ceremonial march.”[25]

                In our country’s military history there is yet one more instance of this unusual distinction being awarded. In 1921 in Gallipoli, “for its constant service to the Motherland and maintenance of its arms,” Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army Lieutenant General P.N. Wrangel awarded the right to pass by in ceremonial marches holding rifles at “charge-bayonet” to the Constantine Military School. This school, known as the 1st His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich’s Kiev Military School up to 1 December 1917, was the only one of all military units and military educational institutions to not be disbanded during 1917-18, since as early as 25 October 1917 the entire school at full strength entered the struggle against the Bolsheviks.[26]

                Passing by in ceremonial marches holding rifles at “charge-bayonet” was an extremely rare distinction which in the Russian imperial army was held by only two regiments, as well as by one military educational institution which received it as part of the Russian army after the end of the Civil War in southern Russia. The award of this distinction to the Phanagoria grenadiers was not connected with some actual military feat by the regiment. There is no doubt that the decisive role in the award was played by the regimental chef, Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich.




Pages 26-27: The 11th Phanagoria Grenadier Regiment passes by in a ceremonial march, 1913. (Artist Igor’ Dzys’.)


Page 28: Emperor Nicholas II raises a glass to the military glory of the Phanagoria Grenadiers. On the porch facing the viewer stands the regiment’s honorary colonel, or chef, Grand Duke Dmitrii Pavlovich. Moscow, Great Kremlin Palace, 30 August 1912. (GARF)


Page 29: (Top) March route of the Phanagoria Regiment from the barracks on Nemetskaya Street to the parade site at the Kremlin, 30 August 1912. (Map of the city of Moscow published by A.S. Suvorin, Novoe vremya, 1913.)

(Bottom) The 11th Phanagoria Grenadier Regiment passing by in a ceremonial march. Active army, 1915. (RGVIA)

[1] Svod voennykh postanovlenii 1869 g. Book VIII, 2nd edition. St. Petersburg, 1902. (Henceforth SVP.) Page 3.

[2] Armiya i flot. Voennyi spravochnik. Paris, n.d. Pages 104-105.

[3] Pravila dlya paradov i tseremonii, Vysochaishe utverzhdennye 22 iyunya 1902 g. (Henceforth Pravila.) Pages 83-85; Stroevoi pekhotnyi ustav, Vysochaishe utverzhdennyi 6 aprelya 1908 g. Articles 312, 314, and 325.

[4] “Raspisanie grenaderskikh i dragunskikh polkov s pokazaniem starshinstva i znakov otlichiya, kotorye dolzhny byt’ im prisvoeny..” Confirmed by Highest Authority and promulgated by Army Order No. 347 of 10 December 1884; Grenaderskie i pekhotnye polki. Spravochnaya knizhka Imperatorskoi Glavnoi kvartiry. 2nd ed., corrected and expanded… to 1 April 1909. St. Petersburg, 1909. Page 35; Vysochaishii prikaz o chinakh voennykh ot 11 dekabrya 1910 g.

[5] Polevoi, A. “Znak otlichiya Fanagoriiskogo grenaderskogo polka.” Tseikhgauz, No. 11. Pages 30-35.

[6] Russkii invalid, 8 June 1912, No. 124.

[7] RGVIA, F. 2601, Op. 2, D. 178, L. 731ob.

[8] Ibid., Op. 5, D. 1, L. 55.

[9] Ibid., Op. 2, D. 192, L. 73.

[10] The barracks in which were located the regimental chancellery and 1st Battalion, House No. 57 on Nemetskaya Street (since 1918—Baumanskaya), now one of the buildings of the Military University for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense.

[11] Besides the St.-George flag of the 1883 pattern with an Alexander jubilee ribbon as granted at its centennial on 30 August 1890, the regiment preserved 16 old flags: 2 from Catherine II’s reign, 1 from Paul I’s, 5 from Alexander I’s, 7 from Nicholas I’s, and 1 from Alexander II’s. There were in addition 2 silver St-George trumpets. (RGIVA, F. 2601, Op. 2, D. 236, L. 66ob-67ob.)

[12] RGVIA, F. 2601, Op. 2, D. 192, L. 74-74ob.

[13] Pravila. Articles 12, 109, 175, and 176.

[14] Ibid., Article 20, Appendix 1

[15] RGVIA, F. 2000, Op. 2, D. 1007, L. 182.

[16] Novoe vremya, 31 August 1912, No. 13100; Russkii invalid, 1 September 1912, No. 192; Utro Rossii, 31 August 1912, No. 201; Vityaz’, 1912, No. 285, page 603; Dzhunkovskii, V.F. Vospominaniya. In 2 volumes. Vol. 2. Moscow, 1997. Page 60.

[17] Pravila. Article 41; Army Order No. 30, 14 January 1911.

[18] Confirmed by Highest Authority 15 December 1889, announced in Army Order No. 303, 21 December 1889.

[19] The “monarchal gratitude” was customarily expressed to both individuals and entire military units or specific administrative organizations and offices. The award of this depended solely on the outlook of the emperor and did not require a submission by commanders. It was announced in rescripts addressed to the name of the awardee or in Highest orders. Persons who earned personal Highest gratitude had a year dropped from the regulation periods required to receive ranks and orders for time in service. Gratitude expressed for reviews, parades, and other similar events did not confer such perquisites. See Svod zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii. Vol. III. Ustav o sluzhbe po opredeleniyu ot pravitel’stva. 1896 ed. Pages 688-691.

[20] RGIVA, F. 2000, Op. 2, D. 1007, L. 184; F. 2601, Op. 2, D. 193, L. 81-81ob.; Russkii invalid, 1 September 1912, No. 192.

[21] SVP. Article 126, 128.

[22] Vysochaishii prikaz o chinakh voennykh ot 26 aprelya 1913 g.

[23] GARF, F. 601, Op. 1, D. 259, L. 9.

[24] SVP. Article 147.

[25] Rannee utro, 22 February 1913, No. 44.

[26] Perepelovskii, K.M. “Kievskoe Velikogo Knyazya Konstantina Konstantinovicha voennoe uchilishche.” Voennaya byl’. Paris, 1965, No. 73. Page 25.



Translated by Mark Conrad, 2002.