Sunday, 3 May 2015

Repnin's Grenadiers

Repnin's Grenadiers in a desperate fight against the 
well disciplined Swedish attackers. Models and flag from Warfare Miniatures.

Work continues on our club project for the Battle of Holowzcyn and the Great Northern War. This week’s output from the painting desk is a key Russian infantry unit, Repnin’s Grenadiers, participating in both Holowzcyn and the more famous Battle of Poltava. For those of you in possession of Osprey’s great book on Poltava, info on both Holowzcyn and this unit can be found in that volume.

The Uniform plate from which I took inspiration.

The unit is built using models from Warfare Miniature’s coming Great Northern War Russian range. These have not yet been released, but since we’re doing a rather large club project on Holowzcyn for the coming Lincon Gaming Convention, May 14-17th here in Sweden, Barry Hilton from Warfare Miniatures was kind enough to sell us a few spins from his master moulds. 

The mounted officer is trying to induce discipline into the line of grenadiers,
as they face a fierce "Gå På" doctrine charge by the Swedes.

Prince Repnin is an interesting character, and worth a few lines in his own right.
Anikita Repnin (Аникита Иванович Репнин) was born into a Russian noble family, and his friendship with Pater I would result in a career trajectory taking him to the rank of field marshal and in receival of a prince title.

Prince Anikita Repnin - 1668 to 1726.

At the age of 16 Repnin came in contact with Peter for the first time, as he was assigned to the only eleven years old future Tsar as his footman. Peter enjoyed Repnin’s company, and two years later, promoted Repnin to “Officer of the Playbuddy Battalion”.

The Streltsy - a conservative force in the face of Peter I's many innovations.

During the Streltsy Revolt in 1689, which was a reaction from the conservative forces against Peter’s many innovations to “westernize” Russia, Repnin was by Peter’s side as they took refuge in the Trotsky Convent. At this pint a strong friendship had developed, and after they both took part in the campaign against Azov, Peter promoted Repnin to the rank of General.

Executions at the Red Square during the Streltsy Revolt in 1689.

With the outbreak of the Great Northern War, Repnin was sent to the Baltics with 19 infantry regiments to honor the alliance with Poland-Saxony and August II. Repnin’s forces participated in the battle of Düna (Daugava), in which the Russian troops fought like lions, but were next to annihilated because they refused to surrender. 

In his effort to reduce the Streltsy Revolt, 
Tsar Peter took to refined methods of torture and mass executions.

After Düna, Repnin even took part in the battles of Nöteborg, Nyenskans and Narva, but it was in 1708 at Holowzcyn where his soldier-luck would run out. The overwhelming routing of his troops and his failure to stem the Swedish tide during the battle had enrage the Tsar. Peter court marshalled Repnin, and stripped him of all titles, demoting him to the rank of private in the army.

The Battle of Düna in 1701. 
The Russian force was next to annihilated as they refused to surrender.

The loyal Repnin took this standing up, and actually fought as a private in the subsequent Battle of Lesnaya in 1708. His colleague, General Golitsin, appealed to the Tsar, highlighting Repnin for promotion and the Tsar’s forgiveness. Peter eventually gave in, and reinstated Repnin with all his titles.

The order of Saint Andrew.

During the Battle of Poltava the following year, Repnin commanded the Russian center with excellence, and was awarded the Order of Saint Andrew. In 1726, after Russia’s main enemy for Baltic domination, Sweden, had been effectively beaten, Repnin died in the conquered town of Riga, having been promoted to Field Marshal the year before.

Thank you very much for reading!


  1. Another splendid, interesting and so well illustrated History lesson! Excellent post once again...A full life, very intense...and sometimes bloody! Oh, I forgot : these minis are beautiful, and the desperate fight's scenery really impressive...

    1. Cheers Phil, appreciate it! This guy had an amazing career trajectory, but then again, with Peter I as your Boss, things are bound to get "exciting"...

  2. Once again beautiful painting and background info. From footman to general to private to general again then field Marshall and posthumously prince is an amazing life story.


    1. Thanks Christopher, yeah Repnin really had quite a roller-coaster ride, but as mentioned Peter I was the kind of superior you did not want to displease. On the other hand, his childhood friendship with Repnin probably saved the guy in more than one sense.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Stephen, appreciate the nice comment! Hope things are good down in DK:0)

  4. Wonderful work once again and I love the mounted officer as part of the unit:)

    1. Thanks for dropping by for a read and a comment Steve - yeah, the mounted officer seemed a good way to mix up the many similarly posed grenadiers, and get some animation into the unit. Happy you liked the result:0)

  5. Impressive work again, Soren! I love the uniforms - just like the artwork. BTW, I also love your basing - effective and classy.

    1. Thanks a lot Dean, happy you liked the outcome of the efforts at the painting desk. Wonderfully colorful period to dive into after some weeks of WW1, and luckily Warfare had that particular flag in their flag sheet range, so I was able to follow that plate almost straight off!

  6. That looks really good Sören! It turns the unit into a diorama. My Repnin unit is also ready...just the basing left.

    1. Thanks Jeppan, had to do something to mix up so many similarly posed minis, glad you liked the outcome. Looking forward to your unit too, should be good with the extra grenadier poses you've aquired.

  7. Truly stunning work Sören !

    1. Thanks Micke, soon time for Lincon - and now Charles XII is on the painting desk :0)

  8. From the vibrant red to the amazing looking horse, this some truly excellent work Sören!

    1. Thanks Jonas, appreciate the kind comment on the painting. This unit proved a challenge, since we were doing it with only one pose of grenadiers, so your encouraging words have a nice ring to them after what was nearly 10 days at the painting table to get the right combination of minis painted and based.

  9. Brilliant brushwork and regimental history. The reds are fantastically vibrant!

    1. Thanks Jonathan, yeah that Foundry Scarlet palette has some vivid pigments, especially the "C" color - which is a near orange highlight. Glad you liked the little write-up too, what a fate Repnin had - He actually lost his voice during the battle of Holowczyn, as he overstressed it yelling at troops. Probably he knew what failing Tsar Peter could lead to...

  10. Those Russians are beautiful figures and your brushwork really brings them to life.

    1. Thank you very much, appreciate the visit and the comment!

  11. Great post. The grenadiers look very fine indeed.

    1. Glad you liked it, and thanks for the nice comment on the minis!

  12. Sorry late to the show, I was away until yesterday, great job on those Warfare miniatures and great write up on the historical background as always!

  13. Now that's really an impressive sight! The red came out especially awesome.

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