White Guard armored vehicles
In the Russian army there were not so many armored vehicles. Most of them were built on the same principle: they ordered a chassis abroad (most often Renault, Fiat or Austin), after which they installed armored vehicles of their own production. And so there were strange hybrids with amazing names like “Austin Putilovets” or “Fiat Izhora”. There were a number of completely domestic developments like the Russo-Balt design of Bratolyubov-Nekrasov, but the number of produced cars of this type usually did not exceed a dozen. But tanks The Russian Empire did not use at all.
Two pilot projects were implemented (“Rover” by Porokhovshchikov and “Tsar-tank” by Lebedenko), but it didn’t come to a series, and then the revolution broke out, and the tank production moved into the background. It was here, already in 1917, that an interesting "division" of armored vehicles between the Red Army and parts of the White movement took place. The fact is that most of the armored cars of the tsarist army were inherited precisely in red - in view of the fact that they were based mainly in Moscow and Petrograd.
But whites, unlike the Red Army, had full-fledged tanks, transferred to them by European allies, - the Entente did not recognize the Bolsheviks and considered the White movement the only legitimate authority in Russia. Of course, the Civil War did not become a battle “tanks against armored cars”, but a certain advantage of such a plan existed. So on what did the whites fight?
Armored in 1919 at the Novorossiysk plant Sudostal. The car accelerated to a maximum of 8 km / h, but fought quite successfully.
Before 1919, no side had any tanks. But the First World War ended, and the British government drew attention to the tragic events that took place in Russia. As a result, twelve tanks arrived in Batum in the spring of 1919 to support the White Guard: six Mark V and six Medium Mark A Whippet. A "School of English Tanks" was formed - there, under the command of the British, the first Russian tank crews were preparing.
In general, in the 1919 — 1920 years, the British were incredibly actively supplying tanks to all parts of the White movement — and the Armed Forces of Southern Russia (VSYUR) under the command of Denikin, and the Russian Wrangel, which remained after their rout, and the Northern Army. Only Kolchak in the east was left without British support - this was due to the extreme logistical difficulties in the delivery of armored vehicles into the interior of the country.
The 1 Tank Division of the VSYUR was organized on 27 on April 1919 of the year in Ekaterinodar (now Krasnodar). The division consisted of sixteen English tanks - four groups of four cars. Half - powerful Mark V with heavy cannon weapons, the second half - light machine gun Mk A Whippet. Tanks proved to be a powerful help.
The most famous operation with their participation was the assault of Tsaritsyn at the end of June 1919, namely tanks and armored trains played the most significant role in defeating the Reds and the final capture of the city. To a certain extent, the tanks had more psychological than fire significance, but the latter should not be underestimated either. By the way, not sixteen, but seventeen tanks took part in that battle: another Mk A Whippet with a British crew under the command of captain Cox joined the 1 tank division of the VSYUR.
By the end of the year, the total number of tanks at the disposal of VSYuR reached 74 units. Virtually all contemporaries argued that the Red Army troops, at the sight of tanks, tried to retreat and not take the fight, which, however, was absolutely the right tactic. The tanks could not fight on the front line and reached maximum efficiency when the line of defense was broken through by a preliminary infantry attack, which happened in this case quite rarely.
After the defeat of the All-Russian Union of Strategic Defense in the Russian army of Wrangel, only 20 British tanks remained, plus two French Renault FT 1917 models of the year.
Armored car "Colonel Umkolitvenny"
(not to be confused with the same-name armored tractor) repulsed by the Red Army and the Red Army in 1918. The machine was built by Heinrich Ehrhardt Automobilwerke on the basis of a military truck model EV / 4.
A small number of tanks, the British also put the Northern Army (four cars) and the North-Western Army (six). Kolchak's eastern army tried to smuggle ten Renault FT, but they were successfully intercepted by the Reds. All these machines had no serious influence on the course of the war.
Interestingly, a number of “white Britons” have survived in very good condition. This is due to the fact that they subsequently went to the Red Army and served until the 1938 year, when, on the personal instructions of Voroshilov, they were installed in a number of cities as tank monuments. The well-known Mark V in Kharkov, Lugansk, Arkhangelsk.
If we sum up the tank successes of the White Guard, we can say that if the British were a little more active in their "humanitarian aid", the course of the Civil War could really change - along with all the subsequent history. In fact, the tanks were too small, and the need for them was very significant. And therefore, original ersatz-cars appeared in the troops of the White movement.
(“Long” double-tower version) not far from the headquarters of General Rozanov in Vladivostok, 1919 year.
Tractor - into battle!
Aircraft tanks based on tractors are an indispensable element of almost any civil war, even quite modern. Since the first tanks appeared in White only in 1919, and most of the royal armored cars went to the Red Army, the factories located in the territories under the control of white, were engaged in the refinement of tractors to combat status. In view of the complete lack of experience in such works, it was mediocre, but a number of interesting constructions are worth mentioning.
One of the most famous ersatz tanks of the White movement is the "Prayerless Colonel" based on the 1916 British Clayton & Shuttleworth tractor. The chassis was far from the best - just the only one that came under the arm of the engineers and workers who worked in the workshops of the Don Army. A massive armored body was put on the chassis, resembling a railway carriage. There were several compartments inside - the engine compartment, the control compartment and the combat compartment (in the aft part); armament consisted of a 76,2-mm cannon and six Maxim machine guns, and the crew consisted of 11 (!) people.
Disadvantages of the car turned out to be many. The rotation of the base tractor was carried out with the aid of the wheel, the wheel, carried forward, it turned out to be outside the armored corps of the "Colonel the Prayer-free" and therefore was in particular danger in battle. But most importantly, the armored tractor turned out to be monstrously heavy - the serial tractor engine practically did not pull it. As a result, it was decided not to send the car to the front, where there would be no good from it. The "colonel" was used to train the crews of armored vehicles, and then, a year later, was dismantled.
Actually, the British tractors chassis in parts of the All-Soviet Union of Military Production came from the same source, from which later the tanks. The British supplied the chassis Bullock-Lombard, Holt, Clayton; they were more often used as artillery towers, but three Bullock-Lombard tractors turned into craftsmen tanks under the hands of craftsmen. Two such armored cars were manufactured in Novorossiysk at the Sudostal plant. Unlike the Clayton, the Bullock-Lombard chassis had two driving wheels and was driven much better.
Externally, the armored corps had a classic layout of pre-revolutionary armored vehicles, including a tower with a Maxim machine gun (there were five of each machine gun on each tractor). The thickness of the armor was about 10 mm. Two Novorossiysk armored personnel carriers were named “General Ulagay” and “Valorous Labynets”, entered the 3 armor unit of the 2 armored division of the Caucasian Volunteer Army and quite successfully fought throughout 1919, despite the low (5 − 8 km / h) speed.
The third Bullock-Lombard was remade at the Revel plant and received the name "Astrakhanets". By layout, he differed from his counterparts by two machine-gun turrets. The car was handed over to 3 of the Don Army, but literally a few days later they were turned back, because the engine simply did not pull, the water in the radiator instantly boiled, the towers stuck, and in general the Astrakhanets didn’t even pass hundreds of meters on tests. The armored tractor never returned from the factory. Subsequently, all three cars got as trophies of the Red Army. The first two were re-armed and sent to the front, and the latter was found to be unusable and dismantled.
At the Taganrog plant, several more interesting machines were made - the ACS on the Clayton and Bullock-Lombard chassis. 120-mm guns (Kane guns) and armored vehicles were installed on the tractor - at least two such machines were made, although the exact number remains unknown. The ACS fought on the Caucasian front and in the spring of the 1920, the Red Army was captured, took part in battles for some time, after which, apparently, they were disarmed.
The most unusual armored vehicle of the White movement was the Benz armored rubber car, created in 1912 year by order of the Amur railway for defense against Chinese hijackers. The armor trolley was equipped with 4,5-mm armor and a Maxim machine gun, but by the year 1918 it was used as a fire point on a mobile platform.
The only serial
Prerevolutionary armored cars were very worn out and technically imperfect - their off-road maneuverability was especially bad. There were several dozen handicraft armored cars (we described only the most characteristic), and they were sorely lacking. It was necessary to establish at least some kind of mass production - and this was achieved by units of Kolchak’s army deprived of tanks. In 1918, Kolchak received fifteen Fiat chassis from the USA (manufactured by the company's American plant).
The vehicles were partially armored in Omsk and partly in Vladivostok; There were two types of booking. The first option, “short”, had a crew of three and the only Maxim machine gun mounted in the turret. The second, “long”, was more cumbersome, two machine guns were located on the sides, in the sponsors of the armored.
Native engine "Fiat" power 72 hp could accelerate the car to 70 km / h in the presence of the road surface, that is, the armored car was quite high-speed and maneuverable.
True, unlike tanks, “Fiat-Omsk” (history remembered these machines under this name) fought rather haphazardly. Of these, they did not constitute links or divisions — all fifteen machines were distributed between different parts of the White movement, and at various times they somehow fell into the hands of the Red Army men.
The design of the Fiat-Omsk was not bad, and at another time it might have been able to influence the course of the hostilities. But both cars and time were too short - the war entered a sluggish stage, armored cars were destroyed or captured, and Russia's Supreme Ruler Admiral Kolchak was shot 7 February 1920 in Irkutsk.
The White movement did not make a big contribution to the history of the development of armored vehicles, but it is still impossible to deny this contribution. Both ersatz tanks based on tractors and Fiat-Omsky have left their mark on the pages of history. It is a pity that even sensible drawings have not survived from them - only mediocre quality of the photograph and fragmentary information that make it difficult to compose a complete picture. In this regard, military historians still have a huge work front.
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