The defeat of the counterrevolutionary forces on the Don
6 (19) December 1917 was the year the Soviet government established the Southern Revolutionary Front to combat the counter-revolution. V. Antonov-Ovseenko was appointed commander-in-chief of the troops of the front. The immediate task of the Soviet troops was to cut off Ukraine from the Don and cover the Don Region from several sides. Initially, the total number of forces aimed at Ukraine and the Don, was only a few thousand bayonets and sabers. In December, several thousand soldiers arrived in Kharkiv from Petrograd, Moscow and other cities led by the commander Antonov-Ovseenko and his deputy, the chief of staff, a former officer of the tsarist army Muravyov. Antonov-Ovseenko handed over command of the troops of the front in Ukraine to the chief of staff of the front, Muravyov, and himself headed the struggle against the Kaledinians.
The main forces of Ataman Kaledin were concentrated in the Kamenskaya - Glubokaya - Millerovo - Likhaya area. A volunteer army was formed in Rostov-on-Don and Novocherkassk (about 2 thousand fighters). In addition, separate Cossack guerrilla-type detachments and several regular Cossack units occupied the Gorlovo-Makeevsky district of Donbass, displacing Red Guard units from there. However, the White Cossacks and the Whites could not create a strong army and front during this period to oppose the movement of the Red detachments. This was due to the split of the Cossacks, which could expose and arm the whole army. If a small part of the Cossacks armed themselves against the Bolsheviks, and supported Kaledin, the majority was tired of the war, declared "neutrality" and even sympathized with the Soviet power.
Kornilov and Kaledin in January 1918 of the year divided. Leaving the officer's battalion to the ataman with a battery to protect Novocherkassk and as a core for the Don troops, the Volunteer Army (DA) moved to Rostov. White leaders were counting on the support of the big city, the local rich (industrialists, bankers, etc.), and the rise of the officers — thousands of officers lived in Rostov. However, as before, the bourgeois capitalists miscalculated the White movement, but the officers still tried to stay away from the conflict.
By December 25 1917 (January 7 1918) Antonov-Ovseyenko troops almost without resistance occupied the western part of the Donetsk basin. From here he planned, by acting in columns of Sivers and Sablin, to destroy the main forces of Kaledin in the Voronezh area. The column Sablina was from Lugansk to develop an attack on the station Likhaya; the column of Sivers, providing it from the south, had to go to the station Zverevo, in order to then turn onto Millerovo. At the same time, from the direction of Voronezh, a column of Petrova formed in Voronezh was supposed to attack on, and its advanced units had reached Chertkovo station by that time.
Meanwhile, the punitive Cossack detachments of Chernetsov, Lazarev, Semiletov made their raids on the territory of Eastern Donbass. The attacks were accompanied by flashes of Cossack terror. Kaledinians defeated Yasinovsky and Bokov-Crystal Mine Councils. Fierce fighting ensued in the area of Yuzovka and neighboring Makeevka. December 19 (January 1) Cossacks broke into the Brestovo-Bogodukhovsky mine. December 22 (January 4) Sivers column entered the Donbass, where it joined with the partisans from the mines. On the night of 21 on December 22 (January 3-4), the Red Guards launched an offensive from Yuzovka. The fighting engulfed the area of Yuzovka, Khanzhenkov, Makeyevka, Mospin, Ilovaisk. The fierce battle at the Prokhorovsky mine between Yuzovka and Makeevka lasted about a day and ended with the victory of the Red Guard.
During this period, there was some lull in the fighting. As N. Ye. Kakurin noted in his work “How the Revolution Fought”: a hitch was characteristic “for the initial period of the Civil War: military units on both sides arbitrarily began to conclude an armistice with each other”. Petrova’s column set up talks with the Cossacks at Chertkov; The Cossacks, pressed by Sivers column south of Yuzovka, asked for a truce. Sablin's detachment was weak to actively advance. Reinforcements sent from the front proved to be ineffective. Moving up to st. Ilovaiskaya, Sievers was forced to stop. Two regiments from his column refused to obey, they had to be disarmed and sent to the rear.
The enemy, taking advantage of this circumstance and collecting small effective reserves, with short blows threw back both Antonov-Ovseenko columns. December 27 (January 9), having suffered heavy losses, Sievers' troops left part of the Yuzovo-Makeevsky district and retreated to Nikitovka. Unfavorable situation has developed around Lugansk. On the night of December 28 (January 10), the Cossacks occupied Debaltseve. December 29-31 (January 11-13) Chernetsov's detachment occupied the Yasinovskaya commune in Makeyevka. Miner groups of Yuzovka, Makeevka, Enakiyev and a group of troops under the command of Sivers came to the rescue of the mine. Yasinovsky mine was repulsed. Sivers' troops, which were joined by 4 thou. Red Donbass guards, launched an offensive through Ilovaisk and Taganrog on Rostov. A group of troops commanded by Sablina, also reinforced by local Red Guards, from the Luhansk region, launched an offensive against Rostov through Zverevo-Kamenskaya-Novocherkassk. 12 (25) January 1918, the Soviet troops occupied Makeevka.
Meanwhile, the Don government was losing control over the situation on the Don. Returning from the front, the regular regiments of 10 (23) in January held their own congress in the village of Kamenskaya. Among the revolutionary regiments were the former Life Guard Cossack and Ataman regiments, who spent a long time in the capital and engaged in "politics". The Cossacks announced the overthrow of Ataman Kaledin and the transfer of power to a revolutionary committee headed by Fyodor Podtelkov. The revolutionary Cossacks demanded disarmament and the expulsion of the Kornilovites. Kaledin sent the 10 th regiment to disperse the congress and arrest the instigators. But even this regiment, which was considered the support of the ataman, did not execute the order, declared it "neutrality" and joined the protesters. Then, against the revolutionary Cossacks, the Chernetsov detachment was abandoned. The revolutionary Cossacks had a great advantage in strength. But the whole mass of revolutionary regiments, batteries and individual units could not withstand the onslaught of several hundred determined fighters. As a result, Kaledin with great difficulty managed to oust the Don Revolutionary Committee from the limits of the region. The revolutionary Cossacks, although they had the advantage in manpower, did not want to fight.
However, this victory was tactical. With the passivity and even hostility of the bulk of the Cossacks and the population of the whole region and to the Don government and white, their defeat became inevitable. The finally decomposed Don units were replaced on the Voronezh and Kharkov directions by units of the Volunteer Army. This measure allowed the defenders to temporarily halt the progress of the columns of Sievers and Sablin. The column of Sablina, weakened by the allocation of part of their forces to help Sivers, who was advancing on the Taganrog direction, moved to help the troops of the Don Revolutionary Committee, which were pressed by Kaledinians. January 31 captured the Likhuyu station, but the next day received a strong counter-attack from the volunteer units and withdrew with heavy losses, leaving Zverevo station as well. The Sivers column attacking Taganrog was also defeated in a clash with volunteer units and went to Art. Amvrosievka.
Krasnogvardeisky detachment led by R. F. Sivers, 1918
However, at that time an uprising began in Taganrog, where the workers of the Baltic Works (5 thousand people) revolted, knocking the whites from the city. In addition, the columns of Sablina and Sivers received reinforcements from the Northern Front — several regiments and batteries of the old army, and several revolutionary detachments. Sivers also received a powerful armored train with naval guns. On January 21 (February 3), Sivers’s column moved forward again and on January 26 (February 8) established contact with the rebels in Taganrog. The white shell front collapsed.
Kaledinians and Kornilovs were able to put another strong counter-attack on the Sablin column. Red Cossack regiments, retreating from Kamenskaya, gathered near Glubokaya. Here, Golubov, a military foreman, stood out; he began to put together an efficient unit on the basis of the 27 regiment. The White Cossacks of Chernetsov made a detour and attacked Deep not by rail, where they were waited, from the steppe. The revolutionary Cossacks ran again. But then the Red Cossacks joined up with a column of Petrov that approached from Voronezh. Chernetsov's squad hit the pincers and was crushed, the white commander himself was killed. The red parts of Golubov, Petrov and Sablina moved to Novocherkassk.
In addition, at this moment, the encirclement of the center of counter-revolution on the part of Tsaritsyn and the Caucasus affected. The headquarters of the Southeastern Revolutionary Army was created in Tsaritsyn, the commander of which was elected the cornet of Autonomists. This headquarters began to concentrate the forces of the 39 Infantry Division of the old army from the Caucasian front at the station Tikhoretskaya. This division was supposed to develop an offensive against Yekaterinodar — the stakes of the counter-revolutionary Kuban government. He was twice attacked by local revolutionary troops, who tried to attack Ekaterinodar from Novorossiysk, but without success. Bataysk 13 February was occupied by units of the 39 Infantry Division. But the Reds could not advance further.
28 January (10 February) 1918, Red detachments occupied Taganrog and launched an offensive against Rostov. The Reds were moving slowly because of damage to the ways by the enemy and fearing for their rear. Further defense of Novocherkassk and Rostov became meaningless. Don Cossacks did not want to fight. Moreover, the revolutionary Cossacks already became the striking force of the red detachments. The small Volunteer Army could not stop the enemy, which, as it moved, was reinforced with reinforcements from local workers and Cossacks, received reinforcements from the central regions and the old front. Kornilov and Alekseev decided to retreat to the Kuban, where Yekaterinodar was still holding and there was hope for the support of the Kuban Cossacks. Kaledin offered to pull the entire Volunteer Army to Novocherkassk. Kornilov and Alekseev were against. “I cannot defend Don from the Don,” said Kornilov. In Novocherkassk, YES turned out to be in a “cauldron” and was doomed to death. January 28 (February 10) General Kornilov notified Kaledin that the volunteers could not protect Novocherkassk and go to the Kuban. Kornilov asked him to return the officer battalion.
29 January (11 February) Kaledin gathered a government meeting at which he informed about the decision of the command of the Volunteer Army and that only 147 fighters remained to protect the Don region from the Bolsheviks at the front. Members of the Don government declared that there was no possibility to defend the capital, and offered the ataman to go to the stanitsa, who remained loyal and continue the fight. Tired, psychologically broken, Kaledin declared that he considered it unacceptable to run and hide in the villages and in such conditions he resigned from his duties as a military ataman. On the same day, General Kaledin committed suicide with a shot to the heart. In his suicide letter to General Alekseev, he explained his departure from life "by the refusal of the Cossacks to follow their chieftain."
The next day the Military Circle elected General A. M. Nazarov as a troop ataman. Nazarov during World War II commanded the 20 Don Cossack Regiment, was chief of the 2 Trans-Baikal Cossack Brigade, and since March 1917 was appointed commander of the 8 Don Cossack Division, and already in April 1917, he was commander of the Caucasian Cavalry Division. On the way to the Caucasus, Kaledin was retained, and became the commander of the Taganrog garrison, then the marching chieftain of the Don army. General Nazarov refused to leave Novocherkassk with the detachment of the Marching Ataman General P. Popov (1500 fighters), who went to Zadonsk steppes to continue the fight. The DA representative in Novocherkassk, General Lukomsky, proposed Nazarov to join Kornilov. Nazarov refused.
The death of Kaledin for some time shook the Don. The youth fell silent, the old men began to arm themselves, declaring that Don had sinned before his chieftain and should atone for the blame. Cossacks flocked to the city of Novocherkassk in thousands, general mobilization was announced, new units were formed. Red offensive stopped. With the Romanian front made his way with weapons in the hands of the 6 th Don regiment and immediately went against the Reds. However, soon the wave of enthusiasm died out. 6 th Don regiment succumbed to propaganda and refused to fight. The Cossacks, shouting and shaking their weapons, again went home. February 12 (25) Red Cossacks N. Golubov occupied Novocherkassk without a fight. Nazarov and the Chairman of the Troop Circle E. A. Voloshinov were arrested. February 18 them and other representatives of the Don government were shot.
Major General, marching, and then military ataman of the Don Cossack Army, Anatoly Nazarov (1876 - 1918)
The volunteer army in Rostov was in a critical situation. The generals Alekseev and Kornilov decided to retreat to the south, in the direction of Ekaterinodar, hoping to raise the Kuban Cossacks and enter into an alliance with the peoples of the Caucasus, making the Kuban region a base for further military operations. Their whole "army" in the number of fighters at that time was equal to a regiment - 2,5 thousand people. Since the beginning of the formation, 6 thousand people signed up for the army, but the rest died, were injured or went missing. On the night of 9 (22) in February 1918, the Volunteer Army crossed the ice to the left bank of the Don and went from the village to the village. She stopped in the village of Olginskaya. Here it was reorganized into three infantry regiments - Combined Officer, Kornilov Shock and Guerrilla. February 25 volunteers moved to Ekaterinodar.
10 (23) February red occupied Rostov. 10 (23) in March, the Don Revolutionary Committee proclaimed on the territory of the Region of the Don Army “an independent Don Soviet republic in a blood union with the Russian Soviet Republic”. At the head of the Don Republic was Cossack Podhorunzhi F. Propulsion Podtyolkov. Soviet power lasted in Rostov until the beginning of May 1918. In early May, German troops occupied the western part of the Don Army Region, including Rostov, Nakhichevan-on-Don, Taganrog, Millerovo, Chertkovo. On May 16, in Novocherkassk, the ataman of the Great Don Army was elected General P. N. Krasnov, who entered into an alliance with Germany.
The first stage of the Civil War ended in favor of the Soviet government. The main counter-revolutionary foci — Ukraine and the Don — were extinguished. Also, the Reds took up in the Orenburg province and the Ural region, where a coalition of the Ural and Orenburg Cossacks, hostile to Soviet power, was formed, led by ataman Dutov. January 31 1918 of the year whites were driven out of Orenburg, ataman Dutov fled to Verkhneuralsk.
Success had a strategic character: in just two months, the Soviet government extended to the whole Don region and Little Russia, Ukraine. It seemed that some hotbeds of civil war would be crushed and peace would come. However, in February 1918, external forces intervened - Turkish, Romanian and Austro-German invaders. External invasion allowed to restore the base for the development and expansion of the scale of unrest. In addition, the invasion of the troops of the Entente — Britain, France, the USA and Japan — and the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps, inspired by the masters of the West, soon began, which allowed the establishment of the power of counter-revolutionary forces in eastern Russia. The second stage of the war began, much larger, already with real armies and fronts.