100 years ago, 9 (22) June 1918, in the south of Russia, the so-called Second Kuban campaign of the Volunteer Army began, the purpose of which was to force the Reds out of the Kuban, Black Sea and North Caucasus regions.
The general situation in the south of Russia. Choosing the direction of impact
Much of the south-western regions of Russia, including Rostov-on-Don, was occupied by the German army. The Germans occupied Kiev, previously beaten off by the Reds, dispersed the completely incapacitated Central Rada, ending the circus with “independence”, and in its place put the puppet of Hetman P. P. Skoropadsky, who proclaimed the creation of the “Ukrainian State”. In Crimea, Germany, in agreement with Turkey, planted its other puppet, General MA Sulkevich. The Bolsheviks fled mainly to the Caucasus - to Novorossiysk, where the Red Black Sea Fleet also left the Crimea. In the Caucasus, there was a massacre, Turkish and pro-Turkish forces were advancing, they were opposed by Armenian troops. Germans entrenched in Georgia.
A number of Soviet republics were formed in the North Caucasus, similar to those in the neighborhood, like the Don or Donetsk-Krivoy Rog. These are the Kuban, Black Sea, Stavropol, Terek republics within the RSFSR. The Black Sea-Kuban Republic, formed as a result of the merger (May 30 1918) of the Kuban and Black Sea republics, and which occupied the territory of the Black Sea and Stavropol provinces and the Kuban Region, prevailed. The head of the government was Ya. V. Poluyan. Under the conditions of the beginning of the Second Kuban campaign of the Volunteer Army, the 1-th Congress of the Soviets of the North Caucasus (5 - 7 July 1918) decided to unite the Kuban-Black Sea, Terek and Stavropol Soviet republics into a single North-Caucasian Soviet Republic as part of the RSFSR, with the capital in the city Ekaterinodar
On the Don against the Reds, the Cossacks rebelled, taking advantage of the German intervention and the arrival of the white detachments of Denikin and Drozdov, they were able to take Novorossiysk, and then occupy most of the area. In Novocherkassk, the cavalry general, P. Krasnov, was elected by the troop ataman at the Don Salvation Circle, which adopted the German orientation. The leadership of the Volunteer Army was oriented towards the Entente. In addition, the political goals of volunteers and the Don leadership differed. Denikinists fought for the re-establishment of “Great, United and Indivisible Russia”, while the Donors first of all thought about the peace of their native region and did not want to go beyond its limits (perhaps, only to expand their region). Krasnov's program included: arranging Don affairs, refusing to participate in a civil war, peace with Germany, and "free" independent life with his Cossack Circle and chieftain. The Donets were going to build their “Cossack republic”. The ataman Krasnov laid the principle of the Don for the Don as the basis of the new Don state, opposing separatism and ardent nationalism to Bolshevism, where the Don Cossacks were like separate people, not Russians. In addition, Denikin and Krasnov could not establish personal relationships, they were in conflict. Denikin did not want to overstep his principles and saw an upstart in Krasnov, which had risen because of unrest. Krasnov also demanded equality and did not want to be subordinate to the commander of the white army.
Krasnov sought the survival of the Don, so he led a “flexible” policy tacking between the Volunteer Army, the Germans, Kiev, and even Moscow tried to have contact. This greatly annoyed the command of the white army. In a letter to Shulgin from 13 on June 1918, Mr. Denikin described the Don policy towards the Volunteer Army as “double-minded”. In another letter of Denikin, written in December 1918 - to the Minister of War of the Government of the Supreme Ruler of Russia, Admiral A. V. Kolchak, General N. A. Stepanov - A. I. Denikin described the relationship of the Volunteer Army with Don as follows: “With the Don of the Relationship of the Volunteer Army Neighborhood looks like mutual support and help each other. In essence, the policy of Ataman Krasnov is ambivalent and pursues personal egoistic interests, which is reflected in the establishment of complete unity and in the Allies showing the necessary hurry in rendering their assistance. ”
This led to the fact that the leaders of the Volunteer Army could not work out a common strategy with Krasnov. An attempt to agree on a single command, undertaken during the military council and the meeting of the commander of the Volunteer Army Denikin with Krasnov in the village of Manychskaya 15 (28) in May 1918, did not lead to success. Ataman offered to go to Tsaritsyn, where it was possible to capture weapon, ammunition, get the support of the local population. Krasnov argued that "As long as Tsaritsyn is in the hands of the Bolsheviks, until then, the constant danger would threaten both Don and the Volunteer Army." Then it was possible to advance in the Middle Volga, to the Urals, to unite with the local Cossacks there. Thus, the mastery of Tsaritsyn allowed the Southern and Eastern fronts of the anti-Bolshevik forces to unite their efforts.
However, White feared that Krasnov was promoting the idea of the expansion of the Don Republic, and possibly the interests of Germany. That the Don people want to send whites to Tsaritsyn, having got rid of the stay of the Volunteer Army within the Don Cossacks. As a result, the command of volunteers rejected the proposal Krasnov. In military terms, the White Army command was afraid to leave a powerful Caucasian grouping of Reds in the rear. In the North Caucasus there were rears of the former Caucasian front, many weapons, ammunition, various equipment and ammunition. In the North Caucasus, whites could be supported by the Kuban and Terek Cossacks, angered by the Bolshevik policy, rasskazachivaniem and terror. An important circumstance was the fact that half of the personnel of the Volunteer Army were Kuban Cossacks who joined the volunteers in the hope that they would free their land first, and then the rest of Russia. They did not want to go to the Volga region or to Moscow, but they would gladly have begun to fight for their land.
In a letter to the representative of Denikin on Don, General E. F. Elsner, Chief of Staff of the Volunteer Army, General I. P. Romanovsky, explained the position of the commander: “[Denikin] finds that he has refused to perform the Kuban operation when it has already begun and when certain promises are made to the Kuban , there is no possibility ... As for Tsaritsyn, his occupation is another goal of the army and will be started to achieve it as soon as the situation allows, and as soon as work is completed to provide Russia with bread from the Kuban and from Stavropol tion province. " In addition, Denikin and Alekseev were well aware of the difficulties of the path proposed by Krasnov, on the Tsaritsa direction White could meet with irresistible resistance from the Reds and be defeated, in the Kuban and the North Caucasus there were more chances to win.
As a result, the Don Army under the command of General S. V. Denisov launched her offensive against Tsaritsyn, considering her "the most important task of securing the region from the east, which can be achieved only by taking Tsaritsyn." And Denikin’s 9 (22) of June 1918 began the Second Kuban campaign, carrying out, according to Krasnov, “a private enterprise - cleansing the Kuban”. That is, both armies dispersed in two opposite directions. Many researchers believe that this was the fatal mistake of Denikin. Whites are actually stuck in the North Caucasus for a whole year. Thus, the Soviet military historian N. Ye. Kakurin wrote that Denikin made a mistake by underestimating the importance of the Tsaritsyn trend. And Krasnov, according to the historian, “correctly” estimated the importance of mastering Tsaritsyn “on the scale of the all-Russian counter-revolution”.
Denikin himself wrote that he gave a clear countdown in the meaning of Tsaritsyn, but “in the current political and strategic situation, it was impossible to move the Volunteer Army to Tsaritsyn. First of all, because the Germans, leaving alone the army occupied with the liberation of the Kuban, would not allow it to advance to the Volga, where a new anti-Bolshevik and anti-German front had already arisen, which, as we shall see, seriously disturbed the German authorities. The volunteer army, which at that time consisted of only 9 of thousands of fighters (half of them were Kuban, who would not have left their area), would fall into a trap between the Germans and the Bolsheviks ... Another reason for moving to the Kuban was a moral obligation to the Kuban , marching under our banners, not only under the slogan of saving Russia, but also liberating their land. Our failure to fulfill our word would have two serious consequences: the strongest frustration of the army, from whose ranks many Kuban Cossacks would have gone, and the second - the occupation of this area by the Germans. And finally, another reason. When moving to Tsaritsyn, heavily fortified, we still had a hundred-thousandth Bolshevik grouping of the North Caucasus in the rear. "Summing up, the white general said:" Leaving the Volga would mean: 1) leave the Germans first, and then the Bolsheviks bread, coal and oil; 2) throw areas that could not free themselves (Kuban, Terek), or hold themselves (Don); 3) to leave them without a binder all-Russian beginning, in the power of regional psychology, prompting many to limit the struggle by the protection of "native huts"; 4) abandon most of the human contingents that flowed from the Kuban, the Caucasus, from Ukraine and the Crimea, and in particular from the numerous officers (our stronghold), which was very small beyond the Volga; 5) to refuse access to the Black Sea and close ties with the allies, who, despite all the egoism of their policy, devoid of foresight, still provided the White armies of the South with enormous material assistance. Finally, on the Volga, if the Germans, by virtue of the “Additional to Brest-Litovsk” treaty with the Bolsheviks, would have fallen upon us, we could, at best, have gone beyond the Volga, and get into the sphere of very difficult relations with “Komuch” "And the Czechoslovak Committee, or rather, just would have died ...".
Thus, the White Command decided to undertake a second campaign against the Kuban. According to Denikin, “the strategic plan of the operation was as follows: to seize Commerce, interrupting the railway communication of the North Caucasus with Central Russia; then covering yourself with Tsaritsyn, turn on Tikhoretskaya. By seizing this important hub of the North Caucasus roads, ensuring the operation from the north and south of the capture of Kushchyovka and the Caucasus, continue moving to Yekaterinodar to seize this military and political center of the region and the entire North Caucasus. ”
Commander of the Volunteer Army, Anton Ivanovich Denikin, the end of 1918 or the beginning of 1919 of the year
The forces of the parties
Before the start of the march, the Volunteer Army consisted of 5 infantry regiments, 8 cavalry regiments, 5 with half the batteries, 8,5 total — 9 thousands of bayonets and sabers with the 21 gun. The regiments were reduced to divisions: the 1 Division of General S.L. Markov, the 2 Division of General A. A. Borovsky, the 3 Division of Colonel M. G. Drozdovsky, the 1 Cavalry Division of General I. G. Erdely . In addition, the army included the 1-I Kuban Cossack brigade of General V. L. Pokrovsky, and for the first period of the army’s operation, the Don detachment of Colonel I. F. Bykadorov was subordinated to 3,5 thousands with 8 guns (this detachment operated in the Manych valley) . In service with the army consisted of three armored car.
The command of the white army was hoping for broad support from the local population, offended by the actions of the Soviet authorities. The agrarian policy of the Bolsheviks, with the equalization in land rights of the kulaks and nonresidents and the restriction of kulak farms, deprivation of the privileges of the Cossacks, outright criminality of some representatives of Soviet power, the Red Army (murder, robbery, violence, etc.) in the Kuban contributed to the ranks Cossacks, part of the population of cities and villages, began to join Denikin’s army. The White Guards were able to expand the social base, and to make the white movement in some measure and for a while mass.
Reds had in the region up to 100 thousand people (according to other estimates - up to 150 - 200 thousand people). Because of the complete confusion, even the Soviet General Staff in Moscow had only a relative idea about them. One group was located in the Novorossiysk area, where the Black Sea Fleet managed to move from the Crimea. Also large groups of Red Army soldiers were stationed along the northern border of the Kuban and in the south of the present Rostov region. Thus, in the area of Azov - Kushchyovka - Sosyka, the Sorokin army was stationed in 30 — 40 thousand soldiers with 80 — 90 guns and two armored trains, having a front to the north against the Germans occupied Rostov and to the northeast against the Don and volunteers. In the area of the railway line Tikhoretskaya - Torgovaya and to the north of it there were numerous scattered detachments with a total number of up to 30 thousand people with weak artillery. Among them were the “Iron” Infantry Brigade of Goons, and the Dumenko Equestrian Brigade. Several detachments stood in the corner formed by the rivers Manych and Salome, with the center in the Grand-Ducal. In addition, many large cities and railway stations (Tikhoretskaya, Yekaterinodar, Armavir, Maikop, Novorossiysk, Stavropol and others) had strong garrisons.
Many Red Army men had already managed to make war with the troops of the Ukrainian People's Republic in the Ukraine (“haidamaks”), and were forced out by the Austro-German troops after the conclusion of the Brest peace, and also fought with the Whites during the First Kuban campaign. Therefore, this time many Red Army men had combat experience, fought hard, hard, did not scatter after the first fight with the whites. However, units composed of demobilized soldiers of the former Caucasian Front still had low combat capability. There were no problems with the supply of the Red Army, it relied on the rear of the Caucasian Front.
However, the weakness of the Reds was the poor organization of the troops, the "partisan", and their commanders waged a fierce battle with the civil authorities and quarreled with each other. The CEC of the Kuban-Black Sea Soviet Republic accused the commander-in-chief of Avtonomov of dictatorial aspirations, condemning him and Sorokin as "enemies of the people." Avtonomov, on the other hand, accused CEC members of a German orientation. The army also took part in the war, which at the front congress in Kuschevka decided to "concentrate all the troops of the North Caucasus under the command of Avtonomov ... categorically demand (from the center) elimination of the intervention of civilian authorities and abolish the emergency headquarters." In addition, the commander-in-chief of the North Caucasian Red Army refused to comply with the directives coming from Moscow, if he thought they were contrary to his interests, ignored Trotsky’s orders, refusing to recognize his authority as the commander-in-chief of the Red Army. As a result, the CEC won, Avtonomov, who showed himself well in battles with the whites, was recalled to Moscow, where he received an appointment as an inspector and organizer of military units of the Caucasian Front. Avtonomov was saved by the patronage of personally extraordinary commissar of the South of Russia G. K. (Sergo) Ordzhonikidze. The commissioner managed to ensure that no reprisals were applied to Avtonomov, and in the remaining months of his life (Avtonomov died in February of 1919 from typhus) he fought under Sergo in the North Caucasus.
In his place was put by the military leader of the former General Staff, Major General of the Russian Army Andrei Snesarev, who sided with the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution. From the second half of June, the Department of the North Caucasus Military District was located in Tsaritsyn. Snesarev, who came from Moscow to Tsaritsyn, faced many problems, the most acute of which was non-execution of combat orders, multinationalism and the actual lack of information about the whereabouts of the troops and the enemy. Top-level commanders lacked the necessary knowledge to lead their troops, and intelligence as such was practically not conducted. It happened that Snesarev did not even know where his troops were located, and his high command was largely fictitious. “There is no connection, there is no executives: they both went and got somewhere, they didn’t go at all,” he wrote in his diary about the Red troops of the North Caucasus.
Directly the red troops in the North Caucasus were first headed by the commander of the Latvian rifle regiment, Karl Ivanovich Kalnin. This appointment was unsuccessful, Kalin could not prove himself in a high position. Errors Kalnina largely contributed to the defeat of the Red Army in the region. Red troops were scattered on several fronts, poorly interacted with each other. Kalnin considered the Germans to be the main enemy of the Soviet authorities in the region, and not the “Alekseev gangs”, stubbornly sending troops against the Germans. To all the proposals of subordinates to pay more attention to the white army, Kalnin invariably answered: "now we will cope with the Germans, and there we will also break this bastard (whites) ...". The result was that the Reds underestimated the enemy.
Well described the situation in the red Caucasus with his characteristic frankness in the essay on the Volunteer Army in 1918. White leader Ya. A. Slashchov-Krymsky described: “The forces of the Reds were very significant - more than 150 thousandth army remained in their hands, but from the mobilized , warehouses and supplies of every kind and the entire South Caucasus to Transcaucasia. Under the influence of the danger of the government of various Sovnarkomov more or less conspired among themselves for common action. But major drawbacks continued to exist — disputes continued, one council arrested the other, military commanders arrested the soviets, and councils arrested the bosses — all for the notorious “counter-revolution”, under which often there was simply a thirst for power. The ability to control the troops had a few Red commanders. In most cases, management only had an effect in a personal example, and a huge mass of soldiers were allowed to throw down the shaft, like locusts, on obstacles. Offended by the Soviets, the Cossacks raged with might and main and revolted everywhere, joined the Goodwill and made up its main contingent. ”
9 - 10 (22 — 23) June 1918, the Volunteer Army marched. Denikin first went not to the south, but to the east. Volunteers attacked the Torgovaya junction station (Salsk) with all their might. From the west, Drozdovsky’s division attacked, forcing the Egorlyk River. From the south, the Borovsk division was marching to the assault, from the east - Erdeli. Free left the passage to the north. The Reds fluttered and ran, throwing artillery and large stocks. But there Markovtsy were already waiting for them, having intercepted the railway from Shablievka. It was a complete rout. The Reds knocked out of Torgovaya and Shablievskaya retracted in two directions: towards Peschanokopsky and towards Grand-Princely. Denikinians seized a large number of supplies, including vital ammunition, began to equip their first "armored train", strengthening it with sandbags and installing machine guns. In a strategic sense, it was an important victory - whites cut the Tsaritsyn-Yekaterinodar railway on the 20 months, linking the Kuban and Stavropol regions with Central Russia.
However, the white army suffered a heavy loss on this day. During the capture of Shablievskaya, the commander of the 1 division, General S.L. Markov, was mortally wounded. “The red units were retreating,” General Denikin recalled. - The armored trains also left, sending the last farewell shells towards the abandoned station. The penultimate (projectile) was fatal. Markov, bleeding profusely, fell to the ground. (A shell fragment was wounded in the left part of the nape, and most of the left shoulder was torn out.) Transferred to the hut, he suffered for a short time, sometimes regaining consciousness and saying goodbye to his officers, who were numb from grief. The next morning, the 1 th Kuban Rifle Regiment saw off their division commander on the last journey. The command was distributed: “Listen to the guard”. For the first time, the regiment broke down, saluting its general, - guns fell out of their hands, bayonets waved, officers and Cossacks wept bitterly ... ". Instead of Markov, Colonel A. P. Kutepov joined the command of the division until General B. I. Kazanovich returned from Moscow. By order of the army, Denikin renamed the 1-th Officer Regiment, whose first commander was Markov, into the 1-th Officer General Markov Regiment.
General Staff Lieutenant General Sergey Leonidovich Markov
After the first victory, Denikin again went not to the south, but to the north. For further offensive in the direction of Tikhoretskaya, the Whites needed to secure their rear (railway station of Torgovaya station) and to facilitate the task of keeping the southeastern district (Salsky district) to the Dontsians, for which it was necessary to break up a strong Red group with the center in the village of Velikoknyazheskaya. In the direction of Peschanokopsky, the division of Borovskiy put up a barrier, while the rest of 15 (28) of June attacked the Reds at Grand Duke's. 1-I and 3-I divisions crossed the Manych and hit the village from the north and south, and Erdeli's horse division had to bypass the Grand Duke from the east and complete the environment of the enemy. But the white cavalry could not break the stubborn resistance of the cavalry regiment Boris Dumenko (one of the best red commanders). As a result, the Manych grouping of the Reds, although it was defeated, was knocked out of the Grand-Ducal, was not destroyed and for a long time hung on the flank of the Volunteer Army. Denikin left the Don units in the Manych Valley and volunteers went south.
Thus, whites, by capturing the Torgovaya junction station, and to the northeast of it, Velikoknyazheskaya station, provided the rear from Tsaritsyn and interrupted the railway communication of the Kuban, the North Caucasus with Central Russia. Then, after transferring the Tsaritsyno area to the Don Army, the volunteers set about carrying out the second phase of the operation — an offensive on the Catherine-Directed area.