Situation on the Eastern Front
6 — August 7 1918 of the year Czechoslovakia and whites, under the leadership of Kappel, took Kazan. The capture of Kazan by White had not only military-strategic importance - control over communications, the Volga, the seizure of large stocks of military property, but also serious economic consequences. In Kazan, Russia's gold reserves in the amount of 651,5 million rubles in gold, as well as 110 million credit cards were seized. This stock was then transferred successively to the Ufa directory, the Kolchak government.
After the seizure by Kazan of white belts on the Eastern Front, the following situation developed. The Volga enemy army was deployed on the Volga, from Kazan to Samara, under the command of Colonel Chechek, numbering 14–16 thousand bayonets, with 90–120 guns and 1–1,5 cavalry regiments. The army had flotilla in 16–20 armed steamboats. South of it, in the Orenburg and Ural regions, the forces of the Orenburg and Ural Cossacks acted - in 10-15 thousand sabers with 30-40 guns. To the north of the Volga army, the Yekaterinburg-Permian army deployed under the command of Colonel Wojciechowski - its forces reached 22–26,5 thousand bayonets and sabers with 45–60 guns (including about 4 thousand rebels of the Izhevsk-Votkinsk region.
Thus, all on the White Eastern Front was from 40 to 57,5 thousand bayonets and sabers with 165 – 220 guns. At the same time, the main forces of the White Czechs were located in the Yekaterinburg-Perm direction, in order to break through to Vyatka and further, in order to establish contact with the Entente troops, advancing from the White Sea coast. That is, the central direction, through Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod to Moscow, was not central to the white command. Although the same Vladimir Kappel, after the rapid capture of Kazan, insisted on a further attack on Moscow via Nizhny Novgorod, since a long-term positional defense in the situation immediately after the capture of Kazan was not possible. Kappel proposed to develop success - to take Nizhni Novgorod right away, and with it the second part of Russia's gold reserves, so that it would be a strong blow to Soviet Russia.
However, the interests of the Entente (the West) were in the first place for Komouch and the Czechs. The Socialist-Revolutionary government and the Czechs refused to develop the offensive and preferred a limited defense in the Kazan area. White did not use the first successes for a breakthrough to the south, towards Tsaritsyn, where it was possible to unite with the Don army of Krasnov and the white army of Denikin. As a result, the main forces of the White Czechs were located in a direction where they did not pose a threat to the vital centers of Soviet Russia, and where communications were worst developed, the possibilities of supplying the army. This allowed the Red Army to recover from heavy failures, regroup forces, tighten up reserves and fresh forces, strengthen organization and discipline, and launch a counter-offensive.
The echelon of the 6 regiment of the Czechoslovak Corps. 1918 year
The Red Command opposed the following forces to the enemy. On the Samara and Saratov directions acted 4-I Red Army (Khvesin) - in the number of 22 thousand people, 4 squadron, 58 field and 6 heavy guns. The task of this army was to capture Samara, and she had to deal with active enemy groups advancing from Volsk on Balashov and from Uralsk to Saratov. The 1 th Red Army (Tukhachevsky) was located in the Simbirsk area, in the amount of more than 7 thousands of bayonets sabers with 50 guns. The task of this army was to prevent the enemy to use the river. Volga as rokadnom by, for which she had in the shortest possible time to master Simbirsk. In the area of Kazan, there was the 5 Army (Slaven) in two groups on the right and left banks of the Volga, totaling about 9 thousand people with 37 light and 6 heavy guns. The 2 Army (Azin), pulled up to Kazan by Commander Vatsetis and operating from Orsk, consisted of 2500 bayonets, 600 sabers, 12 light and 2 heavy guns. A small front reserve (1230 bayonets, 100 sabers with 6 guns) focused on art. Shydrans The immediate task of the red command in this direction was to capture Kazan by the forces of the 2 Army, the left-bank group of the 5 Army, and the small and weak Red Volga Military Flotilla.
In the Perm area, the 3 Red Army (Berzin), numbering in the 19,5 thousand people, operated with 43 guns. These forces were scattered across the 900 km, while the numerically weaker army of Wojciechowski developed on a four-fold smaller front and acted along internal operational lines, which explains its previous successes. In addition, apart from these forces, the Red Eastern Front, but against the whites, the Red Turkestan Army (Zinoviev) acted from Tashkent on Orenburg and Orsk, with a number of 6 - 7 thousand bayonets and 1 - 1,5 thousand sabers. She was advancing on Orsk.
As a result, the total number of troops of the Red Eastern Front, not counting the Turkestan army, reached over 58 thousand bayonets, more than 3 thousand sabers with 200 light and 14 heavy guns. That is, the red at this time had a slight numerical advantage over the enemy. In addition, the Reds were worse organized, had problems in management. In particular, collectivism, driven to the extreme, prevailed in the methods of command and control of troops. For the performance of one or another regrouping and operation, a military council was assembled, which ruled its decision by a majority vote. It is clear that hostilities developed very slowly.
A common feature of the fighting during this period was that the armies and groups acted by forces of individual detachments and units with a force of several companies to several battalions. Moreover, such small forces solved problems of major, strategic importance. Thus, in the area of Kazan, for about a month both sides waged a stubborn struggle of strategic importance: the whites tried to consolidate the previous success and firmly establish themselves on the Volga; and the Reds tried to regain their position in the region.
Map source: Civil war in Russia: Fighting for the Volga region. M., 2005
Red beat Kazan
After the capture of Kazan, the whites in this area were in a very difficult position. Their forces, not exceeding 2 - 2,5 thousand people, occupied an arcuate front stretching for 100 – 120 km and covered almost five times the excellent forces of the 2 and 5 of the Red armies. The commander of the 2 Army, Azin, repeatedly tried to organize a storming of Kazan, but his attempts were held by the Commander of the 5 Army with Slaven, who united the actions of both armies. 5-I army had a low combat capability and was not ready for such an operation. Therefore, the fighting to return Kazan dragged on for a whole month.
During this time, the Kazan white team unsuccessfully tried to seize the railway bridge at Sviyazhsk across the Volga. Chechek tried to support the Kazan group by sending a Kappel detachment consisting of two rifle regiments and a mounted squadron with three artillery batteries, with a total strength of about 2 thousand people with 12 - 14 guns, from Simbirsk on ships. Before that, Kappel was recalled to Simbirsk, where the position of the People’s Army deteriorated sharply - units of the 1 Army of Tukhachevsky were advancing on the city. Kappel's capable brigade played the role of a kind of "fire brigade", being essentially the only white mobile reserve on a huge front area from Kazan to Simbirsk. Not having time to complete the operation under Simbirsk, Kappel receives an order to immediately return to the area of Kazan.
Kappel's 27 squad of August 1918 attacked the right-bank group of the 5 Army near Sviyazhsk. Initially, the Kappelevists were successful — the whites broke into the station, almost capturing the headquarters of the 5 Army. However, just at that time reinforcements approached the red, and units of the 5 Army, supported by naval artillery, began to cover the left flank of the brigade. White was defeated by a Latvian Latvian counterattack, and already on August 28, the remnants of the Kappel detachment retreated. The defeat of the Kappel detachment was a prerequisite for the reverse capture of Kazan. The offensive of the People's Army finally exhausted.
On September 3, troops of the 2nd Red Army launched a new large-scale offensive on Kazan and Samara. Under these conditions, an uprising of the Bolshevik underground broke out in Kazan, but it was crushed on the same day. On September 5, Red Army soldiers and ships of the Volga River Flotilla approached Kazan and began shelling white positions. The People’s Army Komuch managed to sink two red ships, but by September 7 they had resumed the onslaught and had already entered the suburbs of Kazan. Reds attack from the air this time supported aviation. September 9, the Reds occupied all the dominant heights, the landing of the Red Army was landed on the pier of Kazan. It became clear that White could not keep Kazan. Under these conditions, the Komuch administration tried to remove from Kazan all the most valuable, including the part of Russia's gold reserve that was in the city’s vaults.
September 10, having landed another landing on the banks of the Volga, the Reds entered Kazan. Detachments of the People's Army resisted only a few hours, and then left the city. Together with them, thousands of citizens quickly ran out of Kazan: intellectuals, officers, officers, priests. Surprised Red Army men noticed that "Kazan is empty, not one priest, no monk, no bourgeois." Red Army soldiers captured wealthy trophies: 2 armored trains, 12 artillery shells, machine guns and warehouses with military equipment. But the gold was taken to Siberia. In the following days, the Volga Red Flotilla continued to pursue the White Flotilla which retreated to the mouth of the Kama, eventually departed to Chistopol. September's 16 Red also took Hvalynsk for a while, but White managed to beat it off soon.
An active offensive was led by the Reds between Khvalynsk and Kazan, in the direction of Simbirsk. September 10 Red Army men came to the suburbs of Simbirsk and defeated the white, who managed to create a strong defense. However, the Reds broke through the enemy defenses. On September 11, the Reds managed to cut the Simbirsk-Kazan railway and the Syzran-Simbirsk tract, whites were pressed against the Volga and only the city of Simbirsk was held on its right bank. 12 September the city was taken by an attack from three sides. They were taken prisoner by the Reds of the People’s Army 1000 soldiers, they also captured 10 artillery shells, a wagon train and even an 3 aircraft. The local Bolsheviks and their sympathizers were released from the Simbirsk prison. September 1500 red crossed the Volga and advanced to 14 September by 16 kilometers, approaching Melekess. September 35 white, fearing the environment, left the city Volsk.
Armored train of the Red Army. 1918 year
Kappel approached Simbirsk from Kazan when the city was already evacuated. The persistent attempts of his brigade to return the city with success were not crowned. After this, Kappel's brigade, which retained its combat capability, covered the directions to Ufa and Bugulma and at the same time covered the retreat from near Kazan of the Northern Group of Colonel Stepanov. Kappel set up a defense on the left bank of the Volga opposite to Simbirsk, joining all the detachments from the city to his Simbirsk group. Kappel rejected the Reds who were developing the offensive towards Samara. Until 27, September, Kappel managed to hold out on the left bank, thus providing an opportunity for the detachment of the People’s Army departing from Kazan to join him at Nurlat station. From October 3, the pretty battered units under the command of Kappel began to retreat to Ufa with stubborn battles. As a result, the success of the Reds near Kazan and Simbirsk grew to the size of a strategic breakthrough of the enemy front. October 4 rebelled in the city of Stavropol (Samara) Czechoslovaks left the city and headed for Ufa by rail. On the same day, units of the People’s Army left Syzran, and the expansion in them spread to the officer units. October 7 The 1-I and 4-I Red armies of the Eastern Front captured Samara.
Thus, the fall of the Cossacks and Simbirsk was of serious military-strategic importance. Control of almost the whole of the Middle Volga except Samara and its environs returned to the hands of the Soviet authorities. In the future, the 1 Red Army shifted its focus to the Samara sector. In the troops of the enemy, especially in the mobilized People’s Army Komuch, a strong decomposition began. Her troops were falling apart and quickly clearing the front of the 5 and 1 red armies.
At the same time, the success of the Reds on the middle Volga, due to the size of the theater of military operations, did not have a special influence on the course of affairs in the basin of upper Kama. There, on the contrary, the enemy, relying on the Izhevsk-Votkinsk region, seized by a strong uprising, which had created its fully efficient army and connected the operational freedom of the 2 th Red Army, continued to accumulate its forces in the Perm direction. The White Czechs concentrated in the triangle Verkhoturye - Sarapul - Ekaterinburg more than 31 thousand bayonets and sabers with 68 guns. The White Czechs tried to circumvent the left flank of the 3 Red Army, which was operating in the Perm direction, from the side of Verkhoturye. However, the difficult local conditions of the theater caused the extremely slow development of operations in this direction. The position of this section of the red front was consolidated only when, at the beginning of November, the 2 Army managed to break the resistance of the enemy in the Izhevsk-Votkinsk region and to advance significantly.
In general, it is worth noting that the attempt of the “democratic” government of Komuch to create an efficient army failed. A complete failure has grasped the reform of the implementation of the corps system in the People's Army, due to the collapse of mobilization measures. Attempts to mobilize failed because of the continued and irreversible decline in the authority of Komuch, the Social Revolutionary government had no serious support among the people, and it was constantly shrinking. The only social base for Komuch, in fact, was the urban and rural intelligentsia and small groups of Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. Among the officers, the army, the bourgeoisie were inclined to the idea of a military dictatorship.
The leading lines of foreign and domestic policy provided a negative attitude towards the Social Revolutionary government of the majority of workers and peasants. The positions of the working class of the Volga region were especially irreconcilable. Thus, the resolution of the general meeting of artisans and workers of the Samara workshop depot reads: “To protest against this mobilization and demand from the members of the Constituent Assembly to end the fratricidal war ...”. Komuch lost the support of the peasantry, which did not want to fight. There was no progress in the interests of the peasants and in the land issue. Recognizing the formal nationalization of the land, practically Komuch did not bring this recognition to an end, leaving still unnationalized estates in the hands of their owners. As a result, the peasantry expressed in the vein that it did not want to take part in the Civil War, the village assemblies refused to give new recruits and even pay taxes, as they were going to wage the war. Being mobilized, the peasants and workers refused to fight against the Bolsheviks, at the first opportunity they ran home or surrendered in red, tying up their officers. And after defeats in the army, cases of open disobedience of entire regiments and echelons became frequent. In response, the authorities stepped up terror and shot the soldiers in hundreds, but without much success.
By the end of September, the People’s Army left most of the territories previously controlled by Komuch. September 23 The Ufa Directory (Provisional All-Russian Government) was established at the State Conference in Ufa at the State Conference, uniting and replacing Komuch and the Provisional Siberian Government competing with it. The directory was supposed to transfer power to the Constituent Assembly after the latter resumed its activities. 1918 September 28 of the year General V. G. Boldyrev was appointed supreme commander of all land and sea armed forces of Russia. The people's army formally ceased to exist, becoming part of the "all-Russian".