The command of the armored train "Sibiryak" of Kolchak's army on vacation. Summer 1919
The defeat of the Siberian army. Perm operation
The Perm operation began on June 20, 1919, after the liberation of the Izhevsk-Votkinsk district. The 2nd Army under the command of Shorin attacked Kungur, Krasnoufimsk, then Yekaterinburg. The 3rd army of Mezheninov attacked Perm from the west and north-west, then to Yekaterinburg. June 21, 1919 part of the 2nd Army with the support of the Volga flotilla crossed the Kama River near Osa and moved to Kungur. At the end of June, troops of the 2nd Army entered the Iren River. Attempts by the White Guards to stay on the east bank were unsuccessful. On June 29, units of the 21st and 28th rifle divisions crossed the river and broke down enemy resistance on the outskirts of Kungur. The night attack of the 21st division ended in victory. On July 1, the Reds took Kungur. The Red Army received a foothold for the further liberation of the mining Urals and established control over the Perm-Kungur railway.
North of the army successfully attacked the 3-th army. By June 30, units of the 29 Infantry Division reached the Kama River in the Perm area. South of the river, they successfully overcame with the help of the ships of the Volga Flotilla regiments of the 30 th rifle division. A stubborn battle ensued on Kame. Kolchakovtsy well entrenched on the east bank of the river. They were supported by the armed ships of the White Kama flotilla under the command of Admiral Smirnov. The Kama flotilla consisted of 4 divisions and was armed with 50 armed ships, barges and boats. She received the task, together with the ground forces, to delay the advance of the Red Army at the turn of Kama. The flotilla operated armed ships "Kent" and "Suffolk", manned by British crews. Western interventionists attached special importance to the Perm region, as they planned to connect the Northern and Eastern White fronts in this direction. In addition, in the Perm region, the Kolchak people were actively spreading rumors that British troops with the newest weapons. To "confirm" these rumors, some Kolchak units were dressed in British uniforms, had English insignia. They were sent to the front. However, this did not help. The Red Army continued the offensive.
To speed up the seizure of Perm and create a threat to the encirclement of enemy troops, the command of the 29 th rifle division sent around the city from the north the 256 th regiment. Soviet troops crossed the Kama and Chusovaya and went to the rear of the Kolchak, defeating the enemy under the station Levshino. This accelerated the defeat of the enemy. 1 July 1919, part of the 29 division, together with the 30 division advancing from the south, liberated Perm. During the retreat, the White Guards burned a large number of steamboats and barges with food supplies, kerosene and oil near Perm. Prisoners of the Red Army were killed. Red units entered the burning city, shrouded in huge clouds of smoke. Burning kerosene and oil spilled on the river.
White partially destroyed his military flotilla so that it would not go red. Destroyed and civilian vessels. The guns from Kent and Suffolk were transported by rail, the ships were flooded. The Reds managed to capture only four ships intact - the “Brave”, the “Boky”, the “Proud” and the “Terrible”, from which the Kolchakists nevertheless managed to take off their weapons, armor and part of the equipment. In addition, the Red captured several armored boats. Part of the ships was taken to Chusovaya, where they were also later burned. The White Guards fired some 200 thousand pounds of kerosene from the Nobel coastal reservoirs and set it on fire. It was a sea of fire. Kolchak people were able to take only part of the weapons, equipment and three armored boats on the Tobol railroad.
A few days later, V. Zaitsev, a special representative of the Council of People's Commissars and Glavod (General Directorate of Water Transport) arrived at the place of death of the Kama flotilla. In a report to Glavodu, he wrote: “The p. Kama ... Already not far from her mouth, the skeletons of the (dead) ships met ... as I moved through the liberated area, I had to be horrified ... we went everywhere and everywhere to find skeletons of burnt ships, both steam and non-steam ... " It was even worse in Perm: “Everywhere, as far as the field of vision was enough, there were visible bodies of burning and sailing ships. The horrible fiery orgy of the vital seems to be wide here. ” And further: “When we reached the mouth of the river. Chusovoy, there was something incredibly terrible here. All around in heaps the knocked-down steamers, right and now left, stuck out with their own heads, as if calling for help, and disfigured hulls beyond recognition. There were several such groups in 5 – 9; after they went alone, and so on up to the Levshino wharf. The whole fairway p. Chusovoy was a museum of old, broken, warped iron items. ” All were destroyed before 200 military and civilian courts. In parallel, the Kolchakites burned and destroyed all the coastal structures - wharves, warehouses, houses of employees, etc.
Some of the flooded ships later raised, but the work went slowly, there were not enough workers and equipment. Part of the ships sunk in Kama, raised in the years of the Great Patriotic War, the metal needed in factories. In addition, shipping developed, and the riverbed was cleaned.
Kolchak, during the retreat, could not destroy all stocks. The Red Army soldiers in Perm and its environs captured large amounts of food - more than 1 million pounds of salt, flour, meat, etc. 25 locomotives and more than 1 thousand railcars were seized. At the plants of Motovilikha about 1 million pounds of steel, hundreds of gun barrels were captured. With the occupation of Perm and the region adjacent to the city, the Red Army finally buried the plans of the Entente and the Kolchak government to unite the Eastern and Northern fronts. After this, the position of the invaders in the north of Russia became hopeless. British War Minister Churchill in July 1919, after the defeat of the northern flank of the Kolchak front, declared in Parliament that the British had no choice but to withdraw troops from Arkhangelsk. It was the collapse of the plans of the owners of the West in the north and east of Russia.
Under the blows of the Red Army, the white Siberian army quickly lost its combat capability and decomposed. The retreat led to the complete fall of discipline, a significant part of the wounded were crossbows who did not want to fight. Desertion has become indiscriminate. The soldiers fled from the trenches before the start of the battle. Entire parts of Kolchak surrendered. Thus, on June 30, in the area of the 29 division in the Perm region, two regiments of the Siberian army surrendered - the 63 th Dobriansky and 64 th Solikamsky regiments. On the side of the Reds, about a thousand people with all their weapons and transports were transferred. On July 7 on the Sylva River (35 km southeast of Perm) three regiments of the 1 Siberian Division in the number of 1,5 thousand people with 2 guns surrendered. This division was previously considered one of the most resistant in the army of Kolchak. The officers who did not want to surrender along with the soldiers, including three regimental commanders, were shot by the soldiers themselves. It is worth noting that at this time the former Kolchak members who had surrendered and went over to the side of the Red Army became one of the resources for replenishing parts of the Soviet armies.
Admirals A.V. Kolchak and M.I. Smirnov on the Kama River
Gunboat Kama White Flotilla
The defeat suffered by the Kolchak army in the Kungur and Perm areas forced the Siberian army to a hasty retreat to the east. In places, it turned into an escape. Kolchakovsky front was falling apart. The Red Army continued the offensive. 5 July 1919, the Yekaterinburg operation began. The 3-I red army at that time was at the turn of the Kama and Sylva rivers, the 2-I army was located in the watershed. Sylva and Ufa. The frontal movement of the 2 Army, which was somewhat ahead of the 3 Army, was for some time suspended by strong resistance from the Siberian Impact Corps.
To speed up the movement, the command of the 3 Red Army formed from cavalry units an operational equestrian group of thousands of sabers commanded by Tomin. The operational horse group was to intercept the communication between Nizhny Tagil and Yekaterinburg, dismembering the enemy’s battle formations. On July 14, the Soviet cavalry concentrated on the right wing of the 3 Army, 100 km east of Kungur, was introduced into the gap between the white units, created during the complete rout of the enemy's 7 Infantry Division. During 3 days, the red cavalry passed around 150 km and reached the railway line. The Reds liberated Upper Tagil, Nevyansk, Hanging-Shaitansky and other plants in the Northern Urals. Having intercepted a section of the railway from Nevyanskiy to Shaytanka station, Tomin's horsemen cut off the northern grouping of General Pepelyaev from the rest of the Siberian army.
Red commander Nikolai Dmitrievich Tomin (1886 — 1924)
After that, Tomina’s equestrian group was ordered to strike at the flank and rear of the Kolchak group, which was retreating from the mining and metallurgical region of the Urals. The Red Cavalry led an offensive at Egorshino Station, an important railway junction. 19 July equestrian group seized the station. A successful raid of the red cavalry on the enemy’s rear reinforced the chaos in the ranks of the enemy. Upon learning of the approach of the Reds, the White Guards fled without a fight or surrendered in large groups. Only at the Egorshino station on July 19, the Kolchakites were able to fight, but after a few hours they were defeated. After Egorshin, the Tomin group released the Irbit, Kamyshlov, Dolmatov, and then Kurgan. The successful breakthrough of the red cavalry, along with the attack of the 2 Army, led to disorganization of control and communication between the defeated parts of the White Army, the collapse of the Kolchak front and the flight of remnants of Kolchak to Tobol.
While Tomina’s equestrian group began its victorious march, the 2 Red Army advanced an offensive against Yekaterinburg. The White Guards had a strong resistance on the railway line from Mikhailovsky to Utkinsky plant. Fierce fighting took place here for several days. The outcome of the battle was decided by-pass maneuver of the brigade of the 28 th rifle division. Red Army mountain trails went to the rear of the enemy and captured the station Marmara, intercepting the railway between Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk. There was a threat of encirclement of the Kolchak troops, who fought at the front. White was forced to retreat immediately. Late in the evening of July 14, units of the 28 Division entered Ekaterinburg.
The retreating White Guards could not resist to the south and south-east of Yekaterinburg. In the area of the village of Kazhakul, the Whites tried to stop the further advance of the 5 Infantry Division. Then the best 43 th regiment under the command of V. I. Chuikov (the future hero of the harrow of Stalingrad, Marshal of the USSR and twice Hero of the Soviet Union) was thrown into battle. Chuikov bound the enemy from the front and, with cavalry intelligence, walked around the whites from the south and struck them from the rear. Kolchakites were defeated and fled. Red Army soldiers captured 1100 people and captured 12 machine guns. Broken white troops fled east. The 43 regiment was awarded the revolutionary Red Banner.
The defeat of the southern wing of the Kolchak front
Along with the decisive offensive of the Red Army on the northern flank and the center of the Eastern Front, the Red Command was preparing a strike on the southern flank - on the Ural White Cossacks and the Southern Army. In the Orenburg and Ural districts whites still had numerical superiority over the red armies. The 4 th Red Army in the Ural Region numbered 13 thousand fighters, against it there were 21 thousand bayonets and enemy sabers (of which 15 swords thousand). The 1 Red Army (including the Orenburg Group) numbered about 11 thousand bayonets and sabers, whites had about the same strength against it.
White still stood near Orenburg and besieged Uralsk. For two and a half months, the red garrison beat off enemy attacks. White made three general assault on the city, but did not achieve victory. On June 26, the White Cossacks captured Nikolaevsk, in 65 km from the Volga. This caused great concern in Moscow, where they were afraid of the formation of Kolchak troops with Denikin’s army, which was conducting an offensive on the Volga direction. The commander of the Southern Group of Forces Frunze was instructed to organize the rout of the Ural-Orenburg white Cossacks. A plan of the Ural operation was developed. 3 July 1919. This plan was communicated to the command of the 1 and 4 armies. It provided for the liberation of Uralsk from the blockade, the exit of Soviet troops on the railway line Uralsk - Urbakh, the liberation of the right bank of the Ural River along the entire middle course. The garrison of Orenburg was to strike at Iletsk and Aktobe, clearing the way to Turkestan. The main attack on Uralsk was inflicted by a group under the command of Chapaev - the 25 division and the Special Brigade.
5 July 1919. Southern Group troops launched an offensive. The 25 Infantry Division of Chapaev, well-armed, deployed from under Ufa, well-equipped and with a high fighting spirit, defeated parts of the Ural Army. On July 11, units of the 25 Division broke the ring of the blockade of Uralsk. The 192, 194, and 196 rifle regiments withstood a long siege and joyfully greeted the Chapayevites. After the liberation of Uralsk from the siege, the 4 army developed an offensive in three directions: Lbishchensk, Slomikhinsky and Lower Kazanka. The Ural army retreated along the whole front. 9 August Chapaev took Lbishchensk. White Cossacks went down the river. Ural Thus, the Red Army liberated Uralsk and most of the Ural region. There were no hopes for the whites to join the Eastern Front with Denikin’s army.
Since the second half of July, the 1-I Red Army has stepped up its actions. On August 1, the Reds liberated the Iletsky town and began preparations for an offensive against the Southern White Army.
Source of the map: http: //bashkirskaya-encyclopedia.rf
The reorganization of the army of Kolchak. Decomposition of white troops
After the defeat of the Siberian army, Kolchak finally removed from the command of Hyde. The Siberian army was headed by Mikhail Diterikhs. During the First World War, he was chief of staff of the 3 Army, commanding an expeditionary brigade on the Salonika Front from 1916. After the February Revolution, he headed the headquarters of the Special Petrograd Army, was Quartermaster General of Stavka. Trying to stop the collapse of his army on July 21, Kolchak reorganized his troops. The officially formed Eastern Front consisted of four armies. The Siberian Army was divided into the 1 Army under Pepelyaev (in the Tyumen sector) and the 2 Army in Lokhvitsky (in the Kurgan sector). During the war years, Pepelyaev headed the regiment's horse reconnaissance; in the Siberian army, he was the commander of the 1 of the Central Siberian Corps. Lokhvitsky was an experienced commander who, during World War II, commanded a Russian expeditionary brigade, then a division in France. In the army of Kolchak headed the 3-th Ural mountain corps.
However, this reorganization did not help much. The Kolchak army decayed, which intensified from defeat to defeat. When failures fell, all the weaknesses of the Russian army of Kolchak immediately surfaced: a low level of command, personnel shortage, lack of a social base (the mobilized peasants and workers now turned to the Red side with the masses), the absence of strong, welded parts (Kappelevts and Izhevsk were exceptions). Red propaganda has become a powerful information weapon, crushing the ranks of whites. She weakly acted, while the White Army victoriously rushed to the Volga. And when the solid defeats went, the whites began to desert in whole parts, surrender, and even with arms in hand, go over to the Red Army, killing or surrendering their commanders.
Mobilized men from the Volga region and the Urals saw that whites were losing, that their army was moving farther and farther to the east. They did not want to go to Siberia. Therefore, they deserted or surrendered to return to their places of origin. And the peasants from Siberia saw that in the conditions of the collapse of the Kolchak front it would be easier for them to return home in the ranks of the Red Army. Approaching recruits reported news of mass uprisings and the red partisan in the rear of Kolchak's army, and which also intensified as the defeat of the white armies. As a result, the scale of surrender and transfer of soldiers of the army of Kolchak became widespread. In the south, there was no such mass surrender, which was due to the presence of a strong volunteer core, powerful White-and-White connections of Don and Kuban. In the east, armies were recruited from mobilized peasants and workers who did not support Kolchak’s power, and at the first opportunity tried to flee or surrender. As a result, the white armies quickly melted, the decomposition of the troops led to greater losses than direct hostilities. The Red Army received another significant source of replenishment of manpower. The defectors and prisoners were transferred to reliable units, they put strong commanders.
White command could not stop this process. Personnel hunger during the defeat only intensified. Most junior commanders were ensigns from high school students and junkers who took 6 week courses. They had no authority among the soldiers. The middle command was also weak. Most of the officers who did not accept Soviet power fled to the south, a minority moved to the east. There were few personnel officers, and many of those present died. The rest were storerooms, production officers of various Eastern governments (directories, regional governments, etc.), their fighting qualities were low. Even commanders with combat experience, front-line soldiers in a critical situation, during the commencement of unrest in the military, preferred to flee, leaving their units, fearing that they would be killed or taken prisoner to red.
The high command was unsatisfactory. Kolchak himself was only a banner; he did not understand the issues of military operations on land. The best commanders of the White Army were on the southern front. On the Eastern Front there was a jumble of mediocrity, adventurers and real talents. If Kappel, Pepelyaev and Wojciechowski were skillful military leaders, then Gaida, Lebedev (head of Kolchak’s headquarters) and Golitsyn destroyed the army by their actions. There were not enough skilled, experienced commanders of armies, corps and divisions. Adventurism, guerrilla and “democracy” flourished when received orders were criticized, corrected voluntarily or ignored altogether. Born on paper spectacular plans to defeat the Reds, but impossible in reality.
Commander of the Siberian Army and the Eastern Front of the Whites Mikhail Konstantinovich Diterikhs (1874 — 1937)
The commander of the 1 th Central Siberian Corps and the commander of the 1 th army of whites Anatoly Nikolaevich Pepelyaev (1891 — 1938). Photo source: https://ru.wikipedia.org