General A.P. Kutepov in the form of the Drozdov riflemen and captain of the Markov Infantry Regiment. 1919. Watercolor P.V. Robike
After the unsuccessful August counterattack of the Red Southern Front and the defeat of the strike group Selivyachev, Denikin’s army developed an offensive in the Moscow direction. The 1th army corps of Kutepov, having defeated a large group of Reds, on September 7 (20) on September 1919 took Kursk. Fierce fighting went on in the Voronezh direction. The Kuban corps of Shkuro, with the support of the remaining Cossacks in the Mamontov corps and the left wing of the Don army, suddenly crossed the Don in the vicinity of the Liski station. The fierce battle lasted three days. Both sides suffered heavy losses. However, the White Guards broke through the red front. Units of the 8 Red Army were driven east. The troops of Shkuro on 1 on October 1919 attacked and captured Voronezh. On the whole front, whites captured thousands of prisoners and huge trophies.
Kutepov’s corps continued to develop an offensive in the Oryol direction. After the capture of Kursk due to the influx of volunteers, new units were formed. On 24 of September 1919 the White Guards took Fatezh and Rylsk, on October 11 - Kromy, on October 13 - Oryol and Livny. Advanced white intelligence was on the outskirts of Tula. On the right flank, the Kuban Cossacks of Shkuro from Voronezh broke into Usman. On the left flank of the 5th cavalry corps of General Yuzefovich took Chernigov and Novgorod-Seversky.
Meanwhile, a threat arose on the left flank of the Volunteer Army. The southern group of the 12 Red Army under the command of Yakir (two rifle divisions and Kotovsky’s cavalry brigade), cut off from their own after the capture of Odessa by whites, began to break through the Right-Bank of Little Russia to the north, to their own. These territories were occupied by Petliurists, but they did not want to fight with a powerful group of Reds, so they turned a blind eye to its advancement. In response, the Reds did not touch the Petliurists. As a result, a group of Yakir left behind Denikin. On the night of October 1 of 1919, the Reds suddenly appeared for whites near Kiev, shot down the enemy’s weak barriers and burst into the southern capital of Russia-Russia. Parts of General Bredov retreated to the left bank of the Dnieper, but were able to retain the bridges and heights of the Pechersky Monastery. Recovering from an unexpected blow and regrouping forces, Denikinites counterattacked. Stubborn battles continued for three days, and volunteers returned Kiev to their control by October 5. The southern group of Yakir retreated beyond the river. Irpin, united with the main forces of the 12 Army and won Zhytomyr from the Petliurites. Thus, the 12-I Red Army regained its integrity and located on both banks of the Dnieper north of Kiev, dividing into the Right-Bank and Left-Bank groups of troops.
Volunteers also repelled a counterattack of the Reds and won on the right flank. In October, the 10-I red army of Klyuev, replenished at the expense of parts of the Eastern Front, launched a second attack on Tsaritsyn. The Wrangel’s Caucasian army, weakened by the diversion of part of its forces to Astrakhan and Dagestan (a powerful uprising against whites developed there), could resist. The 2th Kuban Corps of Ulagai stopped the enemy, then after the 9-day battles Denikins counterattacked. At the forefront of the attack were officer regiments - Kuban, Ossetian, Kabardian. The red troops again threw back from the city.
At the same time, the Don Army of Sidorin went on the offensive. Under the guise of a militia of old people and youth, which held a fort for a fortnight on the right bank of the Don, the personnel Cossack divisions were able to rest and replenish the ranks. 3 Corps The Don Corps forced the Don in the Pavlovsk region, defeated the 56th Rifle Division of the Reds and began to move east. The Soviet command threw reserves and stopped the breakthrough. However, in the area of Kletskaya another group of White Cossacks crossed the river - the 1 and 2 Donskoy corps. The 2th Don Corps under the command of General Konovalov was the main striking force of the army, the best horse units were concentrated in it. Konovalov’s corps broke through the enemy’s defenses, connected with the 3 m Don corps, with the joint efforts of the White Cossacks defeated two red rifle divisions. The 9-I Red Army of the Southeast Front began to retreat.
The southeastern front was formed on 30 on September 1919 in order to defeat the enemy in the Novocherkassk and Tsaritsyno directions and occupy the Don region. The front included: 9 and 10 Army, from mid-October - 11 Army. The front commander is Vasily Shorin. The command of the Southeast Front tried to stop the enemy’s breakthrough at the turn of the river. Hopra, but it failed. The Don army was reinforced by reinforcements — hundreds, militia units holding defenses along the Don. They were now transported to the right bank of the river and replenished regular units. The Red Army was pushed north. Belokazaki again completely occupied the Don Army Area. Cossacks took Novokhopyorsk, Uryupinskaya, Povorino and Borisoglebsk.
Team tank "General Drozdovskiy". September 1919
At the peak of success
This was the pinnacle of success for the White Army. In the main direction, volunteers occupied the line Novgorod-Seversky - Dmitrovsk - Orel - Novosil - south of Yelets - Don. The entire Denikin front passed along the lower Volga from Astrakhan to Tsaritsyn and further along the line Voronezh - Oryol - Chernigov - Kiev - Odessa. The White Guards controlled a huge territory - up to 16-18 provinces with a population of 42 million people.
The situation of Soviet Russia at that moment was extremely difficult. The Soviet government had to mobilize all forces and means to repulse the blow of Denikin’s army. “Economic Life,” the organ of the Supreme Council of the National Economy, wrote in the fall of 1919:
“No matter how difficult it is, at the present time it is necessary to abandon further advancement in Siberia, and all forces and means must be mobilized in order to protect the very existence of the Soviet Republic from the Denikin army ..."
However, the rear of the army of Denikin was unsatisfactory. The Denikin administration established in the rear was weak and unprofessional. The best people were either at the forefront or already dead. Behind the rear was a huge number of opportunists, careerists, adventurers, speculators, all kinds of businessmen, "fishing in troubled waters", various evil spirits that the Russian unrest raised from the bottom. This has led to many problems, abuse, fraud, and speculation. Crime walked with might and main, the great criminal revolution continued. The peasant war continued, gangs and chieftains walked around the provinces.
At the same time, the “democracy” introduced by the Provisional Government continued. During the war, political freedoms acted. A variety of presses came out almost without restrictions, city self-government bodies were elected, political parties, including Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social Democrats, acted as hard as they could to harm the White Guards. It is clear that all this did not strengthen the position of the All-Union Socialist Union.
Lieutenant-General N.E. Bredov tastes food from the cauldron of the regimental field kitchen of the infantry-artillery sample of the troops of the Kiev military region of the VSYUR. Kiev, September 1919 of the year. Source: https://ru.wikipedia.org/
War in the North Caucasus
The situation in Denikin’s army was also worsened by the ongoing war in the North Caucasus. Here the White Guards had to keep another front. In the summer of 1919, Dagestan revolted. Imam Uzun-Haji declared a holy war against the infidels and in September his fighters began to push the white troops of the North Caucasus under the command of General Kolesnikov. The White Guards retreated to Grozny. The imam of 19 of September created the North Caucasus Emirate - an Islamic state (Sharia monarchy) that existed in the mountains of Dagestan and Chechnya, part of Ingushetia. His forces amounted to 60 thousand fighters.
The uprising was actively supported by the governments of Azerbaijan and Georgia, fearing the victory of the White movement and Turkey. Although Turkey was engulfed in its own civil war between the Kemalists and the Ottomans, it did not abandon plans to capture the Caucasus. From Turkey through Georgia, caravans traveled with weapons, military instructors arrived. The commander of the Turkish troops in Dagestan, Nuri Pasha (the former commander of the Caucasian Islamic Army), was constantly in touch with Uzun-Haji. The command of the Uzun-Haji army included officers of the Turkish General Staff, including Hussein Debreli and Ali-Riza Corumlu (the first was the head of the cavalry, the second - artillery). In September 1919, Georgia sent an expeditionary force led by General Kereselidze to assist the emirate’s troops. The Georgians planned to form a corps, and then an entire army. But Kereselidze did not reach the village of Vedeno, the capital of the imam. He was defeated and robbed by the Highlanders, who did not recognize any power. Kereselidze returned to Georgia.
Also, the Reds were part of the army of the North Caucasus Emirate. Gikalo led the remnants of the defeated 11 Red Army - in 1918, he led the defense of the red Grozny. The red regiment of Gikalo became part of the Uzun Khadzhi army and held positions near the village of Vozdvizhenka, covering the Vladikavkaz direction. Gikalo's troops received instructions from both Vedeno and Astrakhan, with which they maintained contact through couriers. As a result, the Reds fought with the Islamists against the Whites.
As a result, there was a stalemate in the North Caucasus. The rebel army had an overwhelming numerical superiority over the White Guards, but was significantly inferior to the enemy in combat effectiveness. The untrained and undisciplined mountaineers could not resist the regular troops, but they knew the area well, and riding mountain trails and gorges were invincible. The weapons of the mountaineers were in bulk - from Turks, British, Georgians, broken Reds, but the problem was in the ammunition, they were sorely lacking. Cartridges even became the only hard currency of the North Caucasus. Small White Guards simply could not control such a huge and poorly connected territory of communications, and crush the uprising. However, it was impossible to turn a blind eye to the emirate. The troops of Uzun_Haji threatened Derbent, Petrovsk (Makhachkala), Temirkhan-Shura (Buinaksk) and Grozny. Highlanders raided the Cossack villages and lowland settlements.
In addition, independent highlanders and various bandits continued to rage. The desertion of the highlanders, who mobilized Denikin's army, intensified. They carried weapons with them, created gangs and took advantage of the absence of a male population (Cossacks) in the rear, engaged in robbery, looting, murder, violence and abduction.
The white command had to transfer units from the northern front to the south, to form a new front. In order, if not to destroy the enemy, then at least block him. Significant forces of the Terek Cossack army under the command of Ataman Vdovenko, who remained to defend his villages, were switched off from the war with the Reds in the main direction. So that the war does not take on the character of the massacre between the Tertsy and the Highlanders, the Kuban and volunteer units were transferred here. It is clear that this also affected the position of Denikin’s army in the Moscow direction. First of all, of course, the situation in the North Caucasus affected the Wrangel army, the rear of which was threatened by an uprising in Dagestan and received reinforcements from the Kuban, Terek and mountain peoples.
Uzun Haji hosts a parade of troops
To be continued ...