Ural Cossacks. Hood. Nikolay Samokish
Smoot. 1919 year. The Ural White Army of General V.S. Tolstov died at the end of 1919. The Ural army was pressed to the Caspian Sea. The Uralians made the "Death March" - the hardest trip along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to Fort Aleksandrovsky. An ice trip through the desert finished off the Urals.
The retreat of the Urals to the Caspian
After the defeat in October-November 1919 of the Eastern Front of Kolchak, the Ural White Army found itself isolated and in the face of superior red forces. The Urals were deprived of any sources of replenishment of weapons and ammunition. The defeat of the White Cossacks was inevitable. However, the Urals continued to resist, despite the fact that the Kolchak forces fled further east, and the neighboring Orenburg army was defeated and retreated east, then south. Denikin’s help was weak, autumn storms in the Caspian Sea hindered the supply of supplies, Guryev blocked the red Caspian flotilla. Soon the sea transportation was completely blocked - the northern part of the Caspian was frozen, Guriev’s connection with the Caucasus was interrupted.
In early November 1919, the Red Turkestan Front under the command of Frunze as part of the 1st and 4th armies (22 thousand bayonets, sabers, 86 guns and 365 machine guns) launched a general offensive against the Ural Army (about 17 thousand thousand bayonets and a saber, 65 guns, 249 machine guns) in order to surround and destroy the main enemy forces with concentrated blows to Lbischensk from the north and east. Under the pressure of the Reds, the Ural army began a retreat. On November 20, the Red Army occupied Lbischensk, but it was not possible to encircle the main forces of the Urals. The front stabilized south of Lbischensk.
The remnants of the Ural army gathered in Kalmykovo. In the regiments there were 200-300 fighters left, almost all the artillery was lost. There were many sick and wounded. Only about 2 thousand people remained in the main direction, against 20 thousand Red Army men. The Reds also had an epidemic of typhoid, but they had a rear for accommodating patients, and all the time they received replenishment. On the right flank were the remains of the 2nd Iletsk Cossack Corps of General Akutin, in total about 1 thousand healthy fighters. The headquarters of the corps was located in the village of Kyzyl-Kug.
With the onset of winter, Frunze managed to break the resistance of the Ural Cossacks. Turkestan front tightened reserves and received weapon and ammunition. Frunze obtained from Lenin a complete amnesty for ordinary Cossacks. The Cossacks, who did not want to leave their native villages, began to return to peaceful life by the masses. Also, the confrontation applied a new tactic to combat the rebellious Uralians who carried out horse raids. The Red cavalry and machine-gun outposts began to cut off the White Cossacks from the villages and farms, forcing them into the bare winter steppe, not allowing them to live, to live. The combat capabilities of the Urals were undermined, they could no longer conduct partisan operations.
On December 10, 1919, the Red Army resumed the offensive. The 4th Soviet Army of Voskanov and the expeditionary force of the 1st Soviet Army broke the resistance of the weakened Ural units, the front collapsed. The Cossacks retreated, leaving the page behind the page. The command of the Ural Army decided to withdraw to Guryev, then to Fort Aleksandrovsky, since the northern part of the Caspian was already frozen and it was impossible to evacuate from the Guryevsky port. From Aleksandrovsky they hoped to cross over to the Caucasian coast.
On December 18, the Reds captured Kalmykov, thereby cutting off the escape routes to the 2nd Iletsky Corps. On December 22, the Reds occupied the village of Gorsky, one of the last strongholds of the Urals before Guryev. The commander of the Ural Army Tolstov with headquarters moved to Guryev. The Soviet command offered the Cossacks to surrender, promised an amnesty. The Urals promised to think, a 3-day truce was concluded. At this time, the Cossacks destroyed property that they could not take with them, and under the cover of a small screen began a campaign in Fort Aleksandrovsk. On January 5, 1920, the Reds entered Guryev.
Meanwhile, the flank units were cut off from the main forces. Alash-Orda, a self-proclaimed Kazakh national-territorial entity, took the side of the Reds (though this did not help the nationalists, Alash autonomy was liquidated by the Bolsheviks). Alash-Horde troops along with the Reds attacked the Cossacks. Parts of the 2nd Iletsk Corps, having suffered heavy losses in battle during the retreat, and from typhus, in early January 1920 were almost completely destroyed and captured by the Red troops at the settlement of Maly Baybuz. The headquarters of the corps, headed by General Akunin, was destroyed, its commander was captured (he was soon shot). The Iletsk division of Colonel Balalaev on the river Wil suffered the same fate. Only the 3rd regiment was able to break out of the encirclement and exit to the Residential Spit.
Part of the left flank of the Ural Army - the 6th division of Colonel Gorshkov (from the 1st Ural Corps), which was sent to the Volga to communicate with the army of Denikin, was cut off from the main forces in the area of the Khan Headquarters. Cossacks could go west to cross the Volga and join Denikin’s army, or try to break through to join Tolstov, who had already entered Fort Aleksandrovsk. As a result, it was decided to force the Urals and connect with their own in the area of Residential Spit. From the division remained 700 - 800 people, there were many patients. About 200 people decided to go with Gorshkov, the rest decided to go home. A small detachment was able to force the river. The Urals were on ice, but then the Kazakhs of Alash-Orda defeated it. Only a small group escaped (Yesaul Pletnev and 30 Cossacks) and two months later by March 1920 went to Alexandrovsk.
Vladimir Sergeevich Tolstov (1884 - 1956). The last chieftain of the Ural Cossack army, the last commander of the Ural separate army
At the end of 1919, Tolstov went with the remnants of the army, fragments of the White Guard units located in the area east of Astrakhan and refugees (about 15-16 thousand people in total) on a campaign of 1200 kilometers along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea to Fort Aleksandrovsky. It was a small fortress, built in the past by Russians as a base for the conquest of Western Turkestan. There, in advance, even during navigation, solid supplies of provisions, ammunition and clothing were taken out. In Alexandrovsk, the Urals planned to establish ties with the Turkestan army of General Kazanovich and cross over to the Caucasian coast in Port Petrovsk.
Before the villages of Zhilaya Kosa and Prorva, wintering of local residents was still met, but there were no further camps. Before Residential Scythe, the trip was more or less normal. There were wintering, food. Carts went almost continuous tape. It was possible to replace horses with camels more adapted to local conditions. In Residential Spit, units, rear services and refugees were given food for the next trip (1 pound of wheat flour per day, for only 30 days).
Prior to the breakthrough, the road was worse. There were two roads. Good steppe, but longer circumventing narrow sea arms. And a short winter, almost along the coast, where there were many narrow sea arms (eriks). In frost, the Eriks froze. It was very cold, so most went on the second path. But on the second day of the trip it became sharply warmer, it started to rain, water began to arrive, the ice washed away and it began to break when moving. This greatly complicated the journey. Many carts drowned, or they were stuck to death. The breakthrough was a small fishing village, so they did not stay there. Only a small group of patients remained here, as well as those who wanted to try their luck — drive to Fort Aleksandrovsky on ice when the sea freezes. It was a shorter way. But this time the ice was hacked by the south wind and the refugees had to return to the breakthrough. There they were captured by the red arrivals.
From Prorva to Aleksandrovsk there were more than 700 miles of bare desert. Here the trip took place in a deserted desert with icy winds and frosts to minus 30 degrees. The campaign was poorly organized. They went out hastily, without adequate preparation for movement through a bare, deserted desert, in frosts. General Tolstov sent a hundred Cossacks to the fort in advance to arrange supply and rest points along the way and prepare the fort for their arrival. This hundred did something, but it was not enough. The procurement of camels for soldiers and refugees from local residents was not organized. Although the Ural army had money: the military treasury brought to Aleksandrovsk at least 30 boxes of 2 pounds each with silver rubles. And the property was a lot, it was basically just thrown along the way. This good could be exchanged for camels, cabins, felt carpets (koshma) for protection from the wind. There was no fuel, food too, they cut and ate horses, slept in the snow. People burned everything to survive, carts, saddles and even boxes of rifles. Many did not wake up. Each halt in the morning was like a large cemetery. Dying and freezing people killed themselves and their families. Therefore, this campaign was called the “Death March” or “Desert Ice Campaign”.
By March 1920, only about 2–4 thousand frost-bitten, hungry and sick Urals and other refugees passed through the icy desert. Mostly young, healthy, and well-dressed people (so the English mission came almost without loss). The rest died of hunger, cold, typhoid, or were killed by the red and local nomads, or turned back. Local residents, taking advantage of the plight of the Urals, attacked small groups of people, killed and robbed them. Some of the refugees returned back. The Orenburg Cossacks, who were with the Urals, turned back. Many, especially the sick and wounded, women with children, remained in Residential Spit - a small fishing village. She was occupied by the Reds on December 29, 1919 (January 10, 1920).
By this time, the terrible march to the Alexander Fort lost its meaning. The Turkestan army of Kazanovich was defeated in December 1919 and at the beginning of 1920 its remains were blocked in the area of Krasnovodsk. On February 6, 1920, the remnants of the Turkestan army on ships of the Caspian flotilla of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia were evacuated from Krasnovodsk to Dagestan, part of the White Guards along with the British fled to Persia. The war between the White and Red armies in West Turkestan is over. White was defeated in the south of Russia. Denikinites retreated from the Caucasus. Evacuation was not well established, disagreements began with the command of the flotilla. The fleet sometimes sent ships, but they were primarily engaged in the transportation of goods. Therefore, only non-Cossack units, some of the wounded, seriously ill and frostbitten Cossacks, managed to evacuate to Petrovsk. The port of Petrovsk was abandoned at the end of March 1920 and further evacuation to the Caucasus became impossible.
The campaign of the Urals to Persia
On April 4, 1920, from the port of Petrovsk, which became the main base of the red Volga-Caspian flotilla, the destroyer Karl Liebknecht (and the Zorkiy fighter boat) approached the fort. The commander of the flotilla Raskolnikov commanded the detachment. Having defeated the enemy’s ships, on April 5 the red were captured the last remnants of the Ural Army: Cossacks, completely demoralized by previous dramatic events, lost their will to resist and surrendered, more than 1600 people were captured.
General Tolstov with a small detachment (a little more than 200 people) went on a new campaign towards Krasnovodsk and further to Persia. The Ural Army ceased to exist. After two months of a difficult campaign, on June 2, 1920, Tolstov’s detachment went to Ramian (Persia). There are 162 people left in the detachment. Further, the detachment reached Tehran. General Tolstov proposed that the British create the Ural unit as part of an expeditionary force in Persia. At first, the British expressed interest, but then abandoned this idea. Cossacks were placed in a refugee camp in Basra, and in 1921 they transferred with the sailors of the white Caspian flotilla to Vladivostok. With the fall of Vladivostok in the fall of 1922, the Urals left for China. Some Cossacks remained in China and, together with the Orenburg Cossacks, lived for some time in Harbin. Others moved to Europe, part with Tolstov went to Australia.
A small part of the Urals, who were evacuated from Alexandrovsk to the Caucasus, with the retreat of Denikin’s army, came to Transcaucasia, some to Azerbaijan, others to Georgia. Cossacks from Azerbaijan tried to get to Armenia, but were blocked, defeated and captured. From Georgia, part of the Cossacks was able to get to the Crimea, where he served under General Wrangel.