White commander Yakov Aleksandrovich Slashchev
Smoot. 1920 year. At the beginning of 1920, the corps of General Slaschev retreated behind the isthmuses and for several months successfully repelled the attacks of the Red Army, while maintaining the last refuge of the White Army in southern Russia - the Crimea.
As a result, the Crimean peninsula became the last bastion of the White Movement, and Slashchev rightfully acquired the honorary prefix "Crimean" to his last name - the last of the military leaders in stories Russian army.
In the fall of 1919, VSYUR suffered a strategic defeat during the campaign to Moscow. White troops retreated everywhere, lost their previous positions, lost Kiev, Belgorod, Kursk, Donbass, Don region and Tsaritsyn. Denikin took the main forces beyond the Don, in the direction of the North Caucasus. Part of the Volunteer Army, the group of General Schilling, remained in New Russia (Crimea, Kherson and Odessa). The 3rd Army Corps of General Slashchev (13th and 34th Infantry Divisions, 1st Caucasus, Chechen and Slavic Regiments, Don Mounted Brigade of Morozov), which was fighting against Makhno in the Yekaterinoslav area, was ordered to march beyond the Dnieper and organize the defense of Crimea and Northern Tavria.
At first, they planned to send the 2nd Army Corps of General Promtov there, but then the plans changed, and the 2nd Corps was intended for the defense of the Odessa direction. Slashchev believed that this was a mistake. If larger white formations were initially sent to Crimea, they could not only defend, but also counterattack, preventing the Reds from launching an attack on the Caucasus.
Yakov Aleksandrovich Slashchev (Slashchov) was noted as one of the most successful commanders of the White Army. From a noble family, hereditary military. He graduated from the Pavlovsk Military School (1905) and the Nikolaev Military Academy (1911). He served in the guard, taught tactics in the Page Corps. He fought bravely during the First World War, was wounded several times. Marked by the Order of St. George 4th degree, St. George weapons. He rose to the colonel, was an assistant commander of the Finnish regiment, in the summer of 1917 he was appointed commander of the Moscow Guards Regiment.
At the end of 1917 he joined the White Movement, was sent to the North Caucasus to form officer units. He served as chief of staff of the partisan detachment Shkuro, then chief of staff of the 2nd Kuban Cossack Division General Ulagai. Since the fall of 1918, he commanded the Kuban Plastun Brigade, in 1919 he was promoted to major general, first he commanded the brigade of the 4th Division, then the entire 4th Division.
Slashchev already had experience in fighting in the Crimea. In the spring of 1919, he held the Kerch bridgehead, when the entire Crimean peninsula was occupied by the Reds. During the general offensive of the army, Denikin went on the counterattack, took part in the liberation of Crimea from the Bolsheviks. Successfully fought with the Makhnovists, appointed commander of the 3rd Army Corps.
Among his soldiers and subordinates, he enjoyed great respect and authority, he was nicknamed General Yasha. Its parts maintained high discipline and combat readiness. He was a contradictory person, so his contemporaries gave him a variety of characteristics. They called him a drunkard, a drug addict, a clown (for shocking tricks) and an adventurer. At the same time, energy, personal courage, strong will, talent of the commander, tactics of the commander, who successfully resisted the superior forces of the enemy with small forces, were noted.
Denikin wrote in his memoirs about Slashchev:
“Probably, by his nature, he was better than the timelessness, success and gross flattery of the Crimean animal lovers made him. He was still a very young general, a man of posture, a shallow one, with great ambition and a thick touch of adventurism. But behind all that he possessed undoubted military capabilities, impulse, initiative and determination. And the corps obeyed him and fought well. ”
Colonel J. A. Slaschev (1885-1929)
The battle for the Crimea
Having received the order of Denikin to defend Northern Tavria and the Crimea, Slashchev shot down the Makhnovists and by the beginning of 1920 he led the troops to Melitopol. Slashchev had few troops: only about 4 thousand soldiers with 32 guns, and from the north the 13th and 14th Soviet armies were approaching. True, Slashchev was lucky. The Soviet command dispersed its forces: it launched an offensive from the Lower Dnieper at the same time both in Odessa and in the Crimea. If the Reds temporarily left Odessa alone and concentrated on the Crimea, then Denikin’s chances would not be to keep the peninsula. The forces were too unequal.
Having correctly assessed the situation, Slashchev did not linger in the steppes of Tavria and immediately moved to the Crimea. He did not have troops to successfully conduct hostilities at the Bolshoi Theater of War in Tavria. But he could stay on narrow isthmuses. Soviet troops tried to cut off the white from the isthmus, but they did not succeed. The white general gave the order:
“He took command of the troops defending the Crimea. I declare to everyone that, while I command the troops, I will not leave Crimea and put the defense of Crimea as a matter of not only duty, but also honor. ”
The main white forces fled to the Caucasus and Odessa, but also a mass of individuals and fragments of units, mainly rear and economic, fled to the Crimea. But this allowed Slashchev to replenish his corps, improve the material part, he even received several armored trains (although requiring repair) and 6 tanks.
Slashchev held a military meeting with senior commanders who were in the Crimea. He outlined his plan: there are few troops and they are too upset to defend themselves, passive defense sooner or later, with superior forces and means of the enemy, will lead to defeat, therefore it is necessary to wage a maneuvering struggle, having a large reserve, to respond with a blow to strike. Cover flanks fleet, leave only protection on the isthmus, the enemy will not be able to deploy forces on the isthmus, it will be possible to beat it in parts. Take advantage of the winter conditions. Winter was frosty, there was almost no housing on the isthmuses, and white, like the red ones, did not have the opportunity to organize a positional struggle under such conditions.
The commander decided to arrange the main position on the southern coast of Sivash, north of Yushun they prepared another flanking position with the front to the west, the main reserve was located in the area of Bohemia - Voinki - Dzhankoy. He did not allow the enemy to attack himself, he attacked the unfolding enemy, preferably on the flank.
Slashchev took the units behind the isthmuses to the settlements, set up only guards and concentrated troops and reserves to fend off enemy attacks. The Reds suffered from frost, could not deploy troops in a bottleneck and defeat the attacker due to the isthmus of enemy forces. In the meantime, while the Reds were once again storming the fortifications, overcoming the narrow isthmuses, exhausted, frozen, Slashchev raised his fresh units, counterattacked and threw the Reds back. In addition, the conflict between the Bolsheviks and Makhno began again, in February hostilities began between the Reds and the Makhnovists, who had wedged themselves into the positions of the 14th Soviet Army. All this allowed Slashchev to keep the Crimean front.
The white fleet also played its role. The dominance of white at sea made the Red landing in the Crimea from the rear impossible. The commander of the naval detachment, Captain 1st Rank Mashukov and the detachment of Colonel Gravitsky on the Arabat Spit played a positive role in keeping Crimea. Slashchev also took a number of decisive measures to solve the problem of supplying troops and restoring order in the rear. He ordered the construction of a railway to Yushun from Dzhankoy at all costs, this solved the supply problem. With the most severe measures, he cleared the rear of the gangs and strengthened the local garrisons with strong commanders.
The red units moved slowly and only by January 21 overlaid the isthmuses. This allowed Slashchev to gather all his strength and prepare for defense. In addition, the enemy went to the isthmus in parts, which also facilitated the white defense of the Crimea. The recklessness of the Reds and their underestimation of the enemy also played a role. The Red Army triumphantly advanced, whites everywhere fled. This relaxed the troops. The first to reach the isthmuses of the 46th Rifle and 8th Cavalry Divisions (about 8 thousand people).
At dawn on January 23, 1920, the 46th Soviet Division launched an offensive on Perekop. Everything went according to Slashchev’s scenario: the white guard escaped (Slavonic regiment - 100 bayonets), the fortress battery (4 guns) fired, then the gunners removed about 12 hours; the Red Army occupied the rampart and pulled themselves into the isthmus. The Reds occupied Armyansk and moved to Yushun, then night fell. The Reds had to spend the night in an open field with a frost of 16 degrees. At that time, there was a panic in the Crimea, newspapers reported the fall of Perekop and Armyansk, everyone was about to flee, and were loading ships in ports. At dawn on January 24, the red troops continued the offensive and came under fire from the Yushun position. The whites (34th division, Vilensky regiment and Morozov's mounted brigade) counterattacked. The Reds were defeated and retreated; soon their withdrawal turned into flight. The white guards took their former positions, the rest of the units returned to their apartments. The first victory significantly increased the morale of the Slashchev corps.
Subsequent battles developed according to a similar plan. On January 28, the 8th cavalry division supported the advance of the Reds, but White again threw back the enemy. Gradually increasing their strength, the Reds on February 5 made another attempt at the offensive. They passed on the ice of the frozen Sivash and again took Perekop. And again, Slashchev launched a counterattack and threw the enemy back. February 24 was a new assault. The Reds broke through the Isthmus of Chongar and even took Dzhankoy on the move. Then they were stopped again and driven back.
Interestingly, Slashchev’s tactics terribly unnerved the Crimean public, the rear and the allies, who were in needles in the Crimea. They were very scared that the Reds repeatedly penetrated the Crimea. In their opinion, the general should have put his fighters in the trenches and fortifications. Part of the military demanded to replace Slashchev with another general. The head of government, General Lukomsky, fearing the Bolsheviks would break into the Crimea, asked to replace the obstinate commander with "a person who could enjoy the confidence of both the troops and the population." However, the tactics of the white commander proved to be quite successful. Therefore, Denikin did not change the initiative and decisive commander.
In general, the psychological atmosphere in Crimea was difficult. Here, as before, there were several political forces that negatively related to the whites. Bandits and red partisans fought their war. They were reinforced by new gangs of refugees and deserters who scattered across the peninsula and plundered villages. There was a threat of an uprising on the peninsula in favor of the Reds. There were also many refugees in the cities. Among them were many military, capable men, but, as in Odessa, they did not want to fight on the front lines. Many only wanted to fill their pocket, find a ship and escape to Europe, or dissolve among the Crimean population. Local military authorities could not, and did not want to do anything about it. At the same time, the situation of refugees did not seem as disastrous as that of refugees in Odessa or Novorossiysk. In material and economic terms, everything was relatively safe. There were fights on Perekop, but the peninsula itself was a typical rear area. In addition, Crimea was torn off from high command, left to its own devices, Denikin was in the Kuban, and Schilling was in Odessa. The peninsula has become the focus of intrigue, gossip, political squabbles, conflicts, presenting a vivid picture of the internal discord of the White movement. From the report of Slashchev on April 5, 1920 to Wrangel:
"Intrigues in a small territory of Crimea are incredibly growing."
One of the breeding grounds for this “infection” was the white fleet. Denikin practically did not interfere in the affairs of the fleet. The White Fleet lived its own life, became a "state in the state." There were many problems. Many ships needed major repairs. There was an acute shortage of qualified sailors; they were recruited from gymnasium students and students. The personnel were very sharply different. Some ships such as destroyers "Hot" and "Ardent" were at the forefront, supported ground units. On other ships, especially transport, the picture was different. Here the crews were decomposing. They went between various Black Sea ports, sailors were engaged in speculation, earned good money. All this was done under any authority: under the Germans and Hetman, under the French, red and white. On the coast, the Sevastopol command took up the “revival of the fleet”, headquarters, rear bases and port services were inflated. There were enough officers, they fled here from other ports of the Black Sea, from the Baltic Fleet and Petrograd. Only these officers were not of the best quality: rear officers, careerists and opportunists. Combat officers who were not afraid to go against everyone died in 1917 or fought on land. The coastal headquarters and services were a good feeder. Therefore, even the highest fleet command was of dubious quality.
In a civil war, these headquarters had nothing to do. Nobody really wanted to go to war, so they engaged in gossip and intrigue. Fleet chief of staff Admiral Bubnov even organized a "naval circle", where he examined the "mistakes" of the command of the ground forces. All orders received were immediately criticized, the naval climbed into "politics." Army rear territories were also infected by civilian politicians and navy; everyone wanted to play "politics" and "democracy." Soon, this led to the rebellion of Orlov.
In Simferopol, the formation of replenishment for the Slashchev corps was carried out by the Duke of Leuchtenberg and Captain Orlov, a brave officer, but decomposed with a mental disorder. Doubtful people began to group around him. Local Bolsheviks even came into contact with him. In the city began to talk about the impending uprising. Having collected more than 300 people, Orlov refused to take up a position on the orders of the command, and on February 4, just before the next assault of the Reds, he seized power in Simferopol. Other rear units of whites that were in the city declared "neutrality." Orlov arrested the Tauride governor Tatishchev, the chief of staff of the Novorossiysk region’s troops, General Chernavin, the commandant of the Sevastopol fortress Subbotin and other persons, announcing that they were “decomposing the rear”. He announced that he expresses the interests of the "young officer". I asked for the support of the "workers' comrades."
This rebellion stirred up the entire peninsula. In Sevastopol, the "young officers", following the example of Orlov, was going to arrest the fleet commander Admiral Nenyukov and chief of staff Bubnov. Slashchev, having beaten off the next attack of the Red Army, was forced to send troops to the rear. Most of the Orlov detachment fled. He himself with the rest released the arrested, took the provincial treasury and went into the mountains.
In the meantime, another swara began in the rear. After the fall of Odessa, General Schilling arrived in Sevastopol. He was immediately accused of the Odessa disaster. The naval command demanded that Schilling transfer the command in Crimea to Wrangel (without the consent of Denikin). General Wrangel at this time resigned and arrived on the peninsula while on vacation. The same demands were put forward by various public and officer organizations. General Lukomsky was of the same opinion. Assessing the situation, Wrangel agreed to take command, but only with the consent of Denikin. Having learned about this conflict, Slashchev said that he would obey only the orders of Schilling and Denikin.
At this time, Orlov came down from the mountains and captured Alushta and Yalta. The generals Pokrovsky and Borovsky who were in Yalta tried to organize resistance, but their detachment fled without a fight. The generals were arrested, the local treasury looted. Schilling sent a Colchis ship with an amphibious assault against Orlov. However, the crew and the landing party refused to fight and returned to Sevastopol, bringing Orlov’s appeal. He called for a unification of forces around Wrangel. The rear boomed even more.
Since the fall of Odessa and the arrival of the Schilling and Wrangel Peninsulas, the struggle for power on the peninsula begins. Between Sevastopol, Dzhankoy (Slashchev) and Tikhoretskaya (Denikin’s headquarters), there were extensive correspondence and negotiations. This caused a strong excitement ("turmoil") in the Crimea. Under pressure from Lukomsky, Schilling proposed to Wrangel to head the Sevastopol fortress and rear units in order to restore order. Wrangel refused this “temporary” post so as not to aggravate the situation with the new division of powers. Lukomsky sent telegrams to Denikin one after another, proposing to appoint Wrangel as the Crimean commander. Schilling, broken by the Odessa catastrophe, supported this idea. The Crimean public did not believe Schilling, and demanded that Wrangel be appointed the “Crimean savior”.
However, Denikin rested. He saw in this situation another intrigue against himself. He categorically refused to transfer power. In addition, Denikin rightly feared that such a concession and "election" of command "would only exacerbate the" Crimean turmoil. " On February 21, Admirals Nenyukov and Bubnov were dismissed from service, and they satisfied the previous requests for the resignation of Lukomsky and Wrangel. Denikin issued an order to “liquidate the Crimean Troubles,” where he ordered all participants in the Oryol rebellion to appear at the headquarters of the 3rd Corps and go to the front to redeem the sight with blood. A senatorial commission was established to investigate the causes of the turmoil. Orlov went to negotiations, obeyed the order and spoke to the front. But in March he again rebelled: he arbitrarily withdrew his detachment, planned to capture Simferopol and was defeated by the sugars. He fled to the mountains again.
Wrangel was advised to temporarily leave the Crimea. Wrangel considered himself offended and left for Constantinople. From there, he sent Denikin a pamphlet letter, which he transmitted to the public, accusing the commander in chief:
"Poisoned by the poison of ambition, tasted the authorities, surrounded by dishonest flatterers, you have not thought about saving the Fatherland, but only about maintaining power ..."
The baron accused the army of Denikin of "arbitrariness, robbery and drunkenness." This letter was widely distributed by Denikin's opponents.
At this time, while the rear was seething and intriguing, battles continued on the isthmus. Slashchev continued to hold the defense. The Reds were building up forces in the Crimean direction. Sablin's Estonian Rifle Division was pulling up. The commander of the 13th army, Hecker, was actively preparing for the offensive. As a result, by the beginning of March 1920, a strike force was formed from parts of the 13th and 14th armies, which included the 46th, Estonian and 8th cavalry divisions. Slashchev also did not sit still, actively preparing for a new battle: he formed a combined regiment of the 9th Cavalry Division (400 sabers), a combined guard detachment (150 soldiers), replenished the convoy and deployed a battalion of German colonists into the cavalry regiment (up to 350 soldiers), horse-artillery division and howitzer division (from the tools of fugitives).
On March 8, the Red Army again launched an assault on the isthmuses. Everything repeated: the Reds again took Perekop, on the 10th they reached Yushuni, overthrew the brigade of the 34th Division, which fled in complete disarray to the Voinka. By the morning of March 11, about 6 thousand Red Army soldiers passed through the Perekop Isthmus to the Crimea and they developed an offensive from Yushun to Simferopol. Slashchev struck with all his forces (about 4500 bayonets and sabers). By 12 o’clock the Reds were already retreating. The Reds suffered such losses that the 46th and Estonian divisions had to be combined.
As a result, Slashchev kept Crimea in January - March 1920 in front of significantly superior red forces. The whites lost the Caucasus, were evacuated from Novorossiysk to their last refuge - the Crimean bridgehead. Already in exile, Slashchev will write:
“That I dragged on the Civil War for a long fourteen months ...”
March 22 (April 5) 1920, General Denikin transferred his authority to Baron Wrangel. He combined in his person the posts of commander in chief and ruler of the South of Russia. In fact, he became a military dictator. The army was transformed into Russian.
Thus, the Crimean peninsula became the last bastion of White Russia, and General Yakov Slashchev rightfully acquired the honorary prefix "Crimean" to his surname - the last of the commanders in the history of the Russian army.
Award to the defenders of the Crimea "1919. For the defense of Crimea. 1920 "