A. I. Denikin on the day of his resignation from the post of commander in chief of the Armed forces of the South of Russia
Smoot. 1920 year. The armed forces of southern Russia have fallen. The core of the white forces was evacuated by the sea to the Crimea. But throughout the Caucasus, the wreckage of the Denikin army and various autonomous and “green” formations were agonized.
The retreat of the Kuban
Troops that could not get to transports in Novorossiysk moved along the coastal road to Gelendzhik and Tuapse. However, at the very first clash with the "greens", who were stationed in Kabardinskaya, they did not dare to engage in battle, rallied, and fled. Some of them were able to pick up the ships and taken to the Crimea, others went into the mountains and themselves became "green" bandits or switched to the side of the Reds.
Parts of the Kuban army concentrated in the area of Maykop and Belorechenskaya. She was pushed to the mountains. The Reds pursued the Kuban with small forces, apparently believing that the remnants of the Kuban army would disperse. Retreating, the Kuban troops continued to grow numerically. True, the combat power of the army did not increase. The 4th Don Corps joined the Kuban, cut off from its army in the Yekaterinodar region. Deserters and rear units poured in. In total, up to 30 thousand people gathered. Not counting refugees. Sea carts with property and cattle. All this mass was sent to Tuapse. Only in the vanguard and rearguard did we manage to arrange more or less combat-ready units. However, there was not even a general guide. The Kuban chieftain Bukretov, the government and the Rada announced a break with Denikin and complete independence. They were inclined to a truce with the Bolsheviks. Most of the commanders considered themselves to be part of the All-Union Socialist League and were against an agreement with the Reds. Most ordinary Cossacks simply fled without "politics."
As was usual at that time, there were many ideas. Most military commanders and officers wanted to get to the coast, embark on ships and evacuate to Crimea. The Kuban government hoped to sit out in a closed area of the coast, block the passes and the coastal road, and restore order in the army. To conclude an alliance with Georgia and the Black Sea Republic. And then go on a counterattack, recapture the Kuban. Others dreamed of escaping to Georgia, hoping that they would be welcomed there hospitably.
The flow of many thousands moved on Tuapse. Towards the Kuban through mountain passes in the direction of Maykop was moving part of the Black Sea Red Army (about 3 thousand people). And at the village of Khadyzhenskaya, opponents unexpectedly met for each other. The Black Sea army, the former "green", did not leave their habits. Therefore, they walked along enemy territory. Which led to skirmishes with local Cossacks. And then the Kuban army appeared. It completely decomposed and almost completely lost its combat readiness. But the Black Sea army consisted of deserters, defectors and "green" rebels. Finding large masses of the enemy, she hastily retreated to the passes. From there, she was easily shot down. On March 20, 1920, the Black Sea Army fled to Tuapse, then north to Gelendzhik. Fearing that the Kuban would follow and crush, the "red-green" fled further north, towards Novorossiysk, to join the 9th Soviet army.
Kuban settled between Tuapse and Sochi. The situation was extremely difficult. There were no supplies of provisions and fodder for such a mass of people, horses and cattle. The main task was the search for food and fodder in coastal villages. Hopes for the help of the “green” Black Sea Republic did not materialize. The "green" democrats had even weaker forces, and could not help in the fight against the red ones. True, the Kuban and the Black Sea concluded an agreement. Kuban promised not to interfere in the internal life of the "republic", recognized the local "government", stopped the movement in Sochi. The Kuban people asked for help with food and pledged to protect the Black Sea Republic from the Red Army. However, it was not possible to improve the food situation. The narrow coastal strip at that time was very poor bread, it was imported. The grain sown by local peasants was barely enough for their own needs. Winter has just ended, respectively, and all stocks were running out. And the war stopped deliveries from the former white regions of southern Russia. From Crimea (also not rich in food) we did not manage to establish a supply.
The death of the army
March 31, 1920, the Soviet troops, pursuing the Kuban and lagging behind them, forced the passes and reached Tuapse. The Kuban people were not able to put their troops in order, to restore discipline. Kuban units left the city without a fight and fled south. The agreement with the Black Sea fell. Avant-garde commander General Agoev was ordered to occupy Sochi. The 60th mass of refugees did not care about the agreements concluded by the Kuban government with the Black Sea Republic. The functionaries of the Black Sea Republic, its militia and part of the population fled to the mountains, taking away the available goods and provisions.
By April 3, 1920, the entire coast down to Georgia was flooded with Kuban refugees. The Kuban government, Parliament and the chieftain are located in Sochi. Here the Kuban got a little respite. The fact was that the 34th Infantry Division of the 10th Soviet Army, which was pursuing the Kuban Army, was drained of blood as a result of a long march and typhoid epidemic, only about 3 thousand people remained in it. There were really many Kuban people. The Reds stopped in Tuapse and went on the defensive, putting a screen on the river. Chukhuk.
True, an almost month-long pause did not save the Kuban army. It was not possible to restore its combat effectiveness. Actually, they didn’t try. Political squabbles and disagreements continued. The leaders of the Black Sea Republic no longer desired any agreements. The Kuban government tried to conclude an alliance with the Georgians, but negotiations with Georgia remained inconclusive. The military command tried to establish contact with Wrangel (on April 4, Denikin handed over the post of Commander-in-Chief of the All-Union Socialist Liberation Union to Wrangel). The troops and refugees were busy seeking food. All coastal villages were completely devastated. Attempts to obtain provisions in the mountain villages ended unsuccessfully. Local peasants blocked mountain paths and trails with blockages and small militia units with machine guns. Cattle and horses were dying from a nonsense. Then came real hunger. People ate already dead animals, bark and slaughtered horses. The typhoid epidemic continued, and cholera was added to it.
In Crimea, they doubted: what to do with the Kuban and Donets remaining on the Caucasian coast? To Crimea, information reached about the complete decomposition of the Kuban, about skirmishes and throwings. Ataman and Rada announced a complete break with the volunteers. General Pisarev, who led the army, asked for export to the Crimea. However, the Headquarters and the Don command doubted the need for such a step. The High Command wanted to transfer only those who did not abandon weapon and ready to fight. Don commanders were even more cautious, and offered to refrain from evacuating the 4th Corps to the Crimea. Like, the Cossacks have completely decomposed and will only increase the turmoil on the peninsula. Don units already evacuated to Crimea created problems. On the other hand, the Don command has not yet discounted such an option - to return the Cossacks from Crimea to the Caucasus coast and, together with the Kubans, go on the offensive, freeing the Kuban and Don. And in case of failure of the offensive, retreat to Georgia.
In addition, the position of the Crimea in March and April 1920 was uncertain. The possibility of its long-term defense and supply was called into question. Many believed that the Bolsheviks were about to transfer forces from the North Caucasus and break through the defenses. Crimea is a "trap". Therefore, they will soon have to evacuate themselves. As a result, transports for the evacuation of the Don-Kuban buildings were not sent on time. In addition, as before, there was not enough coal for ships.
Meanwhile, the 34th Infantry Division in Tuapse was reinforced by the 50th Division. They were now part of the 9th Soviet Army. The size of the Soviet group was brought up to 9 thousand soldiers. On April 30, 1920, the Reds went on the offensive again in order to finish off the enemy. Kuban could not resist and fled. The government and the Rada again asked for help from Georgia, the command from the Crimea. The Georgian government refused to let the Kuban pass, for fear of provoking a war with Soviet Russia. Then Ataman Bukretov and General Morozov began negotiations with the Reds on surrender. The chieftain himself and members of the Kuban Rada fled to Georgia, and then to Constantinople. Most of the Kuban army laid down its arms and surrendered (about 25 thousand people). Part of the troops, led by General Pisarev (12 thousand people), rolled back from Sochi to Gagram and was put on ships sent by Wrangel. Subsequently, the Kuban Corps was formed from the exported Cossacks.
Then, in a few days, the “green” Black Sea Republic fell. Her leaders were arrested, some fled to Georgia. With the "green" rebels quickly sorted out. They were not allowed to lodge as under the government of Denikin. The families of the bandits who had gone to the mountains were exiled, their property was confiscated. The former chaos was a thing of the past. The new Soviet (Russian) statehood was approaching.
The commander of the group of troops of the Kuban army Pyotr Konstantinovich Pisarev
The death of the North Caucasus and Astrakhan groups
Terek Cossacks and the troops of the North Caucasus group of General Erdeli were cut off from the main forces of Denikin and retreated to Vladikavkaz. From there, white units and refugees (a total of about 12 thousand people) moved to Georgia on the Georgian Military Road. March 24, 1920 the Red Army occupied Vladikavkaz. In Georgia, the white units were disarmed and placed in camps in the Poti region, in a swampy, malarial area. Erdeli later departed for Crimea.
Following the whites, local autonomous "governments" fell. The White South was a buffer that covered various "governments" of the North and South Caucasus. As soon as the VSYUR fell, the illusoryness and nonviability of all Caucasian state formations immediately became apparent. During the movement of the 11th Soviet Army, the North Caucasus Emirate (on the territory of Dagestan and Chechnya) Uzun-Hadji fell. His 70th army fell apart. Part of the troops from the Communists and former Red Army led by Gikalo and the “left-wing Islamists” who joined them went over to the side of the Red Army. Others, immediately tired of the "holy war", fled home. The troops remaining loyal to the imam could not resist the Reds, they were pushed into the mountains. The seriously ill Uzun-Haji himself died on March 30, 1920, according to another version, he was killed by rivals or agents of the Bolsheviks. Soon came the turn of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
On the Caspian coast, the white detachment of General Dratsenko, who had previously fought in the Astrakhan direction, was retreating. The Astrakhan group was retreating under pressure from the 11th Soviet Army. Highlanders also intensified. The White Guards retreated to Petrovsk (Makhachkala), where the white Caspian was based flotilla, March 29, loaded onto ships and headed to Baku. Here, General Drazenko and Rear Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Sergeyev entered into an agreement with the Azerbaijani government: the whites were allowed into Georgia, and they surrendered all weapons to Azerbaijan. The military flotilla assumed the task of defending the Azerbaijani coast. However, the Azerbaijani authorities, as soon as Sergeyev left for Batum to get in touch with Stavka from there, and the ships began to enter the port, annulled the agreement. They demanded an unconditional surrender.
The Caspian flotilla refused to give up. Captain 1st Rank Bush led the ships to Persia, in Anzeli. The White Guards sought refuge from the British, who were located there. The British previously supported whites in the region. However, the British, whose government course had already changed, interned the White Guards.
Thus, the Armed Forces of the South of Russia fell. Their remnants in the North Caucasus were eliminated and captured. A small portion fled abroad. Part joined the Red Army. On the small Crimean peninsula, all that was left of the All-Union Union of South-Easterners gathered. Denikin brought the remnants of his forces into three corps: Crimean, Volunteer and Donskoy, Consolidated cavalry division and Consolidated Kuban brigade. The Crimean corps was still covering the isthmuses, the rest of the troops were located in the reserve for rest and recovery.