Modern portrait of the head of the Asian Cavalry Division, Lieutenant General Baron R. F. von Ungern-Sternberg [/ center]
Sotnik Roman Fedorovich Ungern-Shterberg joined the 34th Don Cossack Regiment as part of the 5th Army of the Southwestern Front. Since the beginning of hostilities, he has earned a reputation as a brave and intelligent officer. One of the certifications noted:
"In all cases of military service, the esaul Baron Ungern-Sternberg served as a model for officers and Cossacks, and these and others are dearly loved."
For the autumn battles in Galicia, the centurion was awarded the Order of St. George, IV degree. They were awarded for heroic deeds in the war. And the order was the most honorable award of the empire.
Ungern appreciated this order and wore it constantly. The officers who served in the Ungern division during the Civil War knew that the baron greatly appreciated those who were awarded the St. George's Crosses before February 1917. The crosses granted by the Provisional Government were considered second-rate by the baron.
Soon Roman Unger became a legendary figure at the front. He became an excellent scout, disappeared for a long time in the enemy rear, and adjusted the fire of our artillery. Co-workers noted his amazing endurance. It seemed that he was tireless. For a long time he could remain without sleep and food.
During the first year of the war, Ungern received five wounds, fortunately not severe. Therefore, he was treated right there in the wagon train of the reserve regiment. The Baron appreciated his service and truly loved. A true warrior.
The regiment commander in 1916 noted:
“In terms of combat, he was always beyond praise. His service is a solid feat in the name of Russia. "
Even ill-wishers noted that ordinary Cossacks love and trust their commander. Later, in Mongolia, even the elderly Cossacks called him
"He was impeccable in terms of combat,"
- says a colleague about Roman.
“He shows wide solicitude for the Cossacks and the horses. His hundred and his uniform are better than others, and his hundredth cauldron is always loaded, perhaps more fully than it was supposed to be according to the norms of allowance. "
The Baron's mother sent him significant sums.
In revelry he was not noted. Apparently spending money on equipment and food for his hundred. It was a "knight" in the best sense of the word. Subordinates saw and appreciated it. They knew that the baron would not leave, he would help out and support.
At the end of 1914, Ungern transferred to the 1st Nerchinsk Regiment of the Ussuri Division. He fought bravely and skillfully, was awarded the Order of St. Anne IV degree "For Bravery."
The positional "trench warfare" weighed on the active warrior. At this time, sabotage detachments were formed from the best commanders and volunteer fighters, by analogy with the Patriotic War of 1812 they were called "partisan".
In September 1915, Roman Ungern entered the "Horse detachment of special importance at the headquarters of the Northern Front", in a special unit under the command of the ataman Punin, which was supposed to conduct deep reconnaissance and sabotage behind enemy lines. The detachment successfully participated in the Mitavskaya, Rizhskaya, Dvinskaya and other operations.
The squadron commanders of the detachment were known in the future white generals - S.N. Bulak-Balakhovich (commander of the 2nd squadron), Yu.N. Bulak-Balakhovich (junior officer of the 2nd squadron), Ungern-Sternberg (commander of the 3rd squadron ). The Baron was noted as one of the most desperate and dashing commanders of the "partisan" detachment.
It was at this time that the style of battle of the future white general was formed: a dashing attack on the superior forces of the enemy; surprise, overturning all the calculations of the enemy; neglect of unfavorable factors that interfere with the operation.
The presence of desire, iron will and energy compensates for any unfavorable circumstances, Ungern himself believed. Later, during interrogation by the Chekists, he uttered a phrase that can be called his motto:
"Everything can be done - there would be energy."
During his further service in a special detachment, Roman Fedorovich received two more orders: the Order of St. Stanislav III degree and the Order of St. Vladimir IV degree.
Baron Ungern returned to the Nerchinsk regiment in the summer of 1916 after a conflict with a superior commander (the commander undeservedly insulted the baron and received a slap in the face in return).
In September 1916, he was promoted from centurion to podyesauli, and then to esauls - "for military distinction" and was awarded the Order of St. Anna, III degree.
The regiment at that time was commanded by P.N. Wrangel. The regiment, after being distinguished in battles, was awarded a special honor - the patronage of Tsarevich Alexei. A regimental delegation headed by the regimental commander Wrangel was prepared. It included the most distinguished Cossacks and officers in battles, including Ungern.
At this time, the division was withdrawn to the reserve in Bukovina. On October 21, Ungern-Sternberg with his friend poddesaul Artamonov received a short vacation in the city of Chernivtsi.
There was a scandal. The drunken baron hit the rear officer. And instead of meeting with the heir to the throne, Ungern gave evidence to the army court. The division commander, General Krymov, the deputy commander of the regiment that had served in Petrograd, Colonel Makovnik, and Wrangel himself, who sent a telegram from the capital, gave Ungern brilliant characteristics.
On November 22, the corps court of the 8th Army ruled: Esaul Roman Fedorovich, 29 years old,
"For drunkenness, dishonor and insulting the officer on duty with words and actions"
subject to imprisonment for a period of two months. In fact, he served it at the time of his arrest.
Experienced officers were required on the front lines. Ungern spent some time in reserve.
In the spring of 1917, Baron Unger was on the Caucasian front.
He transferred to the 3rd Verkhneudinsk regiment of the Trans-Baikal Cossack army, which operated in Persia. Here his colleague was a fellow soldier in the Nerchinsk regiment, the future ataman G.M.Semenov.
The regiment was stationed in the area of Lake Urmia. It was commanded by Prokopy Oglobin, Ungern's colleague in the 1st Nerchinsk regiment. The troops of the Caucasian Front, due to their remoteness from the center of the revolution and big cities, as well as some historical conservatism of the Caucasian units, decomposed more slowly than the troops of other fronts. There were many Cossack units at the front.
However, the decay quickly spread throughout the army and reached the Caucasian front. The command tried to stop the infection with the revolutionary virus by forming shock units, where the best soldiers and commanders who had retained their combat capability were transferred. In other units, the situation only worsened, the bravest and most disciplined fighters left them.
Semyonov and Ungern planned to form volunteer units recruited from foreigners. Before my eyes was an example of the Caucasian cavalry native (mountain) division. It consisted of the Dagestan, Kabardin, Tatar, Circassian, Chechen and Ingush regiments, recruited from mountaineers volunteers. The officers were regular, many of the guards, from the best aristocratic families of the empire.
The brilliance of the high-profile names of the Wild Division could compete with the guards units. And ordinary highlanders were ready to die for the "white king". In the East, the sacred tradition is always respected (Russian tsars were considered almost descendants of the gods, the sacred rulers of Asia).
According to Semyonov and Ungern, such units were supposed to have a psychological (and, if necessary, forceful) impact on the decayed Russian units. Having received permission from the corps headquarters, the commanders began to embody their idea.
Semyonov wanted to form a unit from the Buryat Mongols.
Roman Fedorovich formed a volunteer squad from the Aysor-Assyrians. This people lived in some areas of Turkey, Persia and the Russian Empire. As Christians, they were persecuted by Muslims. During the war, Turkey committed a real genocide of Christian nations. Finding themselves in the zone of operation of the Russian army, the Aisors happily greeted the Russians, provided them with all kinds of support and assistance.
Knowing perfectly the high-mountainous regions, the Aisors have established themselves as excellent guides. They also worked in the rear support services.
Ungern-Sternberg began to form Aysor combat units in April 1917. Aisors actively joined combat squads and showed themselves well in battles with the Turks. Semyonov noted that the Aysor squads showed themselves brilliantly.
However, the front in conditions of general turmoil could not save it. A spoonful of honey in a garbage barrel.
The Caucasian front collapsed.
Thus, Baron Ungern acquired the first positive experience in the formation of foreign units (he was also actively used by the opponents of the White Guards - the Reds, especially Trotsky). In his opinion, foreigners, due to their patriarchal way of life, psychology are difficult to decompose. They just don't understand liberal or socialist agitation. They obey an authoritative warrior, a great leader.
Also, the Baltic knight came to the conclusion that the army had decayed completely and it was possible to put it in order only by the draconian measures themselves. Again, after the failure with the volunteers and "partisans", the red command will do the same - revive the traditional army with its orders and strict discipline.
Roman Ungern also noted the fall of the Russian officer corps, its lack of will and indecision. Therefore, in the future in his division, he will act extremely harshly with the officers. According to the medieval code of honor, according to which Ungern lived, the knight officers betrayed their suzerain king. And they must answer for it with blood.
As one of the officers who served in Ungern's division recalled:
"He constantly reminded his subordinates that after the revolution, gentlemen officers should not think about rest and even less about pleasure, instead, each officer should have one tireless concern - to lay down his head with honor."
Only death relieves the officer from the duty of struggle.
As a result, Ungern-Sternberg was a real representative of the military class. These were the Spartans, the warriors of Svyatoslav Igorevich or the Japanese samurai. For him, the decay and degradation of the Time of Troubles was unacceptable. He tried with all his might to revive his ideal.
At the same time, Ungern had a completely different attitude towards ordinary soldiers and Cossacks. He was a father-commander, a "grandfather" for them. He treated the privates with care and respect.
The Baron strove to feed and clothe his soldiers as best as possible, to provide them with the best medical care. The wounded were provided with the best food. It was impossible to abandon the wounded in the baron's units. For this they were punished with death.
Cherry Kurma (eastern sleeveless jacket), belonging to Baron Ungern-Sternberg.
(Minusinsk Museum of Local Lore, Minusinsk)
"Now Russia will drown in blood!"
The army was gone.
Only visibility remained. Roman Fedorovich left the Caucasian Front.
There are no documents confirming the life of the baron in the spring and summer of 1917. There is evidence that he was in Reval in the summer. It is possible that he was waiting for news from his colleague Semyonov. Previously, they discussed the possibility of forming Buryat and Mongolian units in Transbaikalia, where Semyonov had acquaintances and connections.
Semyonov, as Ungern later noted, was a cunning and clever man, that is
"Calculating and understanding the benefits."
Therefore, he tried to use the favorable moment for his own purposes.
He was chosen as a delegate to the Trans-Baikal army. And he proposed to Kerensky to create in Buryatia a separate mounted Mongol-Buryat regiment, so that
"To awaken the conscience of a Russian soldier",
for whom foreigners who bravely fighting for the Russian cause would become a living reproach.
In the summer, Semyonov was appointed commissar of the Provisional Government and sent to the Trans-Baikal region to form foreign units.
At the same time, the cunning Semyonov secured written authority from the Petrograd Soviet. At this time, the Februaryist revolutionaries were alarmed by the growing popularity of the Bolsheviks and sought to restore order in the army, relying on various volunteer and foreign groups. True, it was all in vain.
During the Kornilov revolt, Baron Ungern, although he did not support the liberal views of General Kornilov himself, joined the units of the native cavalry Ussuri division, which was marching to Petrograd through the Revel railway junction.
The monarchist Roman Ungern hoped that the commander-in-chief would destroy the revolutionary infection in the capital and restore order in the army. However, the generals showed indecision and weakness, suspended the movement of troops near Petrograd, and began negotiations with Kerensky. Kornilov himself remained at Headquarters in Mogilev. Far from the epicenter of events and with their best units (Kornilovites and Tekins).
The headquarters was completely isolated. And the troops were subjected to large-scale agitation. The commander of the 3rd cavalry corps, Krymov, advancing on the capital, was driven to suicide or killed.
The performance failed.
On the whole, Kornilov's failure became the prototype of the future defeat of the White movement.
The ideal of Kornilov (and then of almost all the leaders of the White movement - Alekseev, Denikin, Wrangel, Kolchak, etc.) was liberal Western civilization. It is this model that will unconditionally lose to the Bolsheviks, who had a powerful idea, which was of a messianic, religious character, and preached a "kingdom of justice", understandable to the Russian people.
Liberal revolutionaries, Westernizers, capitalists did not have support among the masses.
Kornilov, as a representative of the right wing of the Februaryist revolutionaries who destroyed the Russian autocracy, opposed the left wing of the Februaryist revolutionaries.
And he suffered a crushing defeat.
To be continued ...