Military Review

Russian against the Germans in the jungles of South America

White emigration participated in several foreign wars, the bloodiest of them - between Paraguay and Bolivia in 1932-35

Russian against the Germans in the jungles of South America
Paraguayan soldiers, dressed in 1930 uniforms, in the main square of Asuncion, 2006 year. Photo: Jorge Saenz / AP

The consequence of the grand disasters of the First World War and the Civil War in Russia was the phenomenon of Russian emigration, which influenced the fate of many of the countries that adopted it. In the emigration it turned out to be a huge number of military men, and they had a great combat experience. And some of them began to look abroad for applying their abilities in their specialty. As a result, the Russians turned out to be participants in many foreign wars. In some of them, Russian white and Russian red faced - in Spain and in China. In most wars, only White Russians participated. And the outcome of some of them had a decisive influence, changing the course stories completely foreign countries.

Why did not develop the "Russian hearth" in Paraguay

One of such countries was Paraguay, where Russian General-Major Ivan Belyaev tried to create a “Russian hearth” - an enclave of “real Russia”, which was not gradually dissolved in the local population. Such a strange choice of place for the “hearth” was explained by the fact that Belyaev had been interested in Paraguay and the Indians living here from early childhood. In the spring of 1924, Belyaev reached Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. He was immediately able to get a job at Asuncion Military School as a teacher of fortification and French. Through the Belgrade newspaper Novoye Vremya, Ivan Timofeevich sent an appeal to everyone who wants to live in a country where he can be considered a Russian, to come to Paraguay and create a national home there, in order to save children from death and corruption. But already in October, 1924, on the instructions of the Ministry of Defense of Paraguay, Belyaev was sent to the Chaco region (a region in the west of the country, which Bolivia also challenged). It was necessary to explore this area and try to establish a border with Bolivia, as well as choose places for the construction of at least some fortifications. Belyaev’s dream of creating the “Russian hearth” was frustrated (by this time only a few dozen Russians had arrived in Paraguay), but the childhood dream of the Indians came true.

Ivan BelyaevHaving performed 13 expeditions to the Chaco region, Belyaev studied the life, culture, languages ​​and religions of local Indians, compiled the first dictionaries: Spanish-Mocha and Spanish-Chamacoco. And he became for the Indians not just his, but almost a god. He tried to introduce Indians to civilization not through violence, but through the principle of mutual enrichment of cultures.

Meanwhile, in Chaco, it seems, signs of oil were discovered, and this was a disaster already in that era. After that, Bolivia declared its sovereignty over Chaco. In 1928-29, the first, so far sporadic, military clashes began. The much richer Bolivia had a decent army by South American standards, even with tanks and airplanes. Paraguay, in fact, had only something like a people's militia of 3 thousand people.

Played for the First World

In June 1932, the Bolivians launched a “real” war. They went on the offensive, capturing a number of Paraguayan fortifications, which bore the high-profile name "forts". In response, Paraguay announced mobilization, bringing the strength of the armed forces to 50 thousands of people, most of whom were armed only with machetes, and the rifle fell on 7 people. In such a situation, the value of Russian military specialists has increased dramatically. Belyaev was appointed inspector of artillery at the headquarters of the commander of the Paraguayan troops in Chaco Colonel Estigarribia. But he was not the only Russian officer in the Paraguayan army. Someone came at the call of Belyaev, someone was in Paraguay before him. Among them was General Nikolai Ern, as well as Belyaev, who taught at the Military School, naval officers Nikolai Zimovsky, Vadim Sakharov, Yazon Tumanov. There were associates of Belyaev on expeditions to Chako, Vladimir Orefiev-Serebryakov, Alexander Ekshtein, and lieutenants of the Oranzheyev brothers. Major Korsakov and captain Kasyanov, captains Salazkin, Butlerov, Dedov, Chirkov, Shirkin, Vysokolan, lieutenants Malyutin, Kanonnikov, Chodolya went to fight. The Department of Cartography of the General Staff of Paraguay was headed by Nikolai Goldschmidt.

Bolivian artillery troops, 1932 year. Photo: AP

The most complicated war in the jungle showed that the technical advantage of Bolivia is of no particular importance here. On the other hand, the fortification and the mine business, which the Russians very well trained the Paraguayans, mattered. The great loyalty of the Indians of Paraguay, which Belyaev provided for his expeditions, played a huge role. In September, the Paraguayans returned everything they lost at the beginning of the war. The war entered a protracted phase, making the role of Russian officers, the exact number of which was not established in the Paraguayan army (except for two generals, 8 were colonels, 4 lieutenant colonels, 13 majors and 23 captains, the number of junior officers is unknown) only increased.

The confrontation became especially important after the German General Hans Kundt was appointed commander of the Bolivian army, who won the entire First World War on the Eastern Front. Chief of the General Staff became General von Klug. In addition to them, 120 German officers served in the Bolivian army. The situation was tremendous - the elite officers of the two largest European armies, who had recently suffered the most severe defeats in Europe, now "replayed" the war with the hands of South Americans thousands of kilometers from their homeland.

At the beginning of 1933, the Bolivians launched a new offensive, trying to surround most of the Paraguayan army in the area of ​​Fort Nanawa. This battle was one of the most fierce in the war. Bolivia had almost double superiority in manpower and even more in technology. This superiority came across Russian fortification in Paraguayan execution. During 10 days of fighting in the Nanawa area, the Bolivians lost 2 thousands of people, Paraguayans - in 8 times less.

In April, Belyaev became Chief of the General Staff of the Paraguayan Armed Forces. In July, the Bolivians again organized an attack on Nanawa - and again unsuccessfully and with huge losses. In this battle, the Paraguayans first began to burn enemy tanks.

After defending Nanawa, the Paraguayans began to form partisan detachments in the rear of the enemy, which very successfully acted on Bolivian communications. In November, the President of Bolivia dismissed Kundt, but at the beginning of 1934, he himself was overthrown by the military, who were extremely dissatisfied with him. While the Bolivians were sorting out in the rear, the Paraguayans launched a decisive offensive. Despite the Bolivian counter-attacks and extremely difficult climatic conditions, they steadily moved forward. They completely occupied the controversial Chaco region, and in the spring of 1935, the fighting was transferred to the territory of Bolivia itself. At the end of May, Paraguayans surrounded the city of Villa Montes, whose defense was led by Czechoslovak General Plachek. After that, Bolivia asked for peace, because her army ceased to exist. 11 June war ended. Paraguay lost 40 thousand people killed, Bolivia - 90 thousand. 300 of thousands of Bolivians (whole army) turned out to be in captivity.

Conference on the settlement of relations between Bolivia and Paraguay in Buenos Aires in August 1935. Photo: AP

In July, 1938, in Buenos Aires, peace was signed, through which almost the entire Chaco area passed to Paraguay. Bolivia got a narrow corridor to the Paraguay River, which it never used. And the oil in the Chaco was never found.

Triumph of the Russian military school

The war was the last triumph of the Russian military school, which, alas, almost no one noticed (it was especially deliberately not noticed in the USSR). With much smaller forces, with far fewer economic opportunities, they not only won the war, but completely destroyed the enemy army. The war led to a sharp decline in the authority of the German military school and Germany in general in the countries of South America. To a large extent, this contributed to the failure of Hitler's plans to fascize the continent, which at the beginning of the 30s seemed quite reasonable. But the “Russian hearth” in Paraguay did not take place for reasons of both an objective (the most difficult economic situation in the country) and a subjective (opposition from the Paris émigré leadership) character. And even most of the officers who fought for Paraguay after the war could not find themselves here.

Kiev hussars in the service of the Albanian prince

Another country where Russian troops had a significant impact on the internal political situation was Albania. In this country, the pro-Soviet government of Bishop Noli came to power in 1924. His main political opponent, Prince Ahmet Zogu, hired Russian émigrés living in neighboring Serbia, mainly Kiev hussars. The number of detachment was 102 man with 4 guns and 8 machine guns, commanded by Colonel (already the Serbian army) Miklashevsky, who, however, in the Albanian service became only a major. The Russian detachment was intended to support the main forces of Prince Zog, consisting of several thousand Albanians. In fact, the main striking force was a hundred Russians. The offensive began on December 16 1924, December 20 was occupied by the village of Peshkopei, where the Noli army headquarters and reserves were located. Already on December 26, a Russian detachment entered Tirana, in 10 days winning a foreign war and capturing a foreign country. Zogu proclaimed himself its president. He allocated to all the ranks of the Russian detachment a life pension, provided that they remained to live in the country. But life in Albania was too boring, so almost all Russians left it.

By 1939, only 19 people remained here. After the occupation of Albania by Italy, some of them entered the Italian army, in which three were in Russia, but not for long. After returning to Albania, after the war they were shot by the Communists who came to power here. And the former captain of the Russian army Sukachev became first an Albanian major, and then an Italian general. In 1943, after the capitulation of Italy, he went over to the Allies, and died in the USA in 1975.
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  1. cobalt
    cobalt 25 June 2013 08: 00
    Bolivia was preparing for war like this
    In preparation for the war for Chaco, Bolivian military circles drew attention to such a new type of weapon as tanks and armored vehicles, at the prompt of General G. Kundt. An order worth 3 million pounds included 15 aircraft, 5 Carden-Lloyd wedges, 5 Vickers tanks (3 Mk. A machine guns and 2 Mk. B cannons), several Rolls-Royce armored vehicles, 36 thousand rifles, 250 Vickers machine guns, 500 automatic rifles Vickers-Berthier, 196 artillery shells and 40 million rounds of ammunition. The first batch of these weapons, including 2 Carden-Lloyd wedges, 3 Vickers tanks (2 machine-gun Mk. A and 1 cannon Mk. B) arrived in Bolivia at the end of 1927.
  2. cobalt
    cobalt 25 June 2013 08: 02
    So these tanks fought
    Failures of the use of armored vehicles are largely due to the lack of specialists who were not able to correctly use combat vehicles. If the crews of the armored cars managed to be equipped with local drivers and machine gunners, then for the first tank it was necessary to attract an Austrian criminal, who was detained in La Paz prison.

    The first use of tanks in battle took place on December 27, 1932, at 7 km (at Saavedra). The tank supported the attack of the 4th Infantry Division. The first tank attack of this war also failed, because of the heat the temperature in the tank rose to 60 ° C. The crew was forced to leave it on the battlefield, without having reached the enemy’s positions. Gradually, the Christmas attacks of the 4th Division grew into fights of local importance, the intensity of which gradually decreased by the New Year. The tank was used to fire machine-gun nests of the enemy. His actions were so successful that the Paraguayans created a special team hunting for the tank. Subsequently, the Bolivians managed to prepare the crews of tanks and with great difficulty to deliver to the theater of operations. However, British armored vehicles proved unsuitable in the "green hell". The reason for this was not the natural conditions of Chaco, but the heat: British tanks and wedges did not have a cooling system. On other hot days did the air inside them heat up to 50-60? C. Under such conditions, the crew could be no more than 30 minutes. This time was not enough even to advance on the battlefield. So, during one of the Bolivian attacks at 7 km (near Saavedra), a tank abandoned by the crew due to overheating fell into the hands of the Paraguayans.
  3. cobalt
    cobalt 25 June 2013 08: 04
    During the second assault on Nanava (began on July 4, 1933), Paraguayans placed a battery of Krupp guns on the trenches of the enemy’s tanks in 1895. In addition, 1500 armor-piercing bullets were distributed to repel tank attacks on each battalion. Both Vickers tanks were included in the convoy of Colonel Enrique Frias from the 7th Division. She attacked the position of the Paraguayans from the south and consisted of 2,7 thousand soldiers (from the 1st, 3rd and 5th cavalry, 16th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd infantry regiments) . They were supported by a dozen flamethrowers, 6 mortars, 2 65 mm infantry guns and 2 light tanks. The Frias column stumbled upon the positions of the 3rd and 4th cavalry regiments of the enemy, which practically did not suffer from artillery fire. Paraguayan snipers managed to shoot the calculations of flamethrowers, and machine gunners - to cut off the infantry from tanks that were forced to turn back. During the battle, all four infantry regiments that made up the right-flank Bolivian column suffered heavy losses, and one of the tanks was shot down. Their fighting ability fell so much that E. Frias could not resume his attacks the next day. On July 6, clashes broke out on the northern flank for a wounded Bolivian tank. It was located not far from the first line of the Paraguayan trenches in an open space, shot through by both sides. The Bolivian command, believing that the Paraguayans could capture it, gave the order to destroy it. To do this, a 75-mm gun was put forward for direct fire. However, the terrain did not allow to quickly hit the target. Paraguayans, considering the sighting of a Bolivian gun for preparing the enemy for an attack during which the tank will be evacuated, chose to blow it up.
    1. pensioner
      pensioner 25 June 2013 09: 20
      Cobalt! I remember something that during this war, for the first time, submachine guns were massively used. So or not?
      1. soldier's grandson
        soldier's grandson 25 June 2013 17: 35
        maybe colt?
      2. cobalt
        cobalt 25 June 2013 20: 21
        In this war, submachine guns first showed themselves in all its glory. They counted on Bolivia. German advisers tried to realize their tactical ideas of the last offensive of the 18th year. A significant role here was played by submachine guns and flamethrowers. It was in this war that some German officers became ardent supporters of the rearmament, albeit partial, of the army with submachine guns. V. Brandt stood out especially against their background, who fought in this war until the end of 1934, first as a captain, and then as a major in the Bolivian army. Upon his return to Germany, he in his publications in the most authoritative German military magazine - Militer-Wochenblatt, insisted on the need to equip the PP with a third of infantry, cavalry, engineering and motorcycle units.
        What kind of submachine guns were used in the Chaco war? There are no exact procurement data. The only clear criteria can be a few photos, the rest remains at the level of rumors. There are three photos with PP, two Bolivian, one Paraguayan, apparently with a trophy - they show MP-28-II, Erma EMP and Steyr-Soloturn S-100, in addition there is an authentic photo with all three samples captured by Paraguayan soldiers in the liberated paragraph Vidaurre. Interestingly, the Steyr-Soloturn S-100 allegedly walked in the 7.63x25 version with a boxed magazine with 32 and 40 rounds. The origin of MP-28-II is not clear - this is a German or Belgian model. Caliber him and Erma EMP 9x19 para. Box stores with a capacity of 32 rounds.
        Not without a curiosity. Apparently it was there that the nickname "Schmeisser" for German PP was born. The fact is that the source of delusion of foreign consumers was not cinema, as was previously thought, but the PATENT SCHMEISSER mark on the German and Belgian modifications of the MP-18-II, which, together with other models, such as the MP-28, MP-34, etc. have been shipped worldwide. Without going into special details, foreign buyers of weapons decided that it was, not much, not a little, but the German designation of submachine guns.
  4. lexe
    lexe 25 June 2013 08: 29
    Are there figures on the number of descendants of Russian emigrants living today in South America? What is their worldview today? Are there places of compact living and self-government? I would like to know more about our people ...
  5. cartridge
    cartridge 25 June 2013 08: 58
    ... sent an appeal to everyone who wants to live in a country where he can be considered Russian, come to Paraguay and create a national center there to save children from death and corruption.

    Ostrich policy! Live in Russia, equip Russia, fight for Russia!
    And to look for a place in a foreign land where you can lie down for conservation, this is not in Russian!
    Today, supporters of such a line scream that it’s time to bring down ... Let them knock down!
    1. lexe
      lexe 25 June 2013 13: 08
      triumph. The only question is the price of victory. Winning only with justifiable losses is military art. They are still revealing our missing soldiers by May 9. Yes ... apparently the Germans rolled the conflict into Europe in the Paraguay-Bolivia war. Only Russian specialists drove them themselves. If they were at home by June 22, no matter how many lives they saved ... here’s the price of our emigration, moreover, the geometric price. Throwing people under any slogans and surviving them from the country is a crime against the Russian people. In the war, the commander for his father both the mother and him depend on how many children he will end up with ...
    2. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 1 July 2013 12: 18
      Quote: cartridge
      Ostrich policy! Live in Russia, equip Russia, fight for Russia! But looking in a foreign land for a place to preserve is not in Russian! Today, supporters of such a line scream that it’s time to bring it down ... Let it fall!

      And what else do you think the officers of the Imperial Army should have done after the defeat of the white movement — to sign up as volunteers in the Red Army and serve the party, which was formed with the money of the British and Germans for the collapse of Russia?
      PS: I agree with you that those who now want to leave the country in order to "earn and live" are cowards - second-class people without a homeland. It is one thing when you work in Russia, and another when you run from your country to a better place.
  6. pensioner
    pensioner 25 June 2013 09: 04
    a significant part of which was armed only with a machete, and the rifle was for 7 people.

    Here, it turns out, what history of the war Gozman and K read !! Sometimes you need to look at the cover ...
  7. vezunchik
    vezunchik 25 June 2013 09: 09
    the whole world is dotted with Russian bones ...
  8. nepopadun
    nepopadun 25 June 2013 09: 10
    Russian officers again showed their superiority
    1. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 1 July 2013 12: 19
      The Russian officer corps has always been one of the best.
  9. vadson
    vadson 25 June 2013 09: 32
    years through tsat will also talk about Syria, I hope
  10. omsbon
    omsbon 25 June 2013 09: 38
    And even the majority of officers who fought for Paraguay after the war could not find themselves here.

    Russians can only find themselves in their homeland, in Russia! This is our national feature.
    1. a
      a 25 June 2013 19: 00
      Quote: omsbon
      Russians can only find themselves in their homeland, in Russia! This is our national feature.

      I doubt it. Russians, by virtue of their characteristics, assimilate very well. history shows well this is how many Russians have left to live abroad. practically nowhere were colonies created like the Italian or Chinese Chinatowns. Russians everywhere were dissolved in the local environment. many were successful in their new homeland.
      if you mean exclusively military Russian, then I don’t know. no such statistics. although I know that there were Russian generals in other armies. Italian, American, French. in France, as far as I remember, a native of Russia led intelligence under General de Gaulle
  11. ISO
    ISO 25 June 2013 09: 45
    The alozych generals blinked and did not summarize such instructive experience as the result of the use of technology in inappropriate climatic conditions. We met captain heat in America, and we have frost general.
    1. Mikhail3
      Mikhail3 25 June 2013 15: 07
      This is a property of many military specialists, who unfortunately grow strongly in ranks in peacetime. This property is TTX self-blinding. What a gun! What a speed! How menacing it looks! All these properties irresistibly affect the authorities. He brought intricate little derelicts to the parade, flashed before the authorities, beautifully and skillfully - looking at the star, he jumped on the shoulder strap!
      War has come - what gun? That is - where is the tower? No, he is not needed at the parade. What is the speed? For shit in the jungle - zero point-ten hell .... How awesome does it look? From the puddle along the tower - not really .... So what? Just think, someone died there. There is an asterisk, a rollback from the manufacturer of a formidable tank, too ...
  12. creak
    creak 25 June 2013 09: 48
    The service of Russian officers in the Foreign Legion deserves special mention - in the mid-20s, more than 10 thousand people joined the ranks of the Legion. The valor of the Russian legionnaires was repeatedly noted by the command of the French army. For a long time in the Legion served the godfather of M. Gorky - Z. Peshkov, who was promoted to general of the French army.
    However, our compatriots in the Legion can be found today ...
  13. pensioner
    pensioner 25 June 2013 10: 21
    Quote: omsbon
    Russians can only find themselves in their homeland, in Russia! This is our national feature.

    Holy words !!
  14. Uhe
    Uhe 25 June 2013 10: 48
    And what, May 1945 - this is not the triumph of the Russian military school? Most Russian officers just remained to serve their homeland, and did not wander around unknown countries. They, with the help of their students, achieved the highest success in Russian weapons in the 20th century in their homeland, against its enemies.

    Once again, they are trying to divide the history of the Russian people into some kind of mutually opposite streams. So we will not get out of shit, if we continue to gasp and groan about the greatness of the Empire and the baseness of the USSR and vice versa. Let us then talk about the betrayal of Prince Vladimir, who surrendered Russia to the Greeks and initiated a terrible civil strife and the separation of Russia into specific principalities. Or about the German tsars, the heirs of Peter the Antichrist, who enslaved the Russian people and mocked the Russian people, making them a slave, and themselves - across Europe and Courchevel (by the way, does it remind you of anything?). After all, it was these oppressors that the people threw off in the 17th, in this anti-Russian empire they put a fat point. How do you like these "views"? ;)

    By deeds and merits must be judged, and not by preferences, and learn from good achievements, without repeating mistakes.
    1. sergey261180
      sergey261180 25 June 2013 13: 26
      Quote: Uhe
      threw people in the 17th

      Well, it's you in vain. In 1917, a gang of conspirators threw off these oppressors with the support of American gangsters.
      in this anti-Russian empire put a bullet
      They put a bullet in the form of 30 million Russian corpses from 1918 to 1924.
  15. maxiban
    maxiban 25 June 2013 13: 08
    A strange thing, the most talented commanders, specialists, won someone else’s war, and their homeland was prosperous.
    1. lexe
      lexe 25 June 2013 13: 55
      But they won the 1st World War. Politicians and conspirators hacked the victory. They understood that people couldn’t speak with victory. was a humiliation of the German genius. It remained to deliver the last blow in 1915. having already an excellent material part and an exhausted enemy who could barely breathe. Yes, and in 1917 when the army crumbled it was they who formed the backbone that blocked the triumphal advance of the Germans. Moreover, they died like true samurai. The guys were responsible.
    2. fzr1000
      fzr1000 25 June 2013 17: 37
      To win the revolution it is not enough to be a good military man, you need to be a good politician. And this is not given to everyone, especially since politics is good, military is death.
  16. pensioner
    pensioner 25 June 2013 14: 39
    Quote: Lexi
    Retreated without boilers.

    Well ... General Samsonov could have objected ...
    1. max73
      max73 25 June 2013 18: 40
      could not ... for he died ... for advancing ...
  17. ramsi
    ramsi 25 June 2013 18: 11
    Quote: maxiban
    A strange thing, the most talented commanders, specialists, won someone else’s war, and their homeland was prosperous.

    And for some reason, I was always sure that on the first echelon - the light did not converge in a wedge. It turns out to be quite competent and the second, and even the third ... The problem is with political figures. With all our contempt for these specific people, much more depends on them
  18. max73
    max73 25 June 2013 19: 03
    the subsequent minor civil wars around the world, let’s say, gave work to Russian officers. but their true attitude to their homeland appeared only during the Second World War, when many of them, due to their age, were not able to do anything. more than once in his memoirs that were published even in Soviet times, he read about the joy of former officers of the Russian imperial army at the sight of parts of the Soviet army (especially during the liberation of the Balkans) .... but there were others ... Shkuro, Semenov and others like them . but, mind you, among the generals of the Red Army who were captured, also at the first stage of the war there was a pole: Karbyshev-Vlasov, for example ... so, let's, friends, appreciate the Russians (in the broadest sense of the word) people according to actions in relation to his homeland.
  19. Mirrors
    Mirrors 25 June 2013 19: 35
    We would somehow need to combine the history of our country in general, and military history in particular, until the year 17, from 17 to 91, and from 91 to the present day. On the territory of the Kaliningrad region there are many Russian graves of different times - there were battles at Gross-Egersdorf, Preissisch-Ellau, here are Brusilov’s soldiers. Not to mention the graves of Soviet soldiers. So the Soviet people were somehow looked after, recalling to different dates, but they didn’t even remember the other Russian soldiers - as if they weren’t here. Now they are busy with the graves of the First World War. But what about the graves of Russian soldiers who fought with Napoleonic troops? And Russian soldiers of other wars? After all, these are all Russian soldiers who brought glory to the Fatherland. We should remember them, we should give them honors and return them to our history, so diligently and permanently forgotten.