"Only he is worthy of this life, who is always ready to die"
October 5 1933 died one of the most successful generals of Russia during the First World War, the hero of the Caucasian Front and one of the leaders of the White movement Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich. He was called the last commander of the Suvorov school. Yudenich, like Skobelev, acquired the glory of the “second Suvorov”. Yudenich was the last Russian Knight of the Order of St. George, II class. If it were not for the revolution, he would have become a gentleman of the Order of St. George of all degrees. Such gentlemen in stories the Russian army was only four: field marshals Kutuzov, Barclay de Tolly, Dibich and Paskevich.
Many know that the First World War was the prerequisite for the destruction of the Russian Empire. However, the First World War inscribed many glorious victories, successful offensive and defensive operations, feats and heroes into the Russian military chronicle. They are almost not remembered in modern Russia. At best, they recall the catastrophe of Samsonov’s army in East Prussia, the retreat of 1915, and the Brusilov breakthrough. On the Caucasus front of the First World War, where Russia won a number of brilliant victories, a simple man in the street practically does not know. Yudenich was a real great commander who glorified the Russian weapon in the war with Turkey. Thanks to Yudenich, in the event that the Russian Empire was not destroyed, the lands of Western Armenia, the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles and Constantinople would have to go to Russia. By 1917, Yudenich was deservedly considered a hero of the Russian Empire. Unfortunately, in Soviet times, his name was remembered only in connection with the Civil War, when Yudenich's troops almost took Petersburg, and his biography was presented in a negative light.
Youth Yudenich. Turkestan
Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich came from the nobles of the Minsk province. He was born 18 (30) in July 1862, in the ancient capital of the Russian state - in Moscow. Father - Nikolai Ivanovich Yudenich (1836 — 1892) was a typical representative of the capital's bureaucracy, was the director of the Land Survey School, and rose to a collegiate councilor, was considered a fairly educated man. Mother - nee Dal was the cousin of the honorary academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, the author of the authoritative Explanatory Dictionary of the living Great Russian language V.I. Dal, to whom Nikolai Yudenich was a second cousin nephew.
It seemed that Nikolai had to go along the civil line. In the Moscow City Gymnasium, he invariably demonstrated great abilities in the disciplines, moving from class to class with high scores. After graduating from high school, Nicholas entered the Mezhevoy Institute, but he studied for less than a year. 6 August 1879, he transferred to the 3-e Alexander Military School as a cadet in the rank of an ordinary. The choice of the military profession was not accidental. The Alexander School, located on Znamenka, was located near the parental home of Yudenich. Nicholas, like many high-school students, from the first classes dreamed of putting on his curious uniform attractive by his military rigor. 3-e Alexander Military School was one of the oldest military schools and trained infantry commanders. The course of study included not only specialized disciplines, but also general education — history, geography, etiquette, dance, and others. Nikolai remembered his years of schooling with great warmth and had many friends. His classmate, Lieutenant-General A.M. Saranchev recalled: "Nikolai Nikolayevich was then a thin, thin young man ... cheerful and cheerful."
Studying Nicholas was easy, he was one of the best junkers of his graduation. Traditionally, this gave him the opportunity to choose not only the place of service, the kind of troops, but even the military unit. 8 August 1881 after graduation Nikolai was promoted to lieutenant and chose to be appointed to the Lithuanian Guards regiment stationed in Warsaw, gaining fame in the Patriotic War 1812 of the year and the Russian-Turkish war 1877-1878. 12 September 1882, he arrived at his place of service. Service in one of the oldest and best regiments of the Russian army was a good school for the future. The officers of the regiment had good traditions.
However, Nikolai did not linger in the guard. Soon he received a new assignment with a promotion and rank in the army infantry. He was sent to the Turkestan Military District, which is difficult because of its remoteness from the European part of Russia and the climatic conditions. This military district was not considered prestigious, although it was possible to make a career here. The Turkestan district was somewhat different in structure from other military districts of the empire. The service in it for the Guards Chief Officer was held not in the regiment, but in separate battalions - the 1-m Turkestan rifle and 2-m Khodzent reserve. As a company commander, Nikolai Yudenich got a good experience and the right to submit a report with a request for training at the Academy of the General Staff. Soon he received such a right, passed the entrance exams and received a referral to the Nikolaev Academy of the General Staff.
The Academy provided higher education and excellent prospects for further military service. The course lasted three years and gave a solid store of knowledge. The level of training was very high, at the first unsatisfactory assessment the listener was immediately expelled and sent to the former duty station. Lieutenant Yudenich graduated from the academic course more than successfully - in the first category and was counted among the General Staff, having received the next rank - captain. He was appointed senior aide to the headquarters of the 14 Army Corps of the Warsaw Military District. Here Yudenich got a good experience of staff work in organizing army control. Without the support of the family and any protection, Nikolai Yudenich, through hard work and talent, independently achieved in 25 years a privileged position and honorary rank of captain of the General Staff.
From January 27 1892 - Yudenich Senior Adjutant of the Headquarters of the Turkestan Military District. Nikolai Nikolayevich served in the Turkestan district for quite a long period of his life. He quickly moved up the corporate ladder: from April 1892, the lieutenant colonel, four years later, the colonel. In Turkestan, he was successively the commander of an infantry battalion, the head officer of the 1 Turkestan Rifle Brigade, the head of the Tashkent Preparatory School of the 2 Orenburg Cadet Corps. In 1894, he took part in the Pamir Expedition as Chief of Staff of the Pamir Detachment. This expedition was recognized for the military campaign, since it was accompanied by armed clashes with Afghan troops armed with British weapons and the fight against the harsh natural conditions of sand and snow storms. For the Pamir campaign, Yudenich was awarded the Order of St. Stanislav 2 degree. One of his colleagues, Lieutenant-General D.V. Filatyev, spoke of Yudenich: “The directness and even the sharpness of judgments, the certainty of decisions and the firmness in upholding his opinion and the complete lack of propensity for any kind of compromise”. With such a character, and in the absence of connections at the top, it was difficult to make a career, but the war establishes its own laws, which differ from peacetime orders.
In 1895, Nikolai Yudenich married Alexander Nikolaevna, nee Zhemchuzhnikova, divorced wife of staff captain Sychev. They made a great honeymoon trip, visiting Moscow, Kharkov, Petersburg and made a trip abroad. Marriage was strong. According to the memoirs of colleagues, to come to visit Yudenichi was a sincere pleasure for everyone, they lived very harmoniously. Yudenich's calm disposition balanced the lively energetic character of his wife. October 9 1902 of the year Yudenich took command of the 18 rifle regiment, the 5 th rifle brigade in Suwalki.
The Russo-Japanese War
With the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, the 18 th Infantry Regiment joined the 5 Infantry Brigade of the 6 East Siberian Division. Yudenich was offered to take up the post of general on duty at the headquarters of the Turkestan Military District, which meant an early rank of general and a quiet life in the rear, but the colonel refused this offer. Upon arrival in Manchuria, Yudenich's regiment was practically not in the army reserve and soon found himself on the front line.
The Russian Manchurian army did not lose the battles to the Japanese, but it was further pushed back from the besieged Port Arthur. Yudenich's regiment took part in the battle of Sandep, where he personally led the troops that began to retreat to bayonet attack and threw the enemy away. In this battle, the commander of the 5 Brigade, General M. Churin, fell from his horse and broke his arm. As a result, Colonel N. Yudenich began to perform the duties of a brigade commander. A few days later, Colonel Yudenich led an attack on an open field, when attacking an important defensive sector of enemy troops on a bend of the Hun-He river. Despite the Japanese rifle-machine-gun and artillery fire, the Russian troops immediately took an enemy position. February 4 regiment Yudenich defended the approaches to the railway station near Mukden. The Japanese began to enter the flank of the defense of the 18 regiment, and the colonel led a counterattack. In hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, Yudenich, along with soldiers, wielded a rifle with a bayonet. The Japanese could not stand the Russian bayonet attack and ran. Colonel Nikolai Yudenich was wounded by a gunshot bullet in his left hand - a through bullet wound on the inside of his left elbow without crushing bones and joints, but remained in the ranks.
During the battle of Mukden, the 18 th rifle regiment was among the right-flank formations of the Russian army, attacked by the 3 th Japanese army, which tried to reach the rear of the Russian troops north of Mukden, cutting off the railway and the way to the north. Early in the morning of February 19, the 5 and 8 Infantry Divisions of the 3 Imperial Army launched an offensive in the Madyapu, Sathhoz and Yansintun sectors. The regiment of Yudenich defended the redoubt №8 at the village of Yansyntun. Japanese artillery bombarded the Russian positions, and as the sun rose, the enemy went on the attack. In the hastily prepared positions of the regiment Yudenich reflected a few massive blows of the enemy. Nikolai Yudenich showed “exemplary”, as they wrote in the award documents, personal courage and fearlessness. At one of the critical moments, Yudenich personally raised one of the battalions to the counterattack. Only upon receipt of an order from the High Command, the 18 regiment withdrew from its positions. The Japanese did not manage to make a flank maneuver. The attacking rush of the Japanese divisions was stopped by Siberian riflemen. On this day, Nikola Yudenich received another wound - a rifle bullet in the right half of the neck. The bullet passed around the carotid artery without hitting it. Immediately after his recovery, he returned to the location of the unit.
The military historian A. A. Kersnovsky, in the “History of the Russian Army”, talking about the battle of Mukden, gave the names of three regimental commanders, who during this battle formed a brilliant reputation. This is the commander of the 18 th regiment - Yudenich, 1 of the Siberian - Colonel Lesh and 24 of the Siberian - Colonel Lechitsky. For the difference in the battle of Mukden, resilience and courage, the personnel of the 18 Infantry Regiment was awarded a special insignia by decree of the emperor. The inscription read: “For Yansyntun. February 1905 of the year. " Colonel Yudenich was honored with a high military award, especially honored in the Russian Imperial Army. He was awarded the Golden Weapon - a saber with the inscription "For Bravery". Yudenich was awarded with other awards, for the courage and skillful leadership of the troops, the colonel in September 1905 was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir 3 degree with swords, and in February 1906, the Order of St. Stanislav 1 degree with swords.
The Russian-Japanese war became for Nikolay Nikolayevich an authentic school of military art and opened new perspectives in a military career. 19 June 1905 of the Year Yudenich was promoted to Major General with the appointment of the 2 Infantry Division as commander of the 5 Brigade with honorary eternal admission to the lists of the 18 Regiment. In the capital, the merits of the regimental commander who went to the regimental commanders for the ninth year were appreciated.
Between two wars
The last injury was especially grave and Yudenich’s stay in the hospital was delayed until the 1907 year. After leaving the hospital, he was awaited by a high appointment - the quartermaster general of the headquarters of the Caucasian Military District. We can say that the career of Nikolai Yudenich developed well. The general, having the Nikolaev Academy behind him and the combat experience of the Russian-Japanese war, grew rather quickly. He celebrated his 50 anniversary as Chief of Staff of the Kazan Military District.
However, Yudenich did not stay long in Kazan. Approaching a big war in Europe. It was obvious that Turkey would not stay away from it. In the Russian General Staff, which predicted a military confrontation with the Turkish army in Transcaucasia. We decided to strengthen the leadership of the Caucasian Military District. In the event of war he had to turn around to the front. We considered several candidates for the position of the head of staff, settled on Yudenich. In 1913, Yudenich became the chief of staff of the district in the Caucasus and was promoted to lieutenant general.
Diligent and energetic Yudenich quickly settled into a new place, having met with complete understanding from the closest assistants. General Dutsenko, a colleague of Yudenich in the Caucasus, recalled: “He always and calmly listened to everything, even if it was contrary to the program he had planned ... General Yudenich never interfered in the work of subordinate chiefs, never criticized orders, reports, but the words he threw were thought , full of meaning and were a program for those who listened to them. ”
Yudenich was simple in communication, there was no arrogance in him. As General B.P. recalled. Veselorezov: “In the shortest possible time, he became both close and comprehensible to Caucasians. Similarly, he was always with us. Surprisingly simple, in which there was no poison called "Generalin", indulgent, he quickly won the hearts. Always welcoming, he was widely hospitable. His comfortable apartment saw numerous associates in the service, the building officers and their families, happily hurrying to the affectionate invitation of the general and his wife. " Already during the First World War M.K. Lemke wrote: in a diary: “…. literally with all keeps the same. As a quartermaster general and then chief of staff of the Caucasian Military. district, he spoke the same way with Count Vorontsov-Dashkov and with the second lieutenant of his staff. "
Nikolai Nikolayevich was not only interested in official affairs. But he tried to study the situation in the region, the Caucasus was a difficult area even in peacetime. He was engaged in military and diplomatic activities. Iran was of strategic importance in the upcoming war. He became the cause of disagreements between Russia and England. The American Morgan Shuster became the chief financial adviser to the Iranian government. He led an anti-Russian economic policy in Tehran. At the same time gave the "green light" to the German agents. The General Staff instructed Yudenich to prepare several military units for possible entry into Persian territory to protect the state interests of the Russian Empire. During one of the incidents, Russian troops entered Iranian territory. Petersburg, threatening to strike at Tehran, demanded the resignation of Morgan Schuster. Persian authorities were forced to fulfill this requirement. These days, the headquarters of the Caucasian corps acted with full load, as in wartime conditions. The Caucasian headquarters solved this task brilliantly, showing readiness to mobilize the troops as soon as possible.
To be continued ...