Terek Cossacks in game

Posted: August 20, 2013 in Rus Mod, Uncategorized

terek cossacks in game

First the game screen showing the in-game tips about this new faction.

My source has been mostly The Caucasus Under Soviet Rule, from Alex Marshall:

 

The Cossack revolt quickly established Mozdok as its main territorial base, that

being the site to which the Cossack faction of the People’s Council in Vladikavkaz

had moved. The rebellion was hindered from the very outset by military disorganization

and strategic dissent. Contact with Denikin’s Volunteer Army to the northwest,

a potentially valuable source of military assistance, was established only in

September by aeroplane; the Menshevik leader of the revolt, Georgii Bicherakhov,

regarded Denikin with suspicion, and remarked to one of his military commanders,

General Madritov, that ‘[i]t is unknown what the Volunteer Army will bring us;

maybe we Terek folk will have to fight them’.

 

 The rebellion’s military commandersdesired to institute a full-scale mobilization under military discipline,

but their political counterparts insisted on volunteer units and the election of commanders,

a throwback to the heady 1917 days of ‘revolutionary democracy’ within

the armed forces. There was also a more general and damaging split between the

Cossacks and professional military officers of the old Tsarist army such as Madritov,

who accused the Cossacks of having an inbuilt prejudice towards non-Cossack

officers that resulted in their hoarding official appointments and engaging in extensive nepotism.

 

Whilst the military command urged linking up with Denikin around Prokhladnyi

train station to the west, Georgii Bicherakhov and his supporters were by contrast

orientated wholly eastward, towards Georgii’s brother Lazar  in Port

Petrovsk, from where the revolt had already received 2 million roubles in financial

assistance, alongside military supplies. However, Kizliar, a critical transport

hub held by around 750–800 pro-Bolshevik troops, formed a geographical ‘cork’

blocking Bicherakhov’s forces from meeting up fully with those of his brother.

Though besieged from August 1918 onwards, the town never fell, and the arrival

of Bolshevik relief forces from Astrakhan in mid-September, in the form of guns,

cavalry, ammunition, armoured cars and units of the famously stoic Latvian riflemen,

marked a critical turning-point in the overall fortunes of the Cossack revolt.

 

Even here, however, Madritov saw evidence of the Cossacks’ own weaknesses

rather than overwhelming Bolshevik strength. Around Kizliar, in his own account,

endemic drunkenness reigned amongst the besieging troops, wine being omnipresent

in the trenches, and fraternization frequently occurred between the two supposedly

warring sides. When Bolshevik reinforcements eventually arrived in September,

the town was already effectively ‘de-blockaded’, the Cossacks having dispersed

back to their native stanitsas.

 

 Attempts at other critical points to form a junctionbetween Lazar and Georgii Bicherakhov’s forces were furthermore foiled by relativelysmall bands of pro-Bolshevik Chechens. When, on 8 September, Lazar

occupied the town of Khasaviurt, only a destroyed railway bridge separated his

forces from those of his brother; however, the repairs to this bridge that Georgii

Bicherakhov’s men effected by day were then undone by Chechen night-time

raids, and the Chechens’ placement of just two artillery guns on the dominating

heights east of Gudermes then created just sufficient additional harassment to

again prevent military unification being achieved.

 

 The injunction against introducingformal mobilization, meanwhile, combined with the decision to observe

only the ‘discipline of conscience’, resulted in individual Cossack military units

in general manning the front lines for only one or two weeks at a time, whilst the

revolt as a whole consequently never mustered more than around 12,000 men and

40 guns in the field. Under such conditions, General Denikin later observed, what

was truly remarkable was that such a rebellion, surrounded by enemies, actually

lasted five months.

 

 

Despite such glaring weaknesses amongst their opponents, the revolt in fact

created great difficulties in the military sense for the pro-Bolshevik rulers of

the Terek People’s Republic right from the very beginning. The army that the

Vladikavkaz soviet had briefly endeavoured to set up in April 1918 relied for

professional leaders on unemployed and often starving Tsarist officers. Generals

Ruzskii and Radko-Dimitriev, two of the more talented officers of the old Tsarist

army, had refused to lead this Terek army, and were eventually executed as a consequence,

which led to the responsibility for commanding these new formations

falling upon General Madritov, who accepted the new post of commander-in-chief

of all forces in the Terek oblast’ at the beginning of June 1918. Madritov sympathized

with the White cause, however, and his subsequent defection to the side of

the Cossack–peasant council during the ‘August Days’ fighting in and around

Vladikavkaz then rendered stillborn regional Bolshevik efforts to enlist military

specialists for the creation of better trained and led local military forces.94

 

The first major battle around Prokhladnyi also ended in both the tactical defeat

of Soviet forces, and the wider strategic reversal that, as a consequence, for four

months they were then cut off from the Bolshevik 11th Army operating around

Astrakhan. Ordzhonikidze tried to reopen talks and divide the ordinary Cossacks

from their officer corps, but without success. August saw a key battle being

fought for Vladikavkaz, the capital of the Terek People’s Republic itself, right in

the midst of the fourth Soviet congress being held there. On 6 August 1918, at

five in the morning, an eighty-man Cossack-Ossetian formation under the command

of Colonel Sokolov attacked and virtually seized control of the town centre.

On their own side, the Soviet defenders when the attack began could only muster

the 1st Regiment of the Vladikavkaz soviet, ethnic Chinese soldiers from the Chinese

Revolutionary Detachment, some armed Ossetian members of Kermen, and fighters of

a workers’ self-defence unit from the suburbs of Kursk and Molokan. ProSoviet

forces were consequently reduced to clinging onto these two outer suburbs

and shelling their opponents in the town itself from an armoured train.

 

The entry of the Ingush into the fight on the Bolshevik side was in this sense critical,

not so much for its impact upon the fighting within Vladikavkaz itself, but

because it rendered the Cossacks more nervous over the safety of their own homes

and property, undermining their will to continue fighting within the town at a time

when their families in the rear potentially faced increased danger. Yet even this

problem could have been avoided with greater preliminary military-political organization:

according to another participant, the Terek Cossack–Peasant Council had

already reached an agreement with the Ingush not to attack Vladikavkaz without

their participation. Sokolov’s initial thrust into the town was perceived by the Ingush

as a betrayal of this bargain, and the Ingush entry into the conflict on the Bolshevik

side was thereafter influenced as much by traditional Ingush-Ossetian antagonism

(the Ossetians during the first few days of August having looted Ingush homes and

property in Vladikavkaz) as by any political considerations.

 

Of course, FY has considerably flattened the reality, and most nuances will be lost. I’ve kept as much as possible, and I believe this will solve the trouble about the fast conquest of the area by Southern Whites.

 

Comments
  1. Clovis says:

    BTW, this new setup allows me to suppress the immobilization for the first 2 turns of the Don Cossacks, as this rule was intended to slow the rate of Southern White advance at start. Not my brightest idea, but path of truth is paved with errors 😉

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