Transbaikal Front formed

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Rus Mod

transbaikal front


“The most reliable and battle-hardened Red organizers and soldiers been

dispatched to the wilds of Transbaikalia to squash Semenov’s rebellion. Western Siberia

had been stripped of Red fighters for the Transbaikal campaign, and ‘official information

of the Chita revolutionary staff’ indicated that as many as than 26,000 men had been

brought to bear upon OMO, complimented by a corresponding arsenal of small arms,

machine guns and shells”.

Jamie Bisher, White terror, Cossacks Warlord of Transiberian
Another small piece of fixing of the startup in the GC: no more deserted lands, allowing Semenov to ride without opposition at start.

  1. Krot says:

    Vivat Clovis! You have been materializing the things which others (including me) only wrote about.

    Do you need any help with OOB for the Reds?
    I have in my library rather good modern Russian research on the matter – “Civil war in the Eastern Siberia” by Novikov.
    As far as I remember Red forces included lots of internationalists who were liberated Central powers POWs and allied Anarchists under Nestor Kalandarishvili who later became as famous in Siberia as his namesake and fellow Anarchist partizan leader Nestor Makhno in the Ukraine.

    • Clovis says:

      From my source, a large part was indeed made of POW and Anarchists Bolsheviks were eager to send far far away from the main urban centers.

      But these POW were present in mixed units. I’ve tried to depict this by creating a wrong Internationalist unit.

      My main problem is of course my ignorance of Russian language, limiting me to Western sources (and yet not German also). I will humbly receive and use any info, for any theater.

      Thanks a lot! 🙂

  2. Krot says:

    Hi Clovis.
    First I should correct a little initial setup of belligerent forces.
    According to Novikov and his sources in 18 may 1918 the Reds retook Olovyannaya station and the frontline went along the Onon river (on RUS map it means that The Reds keep Olovyannaya and Semenov – Borzya station one region north of Manchuria station).

    On 27 may 1918 the Reds renewed their offensive and their main forces under Sergei Lazo having outflanked Semenov who defended higher right bank of the Onon took Borzya station 9 june 1918. Semenov fled southwards leaving some arty and MGs on the way.
    At the same time the Red forces to north-east of the railroad (on Rus map it is Baley region) under Vassilii Kozhevnikov destroyed 400-men Horochan Mongolian cavalry regiment and routed Transbaikal cossacks mobilized by Semenov.
    After such defeats Semenov had to retreat by 19 june 1918 to Russian-Chinese border and afters more than 5 weeks of stubborn trench warfare along the border Semenov retreated from Transbaikal to Manchuria on 28 July 1918.

    I wiill publish Red OOB in my next post.

    • Clovis says:

      You’re right about the initial setup. In fact, I was too tired yesterday to search the right region on the map and I placed the new units in a provisional location.. Thanks for having done the research for me. Eagerly waiting your next message 🙂

  3. Krot says:

    The numbers for Transbaikal (Daurian) front red forces given by Bisher and based on Chita revolutionary staff report are strongly exaggerated. The said staff had every reason to overvalue its own effectiveness in mobilizing masses to fight counter-revolution. Moreover many enlisted fighters disappeared on the way to the frontline as they were led not by military discipline but by revolutionary enthusiasm which could be feeble. For example out of 960 cavalrymen of Internationalist cavalry divizion who departed from Irkutsk to fight Semenov in May 1918 only 250 came to the front. Communists said that all deserters were unruly Anarchists but who knows…

    Maximum number of Red forces concentrated against Semenov in May 1918 totaled up to 13,000 men and 30 artillery pieces and 2 armored trains: 900 Hungarians; 400 Chinese; 400 Anarchists; 3,500 red guards (800 Transbaikal, 1,700 Siberian west of Irkutsk, 1,000 Far Eastern); 2,000 Transbaikal peasants infantry (WW I veterans); 500 personnel of armored trains and artillery units and last but not the least 5,500 Transbaikal mounted Cossacks mostly of 3rd and 4th departments of Transbaikal Cossack Host who rented Cabinet i.e. Emperor family land and wanted to take it for free.

    Front commander S.G. Lazo.
    Main forces under S.M. Seryshev (attacking Semenov along the railroad).
    2 light armored trains. They were constructed and armed in Chita and could be called 1st an 2nd Chita armored trains. In RUS terms these armored trains were light.
    Around 20 artillery pieces including heavy artillery (at least 3 152 mm. heavy howitzers and one 76,2 mm. battery were transferred from Transbaikal to Nizhneudinsk front west of Irkutsk in late June 1918 to fight Siberian Whites and Czechs).
    1st Far Eastern Socialist detachment (CO V.A. Borodavkin): 1,000 men (sailors and dockers of Vladivostok, Blagoveshchensk and Khabarovsk ports) and some artillery pieces.
    1st Internationalist detachment (CO F.P. Lavrov): 900 men (half of them ex-POWs, mostly Hungarians).
    Internationalist cavalry division: NA
    1st and 2nd Argun Cossack regiments 1,700 sabers
    1st infantry regiment (CO Zhuravlev) 1,000 men
    Some other infantry units formed by Transbaikal peasants 1,000 men
    Siberian (Omsk) Red guards detachment: 1,700 men plus some artillery.
    Transbaikal Red guards detachments of Aksha (150), Lomovskii (250), Chita and Khilok station railway workers (NA); Chernov and Arbagarsk coal mines (NA).
    To north-east of railway line attacked Red forces under V.A. Kozhevnikov with:
    5 artillery pieces
    Red guards of Aleksandrovskii zavod (300), Nerchinsk (360) and Unda (400);
    1st Transbaikal revolutionary cavalry regiment: 800 (other source says 680) sabers (Cossacks of Onon-Borzya area).
    Kop-Zor-Gaz brigade (named after first syllables of Kopun, Zorgol and Gazimurskii zavod where the brigade was formed): 3,000 sabers of mounted Cossacks (Novikov gave only 1,400 but he is mistaken here IMO).


  4. Krot says:

    BTW In GC setup and on the screenshot above Kalmykov force seats in Nerchinsk east of Chita.
    In RL his forces were 2,000 km to south-east, near Grodekovo (border region west of Khanka lake, do not remember how it is called on RUS map). That is why he took not Chita but Khabarovsk (supported by Czechs and Japanese ‘volunteers’).


  5. Krot says:

    Thinking on some conflicting numbers given above (most evident is difference between Transbaikal Red guards total strength and cumulative strength of separate local detachments or 2 times difference in estimations of Kop-Zor-Gaz brigade numbers) I suppose that all these numbers could be right for different periods of time.
    Some Cossacks who joined Red guard units during first Semenov offensive in January-February 1918 later served in ‘pure’ Cossack units like both Argun regiments or Kop-Zor-Gaz brigade. Many Cossacks of the 3rd and the 4th Transbaikal Cossack Host departments mobilized by Semenov deserted and joined the Reds in Spring 1918.
    As Transbaikal Cossacks and Red guards were local units they were reluctant to fight far from their homes (they were tired of 3 years war after all). It is said that after Semenov had been defeated on the Onon river only portion of the Cossacks went with the Reds to pursue Semenov forces to the Russian-Chinese border. Others went home as they felt their job done.

    PS. If you plan to correct Semenov and/or Kalmykov forces OOB I can help with info.

    • Clovis says:

      First, thanks once again for the input. I will modify the setup in the next days.

      I was about to ask you indeed about OMO and other White OOB. Keep coming 🙂

  6. Krot says:

    Hi Clovis.
    Sorry for long delay. I had to compare different sources on Semenov’s Manchurian Special Detachment (OMO) and Kalmykov’s detachment OOB and to think on them a little. Here we have the very same problem as with Transbailal front figures.

    To be continued.

  7. Krot says:

    Continuation on OMO OOB.

    In early June 1918 OMO numbered about 7,000 men.

    Support units:

    Automobile company: 1 AC, 15 trucks, 1 passenger car.

    Railroad company.

    Engineer company which after reorganization of OMO engineer units 11 June 1918 consisted of: 1) engineer half-company; 2) road half-company; 3) demolition squad; 4) telegraph-telephone squad; 5) engineer train. Korean workers company and demolition squads of four OMO regiments were also subordinated to OMO engineer company CO.

    Sanitary-evacuation department: stationary hospital in Manchuria station, sanitary trains (railroad) and forward sanitary transports (wheeled).


    Marching (replacement) company: 300 men in early May 1918.

    Independent Japanese infantry battalion (CO captain Hirakasa): 400 regular Japanese infantry (soldiers were volunteer Japanese reservists who resided in continental Far East) when arrived in middle May 1918. Later reinforced and numbered 600 men.

    Giving OMO artillery OOB in the previous post I forgot to mention that all Japanese artillery pieces were
    serviced by Japanese military personnel which numbered about 60 men. There were also Japanese military advisors who played very important role as Japan was the most generous sponsor of Semenov.

    Infantry brigade (CO lieutenant-colonel Kruze). 2 regiments of Chinese mercenaries with double officer and NCO complement (Chinese and Russian):

    1st Semenov infantry regiment: 2 battalions. In early May 1918 the regiment had 107 officers and 900 rank and file. 21 June 1918 the regiment had 1330 Japanese rifles, 300 Japanese carbines, 43 revolvers, 8 Hotchkiss and 2 Maxim MGs. 1 July 1918 the regiment included 87 officers, 53 NCOs and 748 privates.

    2nd Manchurian infantry regiment: 2 battalions. In early May 1918 the regiment had 57 officers and 1009 rank and file.
    Independent Serbian horse divizion (CO captain Dragovich). 300 men. Formed in May 1918 out of 3rd (Serbian) battalion (Serbian) of 1st Semenov infantry regiment.
    Horse brigade (CO colonel Matsievsky). 3 horse regiments, each of 4 sotnias:
    1st Mongol-Buryatian horse regiment. In spite of its name the regiment consisted mostly of Russians subjects – volunteer officers, Cossacks and Buryats. In early May 1918 the regiment included 76 officers and 247 horsemen.
    2nd and 3rd Daurian horse regiments. These regiments were formed of Mongolian (Harachin tribe) mercenaries with Russian officers and NCOs.
    2nd Daurian regiment was formed before OMO began its offensive in April 1918. In early May 1918 the regiment included 253 horsemen. 21 June 1918 the regiment had 71 Japanese and 830 Mexican rifles, 27 Japanese carbines, 3 Hotchkiss and 4 Maxim MGs. 1 July 1918 the regiment included 55 officers 733 horsemen.
    3rd Daurian horse regiment formed 1 June 1918 in Dauria station with 400 Harachin horsemen who arrived in mid-May 1918. 9 June 1918 it was destroyed in Klyuchevskoe but restored later.
    Cossack horse regiments. 3 regiments, each of 4 sotnias. When formed in April 1918 all three regimens numbered 900 sabers total.
    1st Onon horse regiment. Acted with main OMO forces along the railroad. In early May 1918 this regiment numbered 251 officers and 1616 Cossacks. Most of them were members of local volunteer Cossack units (druzhinas and self-defense detachments) which were administratively subordinated to the regiment.
    2nd Aksha-Mangut regiment. Acted on OMO left flank. In early May 1918 this regiment numbered 10 officers and 320 Cossacks. Disbanded 12 July 1918 due to mass desertions.
    3rd Purin regiment. Acted on OMO right flank. In early May 1918 this regiment numbered 3 officers and 155 Cossacks.
    Urga horse detachment (CO esaul Shirokikh). Acted on the far left OMO flank near Troitskossavsk. 20 May 1918 the detachment retreated to Mongolia.
    Romanov also mentions that in early June 1918 3,000 rebel White Cossacks under officers Tonkikh and Zheromskii occupied Nerchinsk but were not supported by retreating Semenov and evacuated under agreement with local soviet.
    In early June 1918 in Mulino (to north-east of the railway) Red Cossack Kop-Zor-Gaz brigade destroyed 2 newly-formed unnamed Cossack regiments under esaul Belomestnov (each regiment numbered only around 150 sabers) which were never restored.
    It would be great to add Ungern Sternberg and Matsievsky to OMO initial setup (they are present in RUS data) as both played prominent roles in OMO. The former was Semenov’s deputy and the latter distinguished himself as OMO cavalry leader.

  8. Krot says:

    I already wrote about Kalmykov detachment location. Now about its OOB.

    28 May 1918 ataman Kalmykov detachment (300 bayonets and 200 sabers) reinforced by vanguard of colonel Orlov detachment (300 men) began its offensive on Grodekovo.

    In July 1918 after mobilization of Ussuri Cossacks the detachment numbered 1,200 bayonets and sabers and some artillery.

    Kalmykov defeated local Red guards (70 men) but the Reds rapidly formed anti-Kalmykov Grodekovo front which in June 1918 included:
    Local red guards units much increased in numbers;
    2 improvised armored trains;
    Vladivostok Internationalist battalion (310);
    Red guards of Nikolsk-Ussuriisky (350) and Khabarovsk (100);
    1st Far Eastern Socialist detachment transferred from Transbaikal (Daurian) front after OMO defeat.

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