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Russian civil war [1917-1923]

A multi-party civil war in the former Russian Empire immediately after the two Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the Bolshevik form of socialism led by Vladimir Lenin, and the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favouring political monarchism, economic capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and anti-democratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eight foreign nations intervened against the Red Army, notably the former Allied military forces from the World War and the pro-German armies.


1st Czechoslovak Assault Battalion

"A red and white ribbon for Bohemia, a mortal skull for death, there is no life without the Czech state, freedom or death." It was the motto, energy and life philosophy of strikers, which is the name for members of the 1st Czechoslovak separate assault battalion.

A family that shook the world

The Novgorod engraver Sverdlov and his wife gave the world not only the leader of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic, but also a French general and an American banker.

Alexander Bridge 1918

After the outbreak of fierce fighting between units of the legionary Czechoslovak Army Corps and the Soviet government in Russia in May 1918, after the so-called Chelyabinsk incident and insidious raids by Czechoslovak trains by Bolshevik units without a previous declaration of hostility, the corps' situation was all the more complicated because its troops fought the enemy's superiority in several isolated groups, far from each other along the Trans-Siberian highway ...

Armored cars on guard of freedom

During the First World War, there was an unprecedented development of various motor vehicles, which, in addition to tanks and aircraft, included armored cars. Although the idea of a passenger car retrofitted with machine gun armament was realized in the first years of the last century, the first mass-produced vehicles, equipped with armor and one or two rotating turrets, saw the light of day on the battlefields of the Great War. The fact is that armored cars were produced by virtually all major states that took part in the conflict. And several such vehicles were also in the arsenal of our foreign troops.

Armoured trains of the Russian army in the Great War

The first armored train of the Russian army was built already at the beginning of August 1914, i.e. at the very beginning of combat operations, by the 9th Railway Battalion in Tarnopol. Interesting is that a number of its elements came from the enemy. Initially consisted of captured Austrian locomotives fitted with armour, and three cars, one with gun and two with machine-guns. This whole armament came from the loot captured from the enemy.

Artillery and armored trains of Polish troops in eastern Russia and Siberia

The emergence of Polish troops in eastern Russia and Siberia is directly linked to the beginning of defensive battles of the Czechoslovak Army Corps in Russia ( also called the Legion ), moving from Ukraine to Vladivostok. The struggles of this corps, which in turn provoked Allied intervention in the Far East, enabled the emergence of units of the Polish army, which in such a remote area, in difficult material and natural conditions, indelibly inscribed in the military history of Poland.

Bezenčuk 1918

It loosely follows the article Alexander Bridge 1918, Lipjagy 1918 and partially precedes the article Samara 1918.

Captain in memoriam Antonín HALBICH

He was highly valued by others for his bravery and tactical balance. According to other members of the company, he was very hardworking, and in addition to his extraordinary talent in strategy, he constantly tried to improve the training of other strikers. He compiled for the members of the strike battalion a manual on hand grenades of all known types with drawings. He translated the operating instructions for American machine guns from English. He was also recognized for his armaments skills, where he often taught other strikers to control captured weapons.

Cavalry Colonel Miroslav Broz

Biography of the cavalry colonel Miroslav Brož, the Russian legionnaire "Starodružiník" and the first republican cavalry officer, the last commander of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment "Siberian".

Chelyabinsk incident

On May 14, 1918, an incident occurred in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, which changed the course of our and world history.

Chelyabinsk incident 1918

"After the withdrawal of the Czechoslovak Army Corps from Ukraine, after the famous fighting near Bachmač in March 1918, there were difficult negotiations with the Soviet government to move the corps across Russia to the port of Vladivostok, from where the corps was to transport the corps to France on the Western Front. officially part of the Czechoslovak army in France) to continue the fight against Germany and Austria-Hungary, but the Soviet government tried to detain the Czechoslovaks and use their combat potential. enmity between the Soviet government and the Czechoslovak Army Corps. These events became the beginning of the most famous part of the history of the Czechoslovak army of Russia - the Siberian anabasis ... "

Czech Kornilovs

We have already written about the 1st Czechoslovak separate assault battalion. As for this martial art based on the traditions of strike (elite) units, it was still controlled by the Czech association in Czechoslovakia. an engineer battalion called the Czech Kornilovs (named after General Kornilov), who fought in the ranks of the White Guard Voluntary Army against Bolshevik Russia. Today, the Czech Kornilovs are a completely forgotten stage of our famous military history. Why?

Czechoslovak Engineering Regiment, the so-called Kornilov Battalion

Not much is known about the regiment, which was founded on the Don in 1918, it is mostly confused with the Kornilov Strike Regiment, with which it had nothing to do. What they have in common is that they fought side by side against the Bolsheviks. Here is the story of its origin, struggle and way home from the Russian Civil War.

Divisional General Stanislav Cecek

The first Czech commander of Czechoslovak company and regiment during the First World War, one of the supreme commanders of our legionaries in Russia and a top official of the newly formed Czechoslovak Army, a man who became a legend during his lifetime.

From the Chelyabinsk Incident to the War with the Soviet Government (1918)

The so-called Chelyabinsk incident in the spring of 1918, which was the result of a series of provocations by the Soviet government in a tense situation, was followed by insidious raids by previously deliberately divided Czechoslovak trains without declaring hostilities in Marianovka, Irkutsk and Zlatoust by Soviet troops. This led to open hostility between the Czechoslovak Army Corps in Russia and the Soviet government, followed by the famous Siberian anabasis of Czechoslovak legionnaires in Russia.

gen. Rudolf Medek

In March 1931 he was promoted to general. He then became the most important figure in legionnaire literature. He largely deserved recognition of the merits and traditions of Czechoslovak legionářů at ...

Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Bohumil Záleský

The man who last commanded the so-called "Kornilov Battalion" , otherwise the Czechoslovak Engineering Regiment, which was established in January 1918 on the Don in General Kornilov's Voluntary Army. A man who personally took part in 59 battles with the Bolsheviks.

Kiev 1918

After the famous battle of Zborov in July 1917 and the subsequent July battles of the so-called Tarnopol retreat, which is also the name of Czechoslovakia. made the soldier famous, the Czechoslovak Rifle Brigade had significant losses. After constant fighting, in which she proved herself fully, she was moved to the area of Volyn, where a strong Czech community lived, to rest and replenish her numbers...

Kljukvená 1918

Soon after the famous battle of Czechoslovak legionaries at Zborov was established within the new 2nd Division of the Czechoslovak army in Russia the 1st Independent Strike Battalion. First in the form of separate strike companies at the end of 1917, as an elite part of the Czechoslovak army. These companies were soon merged to form a separate battalion, which was directly under the command of the division. He had four infantry companies, one machine gun company, a pioneer mortar platoon and logistics. The emblem of the strike battalion, later very famous, was a mortal skull with crossbones on a red background.

Latvia at the Crossroads of Wars 1914 - 1920 (I.)

Military-political developments in Latvia during the First World War and during the independence struggles against the background of the civil war in Russia. The internal power struggle between the Latvian nationalists, the Latvian Bolsheviks and the Baltic Germans was accompanied by the intervention of external forces. The Red Army of Soviet Russia, the Freikorps of Germany, the Western Volunteer Army of the White Guard Russians, and the Royal Navy of Great Britain intervened in local events to advance their interests and influence. As a result, Latvia remained a battlefield until 1920.

Latvia at the Crossroads of Wars 1914 - 1920 (II.)

The attempt to Sovietize Latvia not only deprived the government of P. Stučka of public support, but also undermined the morale of its main power support - the red Latvian shooters. Mass desertions from the Red Army began, motivated initially by a reluctance to continue fighting when Latvia was already freed from the Germans. Subsequently, disagreement with the policy of the Latvian Soviet government was added, and some of its soldiers even began to move to the tent of the government of K. Ulmanis.

Lieutenant Jan Gayer

Arrived June 4, 1918 and took part in the famous Battle of Lipjag. Here, as the interim commander of the 4th Czechoslovak Rifle Regiment, he personally led the entire regiment in the rain of bullets and around exploding grenades and shrapnel, and with his example he dragged everyone else into an enthusiastic attack. He led and organized the entire event of the 4th Regiment in this battle. The final bayonet attack was led by Lt. Gayer personally at the head of his regiment.

Lipjagy 1918

Fighting Czechoslovak legionaries of the 4th Rifle Regiment with the superiority of Soviet troops at Lipjag in June 1918.

Lt. Karel Vašátko

Biography of a member and later commander of the 2nd Company of the Czech Company. One of the bravest members of our legions in Russia.

Penza 1918

After the incident in May in Chelyabinsk and the raids on the Czechoslovak parts without a previous declaration of hostilities in Marianovka, Zlatoust and Irkutsk, the intentions of the Soviet government were already clear to the Czechoslovaks. It was clear that heavy fighting would come as part of the corps' defense and its intended route to the French battlefield, because the Soviet government would not release the Czechoslovak Army Corps from its controlled territory. The Soviet government wanted a well-armed, disciplined, and experienced army corps either to win over its promises or threats to fight its enemies, or to intern it and give it to Austria-Hungary as a possible "gift." Therefore, the Czechoslovaks no longer believed the false promises of the Bolsheviks after recent experiences. The Soviet government manifested itself against the Czechoslovak raid on Czechoslovak trains after previous delays and threats. clearly open hostility to the army corps. There was subsequently an open war between Czechoslovak army corps and the Soviet government.

Prisoner of war and internment camps in Poland in the years 1919 - 1924

The defeat of the military bloc of the Central Powers marked the end of the Great War, later referred to as World War I, for the peoples of Europe. As a result, Austria-Hungary disintegrated, new independent states emerged in Central Europe (Poland and Czechoslovakia), and a revolution broke out in Germany and the fall of the empire. Following the end of the war, European governments were able to address the problems caused by the long-running global conflict.

Russian legions close up

The Czechoslovak legions in Russia, together with the French and Italian legions, were among the most significant manifestations of foreign anti-Austrian resistance during the First World War. However, the effort to establish Czechoslovak troops in the states of the Allies in all cases encountered unclear war goals of the Allies and political pressures of various, mostly pro-Austrian oriented interest groups. However, thanks to developments on the Western and Southern fronts and the great political efforts of the members of the Czech Republic, all existing obstacles fell during 1917 in France and in 1918 in Italy. The Czechoslovak legions could subsequently begin to form in peace as a politically autonomous part of the national armies of these states.

Russian legions close up

The Czechoslovak legions in Russia, together with the French and Italian legions, were among the most significant manifestations of foreign anti-Austrian resistance during the First World War. However, the effort to establish Czechoslovak troops in the states of the Allies in all cases encountered unclear war goals of the Allies and political pressures of various, mostly pro-Austrian oriented interest groups. However, thanks to developments on the Western and Southern fronts and the great political efforts of the members of the Czech Republic, all existing obstacles fell during 1917 in France and in 1918 in Italy. The Czechoslovak legions could subsequently begin to form in peace as a politically autonomous part of the national armies of these states.

Russian legions close up

The foundations of the Czechoslovak legions in Russia began to form shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. In 1914, approximately 60-100 thousand Czech compatriots lived in the Russian Empire. Most of them were natives, but next to them, a large number of Czech specialists and engineers, who were still citizens of Austria-Hungary, had been employed in the Russian economy since the beginning of the century.

Russian legions close up

Since the very beginning of the Czechoslovak Republic, the Czechoslovak legions have been highlighted as the only strong point of stability and democracy in large areas of the Russian country. Relations between Czechoslovak soldiers were often presented almost as non-conflicting. Any disputes within the legions were often attributed more to unfortunate misunderstandings than to other, more objective causes.

Russian legions close up

The first stage of the existence of Czechoslovak Armed Forces movement in Russia was the period of the so-called Czech retinue. This relatively small military unit was a regular part of the Russian III. army. Its members were completely subject to Russian military orders, which strictly and very strictly defined the rules of life in the army. Despite all the restrictions, however, Czechoslovakia. volunteers in a gradually growing unit were able to create some elements of internal autonomy. However, it encountered a number of obstacles in its daily contact with the Russian environment. These were formed mainly by Russian officers of the Company and compatriots who had already lost their sense of belonging to the Czech nation.

Russian legions close up

The February Revolution brought Russia huge changes that did not escape the army. Deeply demoralized compatriots could be expelled from the 1st Czechoslovak Brigade. The existing tsarist system of troops was replaced by a reorganized revolutionary army. Elected regimental committees ( committees ) were established, and the activities of the commanders were supervised by political commissioners. Most of the existing military orders were abandoned and new administrative elements were introduced instead. According to František Polák, these were changes that were unheard of even by the widely applied degree of democratization for the armies of traditional democratic states. In the history of Czechoslovak troops in Russia played a key role.

Russian legions close up

The appearance of legions against the Bolsheviks pitted the Czechoslovak army into a new situation. While the existing independent administrative institutions were established only temporarily, with the knowledge that the army would soon switch to the French system, after the speech, the sovereign structure of the democratic administration of the legions began to be consistently organized. July 28, 1918 was the Congress of Czechoslovak troops adopted an amended French disciplinary code. The system of regimental committees and proxies was specified, and in the autumn of 1918 the reorganization of the Czechoslovak troops judiciary began. The armed performance changed the character of the army. Its ranks were supplemented by mobilized czechoslovak prisoners. The soldiers began to be visibly affected by the prolonged combat deployment.

Russian legions close up

At the turn of 1918 and 1919, Czechoslovak regiments withdrew on the Trans-Siberian railroad. This step was already demanded in the summer of 1918 at the Ufa negotiations on a unified Russian government, but the slow organization of Russian troops delayed it. Withdrawal of Czechoslovak army, among other reasons, was led by efforts to concentrate it in order to thoroughly reorganize. The basic steps to these changes were taken at the beginning of 1919 by M.R. Štefánik. The army was changed according to Western European standards. A number of revolutionary gains were canceled. A new disciplinary code has been issued. The army's response to these far-reaching changes was quite negative, and after a series of resistance, it culminated in the events of Irkutsk in mid-1919. Czechoslovak soldiers were driven by the idea of returning home throughout their stay on the railroad.

Russian legions close up

High-quality, organized facilities, which cover all the needs of the army, have always fundamentally influenced the successful management of all military operations. It was no different in Czechoslovak legions in Russia. The quality of supply and technical support played an important role, especially in the post-accession period, when the shattered Russian economy provided only part of its pre-war potential.

Russian legions close up

Until the exit,russian army provided all the needs of Czechoslovak troops. Until the February Revolution, in all of the Czechoslovak regiments was not in a single company economic officer from Bohemia. The supply of equipment and food to the Czech company was at a low level. Soldiers regularly received summer clothes for winter and winter for summer. The situation was not better even within the entire Russian army, where so-called fasting days were announced in times of food shortages. On such days, instead of the usual composition of food, only dried fish soup and begged porridge oiled with oil were served, which, according to some contemporary evidence, was almost indigestible food for Central Europeans. The rescue could be brought only by the regimental manager, who had the right at the expense of the regiment to provide improvements to the diet.

Russian legions close up

Unlike the supply, until the exit the Czechoslovak units did not create a great need to provide for itself of a technical nature. All care for weapons, ammunition and the satisfaction of all other needs of the army as a whole was fully provided by the Russian side. Already in prisoner of war organizations and subsequently in Czechoslovak units, however, the soldiers were able to repair parts of the equipment or variously adapt some tools to their technical needs. They showed a great deal of improvisation skills. After the performance, they were able to fully apply all their learned skills.

Russian legions close up

In the previous chapters, the methods of financing some components of Czechoslovak military and military organizations were marginally mentioned. The aim of the next chapter of this work is to shed light on the sources of finance by which Czechoslovak organization itself covered a large part of the expenses.

Russian legions close up

A small but important chapter in the history of the Czechoslovak troops in Russia also played Czechoslovak field post, which became the most reliable mediator of correspondence in the then Siberian Russia.

Russian legions close up

During the stay of Czechoslovak legions in Russia developed a broad-based cultural activity in their units. During each longer interruption of combat activities, music and theater performances, educational lectures, or sports events were held in the units.

Russian legions close up

In the Czech company, the effort to carry out cultural activities has manifested itself since the very beginning of the unit. However, compared to later cultural and educational activities, they have never reached such a boom. Their development was hindered by contemporary military orders, which conditioned individual activities with the permission of the commanding officer.

Russian legions close up

The February Revolution brought to the life of the Russian army a noticeable loosening of orders, which had a very positive effect on the cultural activity of the legions. Although just after the revolution, the same cultural activity continued as before 1917, the changes were reflected in the fact that between Czechoslovak soldiers Czech written literature, a welcome gift sent by American compatriots, also slowly began to flow. A significant change was the establishment of regimental and company committees. In addition to their economic functions, they also performed cultural and educational tasks. Their activity brought order and organization to the hitherto spontaneous and inconsistent activities. Their great contribution to the development of the cultural activities of the legions was significant until their dissolution in 1919.

Russian legions close up

Processing the history of Czechoslovak legions in Russia since the 1930s have focused mainly on military and political issues of their existence. A varied and diverse range of other possible perspectives on this issue remained practically out of the interest of historians. However, the thematically monotonous interpretation of the elaboration does not contribute much to the growth of a deeper interest in the study of Czechoslovak legions history.

Supplement to the celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution

Long before November 7, newspapers from the Elbe to Sakhalin launched a propaganda campaign every year, and socialist commitments began to be made in honor of the Great October Socialist Revolution. In Czechoslovakia, as an act of devotion, the Month of Czechoslovak-Soviet Friendship followed, in which the Czech and Slovak people, respectively, learned to love the Soviet Union, and after 1968 in meetings with Soviet occupation officers.

The basic task was to rule the world

90 years ago, the Soviet secret police were formed, later known by the acronym KGB. To this day, members of the Russian secret services proudly call themselves Chekists.

The Night the Romanov Family Died

There’s some discrepancy on the date, but on the night of July 16 or 17, 1918, Czar Nicholas II and his family were murdered by a group of extremists led by Vladimir Lenin. The events that led to this night pave a long road, but how it happened and what came after are important pieces of Russian history.

The war on the railway

The first chapters of the history of the Czechoslovak railway army and armored trains began to be written shortly after the formation of our legions.

They called him brother "Cultivator"

Biography of the army general in memoriam Karel Kutlvašr (* 27.1.1895 - + 2.10.1961). Commander of the insurgents during the Prague Uprising and a participant in the three czechoslovak resistance.

Too bloody baron

Ungern von Sternberg conquered Mongolia with several hundred Cossacks and for a time believed that he was a modern Russian Genghis Khan.
The Baron's Tibetan mountaineers, disguised as monks, penetrated the streets of Urga ( Ulaanbaatar ) teeming with Chinese troops. They conquered the high rocks, on top of which stretched the Winter Palace, the seat of the ruler of Outer Mongolia - the Dalai Lama, Bogdy Chan. The blind man, who was being held under house arrest by Chinese soldiers here, was waiting for his release. It only took a moment to kill the guards. Even before the alarm was sounded, the Tibetans descended down the steep rock with the spiritual leader on their backs. The last two were repelled by machine gun fire on Chinese soldiers.




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