*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 21, 2024, 10:50:22 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Donate

We Appreciate Your Support

Members
  • Total Members: 10482
  • Latest: Veroo
Stats
  • Total Posts: 1694361
  • Total Topics: 118600
  • Online Today: 684
  • Online Ever: 2235
  • (October 29, 2023, 01:32:45 AM)
Users Online

Recent

Author Topic: RCW Battle Tactics?  (Read 5930 times)

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2024, 11:48:52 AM »
Sorry for the delay in response - I was busy with family matters.

I have already written that the quality of the bulk of the troops on all sides during the Civil War turned out to be extremely low. This was, in my opinion, the reason that the battle tactics of the Civil War were radically different from the tactics during the First World War.

There is an interesting brochure on this topic by the white general Kelchevsky. "DUMENKO AND BUDYONNY. ROLE, IMPORTANCE AND TACTICAL TECHNIQUES OF CAVALRY IN THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR." Published in Constantinople in 1920.

https://rev-lib.com/dumenko-i-budennyj-rol-znachenie-i-takticheskie-priemy-konnicy-v-russkoj-grazhdanskoj-vojne/

In it, he argues that cavalry during the Russian Civil War acquired decisive importance due to... the lack of “real” infantry and artillery among the opposing sides.

Indeed, the infantry was rightly called the “queen of the fields”, and the artillery “the god of war”, because it was they who solved the main tasks on the battlefield, while the cavalry was engaged in reconnaissance, raids and pursuit of the retreating enemy; since the cavalry was unable to defeat well-trained and battle-ready infantry and artillery.

However, during the Civil War everything changed radically.

Kelchevsky writes:

“Anyone who has ever been in battle with the Red Army, not only in the initial, but also in the subsequent period of the struggle, when organized units appeared at the front of the Soviet army instead of gangs, could immediately notice that they did not have a real, educated, disciplined and trained infantry.
There were also not enough real infantry at the disposal of the commander-in-chief of the [armed] forces in southern Russia.
She was in the Volunteer Army, but even then only in those few regiments that, with unreasonable economy, were staffed exclusively by officers.
All other units... with extreme and very rare exceptions, represented raw, poorly trained material - a militia that had no concept of conducting infantry combat."

What does it mean? And the fact that such insufficiently trained infantry could not reorganize in a timely manner and repel cavalry attacks with concentrated fire.

As for artillery, as Kelchevsky further writes:

“It provided little assistance to the infantry in battle. Formed hastily, often on the battlefield, from guns captured from the Reds, it did not have a well-trained crew and trained officers.
...Batteries, often consisting of 1-2 guns, were scattered over a wide front. Under these conditions, there was no need to even think about using massive artillery fire as a decisive factor in moments of need.”

Undoubtedly, one of the main factors that influenced the promotion of cavalry to the main role in the civil war was its maneuverable nature, when well-fortified positions with full-profile trenches and barbed wire barriers that made infantry invulnerable to cavalry were the rare exception, not the rule. .

Under these conditions, the adherence of white officers to the formulaic tactics that they were taught in the tsarist army was reflected. The Reds managed to create new tactics that allowed them to win victories over the white cavalry.

According to Kelchevsky, the founder of this tactic was the creator of the mass red cavalry, corps commander B.M. Dumenko.

This tactic consisted in the fact that at the beginning of the oncoming battle he placed his best cavalry in the rear on the flanks. And when the Whites managed to force the advanced Red units to retreat, they fell under flank attacks by selected Dumenkovites.

Subsequently, the red commander S.I. Budyonny improved Dumenko’s tactics, using the infantry, in Kelchevsky’s figurative expression, “as a shield” - when the Budyonnovites needed rest to recuperate, the red infantry moved forward to cover them. For the rest, Budyonny used the same formation as Dumenko.

Thus, the Reds managed to turn the tide of the civil war, in which they initially suffered defeat after defeat, and win a final victory in it.

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2024, 12:35:40 PM »
As for the use of “square”, these were not exactly classical constructions under that name, but what was called a “pile” or “hedgehog”. If they came under a cavalry attack, the infantry, which was able to maintain composure and not disobey its commanders, huddled in dense groups bristling with bayonets in all directions and did not allow enemy cavalrymen to approach them, hitting them with fire and bayonets. Infantrymen who failed to do this either died under the blows of cavalrymen or surrendered en masse. Although tachankas could be successfully used against such tactics, easily destroying such formations. Descriptions of such situations are often found in memoirs.

There is such a Soviet film - “The First Cavalry (Army)”. The artistic merits of the film are not great, but the tactics of the battles of the Civil War period are shown in it perfectly:

A square of red tachankas repelling the attack of the white cavalry - 31.59 minutes of the film
A square of white infantry repelling an attack by red cavalry - 38.17

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_lWQogJ9uA&t=2s

By the way, as for the tachankas, this is actually an analogue of horse artillery during the Napoleonic Wars. They go on the attack first, ahead of the cavalry masses, in close proximity to the enemy they go to the flanks and suppress the enemy with their fire until the cavalry strikes with melee weapons.
Here is another episode from the feature film "Rage", in which the attack of the tachankas is well shown (22.47)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjUGo4tUwng&t=1548s

Another tachankas attack (2.14)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YNKj84By0g
« Last Edit: February 01, 2024, 12:57:09 PM by cuprum »

Offline Pan Marek

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 221
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2024, 08:04:21 PM »
Cuprum-

Outstanding material, as always.

thanks!

Offline trev

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 708
    • The Bits Box
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2024, 09:37:34 PM »
Wow!  Those battle scenes are huge.  Impressive stuff.  I'm thinking my Reds are too uniform and regular now though.  :)

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2024, 12:33:01 AM »
Here is another brochure describing combat tactics during the Civil War.
Eikhe Genrikh Khristoforovich (staff captain of the tsarist army, later - red military commander, commander-in-chief of the troops of the Far Eastern Republic): "TACTICAL LESSONS OF THE CIVIL WAR. STUDIES OF THE TACTICS OF THE RED ARMY IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST KOLCHAK AND IN THE FAR EAST." Published in Moscow, 1931

https://vk.com/doc215828758_468214020?hash=GJg4gnqI3wGP5884tQTUukqMRXdKqyT22bh3FCfkV9z&dl=hrWHY4Zi9A2zzhSCY6oCph0varaP7XG944p1xAjGjvL

Naturally - in Russian. I haven’t read it myself yet - I just found it.
I think this book will be especially interesting to Mark. It contains the exact numerical composition of some red and white divisions.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2024, 12:35:55 AM by cuprum »

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 551
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2024, 03:10:18 AM »
I have seen Eikhe's book. It is on my distant "to do" list, so I'll get round to is some day.

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 551
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2024, 07:40:49 PM »
I've been thinking about those Kelchevsky quotes, and want to add a few quibbles.

The Soviets fell in love with massed cavalry in the RCW. Then Stalin came to power, and since all his mates were cavalrymen, it paid not to disagree too much. (You can generally tell this is in operation once they start praising Budenny and his innovations. Budenny was charismatic, but he had no brains, and certainly did not innovate very much. His handing of infantry was abysmal. The real innovator was Tukhachevsky, but you didn't last long if you said that, so there were no voices opposing the glorification of cavalry in the Soviet period, and it has tended to become accepted fact as a result.)

The role of cavalry has a tendency to be overstated. The Reds won in Siberia and the Petrograd region with almost no cavalry. They won at Orel with no decent cavalry. Attention tends to focus on the Ukraine front vs the Poles, but that war was won and lost in the north where -- apart from Gai Khan charging off and achieving very little -- it was almost entirely infantry.

Cavalry did well when facing over-extended infantry in the open. Despite the Reds high opinion of their cavalry, the Whites still did it better. They swept the Kuban, the Orenburg steppes, the Ural steppes and across the Don. But they failed in their major campaigns because when they faced entrenched infantry with no flanks, they failed time and again. If the Don Host had been able to take Tsaritsyn, the Ural Host taken Uralsk and the Orenburg Host taken Orenburg, the war would likely have ended very differently. The Volunteer Army and AFSR had their biggest successes when they mixed cavalry and infantry.

Apart from the 1st Horse Army, Red cavalry wasn't much good, and didn't dominate. It needed to be fielded in mass. Budenny's campaigns at Voronezh and Kiev are much lauded. The checks he received at Brody, L'viv, Zamosc and on the Manych tend to be glossed, especially when it was to infantry.

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2024, 03:32:16 AM »
I disagree with you on a lot of things, Mark. It seems your views were formed under the influence of the books of Viktor Suvorov (Rezun). This could have been accepted as true during the Soviet era, when much of the information was hidden by the Soviet leadership under the influence of political motives, but after the collapse of the USSR, the archives were opened and a large number of documents became available, allowing one to see these events in a different light.

Now in order:

The Soviets turned to the formation of strategic cavalry only after the famous raid of the Cossack corps of General Mamantov on their rear, which almost caused the complete collapse of the Red Southern Front in 1919. Before that, the role of cavalry was assessed by the military leadership of the Bolsheviks exclusively as insignificant, based on the experience of the First World War. But the vast steppe territories of the South of Russia, as well as many other factors - the impossibility of creating a continuous front, the lack of professional infantry, the poor supply of troops with artillery and ammunition, etc., gave considerable scope for cavalry actions. Moreover, the Whites already had excellent professional Cossack cavalry in large numbers, as well as excellent cavalry commanders. The Red Army was absolutely unprepared to resist it under these conditions and suffered serious defeats over and over again. She could fight more or less successfully against the whites only when she could rely on populated areas, where the cavalry lost its advantages.

Naturally, since most of the Cossacks (trained in equestrian combat from childhood due to Cossack traditions and their function in the imperial army), the red cavalry for the most part was inferior in training and quality to the Cossack cavalry. And yet, it performed its functions brilliantly, negating the white superiority in maneuverability, pinning down the white cavalry.

By the way, its opponents speak quite complimentarily about the Soviet cavalry and the Red cavalry commanders in their memoirs. And the Poles, after the Soviet-Polish War, widely developed their cavalry troops for a reason. They also appreciated the merits of the red cavalry as a difficult opponent.

The absence of strategic cavalry in battles in Siberia and the North is due to the nature of the terrain in these territories. In the mountains and forests, the use of large masses of cavalry is simply impossible.

As for Budyonny, as a military commander, your assessment, in my opinion, is not correct. It was largely formed under the influence of personal enmity with Georgy Zhukov, who spoke poorly of Budyonny in his memoirs. Even in World War II, Budyonny showed himself to be a completely competent commander. Here, if you're interested, more details:
https://topwar-ru.translate.goog/3694-vernyj-syn-otchizny-marshal-semyon-mixajlovich-budyonnyj.html?_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=ru&_x_tr_pto=wapp

Accusations of Budyonny being too attached to the theme of cavalry are also not fair. He came up with the idea of cavalry-mechanized formations (tanks supported by dragoons capable of accompanying them on long marches over rough terrain), and this idea was brilliantly implemented during the Second World War.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalry_mechanized_group

As for Tukhachevsky... He really was an innovator. But, at the same time, his innovation was very original. By his actions, he caused simply gigantic damage to the USSR and the Red Army. His adventures with dynamo-rocket guns cost a huge amount of wasted money, and his dreams of 50 thousand tanks turned into big problems for the USSR at the beginning of the Second World War (the lack of a repair base, spare parts, fuel tankers and much more to service this horde of tanks, without why these tanks for the most part ended up simply abandoned on the roads during marches due to breakdowns or lack of fuel). So his role is also far from unambiguous.

« Last Edit: February 03, 2024, 03:35:11 AM by cuprum »

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 551
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2024, 07:42:59 PM »
I'm not bagging the Red cavalry Cuprum. The Whites (and then Poles) were terrified of the 1st Horse Army for a reason -- it was terribly effective in the areas best suited to it. And it's not like the White or Cossack Host cavalry were any better when facing steady infantry.

We are going to disagree on Budenny's military ability though. Zhukov was famous enough to be allowed to be rude about Budenny, whereas others had to be quiet, so criticism of him in Russian is rare. His ridiculously boastful memoirs do him no favours though, and he comes across as a very unpleasant man. (I often visit TopWar, because it has nice detail, but it takes the official Stalin period line on everything, so I'm not using that as a source.)

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2024, 03:51:34 AM »
Mark, we are not discussing Budyonny’s personality or his writing talents now. We discuss his abilities as a military commander. And here it is best to look at the results of his activities on the battlefield. He is certainly not an exceptional military genius, but it is also impossible to call him mediocrity. In my opinion, this is a military commander slightly above average. Considering that he did not have any military education during the Civil War, this is a good result.

TopWar is an open platform for copyright publications. There is no censorship of any kind. When you evaluate Soviet-Russian publications (although many Western ones too), you need to take into account that many of them are often not entirely objective from the point of view of political and moral assessments, reflecting the personal position of the author.
In Soviet/Russian history, these assessments fluctuate intensely over a wide range for various reasons - first, it is the cult of Stalin’s personality, leading to literally anecdotal inflating of his role (and his entourage) in any possible events and discrediting his opponents, then the reverse process (no less biased ) during the time of Khrushchev. The late period of the USSR was a “varnishing” of reality, blurring any negative events and inflating real and imaginary successes. “Perestroika” with a huge amount of already anti-Soviet lies and fraud. Now there has been another “ebb” towards objective reality. It probably looks like a transition to the “official line of the Stalin period,” but this is not so. This is just an impression against the backdrop of the recent deliberate anti-Soviet distortion of history during the collapse of the USSR (and this was done by the Russians themselves; anti-Soviet falsification of documents was purposefully carried out, you won’t believe it, by the Propaganda Department of the CPSU Central Committee and the KGB of the USSR).
Now it’s difficult to sort through all this pile of truth and lies - there are a lot of lies and distortions. And yet, there are facts, and only based on them you need to make your own assessments of the events and people of that era.

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 551
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2024, 08:38:39 AM »
I have translated the excellent article that Cuprum gave the link to above. It can be found at the top of this page : https://pygmywars.com/rcw/gaming/tactics/tactics.html

I may work on the Eikhe book now -- I like to do something for the Reds every now and again and it will fill out that tactics page nicely.

Cuprum -- or anyone else for that matter -- do you know of a good clean copy of Eikhe in pdf or MSWord please? I have a bad scan of the original book in pdf and a bad OCR version in Word from Militera.ru. It would be much easier if I had a good copy to work from, especially of the maps.

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2024, 12:40:03 PM »
Alas, Mark. This is the only accessible copy of the book that I am aware of.

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 551
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2024, 11:07:57 PM »
Thanks Cuprum. It should be enough to work with.

Offline Mark Plant

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 551
    • Pygmy Wars : Russian Civil War and Related Stuff
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2024, 05:53:46 AM »
Here is another brochure describing combat tactics during the Civil War.
Eikhe Genrikh Khristoforovich (staff captain of the tsarist army, later - red military commander, commander-in-chief of the troops of the Far Eastern Republic): "TACTICAL LESSONS OF THE CIVIL WAR. STUDIES OF THE TACTICS OF THE RED ARMY IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST KOLCHAK AND IN THE FAR EAST." Published in Moscow, 1931

https://vk.com/doc215828758_468214020?hash=GJg4gnqI3wGP5884tQTUukqMRXdKqyT22bh3FCfkV9z&dl=hrWHY4Zi9A2zzhSCY6oCph0varaP7XG944p1xAjGjvL

Naturally - in Russian. I haven’t read it myself yet - I just found it.
I think this book will be especially interesting to Mark. It contains the exact numerical composition of some red and white divisions.

Well, you weren't wrong about this one Cuprum. It is a thing of absolute beauty for a wargamer. I paid for a good copy, and I'm about halfway through (the maps take an age to tidy up). It describes every feature of the war out east in detail.

I should have it up on Pygmy Wars in a month or so. I'll also attach a copy of the Russian when I'm finished, because that other scan is atrocious.

It mentions another book a couple of times  Ив. Кутяков «С Чапаевым по Уральским степям», which looks to be good value too.

Offline cuprum

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2476
  • The East is a delicate matter!
    • Studio "Siberia"
Re: RCW Battle Tactics?
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2024, 04:14:27 PM »
I was glad to be useful in your work.
Here you can download an electronic copy of Kutyakov’s book that interests you:

https://rev-lib.com/s-chapaevym-po-uralskim-stepyam/

By the way, perhaps you will find several more interesting books in this library.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
4 Replies
1550 Views
Last post February 03, 2016, 01:49:33 PM
by sjwalker51
0 Replies
887 Views
Last post May 25, 2021, 06:34:07 AM
by Weird WWII
0 Replies
794 Views
Last post May 31, 2021, 09:38:55 AM
by Weird WWII
0 Replies
856 Views
Last post June 08, 2021, 10:16:26 AM
by Weird WWII
0 Replies
1334 Views
Last post July 25, 2023, 01:36:07 AM
by Weird WWII