Transbaikal Cossack Host

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Transbaikal Cossack Host

 

The host was formed in 1851 in Transbaikalia from units of Siberian Cossacks, Buriat and Evenki (Tungus) military formations, and the peasant population of several regions; it consisted of three cavalry regiments and three foot brigades. The host guarded the border with China and performed domestic service. It was headed by an appointed ataman; beginning in 1872 this position was held by the military governor of the Transbaikal Province (with Chita as the center).

In the early 20th century the Transbaikal Cossack Host in peacetime had one guard polusotnia (detachment of 50 men), four cavalry regiments, and two batteries. During World War I it had one guard polusotnia, nine cavalry regiments, four batteries, and three reserve sotnias (detachments of 100). In 1916 the cossack population of the Transbaikal Cossack Host was 265,000, with 14,500 in military service. The host took part in suppression of the Ihoch’uan uprising of 1899–1901, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, and World War I. During the Civil War of 1918–20 the wealthy elite of the Transbaikal Cossack Host became members of General G. M. Semenov’s and General R. F. Ungern’s bands, while poor cossacks took an active part in the partisan movement. In 1920 the host ceased to exist when the cossacks as a military estate were disbanded.