(Russian, eshelonnaia voina), a term denoting a special type of combat waged along railroad main lines in the early part of the Civil War in Russia. Railroad cars served as a means of maneuvering and constant troop deployment and as a supply base.
Railway war was conducted from December 1917 to the summer of 1918 during the elimination of the main centers of internal counterrevolution on the Don, in Byelorussia, and in the Ukraine. Troops operating along railroad lines were able to use wire communication already established between stations. Characteristic features of railway war included the proximity of combat areas to railroads, the combination of combat actions by troops and armed revolts in cities, the wide use of armored trains and armored platforms, and the use of captured matériel to supply troops. As the Civil War fronts developed and the numerical strength of armed forces on all sides grew, railway war was no longer able to secure existing objectives and lost importance in the second half of 1918.