Urals Army Campaign of 1918
Urals Army Campaign of 1918
a heroic campaign of the Southern Ural partisans in the rear of the White Guards. The partisans conducted the campaign, which lasted from July 18 to Sept. 12, 1918, in order to escape from encirclement and reach the Red Army.
As a result of a revolt by the Czechoslovak Corps and the Orenburg Cossacks in the summer of 1918, the workers’ detachments in the Southern Urals near Orenburg, Ufa, and Cheliabinsk were cut off from the supply points and regular units of the Red Army. They consequently turned to partisan activity. In mid-July the partisan detachments—including the Urals Detachment of V. K. Bliukher, the Upper Urals Detachment of N. D. Kashirin, and the Troitskii Detachment of N. D. Tomin—retreated from the White Cossack army of the ataman A. I. Du-tov. The detachments withdrew to Beloretsk, where the commanding officers conferred. On July 16 they reached a decision to combine their forces into a single Urals Detachment and to advance through Verkhneuralsk, Miass, and Ekaterinburg to the troops of the Eastern Front. Kashirin was named commander, and Bliukher was made his deputy.
On July 18, after eight days of heavy fighting, the detachment reached the region of Verkhneuralsk and Iuriuzan’. The men were short of weapons, however, with only 4,700 bayonets, 1,400 sabers, and 13 guns, and the detachment was forced to return to the region from which it had just come. On August 2, Bliukher succeeded Kashirin, who had been wounded. Bliukher reorganized the detachment into regiments, battalions, and companies, and he proposed that it march not along the original route but rather by the Petrovskoe, Bogoiavlensk, and Arkhangel’skoe factories to Krasnoufimsk; reinforcements and provisions could be obtained from the workers along the proposed route.
The march began on August 5. By August 13 the detachment had crossed the Urals near Bogoiavlensk (now Krasnousol’sk). It absorbed the Bogoiavlensk Partisan Detachment of M. V. Kalmykov (2,000 men) and, subsequently, the Arkhangel’sk Detachment of V. L. Damberg (1,300 men) and other forces. The detachment thus grew into an army comprising six rifle regiments, two cavalry regiments, an artillery battalion, and other subunits, with a total of 10,500 bayonets and sabers and 18 guns. The newly formed Urals Army maintained iron military discipline. On August 20 it defeated White Guard units near Zimino. On August 27 the army crossed the Sima River and occupied the Iglino railroad station, 12 km east of Ufa. It destroyed a section of the Ufa-Cheliabinsk railroad, thereby interrupting the Whites’ communications with Siberia for five days. By September 10, the army had inflicted new defeats on the enemy—on the Ufa River, near the village of Krasnyi Iar, and elsewhere—and had reached the vicinity of Askino. Near the village of Tiuino-Ozerskaia, the army broke through the encircling ring, and by September 14 it had joined with the forward units of the Third Army of the Eastern Front. Ten days later the army arrived at Kungur, where most of the men joined the ranks of the 4th Urals Rifle Division (from November 11, the 30th Urals Rifle Division).
In 54 days Bliukher’s army had crossed more than 1,500 km of mountains, forests, and swamps, fought more than 20 battles, and defeated seven enemy regiments. By disrupting the organization of the rear of the White Guards and the interventionists, it assisted the advance of the troops of the Eastern Front in the fall of 1918. For his leadership of this heroic campaign, Bliukher became the first Soviet military leader to be awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
REFERENCESDushen’kin, V. V. Ural’skii reid. Moscow, 1973.
Legendarnyi reid: Sb. vospominanii o pokhode iuzhno-ural’skikh partizan pod komandovaniem V. K. Bliukhera. Moscow, 1959.
Plotnikov, I. F. Desiat’ tysiach geroev. Moscow, 1967.
A. M. AGEEV