People's Army of Komuch

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Front line near Kazan in August 1918

People Army of the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly (Russian: Народная армия КОМУЧа) - an anti-Bolshevik army during the Russian Civil War, which fought at June–September 1918 in Volga Region.

In May 1918 there was a Revolt of Czechoslovak Legion on Trans-Siberian Railway. At June, 8, Czech Legion captured Samara, and several members of the Constituent Assembly, which had been dissolved by the Bolsheviks, organized an Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly (in Russian "Constituent Assembly" was "Uchreditel'noe Sobranie", hence the abbreviation for Committee was "Komuch"). On the same day an underground officer organisation of Samara under the supervision of Socialist-Revolutionary Party began to form the military detachment. On the next day a group of officers of General Staff arrived and helped to organize a military structure. They created a detachment of 350 men, which had two infantry companies, cavalry squadron, mounted artillery etc. General Vladimir Kappel became a chief of this military group. Kappel was monarchist, and stated that he would fight under any banner against the Bolsheviks.

On June, 11, Kappel's detachment stormed and captured Syzran, then Stavropol, Buguruslan and Buzuluk. On July 21, the Russian-Czechoslovakian detachment under the Kappel's command after 150-km long march stormed and captured Simbirsk; for this victory Kappel was promoted to colonel. On July 22, Kappel officially became a head of all KOMUCH forces, which consisted of two infantry regiments and several artillery batteries (3000 men in total).

On the meeting in Samara heads of KOMUCH decided that the main strategic goal was to capture Saratov, but Kappel thought that Kazan should be a more important object, and captured Kazan, defended by a big but badly prepared Red Army.

Kappel though that it was necessary to use the situation and advance to Moscow through Nizhny Novgorod, but KOMUCH and the commanders of the Czechoslovakian troops replied that in this case there would have not been enough troops for defending Samara, Simbirsk and Kazan. The People's Army was placed in defensive position, and the Red Army gained time to regroup.

At the beginning of September the Red Army began to advance. Kazan was captured by Red Army on September 5, Simbirsk -on September 12. During two weeks Kappel's group defended the left bank of the Volga River and after joining with other troops retreated to Ufa. At June, 23, KOMUCH and Provisional Government of Autonomous Siberia joined in Ufa onto the united Provisional All-Russian Government. The People's Army of Komuch and the Siberian Army were united in one structure, and became converted into the united Western Army of White Movement.

Sources[edit]

  • Н. Е. Какурин, И. И. Вацетис "Гражданская война. 1918-1921" (N. Ye. Kakurin, I. I. Vacietis "Civil War. 1918-1921"). St. Petersburg, "Polygon" Publishing House, 2002. ISBN 5-89173-150-9