People's Army of Komuch

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Front line near Kazan in August 1918

The People's Army of Komuch (Russian: Народная армия КОМУЧа) was an anti-Bolshevik army during the Russian Civil War; it fought from June to September 1918 in the Volga Region.

Organization[edit]

In May 1918 the Czechoslovak Legion revolted on the Trans-Siberian Railway. On June 8, the Czech Legion captured Samara, Russia, and several members of the Constituent Assembly, which had been dissolved by the Bolsheviks, organized a Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly. On the same day an organization of underground officers was established under the supervision of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. On June 10 a group of officers of the general staff arrived[clarification needed] and helped organize a military structure. They created a detachment of 350 men, with had two infantry companies, a cavalry squadron and mounted artillery. General Vladimir Kappel became a chief of this military group. Kappel was a monarchist, and stated that he would fight under any banner against the Bolsheviks.

Nomenclature[edit]

In Russian "Constituent Assembly" is transliterated as "Uchreditel'noe Sobranie", hence the abbreviation for the full committee in English is "Komuch").

Battles[edit]

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

When the Komuch met in Samara, it was decided that the main strategic goal was to capture Saratov, but Kappel thought that Kazan was a more important target, and thus he attacked and conquered it, which was defended by a large but poorly prepared Red Army.

Kappel thought it was necessary to capitalize on the situation and advance to Moscow through Nizhny Novgorod, but the Komuch and the commanders of the Czechoslovakian troops replied that in this case there would have not been enough troops to defend Samara, Simbirsk, and Kazan. The People's Army was placed in a defensive position, and the Red Army gained time to regroup.[clarification needed]

At the beginning of September, the Red Army began to advance. Kazan was captured by Red Army on September 5 and Simbirsk on September 12. During two weeks Kappel's group defended the left bank of the Volga River and, after joining with other troops, it retreated to Ufa.

Merger[edit]

On June, 23, the Komuch and the Provisional Government of Autonomous Siberia merged in Ufa with the united Provisional All-Russian Government. The People's Army of Komuch and the Siberian Army were united in one structure, which was 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