How the Ice Siberian campaign ended

Hood. film “Admiral”

Troubles. 1920 year. 100 years ago, in February 1920, the Great Siberian campaign ended. The remnants of Kolchak’s 2nd and 3rd armies made their way to Transbaikalia. They united with the troops of Ataman Semyonov, and the White Far Eastern Army was formed in Chita.


On February 5-6, 1920, the Kolchakites (the remnants of the 2nd and 3rd armies under the command of Voitsekhovsky and Sakharov) fought stubborn battles on the outskirts of Irkutsk. On February 7, they broke through to the city itself, took the Innokentyevskaya station near Irkutsk (rich warehouses of military property were seized here) and were ready to advance further. However, after the news of the death of Kolchak and the receipt of an ultimatum from the Czechoslovakians (the Czechs categorically demanded not to occupy the Glasgow suburb, which dominated the city), the commander of the white troops, General Voitsekhovsky, gave the order to bypass the city from the south and break through to Lake Baikal. The Izhevsk division was in the vanguard. A rearguard was left in Innokentievskaya to demonstrate the threat of the continuation of the assault on Irkutsk.

On February 9, 1920, the advanced forces of the Kappelevites reached Baikal near the village of Listvenichny, where the Angara flows into the lake. The White Guards stopped in a large and rich village for a day’s rest. At the same time, the white rearguard was leaving Irkutsk with battles. Despite the access to Transbaikalia, the situation was alarming for the Whites. There was no exact data. Only rumors, according to which the Mysovaya station on the other side of Lake Baikal was under the control of the Japanese troops. But the Reds attacked there too. It was unknown where the chieftain Semyonov and his troops were. It was impossible to stay. The enemy could soon press the White Guards to the lake and finish them off.

The situation with the road was also unclear. Previously, we traveled from Listvenichny or Goloustnoye, 40-45 versts on ice, but now they have stopped. It is dangerous, and the previous economic ties have been cut off. White had to go first, grope and pave the way. By evening, the troops of the 2nd Army began to stay in Listvenichnoye, units of the 3rd Army of Sakharov moved on to Goloustoy. This is about 10 miles on the ice of Lake Baikal.

Baikal is a whole “sea”. In winter, its surface is frozen by ice. But it happens that the lake is worried, the ice breaks, gives deep cracks, which sometimes stretch for kilometers. Therefore, the march through Lake Baikal became a new ordeal for the White Guards. At night we got to Goloustnoye, a small coastal village. On February 11, the Kolchakites moved across the lake. It was a long line of foot, horse, and sleigh. The transition was difficult. There was snow only in places, the icy desert prevailed. It was very difficult for horses with ordinary horseshoes. They slid and stumbled on the ice. This exhausted them greatly, quickly exhausted them. Weak animals fell. By the end of the day, the entire path was strewn with corpses of horses. It was hard to ride in the sleigh all the time, the frost and piercing wind turned a person into ice. I had to get off the sleigh, walk and run to warm up. We moved slowly, with stops. Ahead were guides, Baikal fishermen, who determined the strength of the ice, carefully paved the way, avoiding cracks.

White General K. Sakharov recalled:

“It is difficult to give a real picture of those days – it is too unusual … But imagine, make yourself for a minute, in the midst of your usual life in a warm atmosphere, imagine – thousands of miles of Siberian age-old space; deaf taiga where no man’s foot has stepped, wild mountains with inaccessible ascents, huge rivers bound by ice, snow two arshins deep, frost bursting … And imagine thousands of Russian people walking day after day through this deep boundless snow; for months, day after day, in an environment that is terrible in its cruelty and deprivation. And then at every step there is the danger of a fratricidal war. … And complete obscurity. Where is the end? What will happen next? Baikal with its icy road is the apotheosis of the entire Ice Trek. The white army marched across the lake-sea, not knowing what awaited it on the other side, waiting for the enemy there … “

To Chita

On the evening of February 11, the vanguard of the White Army went to the Mysovaya station. On average, the White Guard units crossed the lake in 12 hours. A Japanese detachment was stationed in Mysovaya. The Kolchakites learned that in Transbaikalia the Ataman Semyonov with his 6th East Siberian Corps is firmly holding on. By Kolchak’s decree of January 4, 1920, Semyonov was transferred (before receiving instructions from Denikin, appointed by the Supreme Ruler of Russia) “the entire completeness of military and civil power throughout the Russian Eastern outskirts, united by the Russian supreme power.” On January 16, Semyonov announced in Chita the establishment of the government of the Russian Eastern Outskirts, headed by the cadet S.A.Taskin. But after the uprising in Vladivostok under the rule of the ataman, behind whom were the Japanese, only Transbaikalia remained. Transbaikalia for the period from January to November 1920 became the last stronghold of whites in Siberia.

Within a few days, all the White Guards crossed Lake Baikal. In total, 30-35 thousand people crossed the lake. The White Guards received supplies – several wagons with food and warm clothing. Some of the sick, wounded, as well as women and children were taken by rail to Chita. Troops of the 3rd and 2nd armies moved to the area of ​​Verkhneudinsk (since 1934 – Ulan-Ude). On the way, the White Guards encountered red partisans. They immediately captured the village of Kabanye, the former center of the red partisans, and opened the way to Verkhneudinsk. There was a Japanese brigade under the command of Major General Agatha.

In general, the Japanese troops were a real imperial army, with high discipline, order and combat capability. The Japanese division located in this area had 12-14 thousand bayonets and could easily stop the advance of the Red Army. However, the Japanese, like the Bolsheviks, did not want a direct clash and behaved very carefully with each other. The Japanese did not succumb to the persuasion of the Directory, and the Omsk government of Kolchak, and the ataman Semyonov. On the one hand, Japan needed a buffer in Siberia in the person of Kolchak and Semyonov to cover their possessions in Manchuria and Korea. It took time to gain a foothold in the Far East. Therefore, the Japanese treated the Kolchakites best of all, or, as they were now called, the Kappelites. On the other hand, the Japanese were pressured by competitors – the British, Americans and French. They demanded that Japan withdraw its troops from Siberia, not help the White Guards. The masters of the West did not want the clever Japanese to seize the eastern part of Russia, since they themselves did not succeed under the cover of the bayonets of the Czechs.

Parts of the 3rd and 2nd armies were consolidated into corps. Corps were brought together in divisions, divisions into regiments, redundant headquarters and institutions were eliminated. After a week of rest, the Kappelevites set out in marching order to Chita. Some of the wounded and sick, and the Ufa division (formerly the Ufa corps) were transported by rail. The rest of the units were promised echelons from the Petrovsky Zavod, 140-150 versts from Verkhneudinsk. The troops moved on sleds. The hike was difficult, as there was little snow, most of the terrain was bare or covered with a thin layer of snow. The area was very rugged, with ravines and hills, dense forest. The troops moved in three groups to facilitate the search for an overnight stay. There were few villages as well as roads. In the vanguard were Izhevsk and huntsmen, then the Ural division, dragoons and the Volga cavalry brigade, in the third group – the Cossacks, Orenburg and Yenisei. On the way, the vanguard again had to engage in battle with the red rebels. In Transbaikalia, patriarchal Old Believers fought against Semyonovshchina. The huntsmen and Izhevsk men overturned the enemy.

From Petrovsky Zavod, a large industrial settlement, they moved in echelons. For the first time in a month and a half after Krasnoyarsk, the White Guards were able to use the Russian railway, which was occupied by foreigners. There were not enough trains only for the cavalry: the 1st Cavalry Division and the Cossacks marched along the valley of the Khilok River. The path was difficult – in the five days of the march from Petrovsky Zavod to Chita, up to a third of the horse train was killed. The railway was guarded by the Japanese, so the route was relatively calm. In late February – early March 1920, the remnants of Kolchak’s army entered Chita.

On the basis of the remnants of the 2nd and 3rd armies, which were reorganized into corps, and Semyonov’s troops, the Far Eastern Army was created. It consisted of three corps: the 1st Trans-Baikal Corps (Semyonovtsy), the 2nd Siberian Corps of General Verzhbitsky and the 3rd Volga Corps of General Molchanov. Ataman Semyonov was the supreme commander in chief and head of government. The army was led by General Voitsekhovsky (from the end of April 1920 – Lokhvitsky). The troops were stationed in the Chita region, rested, replenished the ranks, hoping to launch an offensive in a month in order to bring the entire territory from Baikal to the Pacific Ocean under their control.

Military order for the Great Siberian campaign, 1st degree

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