Struggle with Kaledin and the Ukrainian Rada. Disintegration of Kaledin's army. The Taganrog revolt. Fighting between the Bolshevized remnants of the old army and the Ukrainian Rada. Capture of Kiev and western Ukraine by the forces of Antonow-Ovseenko. Counter-revolutionary activity of Dovbor-Musnitsky's Polish corps. Fighting with Dutov in the Orenburg steppes. Consolidation of Soviet control in Siberia. Semenow. General comment.
Of the White Guard governments that came into existence originally (prior to them German occupation) on the territory of Soviet Russia, the most dangerous for the revolution were those of the Don and the Ukraine. The Soviet central government selected the Don as representing the principal immediate objective. It began concentrating against it Soviet forces under command of comrade Antonow-Ovseenko, who was designated as the commander- in-chief of the forces operating against the Southern counter-revolutionaries.
Antonow-Ovseenko's plan of action consisted of the following:
a. Supported by the revolutionary sailors of the Black Sea, he was to undertake the organization of Red forces in the Donets Basin.
b. From the north and from the Red revolutionary Stavka* (former Stavka of the supreme commander-in-chief) there were to be moved up assembled detachments, after first having them concentrated at strategic points: at Gomel, Bryansk, Kharkov, and Voronezh. * Headquarters. - Tr.
c. The II Guard Corps, which was of a high revolutionary spirit, was to be moved from the Zhmerinka - Bar area, where it was stationed, to the east and concentrated in the Donets Basin.
During the latter part of December, 1917, Red army units, having
liquidation on their way some battalions of the old army in the Bielgorod area,
hastened from Mohilev to the Don territory where they began to concentrate as
a. In the Gomel - Bakhmach area, Berzin's detachment, with a strength of 1,800 men and 4 guns:
b. In the Orel - Bielgorod area, Sivers' "northern flying column," with a strength of 1,165 bayonets, 95 sabers, 14 machine-guns, and 6 guns;
c. In Smolensk there was being organized Solov'ev's "second column," 1,100 bayonets, 10 machine-guns, and 2 guns;
d. In Bielgorod was situated a detachment of 300 men belonging to Khovrin, which was not subordinated to Sivers;
e. In reserve there were the Bryansk and Velikie-Luki detachments, with a strength of 300 bayonets and 50 sabers, a Smolensk battery, and some elements of the XVII Corps.
In addition, there were coming up from Moscow, placed at the disposal of the commander-in-chief, the force commanded by Sablin, - 1,900 bayonets, 1 battery, and 8 machine-guns. Finally, there came on its way from the World War front to Tsaritsyn the pro-Soviet Kuban Cossack Division.
In general, the nucleus of the Soviet forces did not exceed a strength of between 6,000 and 7,000 bayonets and sabers, between 30 and ?00 guns, a score or more of machine-guns. Among these Soviet forces there were various elements from the old army, detachments of sailors, detachments of Red Guards, etc.; some of the detachments were of limited combat efficiency, undisciplined, easily yielding to disintegrating influences, and these had to e disarmed. When the advance was started in the south the forces were augmented by Red guards from the various cities (about 4,000) and by the pro-Soviet 45th Reserve Infantry Regiment (about 3,000 men).
In the quantity and strength of organized units, the forces of the counter-revolutionaries were about equal to those of the Reds. Kaledin's main forces were concentrating in the Kamensk - Glubokoie - Millerovo - Likhaya area; at Rostov-on-the-Don, and at Novo-Tcherkask there was being organized the Volunteer Army (about 2,000 men). In addition to these, the partisan detachments and some regular Cossack units occupied the Gorlo - Makeievsk area in the Donets Basin, forcing the Red units out of this area. Sympathy was on the side of the Soviet forces; mobilization undertaken by Kaledin ended in failure, and there was noticeable some disintegration among the Cossack forces.
The Soviet command decided to carry out the following plan of
a. To cut all lines of communication over the trunk railway lines between the Ukraine and the Don;
b. To open communications with the Donets Basin around North-Donets Railway, via Lozovaya - Slavyansk;
c. To establish communications between Kharkov and Voronezh via Kupyansk - Liski;
d. To improve communications with the Northern Caucasus - for which area the pro-Soviet 39th Infantry Division had started from the Caucasus front. In general, the plan provided for the stationing of a screening force against the Ukraine and the concentration of all efforts against the Don. On the 17/30* of December, 1917, the Yegorov detachment (1,360 men with 3 guns and 1 armored train) seized the Lozovaya station, and then the city of Pavlograd,** in the course of which the forces under General Gaida which had occupied the above station fled from that area, while those Gaida forces that had occupied the city of Pavlograd surrendered to the Soviet forces without fighting.
Meanwhile on the Don front Sivers' column was slowly moving up from Kharkov to the Donets Basin - disarming on its way small Ukrainian garrisons - and on the 4th of January, 1918, it joined with the Red forces of the mining area.
By the 7th of January, 1918, the Soviet forces, securing themselves
on the west with a screening force along the line of Vorozhba - Lubotin -
Pavlograd - Sinelnikovo, occupied the Donets Basin with main forces. From the
direction of Voronezh against Millerovo - Novo-Tserkask there advanced the
Petrov column, which had been organized at Voronezh, with a strength of 3,000
bayonets, 40 machine-guns, and 12 guns; the leading elements of this column had
reached Chertkovo. On the 8th of January Antonow-Ovseenko decided to liquidate
Kaledin's forces by means of an attack with his main forces from the direction
of the Donets Basin. For this purpose, Sablin's column advanced from Lugansk
against Likhaya; Sivers' column, securing it on the south, advanced on Zerevo,
contemplating to proceed later against Millerovo; Petrov's column advanced on
Millerovo from the north.
In developing the advance Sivers" column had inclined southward and it halted at Ilovaisk, at which point two regiments refused to obey orders and were disarmed. The forces commanded by Sablin proved too weak for an attack. This upset in the operation now allowed the Cossacks to carry out a brief counterattack against Debaltsevo and to delay the advance of the Soviet forces.
Petrov's column entered into negotiations with the Cossacks at Chertkovo.
The Cossacks that served at the front, having favored the Soviets, now either maintained neutrality or sided with the Soviet forces. The peasants situated in the various cities were also hostile toward the Kaledin forces. Thus, thanks to the situation that had developed in the Don territory, by the end of January a Military Revolutionary Committee was formed at Kamensk and there was organized the "Northern Cossack Detachment" (Golubew's) which joined the Soviet forces. With the assistance of some of Kaledin's forces which had gone over to its side, this Detachment seized Likhaya and Zverevo. The Revolutionary Military Committee endeavored to take up negotiations with Kaledin, but these were of no avail for the reason that the partisan detachment of the Whites, commanded by Chernetsov, seized Likhaya and Zverevo, forcing the Revolutionary Military Committee to leave and to proceed to Millerovo.
In the Voronezh and Kharkov areas the Don Cossacks, because of disintegration that had set in their ranks, were replaced by units of the Volunteer Army, which managed for a while to delay the Soviet forces. Sivers' detachment renewed its advance on the 3rd of February, having been reinforced by newly arrived revolutionary detachments and a powerful armored train with naval guns from the central areas. Overcoming the resistance of the Kornilov forces at nearly every point, Sivers on the 8th of February established contact with the revolutionaries at Taganrog,* where the workers of the Baltic works, 5,000 in number, had staged an uprising, seized the city and compelled the White Guard garrison to withdraw with heavy losses toward Rostov.
* Taganrog is a seaport in the territory of the Don Cossacks, on the N. shore of the Sea of Azov, 65 miles WSW. of Novotcherkask, 18 miles from the mouth of the Don. - Tr.
Meanwhile the Kaledin units, mixed with Volunteers (Chernetsov
detachment), attacked Sablin's column at Likhaya and repulsed it to its
previous line of departure (Izvorino), after which Chernetsov resumed his
pursuit of the forces of the Don revolutionary military committee in the
direction of Kamensk - Glubokaya. While retreating, these forces met at
Glubokaya the Petrov column which had arrived there from Voronezh. The Whites
were about to take this village, when the combined Soviet forces managed to
crush them completely - and they dispersed. Sablin, now reinforced by a
detachment of Black Sea sailors comprising 400 men and 4 guns and by the
revolutionary detachments under Kudinsky, in turn launched his offensive, and
on the 8th of February once more occupied Zverevo and Likhaya. Simultaneously
there took place the hasty disarming of Cossack echelons that were coming up
from the direction of the Ukraine and Rumania, on the way to the Don -
traveling over the southern railways.
In the east the White Don was threatened by the revolutionary forces at Tsaritsyn, which forces had occupied Chir. In the south, in the vicinity of Tikhoretskaya, in rear of Kaledin's forces, there were concentrating the units of the 39th Infantry Division of the old army that were returning from the Caucasus front of the World War.
By the 10th of February the resistance of the Volunteer forces and
of the small Kaledin detachments had been completely broken, but the progress
of the Soviet forces was slow due to damage caused to the railways and the
apprehension felt for their rear lines. On the 16th of February Sablin's column
arrived in the suburbs of Novocherkask. Ataman Kaledin, because of the chaotic
condition in which he found himself, and the demoralized state of the
White-Cossack forces and of his sponsors, committed suicide.
In the Taganrog area the Volunteer forces delayed the advance of the Sivers detachment, but the latter, on the 13th of February, reached Rostov. At the same time elements of the 39th Infantry Division occupied Bataisk. The city of Rostov was occupied by Sivers only on the 23rd of February, while the city of Novotcherkask was occupied on the 25th of February by Sablin's detachment together with the Cossack brigade of the Don Revolutionary Military Committee, which had turned the city on the east.
Units of the Volunteer Army (Kornilov's and Denikin's) and 1,500
Cossacks under Ataman Popov withdrew across the Aksu boundary into the Sal
steppes and the Kuban.
During the period of the development of the advance of the principal Soviet forces against the Don the following events developed in the Ukraine. The close proximity of the Soviet forces gave impulse to activity on the part of the forces that were opposed to the Central Rada,* which overthrew the latter in many industrial and coastal regions of the Ukraine.
* The Central Rada (council) of the Ukraine - organized in 1917 to oppose the Soviets. - Tr.
On the 8th of January, 1918, the workers in the city of Yekaterinoslav** staged an uprising, supported by Yegorov's Red detachment which arrived from Sinelnikovo. Revolting workers on the 12th of January seized Mariupol.*** Yegorov's detachment received orders from Yekaterinoslav to turn south and to establish Soviet control at Alexandrovak (Zaporozhye), establish contact with Crimea, and concentrate his forces for action in the Mariupol - Taganrog - Rostov area - which actually accomplished by the 15th of January.
On January 18th, after a stubborn engagement with the forces of the Central Rada,* the Odessa workers, assisted by the Red Black Sea fleet, succeeded in seizing power.
At the same time the city of Kiev, where the Central government of
the Rada had been located, was being threatened by pro-Bolshevik remnants of
the old army of the Southwest Front (included among these was the II Guard
Corps situated west of Kiev). The Rada, however, successfully conducted its
operations against these, and as a consequence, the Stavka (headquarters) of
the commander-in-chief was compelled to dispatch to Bakhmach from Gomel,000
soldiers, 400 sailors, and 12 guns, advancing under the control of Berzin and
The situation which now developed made it necessary for Antonow-Ovseenko to hasten the launching of decisive operations against the Rada. These were necessitated by the newly developed foreign political situation. At this time there were being carried on negotiations with the Germans concerning the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty, and it was important to prevent the Rada from rupturing these negotiations and at the same time also to strengthen the hold of the Soviets on the Ukraine.
The launching of the decisive offensive in the Ukraine had been
scheduled for the 18th of January, 1918. It was intended to deliver the main
blow from Kharkov against Poltava in close cooperation with those forces that
were threatening Kiev from the various directions. The command of the entire
operation that was directed against the main objective was entrusted to
Murav'ev, who attached for the purpose one armored train and 500 men, made up
of "Red Cossacks" and Red guards. Yegorov's detachments advancing
from Lozovoi and Znamensky's detachment (special detachment from Moscow)
advancing up to Vorozhba, proceeding by rail, were to cooperate in the
operations of the main forces. The advance of the columns under Znamesky,
Murav'ev, and Yegorov developed successfully. Murav'ev, proceeding by way of
Poltava (at which point he joined Yegorov's detachment), encountering but weak
resistance on the part of the Whites, occupied Romodan and Kremenchug on the
24th of January, and then also Lubny and Grebenka. The units advancing from
Gomel on Bakhmach took Kruty, after which the road to Kiev was clear.
In the rear of Berzin's forces, in the Konotop area, which had been taken on the 28th of January by the Roslavl detachment and local workers, there were concentrating several detachments that formed the Kudinsky Revolutionary Army (part of these forces had been sent to the Don territory). This army was given the mission to proceed via Cherkassy - Bobrinsk - Tsvetkov and Fastov, with the object of joining the revolutionary forces operating on the right bank of the Dnieper and to attack Kiev from the west.*
* This army was not destined to carry out this particular mission for the reason that most of its forces had been dispatched to the Don territory.
The approach of the revolutionary forces to Kiev brought on a revolt of the Kiev Arsenal on the 28th of January as well as that of some military units, but these were suppressed by the forces of the Rada before the Red forces under Murav'ev, who encountered some resistance along the Trubezh river, could come to their aid. On this river Murav'ev's forces encountered units of the Czechoslovak Corps, which proclaimed their neutrality.
For the defense of Kiev the Ukrainian Rada** had at its disposal less than 1,200 reliable men of the Vilna, Cossack, and other formations that were hostile to the Bolsheviki. The remaining troops were either neutral or hostile to the Rada.**
** Rada -- Ukrainian Provisional Government. - Tr.
After an intensive bombardment on February 9th the city of Kiev was occupied; the government and the Rada, abandoning the city on the day before, moved to Zhitomir. As soon as Kiev was occupied Murav'ev launched a pursuit of the remnants of the Rada* forces in the Zhitomir direction, and it was only on the 12th of February that he succeeded in establishing contact with the II Guard Corps.
* Rada -- Ukrainian Provisional Government. - Tr.
Of far less importance was the fighting of the Red forces with other units of the old army that had been organized prior to the October revolution along racial lines. The nationality here involved, as we have noted in the case of the Ukrainian forces, merely served as a means for hiding the counter- revolutionary aspect of these on the part of their organizers.**
** The Latvian infantry units were an exception in this respect. Organized by "local" and "patriotic" Latvian bourgeoisie who utilized in the process the hatred of the Latvian peasants for their German landlords, these units back in May 1917, openly joined the Bolsheviks. Preserving their cadres upon the demobilization of the old army, the Latvian infantry formations during the civil war distinguished themselves by their conscientiousness and efficiency (Leftist social-revolutionary uprisings, Kazan, the Orlov operation, Kahowka, Perekop).
The special selection of men and the filling up of units with counter-revolutionary officer personnel was, in the opinion of their organizers, to insure the reliability of these units as a further bourgeois bulwark in the struggle against the revolution. One of the best organized and dependable of such units was the Polish I Corps commanded by General Dowbor- Musnitsky. This corps was organized the banner of the Polish National Democratic Party, which fully determined its reactionary aspect. In the days of the October Revolution the political leaders of this corps developed a vigorous struggle. The endeavored on the one hand to increase the numerical strength of their forces, and on the other to remove them from the influence of the October revolution. As a consequence of this, the Polish reactionary political leaders succeeded in forcing the groundwork for the organization of the Polish II Corps in the Ukraine and along the frontal regions.
The Polish I Corps occupied the area: Orsha - Smolensk - Zhlobin - Gomel. With the beginning of the October revolution the commander of this corps discontinued any efforts toward the democratization of its units along that undertaken throughout the army. At the same time, the commander and staff of the corps began interfering in the affairs of the local Soviets (councils), endeavoring to defend the interests of the landlords. The prolonged peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk demanded that the combat efficiency of the troops be safeguarded along the World War front. The disintegration of the old army proceeded at such a rapid pace that consideration had to be given to the possible substitution of the Polish I Corps for the disintegrating Russian forces. With this in view, during the latter part of January, there began the transfer of the units of the Polish I Corps to the Rogachew - Bobruisk - Zhlobin area.
However, at the beginning of the transfer of this corps, the Soviet government came into possession of documents proving that there was an understanding between the command of this corps and the Don counter-revolutionaries. At the same time, the political aspect of the entire corps became so counter- revolutionary in character that the Soviet supreme command, represented by comrade Krilenko, was compelled to demand the disarmament of the corps. Dovbor-Musnitsky refused to comply with instructions to do so and was declared an outlaw. Meanwhile about two divisions of the corps (the corps was of three divisions) were already concentrated in the Rogachev - Bobruisk - Zhlobin area, through the artillery of these divisions had not yet joined them, marching in rear echelons. This aided in the ensuing action of the Soviet forces with them. Dovbor-Musnitsky was the first to start hostilities: He occupied the city of Rogachev and moved up an advance guard to Mogilew, where comrade Krylenko's headquarters had been established. The 2nd Division of the Polish I Corps surrounded the important Zhlobin railway station threatening to sever the line of communications of the armies of the Western Front, over which provisions were being shipped from the Ukraine.
Attempted action against these forces with the immediately available troops ended in failure. The Polish Ist Division began advancing on Mogilew. Then there were hastily transferred larger forces (1st, 4th Latvian regiments, Siberian 19th Regiment, sailor and Red guard detachments) from the front. On February 13, 1918, these forces, under command of I. I. Vatzetis, defeated the Polish 1st Division and occupied Rogachew. Before that, on February 7th, 1918, the Polish 2nd Division had suffered defeat at Zhlobin. The battle here was decided by the fact that the Red forces had artillery at their disposal, whereas the Polish forces were compelled to carry on their action without artillery support. Both of these Polish divisions soon began withdrawing on Bobruisk. While on their way they were joined by the Polish 3rd Division that had been on its way from Roslavl. This division managed to get in between the Soviet forces operating in the vicinity of Zhlobin and Rogachew. The Soviet forces found themselves incapable of liquidating the resistance of the Polish Iv Corps in the Bobruisk area, the advance of the Germans which began shortly, precluding this. Next the Polish I Corps was disarmed by the Germans, who regarded them as hostile to their own causes.
The progress of the victorious October revolution from the center to the countryside encountered considerable difficulties also in the eastern portions of the country - especially in Grenburg and in Siberia. The military and political situation in the Urals after the October revolution was quite difficult and of a varied nature. The appearance of the first parties sent after provisions in the autumn of 1918 from the famine-stricken provinces of central Russia caused much agitation among the peasantry of the Ufa government. All this was possible owing to the weakness of the revolutionary indigent elements and the influence of the kulak element over the peasantry. The worker masses of the south- Ural factories during this period in question were politically unreliable. The influence of the Bolsheviks over them had been weakened, since the more politically class-conscious workers had been sent against Dutow and to put down peasant uprisings, and it was of this very fact that the social-revolutionaries took advantage for their own agitation purposes. Moreover, there was much agitation due to the famine, and the population was dissatisfied with the work that was being carried on by the requisition parties. These requisitions also affected the interests of the workers who, while maintaining their ties with the soil, at the same time were engaged in small-scale agricultural trading.
From the onset, the Soviet government had at its disposal only the
volunteer worker's combat detachments.
There were also uprisings among the Orenburg Cossacks. Ataman Dutow succeeded in arousing against the Soviet government the Cossacks of the southern districts* and at the beginning of December, 1917, in capturing Orenburg. These first steps on the part of Ataman Dutow were soon liquidated, however, by Soviet forces. On January 18, 1918, Soviet control was reestablished in Orenburg, and Dutow together with a small detachment of forces took refuge in Verkhne-Uralsk whence, pursued by detachments of Ural workers, he was forced to flee (in May, 1918) to the Turgai steppes. Owing to the overflow rivers at the time, the Red units halted their pursuit. During the very time that the Red forces were engaged against Ataman Dutow's forces, local "White" partisan guards continued their activities behind the lines. One of their detachments even succeeded once more in entering Orenburg.
* Administrative Territorial Division.
Concurrently, there developed a powerful "White" partisan
movement also in the Ural district. The Red army engaged these, operating
primarily along the railway lines and approaching the administrative and
political center of the district - the city of Uralsk, which had been held by
the counter-revolutionary Ural government. In general, the partisan aspect
which the war had assumed in the Orenburg and Ural steppes in the spring of
1918 had deprived it of its individual importance but was disadvantageous for
the Soviets because of the fact that it favored the establishment of an Eastern
Let us now consider the situation which developed in Siberia. With the start of the October revolution the Soviet government swiftly occupied the principal centers of Siberia. Control of government was seized everywhere without much difficulty, with the exception of Irkutsk, at which point the local revolutionary forces were compelled to engage in intensive battle with the forces of the Provisional government. The conditions under which the Soviet government was organized were most difficult, owing to the vast territory involved and the meager cultural development of the country.
The population in Siberia consisted mainly of peasants with minor proletarian elements in the cities and industrial centers. The peasantry as a whole, however, was not economically the same throughout.
The old-establishment Siberian peasant, firmly situated on his independent land, never knew the power of the "pomeshchik" (landlord), and the difficult relationship with him for the ownership and control of the land was unknown to him. As regards his social inclinations, the Siberian peasant might have been likened to the kulak (wealthy peasant) element of the Ukraine and Southern Russia. But in addition to this peasantry, there was also a considerable peasant element os so-called "newcomers." These consisted of peasants who migrated from the more populated agricultural districts of Russia. Less powerful economically, the newcomers settled along both sides of the Siberian railroad and along the adjacent streams. A considerable portion of the land occupied by them was of poor quality; and there was to be observed even among the Siberian peasantry the development of a pauperized peasantry. This latter peasantry was on the political side of not the old established peasants but rather on the side of the Siberian proletariat. This is why the Soviet power in Siberia established itself more firmly along the Siberian railway and the rivers and in the large cities.
On February 26, 1918, at the Second Congress of Soviets, there was
elected the Siberian council of peoples commissars, comprising 11 bolsheviks
and 4 left social-revolutionaries, and the Siberian central executive
The situation with respect to provisions in Siberia was far batter than that existing in central Russia, and until the summer of 1918 there had been no provision parties sent to these areas. The mainstay of the Soviet government was the local small communist detachments, and the Red army was concurrently being formed on a voluntary military service basis.
With the beginning of the October revolution in the Far East there were also formed the Soviets (councils), and government was maintained by the Far Eastern Regional Committee of Workers, Peasants, and Cossack Soviet Deputies, which operated with full autonomy.
After the establishment of the Soviet power in the Far East, the counter-revolutionary elements launched a movement with the aid of anti-Soviet forces within the country and "White" guard detachments on contiguous Chinese territory. In the latter instance, as already pointed out, these were assisted by the Japanese and certain of the Allied powers. In the interior there came into being secret military organizations in the principal centers who received their supplies and provisions from enterprises where powerful social-revolutionary and Menshevik influences were strong. These organizations were preparing for active operations the launching of which was timed with the beginning of the Allied intervention.
Of the "White" guard forces organized beyond Siberian territory the strongest and most active was that under Semenow, which had left Transbaikalia upon the outbreak of the revolution, and concentrated in the vicinity of the Manchuria railway station (on the Transbaikalia-Chinese frontier). Simultaneously with the increase in the forces of the anti- revolutionaries in Siberia and the Far East, Vladivostok was threatened by the intervention of the Czecho-Slovak forces, traveling from central Russia, and by the Japanese. Thus the gradually increasing anti-bolshevik movement and the work of the counter-revolutionary forces of Siberia and the Far East created a dangerous threat to the Soviets in Siberia by the time of the intervention of the Japanese and Czecho- Slovak forces.
The fall of the anti-Soviet political centers of the Ukraine and
Don, the consolidation of the Soviet power in the Orenburg area and in the
basic Siberian centers foreshadowed, on the whole, the successful outcome of
the October phase of the civil war. Consolidation of the initial victories of
the civil war was curtailed by the German intervention and by the action of the
Czecho-Slovak Corps, induced by the policies of the Allied powers.
In our present effort we shall not touch upon a number of other events (for example, the capture of the Stavka* of the old army, the October Revolution in Finland, events in Transcaucasia, etc.) which also pertained to the October phase of our civil war. To include these would require much more space than we were able to devote to this phase in our present effort. We are therefore limiting our study to the more outstanding and interesting events and occurrences from the military standpoint.
* Stavka G.H.Q. - Tr.
The entire phase of the civil war is characterized by the absence of continuous fronts. The territorial delimitation of the military forces of the revolution and counter-revolution took place later; foreign intervention, as we shall see later, accelerated the process and served to formulate it. Action on both sides in this phase of the civil war is of considerable military interest, as it affected the development of the civil war and in a manner resembles what is referred to in military writings as border engagements. The revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces were still in the process of organization and were not yet mobilized for the real large-scale civil war. The armed forces of the revolution in this phase consisted of Red guard detachments organized from workers and volunteers - soldiers of the old army and individual radically inclined military units who preserved their combat efficiency in the general disintegration of the forces on the World War front of the old army. As regards military training, the Red guard units were considerably inferior to the forces of the former old army, but their lack of training was in a manner compensated by the high degree of political social-consciousness of the Red proletarian soldier.
The action of both sides in this phase of the civil war was limited to the employment of individual, independently operating detachments, characterized by a high degree of mobility and activity, resembling the action of advance detachments in frontier engagements. The detachments operated primarily along railways; horse-drawn supply transportation was replaced by railway cars in the case of the units involved. The entire phase of "frontier engagements" of the revolution with the counter-revolutionary forces has taken its place in the history of our civil war under the heading of echelon warfare, more accurately, it was the beginning of the same, since as a matter of fact, this echelon warfare extended over a considerable period of time (action against the German occupational forces, initial phase of action against the Czecho-Slovak forces, etc.).