Winston Churchill and the Russian Civil War

Discussion in 'World War I' started by davebender, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/26041/thebriti.pdf?sequence=1
    An excellent paper on the Russian Civil War. IMO this deserves to be published in book form.

    It appears to me Churchill did a good job providing Russian anti-Bolshevik forces with war material. He was let down by the incompetence of British Army officers who were responsible for organizing and training the White Russian forces. You would think the British Army would know how to organize and train proper infantry divisions, after 4 years of practise during 1914 to 1918.
     
  2. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,287
    Likes Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Plymouth, England

    I like your ironic sense of humour Dave. What was the battle plan in WW1 for the British Army? Was there a battle plan..?
    Cheers
    John
     
  3. TheMustangRider

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    United States
    If I'm not mistaken, the US and France were also engaged in providing assistance to the White Russian forces.
    I have wondered myself many times if a Bolshevik defeat during the Russian Civil War could have managed to alter WWII in a meaningful way and perhaps eliminated the Cold War that followed it.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,534
    Likes Received:
    948
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I think a serious look at tactics and the way they evolved throughout the conflict rather than the propagation of myths which belong in an episode of "Blackadder" would be more helpful. This thread and this forum probably aren't the place for that.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    1919 British Military Mission to Southern Russia.
    -Two regular army divisions to secure the rear area.
    -About 2,000 British regular army personnel to train and organize White Russian military units.
    -Modern weapons and equipment for 250,000 infantry.
    -A generous amount of artillery and plenty of ammunition.
    -A mountain of uniforms, field gear and other supplies.
    -74 tanks complete with British tank commanders.
    -6 armored cars
    -629 trucks and motorcars
    -200 aircraft complete with British aircrew and ground support personnel.
    -Naval supremacy including battleships. These provided gunfire support on several occasions in addition to securing the sea supply route.
    Even with these resources the White Russian forces were defeated in less then two years.

    1914 German forces in Ost Afrika.
    -No German regular army units.
    -No tanks, aircraft or modern artillery.
    -Ammunition was in short supply.
    -No naval support. In fact the two main seaports (Tanga and Dar es Salaam) didn’t even have coast defenses. Enemy naval forces could and did sail into both harbors to bombard targets.
    -128 German officers and NCOs to serve as cadre for the Schultztruppen.
    -132 German non-combatants. Includes medical personnel and colonial officials.
    -Modern weapons and equipment for about 1,000 soldiers. Plus about 1,500 obsolete black powder rifles.
    With these limited resources plus what they captured from the enemy and two small blockade runner shipments the Ost Afrika Schultztruppen were still fighting hard a couple weeks after the November 1918 Armistice.

    If LTC Lettow-Vorbeck had resources in quantities similiar to those which Churchill provided to South Russia would the Deutsches Reich flag still be flying over Dar es Salaam?
     
  6. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,936
    Likes Received:
    654
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    ".... If LTC Lettow-Vorbeck had resources in quantities similar to those which Churchill provided to South Russia would the Deutsches Reich flag still be flying over Dar es Salaam?"

    I don't think so, although it is a very valid point. Without naval supremacy from 1914 onwards, off-shore German colonies would be in for tough times IMHO. :)

    MM
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Since the British Military Mission had naval supremacy I think the primary logistical and training base should have been on the Crimea Peninsula. The two British infantry divisions could hold the peninsula neck, allowing a dozen or so White Russian infantry divisions to be trained in a safe rear area. Meanwhile you provide existing Kuban and Don cossack forces enough munitions to defend their tribal areas but not enough to go on the offensive. The main offensive would be conducted by an entire field army after the dozen infantry divisions have completed training.
     
  8. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Company owner
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Interesting subject as usual.

    I have just finished reading (and reviewing) the book "Spies and commissars". Focused on Russia, its interactions with the outside world, etc, etc. Fascinating reading.

    It basically claims that the western powers were totally exhausted after WWI and the military leaders were doubtful if anybody wanted to get into another war, esecially in faraway Russia.

    The more interesting part is actually the japanese occupation of eastern siberia around vladivostok.

    On East Africa. There is another interesting book: They fought for King and Kaizer" by Ambrose Brown.

    It shows something interesting: Smuts really tried his very best to maneuvre Vorbeck out of east africa, which to a certain extent was successful. It was Smut's philosophy to avoid casualties as South Africa's (white) man-power was rather small at that time.

    This caused trekking across tropical africa, rain forest, malaria, fever, sicknes, everything that could possible go wrong. It probably caused more casualties than attacking Vorbeck head-on (if he only would stand a fight).

    Vorbeck saw his mission to tie up forces in africa, which he was rather successful in doing. His "little war army" was the only one not defeated.

    I can recommend both books

    Ivan
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    There is another way to look at the situation. After November 1918 the British Army had mountains of surplus military equipment. You can ship that equipment to Russia and fight a war by proxy. British equipment plus Russian manpower.

    That's essentially what happened historically but it appears to me the British Army botched the job both in Siberia and in Southern Russia.
     
  10. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,936
    Likes Received:
    654
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    "... That's essentially what happened historically but it appears to me the British Army botched the job both in Siberia and in Southern Russia."

    If indeed "the job" could be done in the first place. Not sure it could. The RED revolution spread through the Czarist army.

    MM
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Protests against Bolshevik rule spread just as quickly once the population got a taste of it. Even the Bolshevik naval and industrial heartland experienced major unrest. That's why the newly created Red Army had armed Bolshevik commissars at every level of command. Red Army soldiers couldn't easily join protesters as Russian soldiers had done during 1916 and 1917.

    If British controlled White Russian forces had offered democracy and self-determination most of the people living outside Sovdepia would have welcomed them with open arms. Just as they welcomed German Army forces during the summer and fall of 1918.
     
Loading...

Share This Page