Host colour was red, and it appears all units of the Kuban Host used
it, although the exact shade varied greatly.
We have seen it suggested that the Kuban Cossacks favoured pale grey cherkeskas
. If they
did, then it certainly was not to the exclusion of other colours.
seems that the beshmet
was be red
trimmed with lace along the collar and front. In the field
plain shirts were very much the norm.
Host red, with possible black trim
cavalry hats, with the cross for officers and plain for men
of the 1st
Zaporozhian Regiment in WWI.
The Imperial 1st Zaporozhian Regiment of the Kuban Cossack Host was
named in honour of Tsarina Ekaterina II (more commonly known in English
as Catherine the Great), and bore her monogram of an E with a II
Dress shoulderboards were red, with yellow stencilling. The field
versions were khaki with the monogram in dark blue.
Buttons and lace were silver. As cavalry, officers metal or
bullion monograms were reversed to be in gold.
Crowns of papakhi
(fur hats) might have
coloured tops as shown, or plain khaki in the field. Few men seem to
in the RCW
The 1st Zaporozhian Regiment was reformed in the Volunteer
Army in July 1918 in the 1st Cavalry
Division. When the Kuban Host Army was formed it went into its 1st
Horse Division, being one of the "senior" regiments. However that
doesn't mean it was always very large: in October 1919 it had only 58
sabres and 2 MGs. After the retreat to the Kuban and surrender of the
Kuban Army the
regiment was disbanded.
An Independent Zaporozhian Kuban Cossack Horse Divizion
reformed by Wrangel in the Crimea, presumably the 1st Squadron at least
the remnants of the 1st Zaporozhian Regiment. It fought as the
divisional cavalry of the
reformed 7th Infantry Division (alongside the 1st Partisan
“General Alekseev” Infantry Regiment, Terek
Plastoon Cossack Regiment, 1st and 2nd Kuban
Rifle Regiments, the
7th Artillery Brigade and a Independent Kuban Engineer Sotnia).
All the Kuban ceremonial flags were spirited out of Russia
during the Civil
War, so it seem unlikely that any units fought under Nikolai or St
George flags, unless they used replicas.
The actual field banner of a Kuban regimental commander was a
square banner in Host red
with a distinguishing number or sign, such as that shown on the left
That's a bit dull, and we also doubt
White units fought under such confusingly red flags, so an option with
the monogram on the Kuban Army banner is given as an alternative on the
Sotnia (i.e. squadron) flags had the
regimental number or monogram, with
Host colours above and squadron colours below. This would be the
official sotnia flags for the 1st Zaporozhian Regiment's first and
The sotnia colours were: scarlet, light blue, white, dark green,
yellow and brown respectively.
Khoper Regt 1913 or Composite Diviz. 1920
2nd Khoper Regt in alternative service dress
Kuban Host in cold weather kit with burka
In terms of uniforms apart from those regiments with separate pages,
the shoulderboard ciphers are the only difference between the other
Kuban Cavalry of WWI and the Civil War.
Imperial monograms for the other pre-WWI Kuban regiments:
Khoper, Taman, Poltava,
Ekaterinodar, Kuban, Black Sea (Chernomorsk),
Caucasus, Uman, Zaporozhian, Line and Labinsk Regiment monograms,
In wartime, as the reserve 2nd and 3rd units of each was drafted they
added the unit number in front, so there
would be 1 Зп, 2 Зп and 3 Зп for the three Zaporozhian Regiment.
1st Kuban Cossack Regiment, 1st Kuban Plastoon battalion and 1st Kuban
Artillery Battery were awarded a special monogram in 1912, when they
were named in honour of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich, great uncle
to Nikolai II and Governor of Caucasia for 20 years.
An example can be seen to the right. This would seem to be the
shoulderboard of a captain of the 1st
Kuban Plastoon Battalion as Kuban cavalry had
silver lace and artillery would also have the crossed cannons
of that arm.
Such obviously Romanov symbols may or may not have been worn in the
of the Kuban Cossack units of the Imperial army were reformed in the
Civil War, which led to most of them being quite small. All the
pre-war regiments had at least a 1st and 2nd Regiment
3rd Uman, Black Sea, Caucasus, Zaporozhian and (briefly) Kuban
Regiments appearing as well.
There were also three Composite Kuban Regiments and the 1st and
2nd Partisan Kuban Regiments, but we do not know the cipher for these
(if indeed they had one).
Kuban Cossack units were formed as the Volunteer Army cleared the Host
area in early 1918, sometimes by the VA recruiting and sometimes as it
swept up former partisans. In June/July there was a
and most of the 1st and 2nd Regiments were numbered. After freeing the
Caucasus the bulk of them were moved into the Caucasian Army under
Baron Wrangel, though a division was briefly attached to the Don Army
and single regiments with the Volunteer Army.
With the total collapse of the Kuban Host in mid-1920, all these units
basically disappeared (except the 2nd Labinsk Regiment which went with
Bredov to Poland). Baron Wrangel
could only assemble one division of Kuban Cavalry for the Crimean
1st Kuban Cossack Division
– Major-General Babiev
– 1,000-1,500 sabres.
Kornilov Horse Regiment
1st Labinsk Cossack Regiment
1st Line Cossack Regiment
1st Uman Cossack Regiment
Kuban Composite Divizion
1st Kuban Cossack Horse-Artillery Divizion
2nd Horse Artillery Divizion
There was also the Zaporozhian Divizion
was with the 7th Infantry Division, as noted above, and
Shkuro's Kuban "Wolves" Divizion
was somewhere (likely also attached to this division in fact).
Labinsk Regiment flag has survived the war and is in
a Russian museum. It has an
abbreviated name – 1й Лаб П
– in a dark diamond on a red
background (often shown as yellow in illustrations, but probably faded
red, since that is the Host colour). This is our rendition:
Mamontov says that the 1st Ekaterinodar Regiment's flag was sky
With these in mind, it seems reasonable to use a mix of Imperial and
Civil War themes when drawing flags, since they obviously branched out
This is a variant for the 1st Uman Cossack Regiment's staff flag,
based on the standard Imperial form of a red diamond in blue for
Cossack regimental staff:
This a variant on the 2nd Kuban Cossack Regiment battle flag, where a
distinguishing strip in the national colours is sewn to the WWI version.
As noted, the Kuban ceremonial flags were spirited out of Russia so
were unavailable for units, but for those of you looking for
WWI or earliers flags, the 2nd and 3rd Zaporozhian
were granted ones like this in 1853.
And the three Khoper Regiments had ones like this from 1896
Period photographs have been put on a separate page, since many are
> Kuban Cavalry