divided into two distinct areas. As was the case
during 1917-1921, North Ossetia is in Russia, and South
Ossetia is in Georgia.
When Georgia split off from the rest of the Tsarist Empire in 1918, the
Ossetian minority also made a break for autonomy. There was a nasty
little war which the Ossetians lost, and the province remained part of
Georgia until the Red
Army conquered it in early 1921 (the Soviets using unrest in South
part of their excuse).
North Ossetia includes the major city
of Vladikavkaz, and also Mozdok, so was a centre for Soviet power in
the Caucasus. It is also heavily settled by Terek Cossacks. The result
was that it was extremely turbulent until conquered by the Volunteer
Army. After that it was one of the more settled parts of the Caucasus,
The Ossetians differ from the other Caucasian tribes in largely being
Christian, though there is a small Moslem minority. Because of this,
and because their political views about Georgia aligned with that of
Denikin, the Ossetians fought in much larger numbers for the Whites
than the other Caucasian tribes.
1st and 3rd Ossetian
with St George medals
wartime dress with Ossetian badge
with plain bashlyk
This is the uniform from prior to WWI. The distinguishing colour was
"light blue". Since they were said wear the same uniform as the Terek
Cossacks, we have assume that the blue is basically the same.
We know that at least a couple of the senior officers during the RCW
were Russian, and they might have chosen not to wear Caucasian dress.
white, with white trim.
for officers and plain for men
Buttons were silver and officers
had silver lace. Cavalry officer ciphers and rank markings were in
gold. Khaki shoulderboards were stencilled in light blue.
Presumably with the expansion to multiple regiments in the Civil War
the cipher gained a leading number.
in the RCW
There had been an Ossetian Horse Regiment in the Russian Imperial Army
prior to WWI. They did not have a regiment in the Savage Division.
The 1st Native Horse Regiment, which was in Colonel Shkuro's detachment
of the Volunteer Army, had an Ossetian Divizion
as September 1918.
In February 1919 an Ossetian Horse Division was formed, consisting of
the 1st to 4th Ossetian Horse Regiments. This fought as part
of the Forces of the Northern Caucasus. However the 3rd Regiment was
sent within a month to the Combined Mountain Horse Division.
In May 1919 the Division gained the 1st to 3rd Ossetian Rifle
Battalions, but the 1st Battalion was soon sent to the
Volunteer Army, where it joined the 3rd Ossetian Horse Regiment.
The Ossetian Division, still in the Forces of the North Caucasus in
October 1919 was counted as:
Brigade Commander – Col Emmanuel
1st Ossetian Horse Regiment – Col. Belikov – 265
sabres, 5 MGs
2nd Ossetian Horse Regiment – Col. Gutiev – 244
sabres, 8 MGs
4th Ossetian Horse Regiment – Col. Khabaev – 93
sabres, 8 MGs
2nd Ossetian Rifle Battalion – Col. Tkhostov – 308
rifles, 4 MGs
3rd Ossetian Rifle Battalion – Col. Granat – 384
rifles, 4 MGs
In 1920 the bulk of the Ossetian Division retreated from the Astrakhan
area to Georgia.
Meanwhile the 3rd Ossetian Horse Regiment and 1st Ossetian Rifle
Battalion had been fighting in the Ukraine with the Volunteer Army. In
March, during the retreat, they were combined into a Combined Ossetian
Division under Colonel M.A. Dzaghinov and took part in the "Bredov
March" to Poland.
The remnants of this new Ossetian Division were grouped into the 1st
Native Horse Regiment on their repatriation to the Crimea, but this was
disbanded in August 1920. It is possible some of the men formed a
squadron in one of the cavalry regiments of the reformed 1st Cavalry
Division, but we have no information on this.
There was an Ossetian Sotnia in the Forces of the Trans-Caspia (modern
numbering 68 men and one MG in October 1919.
As well as the Ossetian Horse Division, the Forces of the North
at some time recruited some more Ossetians. In October 1919 they had a
Detached Ossetian Divizion
of 78 sabres and another Ossetian Horse Divizion
sabres and one machine-gun.
The uniform of the Ossetians is more or less identical to that of the
Terek Cossacks (apart from the bashlyk
which does allow units painted this way to be used in the 1920 Northern
Tauridia campaign as Terek Cossacks.
Infantry units would wear the same dress, except officer markings would
be in silver, and khaki shoulderboards probably would be marked in
yellow. As there was a shortage of local infantry officers, it would
seem likely that they were commanded by Russians (the names above
certainly suggest so) who may have prefered standard infantry dress.
We have collected various period photos of mountaineers on a separate
> Cossacks and
Natives > mountaineers