The vast majority of the Astrakhan Host had been, and it seems always
and 2nd Astrakhan Cossack
The colour of the Astrakhan Host was yellow.
men and officers
The shoulderboards were yellow, with red markings. Khaki ones had the
cipher in dark blue. Officer buttons and lace were silver, so rank
markings and cipher were gold.
The Astrakhan units seem to only have a number for their cipher, as
they were the senior of the four hosts with yellow as their colour (the
Amur Host had the A). Potentially this would have led to the khaki side
looking like plenty
of other units, but in the Civil War they may have stuck with the
yellow side anyway.
in the RCW
These regiments descended from the men of the fighting with the Don
forces in 1918. On paper there were four Astrakhan Cossack Cavalry
regiments, but it seems that only the 1st and 2nd were of much fighting
value. It appears the 2nd was almost entirely Kalmyk.
When the Don joined the AFSR the Astrakhan Army was disbanded, and the
Astrakhan Cossacks put into the Astrakhan Detached
Brigade, composed of the Astrakhan Cossack Regiment, the Astrakhan
Combined Cavalry Regiment (the name suggests still largely Kalmyk) and
the 1st Astrakhan Cossack Horse Battery. There was a 1st Circassian
Regiment attached as well. They fought in the Manych area in mid-1919, were
roughly handled by Dumenko's Cavalry and sent to the rear to regroup.
They returned as a division: 1st and 2nd Astrakhan
Cossack Regiments, 1st and 2nd
Astrakhan-Kalmyk-Manych Regiments, a Mixed-ethnic Regiment and two
batteries. This division assisted
Wrangel as he conquered Tsaritsyn and the was part of the force that
attacked towards Cherniy Yar afterwards.
It added some other units from time to time, such as briefly having the
100-odd sabres of the 2nd Pavlogradskiy Hussar Regiment. The 3rd
Regiment also spent some time detached from the division. It seems that
more Cossacks flowed in and its numbers in October 1919 were:
Astrakhan Cossack Regiment – 546 sabres, 8 MGs
2nd Astrakhan Cossack Regiment – 151 sabres, 6 MGs
3rd Astrakhan Cossack Regiment – 425 sabres, 12 MGs
4th Astrakhan Cossack Regiment – 377 sabres, 11 MGs
1st Inorodski Horse Regiment – 97 sabres, 3 MGs (inorod =
Horse Artillery Divizion – Col.Petrovskiy
1st Astrakhan Cossack
Battery – 4 light cannon
9th Horse Battery – 5 light cannons
They fell back into the Caucasus, and were shipped to the Crimea in
April 1920. The remaining men were reorganised into the 1st and 2nd
Astrakhan Cossack Regiments, and placed in the
combined Terek-Astrakhan Cavalry Brigade. They took part in
the Kuban landing
and then in the Crimean
It seems that for
October 1919, the 1st Regiment was 600 sabres and 20MGs, but that the
2nd Regiment was in the rear fighting partisans because it had been
worn out in the fighting. The sources also mention an additional divizion
Astrakhan Cossacks, but it is unclear exactly what they represent.
The official HQ flags of the staff of the 1st and 2nd Regiments
under the Imperial system were a simple red 1 and 2 on a yellow square.
The regimental commander would have been accompanied by a diamond flag,
red inside blue, with the cipher in black. That was fine under the old
system where Cossacks didn't fight alongside each other so much, but in
the Caucasian Army it would have left every unit looking identical.
Likely some other version was used by most units.
Squadrons carried flags on the standard Cossack model, with Host colour
above and Sotnia colour below:
There were also a couple of unattached Astrakhan Cossack Sotnias in the
AFSR in 1919, not part of the Astrakhan Cossack Division.
The Astrakhan cavalry units with the Urals Host are described here
Astrakhan Cossacks are largely identical to Trans-Baikal Cossacks and
the Don Kalmyk Regiment, except for flags and shoulderboard ciphers.