Soviet Forces in Astrakhan' 1919

Notes on the Soviet forces present. My information is largely in Russian, which makes life so much more difficult, but I have extracted a few details anyway as best I can.

XI Army Book

From XI Army and its combats in the Northern Caucasus and Lower Volga: 1918 - 1920 by V.T. Sukhorukov.

Page 229

At the time of the reconstitution of XI Army, its composition was as follows: bayonets – 14,240, sabres – 3,250, machine guns – 325, light guns – 28, heavy guns – 2, heavy mortars[?] – 6, howitzers – 4, armoured trains – 2, armoured vehicles – 2, aeroplanes – 7. Total personnel 34,360, horses – 8,000.

To this can be added forces in formation and reserves to the rear, of 3,750 bayonets, 45 sabres, 55 machine guns, 10 guns, 7 aeroplanes. The total was 12,600 people and 925 horses.

The arrangement of the forces of XIA in August 1919 can be seen in Map 27.

The Tsarevskaya group – consisting of 3rd Brigade 50 RD and 1st Moscow CD – on the left bank of the Volga and the Baskunchak, Vladimirovka, Zhitkur area.

The Tsaritsyn group – consisting of the 34th RD, 2nd Brigade 50 RD and 7th CD – in the area of Cherniy Yar-Yenotaevka (120 kilometres).

In the Astrakhan-Krasniy Kut area (300 kilometres north of Baskunchak) for the defence of the railway there was an infantry regiment, cavalry units and 2 armoured trains, for a total of 2,600 bayonets and sabres.

In the Volga Delta there were two battle sites – in the western areas and Yashkuly and Kizlyar, the 298th RR and some small units operated and in the eastern section of fighting in Gaiyushkino-Dzhambaiskii area the 299th RR and other small units, for a total of 1,550 bayonets, 370 sabres, with 53 MGs and 4 guns.

In the army reserve in the village of Kharabali was the 304th RR.

XI Army forces were extremely spread out at this time.

The creation of Kalmyk and Kirghiz military commissariats was a great help in forming cavalry units for the army, which participated in the fighting against White Guard bands in the Yenotaevka area and east of the railroad. Commanders, communists and local organizations put in a huge amount work to instill discipline, and give political and moral instruction before the fighting.

Page 231

On August 24 XIA Komandarm V. P. Raspopov ordered Tsaritsyn to be taken. Army troops were given the following tasks:

Tsarevski group, of the 3rd Brigade 50 RD and the 1st Moscow Cavalry Division to strike at the enemy in the area Zhitkur-Vladimirovka from the area of Zubovka on the right bank of the Volga;

The Tsaritsyn Shock Group, composed of 445, 446 RRs (50th RD), 300, 301, 305, 306 RRs (34th RD), and 37, 38, 39 CRs (7th CD) were to inflict a decisive blow from Cherniy Yar towards Sarepta-Tsaritsyn and towards Stanitsa Tinguta in order to cut the Tsaritsyn-Tikhoretskaya railroad, cutting off Tsaritsyn from the south.

1st Brigade 34 RD was to actively defend the Volga Delta and the approaches to Astrakhan by pushing towards the area of Basy and the detachment of General Dratsenko.

Chief of Railway Defence M.R. Efremov was given the task of defending Astrakhan-Krasniy Kut and preventing the capture of them by the Whites.

Encyclopedia of Civil War and Intervention in the USSR

Second Creation of the Soviet 11th Army

Created as a separate army by order of the RVSR dated 13 March 1919 from the Forces of the Caspian-Caucasian Front. Directly subordinate to Glavkom; from May 23, 1919 operationally subordinated to the Southern Front.

The composition of 11A was: 33rd RD (March – May 1919), 34th RD (March – June 1919), 1st Special CD (March – in April. 1919), 7th CD (April – June 1919), Astrakhan-Caspian Fleet (March – May 1919, ?operationally subordinate?).

Troops of 11A were located in the Astrakhan region and not along the Caspian coast playing the role of a bridge between Eastern and the Southern fronts. There was fighting against Denikin's troops. Because of the small numbers (in April 12,300 bayonets and swords, 59 guns) and the transfer of parts towards the Southern and Eastern Fronts, 11A was unable to fulfill its assigned tasks for the liberation of the Eastern Caucasus and Dagestan. By order of RVSR of 4 June 1919 it was disbanded, and its troops transferred to 10A.

Commanders: N. A. Zhdanov (20 March – June 3, 1919), S. Smirnov (acting, 3 – June 10, 1919). Members of RVS: K. A. Mehonoshin (20 March -10 June 1919), S. E. Sacks (20 March – 4 June 1919), S. M. Kirov (7 May -10 June 1919), S. P. Medvedev (7 May -10 June 1919). Chief of Staff: I. F. Sharskov (19 March -18 April. 1919), Yevgenia Riegelman (acting, April 19-29. 1919), A.F. Kadoshnikov (30 April -12 June 1919).

Third Creation of the Soviet 11th Army

Constituted by order of RVS Eastern Front on 14 August 1919 troops from the group consisting of Astrakhan-Turkestan Front. In the forces of the Turkestan Front, on 14 October 1919 the South-Eastern Front, from 16 January 1920 the Caucasian Front.

In August to December 1919 11A, defended Astrakhan (see Defense of Astrakhan 1919), waged a tenacious battle simultaneously in multiple directions: against Denikin's troops in the Astrakhan region (especially in Sept – Oct), the area of Tsaritsyn (especially in Nov – Dec), contributing to the offensive troops of the South Eastern Front, fighting Astrakhan and Ural White Cossacks towards Dzhanybek[?] and Gur'enskii[?], interacting with 1A and 4A.

Troops of 11A were successful and fulfilled their task and defeated enemy on all fronts. In January to March 1920 participated in the South-Caucasus operations and liberated Stavropol, central and southern Caucasus. In April 1920 participated in the Baku operation, thus restoring Soviet power in Azerbaijan. In July 1920 – 11 May 1921 troops of 11A assisted Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia in the installation of Soviet power and took part in the Tiflis, Batumi and Erivan operations. Disbanded in May 1921 to from the Separate Caucasian Army.

Commanders: V. L. Raspopov (14 Aug – Sept. 26 1919), Yuri P. Butyagin (26 Sept. – 19 Dec 1919). M. I. Wasylenko (19 Dec – 29 1919 March 1920; 26 July – 12 Sept. 1920), M. K. Levyandovskii (29 March – 12 July 1920), A. K. Remezov (acting, 12 – 26 July 1920, 12 – 19 Sep 1920). A. I. Gekker (19 Sep 1920 – 29 May 1921). Members of RVS: V. V. Kuybyshev (14 Aug 14 – Oct 1919), V. V. Kuraev (14 – 25 Aug 1919), S. M. Kirov (3 Sept. 1919 – 23 March 1920), A . I. Sokolov (9 Oct. 1919 – 6 Jan 1920), K. A. Mekhonoshin (21 Dec 1919 -27 May 1920), J. I. Vesnik (27 May – 31 August; 1920, 26 Jan – 29 May 1921), B. D. Mikhailov (21 June 1920 – 9 Feb 1921), S. Z. Eliava (17 Dec. 1920 – 29 May 1921), A. K. Karaev (14 Nov 1920 – 29 May 1921). Chief of Staff: V. V. Shevelev (acting, August 14 – 23 Sep 1919), N. I. Zvorykin (acting, Sept. 23 – 18 Oct 1919), G. A. Shpilko (acting. 18 October – 10 December 1919), A. K. Remezov (10 Dec 1919 – 7 May 1921), B. I. Kuznetsov (7 – 29 May 1921)

(Between these two formations of XI Army, the same basic forces were called the "Astrakhan Forces Group of the 10th Army".)

Support Units

The units listed above include some armoured cars, which I believe are from the 15th Armoured Divizion.

The planes are, I believe, from the 47th AO. If my information is correct, it operated from Oranzhereinyi Island in the Volga delta starting in early 1919. It defended the stretch from Tsaritsyn through to Astrakhan, before following the 11th Army into the Caucasus in 1920.

There was a sizable and very active Volga-Caspian flotilla.