Barend's banner

I would like to thank Barend Janssen, who drew up some lovely uniform schemes and put in an enormous number of hours of research, for all the work he did in preparing this section.

Cossack and Native Units

This section of the site covers almost all the Cossack and Native armies of the Russian Civil War, although information is slight on many units.

Also included are non-Cossack units that fought alongside the Host armies. Sometimes Host armies were given regulars (usually infantry) and they often recruited native tribesmen.

The uniform information presented usually mentions the uniform as it was in World War One, often at some length. This is because the Whites usually kept previous traditions into the Civil War, but also to help people interested in armies from that period. In particular we have given full details on shoulderboards and hat colours, when we can find them, even while knowing that few Civil War units will have been able to produce them.

Corrections and suggestions for improvements are very welcome: pygmywarsATgmailDOTcom

Caucasian Hosts and Mountaineers

What many think of as the "Cossack" dress was in fact the traditional style of the mountain peoples of the Caucasus.

Notes on the details of Caucasian Dress

Only two Cossack hosts, the Kuban and the Terek, dressed this way. However, these two hosts and the Caucasian "mountaineers" themselves formed a considerable part of the White armies of southern Russia, especially the early Volunteer Army, which was largely formed in the Kuban.

The Terek Host in the RCW

Terek Cavalry
Terek Infantry
Terek Artillery

The Kuban Host in the RCW

Kuban Cavalry

Kuban Guards
Kornilov Horse
Shkuro's Wolves

Kuban Infantry
Kuban Artillery

The Mountain peoples in the RCW

Others – Chechens, Circassians, Tatars and Kumyks

Other Units

Markov Horse

Steppe Hosts in the AFSR

All these Cossack units wore a uniform basically similar to standard Russian military dress.

Notes on Steppe Cossack dress

The Don Host fought from the very beginning of the war, originally independently, then as part of the AFSR. The Astrakhan Host never formed an army as such, but units fought on several fronts.

The Don Host in the RCW

Don Cavalry

Ataman Regiment
LifeGuard Regiment
Don Kalmyks
Don Tachankas

Don Cossack Infantry

Border Regiments

Don non-Cossack Infantry

Finland LifeGuard Regiment

Don Artillery
Don Engineers

The Astrakhan Host in the RCW

Astrakhan Cavalry in the AFSR

Astrakhan Kalmyks

Other Astrakhan Troops – Artillery, Units with the Urals Host, Units with the AFSR

Steppe Hosts in the East

The Cossack Hosts were all more or less anti-Bolshevik, but in Siberia were not always aligned particularly closely with the main White forces.

The history of these hosts are not very well known, so in some cases more extensive historical notes have been added separately.

The Urals Host in the RCW

History of the Urals Host
Urals Cossack Cavalry
Urals Infantry
Other Urals Troops – Artillery, Partisans, Astrakhan Cossacks, Kirghiz/Kazakhs, Orenburg Cossacks

The Orenburg Host in the RCW

History of the Orenburg Host
Orenburg Cossack Cavalry

Ataman Divizion

Orenburg Infantry – Cossack and non-Cossack
Other Orenburg Troops – Artillery, Ataman's bodyguard, Kirghiz and Kazakhs

The Bashkirs in the RCW

The Siberian Host in the RCW

Siberian Cossack Cavalry
Other Siberian Troops – Plastoons, Artillery, Native Units

The Semirechensk Host in the RCW

Semirechensk Cossack Cavalry
5th Siberian Rifle Division
Other Semirechensk Troops – Plastoons, Artillery, Native Units

The Yenisei Host in the RCW (Yenisei = Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk)

The TransBaikal Host in the RCW


The Amur Host in the RCW

Uniforms of the Amur Host

The Ussuri Host in the RCW

Uniforms of the Ussuri Host

Related Units

The Semirechensk Host was strongly associated with Annenkov from early 1919 onwards. This section covers the units that fought alongside the Semirechye Cossacks.

Ataman Annenkov Partisan Division

Annenkov himself
Annenkov Regular Cavalry
Annenkov Cossack and Native Cavalry
Annenkov Infantry
Annenkov Artillery

A large number of Cossacks were reformed into new units in the Far Eastern Army in TransBaikal in 1920. There were official changes made to uniform regulations by Ataman Semenov, which isn't to say that they were obeyed:

Cossacks in the Far East 1920-1921 in Russian at


In general the Cossack armies used the same systems for uniforms and flags as the White armies. Pages in that section detail some of that practice, and also give the sources of our information.


White Flags

Tsarist Flags (useful as many carried over)

Sources for Uniform Information