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Photos of Don Cossacks


The Don fielded a large number of cavalry units in the Great War and did so again in the Russian Civil War, many of them revived Imperial units.

A drawing of the Don Life-guard Regiment in action in mid-1919. Note that they only have thin trouser stripes in this representation. (Photoalbum)

A pre-War photograph of Don cavalry NCOs (the big stiff caps are a giveaway). It does show that khaki blouses and blue trousers dates back to then.


These two photos appear to be the same event, a blessing of the Ataman Regiment in 1918.

Photos from a parade of the Young Army. The top would appear to be dismounted cavalry, since they have sabres. (Photoalbum)


The photos below tend to give a rather more uniform appearance to Don plastoons than might be entirely justified. Most show much scruffier men, but are hard to attribute accurately. Descriptions by eye-witnesses suggest that some units were particularly shabby.

Labelled as Dudakovskiy Partisans. It would seem that this is after that unit was merged into the regular army, judging by the fact that they are manning lines and wearing helmets. What they don't seem to have is proper boots. The man on the left seems to be in trousers and barefoot. The man on the right appears to be in puttees. (Photoalbum)

Bicycle Sotnia of the Composite Partisan Division, brigaded with the Dudakovskiy above. (Photoalbum)

Labelled "at the front" but the helmets means that they are foot troops. (Photoalbum)

Labelled as a female soldier in the Gundorsky Regiment. Note the helmet and dark trousers. (Photoalbum)

Obviously a modern photo. Cipher metal the same colour as the shoulderboards and buttons indicates infantry. This helps confirm that the plastoons likely wore this, and that their ciphers were bare numbers.


Three generations of Don Cossacks in peace time. The four stars, crossed cannons and 20Д shows the soldier is a Kapitan in the 20th Don Cossack Battery. Note the broad stripe on his trousers.

The commander of a Cossack battery in the Civil War. Note he is wearing dark trousers. The man behind him seems to have coloured piping on his collar. The carriage to the right is his transport. (Williamson)

Don artillery in the field in the RCW. Most men wear furazhkas, with a few papakhas. The greatcoats would indicate it was fairly cold.


afting across the Don. The lances suggest cavalry, but some of the caps seem to have very light bands. (Williamson)

Don transport. Again the pale cap band on the man smoking. It might be the light blue of transport units. Note the man far left is bare-footed and the nearby man has puttees. (Williamson)