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Latvian Army merged from the:

Latvian Independent Brigade[nb 1] North Latvian Brigade[nb 2] in July 1919

 Estonia Lieven detachment[nb 3]  Poland  Lithuania Supported by the Allied Powers

VI Reserve Corps:[1]

Baltische Landeswehr Freikorps

merged into the West Russian Volunteer Army
West Russian Volunteer Army
in September 1919  Russian SFSR  Latvian SSR

Commanders and leaders

Jānis Balodis Ernst Põdder Edward Rydz-Śmigły Rüdiger von der Goltz Alfred Fletcher Pavel Bermondt-Avalov Jukums Vācietis Dmitry Nadyozhny Pēteris Slavens

Strength

At height (January 1920) 69,232 personnel 271 machine guns and 321 light machine guns 54 artillery 33 mortars[2] At height (June 1919) 16,000 personnel[3] 204 machine guns 39 artillery 3 armoured vehicles 5 armoured trains[4]

1 cruiser, 8 destroyers, 2 torpedo boats, 1 minesweeper

2 torpedo boats, 2 gunboats

(January 1920) 25 tanks, 20 000 Infantry At height (June 1919) 20,000 personnel,[3] 100 artillery, 3 armored trains, 10 armored vehicles, 18 airplanes, 469 machine guns[4] 5,600–6,300 personnel,[5] 55 machine-guns, 42 artillery, 3 armoured trains[6]

Casualties and losses

Latvia: 3,046 dead 4,085 wounded[7] Estonia: 300 dead, 800 wounded[8] 840 killed 3,000 wounded[9][10] Unknown

^ Part of the Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
until July 1919. ^ Under the Estonian 3rd Division command until July 1919. ^ Part of the Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
until July 1919, after which it left Latvia.

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Latvia
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portal

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The Latvian War of Independence
Latvian War of Independence
(Latvian: Latvijas brīvības cīņas, literally, "Latvia's freedom struggles"), sometimes called the Latvian War of Liberation (Latvian: Latvijas atbrīvošanas karš, "War of Latvian Liberation"), was a series of military conflicts in Latvia between 5 December 1918, after the newly proclaimed Republic of Latvia was invaded by Soviet Russia, and the signing of the Latvian-Soviet Riga
Riga
Peace Treaty on 11 August 1920.[11] The war can be divided into a few stages: Soviet offensive, German-Latvian liberation of Kurzeme and Riga, Estonian-Latvian liberation of Vidzeme, Bermontian offensive, Latvian-Polish liberation of Latgale. The war involved Latvia
Latvia
(its provisional government supported by Estonia, Poland
Poland
and the Western Allies—particularly the navy of United Kingdom) against the Russian SFSR and the Bolsheviks' short-lived Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic. Germany
Germany
and the Baltic nobility added another level of intrigue, initially being nominally allied to the Nationalist/Allied force but attempting to jockey for German domination of Latvia. Eventually tensions flared up after a German coup against the Latvian government, leading to open war. Following a cease-fire, a ploy was developed by the Germans, nominally dissolving into the West Russian Volunteer Army
West Russian Volunteer Army
led by Gen. Pavel Bermont-Avalov. This West Russian Volunteer Army
West Russian Volunteer Army
included Germans and former Russian prisoners of war nominally allied with the White Army in the Russian Civil War, but both Bermondt-Avalov and von der Goltz were more interested in eliminating the nationalists than fighting the Bolsheviks. Certain episodes of the Latvian Independence War were also part of the Polish-Soviet War, particularly the Battle of Daugavpils.

Contents

1 Soviet offensive 2 Liberation of Kurzeme and the coup d'etat 3 German–Latvian conflict 4 Bermondt offensive 5 Timeline

5.1 1918 5.2 1919 5.3 1920

6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography

Soviet offensive[edit] On November 18, 1918 People's Council of Latvia
Latvia
proclaimed the Independence of Republic of Latvia
Latvia
and created the Latvian Provisional Government headed by Kārlis Ulmanis. On December 1, 1918 the newly proclaimed republic was invaded by Soviet Russia. Much of the invadinig army in Latvia
Latvia
consisted of Red Latvian Riflemen, which made the invasion easier. Soviet offensive met little resistance. In the north Alūksne
Alūksne
was taken on December 7, Valka
Valka
on December 18, and Cēsis
Cēsis
on December 23, in the south Daugavpils
Daugavpils
was taken on December 9 and Pļaviņas
Pļaviņas
on December 17. Riga
Riga
was captured by the Red Army
Red Army
on January 3, 1919. By the end of January Latvian Provisional Government and remaining German units had retreated all the way to Liepāja, but then the Red offensive stalled along the Venta river. The Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic was officially proclaimed on January 13 with the political, economic, and military backing of the Soviet Russia. Liberation of Kurzeme and the coup d'etat[edit] On February 18 an agreement was signed between Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia, starting formation of North Latvian Brigade led by Jorģis Zemitāns on Estonian territory. On March 3, 1919 the German and Latvian forces commenced a counterattack against the Red Latvian Riflemen. Tukums
Tukums
was recaptured from the Bolsheviks
Bolsheviks
on March 15, and Jelgava
Jelgava
on March 18. On April 16 the Baltic nobility
Baltic nobility
organized a coup d'etat in Liepāja and a puppet government headed by Andrievs Niedra
Andrievs Niedra
was established. The provisional national government took refuge aboard the steamship Saratov under British protection in Liepaja harbour.[12] On 22 May 1919 Riga
Riga
was recaptured by Freikorps and terror against any suspected Soviet sympathizers began. At the same time Estonian Army including the North Latvian Brigade loyal to the Ulmanis government started a major offensive against the Soviets in north Latvia. By the middle of June the Soviet rule was reduced to Latgale. German–Latvian conflict[edit] After the capture of Riga
Riga
the German forces advanced north towards the Latvian city of Cēsis. The objective of the German forces had now clearly become the establishment of German supremacy in the Baltic by eliminating the Estonian military and Latvian national units, not the defeat of the Bolsheviks. The Estonian commander General Johan Laidoner insisted the Germans withdraw to a line south of the Gauja river. He also ordered the Estonian 3rd division to seize the Gulbene railroad station. On June 19, 1919, the Landeswehr and the Iron Division launched an attack to capture Cēsis. Initially, the Freikorps captured the town of Straupe
Straupe
and continued their advance toward the town of Limbaži. The Estonians launched a counterattack and drove the Freikorps out of the town. On June 21, the Estonians received reinforcements and immediately attacked the Landeswehr under Alfred Fletcher, who was forced to withdrawn from an area to the northeast of Cēsis. The Iron Division attacked from Straupe
Straupe
towards Stalbe in an effort to relieve pressure on the Landeswehr. On the morning of June 23, the Germans began a general retreat toward Riga.[13] The Allies again insisted that the Germans withdraw their remaining troops from Latvia, and on June 3 intervened to impose an armistice between Estonia, Latvia, and the Landeswehr and Freikorps when the Latvians were about to march into Riga. By its terms the legitimate government of Ulmanis was to be restored, the Baltic German Landeswehr be placed under the command of the British officer Harold Alexander and the Iron Division to leave Latvia. The government of Ulmanis returned to Riga
Riga
on 8 July 1919 and the Landeswehr became a component of the Latvian National Army. Bermondt offensive[edit] The Iron Division, however, did not leave Latvia. Instead major Bischoff created a German Legion from over a dozen Freikorps units and turned the units over to the West Russian Volunteer Army. In all, the Iron Division transferred over 14,000 men, 64 aircraft, 56 artillery pieces, and 156 machine guns. Six cavalry units and a field hospital also went over. The offensive by the reformed German army was subsequently defeated by the Latvian Army, which received assistance from British and French warships and Estonian armoured trains. Timeline[edit] 1918[edit]

11 November: The German Empire
German Empire
and Allies of World War I
Allies of World War I
sign the armistice, which marks the end of World War I; Soviet Russia
Russia
launches attack on German forces. The British Empire recognizes de facto independence of Latvia. 17 November: The first legislative institution of Latvia, the People's Council (Tautas Padome) and the provisional government are established. Jānis Čakste
Jānis Čakste
becomes the chairman of the People’s Council, while Kārlis Ulmanis
Kārlis Ulmanis
becomes prime minister. 18 November: Republic of Latvia
Latvia
is proclaimed in Riga. 28 November: The Regency Council of the United Baltic Duchy
United Baltic Duchy
dissolved. 1 December: The Red Army
Red Army
invades Latvia. 17 December: The government of the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic, headed by Pēteris Stučka, is formed in Russia.

November 1918: After World War I
World War I
most of Latvia
Latvia
was occupied by German forces (orange)

1919[edit]

5 January: The first armed unit of Latvia—the 1st Latvian Independent Battalion, under command of Oskars Kalpaks—is formed. The provisional government retreats from Jelgava
Jelgava
to Liepāja. 31 January: Most of Latvia
Latvia
is under the control of the Red Army; the Latvian government and German forces control the neighborhood of Liepāja. 18 February: Agreement is signed between Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia, starting formation of North Latvian Brigade led by Jorģis Zemitāns on Estonian territory. 3 March: United German and Latvian forces commence counterattack against the forces of Soviet Latvia. 6 March: Oskars Kalpaks, commander of all Latvian forces subordinated to German headquarters, is killed by German friendly fire. He is replaced by Jānis Balodis. 10 March: Saldus
Saldus
comes under Latvian control. 21 March: 1st Latvian Independent Battalion is reformed into the Latvian Independent Brigade. 16 April: The puppet Latvian Government established by the Baltic nobility[12] organizes a coup d'etat in Liepāja, the provisional national government of Latvia
Latvia
takes refuge aboard steamship Saratow. 16 May: The Estonian Army starts a major offensive against the Soviets in north Latvia. 22 May: The Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
captures Riga. 23 May: The Latvian Independent Brigade marches into Riga. 3 June: The Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
reaches Cēsis. 6 June: The Landeswehr's North Latvian campaign begins, commanded by Maj. Alfred Fletcher. 23 June: The Estonian 3rd Division commanded by Gen. Ernst Põdder, including the 2nd Latvian Cēsis
Cēsis
regiment of the North Latvian Brigade defeats the Landeswehr. 3 July: Estonia, Latvia
Latvia
and the pro-German Provisional Government of Latvia
Latvia
sign the Ceasefire of Strazdumuiža. 6 July: The North Latvian Brigade enters Riga. 5 October: The German mission secretly leaves Riga
Riga
for Jelgava, where an attack is prepared by the German-established West Russian Volunteer Army on Riga. 8 October: The West Russian Volunteer Army
West Russian Volunteer Army
attacks Riga, taking the Pārdaugava
Pārdaugava
district. 3 November: The Latvian Army, supported by Estonian armored trains and the Royal Navy, launches its counterattack. 11 November: The Latvian Army, supported by Estonian armored trains and the Royal Navy, defeats the West Russian Volunteer Army
West Russian Volunteer Army
in Riga. 22 November: The Lithuanian Army defeats the remnants of the West Russian Volunteer Army in Lithuania
Lithuania
near Radviliškis.

6 March 1919: After Soviet attack most of Latvia
Latvia
is under control of the Bolsheviks
Bolsheviks
(pink)

16 April 1919: In March the united German and Latvian forces (orange and yellow) launch counterattack, taking most of Courland

22 June 1919: The 3rd Estonian Division (purple) confronted German forces at Cēsis
Cēsis
in the beginning of June and gained victory on 23 June

11 November 1919: Latvian army has taken most of Vidzeme
Vidzeme
and is attacking the West Russian Volunteer Army, which is forced to retreat.

1920[edit]

3 January: United forces of Latvia
Latvia
and Poland
Poland
launch attack on Bolsheviks
Bolsheviks
in Latgale
Latgale
and take Daugavpils. 13 January: Government of the Latvian SSR resigns. 1 February: Latvia
Latvia
signs cease-fire with Russia. 17–18 April: Election of Constitutional Assembly of Latvia. 1 May: First session of Constitutional Assembly. 15 July: Latvia
Latvia
signs cease-fire with Germany. 11 August: Latvian-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty is signed.

See also[edit]

Aftermath of World War I Freikorps in the Baltic West Russian Volunteer Army Estonian War of Independence Lithuanian Wars of Independence United Baltic Duchy Ober Ost British campaign in the Baltic (1918–1919)

References[edit]

^ "Generalkommando VI Reservekorps". Axis History.  ^ Latvijas Atbrīvošanas kaŗa vēsture Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. (in Latvian) ^ a b "Iseseisvuse aeg 1941–44". Eesti. Üld. 11. Eesti entsüklopeedia. 2002. pp. 296–311.  ^ a b Co. Jaan Maide (1933). Ülevaade Eesti Vabadussõjast (1918–1920) (Overview on Estonian War of Independence) (in Estonian). Archived from the original on 2010-08-22.  ^ Mangulis, Visvaldis. Latvia
Latvia
in the Wars of the 20th Century. Princeton Junction: Cognition Books, 1983, xxi, 207p. ^ " Latvia
Latvia
1919" (PDF). pygmy-wars.50megs.com.  ^ Latvijas Brīvības cīņas, page 15 (in Latvian) ^ Eesti Vabadussõda Estonica.org (in Estonian) ^ Hans von Rimscha, Hellmuth Weiss (1977). Von den baltischen Provinzen zu den baltischen Staaten 1918-1920. J. G. Herder-Institut. p. 61.  ^ Kaevats, Ülo: Eesti Entsüklopeedia 5, page 396. Valgus, 1990, ISBN 5-89900-009-0 ^ (in Latvian)Freibergs J. (1998, 2001) Jaunāko laiku vēsture 20. gadsimts Zvaigzne ABC ISBN 9984-17-049-7 ^ a b LtCol Andrew Parrott. "The Baltic States from 1914 to 1923: The First World War and the Wars of Independence" (PDF). Baltic Defence Review. 2/2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-19.  ^ Estonian War of Independence
Estonian War of Independence
1918–1920. Jyri Kork (Ed.). Esto, Baltimore, 1988 (Reprint from Estonian War of Independence 1918–1920. Historical Committee for the War of Independence, Tallinn, 1938)

Bibliography[edit]

Gen. Fürst Awaloff (1925). Im Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus. Erinnerungen von General Fürst Awaloff, Oberbefehlshaber der Deutsch-Russischen Westarmee im Baltikum. Verlag von J.J. Augustin, Glückstadt und Hamburg.  Gen. Graf Rüdiger von der Goltz
Rüdiger von der Goltz
(1920). Meine Sendung in Finland und im Baltikum. Verlag von K.F. Koehler, Leipzig.  BischoffJosef, Die letzte Front. Geschichte der Eiserne Division im Baltikum 1919, Berlin 1935. Darstellungen aus den Nachkriegskämpfen deutscher Truppen und Freikorps, Bd 2: Der Feldzug im Baltikum bis zur zweiten Einnahme von Riga. Januar bis Mai 1919, Berlin 1937; Bd 3: Die Kämpfe im Baltikum nach der zweiten Einnahme von Riga. Juni bis Dezember 1919, Berlin 1938. Die baltische Landeswehr im Befreiungskampf gegen den Bolschevismus. Ein Gedenkbuch, herausgegeben vom baltischen Landeswehrein, Riga
Riga
1929. Kiewisz Leon, Sprawy łotewskie w bałtyckiej polityce Niemiec 1914-1919, Poznań 1970. Łossowski Piotr, Między wojną a pokojem. Niemieckie zamysły wojenne na wschodzie w obliczu traktatu wersalskiego. Marzec-kwiecień 1919, Warszawa 1976. Paluszyński Tomasz, Walka o niepodległość Łotwy 1914-1920, Warszawa 1999. Von den baltische Provinzen zu den baltischen Staaten. Beiträge zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Republiken Estland und Lettland, Bd I (1917–1918), Bd II (1919–1920), Marburg 1971, 1977. Claus Grimm: „Vor den Toren Europas – Geschichte der Baltischen Landeswehr” Hamburg 1963

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