The Info List - West Russian Volunteer Army

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Russian Civil War

Estonian War of Independence Latvian War of Independence Lithuanian Wars of Independence


Notable commanders Gen. Pavel Bermondt-Avalov Gen. Rüdiger von der Goltz


Army Flag

The West Russian Volunteer Army
Volunteer Army
or Bermontians was an army in the Baltic provinces of the former Russian Empire
Russian Empire
during the Russian Civil War of 1918–1920. The Western Russian Volunteer Army, unlike the pro-Entente Volunteer Army, was supported and in fact created by Germany. The Compiègne Armistice, article 12, stipulated that German troops were to remain in the Baltic provinces to help fight Bolshevik advances and were to withdraw once the Allies determined the situation was under control. The order to withdraw was given after the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
was signed in June 1919. However, only a small portion of the Freikorps in the Baltic
Freikorps in the Baltic
retired; the rest stayed under the leadership of General Rüdiger von der Goltz. To avoid casting blame on Germany
and infuriating the Allies, he withdrew into the background and merged his troops with the " Special
Russian Corps", led by Cossack
General Pavel Bermont-Avalov. The two generals recruited about 50,000 men: mostly Freikorps, Baltic Germans, as well as some Russian POWs captured by Germany
in World War I and then released on the promise that they would help fight against the Bolsheviks
in the Russian Civil War. The Army declared that it joined the forces of Aleksandr Kolchak
Aleksandr Kolchak
and marched to attack Bolsheviks, but their real goal was to sustain German power in the Baltic region. In October 1919, the West Russian Volunteer Army
Volunteer Army
attacked the newly independent states of Lithuania and Latvia, to which Germany
had granted independence. It briefly occupied the west bank of the Daugava river in Riga
and the government of Kārlis Ulmanis
Kārlis Ulmanis
had to request military assistance from Lithuania and Estonia. The Estonians sent two armoured trains to aid the Latvians (according to some explanations, in exchange for Latvia
ceding the island of Ruhnu
and its territorial waters to Estonia) while the Lithuanians were engaged in battles with the Bolsheviks
and could only issue diplomatic protests. The Latvians also received assistance from the guns of a British Royal Navy battleship in Riga
harbour. In November, the Latvian army managed to drive the Bermont-Avalov forces into Lithuanian territory. Finally, the West Russian Volunteer Army suffered heavy defeats by the Lithuanians near Radviliškis, a major railway centre. After the involvement of the Entente military mission, the remaining elements of the West Russian Volunteer Army under command of Walter von Eberhardt, withdrew from the Baltics into Germany. See also[edit]

White Movement Freikorps in the Baltic United Baltic Duchy Estonian War of Independence Latvian War of Independence Lithuanian Wars of Independence


Simas Sužiedėlis, ed. (1970–1978). "Bermondtists". Encyclopedia Lituanica. I. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. pp. 335–336. LCC 74-114275. 


Von der Goltz, Rüdiger (1920). Meine Sendung in Finnland und im Baltikum (in German). Leipzig: Verlag von K.F. Koehler. OCLC 186846067.  Bermondt-Avalov, Pavel (1925). Im Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus. Erinnerungen von General Fürst Awaloff, Oberbefehlshaber der Deutsch-Russischen Westarmee im Baltikum (in German). Glückstadt, Hamburg: Verlag J.J. Augustin. OCLC 15188750.  Bischoff, Josef, 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 Bolschewismus, Riga
1929. Eesti Vabadussõda 1918-1920, Tallinn, Mats, 1997. ISBN 9985-51-028-3. Kiewisz, Leon, Sprawy łotewskie w bałtyckiej polityce Niemiec 1914-1919, Poznań 1970. 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.

White Armies
White Armies
and fleets of the Russian Civil War

Southern Front

Armed Forces of South Russia

Volunteer Army Don Army 1st Army Corps (VSUR) 2nd Army Corps (VSUR) 3d Army Corps (VSUR) Kiev Oblast Army Group (VSUR) Novorossiysk Oblast Army Group (VSUR) Kharkov Oblast Army Group (VSUR) Caucasus Army of VSUR Krym-Azov Army of VSUR Kuban Army of VSUR Black Sea Fleet of the White Movement Caspian Flotilla of the White Movement Army of Wrangel

Eastern Front

People's Army of Komuch Siberian Army Western Army of the White Movement Orenburg Independent Army 1st Middle Siberian Corps 2nd Steppe Siberian Corps 3rd Ural Corps 4th Eastern Siberian Corps 5th Pri-Amur Corps Zemskaya Rat' Siberian Fleet Czechoslovak Legion

North-Western Front

Northern Corps of the White Movement North-Western Army of the White Movement West Russian Volunteer Army Chudskoe Lake Fleet

Northern Front

Northern Army of the White Movement Arctic Fleet of the White Movement

Middle Asia

Armed Forces of South Russia

Turkestan Army of AFSR Caspian Flotilla of the White Movement

Turkestan Military Organisation Peasa