Urals Host in the Russian Civil War
The Urals Host was settled along the west bank of the Urals River
(quite some distance from the Urals Mountains). It was a small
and dispersed host. It is also sometimes known as the Yaik Host, as the
Urals River is also sometimes called the Yaik.
To the east were the Kalmyk lands and to the west the Kirghiz. Only to
the north did the host border fertile areas populated by large numbers
of Russian peasants. Not containing any major resources, apart from a
little oil, and on no major communications route, the area was always a
side-theatre in the Civil War.
The Urals Host soldiers wore standard Cossack dress, with their
colours being raspberry (often given as "crimson" in books).
Urals host fought well through 1918 and 1919, before being utterly
destroyed. However, as their campaigns were separate from the main
theatres and so few Urals Cossacks made it into exile their history has
been largely ignored outside Russian accounts.
Separate Urals Army
the war the Urals Cossacks proper fought almost entirely on horseback.
this was because of the training of the men, partly because the nature
of the terrain suited it, but also because the Host never overcame its
supply issues. A strategy based on dawn attacks from out of the blue
suited both their nature and the position they found themselves.
Ammunition shortages meant prolonged exchanges were never possible.
What infantry the Host had, about a quarter of their forces, was
largely non-Host in origin. Ex-Imperial officers, stragglers from other
peasants and volunteers were all gathered together. Red deserters were
Artillery was always in short supply, and ammunition for it even more so.
Eventually a small force of armoured
cars were built up, and as the area has wells there was always fuel. A
small airforce also grew, though maintenance was a major issue.
The result was an army
capable of attacking quickly over long distances, but more or less
incapable of taking a fortified position.
Once the Red Army had a
sizable cavalry contingent the Urals Cossacks had no ace left. Their
destruction, when it came, was swift and final.
for the Urals Host was a lack of co-ordinated leadership until quite
late. It wasn't until March 1919 that a properly unified command was
fully in place, and even then local and personal issues continued to
hamper co-ordination. Although the Host was not short of officers as
such, there was a lack of experienced senior and staff officers. The
AFSR sent a few to assist in mid-1919.
> Urals Host