options for the Whites in the RCW
Some options for adding colour to a White army without having to paint the
elite "coloured" infantry (and then pretend that they actually wore
flash looking uniforms into combat).
Don Cossack 1st Horse
This was a strike unit in the Don Army, and so saw a great deal of
action in vital locations. On 18 October the structure of the 3rd Don
– Lt-Gen. Abramov
Chief of Staff – Col. Nikitin
Life Guard Brigade
Life Guard Cossack
–194 bayonets, 66 sabres, 8 MGs
Life Guard Ataman Regiment – 240 bayonets, 131 sabres, 9 MGs
3rd Kalmyck Horse
– 211 bayonets, 120 sabres, 6 MGs
4th Don Cossack Regiment – 298 bayonets, 180 sabres, 8 MGs
Horse Sapper Sotnia – 203 men
1st Don Horse Artillery Divizion
1st Don Horse Battery
about 4 guns
2nd Don Horse Battery – about 4 guns
The mix of mounted and foot was quite normal, and reflected the
shortage of horses.
It seems that during the RCW that the
Don Cossacks often wore coloured caps, trousers and shoulder-boards
with the standard khaki gimnastėrka blouse, especially
officers. That is what the Osprey on the Whites shows its Don Cossack
as doing (although, given the mistakes in that book, perhaps it isn't
the greatest proof) and Williamson mentions coloured cap bands on
The colours of these units are all described in detail in the uniform
section, and have a nice variety. The Life Guard had red caps with blue
bands and piping. The Atamans had royal blue crown cap, with darker
blue band and piping.
Trousers are blue, and with a thick royal blue stripe judging by the
parade uniform version. Royal blue shoulder-boards and furry hat cloth.
The Kalmyks had yellow cap bands and trouser stripes. The 4th Regiment
had standard Don dark blue caps with red bands and
This would then seem to offer quite a lot of possibility to a gamer: a
nice mix of infantry, cavalry, tachankas and horse guns
– even engineers – in units that each have distinctly
different colours and which were mostly of good quality.
to the 3rd Don Corps there were armoured cars, armoured trains and
artillery, and probably some aviation as well, so there is no problem
adding these into the mix. The Don even had some Whippet
tanks, though they didn't see a great deal of action.
This is one of the units I have painted, because I wanted to mix of
Cossack types, but ones that actually fought alongside each other.
book "Crimea 1920 gives some numbers for the brigade. For 1
October 1920 it gives the 2nd
Kuban Cavalry Division
Major-General A. M.
1st Brigade –
1st Terek Horse Regiment
– 600 sabres, 20 MGs
1st Astrakhan Horse Regiment – 600 sabres, 20 MGs
Brigade – Colonel Petrov
2nd Combined Kuban
Regiment – 200 bayonets, 200 sabres, 20 MGs
Wolves Horse Regiment – 400 sabres, 20 MGs
– 3 batteries, 6 light guns
Agaiman Cavalry Unit [?] – 300 bayonets, 100 sabres
Because it mixes the Caucasian uniform Terek Cossacks with the
khaki-clad Astrakhan units, it is quite a nice unit for a gamer –
all the more so since it is quite small. All the units are described in
detail in the uniforms section.
For a while it was grouped with the Composite
which grouped a load of cadet units, which would potentially provide an
interesting infantry component to go with the Cossacks. Although the
soldiers were most unlikely to have been in anything other than khaki
(or British kit, perhaps) their officers might have some Alekseev or
1st Alekseev Partisan
Kuban Military School Detachment
Kornilov Junker Brigade
Kuban Plastoon Regiment
Alekseev Artillery Divizion
Composite Guard Cavalry
Remnants of the former Imperial Guards formed a "composite"
cavalry regiment very early on in the
Volunteer Army. Each former guard regiment provided
one squadron to the regiment and zealously kept their history.
This grew up to a peak in September 1919.
2nd Cavalry Division
Division Commander – Col. I.M. Miklashevskiy
Chief of Staff – Col. B.M. Iordan
Brigade – Col. Danilov
Guards Cuirassier Regiment – Col. Kossikovskiy
2nd Composite Guards Cavalry Regiment –
Brigade – Col. Baron Pritvits
2nd General Drozdovskiy
Horse Regiment – Col. A.G. Chapron du Lare
3rd Horse Regiment – Col. Samsonov
Composite Regiment of the
Caucasus Cavalry Division – Col. Popov
Composite Dragoon Regiment – Col. Lermontov
Independent Divizion of
Guards Horse Artillery – Col. Perfil'ev
I painted six squadrons for the 2nd Guards regiment – with each being based on the uniform of a regiment in the second
brigade of the Imperial army Guard cavalry. This meant two squadrons
red caps, two dark blue and two dark green, but I only piped the
officers' caps. Most also got coloured trousers.
To give some variety I painted the 2nd Drozdovskiy Regiment of
the second brigade, which wore British uniforms in 1919 but with red
breeches. That gives two units that look very different.
After the disastrous winter of 1919 the Guard Cavalry was once again
reduced to regiment size.
Composite Guard Infantry
The guard infantry had a similar story. Intitially a regiment was
formed with each original regiment providing a company, but it slowly
grew to be a division. Again the peak size was late 1919.
Composite Guard Infantry Division
(also sometimes called the 5th Infantry Division)
Commander – Maj-Gen. P.S. Ossovskiy
Chief of Staff – Col. Akhatkin
1st Brigade – Maj-Gen. Baron N.I. Shtackleberg
Composite Regiment of the
1st Guard Division – Maj-Gen. Moller
Composite Regiment of the 2nd Guard Division – Col.
Composite Regiment of the Guard Rifle Division
Composite Regiment of the
19th Infantry Division
Composite Regiment of the 20th Infantry Division
80th Kabardino Infantry Regiment
Reserve Battalion of the Composite Guard Division
Composite Guard Artillery Brigade – Maj-Gen. M.
2nd Battery – Col. Plyushchinskiy
3rd Battery – Col. Abramovskiy
4th Battery – Col. Sax
Independent Artillery Battery – Col. Shpigel
Independent Guard Heavy Howitzer Battery – Col. Kazachinskiy
Guard Independent Engineer Company – Col. Beliy
The Composite Guard Infantry are less colourful than the cavalry, since
all the caps are
dark green varied only by piping, but you get a cool
name for each company/battalion!
After Orel and the retreat of 1919 the Guards infantry were cut off in
the Ukraine and forced into Poland as part
of Bredov's March. They never really recovered.
Historical cavalry support can come in the form of the Separate Cossack
Brigade. It included the 42nd Don Cossack and 2nd Labinsky Kuban
Cossack Regiments, plus presumably some horse artillery. These two
units were in the Ukraine in 1919 and then with the Guards on the
Bredov March. This gives a nice mix of a steppe and a mountain cavalry
unit to go with the guards.
The Bredov March also had the 2nd Kornilov Artillery Divizion
Ossetians, the 2nd Drozdovsky Cavalry Regiment and a bunch of regular
line cavalry and infantry.
Colourful uniforms, Cossacks and native horse all led by a charismatic
The division fought in central Asia in 1919 and 1920, and then
retreated to China. It's pretty much where "back of beyond" meets the
real world. The core units of the division in 1919 were a regular
cavalry brigade, a Cossack cavalry brigade, an rifles brigade and
attached Kirghiz and Mongol units, but there were also engineers and
Details on the
history of the division, and its uniforms
can be found in the
Cossack section of this site.