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1st Cavalry Army

1st Cavalry Army

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The 1st Cavalry Army was the most famous Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 сavalry formation. It was also known as Budyonny's Cavalry Army or simply as Konarmia ('Horsearmy').

When the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 broke out in 1918, a soldier named Budyonny
Semyon Budyonny
Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny , sometimes transliterated as Budennyj, Budyonnyy, Budennii, Budenny, Budyoni, Budyenny, or Budenny, was a Soviet cavalryman, military commander, politician and a close ally of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.-Early life:...

 organized a small cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 force in the Don
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

 region out of local Cossacks. This force rapidly grew in numbers, sided with the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s and eventually became the 1st Cavalry Army. It was transformed from a guerrilla force
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 into a proper military unit under the command of Semyon Budyonny
Semyon Budyonny
Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny , sometimes transliterated as Budennyj, Budyonnyy, Budennii, Budenny, Budyoni, Budyenny, or Budenny, was a Soviet cavalryman, military commander, politician and a close ally of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.-Early life:...

, and the political guidance of Kliment Voroshilov
Kliment Voroshilov
Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov , popularly known as Klim Voroshilov was a Soviet military officer, politician, and statesman...

.

This Army played an important role in winning the Civil War for the Bolsheviks, driving the White
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 General Anton Denikin back from Moscow.

In 1920 Budyonny's Cavalry Army took part in the invasion of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 during the Polish-Bolshevik War, at first with remarkable success. The 1st Cavalry Army pushed Polish forces out of Ukraine and broke through Polish southern frontlines, but later was bogged down at Lvov. This in turn led to a heavy defeat of the rest of the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s forces in the Battle of Warsaw
Battle of Warsaw (1920)
The Battle of Warsaw sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula, was the decisive battle of the Polish–Soviet War. That war began soon after the end of World War I in 1918 and lasted until the Treaty of Riga resulted in the end of the hostilities between Poland and Russia in 1921.The...

. When Budyonny's Cavalry finally joined the battle it was also soundly defeated in the Battle of Komarów
Battle of Komarów
The Battle of Komarów was one of the most important battles of the Polish-Bolshevik War. It took place on August 31, 1920, near the village of Komarowo near Zamość...

, known as the last great cavalry battle in history. At this point, the 1st Cavalry Army's morale and discipline were at a low point and robbery and violence against the civilian population became commonplace.

The remains of 1st Cavalry Army were sent south to fight the Wrangel
Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel
Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel or Vrangel was an officer in the Imperial Russian army and later commanding general of the anti-Bolshevik White Army in Southern Russia in the later stages of the Russian Civil War.-Life:Wrangel was born in Mukuliai, Kovno Governorate in the Russian Empire...

’s White forces
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. At the final phase of Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 the 1st Cavalry Army was subsequently moved to Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, Central Asia, Altai Krai
Altai Krai
Altai Krai is a federal subject of Russia . It borders with, clockwise from the south, Kazakhstan, Novosibirsk and Kemerovo Oblasts, and the Altai Republic. The krai's administrative center is the city of Barnaul...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and ended its journey at Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 and Kamchatka. The Army's last combat operation was the conquest of the Chukchi Peninsula
Chukchi Peninsula
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula , at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the...

 in September 1924. This legendary voyage through Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 was the basis of myth about the invincible 1st Cavalry Army, which has been cultivated by Soviet propaganda.

The march of the 1st Cavalry Army became popular after the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 and was known as the song We are the Red Cavalry  (however other names of the song were "Мы красные кавалеристы" (We, Red cavalrymen) and "[Марш Буденного]" (Budenny march
Semyon Budyonny
Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny , sometimes transliterated as Budennyj, Budyonnyy, Budennii, Budenny, Budyoni, Budyenny, or Budenny, was a Soviet cavalryman, military commander, politician and a close ally of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.-Early life:...

), but earlier was known as "Марш красных конников" (March of the Red horsemen).

In commemoration, a monument to the 1st Cavalry Army was constructed in Lvov oblast, Ukraine.

Notable figures in 1st Cavalry Army

  • Semyon Budyonny
    Semyon Budyonny
    Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny , sometimes transliterated as Budennyj, Budyonnyy, Budennii, Budenny, Budyoni, Budyenny, or Budenny, was a Soviet cavalryman, military commander, politician and a close ally of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.-Early life:...

  • Kliment Voroshilov
    Kliment Voroshilov
    Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov , popularly known as Klim Voroshilov was a Soviet military officer, politician, and statesman...

  • Georgy Zhukov
    Georgy Zhukov
    Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

    , Soviet military commander, famous for his role in World War II.
  • Grigory Kulik
    Grigory Kulik
    Grigory Ivanovich Kulik was a Soviet military commander and was born into a peasant family near Poltava in Ukraine. A soldier in the army of the Russian Empire in World War I, he joined the Bolshevik Party in 1917 and the Red Army in 1918...

    , Soviet military commander
  • Kirill Meretskov
    Kirill Meretskov
    Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov was a Soviet military commander. Having joined the Communist Party in 1917, he served in the Red Army from 1920. During the Winter War, he was responsible for penetrating the Mannerheim Line as commander of the 7th Army...

    , Soviet military commander
  • Semyon Timoshenko
    Semyon Timoshenko
    Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko was a Soviet military commander and senior professional officer of the Red Army at the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.-Early life:...

    , Soviet military commander
  • Andrei Grechko
    Andrei Grechko
    Andrei Antonovich Grechko was a Soviet general, Marshal of the Soviet Union and Minister of Defense.-Biography:Born in a small town near Rostov-on-Don, the son of Ukrainian peasants, he joined the Red Army in 1919, where he was a part of the legendary “Budyonny Cavalry”...

    , Soviet military commander
  • Semyon Krivoshein
    Semyon Krivoshein
    Semyon Moiseevich Krivoshein was a Soviet tank commander, who played a vital part in the World War II reform of the Red Army tank forces and in momentous defeat of German Panzers in the Battle of Kursk.-Early life and Russian Civil War:...

    , Soviet military commander
  • Isaac Babel
    Isaac Babel
    Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel was a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature...

    , journalist and writer, who wrote the book Red Cavalry
    Red Cavalry
    Red Cavalry is a collection of short stories by Russian author Isaac Babel about the 1st Cavalry Army. The stories take place during the Polish-Soviet war and are based on Babel's own diary, which he maintained when he was a journalist assigned to the Semyon Budyonny's First Cavalry Army.First...

     based on his experiences
  • Vadim Yakovlev
    Vadim Yakovlev
    Vadim Yakovlev was a Russian Cossack cavalry commander, in the rank of yesaul.A veteran of the World War I, during the Russian Civil War he commanded a Cossack brigade in the ranks of Gen. Anton Denikin's White Russian army in Ukraine...

    , yesaul
    Yesaul
    Yesaul, or Osaul , , a post and a rank in the Ukrainian and Russian Cossack units.The first records of the rank imply that it was introduced by Stefan Batory, King of Poland in 1576.-Cossacks in Russia:...


External links