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The Red Cavalry and Its Employment in the Russian Civil War

LEE JEONG-HA 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article focuses on the course of creating massive strategic cavalry in the Red Army and on its employment during the Russian Civil War. The inept use of cavalry in the First World War and the development of military technology led to an underestimation of cavalry’s military role in the European armies. Contrary to this perception, it was the Russian Civil War in which both the Red and the White Armies’ cavalries played a leading role because of two primary features: immensity of its battlefield and combatants’ quantitative and qualitative degradation. Long and shallow defense line, an important characters of the Civil War, stemmed from these two factors. Inevitably, the Red Cavalry was the result of those distinctive military circumstances. The formation of the Red Cavalry went against the prevailing theory in other European armies. At the early period of the Civil War, the Bolsheviks also had a negative attitude toward cavalry, and the Red Cavalry could not get institutional and material aids from Moscow. Therefore, the beginning of the Red Cavalry was based on several partisan units organized autonomously in the fronts. Since the White Army took initiative of the Civil War by using maneuver and mobility of its cavalry, however, the Red Army had made every effort to raise the Red Cavalry and its massive strategic cavalry. The fighting methods of the Red Cavalry in the Civil War could be characterized by: 1) the combination of maneuver and firepower; 2) the cooperation with the other branches (particularly with infantry); and 3) the massive strategic cavalry. Eventually, the Red Army won the Russian Civil War by employing the massive strategic cavalry in accordance with a new military condition.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.