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(1914-1918) WWI
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Nov. 11, 1918. Battle of Tulgas
Posted on: 9/28/2019 4:31:08 PM

As the allied armies on the western front anticipated the armistice that would end the fighting with Germany, some units of an allied force in Russia was doing battle with the Bolshivek forces led by Vladimir Lenin.

I suppose that we would have to consider the efforts of the western allies to support the disparate groups that made up the "Whites" as a failure.

Contingents of allied troops had been deployed to northwest Russia at Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. Larger groups had been deployed to Vladivostok.

The allied armies from the different countries could not agree on why they were there. Were they there to fight Bolsheviks as the British and French surmised? Were they there to protect military assets that had been provided to the Russians when they were in the war as the US commander believed? Or were they there to help the Czech Legion to escape from the clutches of the Bolsheviks?

It is a little-known fact that more than 350 US troops died fighting the Bolsheviks, the remains of most exhumed and repatriated to their homeland in 1929. The bodies of more than a thousand British and Commonwealth servicemen who died fighting the Soviets today remain buried in Russian soil.
. source: warhistory online.

The Battle of Tulgas took place on the same day that war with Germany ended. It was one of several actions involving allied troops over the period of the Russian revolutions.

Tulgas involved troops from Britain, US, Canada.

Tulgas was a village on the banks of the Dvina river about 320 kilometres from Archangel.

You can see Tulgas in the lower right quadrant of this map

A small group of Americans in Upper Tulgas were attacked and they retreated to the main village where most of the allied troops were.
To the north was a small and lightly guarded group of Canadian artillery Nearby was a field hospital and the Bolsheviks took it and threatened to kill the wounded inside. They elected to trash the place and then headed toward the Canadians.

The allies had not anticipated that the Bolsheviks would approach through swampy low land and they surprised the Canadians whose guns were pointed in the other direction.

Hearing the noise from the hospital they managed to swing their guns around in time to fire over open sites at the charging Bolsheviks. The British Royal Scots moved up to support the Canadians and they engaged the Bolsheviks and took several casualties.

Americans and British troops in Tulgas itself managed to thwart several Bolshevik attacks. Canadian artillery successfully bombed the Bosheviks as they attacked a bridge leading into Tulgas.

The Bolsheviks sent gunboats up the Dvina and were bombarding the allied forces.

This running battle lasted until Nov. 14 when the US troops in an early morning counter attack, stealthily moved toward the Bolsheviks. They decided that much less noise discipline would help and they screamed and yelled as they attacked hoping that the Bolsheviks would think that the allies had been reinforced and were a much larger group than they had thought. It worked and the Bolsheviks pulled back.

The weather intervened as temperatures plummeted and the Bolshevik gunboats had to retreat as the river froze over.

The allies were convinced that the residents of Upper Tulgas had assisted the Bolsheviks so they burned the buildings down.

Only one battle for allied troops that were unaware that the war was over when the Battle of Tulgas began.

I have read a number of references to low morale among the allied troops which only worsened as their time in Russia dragged on. Why were the men so down?

As well, I would like to know why the different elements of the allied forces could not agree on the reason why they were there? Was the overall organization undertaken hastily and perhaps shabbily? How much conflict was there between the different allied groups?



Posts: 1776
Nov. 11, 1918. Battle of Tulgas
Posted on: 9/29/2019 1:29:08 AM

All I know about that entire Russian saga that is 2 Australians won VCs in 1919 with the Northern Relief Force, so the fighting must have been serious.
“We are pretending to know about things we don’t know and pretending to not know things we’ve known til yesterday.” Douglas Murray.
Phil Andrade
Posts: 4650
Nov. 11, 1918. Battle of Tulgas
Posted on: 9/29/2019 2:39:32 AM

It’s a story that we know all too little about.

The Russian Civil War is a hard business to understand.

It carries so many “ demons” of atrocity, betrayal and unfinished business in its narrative that it almost makes you turn away and avoid it. It doesn’t sit well on the conscience of the West. Better to seek refuge in the more familiar folklore of the Great War....although, God knows, that hardly offers us a sense of redemption !

Regards, Phil
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Nov. 11, 1918. Battle of Tulgas
Posted on: 9/29/2019 7:16:59 AM

All I know about that entire Russian saga that is 2 Australians won VCs in 1919 with the Northern Relief Force, so the fighting must have been serious.

Why were so many allied troops stationed near Vladivostok? From what I have read, the war was not heavy there so most of the action seems to be to the north. Is that correct? Was most of the combat undertaken by the Northern Relief force?

All I have is the names of the two Australians who won the VC, Arthur Sullivan and Samuel Pearse.
The VC's were awarded in the same time period and both men served with the Royal Fusiliers.

I don't know a lot about this phase of WW1 or post-WW1 I guess it would be.

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