First the game screen showing the in-game tips about this new faction.
My source has been mostly The Caucasus Under Soviet Rule, from Alex Marshall:
The Cossack revolt quickly established Mozdok as its main territorial base, that
being the site to which the Cossack faction of the People’s Council in Vladikavkaz
had moved. The rebellion was hindered from the very outset by military disorganization
and strategic dissent. Contact with Denikin’s Volunteer Army to the northwest,
a potentially valuable source of military assistance, was established only in
September by aeroplane; the Menshevik leader of the revolt, Georgii Bicherakhov,
regarded Denikin with suspicion, and remarked to one of his military commanders,
General Madritov, that ‘[i]t is unknown what the Volunteer Army will bring us;
maybe we Terek folk will have to fight them’.
The rebellion’s military commandersdesired to institute a full-scale mobilization under military discipline,
but their political counterparts insisted on volunteer units and the election of commanders,
a throwback to the heady 1917 days of ‘revolutionary democracy’ within
the armed forces. There was also a more general and damaging split between the
Cossacks and professional military officers of the old Tsarist army such as Madritov,
who accused the Cossacks of having an inbuilt prejudice towards non-Cossack
officers that resulted in their hoarding official appointments and engaging in extensive nepotism.
Whilst the military command urged linking up with Denikin around Prokhladnyi
train station to the west, Georgii Bicherakhov and his supporters were by contrast
orientated wholly eastward, towards Georgii’s brother Lazar in Port
Petrovsk, from where the revolt had already received 2 million roubles in financial
assistance, alongside military supplies. However, Kizliar, a critical transport
hub held by around 750–800 pro-Bolshevik troops, formed a geographical ‘cork’
blocking Bicherakhov’s forces from meeting up fully with those of his brother.
Though besieged from August 1918 onwards, the town never fell, and the arrival
of Bolshevik relief forces from Astrakhan in mid-September, in the form of guns,
cavalry, ammunition, armoured cars and units of the famously stoic Latvian riflemen,
marked a critical turning-point in the overall fortunes of the Cossack revolt.
Even here, however, Madritov saw evidence of the Cossacks’ own weaknesses
rather than overwhelming Bolshevik strength. Around Kizliar, in his own account,
endemic drunkenness reigned amongst the besieging troops, wine being omnipresent
in the trenches, and fraternization frequently occurred between the two supposedly
warring sides. When Bolshevik reinforcements eventually arrived in September,
the town was already effectively ‘de-blockaded’, the Cossacks having dispersed
back to their native stanitsas.
Attempts at other critical points to form a junctionbetween Lazar and Georgii Bicherakhov’s forces were furthermore foiled by relativelysmall bands of pro-Bolshevik Chechens. When, on 8 September, Lazar
occupied the town of Khasaviurt, only a destroyed railway bridge separated his
forces from those of his brother; however, the repairs to this bridge that Georgii
Bicherakhov’s men effected by day were then undone by Chechen night-time
raids, and the Chechens’ placement of just two artillery guns on the dominating
heights east of Gudermes then created just sufficient additional harassment to
again prevent military unification being achieved.
The injunction against introducingformal mobilization, meanwhile, combined with the decision to observe
only the ‘discipline of conscience’, resulted in individual Cossack military units
in general manning the front lines for only one or two weeks at a time, whilst the
revolt as a whole consequently never mustered more than around 12,000 men and
40 guns in the field. Under such conditions, General Denikin later observed, what
was truly remarkable was that such a rebellion, surrounded by enemies, actually
lasted five months.
Despite such glaring weaknesses amongst their opponents, the revolt in fact
created great difficulties in the military sense for the pro-Bolshevik rulers of
the Terek People’s Republic right from the very beginning. The army that the
Vladikavkaz soviet had briefly endeavoured to set up in April 1918 relied for
professional leaders on unemployed and often starving Tsarist officers. Generals
Ruzskii and Radko-Dimitriev, two of the more talented officers of the old Tsarist
army, had refused to lead this Terek army, and were eventually executed as a consequence,
which led to the responsibility for commanding these new formations
falling upon General Madritov, who accepted the new post of commander-in-chief
of all forces in the Terek oblast’ at the beginning of June 1918. Madritov sympathized
with the White cause, however, and his subsequent defection to the side of
the Cossack–peasant council during the ‘August Days’ fighting in and around
Vladikavkaz then rendered stillborn regional Bolshevik efforts to enlist military
specialists for the creation of better trained and led local military forces.94
The first major battle around Prokhladnyi also ended in both the tactical defeat
of Soviet forces, and the wider strategic reversal that, as a consequence, for four
months they were then cut off from the Bolshevik 11th Army operating around
Astrakhan. Ordzhonikidze tried to reopen talks and divide the ordinary Cossacks
from their officer corps, but without success. August saw a key battle being
fought for Vladikavkaz, the capital of the Terek People’s Republic itself, right in
the midst of the fourth Soviet congress being held there. On 6 August 1918, at
five in the morning, an eighty-man Cossack-Ossetian formation under the command
of Colonel Sokolov attacked and virtually seized control of the town centre.
On their own side, the Soviet defenders when the attack began could only muster
the 1st Regiment of the Vladikavkaz soviet, ethnic Chinese soldiers from the Chinese
Revolutionary Detachment, some armed Ossetian members of Kermen, and fighters of
a workers’ self-defence unit from the suburbs of Kursk and Molokan. ProSoviet
forces were consequently reduced to clinging onto these two outer suburbs
and shelling their opponents in the town itself from an armoured train.
The entry of the Ingush into the fight on the Bolshevik side was in this sense critical,
not so much for its impact upon the fighting within Vladikavkaz itself, but
because it rendered the Cossacks more nervous over the safety of their own homes
and property, undermining their will to continue fighting within the town at a time
when their families in the rear potentially faced increased danger. Yet even this
problem could have been avoided with greater preliminary military-political organization:
according to another participant, the Terek Cossack–Peasant Council had
already reached an agreement with the Ingush not to attack Vladikavkaz without
their participation. Sokolov’s initial thrust into the town was perceived by the Ingush
as a betrayal of this bargain, and the Ingush entry into the conflict on the Bolshevik
side was thereafter influenced as much by traditional Ingush-Ossetian antagonism
(the Ossetians during the first few days of August having looted Ingush homes and
property in Vladikavkaz) as by any political considerations.
Of course, FY has considerably flattened the reality, and most nuances will be lost. I’ve kept as much as possible, and I believe this will solve the trouble about the fast conquest of the area by Southern Whites.