Russian Civil War

Great Siberian Ice March
1919 Nov 14 - 1920 Mar

Great Siberian Ice March

Chita, Russia

The retreat began after the heavy defeats of the White Army in the Omsk operation and in the Novonikolaevsk Operation in November–December 1919. The army, led by General Kappel, retreated along the Trans-Siberian Railway, using the available trains to transport the wounded. They were followed on their heels by the 5th Red Army under the command of Genrich Eiche.

The White retreat was complicated by numerous insurgencies in the cities where they had to pass and attacks by partisan detachments, and was further aggravated by the fierce Siberian frost. After the series of defeats, the White troops were in a demoralized state, centralized supply was paralyzed, replenishment not received, and the discipline dropped dramatically.

Control of the railway was in the hands of the Czechoslovak Legion, as a result of which parts of General Kappel's Army were deprived of the opportunity to use the railway. They were also harassed by partisan troops under command of Alexander Kravchenko and Peter Efimovich Schetinkin. The pursuing Red 5th Army took Tomsk on 20 December 1919 and Krasnoyarsk on 7 January 1920. The survivors of the March found a safe haven in Chita, the capital of Eastern Okraina, a territory under control of Kolchak's successor Grigory Mikhaylovich Semyonov, who was supported by a significant Japanese military presence.