The Don Army was the military of the short lived Don Republic and a part of the White movement in the Russian Civil War. It operated from 1918 to 1920, in the Don region, after the October Revolution in 1917, a conflict in the Don broke out between the Red Bolsheviks and White Don Cossacks. In Novocherkassk, an assembly of Cossacks, the Krug, elected Alexei Kaledin as the first independent ataman since the days of Peter the Great and they refused to recognise the Bolshevik government and declared themselves protectors of Russia. On December 2, Kaledins Cossacks seized Rostov-on-Don, driving out the Bolshevik authorities, the Bolshevik resistance, centered in the Kamenskaya stanitsa, was joined by an army sent by Moscow. Kaledin, feeling powerless to oppose the Bolsheviks, shot himself on January 29,1918 and he was replaced by major-general Anatoly Mikhailovich Nazarov. Nazarov requested help from the Volunteer Army, but was refused it and his resignation was turned down by the krug, who insisted that he fulfill his duty as a true son of the Quiet Don. He decided to end the war by capitulating to the Bolsheviks and met with the Red representative. Sablin refused to recognise the authority of the Ataman and declared that the Cossacks should be destroyed. In the evening of February 1918, a detachment of the Red Army, under Lt. N. M. Golubov, broke up a meeting of the krug, arresting Nazarov and they were shot without trial on March 3. A policy of Red Terror was carried out along the Don, several stanitsas revolted and on April 3,1918 formed a new Don army. On May 12,1918, a special krug declared the old rights, pyotr Krasnov, a talented soldier and writer, was elected as the new Ataman. Much of the Upper Don region, in 1918, had defected to the Bolsheviks, the main leaders were Pavel Nazarovich Kudinov and Kharlampii Yermakov. They joined forces with the Don Army centered in Novocherkassk, which was commanded by Ataman Afrikan Bogayevsky and these events form an important part of Mikhail Sholokhovs epic, And Quiet Flows the Don. Indeed, for a time, Kudinov and Yermakov, who appear in the novel, were considered as fictional by the general public. Many Don Cossacks also participated in Kornilovs infamous Ice March, the Don army was often divided and plagued with indesiciveness, many of the Cossacks not wishing to fight beyond their own territory. On March 14,1920, the Don Army dissolved and was succeeded by the VSYuR, generally after Dobrynin, The Participation of the Don Cossacks in the Fight against Bolshevism. The events of years, especially those centered in the Upper Don, as well as events leading up to them, are the focus of Mikhail Sholokhovs epic
Don Army commanders including Lieutenant-General Konstantin Mamontov on the right. (The cross over Mamontov's head was drawn by the photographer after he died.)
Soldiers of the Don Army in 1919 with a Mark V tank.
Austin Armored Car with "Ataman Bogayevsky" written on the side.