Military Wiki
Capturing Kazan by White Army
Part of the Russian Civil War
Kazan1918 08 eng.jpg
Frontline near Kazan at August, 1918
DateAugust 5 to 7, 1918
Result White Victory
Flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918–1937).svg Red Guards Flag of Russia.svg People Army of Komuch
Flag of Bohemia.svg Czechoslovaks
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918–1937).svg Mikhail Muravyov
Flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918–1937).svg Jukums Vācietis
Flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1918–1937).svg Mirsäyet Soltanğäliev
Flag of Russia.svg Vladimir Kappel
about 3300 about 10.000

The city of Kazan was captured by the White Army in August 1918 during the Russian Civil War.


At July, 22, People Army of Komuch together with Czechoslovak Legion (about 3300 men with 4 cannons in common) captured Simbirsk and at August, 1st, began to move north in Kazan direction. After crushing the detachment of Reds (about 2500 men with 10 cannons) began quick advance. Going along the Volga River, at August, 4, they reached the mouth of the Kama River. Reds tried to stop Whites again, but lost and retreated to Kazan. During that battle it became obvious that Red troops were ill-prepared and badly organized.

At that time Kazan had 146.000 inhabitants. For the defence of Kazan Reds concentrated about 10 thousand men from all the region. Best of defending troops were "international" detachments: Latvian Riflemen (two regiments), Karl Marx's International Battalion (made from Austrians and Hungarians prisoners, captured by Russians during First World War), Moslem Communist Detachment, Tatar-Bashkir Battalion etc.

The Battle[]

Whites reached Kazan on the evening of August, 5. River ships went up-stream on the Volga, and detachment of Vladimir Kappel landed on the right bank, therefore blocked the river. At the same time two Czechoslovak Battalions landed 5 km down-stream of Kazan and began to advance, but was stopped by Latvian Riflemen. Latvians were close to win, but instantly Serbian battalion of Reds, defended the Kazan Kremlin, changed sides and attacked Latvians from the flank. Reds retreated to the city through the big rain, Whites stayed on the battlefield.

In the morning of August, 6, Kappel crossed the river and attacked Kazan from the north. Reds moved best troops (international brigades) to the north of the city, and Czechoslovakian used this moment to attack ill-prepared Red Guards from another direction. Using this opportunity, underground officer organization began a rebellion inside the city. At the evening the city was encircled by Whites from three sides, and there were fights inside the city. During the night part of red troops began to breakthrough to the east, in Sviyazhsk direction, another part - to the north, to the Arsk, but most of the red troops were captured by Whites.


After the capture of Kazan the entire General Staff Academy changed sides and joined the White Movement. Reds' retreat from Kazan made possible the Izhevsk-Votkinsk Uprising. But one of the most sensational results was the capture of the Gold Reserves of the Russian Empire, moved to Kazan during the First World War for safety. After capturing Kazan Kappel sent a telegram to Stanislav Čeček (commander of 1st Legionnaire Division):

After two-days fighting, at August, 7, Kazan is captured by the joint forces of Samara Detachment of People Army and Czechoslovaks, together with River Fleet. Trophies are uncountable, we captured the Gold Reserves of Russia - 650 million. Losses of my detachment - 25 men, troops fought fine.


  • Н.Е.Какурин, И.И.Вацетис "Гражданская война. 1918-1921" (N.E.Kakurin, I.I.Vacietis "Civil War. 1918-1921") - Sankt-Peterburg, "Polygon" Publishing House, 2002. ISBN 5-89173-150-9

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