The commanders of the White Army were former Tsarist generals who took control of the anti-Bolshevik forces in certain regions. Most white forces were led by former Tsarist commanders of varying abilities and knowledge. Among the various different white forces, the most important was the large volunteer army in southern Russia.
General Lawr Kornilov organized a volunteer army in January 1918, but his troops numbered only 3,000. At the end of February 1918, 4,000 troops were forced to withdraw from Rostov-on-Don under the command of General Alexei Kaledin against the advancing Red Army.
General Nikolai Judenich, an old white military commander, controlled the White Army in northwestern Russia. Vladimir Antonov Ovseenko led the Red Army against pro-Bolshevik forces and took control of Ukraine, where the Bolsheviks were unpopular. The Red Army defeated the White Army in southern Russia and Ukraine in 1919 as well as the military under Admiral Alexander Kolchak in Siberia.
At the beginning of October 1919, they controlled Moscow and Petrograd. The greatest threat to the Bolsheviks was the German army advancing on Petrograd, the capital of the Russian Empire. Taking advantage of this moment, the Bolshevik forces in Petrograd under Trotsky launched a successful counter-offensive.
In the meantime, Lenin concluded diplomatic agreements with Poland and Estonia to guarantee their independence and to provide additional assistance to the White Army by interning some of its members. The White Army was initially successful on the battlefield with vital military support from Allied powers (Britain, France, and the United States), but it began to lose its support and eventually disappeared, leaving the army to its fate. Whites had a problem motivating their troops and building support.
Russians feared that if the Whites won, foreign intervention would end Russian independence. Many peasants refused to support the White Army, citing it as a struggle for the return of the tsar – a belief underscored by the fact that peasants were driven from their land to get supplies for the civil war. Many white commanders and officers reinstated the same methods of coercion used by the red army and the Cheka, making them unpopular with the locals.
The many disparate white armies lacked a central authority to coordinate action and policy on the far-flung battlefields of the Civil War, each with its own commanders and goals. They were divided between white officers who were monarchists and others who wanted the reinstatement of a provisional government. Some led the charge to remove the new ruler, the former czar, and some generals.
In the years after the Russian Revolution, there was a bitter civil war between the Bolsheviks and their red army of workers and farmers on the one hand and various groups that formed the anti-Bolshevik movement on the other side. The Russian civil war which broke out after the October Revolution of 1918 was led by the Red Army consisting of uprisings (of which were led by Bolsheviks) and a minority of officers of the White Army, Cossacks, and the bourgeoisie, as well as political groups ranging from extreme right-wing socialists and revolutionaries who opposed the drastic restructuring of the Bolshevik Party after the collapse of the Russian Provisional Government of the Soviets and clear Bolshevik dominance. In addition, rival militant socialists and the non-ideological Green Army fought alongside the two main fighters of both groups: the red army fought for the Bolshevik form of socialism while the allies were known as the White Army.
It is known that the Reds mainly consisted of Bolsheviks with about 40,000 members of the Red Army, but it is also estimated that the number of Reds fighting against Whites included other parties, paramilitaries, and political forces in Russia. A large number of Republicans, liberal Democrats, and non-Bolshevik socialists fought alongside the whites as counter-revolutionary forces. Belarusians who served in the Soviet Red Army during the Soviet invasion of Xinjiang during the Xinjiang War in 1937.
The White Army (also known as the White Guard, Belaia Gvardija (Belaia, Gvardieria, Belaya Gvardija), White Guards (Belogvardizy, Belogvardesy, belogvardeytsi) is the collective name for the armed formation of the White Movement against the anti-Soviet government in Russia during the Civil War. The White Army was a loose confederation of anti-communist forces that fought alongside the Bolsheviks (known as the Red Russians) during the Russian Civil War (1917-1923) and continued, to a lesser extent, in militarized association within Russia’s borders during World War II. It supported the allied forces of the Triple Entente (countries such as Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy, and the United States) and the central powers (such as Germany, Austria, and Hungary) in fighting in Siberia, Ukraine, and Crimea.
General Nikolai Yudenich, an old white military commander, was forced by Alexander Kerensky into retirement and spent much of 1918 hiding from the Bolsheviks. At the end of 1918, he reappeared and took control of anti-Bolshevik forces on the Baltic coast. In April 1920, two and a half years after the start of the Russian Civil War, Black Baron Piotr Wrangel, an officer in the Russian imperial army during the First World War, took command of the armed forces of Southern Russia as a unit of the white movement in the southern regions of the Russian Empire.
Anarchists working with the Bolsheviks occupied two important railway junctions supplying the Yedenich army with supplies. Leon Trotsky Samara conquered, the white army made progress in the south, General Anton Denikin took control of the Kuban region and General Peter Wrangel started to advance along the Volga. The Red Army, many men stronger than the cavalry units of Semeon and Budenny, stopped Denikin’s troops, and the Volunteer Army was in headless retreat.
The troops of General Peter Wrangels invaded Crimea but he failed to impress General Mikhail Frunze and the Red Army; the remaining members of the White Army left Russia in November. On 18 November 1918, war minister Alexander Kolchak was appointed Supreme Ruler of the Russian Empire and took over the supreme command of all Russian land and naval forces. On September 23rd, 1918 he carried out a fundamental reorganization of the forces in the White Movement and carried out their integration into a single Russian army.