- WW2 Russian Protective Corps Guide books and maps, battlefield virtual tours
Russian White Army
I lived 70 kilometers north of Belgrade, in the city of Novi Sad. Our places were occupied by Hungarian troops and were subordinate to the Hungarian authorities, who did not allow us, Russian anti-communists, to create any military formations, but allowed us to create a “Russian Military Representation” from all our military organizations.
When we heard rumors about the formations taking place in Belgrade, I turned to the head of our Military Representation, General Apukhtin, with a request to send me to Belgrade. The issue was complicated by the fact that Belgrade was separated from us by Serbian, two Croatian and Hungarian borders. To obtain permission to move them, it was necessary to contact several authorities, including the Budapest ministries, which took a lot of time.
I found a solution: having received permission from General Apukhtin and a letter to the corps authorities, I asked him to sign another piece of paper made by me – a certificate in Hungarian, German and Croatian that the bearer of this, Lieutenant So-and-so, was sent to the city of Belgrade on the issue formation of Russian military units. Then he put the seal of the Military Representation on this piece of paper, put on his regimental uniform with crimson stripes, sat down with his friend on his motorcycle and an hour and a half later he was already in Belgrade, having safely crossed all four borders.
General Skorodumov told me that the Corps was being formed solely for the purpose of fighting communism, that the formation was going well and that he would be glad to see us in the ranks of the Corps. He recommended that I talk to the chief of staff of the Southern Group of German Forces, Oberst Kewisch, who obtained permission to form the Corps and was the link with the German command, and for his part, General Skorodumov promised to take all measures to assist us.
Not speaking German well enough, I asked my friend, a Yugoslav aviation captain of Russian origin, to go with me to Oberst Kewisch. The latter received us very kindly, confirmed the words of General Skorodumov that the Corps was being formed to fight the Bolsheviks and promised us full assistance. Only the issue was complicated by the fact that we were under Hungarian occupation, and since… Kevish did not have the authority to conduct diplomatic negotiations, he had to act through Berlin and Budapest.
Once in the Topchider barracks, where the Corps was formed and stationed, I found myself in a familiar, familiar environment. A lot of friends and acquaintances surround me, shake hands, and move from one hug to another. They ask a lot of questions and suggestions: “Where are you from?”, “Where have you been so far?”, “When will you have formations?”, “How many people do you have?”, “Stay with us, don’t go back!”, “ sign up for our company!”, “no, join our squadron – we’ll soon be getting horses!”
I answer questions, prove that I am obliged to return, because… They are waiting for me, and with greedy eyes, with my whole being, I look and remember such a new and familiar picture, trying not to miss a single movement, not a single sound. Here is a Cossack, in blue trousers and a black hat with a scarlet (bright red) top, leading a pair of horses to a watering trough. There, the distributing soldier leads three cadets with rifles “on the shoulder” to shift at the posts. Here some group in civilian clothes has surrounded the table and is dismantling a light machine gun. At the door of the barracks, someone shouts along the corridor: “The third platoon is forming up!” In the direction of the gate, a platoon walks along the path, clearly beating its step and waving its hand to the waist with rifles “on the shoulder.” Although the alignment of the rifles and the swing of the hand leave much to be desired, it is clear from the step and alignment that these are not beginners in combat, but, oh God, what an appearance!.. On almost all, except for two or three, marching in hats , wearing Serbian caps – “shaikachi”, about five or six people in Serbian military uniform, and the rest had belts with pouches on civilian coats, jackets and jackets, black, blue, gray and red.
Passing through the barracks courtyards, on one of them I see a perfectly level military unit built in a deployed front, with a choir of trumpeters on the right flank. Black hats, protective tunics with shoulder straps, blue trousers, brightly polished boots, caps behind their backs, officers in silver shoulder straps with a hussar zigzag, most of the Cossacks are sub-horses and constables, with St. George’s crosses and black Lemnos badges. Guards Cossack division… A young officer – shoulder straps with two gaps, “Colonel Rogozhin,” says my companion.
I look at the Cossacks and think – Napoleon was right: what kind of people were, are or will be, so that after twenty years of emigration and a hard struggle for a piece of bread in a foreign land, they could field an entire military unit, in the old uniform, and even with trumpeters!
A very large percentage of the ranks of the Corps were old fighters against communism – ranks of the White armies of the Civil War. Among them there are many colorful figures, not to mention generals and officers with a glorious military past, notable for two dashing colonels of the Markov Division, both armless; Colonel Kondratyev with 19 stripes for wounds (later died a heroic death from the 20th wound); Colonel Hesketh, who joined the ranks already being disabled with a non-functional arm and died as commander of the 4th regiment; little Kornilov resident, staff captain Novitsky, wounded 6 times in the Civil War and again returned to duty and died heroically in the bunkers of the 3rd regiment, and many others.
The formation of the Corps was progressing quite successfully. When our “Novosad Battalion”, having overcome all diplomatic obstacles, moved to Belgrade from “New Hungary” in its entirety at the end of December 1941, we already saw big changes.
From Topčider barracks the Corps was transferred to Banica. Here I again had a pleasant meeting: out of 9 of my fellow soldiers in the Seversky Dragoon Regiment, 8 were in the ranks of the Corps, in addition, there were many officers and former colleagues of the cadets from the Nikolaev Cavalry School, not to mention other friends and acquaintances (by V. Cherepov)
Corps justice (law)
In February 1942, the positions of chief auditor and regimental auditors were established in the Corps. The chief auditor was at the headquarters of the Corps and was the “eye of legality”, and the regimental auditors were regimental investigators for cases exclusively of the ranks of the regiment. In essence, the chief auditor was a prosecutor, he controlled the investigators who were directly subordinate to him. Regimental investigators were subordinate to the regimental commanders only in respect of combat duty and could independently proceed with the production of investigations, only reporting this to the commanders. The regimental commanders could not interfere in the investigative activities, but in practice there was complete agreement with the auditors.
The rights of horseshoe commanders in disciplinary punishments were small: an ordinary commander could be put under arrest for 30 days, and an ordinary, consisting in a Russian officer’s rank, for 7 days. With the transition of the Corps to the Wehrmacht, the positions of auditors were abolished, but in the regiments the former auditors continued to carry out their former duties, carrying out not an investigation, but an inquiry for the regimental commanders (by D. Persianov)