The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

II. Denikin’s Offensive (May 15-August 1919)

ORDER No.131

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs to the Fourteenth Army, July 22, 1919, No.131, Kremenchug

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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Certain units of the 14th Army are, as before, engaging in self-reinforcement, that is, they are accepting volunteers from the neighbouring villages and volosts, and sometimes also seizing persons mobilised by the uyezd commissariats. I inform all commanders and commissars of the 14th Army that this mode of self-reinforcement is absolutely forbidden by the central military authority. The volunteers brought into a regiment usually lack the necessary training, easily give way to panic, and render the unit in which they serve incapable of fighting. Furthermore, self-seekers often join a unit in the guise of volunteers, with the aim of obtaining a rifle and boots and then going off home.

Volunteers are immediately to be sent to the rear, so as to be enrolled in holding units, from which drafts can be sent to the appropriate regiments. Any other way of bringing units up to strength Is absolutely impermissible. Commanders and commissars whose units engage in self-reinforcement will hence forth be brought before the Revolutionary Military Tribunal, just as for disobeying a military order.

This order is to be made known to all commanders and commissars of the 14th Army and personally signed by them.

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006