The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

III. The Red Army’s Second Offensive in the Ukraine
(August-December 1919)

ORDER No.146

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, September 4, 1919, No.146, Tula

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

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Into battle against Mamontov’s brigand gang

Bands of mounted brigands under the command of General Mamontov, a former landlord, have broken through to Tam boy and from there to Kozlov and Yelets.

These bandits on horseback have destroyed railways and telegraph lines, they are plundering, violating, burning, killing workers and peasants.

Mamontov’s task is to terrify the working population and help Denikin to strangle the workers and peasants and restore the power of the nobles and the capitalists.

In view of the above, be it known that:

  1. Any assistance given to Mamontov’s brigands, whether direct or indirect, constitutes treason to the people and will be punished by shooting.
  2. Village and volost executive committees in the threatened localities are required to organise their own reconnaissance units, mounted and on foot, and to give warning of danger to neighbouring railway stations and army authorities. The chairman of every executive committee is to be held personally responsible for the implementation of this measure.
  3. When danger approaches, village and volost executive committees are to remove horses and cattle, and also foodstuffs, so as not to leave any supplies for Mamontov’s bandits. If this order is not obeyed the members of the executive committees concerned will be punished by the tribunal in accordance with martial law.
  4. Railway workers, Red Army men engaged in defence of the railway lines, and employees of the post and telegraph services in the zone under threat are required to show the greatest vigilance and to take in good time all measures against the danger of a cavalry raid. Anyone found guilty of negligence and carelessness will be punished by the tribunal as an accomplice of the enemy, in accordance with martial law.
  5. There are a number of agents of Mamontov among the bourgeois elements of the local population, including the Soviet employees. Surveillance must be redoubled. Every honest citizen must report any information he receives, or any suspicion he forms, to the nearest Cheka, to the Special Section, or to the commissar of the nearest military unit. Anyone who knows about Mamontov’s agents but keeps silent is to be punished as a traitor, in accordance with the stern laws of war.
  6. The Communist cells in the villages and volosts, on the railways, in the telegraph service and in army institutions in the rear have the duty of maintaining careful surveillance of all suspicious and untrustworthy elements. They must, in con junction with the Chekas and the Special Sections, crush all the agents of Maniontov and Denikin.
  7. Any citizen in the endangered zone into whose hands this order comes must call for a meeting of his village or volost executive committee to discuss practical measures for struggle against Mamontov’s brigands. Among such measures are: organisation of intelligence, establishment of close liaison with neighbouring military units, railway authorities and railway guards, sabotage of the routes which the enemy’s transports or artillery have to follow, organisation of ambushes, extermination of enemy patrols and isolated bandits. Henceforth, such meetings must be held daily, and all their decisions minuted. The provincial Cheka and the Special Section in the threatened area are to check these minutes and immediately call to account chairmen of executive committees who have not taken the necessary measures.
  8. 8. When Mamontov’s bandits pass through, the local counter revolutionary snakes lift their heads. They perform services to the raiders, pointing out the local Communists and the families of Red Army men, and thereby bringing tens and hundreds of people to the gallows. I issue this warning: Mamontov’s cavalry will pass, but the Soviet power will remain. The workers and peasants, both men and women, who have been killed, will be avenged. The counter-revolutionary snakes will be crushed.

    Their property will be confiscated and given to the poor peasants. Every poor peasant killed will be answered for by the kulaks, traitors and counter-revolutionaries.

This order is to be posted in railway stations, barracks, transit and victualling points, post and telegraph offices, rail way carriages both civil and military, and the premises of village and volost executive committees. The appropriate commissars and chairmen of Soviet institutions are personally responsible for reading this order at village assemblies, gatherings of rail way and post-and-telegraph employees, local army units, and so on.

All the local Soviet press in the endangered zone is to publish this order prominently and to assist in every way to make it widely known and put into practice.

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006