J. V. Stalin

Speech at a Celebration Meeting at the Military Academy

November 17, 1923 (Brief Newspaper Report)

Source : Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

At the celebration of the fourth anniversary of our Red Cavalry, a speech was delivered by the founder of the Cavalry Army and its honorary Red Army man, Comrade Stalin.

Comrade Stalin emphasised that at the time when the basic nucleus of the cavalry, the embryo of the future Cavalry Army, was being organised, its initiators came into conflict with the opinion of leading military circles and military experts who denied the necessity of organising any cavalry at all.

The most characteristic page of the history of the Cavalry Army was written in the summer of 1919, when our cavalry became a combination of masses of cavalry with masses of machine guns. The celebrated "tachanka" 1 is the symbol of that combination.

However numerous our cavalry may be, if in its operations it is unable to combine the power of the horse with the power of machine guns and artillery, it will cease to be a formidable force.

The most glorious page in the history of the Cavalry Army was written at the close of 1919, when twelve regiments of our cavalry routed some twenty-two enemy regiments at the approaches to Voronezh. That event marked the actual conversion of our Cavalry Corps into a Cavalry Army.

The characteristic feature of that period was that at that stage our cavalry acquired still another quality which enabled it to achieve victory over Denikin's cavalry, namely: it attached to itself several infantry units, which it usually transported in carts, and employed as a screen against the enemy, so as to be able to take a short rest under cover of this screen, recuperate its strength, and then strike another blow at the enemy. That was the combination of cavalry with infantry—the latter being an auxiliary force. This combination, this additional new quality, transformed our cavalry into a formidable mobile force, which struck terror in the enemy.

In conclusion, Comrade Stalin said: "Comrades, I am not the kind of man to go into raptures, but I must say that if our Cavalry Army retains these new qualities, our cavalry and its leader, Comrade Budyonny, will be invincible."


Izvestia, No. 265, November 20, 1923


1. A light horse-drawn cart on which a machine gun was mounted.—Tr.