The 1st Cavalry Army (Russian: Первая конная армия, literally '1st Horse Army') was the most prominent Red Army military formation. It was also known as Budyonny's Cavalry Army or simply as Konarmia ('Horsearmy'). When the Russian Civil War broke out in 1918, a soldier named Budyonny organized a small cavalry force in the Don region out of local Cossacks. This force rapidly grew in numbers, sided with the Bolsheviks and eventually became the 1st Cavalry Army. It was transformed from a guerrilla force into a proper military unit under the command of Semyon Budyonny, and the political guidance of Kliment Voroshilov. This Army played an important role in winning the Civil War for the Bolsheviks, driving the White General Anton Denikin back from Moscow. In 1920 Budyonny's Cavalry Army took part in the invasion of Poland during the Polish-Bolshevik War, at first with remarkable success. The 1st Cavalry Army pushed Polish forces out of Ukraine and broke through Polish southern frontlines, but later was bogged down at Lvov. This in turn led to a heavy defeat of the rest of the Bolsheviks forces in the Battle of Warsaw. When Budyonny's Cavalry finally joined the battle it was also soundly defeated in the Battle of Komarów, known as the last great cavalry battle in history. At this point, the 1st Cavalry Army's morale and discipline were at a low point and robbery and violence against the civilian population became commonplace. The remains of 1st Cavalry Army were sent south to fight the Wrangel’s White forces in Ukraine and the Crimea. At the final phase of Russian Civil War the 1st Cavalry Army was moved to North Caucasus. This voyage was the basis of myth about the invincible 1st Cavalry Army, which has been cultivated by Soviet propaganda.
The march of the 1st Cavalry Army became popular after the Russian Civil War and was known as the song We are the Red Cavalry (Russian: Мы красная кавалерия) (however other names of the song were "Мы красные кавалеристы" (We, Red cavalrymen) and "[Марш Буденного]" (Budenny march), but earlier was known as "Марш красных конников" (March of the Red horsemen).
In commemoration, a monument to the 1st Cavalry Army was constructed in Lvov oblast, Ukraine.
Notable figures in 1st Cavalry Army
- Semyon Budyonny
- Kliment Voroshilov
- Georgy Zhukov, Soviet military commander, famous for his role in World War II.
- Grigory Kulik, Soviet military commander
- Kirill Meretskov, Soviet military commander
- Semyon Timoshenko, Soviet military commander
- Andrei Grechko, Soviet military commander
- Semyon Krivoshein, Soviet military commander
- Isaac Babel, journalist and writer, who wrote the 1920 Diary and the book Red Cavalry based on his experiences
- Vadim Yakovlev, yesaul
- '1st Horse Army' can be seen as a better literal translation
- Bibliography of the Polish-Soviet War The City University of New York
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