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The Anzali Operation was a naval and amphibious action carried by the Caspian Flotilla during the Russian Civil War.

Anzali Operation
Part of the Southern Front of the Russian Civil War
Date18 May 1920
LocationBandar-e Anzali.
Result Decisive Soviet victory

White Russia

 United Kingdom
 Russian SFSR
Commanders and leaders
 British Indian Army Hugh Bateman-Champain Surrendered Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Fedor Raskolnikov
10 auxiliary cruisers, other auxiliary ships 4 auxiliary cruisers, 4 destroyers, 1 transport, minor ships
Casualties and losses
All surrendered. none


The Russian Civil War in Caspian Sea saw previous confrontation between the Soviet Russian Caspian Flotilla against the British Caspian Flotilla, the latter supporting the White movement as part of the Allied intervention. British scored a victory during the Battle of Alexandrovsky Fort, but the harbor was reconquered in April 1920. Royal Navy officially passed the entire flottilla to the White movement on 2 September 1919.[1]


The Soviet Russian Caspian Flotilla gathered a considerable force to attack Anzali. The task force was composed by 4 auxiliary cruisers (Proletariy, Rosa Luxemburg, Pushkin, Bela Kun), 4 destroyers (Karl Liebknecht, Delnyi, Deyatelnyi, Rastoropnyi), two gunboats (Kars and Ardagan) the transport Gretsiya and other minor units. Complete surprise was achieved, a naval shelling in early morning nearly hit the main British headquarters. No organized defense was attempted, while the Persian governor formally accepted the Soviet Russian presence, the White detachment fled the city on ground and the entire flotilla was seized without resistance. Seized ships included: auxiliary cruisers President Kruger, America, Europe, Africa, Dmitry Donskoy, Asia, Slava, Mylutin, Opyt and Merkur, the motor-torpedo-boat carrier (previously seaplane-carrier) Orlenok, the seaplane-carrier (previously m.t.b carrier) Volga, four seaplanes, four motor torpedo boats (former British), 10 merchants, a number of support, auxiliary and minor units in addition to big amount of supplies and ammunition.[2]


The Anzali Operation marked the ending of the Russian Civil War naval confrontation on Caspian Sea. [3] The action also established the short-lived Persian Socialist Soviet Republic, with little British resistance, while a detachment of 800 Cossacks surrendered to the Soviets and Persian communists "Jangalis".[4]


  1. John Guard. "The Royal Navy in the Caspian Sea 1918-1920". 
  2. "Soviet Naval Battles during Civil War (re-done)". 
  3. Institute of Strategic Studies of the Caucasus, The Caucasus & Globalization, Volume 1, CA & CC Press, 2006, page 177
  4. Steven R. Ward, Immortal, Updated Edition: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces, Georgetown University Press, 2014, page 127

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