October 1911, Urga, Mongolia - Ensign Grigorii M. Semenov, recent graduate of Orenburg Cossack Military School, is assigned to the Russian consulate guard in Urga, Mongolia. He is of Buryat Mongol heritage, and spoke Buryat, Mongol and Kalmyk as well as Russian. He befriends many Mongolian nationalist leaders.
November 11, 1914, Polish Front - Sublieutenant Grigorii M. Semenov distinguishes himself in battle on the Eastern Front of the World War, and is subsequently awarded the Order of St. George, 4th Class.
March 15, 1917, Pskov, Russia - Tsar Nicholas II abdicates the Russian throne. Soldiers' Committees forcibly take over many Russian military and naval units. A short time later, Grigorii M. Semenov is elected commander of his unit and a deputy of the 1st Nerchinsk Regiment. He refuses both positions.
June 1917, Moscow - Grigorii M. Semenov is summoned to present his proposal for an all-volunteer Mongol regiment. In July he is empowered as a Military Commissar and entrusted with substantial funds to recruit a Mongol-Buryat Regiment in Verkhne-Udinsk, Transbaikalia.
November 7, 1917, Petrograd - Bolsheviks launch a coup d'état against the Provisional Government and overrun the Winter Palace. Throughout Russia, armed Bolshevik detachments concentrate in cities, disarm the befuddled opposition and arrest vociferous leaders, then dictate terms to the surrounding countryside.
January 1, 1918, Manchuli, Transbaikalia - Semenov launched his first anti-Bolshevik offensive into Russia.
January 9, 1918, Manchuli, Transbaikalia - Grigorii M. Semenov christens his 600-man military force the Osoboi Manchzhurskii Otryad (OMO)--the Special Manchurian Detachment. The name had nothing to do with the large number of Buryats and Mongolians in the formation, nor with Semenov's latent Pan-Mongol aspirations. The "Manchurian" part of the unit designation referred to O.M.O.'s place of origin, the town of Manchzhuriya, aka Manchuli.
February 16, 1918, Chita, Transbaikalia - The 2nd Chita Cossack Revolutionary Regiment and local Red Guards take over the Chita government at bayonet-point. The Bolsheviks initiate a wave of violent revolutionary terror against "class enemies."
March 1918, Transbaikal Front - Ensign Sergei Lazo leads a Bolshevik offensive to repel Semenov and OMO from Transbaikalia. Semenov adjourns to Harbin, China to garner anti-Bolshevik support.
April 5, 1918, Vladivostok - Small detachments of Japanese and British marines land. The pretext was the killing of 2 Japanese clerks the previous day in an apparent robbery.
April 21, 1918, Manchuli, Transbaikalia - Bolstered by Japanese Army advisors and surplus British and French guns, Semenov leads OMO in the second invasion of Soviet Transbaikalia. His horde includes 1,200 Mongol horsemen, 250 Serbian cavalrymen, 2 so-called regiments of infantry and an improvised armored train.
April 28, 1918, Harbin - Admiral Aleksandr Vasilevich Kolchak arrived to serve as military director of the Chinese Eastern Railroad.
June 7, 1918, Omsk, Siberia - Red troops try to disarm a trainload of Czechoslovak Legion troops eastbound to the distant Pacific coast to depart Russia. A clash results, the Reds are routed, and other Czechoslovak detachments along the Trans-Siberian Railroad are alerted. Within days, most of the Trans-Siberian between the Ural Mountains and Irkutsk is under Czechoslovak control. A wide variety of anti-Soviet opposition groups rally to take control of their cities and towns.
June 27, 1918, Transbaikal Front - A Red (Soviet) counter-offensive against OMO pushes Semenov into a small refuge hugging the Chinese border.
July 12, 1918, Lake Baikal - The Battles for Lake Baikal begin between the advancing Czechoslovak Legion and the retreating Red Army. Red gunboats join the battle at times, which rages for weeks.
July 12, 1918, Irkutsk - The Red Army withdraws from Irkutsk, pressured from the west by the Czechoslovak Legion and grassroots anti-Bolshevik forces, and harried from the south by Grigorii Semenov's OMO.
August 25, 1918, Chita, Transbaikalia - Anarchists and Bolshevik deserters led by Efrem Perezhogin take over the city in the wake of the Red Army's withdrawal. A whirlwind of lawlessness tears through Chita. Perezhogin and crew rob the State Bank of gold, and commandeer and eastbound train, shocking every town along the Trans-Siberian with their drunken revelry until they reach Blagoveshchensk.
Work in progress... More to come...
Copyright 1918, J. Bisher