Latvian War of Independence

  • latvian war of independence
    part of soviet westward offensive of 1918–19
    date5 december 1918 – 11 august 1920
    (1 year, 8 months and 6 days)
    location
    latvia
    result latvian victory
    territorial
    changes
    independence of latvia
    belligerents

    latvia latvian army
    merged from the:

    • latvian independent brigade[nb 1]
    • north latvian brigade[nb 2] in july 1919

     estonia
    russia lieven detachment[nb 3]
     poland
     lithuania

    • danish and swedish volunteers[1]

    supported by the allied powers:

    •  united kingdom
    •  france
      and others

    german empire vi reserve corps:[2]

    • baltische landeswehr[nb 4]
    • freikorps

    merged into the

    west russian volunteer army in september 1919
     russian sfsr
     latvian ssr
    commanders and leaders
    latvia jānis balodis
    estonia ernst põdder
    poland edward rydz-Śmigły
    german empire rüdiger von der goltz
    baltic german.svg alfred fletcher
    pavel bermondt-avalov
    russian soviet federative socialist republic jukums vācietis
    russian soviet federative socialist republic dmitry nadyozhny
    russian soviet federative socialist republic pēteris slavens
    strength
    latvia:
    69,232
    271 machine guns
    321 light machine guns
    54 guns
    33 mortars[3]
    (january 1920)
    estonia:
    16,000[4]
    3 armoured vehicles
    5 armoured trains
    39 guns
    204 machine guns[5]
    (june 1919)
    united kingdom:
    1 cruiser
    8 destroyers
    2 torpedo boats
    1 minesweeper
    france:
    2 torpedo boats
    2 gunboats
    poland:
    20 000 infantry
    25 tanks
    (january 1920)
    german empire:
    20,000[4]
    10 armoured vehicles
    3 armoured trains
    18 airplanes
    100 guns
    469 machine guns[5]
    (june 1919)
    russian soviet federative socialist republic:
    5,600–6,300[6]
    55 machine-guns
    42 guns
    3 armoured trains[7]
    casualties and losses
    latvia:
    3,046 killed
    4,085 wounded[8]
    estonia:
    300 killed
    800 wounded[9]
    german empire:
    840 killed
    3,000 wounded[10][11]
    unknown
    1. ^ part of the baltische landeswehr until july 1919.
    2. ^ under the estonian 3rd division command until july 1919.
    3. ^ part of the baltische landeswehr until july 1919, after which it left latvia.
    4. ^ included latvian independent brigade until july 1919.

    the latvian war of independence (latvian: latvijas neatkarības karš), sometimes called the latvia's freedom fights (latvian: latvijas brīvības cīņas) or the latvian war of liberation (latvian: latvijas atbrīvošanas karš, "war of latvian liberation"), was a series of military conflicts in latvia between 5 december 1918, after the newly proclaimed republic of latvia was invaded by soviet russia, and the signing of the latvian-soviet riga peace treaty on 11 august 1920.[12]

    the war can be divided into a few stages: soviet offensive, german-latvian liberation of kurzeme and riga, estonian-latvian liberation of vidzeme, bermontian offensive, latvian-polish liberation of latgale.

    the war involved latvia (its provisional government supported by estonia, poland and the western allies—particularly the navy of united kingdom) against the russian sfsr and the bolsheviks' short-lived latvian socialist soviet republic. germany and the baltic nobility added another level of intrigue, initially being nominally allied to the nationalist/allied force but attempting to jockey for german domination of latvia. eventually tensions flared up after a german coup against the latvian government, leading to open war.

    following a cease-fire, a ploy was developed by the germans, nominally dissolving into the west russian volunteer army led by gen. pavel bermont-avalov. this west russian volunteer army included germans and former russian prisoners of war nominally allied with the white army in the russian civil war, but both bermondt-avalov and von der goltz were more interested in eliminating the nationalists than fighting the bolsheviks.

    certain episodes of the latvian independence war were also part of the polish-soviet war, particularly the battle of daugavpils.

  • soviet offensive
  • liberation of kurzeme and the coup d'etat
  • german–latvian conflict
  • bermondt offensive
  • timeline
  • see also
  • references
  • bibliography

Latvian War of Independence
Part of Soviet westward offensive of 1918–19
Date5 December 1918 – 11 August 1920
(1 year, 8 months and 6 days)
Location
Result Latvian victory
Territorial
changes
Independence of Latvia
Belligerents

Latvia Latvian Army
merged from the:

 Estonia
Russia Lieven detachment[nb 3]
 Poland
 Lithuania

Supported by the Allied Powers:

German Empire VI Reserve Corps:[2]

merged into the

West Russian Volunteer Army in September 1919
 Russian SFSR
 Latvian SSR
Commanders and leaders
Latvia Jānis Balodis
Estonia Ernst Põdder
Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły
German Empire Rüdiger von der Goltz
Baltic German.svg Alfred Fletcher
Pavel Bermondt-Avalov
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Jukums Vācietis
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Dmitry Nadyozhny
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Pēteris Slavens
Strength
Latvia:
69,232
271 machine guns
321 light machine guns
54 guns
33 mortars[3]
(January 1920)
Estonia:
16,000[4]
3 armoured vehicles
5 armoured trains
39 guns
204 machine guns[5]
(June 1919)
United Kingdom:
1 cruiser
8 destroyers
2 torpedo boats
1 minesweeper
France:
2 torpedo boats
2 gunboats
Poland:
20 000 infantry
25 tanks
(January 1920)
German Empire:
20,000[4]
10 armoured vehicles
3 armoured trains
18 airplanes
100 guns
469 machine guns[5]
(June 1919)
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic:
5,600–6,300[6]
55 machine-guns
42 guns
3 armoured trains[7]
Casualties and losses
Latvia:
3,046 killed
4,085 wounded[8]
Estonia:
300 killed
800 wounded[9]
German Empire:
840 killed
3,000 wounded[10][11]
unknown
  1. ^ Part of the Baltische Landeswehr until July 1919.
  2. ^ Under the Estonian 3rd Division command until July 1919.
  3. ^ Part of the Baltische Landeswehr until July 1919, after which it left Latvia.
  4. ^ Included Latvian Independent Brigade until July 1919.

The Latvian War of Independence (Latvian: Latvijas Neatkarības karš), sometimes called the Latvia's freedom fights (Latvian: Latvijas brīvības cīņas) or the Latvian War of Liberation (Latvian: Latvijas atbrīvošanas karš, "War of Latvian Liberation"), was a series of military conflicts in Latvia between 5 December 1918, after the newly proclaimed Republic of Latvia was invaded by Soviet Russia, and the signing of the Latvian-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty on 11 August 1920.[12]

The war can be divided into a few stages: Soviet offensive, German-Latvian liberation of Kurzeme and Riga, Estonian-Latvian liberation of Vidzeme, Bermontian offensive, Latvian-Polish liberation of Latgale.

The war involved Latvia (its provisional government supported by Estonia, Poland and the Western Allies—particularly the navy of United Kingdom) against the Russian SFSR and the Bolsheviks' short-lived Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic. Germany and the Baltic nobility added another level of intrigue, initially being nominally allied to the Nationalist/Allied force but attempting to jockey for German domination of Latvia. Eventually tensions flared up after a German coup against the Latvian government, leading to open war.

Following a cease-fire, a ploy was developed by the Germans, nominally dissolving into the West Russian Volunteer Army led by Gen. Pavel Bermont-Avalov. This West Russian Volunteer Army included Germans and former Russian prisoners of war nominally allied with the White Army in the Russian Civil War, but both Bermondt-Avalov and von der Goltz were more interested in eliminating the nationalists than fighting the Bolsheviks.

Certain episodes of the Latvian Independence War were also part of the Polish-Soviet War, particularly the Battle of Daugavpils.