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|Active||November 1918 – January 1920|
|Patron||Rüdiger von der Goltz|
|Engagements||Estonian War of Independence, Latvian War of Independence, Aftermath of World War I|
| Rüdiger von der Goltz,|
|Shoulder strap piping in light blue and white, the Baltic colors.|
The Baltic Landwehr or Baltische Landeswehr ("Baltic Territorial Army") was the name of the unified armed forces of the Couronian and Livonian nobility from 7 December 1918 to 3 July 1919.
Courland, is one of the historical and cultural regions in western Latvia. The largest city is Liepāja, the third largest city in Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland as they were formerly held by the same duke.
The Governorate of Livonia was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, now divided between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Estonia.
The Baltic or Baltic German nobility was the privileged social class in the territories of today's Estonia and Latvia. It existed continuously since the Northern Crusades and the medieval foundation of Terra Mariana. Most of the nobility were Baltic Germans, but with the changing political landscape over the centuries, Polish, Swedish and Russian families also became part of the nobility, just as Baltic German families re-settled in e.g. the Swedish and Russian Empires. The nobility of Lithuania is for historical, social and ethnic reasons often separated from the German-dominated nobility of Estonia and Latvia.
The Landeswehr was subordinated to the German VI Reserve Corps commanded by Rüdiger von der Goltz, a position he gained on 1 February 1919. The commander of the Landeswehr during its operations was Major Alfred Fletcher and Harold Alexander.
Ober Ost is short for Oberbefehlshaber der gesamten Deutschen Streitkräfte im Osten, German for "Supreme Commander of All German Forces in the East" during World War I. It also has an implied double meaning, as in its own right, "Ober Ost" translates into "Upper East," which describes its geographic region in reference to the German Empire. In practice it refers not only to said commander, but also to his governing military staff and the district they controlled: Ober Ost was in command of the German section of the Eastern Front.
Gustav Adolf Joachim Rüdiger Graf von der Goltz was a German army general during the First World War. He commanded the Baltic Sea Division, which successfully intervened in the Finnish Civil War in the spring of 1918. Goltz stayed with his troops in Finland until December 1918 representing German interests, and in practise ruled the country as a military dictator during this period. After the Armistice of 11 November 1918, Goltz commanded the army of the Baltic German-established Government of Latvia, which in 1919 was instrumental in the defeat of the Russian Bolsheviks and their local allies in Latvia, but suffered a defeat against Estonia and was eventually unsuccessful in retaining German control over the Baltic region after the War.
Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world.
Alfred Fletcher was a German soldier, Major and politician.
After the November 11, 1918, armistice the Inter-Allied Commission of Control insisted that the German troops remain in the Baltic countries to prevent the region from being re-occupied by the Red Army. As the Soviet westward offensive approached, the Provisional Government of Latvia approached August Winnig, the German attorney in the Baltics, and signed an agreement with him authorising the organisation of land defense forces on 7 December 1918. The parties signed another agreement on 29 December which secured all foreign soldiers, who participated in the battles for the freedom of Latvia, full citizenship of Latvia.The arms, horse harness and uniforms were to be supplied by the state of Germany. The food supplies were to be taken care of by the Provisional Government of Latvia.
The term Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control was used in a series of peace treaties concluded after the First World War (1914–1918) between different countries. Each of these treaties was concluded between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers on the one hand, and one of the Central Powers like Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey or Bulgaria.
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.
Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.
In late February 1919 only the seaport of Liepāja (Libau) and surroundings remained in the hands of the German and Latvian forces. In February and March 1919, the Landeswehr was able to win a series of victories over the Red Army, first occupying the port of Ventspils (Windau), and then advancing south and east towards Riga. The murder of three men of the Baltische Landeswehr led to the coup d'état of April 16, 1919, by the proclamation of the Government of a Lutheran clergyman, Andrievs Niedra. Parleys, in which the United States and the United Kingdom took part, did not prevent the advance on Riga and the capture of this city on May 22, where Baron Hans von Manteuffel-Szoege made an entry with a small detachment, and died leading his men. Latvian national government was deposed while the Freikorps moved on to capture Riga on May 23, 1919. Latvians sought assistance from the Estonian Army which had been occupying Northern Latvia since earlier that year. After the Bolsheviks had been driven out from most of Latvia, the Allies ordered the German government to withdraw its troops from the Baltic region. However, the Germans succeeded in negotiating a postponement, arguing that this would have given the Bolsheviks a free hand. In June 1919, General von der Goltz ordered his troops not to advance east against the Red Army, as the Allies had been expecting, but north, against the Estonians. On June 19, the Landeswehr launched an attack to capture areas around Cēsis (Wenden), however in the battles over the following few days they were defeated by the Estonian 3rd Division, including the Latvian 2nd Cesis regiment, led by Ernst Põdder. On the morning of June 23, the Germans began a general retreat toward Riga. The Allies again insisted that the Germans withdraw their remaining troops from Latvia and intervened to impose a ceasefire between the Estonians and the Landeswehr when the Estonians were about to march into Riga. In the meantime, an Allied mission composed of British troops under General Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough had arrived in the Baltic with the task of clearing the Germans from the region and organizing native armies for the Baltic States. To ensure its return to Latvian control, the Baltische Landeswehr was placed under British authority.
Liepāja is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils. It is an important ice-free port. In 2017 population of Liepāja is 69,443 people.
Ventspils is a city in northwestern Latvia in the historical Courland region of Latvia, and is the sixth largest city in the country. At the beginning of 2017, Ventspils had a population of 39,286. It is situated on the Venta River and the Baltic Sea, and has an ice-free port. The city's name literally means "castle on the Venta", referring to the Livonian Order's castle built alongside the Venta River. Ventspils holds the national record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Latvia with 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) on 4 August 2014.
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 637,827 inhabitants (2018), it is also the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies 1–10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.
After taking command of the Baltische Landeswehr in mid-July 1919, Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Alexander (the future Field Marshal the Earl Alexander of Tunis and Governor General of Canada, 1946-1952), gradually dismissed German nationals born within the borders of Imperial Germany.
Tunis is the capital and the largest city of Tunisia. The greater metropolitan area of Tunis, often referred to as Grand Tunis, has some 2,700,000 inhabitants.
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.
The Germans released from the Baltische Landeswehr were incorporated into the Deutsche Legion [ circular reference ] in September 1919. The legion served under the West Russian Volunteer Army commanded by Colonel Prince Pavel Bermondt-Avalov in his attempt to capture Riga, but suffered complete defeat by the end of November 1919.
The British insisted that General von der Goltz leave Latvia, and he turned his troops over to Bermondt-Avalov's West Russian Volunteer Army. General von der Goltz later claimed in his memoirs that his major strategic goal in 1919 had been to launch a campaign in cooperation with the white Russian forces to overturn the Bolshevik regime by marching on Saint Petersburg and to install a pro-German government in Russia.
The purged Baltische Landeswehr units subsequently assisted in the liberation of Latgale from Bolsheviks together with Latvian and Polish armies in January 1920.
Prominent Baltic officers from the Landeswehr era include:
(the ranks are the highest ranks reached in the Third Reich era)
Members of the Baltische Landeswehr wore shoulder strap piping in light blue and white, the Baltic colors.
The Baltic Germans are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia. Since their expulsion from Estonia and Latvia and resettlement during the upheavals and aftermath of the Second World War, Baltic Germans have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group. The largest groups of present-day descendants of the Baltic Germans live in Germany and Canada. It is estimated that several thousand still reside in Latvia and Estonia.
The United Baltic Duchy, also known as the Grand Duchy of Livonia, was a state proposed by the Baltic German nobility and exiled Russian nobility after the Russian Revolution and German occupation of the Courland, Livonian, and Estonian governorates of the Russian Empire. It was proposed in April 1918, after Estonia and Latvia had formally declared independence.
The Estonian War of Independence, also known as the Estonian Liberation War, was a defensive campaign of the Estonian Army and its allies, most notably the White Russian Northwestern Army, Latvia, and the United Kingdom, against the Soviet Western Front offensive and the aggression of the Baltische Landeswehr. It was fought in connection with the Russian Civil War during 1918–1920. The campaign was the struggle of Estonia for its sovereignty in the aftermath of World War I. It resulted in a victory for the newly established state and was concluded in the Treaty of Tartu.
The Deutsch-Baltische Gesellschaft is an organization which represents Baltic German refugees expelled from Estonia and Latvia during World War II and its aftermath. It was established in 1950 as the Deutsch-Baltische Landsmannschaft im Bundesgebiet.
The West Russian Volunteer Army or Bermontians was an army in the Baltic provinces of the former Russian Empire during the Russian Civil War of 1918–1920.
Pavel Rafalovich Bermon(d)t-Avalov (Avalishvili) was an Ussuri Cossack and warlord.
The Latvian War of Independence, sometimes called the Latvia's freedom struggles or the Latvian War of 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.
After 1918, the term Freikorps was used for the anti-communist paramilitary organizations that sprang up around the German Empire, including in the Baltic states, as soldiers returned in defeat from World War I. It was one of the many Weimar paramilitary groups active during that time.
The 39th Royal Bavarian Reserve Division was a reserve infantry division of the Imperial German Army in World War I. It was raised to division status on October 2, 1914, from an ad hoc unit, "Brigade von Rekowski", and named "Division von Rekowski". On December 8, 1914, it was renamed the 39th Reserve Division. As it was heavily made up of Bavarian units, on December 26, 1916, it was again renamed, this time as the 39th Royal Bavarian Reserve Division. It spent the war engaged in positional warfare in the Alsace-Lorraine region. It was dissolved in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after the Armistice.
The Guard Ersatz Division (Garde-Ersatz-Division) was a division of the Imperial German Army during World War I. Ersatz is German for "replacement"; the division was formed from companies of the replacement battalions (Ersatz-Bataillone) of the regiments of Prussian Guards and several other Prussian regiments. The division was formed on the mobilization of the German Army in August 1914.
The 77th Reserve Division was a unit of the Imperial German Army in World War I. The division was formed at the end of December 1914 and organized over the next month, arriving in the line in early February 1915. It was part of the second large wave of new divisions formed at the outset of World War I, which were numbered the 75th through 82nd Reserve Divisions. The division was initially part of XXXIX Reserve Corps. The division was disbanded in September 1918 and its assets distributed to other units. When originally formed, the division had two reserve infantry regiments from the Province of Westphalia and one from the Rhine Province (257th). The two Westphalian regiments were replaced late in the war by the 332nd Infantry Regiment, a garrison regiment from Posen with two Rhineland battalions and one Posen battalion, and the 419th Infantry Regiment, a thoroughly mixed unit made of companies taken from different regiments.
The 4th Ersatz Division was a unit of the German Army, in World War I. The division was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914. The division was disbanded in 1919, during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.
The 4th Landwehr Division was an infantry division of the Imperial German Army during World War I. It was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914 under the "Higher Landwehr Commander 4". The Landwehr was the third category of the German Army, after the regular Army and the reserves. Thus Landwehr divisions were made up of older soldiers who had passed from the reserves, and were intended primarily for occupation and security duties rather than heavy combat. The division was primarily raised in the Prussian provinces of Upper and Lower Silesia. It was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.
The Battle of Cēsis, fought near Cēsis in June 1919, was a decisive battle in the Estonian War of Independence and the Latvian War of Independence. After heavy fighting an Estonian force moving from the north, supplemented by Latvian units, repelled Baltic German attacks and went on full counter-attack.
The 1st Bavarian Landwehr Division was a unit of the Bavarian Army, part of the Imperial German Army, in World War I. The division was formed on August 21, 1914, as the "Reinforced Bavarian Landwehr Division" and was also known initially as the Wening Division, named after its commander, Otto Wening. It became the 1st Bavarian Landwehr Division in September 1914. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.
The 2nd Bavarian Landwehr Division was a unit of the Bavarian Army, part of the Imperial German Army, in World War I. The division was formed on December 31, 1916. It was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. It was composed primarily of troops of the Landwehr.
Anatol Leonid Fürst von Lieven, was a Baltic German prince of the Lieven family who commanded a counter-revolutionary White movement during the Russian Civil War in Latvia known after him as the Liventsy.
Georg Baron von Manteuffel-Szoege was a German politician.