Ufa Offensive I


Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak (16 November [O.S. 4 November] 1874 – 7 February 1920) was a polar explorer and commander in the Imperial Russian Navy, who fought in the Russo-Japanese War and the First World War. During the Russian Civil War, he established an anti-communist government in Siberia—later the Provisional All-Russian Government—and was recognised as the “Supreme Ruler and Commander-in-Chief of All Russian Land and Sea Forces” by the other leaders of the White movement (1918–1920).

His government was based in Omsk, in southwestern Siberia. He tried to defeat Bolshevism by ruling as a dictator but his government proved weak and confused. For example, he lost track of the imperial gold reserves and much of it disappeared. He failed to unite all the disparate elements. He refused to consider autonomy for ethnic minorities, refused to collaborate with non-Bolshevik leftists, and relied too heavily on outside aid. As his White forces fell apart, he was captured by independents who handed him to the Bolsheviks, who executed him.


A formation of White Russian soldiers outside of Rostov.

Admiral Kolchak’s spring attack, also called the ‘Ufa Offensive,’ was one of the five most dramatic anti-Bolshevik operations of the Civil War (the other four being the 1918 Volga campaign, Denikin’s May–June 1919 advance from south Russia, his September–October 1919 advance, and the Polish 1920 attack). The main blow came in the centre of the front on 4 March 1919; the attacking White force was Western Army under General Khanzhin, a veteran artilleryman; it advanced roughly parallel to the east–west railway from Cheliabinsk (in the Urals) to Simbirsk and Samara (on the Volga). Khanzhin’s troops moved rapidly across the snowy steppe in sledges. Ufa was recaptured on 14 March, and by the end of April the White army had taken points within 75 miles of the Volga, at Chistopol (on the Kama River) and on the Ufa-Samara railway. Some 250 miles had been covered in eight weeks. The Whites had taken 115,000 square miles of territory (an area bigger than Britain) and a population of 5 million. Moscow was badly frightened, and in faraway Paris the Allies saw the White movement finally justifying itself. At the same time the other major White force, Gajda’s Siberian Army, made on Khanzhin’s right flank an advance of about ninety miles, a third of the way from Perm to Viatka.

Unfortunately for the Whites, Khanzhin was soon driven back. Two weeks were lost fighting around Ufa; then, in mid-April, came the spring thaw, the rasputitsa, which turned the roads to mud, and rivers and streams into serious obstacles. Khanzhin had pushed back the Red Fifth Army, but his flanks were threatened by Second and First Armies. Once the ground became firmer, on 28 April, the Reds began their counterattack. During May Western Army had to retreat far from the Volga; by the end of the month it was trying to defend a line 275 miles east of the Volga along the Belaia River. Ufa itself, on the Belaia, was threatened. On the night of 7 June Chapaev’s 25th Rifle Division made a surprise crossing below the city, which fell to the Reds on the 9th with large amounts of supplies and grain. By mid-June the Whites had been pushed fifty miles east of the Belaia. At this time the northern bulge of Kolchak’s front had been crushed in as well: at the beginning of June Gajda’s Siberian Army had actually pushed farther west along the Perm-Viatka railway to the town of Glazov, but then the Reds drove it back to within fifty miles of Perm.

Several factors were behind the events of March–June 1919, a White defeat that would prove to be decisive. One was political failure. Moscow’s propaganda always spoke of the ‘Kolchakovshchina,’ the reign of Kolchak. This was exaggerated, but the Omsk regime was unapologetically that of a military dictator, and any judgment of the Omsk regime must begin with the dictator, the Supreme Ruler, himself. The British and French military advisers had quite different views of the man. General Knox reported (as late as December 1919) that despite Kolchak’s defeat and personal failings ‘he was and is the best man in Siberia.’ General Janin, however, regarded him as an incompetent neurotic and reported to Paris that he was probably addicted to drugs. Kolchak’s associates found him moody and indecisive. The Russian General Budberg, in charge of army supply, assessed Kolchak’s complex personality:

He is a big, sick child, a pure idealist, a faithful slave of duty and ideals and Russia; he is undoubtedly a neurotic, who is quick to lose control, extremely stormy, and unrestrained in showing his dissatisfaction and anger. . . . He is wholly consumed by the idea of serving Russia, of saving her from Red oppression, of restoring her in all her strength and inviolable territory; thanks to this idea he can be made to do anything; he has no personal interests, no personal ambition, and in this respect he is crystal pure. . . . He has no notion of the hard practicalities of life, and he lives by mirages and imposed ideas. He has no plans, system, or will of his own and in this respect he is soft wax from which his advisers and retainers can make what they want, knowing that it is enough to present something as needed for Russia and the cause to get the admiral’s agreement.

Whatever the faults of his personality, Kolchak’s politics did not fit the stereotype of a black reactionary. His father was a military engineer; Kolchak himself was a young specialist from a technically advanced part of the armed forces. He was apparently not a monarchist, and his regime did not call for a restoration of Tsarism. He took the advice of a small ‘Council of the Supreme Ruler,’ staffed by men who were often of Kadet sympathies and remarkable youth. The Kadets – of the party’s right wing – had more influence in Omsk than in any of the other White governments. Gins, one of Kolchak’s main advisers, was thirty-two in 1919; Sukin, running foreign affairs, was twenty-eight; Mikhailov, in charge of finance, was twenty-four. His associates grumbled with some justification against this reliance on Wunderkinder (both in the administration and the army).

But Kolchak had already lost the support of the political Left. The November 1918 coup overthrew a government, the PA-RG, which claimed – through the Constituent Assembly and the Ufa Conference – national legitimacy. At the end of December 1918 there was an uprising in Omsk, inspired mainly by the Bolsheviks; in their fierce suppression of the rising the authorities flailed out against everyone on the left. Prominent SRs, including several Constituent Assembly delegates, were summarily executed; the episode showed again that Kolchak’s officers hated the SRs as much as the Bolsheviks. Even without the December events, however, the SRs would not have cooperated with Kolchak, and so the largest party in Siberia and the Urals worked against the Supreme Ruler from the beginning. After the Omsk coup a number of former Komuch leaders, including Volsky, even crossed over to the Red side, encouraged by Moscow’s gestures towards socialist pluralism. And in January 1920 the Siberian SRs would wreak a terrible personal revenge on the admiral himself.

Whoever its friends and enemies were, the Kolchakovshchina was not an effective dictatorship. At the central level Kolchak was unable to make the government work. Budberg sat through many top-level meetings; ‘The regime,’ he re-marked, ‘was only form without content; the ministries can be compared to huge and imposing windmills, busily turning their sails, but with no millstones inside and with much of their machinery broken or missing.’ This came about partly because Siberia had been an administrative backwater of the Tsarist Empire, with few experienced government personnel. But the nature of the November coup had made things worse by permanently alienating one source of administrative talent, the pro-SR intelligentsia. Kolchak’s civilian subordinates felt also that he concentrated too much on military affairs; one felt ‘the Admiral who was Supreme Commander-in-Chief swallowed up the Admiral who was Supreme Ruler, along with his Council of Ministers.’ To a large extent the government just became an organization for supporting the army.

If Kolchak could not create a proper administration in Omsk, he had no chance of extending effective control over the vast territory of Siberia. Much of western Siberia (the front) had been under military administration even during the period of the PA-RG, and in mid-April 1919 military control was extended to all towns and the railway. And army rule was disastrously inefficient. The lack of administrative personnel, meanwhile, was even more important at the grass-roots level than at the centre. Kolchak was fortunate that most Siberians were Great Russians; he lost much of the organized support of part of the important Bashkir minority (between Orenburg and the Urals) when, in February 1919, the Bashkir Corps changed sides, but this was a small problem compared to General Denikin’s friction with the Ukrainians or General Iudenich’s (in the Baltic) with the Estonians. Kolchak could not control the Orenburg and Ural cossacks, but unlike the southern Whites he was not faced with great cossack claims; Denikin had to make his first headquarters (Ekaterinodar) in the heart of one of the cossack hosts; Kolchak’s problem was that geography cut him off from the main Orenburg and Ural Hosts. Overall, however, Kolchak still had the greatest trouble imposing his will over the vast territory that had been taken from Red control. A notorious area of weakness was the region east of Lake Baikal. There local atamans such as Semenov and Kalmykov were a law unto themselves and enjoyed the support of the Japanese. ‘Stenka Razin under a white sauce’ is how General Budberg described them. They choked the long supply line upon which the Siberian army and economy had to rely.

Kolchak’s economic policy was ineffective. Galloping inflation was made worse by the disastrous abolition of ‘Kerenki’ banknotes in April 1919. Kolchak, seeing himself only as a trustee, would not use the captured Imperial gold reserve. The few Siberian capitalists gave little help; donations came, one minister recalled, ‘like milk from a billy-goat.’ The military gave little thought to the long-term condition of the economy, and as a result Kolchak’s only industrial region, the Urals, was in a bad way; as early as April 1919 the official in charge resigned in protest at chaotic military rule, lack of food supplies, and an absence of coherent support from Omsk. The Allies provided no economic aid. Siberia’s economic problems were beyond the ability of any regime to solve quickly. The World War had upset the whole Russian economy, and Civil War cut Siberia and the Urals off from their natural supplies and markets in central Russia. Consumer goods had to be brought in along the one rail link with the Pacific. And the war against the Bolsheviks, fought on a limited base of manpower and natural resources, demanded great economic sacrifices.

In his base area, Kolchak faced no conflict between dispossessed landlords and revolutionized land-hungry peasants; prerevolutionary Siberia had had no large gentry estates. (There was, however, some tension between the starozhili the ‘old’ settlers, and the poorer immigrants of the past few decades, the novoseli.) Nevertheless, there was no effective land law, no confirmation of the Bolshevik decree on land. This was a greater weakness once the Kolchak forces reached the fringes of European Russia, where the land question was more important. In newly occupied regions such as Ufa Province the peasants had little reason to welcome Kolchak, especially when some of his commanders enforced the return of seized lands to their owners. Meanwhile, there was no reason for the peasants in the Soviet-controlled Volga provinces to rise in support of the White armies advancing toward them.

The lack of ‘propaganda by deed’ was matched by the lack of any effective mobilization of support. As one of Kolchak’s generals later lamented, ‘we not only did not give the muzhik [peasant] the bird in the hand, we were even afraid to promise him the bird in the bush.’ Kolchak’s propaganda organization, Osved, was organized too late; funds were eventually pumped into it, but it was ineffective and it was unpopular among the army high command.

The weaknesses, political and administrative, of the Kolchakovshchina had two major effects on the spring campaign. First, it made the Whites less attractive to the peasants of the Volga-Kama basin who were the first objects of ‘liberation.’ And second, it made it more difficult for Kolchak to raise enthusiastic popular forces to serve in his army. Kolchak seized power in November 1918 and called the population ‘to union and to struggle with Bolshevism, to labor and to sacrifices.’ One of his basic problems was that the response to that call was so weak, and the weak response came partly from the nature of the Kolchakovshchina. Active internal resistance to Kolchak’s rule was not, however, a major cause of the failure of the Ufa offensive. The rear of Kolchak’s armies was more stable than it would be later, and it was not necessary to pull troops out of the front line for battle with anti-White partisans. And it is not clear that the alternatives to military dictatorship would have been any more effective. Would the pre-Kolchak ‘liberal’ Omsk PA-RG have been able either to attract military leaders or to enforce conscription? It would in any event have been challenged by the Chernov-led SRs. Would such a government really have created more enthusiastic forces, or brought about risings behind the Bolshevik lines? This had not been the case for Komuch in 1918, and the Bolshevik hold was stronger by the late spring of 1919.

Kolchak’s armies were stopped and then pursued back toward the Urals. This was largely due to the growing size and quality of the Soviet forces. But the initial Red defeats were a sign of problems in the Red Army, and these were only gradually overcome in the course of the campaign. The Soviet high command had had little knowledge of what was going on in Siberia, and it was surprised by Khanzhin’s Ufa attack on 4 March 1919. Ten days before, Vatsetis had reported to Lenin that the local situation was improving and that the Urals were nearly within reach; given the danger of Allied intervention, he urged that the main stress of Soviet grand strategy still be put on the Ukrainian and Western Army Groups. On 24 February Trotsky made a most optimistic speech in Moscow to a meeting of Red Army cadets; ‘Summing up the position on our fronts it can be said that the situation is completely favorable.’ The commander of Eastern Army Group misread White intentions; Colonel Kamenev assumed a concentration in the north around Perm, rather than in the centre before Ufa, and the poor initial deployment of the Red armies was one reason for Khanzhin’s successes.

The confusion in the Red eastern command continued during the battles with Kolchak. Kamenev did work out a counterattack plan, which was approved at a high-level meeting with Trotsky and Vatsetis in Simbirsk on 10 April; he began a counterattack with his two southern armies, now under the command of Mikhail Frunze. (Frunze was a veteran Bolshevik who had become involved in the army in the previous summer, and in 1925 he would replace Trotsky as Red Army chief; his 1919 ‘Southern Group’ had originally been formed for the advance into Turkestan.) In the end, however, the planned sweep from the south was threatened by rapid White progress. Troops had to be thrown in front of the Whites, and Frunze’s counterattack was launched earlier than planned and with more limited goals. But the White drive was stopped, and clearly Kamenev deserved much of the credit. On 3 July, after his armies had pushed Kolchak back to the Urals (and with disaster threatening on other fronts), he replaced Vatsetis as Red Army Main Commander-in-Chief. But this was only after he himself had been sacked, on 5 May, just as the shape of his victory was becoming clear. (According to Kamenev’s memoirs, Vatsetis dismissed him for ‘non-execution of his orders and, in general, for lack of discipline’.) He was, however, brought back by Lenin (presumably over Trotsky’s objections) three weeks later, at the demand of the Eastern Army Group commissars.

The various Red armies had begun the spring campaign in a disorganized state. The shortcomings had been brought out at the time of the ‘Perm Catastrophe.’ Dzerzhinsky and Stalin reported that Third Army’s move in December 1918 from the Urals to beyond Perm was not even a proper retreat, but ‘an absolutely disorderly flight of an utterly routed and completely demoralized army.’ It was in a deplorable state. Commanders were unreliable; commissars inexperienced; soldiers confused, hungry and cold. Of 30,000 men, only a third remained; some had begun fighting on the White side. Fifth Army – shattered at Ufa in March 1919 – was a centre of the Military Opposition to Trotsky’s centralizing policies with, as Vatsetis complained in mid-April, continuing splits between officers and commissars. Trotsky himself blamed the defeat of Fifth Army on the local commissars’ ‘system of slackness, grumbling and criticism implanted from above.’ These shortcomings in the Red Army were gradually dealt with, partly as a result of Trotsky’s victory at the Eighth Party Congress.

On the other side of the battlefield, the lines of advance and timing of the White Siberian armies have been much criticized. Kolchak on 6 January 1919 did order a halt at Perm and a shift of the main axis of advance from the north to the centre of his front. This was, however, sound strategy. To have tried to develop the December victory and chase the Red Third Army west along the Perm–Viatka railway line would have been senseless. If Arkhangelsk was the objective, then the nearest rail route meant an advance of 600 miles to Vologda, and another 250 north from Vologda to the Allied-White lines; even the rail-river route via Viatka, Kotlas, and the Northern Dvina was a distance of 600 miles. Any deep thrust on the Perm-Viatka line alone would have been threatened on its southern flank from the Soviet heartland. The northern region, moreover, was thin in people and supplies, and it was the middle of winter; the frozen port at Arkhangelsk would not open until May 1919, and it would be some time later that (unpredictable) supporting operations by the Allies could develop from there.

More important, in January 1919 Kolchak’s front was most seriously threatened in the centre – from the Ufa direction – where the Reds were approaching the Urals passes. The situation demanded as a first step a counterattack in this central area. Khanzhin was originally only given limited goals, but Kolchak’s Stavka (GHQ) was right to develop his initial success and urge him early in April, as a second step, on to the Volga. It was necessary to take control of the region between the Urals and the Volga–Kama river system, whether Kolchak moved on Arkhangelsk, Saratov, or directly to Moscow; only with the centre of the White front covered by the great rivers, with rail links from the Urals to the crossings at Samara, Simbirsk, Sarapul, and Perm, could a further advance be considered. And an advance to the Volga line would give the Whites manpower and food, take those things from the Reds, and cut the most important Soviet river communications line.

A more telling criticism of the White line of advance is that a weak area was allowed to appear on the southern flank. The Bashkir Corps changed sides in February 1919, and the Orenburg and Ural Cossack forces were badly organized after the fall of Uralsk and Orenburg in January – which made it possible for Frunze to burst the White bubble from the south in late April. And poor overall coordination made it difficult to shift troops from Siberian Army (around Perm) to Western Army. But the general conception of the attack was sound enough.

The timing of the offensive was more debatable; it came before the White army had been properly organized. Knox summed up the faults of Stepanov, Kolchak’s Minister of War – in charge of the rear – and Lebedev, Kolchak’s Chief of Staff, in charge of the front-line armies. ‘Stepanov thought he had ten years to beat the Bolsheviks. Lebedev wanted to do the job in ten minutes. Both were excellent fellows in their own way . . . but together they were enough to ruin any Empire.’ Knox was annoyed at Stepanov’s plodding approach to the formation of new units in the rear, and in March bluntly told Kolchak as much: ‘People are so occupied by talk and paper schemes that decisions are indefinitely postponed. The plain truth is that we will have to fight this year for our lives and every hour is of value.’ Stepanov concentrated his resources on raising five new infantry divisions in central Siberia, and these were still only skeleton formations when the Ufa offensive began. Lebedev, however, attacked before the army was formed and trained, and he soon found himself without reserves. Kolchak’s most experienced formation, Kappel’s Volga Corps, was still refitting in early March and trying to incorporate Red POWs; it was thrown into battle piecemeal at the beginning of May and defeated. But what else could the Whites have done? In theory they moved too late, rather than too early. Two full months passed between Kolchak’s January directive and Khanzhin’s offensive, and an earlier start might have brought Khanzhin to the Volga before the rasputitsa. But it was winter, and his troops had had to be redeployed and refitted after a long campaign.

Ufa Offensive II


Photo of Bogdan Vasko, commander of the Red Army detachment near Ufa, 1918.


Kolchak’s Army Offensive

The Whites might, on the other hand, have had a much more cautious policy, holding the Urals line and equipping their army behind it. This made sense in purely military terms; it is what Stepanov and Knox wanted. Kolchak might have waited to mount, with General Denikin’s southern White armies, a coordinated late-summer offensive against Moscow. But Denikin’s advance, which took him to Kharkov and Tsaritsyn at the end of June, could not have been predicted, and may only have occurred because Red troops had been moved from south Russia to fight Kolchak.

And there were basic political, psychological, and military factors pushing the Whites forward. Some of their leaders thought the Reds would simply fall apart if attacked – a not unreasonable assessment, given the pressures on Bolshevik Russia from several sides. Whatever Knox’s local advice, Kolchak saw the political necessity of an offensive as a means of getting Allied aid and recognition. ‘Foreign policy was made by the army,’ one of Kolchak’s advisers recalled. ‘On it depended both the scale and continuation of the Allies’ help.’ And underlying Kolchak’s dilemma was the overall balance against him: the Red Army – with its big population base – was getting stronger all the time.

Kolchak’s Ufa offensive was later described by Stalin and a generation of Soviet historians as part of the ‘First Campaign of the Entente.’ In fact there is no evidence that the Allies provoked the March 1919 offensive; the most important Allied representative in Siberia, General Knox, wanted Kolchak properly to prepare his forces before going over to the attack. The March offensive, Knox later reported to London, ‘was commenced without our previous knowledge’; the local British mission had to accept it as a fait accompli. The attack, unlike the 1918 Volga campaign, was a purely Russian affair; the Czechoslovaks, in particular, had been withdrawn to the rear to guard part of the Trans-Siberian railway. There were no Allied troops involved in the fighting. (A handful of Allied battalion-strength detachments were stationed deep behind the lines in Siberian cities, and there was a large Japanese presence east of Lake Baikal.) General Janin, the head of the French military mission, tried to assume command of all forces in Siberia, but this was stiffly rejected by Kolchak on grounds of national pride.

On the other hand Allied, and especially British, logistic support for Kolchak was most important. Rural Siberia had neither munitions factories nor arms depots. The Urals would be the arsenal of the 1941 war, but in 1918–1919 the factories there were in turmoil and starved of food and fuel. Weapons and supplies could only come from outside, and thanks to the port of Vladivostok they began to flow to Kolchak six months before they began to flow to General Denikin in south Russia (via the Black Sea). Knox stressed the British contribution in a letter to Kolchak of June 1919: ‘Since about the middle of December [1918] every round of rifle ammunition fired on the front has been of British manufacture, conveyed to VLADIVOSTOK in British ships and delivered at OMSK by British guards.’ ‘Britmiss’ (the British military mission) reported the arrival between October 1918 and October 1919 of 79 ships with 97,000 tons of supplies. The bulk arrived in Omsk between March and June 1919. Supplies included 600,000 rifles, 346 million rounds of small-arms ammunition, 6831 machine guns, 192 field guns, and clothing and personal equipment for 200,500 men. Kolchak was sent infantry weapons (rifles, machine guns, ammunition) on a scale comparable to that sent to Denikin. (He was, however, sent much less [five times less] artillery, and few if any aircraft or tanks.) One Soviet source spoke of 600,000 rifles and 1000 machine guns from the U.S. in 1918–1919, 1700 machine guns and 400 field guns from the French, and 70,000 rifles, 100 machine guns, and 30 field guns from the Japanese. Whatever the figures, the Allies, led by the British, sent to Kolchak arms and equipment roughly comparable to total Soviet production in 1919.

But the bulk of British supplies did not begin to arrive in Omsk until after the Ufa offensive had started. And there would be great problems throughout 1919 in ensuring the flow of weapons. There was hardly anywhere on the globe that was less accessible than Kolchak’s battle-front. Vladivostok was far from the military depots of western Europe and North America. And even then it was a trip of four to six weeks from Vladivostok to Omsk via the single-track line of the Trans-Siberian, a route dependent on Japanese good will and vulnerable to the looting of local leaders such as Ataman Semenov.

The Kolchak army, officially called the ‘Russian (Rossiiskaia) Army,’ was large by White standards. Kolchak’s commanders realized, however, that Siberia could not match the Reds in overall numbers and that quality could prove the key factor. Vatsetis later explained the initial success of the Ufa offensive by the Whites’ better officers and better disciplined and standardized forces. But the overall quality of Kolchak’s army was never very good, and in particular was below that of Denikin’s ‘Armed Forces of South Russia,’ which had the advantage of a larger pool of experienced and capable generals and colonels, and the officer-veterans of the ‘Ice March.’


Lebedev Dmitry Antonovich (1883-1926) the Colonel (1917). The General-major (11.1918). Siberian military school (1900). Mihailov artillery school (1903). Nikolaev academy of the Generall Staff (1911). The participant of the Russo- Japanese War 1904-1905. April, 22, 1915 awarded with St George cross for Zimgrod defensive operation A member of the Main committee of the Union of officers , 1917 Arrested by Red Revolutionaries in Nov 13, 1917,but  escaped from prison, Then join Kornilov’s army, sent out to join Kochack’s army to Siberia. 18 November 1918 year – Commander and the head of general stuff of Kolchack White army in Siberia. 6 January 1919 General-Major. 23 May 1919- military Minster. 12 August 1919 lost his minister’s rank after Cheljabinsk operation failed. Estonia in 1920 and served in Estonian army in the same rank of General-Major. Professor 1921-1926 till his death in 1926 year(due to the wounds received in WW1).

Kolchak’s defeat is often explained by his admiral’s ignorance of land warfare. On the other hand Kolchak had been a very capable and energetic admiral; he was a distinguished combat officer in both the Pacific and the Baltic, and had been selected for early and rapid promotion (he was only forty-five in 1919). In any event, while Kolchak was nominally Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the day-to-day command army was in the hands of his chief of staff. But it is just here, in his choice of subordinates, that Kolchak is most easily criticized. The de facto commander of Kolchak’s armies from November 1918 to June 1919 was General D. A. Lebedev; Lebedev was a thirty-six-year-old wartime colonel who, although a General Staff officer, was better at political conspiracy than high command. Kolchak installed Lebedev in place of the Directory’s competent commander, General Boldyrev, and passed over a number of other qualified officers. Perhaps Kolchak preferred him to a more senior man who would have challenged his own authority; in any event the poorly thought out spring campaign showed Lebedev to have been a bad choice.

Other aspects of the army’s command left much to be desired. The administrative staffs in the rear were too big, which made them ponderously inefficient and starved the active units of officers; Kolchak’s ‘Stavka,’ the former headquarters building of the Tsarist Omsk Military District, was described as a ‘military anthill.’ In addition, the quality of Kolchak’s officers was not high. There were 17,000 of them, but only 1000 had been pre-1915 cadre officers with training and experience in mobile warfare; the great mass were young ‘prapory,’ wartime ensigns (praporshchiki). None of Kolchak’s corps or division commanders had been prerevolutionary generals; the only ‘proper’ general active in the fighting of March-June 1919 was Khanzhin. Lebedev and Stepanov, commanders of the front and the rear, were former colonels in their thirties. ‘Lieutenant General’ Gajda, Commander-in-Chief of the other main front-line force, Siberian Army, was twenty-seven and an NCO deserter from the Austro-Hungarian Army. Of the other best-known Kolchak commanders Sakharov was thirty-eight, Kappel was thirty-six, and Pepeliaev was twenty-six. So in terms of experience there was little to choose between White and Red armies.

Kolchak was never able to make use of what might have been a major asset, the cossack cavalry. Cossack brigades were attached to each White corps but made little impact before September 1919; there was nothing like the successes of the Don Cossacks or the Mamontov raid on Denikin’s front. Kolchak’s potential cossack strength was much less than Denikin’s. The front-line Orenburg and Ural Hosts, with total populations (men, women, and children) of 574,000 and 235,000 respectively, were considerably smaller than those of the Don (1,457,000), the Kuban (1,339,000), and the Terek (255,000). In the steppe south of Omsk was the Siberian Host (114,000) but this was mobilized – incompletely – only in August 1919. The 58,000 Semirechie Cossacks were tied down in Central Asia. (The 258,000 Transbaikal cossacks and 96,000 Amur, Ussuri, and Irkutsk cossacks were in eastern Siberia; with leaders such as Semenov and Kalmykov they were more a liability than an asset.)

The quality of Kolchak’s rank and file was not high. He avoided older World War veterans, from a fear that they had been radicalized by the revolution. Instead he called up the youngest ‘classes,’ nineteen- and twenty-year-olds who had not been ‘infected.’ These men had to be trained (unlike the veterans conscripted by the Reds). The main French adviser thought they were puny, and drily compared them with Jules Verne’s hero: ‘the population of Siberia, particularly in the east, is rarely the Michael Strogoff type.’ Wide use was also made of captured Red soldiers, who were most unreliable. The White army began to fall apart once the Volga advance was stalled. As it was pushed back across Ufa province there were large-scale desertions and even mutinies. By the time Western Army had retreated to the Belaia its strength had fallen from 62,000 to 15,000.

In March 1919 Kolchak’s armies were the largest anti-Bolshevik forces, with a paper front-line strength of 110,000 men. (Total strength – combatants and non-combatants – grew from 160,000 in November 1918 to 450,000 in June 1919.) Siberia had been under White control and free of serious fighting since midsummer 1918; in contrast Denikin and the Don Cossacks were fighting for their lives right through the winter 1918–1919. On the other hand Kolchak’s population base was small, relative to the size of his territory and the strength of the Reds. At its greatest extent the White zone in the east – including the Urals, Orenburg, Siberia, Kazakhstan, and the Far East – contained about 20 million people. In the crucial central zone between the Urals and Lake Baikal, where Kolchak had fullest control throughout 1918–1919 (Tobolsk, Tomsk, Enisei, and Irkutsk Provinces), the population was less than 8 million.

The population of the Soviet-held zone, on the other hand, was 60 million. The total strength (combat and non-combat personnel) of the Red Army in January 1919, two months before the Kolchak offensive, was 788,000, with 120,000 in Eastern Army Group and 147,000 in the Iaroslavl, Ural, and Volga Military Districts behind it. The combat strength of Eastern Army Group in February 1919 was 84,000, and there were another 18,000 combat troops behind it in the three military districts. At this time the Reds had 372 guns and 1471 machine-guns in Eastern Army Group (plus 184 and 231 in the three districts), compared to Kolchak’s 256 guns and 1235 machine-guns.

Meanwhile, after Kolchak’s Ufa offensive, the Reds began to channel resources to the east. Special theses of the Bolshevik CC in early April said that Kolchak’s victories were creating ‘an extraordinarily threatening danger for the Soviet republic’ and demanded maximum effort. Fortunately for Moscow the situation on the other fronts appeared good in April; the French had withdrawn from the Ukrainian ports and the Don Cossacks were under siege; Trotsky could announce in April that Kolchak was ‘the last card of the counter-revolution.’ (At the start of May Vatsetis told Lenin that all reserves were being sent to Eastern Army Group.) By mid-May the total strength in Eastern Army Group was listed as 361,000, plus 195,000 in the Iaroslavl, Urals, and Volga districts. The Reds, then, had large reserves of manpower, Kolchak did not.

In May 1919 one White officer visited Ufa, which stands on a hill above the Belaia River, and looked to the west.

Beyond the Belaia spread to the horizon the limitless plain, the rich fruitful steppe; the lilac haze in the far distance enticed and excited – there were the home places so close to us, there was the goal, the Volga. And only the wall of the internatsional, which had impudently invaded our Motherland, divided us off from all that was closest and most dear.

But it was not to be. Kolchak’s Ufa offensive failed. After two months of success his armies found themselves back where they had started. They would never again threaten the Red heartland, and for the rest of their existence would be on the strategic defensive.

If the White armies had actually achieved the intermediate goal of getting back to the Volga (and they would probably have trapped large Soviet forces in the process), they would have had the benefit of a mile-wide river obstacle between themselves and any Red counter-attack, and they might have been ready for some kind of coordination with Denikin’s armies in the south. On the other hand, even if Kolchak had got to Samara and Simbirsk on the Volga in May 1919 he would still have been 500 miles from Moscow, and the Ufa campaign showed the huge difficulties to be overcome. This chapter has been about those difficulties that emerged in the first months of Kolchak’s regime. The basic reason for failure was that even the limited task involved was too difficult. By May the Whites had lost the initiative. The next chapter will be about why Kolchak’s army was unable even to hold its ground, and why, by November 1919, it had been shattered beyond redemption.

Iraqi Air Force 2003 and Rebuilt 2006

030706-F-0000C-907 A U.S. military search team uncovers a MiG-25R Foxbat-B from beneath the sands in Iraq on July 6, 2003.  Several MiG-25s and Su-25 aircraft have been found buried at Al-Taqqadum airfield west of Baghdad.  DoD photo Master Sgt. T. Collins, U.S. Air Force.  (Released)

A U.S. military search team uncovers a MiG-25R Foxbat-B from beneath the sands in Iraq on July 6, 2003. Several MiG-25s and Su-25 aircraft have been found buried at Al-Taqqadum airfield west of Baghdad. DoD photo Master Sgt. T. Collins, U.S. Air Force. (Released)




By 2003, after years of military sanctions, it was assessed by Western intelligence that the Iraqi Air Force still had approximately 130 attack aircraft and 180 fighters. of these, only 90-100 were deemed to be operational (MiG holdings may have included thirty MiG-21PF/MF, thirty MiG-23MLs, five MiG-25PDs and four MiG-29s at the end of 2002), enough to thwart any internal unrest but not to take on the might of the United States Air Force (USAF).

The Iraqi Army Air Corps obtained approximately fifty Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships, of which at least ten were lost in air-to-air combat during the Iran-Iraq War. Allowing for a conservatively similar number lost to Iranian ground fire, only about half those remaining were likely to be serviceable (with the other 50 per cent cannibalized for spares). None were lost in the First Gulf War. This left the Iraqis a fleet of about ten Hinds, sufficient for operations against the Kurds and possible insurrection, but little else. Iraqi Gazelle and Bo-105 helicopters were in a similar state. Likewise, it is doubtful that 100 of its transport helicopters such as the Mi-8s were airworthy.

The IrAF learnt an important lesson during desert Storm; they could not resist or even withstand Coalition airstrikes, and therefore the key to survival was wide dispersal. Hiding places were limited as Coalition intelligence on Iraqi dispersal sites was first class, and the IrAF was only too aware of the danger from Coalition Special Forces ranging far and wide in their search for Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. one solution to this was deception. The IrAF had a lot of derelict airframes and many of these were placed visibly in revetments as decoys; the challenge for the Coalition was to detect those still operational. The IrAF lost more than 100 aircraft to Coalition military action in 1991; this time round, the battle damage assessment was much harder because of the numbers of Iraqi aircraft that were already little more than junk.

According to General Saadoun, the order to safeguard their aircraft rather than fight was issued in late February 2003, when they began to disassemble and conceal them. The IrAF, along with the Iraqi Army Air Corps (IrAAC), abandoned its air bases and civilian dispersal sites, which were well known to Coalition intelligence and scattered across the width and breadth of the country. Just as in desert Storm, the IrAF escaped north of Baghdad. this time round though, the IrAF knew better than to flee to Iran, because in 1991 this expedient failed to safeguard precious airframes after Tehran refused to return more than 100 front-line aircraft.

It is also alleged that the Iraqi Air defence Command (IrAdC), operating at 50 per cent of its capacity, also received instructions not to use its radars. Turf squabbles, deliberate or not, stymied the air defence of Baghdad. Some IrAdC units were reminded that this was the responsibility of the Republican Guard and ordered not to activate their weapons. Nonetheless, Lieutenant General Muzahim Sa’b Hassan al-tikriti, the IrAdC commander, was number twelve on the Americans’ wanted list.


The new Iraqi Air Force faced a similar challenge. ‘We are starting over,’ said IrAF Chief of Staff, Major General Kamal Barzanjy, in early 2006. ‘America has given us a lot of help, and we have already accomplished many things, but we need to keep growing.’ Saddam Hussein’s air force was allegedly the sixth largest in the world at the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf War, with almost 800 fighter aircraft, but by 2003, only about 100 of these were still deemed operational. When operation Iraqi Freedom came to an end only about 50 per cent remained and most of these had been badly damaged by crude Iraqi concealment efforts. The IrAF’s commander, Lieutenant General Hamid Raja Shalah al-tikriti, was captured on 14 June 2003. The old Iraqi Air Force ceased to exist and its personnel, along with the rest of the Iraqi armed forces, were sent home.

A significant milestone was reached on 7 March 2006, with the opening of the first Iraqi air base at new Al Muthana, while the first all-Iraqi aircrew flew their inaugural mission on 28 November 2005. Members of the IrAF’s no. 23 Squadron navigated their C-130e transport aircraft from Ali Air Base, near Nasiriyah, in south-east Iraq, to new Al Muthana Air Base (the refurbished West Baghdad International Airport air base). They also flew their first cross-border humanitarian mission in February, air-lifting five children to Turkey for eye surgery.

On display at the official opening ceremony at new Al Muthana were the fledgling air force’s American-supplied C-130e transport aircraft and Russian-built Mi-17 transport helicopters. ‘It is important for Iraqis,’ said Major-General Kamal. ‘It is important for them to see tangible results and co-operation. Building up an air force takes so much work, finance and dedication.’

‘Now our Air Force supports the government and the people,’ said Colonel Jabber. ‘In the past the Air Force only supported Saddam. We are humanitarian now.’ No. 23 Squadron had first moved to new Al Muthana in January 2006. the base provided the foundation on which Iraq’s air force could rebuild with help from its Coalition allies.

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) announced in April 2004 that it intended to help build a new IrAF, which would have a border patrol and surveillance role. Efforts to rehabilitate the discredited old IrAF and create a new force commenced in mid-2004, when more than 100 former IrAF personnel were sent for training with the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) in Amman. By the end of 2004, the new IrAF was 500-strong, equipped with a variety of light aircraft divided between bases at Tadji and Baghdad.

It was decided by the CPA that a major general would command a revitalized Iraq Air Force based at the Air Headquarters in Baghdad, and would act as the Chief of the Defence Staff ’s senior air adviser. Also, the IrAF’s air missions would be fully integrated into Coalition air activity through the multi-national Force Iraq. The new IrAF was principally tasked with transporting the army, border policing and surveillance of national assets. It is also involved in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

The new IrAF first became operational in mid-2004 with a squadron of six ex- RJAF UH-1H Iroquois utility helicopters stationed at Tadji. they were tasked with border and coastal patrol, troop transport and search and rescue. the new IrAF acquired an initial tactical airlift capability in October 2004 using two ex-RJAF C- 130Bs based at the Baghdad Air Station.

The United Arab emirates provided the IrAF with seven Comp Air 7Sl aircraft and four Bell Jet ranger helicopters, which were flown by No. 3 Squadron. the latter became operational in April 2005 and is based at new Al Muthana. the first four 7Sl arrived at Basra Air Base on 13 November 2004.

Similarly, Jordan has also supplied two Seeker SB7l-360 and sixteen CH2000 light reconnaissance aircraft that are equipping No. 70 and No. 2 Squadrons.

A follow-on order was anticipated, but instead the new IrAF opted for sixteen US SAMA CH2000. Jordan Aerospace Industries manufactured these aircraft under licence from the Canadian Zenair Company (which builds the Zenair Zenith 2000) and delivered during 2005. The CH2000 Military Tactical Surveillance Aircraft (MTSA) variant is a two-seater trainer equipped with infrared thermal imaging and daytime TV camera. Half the CH-2000 equip No. 2 Squadron at Kirkuk Air base.

In the face of the escalating security situation, from November 2005 the United States Air Force (USAF) in theatre worked to stand up the new IrAF as quickly as possible. The new IrAF suffered its first aircraft loss on 30 May 2005, when one of the 7SL crashed near Jalula, 80km north-east of Baquba, while operating out of Kirkuk Air Base. Unfortunately, fatalities included an Iraqi airman and four US servicemen. They were buried in Arlington national Cemetery. Iraqi Air Force Captain Ali Hussam Abass Alrubaeye, thirty-four, became the first Iraqi ever buried at the United States’ national military cemetery.

It seemed, post-Saddam, Iraq would abandon its Soviet aircraft legacy. However, the new IrAF is flying Soviet-designed aircraft. During 14-17 February 2006, eight former Polish Mi-17 Hip helicopters were delivered to new Al Muthana by a Russian An-124 transport aircraft. Reportedly, these were the first systems that the IrAF had acquired directly without CPA funding. The IrAF intended to be operating a total of twenty-four Mi-17s by mid-2007 from Taji Air Base in a deal worth US $105 million.

The Second Dutch Revolt

Joyous entry of François, Duke of Anjou (1556-1584) into Antwerp, 19 February 1582, with a triumphal arch on St. Jan’s Bridge. Oil painting of a colorful procession of horsemen and infantry on their way to the triumphal arch. Beneath a canopy, the duke is riding a gray, wearing a scarlet coat. Left and right of the procession the procession is separated from the public by militiamen. A captain kneels before the duke. To the right next to a block of houses a glimps of the port of Antwerp. To the right also a construction with barrels of firework.


Conditions in the Netherlands could hardly have been more favourable to Orange’s cause. The combined impact of raids by the Sea Beggars, the English trade embargo and war in the Baltic had caused a major economic recession: food prices soared just as thousands of families lost their livelihood. Nature intensified the misery: storms caused widespread flooding by seawater; ice and snow froze the rivers; and a plague epidemic ravaged the country. Alba pleaded with the king to send funds from Spain to provide relief but in February 1572 Philip replied, ‘With the Holy League and so many other things that must be paid for from here, it is impossible to meet the needs of the Netherlands to the same extent as we have been doing up to now.’ A month later he was even more insistent: ‘It is my will that henceforth the Netherlands be sustained from the proceeds of the Tenth Penny.’ Collection of the new tax must begin at once.

Since the provincial States still refused to sanction the Tenth Penny, Alba decided to impose it without their consent. His officials started to register all commercial activity, and when in March 1572 some shopkeepers and merchants in Brussels ceased to transact business in protest, the duke brought detachments of his Spanish troops into the city – but to no avail: the shops remained shut and economic activity atrophied. Maximilian Morillon, Cardinal Granvelle’s agent in Brussels, reported that ‘Poverty is acute in all parts’, with thousands in Brussels ‘dying of hunger because they have no work. If the prince of Orange had conserved his forces until a time like this,’ Morillon concluded, ‘his enterprise would have succeeded.’ Morillon sealed his prescient letter on 24 March 1572. Just one week later, a party of Sea Beggars captured the seaport of Den Brielle in Holland in the name of William of Orange, and they flamboyantly declared that they would treat everyone well ‘except for priests, monks and papists’.

Nevertheless, the rebel garrison of Den Brielle was small (perhaps 1,100 men, against the millions at Philip’s command); the town was isolated; and it lacked fortifications. News that Strozzi’s fleet at La Rochelle might launch an attack convinced Alba that the effective defence of South Holland and Zeeland required the immediate construction of a citadel at the largest port in the region, Flushing on the island of Walcheren, and on 29 March 1572 he dispatched one of his leading military architects to the city with the necessary plans. For good measure he also sent a warrant to arrest the local magistrates, who had failed to start collecting the Tenth Penny.

The Tenth Penny epitomized all the disagreeable aspects of the ‘new world’ envisaged by Philip and Alba: it was unconstitutional; it was oppressive; it was foreign; and its proceeds were destined for the hated Spanish garrisons. In addition, it placed magistrates everywhere in an impossible position: those who complied lost control of their towns, and Alba dismissed those who refused. The Sea Beggars knew what they were about when they flew at their masthead flags showing ten coins. Philip nevertheless persevered. On 16 April 1572, before news of the capture of Den Brielle arrived in Spain, he again informed Alba that ‘we cannot send you any more money from here’, because ‘my treasury has reached the state where no source of income or money-raising device remains which will yield a single ducat’. By then the citizens of Flushing had defied him – first by refusing to admit a Spanish garrison, then by murdering the engineer sent to construct a citadel, and finally by admitting the Sea Beggars. Philip immediately recognized the strategic importance of this development, since both he and his father had sailed to Spain from Flushing in the 1550s. ‘It would be good’, he wrote officiously to Alba,

that if you have not already punished the inhabitants of those islands, and those who have invaded them, you should do so right away without allowing time for them to receive more reinforcements, because the longer the delay, the more difficult the venture. When you have done this, make sure that nothing like this can happen again on the island of Walcheren, because you can see what a danger it poses.

Alba scarcely needed this lecture on strategy. He would no doubt have taken great pleasure in punishing ‘the inhabitants of those islands’, but in May the port of Enkhuizen in North Holland also declared for Orange and accepted a garrison of Sea Beggars, while Louis of Nassau and a band of French Protestants surprised the city of Mons in Hainaut, defended by powerful fortifications. The following month van den Berg and his German troops captured the stronghold of Zutphen in Gelderland, while Orange himself crossed the Rhine at the head of an army of 20,000 and advanced towards Brabant. Before long, fifty towns had rebelled against Philip and declared for Orange.

Facing so many threats, Alba now took a crucial decision: he refused to re-inforce his hard-pressed subordinates in the northern provinces and instead withdrew their best troops southwards to await the expected French invasion – which never came. Although the wedding of Margot of Valois and Henry of Navarre passed without incident on 18 August, a few days later a Catholic marksman tried to assassinate Coligny, but only managed to wound him. Fearing that the botched assassination attempt would provoke a Protestant backlash, Charles IX did nothing to prevent – and may have encouraged – a killing frenzy by the Catholics of Paris on St Bartholomew’s Day, 24 August, that took the life of Coligny and most other Huguenots in the capital. The slaughter of the Protestant populations of a dozen other French cities soon followed.

These events transformed the situation in the Netherlands. As Morillon observed, ‘If God had not permitted the destruction of Coligny and his followers, this country would have been lost’; and the prince of Orange agreed. The massacre, he wrote to his brother, was a ‘stunning blow’ because ‘my only hope lay with France’. But for St Bartholomew, ‘we would have had the better of the duke of Alba and we would have been able to dictate terms to him at our pleasure’. On 12 September the prince’s attempt to relieve Mons failed, and the city surrendered one week later.

Now Alba turned his attention to the other towns in rebellion, and since the campaigning season was running out he decided upon a strategy of selective terror, calculating that a few examples of unrestrained brutality would accelerate the process of pacification. At first the policy proved spectacularly successful. First his men stormed Mechelen, which had refused to accept a royal garrison and instead admitted Orange’s troops, and sacked it for three days. Even before the screams abated, all other rebellious towns in Flanders and Brabant had surrendered. The duke now moved against Zutphen, which (like Mechelen) had defected to the rebels at an early stage, and sacked it. Once again, strategic terror paid off: Alba proudly informed the king that ‘Gelderland and Overijssel have been conquered with the capture of Zutphen and the terror that it caused, and these provinces once again recognize the authority of Your Majesty’. The rebel centres in Friesland also surrendered, and the duke graciously pardoned them, but he resolved to make an example of one more town loyal to Orange in order to encourage the surrender of the remaining rebel enclaves. Naarden, just across the provincial boundary of Holland, obligingly declined a summons to surrender, and so (as the duke smugly reported to his master) ‘The Spanish infantry stormed the walls and massacred citizens and soldiers. Not a mother’s son escaped.’

Almost immediately, just as Alba had anticipated, envoys from Haarlem (the nearest rebel stronghold) arrived at the camp; but, instead of offering unconditional surrender, they asked to negotiate. The duke refused: he demanded immediate surrender or else his troops would take the city and sack it. This proved to be a fateful decision. The rebels had put down far deeper roots in Holland and Zeeland than in the other provinces, and Haarlem (unlike Mechelen and Zutphen) boasted a hard core of Orangist loyalists: after declaring spontaneously for the prince, the city allowed a large number of exiles to return and take charge. The new rulers promptly purged and reformed the town’s government, closed Catholic churches and allowed Calvinist worship. All of those involved in thus flouting the king’s authority in both politics and religion knew that they could expect no mercy if Alba’s Spanish troops got inside their walls – and if any of them doubted this, they had only to consider the fate of Mechelen, Zutphen and now Naarden. Moreover, it was now December, the fields were frozen and the duke’s forces were far weaker. The very success of his campaign had dramatically reduced the size of the Spanish army, both because the sieges and storms had caused relatively high casualties among the victors, and because each rebellious town recaptured, whether by brutality or clemency, required a garrison.

Alba now commanded scarcely 12,000 effectives: to besiege Haarlem, which boasted a powerful garrison and strong defences, with such a relatively small force would have been rash at any time. In the depths of winter, on tactical grounds this was an act of egregious folly. It was also an act of egregious folly on financial grounds. The war in the Netherlands had absorbed almost two million ducats in 1572, and the war in the Mediterranean cost almost as much – with the certainty of an increase in 1573 because in February, as the Spanish troops froze in the trenches before Haarlem, the Venetian Republic resolved to sacrifice Cyprus in return for peace with the sultan. Alba’s intransigence towards the envoys from Haarlem had plunged Philip into his worst nightmare: a full-scale war on two fronts.

‘To kill or capture Elizabeth’


Queen Elizabeth imprisoned Norfolk in 1569 for scheming to marry Mary, Queen of Scots.Following his release, he participated in the Ridolfi plot with King Philip II of Spain to put Mary on the English throne and restore Catholicism in England. He was executed for treason in 1572. He is buried at the Church of St Peter ad Vincula within the walls of the Tower of London. Norfolk’s lands and titles were forfeit, although much of the estate was later restored to his sons.

The Lepanto campaign was not Philip’s only crusading venture in 1571. No sooner had he agreed to sign the Holy League than he authorized the duke of Alba to invade England and overthrow Elizabeth Tudor. This dramatic policy change towards ‘a sister whom I love so much’ began two years before when the queen seized some ships carrying money from Spain to the Netherlands. Although the money was not strictly royal property, it belonged to a consortium of Genoese bankers who had agreed to lend the duke of Alba money to pay off his army. Philip’s ambassador in England, Don Guerau de Spes, saw this as the prelude to a trade war and he urged both Alba in the Netherlands and Philip in Spain to confiscate English ships and goods. Both obliged, and Elizabeth promptly placed Spes under arrest. Earlier that year, Philip had expelled the English ambassador at his court, Dr John Man, a married Protestant cleric, on the grounds that his continued presence at court might offend ‘God Our Lord, whose service, and the observation of whose holy faith, I place far ahead of my own affairs and actions and above everything in this life, even my own’.24 The rhetoric disguised the fact that, without Man and Spes, Philip possessed no direct diplomatic channel through which to resolve disputes with England.

This anomaly increased Alba’s influence over the king’s policy. The duke had resided in England during the 1550s; he maintained his own intelligence network there; and, above all, he possessed his own strategic agenda. On the one hand, he never saw the point of replacing Elizabeth Tudor with Mary, Queen of Scots, whom many Catholics saw as the rightful ruler of England, because she had grown up at the French court and retained close relations with the French royal family. On the other hand, since the prosperity of the Netherlands depended on trade with England, Alba opposed any action that might jeopardize it. Curiously, although Philip recognized that his Dutch subjects ‘always want to remain friends’ with England, he never seems to have realized that Alba himself shared this view – even though it would torpedo his plans to overthrow Elizabeth.

In February 1569, outraged by the imprisonment of Spes and the confiscation of the Genoese treasure, Philip asked Alba to suggest how best to launch an outright attack on England. The duke refused: he replied forcefully that defeating the prince of Orange had left his treasury empty, and so all funds for intervention in England would have to come from Spain – knowing very well that the revolt of the Moriscos would prevent this, at least for a while. Alba’s intransigence made Philip more receptive to a proposal from Roberto Ridolfi, a Florentine banker who handled secret funds sent by the pope to the English Catholics. In 1569, Ridolfi visited Spes (despite his confinement) bearing a message from the duke of Norfolk and two of Elizabeth’s Catholic councillors saying that they intended to force her to restore close links with both Rome and Spain.

The ease with which Ridolfi glided between the government’s various opponents does not seem to have aroused Spes’s suspicions, and early in 1571 he entrusted to Ridolfi an ambitious plan, for which he coined the term ‘the Enterprise of England’. It called on Philip to persuade the other states of Europe to boycott all trade with England; to send financial support to Norfolk and his allies; and to fan the discontent of Irish Catholics. More radically, Spes suggested that the king should either support Mary Stuart’s claim to the English crown or else claim it for himself. Ridolfi first went to Brussels, where he explained the Enterprise to Alba, whose suspicions were immediately aroused by the effortlessness with which Ridolfi had managed to leave England with incriminating documents. Nevertheless, he allowed the conspirator to proceed to Rome.

Ridolfi arrived at an auspicious moment. Pius V had recently issued a bull deposing Elizabeth and now sought a means to carry it out. For a while the Holy League distracted him but on 20 May, the same day that representatives of Spain, Venice and the Papacy signed the Holy League, Pius entrusted Ridolfi with letters urging Philip to support the Enterprise of England. Six weeks later, the king granted Ridolfi an audience. The Italian made a remarkable impression on the king: a few days later, when the nuncio urged the king to support the Enterprise, much to his surprise ‘His Majesty, contrary to his normal custom [at audiences], spoke at length and entered into great detail about the means, the place and the men’ that he would devote to it.

He ended by saying that he had wanted and waited for a long time for an occasion and opportunity to reduce, with God’s help, that kingdom to the [Catholic] faith and the obedience of the Apostolic See a second time, and that he believed the time had now come, and that this was the occasion and the opportunity for which he had waited.

Philip proved as good as his word. In July he sent a secret letter to Alba affirming that Mary Stuart was ‘the true and legitimate claimant’ to the English throne, ‘which Elizabeth holds through tyranny’, and asserting that the duke of Norfolk

has the resolve, and so many and such prominent friends, that if I provide some help it would be easy for him to kill or capture Elizabeth [le sería facil matar o prender a la Isabel] and place the Scottish queen at liberty and in possession of the throne. Then, if she marries the duke of Norfolk, as they have arranged, they will without difficulty reduce [England] to the obedience of the Holy See.

In the course of the next six weeks, Philip continued, Alba must therefore prepare a powerful fleet and army to carry this out. He promised to send immediately 200,000 ducats – but ‘I warn and charge you expressly that you must not spend a single penny of this sum on anything else, however urgent it may be’. No doubt sensing how unrealistic all this would seem, Philip concluded that ‘since the cause is so much His, God will enlighten, aid and assist us with His mighty hand and arm, so that we will get things right’. The king’s enthusiasm increased as the festival of St Lawrence approached, when one of his ministers noted that ‘His Majesty proceeds in this matter with so much ardour that he must be inspired by God’; and it persisted even after news reached him that Elizabeth had ordered Norfolk’s arrest. Even with experienced rulers, one must never underestimate the power of self-deception.

MOU52694 Portrait of Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) by Moro, Antonio (c.1519-c.1576) (studio of) (attr. to) Private Collection © Philip Mould, Historical Portraits Ltd, London, UK Spanish, out of copyright

MOU52694 Portrait of Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) by Moro, Antonio (c.1519-c.1576) (studio of) (attr. to)
Private Collection
© Philip Mould, Historical Portraits Ltd, London, UK
Spanish, out of copyright

Philip II alone

In his History of Philip II, Cabrera de Córdoba later identified 1571 as ‘a fortunate year for the Monarchy’, but by the time it ended Philip had managed to alienate virtually all his former allies. Unravelling the Ridolfi plot revealed to Elizabeth that her ‘good brother’ had planned to murder her. Not surprisingly, she never trusted him again and instead increased surveillance of all Catholics in England and executed those who proved obdurate (including the duke of Norfolk). She also supported privateering activity against Philip (a dozen major expeditions left England in the 1570s to plunder Spanish property) and provided material assistance to his Dutch rebels because, as Alba later pointed out, ‘the queen knew full well that the king our lord had tried to deprive her of the kingdom and even to kill her’. He therefore ‘regarded the queen as quite justified in what she had done and is still doing’ to disrupt the Netherlands. Philip’s faith-based strategy had left a toxic legacy.

Philip also managed to alienate Emperor Maximilian in 1571. When intelligence reports suggested that France stood poised to intervene in support of a rebellion against the ruler of the small but strategically important Imperial fief of Finale Ligure, adjacent to Genoa, Philip mounted a surprise invasion. This unilateral action infuriated Maximilian, who mobilized the independent states of Italy to condemn Philip’s unprovoked attack. Empress María tried to mediate between her brother and her husband, assuring Philip:

God knows how much I want to settle this accursed dispute over Finale, so that Your Highness need not exhaust yourself over it. I really believe that if it were not for the prestige that blinds us so much, the emperor would not act as he does, which is to importune Your Highness; but I am very confident that it will turn out as we wish, because Your Highness can see that the emperor does not lack good cause.

Since Philip refused to ‘see’ this, Maximilian sent a special commissioner to reside in his duchy of Milan – also an Imperial fief – with orders to watch ostentatiously over the interests of the Austrian Habsburgs in Italy. This was a major humiliation, and it led Philip to withdraw his forces from Finale – but this recognition that ‘the emperor does not lack good cause’ came too late: Maximilian provided no assistance to Philip in 1572, when a new rebellion broke out in the Netherlands.

The war of Granada had greatly impressed the exiled prince of Orange. ‘It is an example to us,’ he confided to his brother early in 1570: ‘if the Moors are able to resist for so long, even though they are people of no more substance than a flock of sheep, what might the people of the Low Countries be able to do?’ Since the prince knew that the ‘people of the Low Countries’ would not be able to tackle Alba and his Spanish troops alone, he worked hard to find allies. His agents forged links with the numerous communities of Dutch exiles – perhaps 60,000 men, women and children who had fled to England, Scotland, France and Germany to escape condemnation by the council of Troubles – and these exiles provided recruits for a fleet of privateers known as the ‘Sea Beggars’, sailing under letters of marque issued by Orange. The exiles distributed plunder taken by the Sea Beggars from merchant ships belonging to Philip’s subjects and allies, thereby raising money for Orange’s cause as well as sustaining his fleet. Meanwhile Orange and his brother Louis of Nassau fought with the French Calvinist leader Gaspard de Coligny, unsuccessful defender of St Quentin in 1557 and equally unsuccessful patron of the attempt to colonize Florida in 1565. Now Coligny persuaded Charles IX of France to recognize Louis and Orange as his ‘good relatives and friends’ and to pay them a subsidy.

King Charles also agreed that his sister Margot would marry the Protestant leader Henry of Navarre, and that as soon as the wedding had taken place Coligny and his Protestant followers could invade the Netherlands in support of Orange and the exiles. On the strength of this commitment, Orange laid plans for other invasions to coincide with the main attack by Coligny: the Sea Beggars, together with a squadron to be assembled at La Rochelle by Filippo Strozzi, a Florentine exile with extensive military and naval experience, would capture ports in Holland or Zeeland; Orange’s brother-in-law, Count van den Berg, would invade Gelderland with a small force from Germany; and Orange himself would raise an army in Germany and invade Brabant. The only problem lay in timing: everything depended on the date fixed for the marriage of Margot and Henry, but after frequent postponements in April 1572 Charles IX announced that the wedding would take place the following August.

Shalmaneser III



The Campaigns of Shalmanesar III.

Constantly on the battlefield, starting his campaigns from Nineveh or from one of his provincial palaces, Ashurnasirpal’s son, Shalmaneser III (858 – 824 B.C.), appears to have spent only the last years of his life in Kalhu. Yet it is from that city and its neighbourhood that come his most famous monuments. One of them is the ‘Black Obelisk’ found by Layard in the temple of Ninurta over a century ago and now in the British Museum. It is a two-metre-high block of black alabaster ending in steps, like a miniature ziqqurat. A long inscription giving the summary of the king’s wars runs around the monolith, while five sculptured panels on each side depict the payment of tribute by various foreign countries, including Israel, whose king Jehu is shown prostrate at the feet of the Assyrian monarch. More recent excavations at Nimrud have brought to light a statue of the king in the attitude of prayer, and a huge building situated in a corner of the town wall, which was founded by him and used by his successors down to the fall of the empire. This building, nicknamed by the archaeologists ‘Fort Shalmaneser’, was in fact his palace as well as the ekal masharti of the inscriptions, the ‘great store-house’ erected ‘for the ordinance of the camp, the maintenance of stallions, chariots, weapons, equipment of war, and the spoil of the foe of every kind’. In three vast courtyards the troops were assembled, equipped and inspected before the annual campaigns, while the surrounding rooms served as armouries, stores, stables and lodgings for the officers. Finally, we have the remarkable objects known as ‘the bronze gates of Balawat’. They were discovered in 1878 by Layard’s assistant Rassam, not at Nimrud, but at Balawat (ancient Imgur-Enlil), a small tell a few kilometres to the north-east of the great city. There Ashurnasirpal had built a country palace later occupied by Shalmaneser, and the main gates of this palace were covered with long strips of bronze, about twenty-five centimetres wide, worked in ‘repoussé’ technique, representing some of Shalmaneser’s armed expeditions; a brief legend accompanies the pictures. Besides their considerable artistic or architectural interest, all these monuments are priceless for the information they provide concerning Assyrian warfare during the ninth century B.C.

In the number and scope of his military campaigns Shalmaneser surpasses his father. Out of his thirty-five years of reign thirty-one were devoted to war. The Assyrian soldiers were taken farther abroad than ever before: they set foot in Armenia, in Cilicia, in Palestine, in the heart of the Taurus and of the Zagros, on the shores of the Gulf. They ravaged new lands, besieged new cities, measured themselves against new enemies. But because these enemies were much stronger than the Aramaeans of Jazirah or the small tribes of Iraqi Kurdistan, the victories of Shalmaneser were mitigated with failures, and the whole reign gives the impression of a task left unfinished, of a gigantic effort for a very small result. In the north, for instance, Shalmaneser went beyond ‘the sea of Nairi’ (Lake Van) and entered the territory of Urartu, a kingdom which had recently been formed amidst the high mountains of Armenia. The Assyrian claims, as always, complete success and describes the sack of several towns belonging to the King of Urartu, Arame. Yet he confesses that Arame escaped, and we know that during the next century Urartu grew to be Assyria’s main rival. Similarly, a series of campaigns in the east, towards the end of the reign, brought Shalmaneser or his commander-in-chief, the turtanu Daiân-Ashur, in contact with the Medes and Persians, who then dwelt around Lake Urmiah. There again the clash was brief and the ‘victory’ without lasting results: Medes and Persians were in fact left free to consolidate their position in Iran.

The repeated efforts made by Shalmaneser to conquer Syria met with the same failure. The Neo-Hittite and Aramaean princes whom Ashurnasirpal had caught by surprise had had time to strengthen themselves, and the main effect of the renewed Assyrian attacks was to unite them against Assyria. Three campaigns were necessary to wipe out the state of Bit-Adini and to establish a bridgehead on the Euphrates. In 856 B.C. Til-Barsip (modern Tell Ahmar), the capital-city of Bit-Adini, was taken, populated with Assyrians and renamed Kâr-Shulmanashared, ‘the Quay of Shalmaneser’. On top of the mound overlooking the Euphrates a palace was built, which served as a base for operations on the western front. But whether the Assyrians marched towards Cilicia through the Amanus or towards Damascus via Aleppo, they invariably found themselves face to face with coalitions of local rulers. Thus when Shalmaneser in 853 B.C entered the plains of central Syria, his opponents, Irhuleni of Hama and Adad-idri of Damascus (Ben-Hadad II of the Bible), met him with contingents supplied by ‘twelve kings of the sea-coast’. To the invaders they could oppose 62,900 infantry-men, 1,900 horsemen, 3,900 chariots and 1,000 camels sent by ‘Gindibu, from Arabia’. The battle took place at Karkara (Qarqar) on the Orontes, not far from Hama. Says Shalmaneser:

I slew 14,000 of their warriors with the sword. Like Adad, I rained destruction upon them…. The plain was too small to let their bodies fall, the wide countryside was used up in burying them. With their corpses, I spanned the Orontes as with a bridge.’

Yet neither Hama nor Damascus were taken, and the campaign ended prosaically with a little cruise on the Mediterranean. Four, five and eight years later other expeditions were directed against Hama with the same partial success. Numerous towns and villages were captured, looted and burned down, but not the main cities. In 841 B.C. Damascus was again attacked. The occasion was propitious, Adad-idri having been murdered and replaced by Hazael, ‘the son of a nobody’. Hazael was defeated in battle on mount Sanir (Hermon), but locked himself in his capital-city. All that Shalmaneser could do was to ravage the orchards and gardens which surrounded Damascus as they surround it today and to plunder the rich plain of Hauran. He then took the road to the coast, and on Mount Carmel received the tribute of Tyre, Sidon and Iaua mâr Humri (Jehu, son of Omri), King of Israel, the first biblical figure to appear in cuneiform inscriptions. After a last attempt to conquer Damascus in 838 B.C. the Assyrian confessed his failure by leaving Syria alone for the rest of his reign.

In Babylonia Shalmaneser was luckier, though here again he failed to exploit his success and missed the chance which was offered to him. Too weak to attack the Assyrians and too strong to be attacked by them, the kings of the Eighth Dynasty of Babylon had hitherto managed to remain free. Even Ashurnasirpal had spared the southern kingdom, giving his contemporary Nabû-apal-iddina (887 – 855 B.C.) time to repair some of the damage caused by the Aramaeans and the Sutû during ‘the time of confusion’. But in 850 B.C. hostilities broke out between King Marduk-zakir-shumi and his own brother backed by the Aramaeans. The Assyrians were called to the rescue. Shalmaneser defeated the rebels, entered Babylon, ‘the bond of heaven and earth, the abode of life’, offered sacrifices in Marduk’s temple, Esagila, as well as in the sanctuaries of Kutha and Barsippa, and treated the inhabitants of that holy land with extreme kindness:

For the people of Babylon and Barsippa, the protégés, the freemen of the great gods, he prepared a feast, he gave them food and wine, he clothed them in brightly coloured garments and presented them with gifts.

Then, advancing farther south into the ancient country of Sumer now occupied by the Chaldaeans (Kaldû), he stormed it and chased the enemies of Babylon ‘unto the shores of the sea they call Bitter River (nâr marratu)’, i.e. the Gulf. The whole affair, however, was but a police operation. Marduk-zakir-shumi swore allegiance to his protector but remained on his throne. The unity of Mesopotamia under Assyrian rule could perhaps have been achieved without much difficulty. For some untold reason – probably because he was too deeply engaged in the north and in the west – Shalmaneser did not claim more than nominal suzerainty, and all that Assyria gained was some territory and a couple of towns on its southern border. The Diyala to the south, the Euphrates to the west, the mountain ranges to the north and east now marked its limits. It was still a purely northern Mesopotamian kingdom, and the empire had yet to be conquered.

The end of Shalmaneser’s long reign was darkened by extremely serious internal disorders. One of his sons, Ashurdaninaplu, revolted and with him twenty-seven cities, including Assur, Nineveh, Arba’il (Erbil) and Arrapha (Kirkuk). The old king, who by then hardly left his palace in Nimrud, entrusted another of his sons, Shamshi-Adad, with the task of repressing the revolt, and for four years Assyria was in the throes of civil war.

The war was still raging when Shalmaneser died and Shamshi-Adad V ascended the throne (824 B.C.). With the new king began a period of Assyrian stagnation which lasted for nearly a century.


The INF (intermediate-range nuclear forces) crisis was one of the most important ever to hit NATO. It started in about 1974, when NATO members began to see a steady build-up of a new Soviet intermediate-range ballistic missile, the SS-20. This was seen to be a major attempt by the USSR to alter the balance in this field in its favour and thus pose a major threat to western Europe. In consequence, the Alliance reacted with a vigour some had begun to doubt it possessed; indeed, the SS-20 played a key role in the eventual demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

Intermediate-range nuclear forces had not been a major issue up to that time. NATO itself had deployed some US IRBM systems in Europe between 1959 and 1965, comprising sixty Thors in the UK and sixty Jupiters, thirty of which were based in Italy and thirty in Turkey. Their operational lives were, however, very brief, since all were phased out in 1965: the British Thors because they were sited in the open and were too vulnerable to a Soviet first strike, while the withdrawal of the Jupiters from southern Europe was part of the Cuban Missile Crisis settlement.

The Soviet IRBMs remained, however, and throughout the 1960s and 1970s NATO seemed tacitly to accept the existence of a large number of IRBMs sited in the USSR’s western military districts and clearly targeted on NATO countries. These missiles were of two types, the older being the SS-4, which entered service in 1957 and carried a single 1 MT warhead, while the SS-5 entered service in 1961 in two versions: Mod 1, with a single 1 MT warhead, and Mod 3, with three 300 kT warheads. Most of these were deployed in missile fields just to the east of the Soviet–Polish border, and at their peak in the late 1960s some 700 were in service, reducing to approximately 400 in the mid-1970s. The SS-4 had a range of some 2,000 km, while that of the SS-5 was 4,100 km, which enabled both missiles to cover the whole of western Europe, although their relative inaccuracy (the SS-4 had a CEP of 2.4 km, while that of the SS-5 was 1 km) meant that they could be targeted only against cities or other area targets.

The existence of two new missiles, the SS-16 and the SS-20, became known in the West in the late 1960s. Both could be launched either from silos or from wheeled transporter–erector–launcher (TEL) vehicles, but there was an even more significant relationship between the two, since they shared two identical missile stages. The SS-20 was a two-stage missile with a range of 5,000 km and carrying three 150 kT warheads with an accuracy (CEP) of 400 m. The SS-16 carried a single 1 MT warhead and was essentially an SS-20 with an additional third stage, giving it a range of 9,000 km. This range meant that the SS-16 was classified as an ICBM and was covered by the SALT treaty, whereas the SS-20 was an IRBM and thus was not covered by SALT.

The SS-20 was road-mobile, using a single twelve-wheeled TEL vehicle, housed in a purpose-built shelter with a split roof which could be opened to allow the missile to be launched. Later, when they signed the INF Treaty in December 1987, the Soviets admitted that they had deployed 650 SS-20 missiles, plus a further forty-two for training. These had been operated by ten missile divisions: six in the western USSR and four in Asia. These divisions included forty-eight regiments, each with its own operating base, which included a number of individual missile shelters with a number of pre-surveyed launch sites in the surrounding area.

These two missiles posed three problems for NATO. US concern centred on the fact that it would be possible for the Soviet Union to manufacture two-stage missiles (i.e. SS-20s) and, quite separately, to also manufacture and store third stages. The verification measures then under discussion would not have been able to differentiate between them, meaning, so the US argued, that at a time of crisis it would be possible to bring these two elements together to create SS-16 ICBMs and thus directly threaten the USA. Following intense discussions in the SALT II negotiations, the agreement included the termination of both testing and deployment of SS-16s.

As a separate issue, however, the SS-20 posed a new and serious threat to western Europe: first, its launcher was highly mobile and thus difficult to detect and destroy; second, it had three accurate MIRV warheads, which could be targeted against military targets; and, third, it increased the number of Soviet warheads from some 400-odd on SS-4s and SS-5s to 1,950 on 650 SS-20s.

To deal with this threatening situation, and in an attempt to avert an arms race in Europe, in 1979 NATO agreed on two new approaches to the problem. It decided, first:

to modernize NATO’s LRTNF [long-range tactical nuclear forces] by the deployment in Europe of US ground-launched systems comprising 108 Pershing II launchers which would replace existing US Pershing IA, and 464 Ground-Launched Cruise Missiles [GLCM], all with single warheads. All the nations currently participating in the integrated defence structure will participate in the programme; the missiles will be stationed in selected countries and certain support costs will be met through NATO’s existing common funding arrangements … Ministers agreed that as an integral part of TNF modernization, 1,000 US nuclear warheads will be withdrawn from Europe as soon as possible. Further, Ministers decided that the 572 LRTNF warheads should be accommodated within that reduced level, which necessarily implies a numerical shift of emphasis away from warheads to delivery systems of other types and shorter ranges.

In parallel with this, however, in what was known as the ‘twin-track’ approach, NATO ministers also:

fully support[ed] the decision taken by the United States, following consultations within the Alliance, to negotiate arms limitations on LRTNF and to propose to the USSR to begin negotiations as soon as possible …

The diplomatic track included three major offers to the USSR: a reduction in strategic-nuclear-force levels within the SALT framework, and new initiatives in both the MBFR and the CSCE processes. The military track involved fielding ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershing IIs.

The timing of the problem coincided with a general resurgence of public concern in Western countries over defence matters. This involved increased interest in some countries, but there were also small but highly vocal groups which were opposed to most forms of defence and to nuclear weapons in particular. When they found themselves faced with Soviet rejection of the ‘diplomatic’ element of the ‘twin-track’ approach, NATO members were therefore faced with a difficult choice. But, despite many predictions that they would lack the nerve, they went ahead and authorized the fielding of the new counter-systems in 1983. The greatest opposition came from Denmark, where the parliament not only voted against deployment of Pershing II or GLCMs there, but also voted to withhold that element of Denmark’s contribution to NATO which would have gone towards the infrastructure costs of such missiles. In the UK there were repeated demonstrations against deployment of GLCMs in southern England, but the government brushed these aside. Helmut Schmidt, the West German chancellor, faced greater resistance from within his own Social Democratic Party than from the official opposition and threatened to resign if the parliamentary vote went against him. (He won the vote on 26 May 1981.)

Despite the opposition, US-operated GLCMs began to arrive in western Europe in November 1983, whereupon the Soviet Union withdrew from the INF Treaty negotiations in Geneva. Several weeks later it also effectively withdrew from the SALT and MBFR talks, as well.

NATO’s response to the Soviet threat posed by the SS-20 centred on the BGM-109 GLCM, a Mach 0.7 missile which carried a variable-yield nuclear warhead (10–50 kT) over ranges up to 2,500 km. It flew at very low altitude, using a computer-controlled navigation system, and was extremely accurate, with a CEP of some 30 m. Four missiles were carried on a single TEL and were launched at an angle of 45 degrees. In this demonstration of NATO solidarity in the face of the SS-20 threat, no less than 116 launchers (464 missiles) were deployed to Europe, starting in November 1983 and with deployment completed in 1988. The bases were in Belgium (12 launchers), Germany (24), Italy (28), the Netherlands (12) and the UK (40).

The other element of the NATO deployment was the Pershing II missile. The Pershing IA had been deployed in West Germany since the 1960s, with 108 operated by the US army and 72 by the West German air force.fn9 The Pershing IA had a maximum range of 740 km and carried a 400 kT nuclear warhead with an accuracy (CEP) of 400 m. The Pershing II used the same launcher and appeared generally similar, but was quite different internally. The main difference was in its warhead, which not only was much more accurate (with a CEP of 45 m), but had a special ‘earth penetrator’ which could drive through most types of soil to a depth of some 30 m before detonating its 250 kT nuclear weapon, thus destroying most types of command bunker. This warhead, coupled with its range of 1,500 km, posed a major threat to Soviet and Warsaw Pact buried headquarters, including those in the western military districts of the USSR.

It appeared that the Soviet authorities thought that the West would not have the nerve, solidarity or popular support necessary to achieve these deployments, because they continued with their SS-20 programme, which by late 1985 had reached a total of 441 launchers with 1,323 warheads. When General Secretary Konstantin Chernenko died in March 1985, however, he was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev, and the atmosphere immediately began to change. Diplomatic progress became more rapid, and in December 1987 the INF Treaty was signed, under which not only would 670 Soviet missiles (including 405 SS-20s) and 400 US systems be withdrawn and destroyed, but the whole destruction programme would be subject to on-site verification by the opposite side.

The treaty laid down a three-year period for the elimination of all intermediate-range weapons and launchers (GLCM, Pershing, SS-20, SS-12 and SS-4), in two phases: deployed warheads were to be reduced to 180 on each side within twenty-nine months, with total elimination after three years; shorter-range nuclear weapons were to be totally eliminated within eighteen months. The treaty also included on-site inspections between twenty and ninety days after signature, to verify numbers, with further inspections up to the year 2000.