Always cause a lot of enthusiasm books that tell about the exploits of Russian soldiers who dedicated his life to the service of his own homeland. In 2012, such a historical chronicle of the readers amused Olga Khoroshilova, writing a book, "Riders of special purpose entities". It speaks about the delicious paradox of the First World War — sabotage and reconnaissance detachments performing complex combat tasks in the enemy rear. To say that such fighting units that operated on the ground the enemy, were organized for the first time during this war, it would be a mistake. After all, everyone knows "volatile" guerrilla Denis Davydov, who became a legend in 1812.
But specifically, these groups have become the prototype of the modern special forces.
Interest in the book O. Khoroshilova reinforced the fact that it was written granddaughter creator of special parts, Chevalier of the Order of St. George, Leonid Nikolaevich Punina. Groups particular relevance lasted from 1914 to 1918 for many war they became a school of the partisan movement. From the ranks of these groups came out future leaders of snow-white movement — Baron Ungern, and Josef Stanislav Bulak-Balakhovich Hilarion Stawski, Jora Dombrowski, NA Zuev, etc.
Days of the order was the birth of a unique day Knights of St. George — 26 November. In the special significance of their squad was more than half. Not counting punintsev at that time operated by guerrilla methods of sabotage and reconnaissance units generals N.G.Volodchenko, N. Kaznakova and MS Tyulina.
For the first Russian guerrilla parts shown during World War II, by the spring of 1915 was created by the partisan horse weaving, received the title of Manchuria. It is composed of three officers and 160 enlisted men. And by August 1915 at the front act of sabotage and intelligence 12 guerrilla groups. There was a case when the bad knowledge of the local language by officers and lower ranks led to the disbanding of the special significance of the order, which was a part of the Native Cavalry Division, stationed in the region is described.
Command of the Russian army lozhilo great hopes on subversive groups, believing that they are capable to influence the course of combat operations as a whole. Puzzles squads special significance was the holding of the search, loss of communication lines and undermining the railway web sites foray into the rear of the enemy.
One of the most successful guerrilla operations 1915-1916, is considered the raid Kuhotskuyu-Will. This operation was executed October 21, 1915 with 2-units of cavalry divisions (9th and 11th), and the Orenburg Cossack. Conductors were local farmers. At this time in Kuhotskoy Wola housed the German garrison, which consisted of two squadrons of hussars, company engineers, artillery, and three platoons of rangers. Without a single shot partisans managed to get through the barrier and break into the village. Without fire, using only their bayonets, the assailants brutally killed the entire garrison of the enemy. Germans accounted for the loss of 400 people, also destroyed all the property has undergone an enemy. As a result, unexpected and well-planned operation in the unit loss attackers were insignificant: one soldier killed, 30 wounded and two people were missing. Most of the guerrillas involved in the raid were subsequently awarded the George Cross and medals.
The value kuhotskoy operation consisted in the fact that managed to break through the enemy defenses. In most cases, the guerrillas could not overcome the well fortified line of defense and the Germans raided the enemy rear. Another important value was successful foray into Kuhotskuyu-Will — this operation is assured high command to deploy a similar diversionary war on all fronts. At the headquarters of the requirements have been developed that are required for the formation of guerrilla groups, issued an order on October 30, 1915 N 2. Notwithstanding some shortcomings, the paper provided an opportunity for officers wishing to exploit the famous Denis Davydov, to realize his dream of a guerrilla in the service of the motherland.
Among them was a 22-year-old lieutenant Leonid Puning. By this time he had a unique military experience: he was head of reconnaissance in the Finnish Infantry Regiment, stationed in the Carpathians. For bravery, courage and resourcefulness during the fighting it by summer 1915 had seven battle honors, including the Order of St. George and St. ZHoru gun. In its own appeal to the commander of the northern front, he wrote that the enemy has a well organized logistics and communications service that cater to all field units fighting the Germans and ensure their effective actions at the front. Guerrilla groups, making raids behind enemy lines, can interfere with their proper operation and ensure the victory of Russian troops.
In October, he started to create equestrian squad special significance. The detachment consisted of eleven officers, seventeen constable and junior officers, 296 Cossacks. In the demolition squad consisted of seven, twelve signalers (telegraph and telephone operators), 6 blacksmiths, three veterinarian, 5 paramedics and three doctors as a tool, hosted by tram. State structure was quite wide: Russian, Ukrainian, Buryats, the Latvians. In the middle of the guerrillas were those who knew Polish, Lithuanian, German language. In the historical literature, which tells about the partisan movement during World War II, often points to the lack of clothes men squads particular relevance identification of some characters. Most likely, this is only speculation, as all punintsy wearing epaulets and regimental insignia of their own parts, including cap badges, which are in no way disguised. Company officer banner was a huge dark silk cloth. On one side was a picture of Adam's head, and on the circumference the inscription: "RIDERS, bring Bane of Germany." On the other side was a picture of a panel ZHoru George slaying the dragon with a spear. All inscriptions and pictures were made snow-white alkyd paint. The archives is no information on whether it was the banner of the authorized (approved by the order of command) or not, but since the spring of 1916 it already was.
Successful early action Puninskaya squad particular relevance contributed very suitable Polessye nature with its forests and swamps in what was simply to make the hidden raids. Come and work for a unit once was found — the enemy committed to the transfer of parts of the Serbian front. Punintsy started to sabotage all the railway line from the Gulf of Riga to Polessye. Their goals are the nodal railway station: Grodno, LOD, Volkovisk and Novo-Troki. Apart from this, squad well done, and other operational tasks commanders of fronts. The effectiveness of particular relevance squad contributed loyal structure units: as required squad could be divided into 8 independent groups of 20-25 people, any of which could do a certain puzzle. Cavalry unit Punina was equipped with a cool tool and German rifles. Because cartridges partisans extracted from the enemy convoys and warehouses, and food or buy from the local population, or were seized from the Germans. Puninskii detachment of special significance took part in the fighting at the Riga bridgehead in the Dvina, and Mitavskoy Riga operations. Command of the Russian fronts than once gave a positive assessment of the actions of this group.
The success of military operations guerrilla army helped Punina supported in the unit strict discipline and attention to ordinary fighters officers. Puning Leoni
d died in 1916 in a battle in the Latvian countryside manor in Antitsiem. With honors, he was buried in Pavlovsk near Petrograd. Even in troubled times began in power of the Provisional Government, when the management of the army was absolutely razlazheno, Puninskii squad special significance continued to do battle tasks. In recognition awards to the Fatherland L. Punina and his band, the War Minister Alexander Gutchkoff signed a decree on awarding the detachment of the name "Horse Squad Especially meaningful name Ataman Punina. "
It should be noted that Leonid Punina had three brothers whose lives have been associated with military service. And they all during World War II served as a special significance in the squad commander in chief of the northern front. After the death of the commander L. Punin squad headed by his brother Alexander. Another brother Punina — Leo, while serving in the unit, was the chronicler of this unique reconnaissance and sabotage unit of the northern front.
In August 1917, the commander of the detachment is Stanislav Balakhovich because of the intrigues which the part of the officers and enlisted men left the party. Later S. Balakhovich brother Yu Balakhovich and part punintsev defected to the side of the Whites. And the experience that got hold of the officers while serving in the unit Punin was used in the formation of snow-white commanders of their own guerrilla groups.
Until now, in Latvia Leonid Punina consider public hero. It remains to impose that our motherland will not forget his own son, a hero and a defender — Ensign, Ataman squad special significance Leonid Punina.