Pyotr Nikolaevich Wrangel (1878-1928)

General Pyotr Wrangel
Baron Wrangel was born on August 27, 1887, in the city of Novoaleksandrovsk, Kovno Governorate. Wrangel graduated from the Rostov Real School and the Mining Institute of Empress Catherine II in St. Petersburg. In September 1891, Wrangel began serving as a private in the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment. Wrangel also participated in the Russo-Japanese War. In 1913, he received the rank of rotmistr and became a cavalry squadron commander, entering in the same position the First World War.

After the October Revolution, Wrangel fled to Crimea. On January 11, 1918, the Bolsheviks arrested him but he was later released. After his release, he went to Kiev to negotiate with Hetman Skoropadsky about the fight against the Bolsheviks. However, he did not support the position of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and, together with his family, left for the Don.¹
There, in Ekaterinodar in August 1918, he joined the Volunteer Army, where he was made head of the division, then of the First Cavalry Corps (as a lieutenant general). On January 10, 1919, General Wrangel was appointed commander of the Caucasian Volunteer Army. On November 26, 1919, he was appointed commander of the Volunteer Army and commander-in-chief of the Kharkov Oblast. Due to the conflict between Wrangel and General Denikin, on February 8, 1920, the latter signed an order “on dismissal from service” of General Wrangel.
At the end of February 1920, he left Crimea and arrived in Constantinople. But already on March 18, 1920, Wrangel was summoned by Denikin to attend a meeting of the Council of the Armed Forces of the South of Russia (VSYuR), where he was unanimously elected as the new head of VSYuR, which he renamed the “Russian Army”.² At the end of October 1920, the Russian Army, under pressure from the Reds, retreated to Crimea, and a month later was evacuated to Constantinople.

After the evacuation, Wrangel tried to consolidate the military units of the Russian Army located in the camps in Gallipoli and on the island of Lemnos. He organized the transfer of the Russian Army remnants to Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. On September 1, 1924, Peter Wrangel ordered the creation of the White movement army—the Russian All-Military Union (ROVS)—, which was supported by Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich.³ In September 1927, Pyotr Nikolaevich Wrangel moved with his family to Brussels.

In March 1928, Koch’s bacillus was discovered in Wrangel, and after that, fleeting consumption. On April 25, 1928, Wrangel died after illness. The general was buried on April 28 in a temporary crypt at the Brussels cemetery of Ixelles. On October 6, 1928, the solemn reburial of the general took place in Belgrade in the Church of the Holy Trinity. Wrangel left behind his memoirs, entitled “Notes”, which were published posthumously in 1928.
[1] Karpenko, Sergey. ‘Vrangel’ Petr Nikolayevich (1878 - 1928)’. Novyy istoricheskiy vestnik, no. 1(3) (2001): 177–85.
[2] Bocharnikov, Ivan. ‘General Lieutenant Vrangel’ Petr Nikolayevich. Posledniy glavnokomanduyushchiy russkoy armii’. Chelovecheskiy capital, no. 11(143) (2020): 11–33. doi:10.25629/HC.2020.11.01.
[3] Rutych, Nikolay. Biograficheskiy spravochnik vysshikh chinov Dobrovol’cheskoy armii i Vooruzhonnykh sil Yuga Rossii: Materialy k istorii belogo dvizheniya. Moscow: Regnum, 1997.
[4] Chuvardin, German. ‘Baron Petr Nikolayevich Vrangel’ kak predstavitel’ rossiyskoy voyennoy elity nachala KHKH v’. Vestnik Rossiyskogo universiteta druzhby narodov, Istoriya Rossii, no. 1 (2010): 118–31.

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