The 27th Infantry - -
AEF Siberia

In 1918, the Russian government under the Bolshevik's, signed a separate peace treaty with the German government ending Russia's participation in World War I. This treaty dissolved the Eastern Front in Russia and released German troops to the Western Front in France. Because Russia had been an ally of the Western Powers, vast quantities of supplies had been shipped to Russian ports. The Allies were concerned the supplies would fall into the hands of warring Russian factions who the Allies feared would turn the supplies over to the Germans. Civil war had broken out in Russia among the Communists, the Reds, and factions loyal to the old Czarist regime the Whites, along with other less significant factions.

In Siberia, the Trans Siberian railroad was the only East-West transportation link in the entire country. Whoever controlled the railroad would also control the movement of the supplies stockpiled in the Russian port of Vladivostok, located in eastern Siberia on the Sea of Japan.

The Battalion departed Manila on 7 August, 1918, aboard the "Crook" arriving in Vladivostok on 16 August. The Battalion's mission was to assist the Regiment in safeguarding stockpiled war supplies in Vladivostok, protecting the Trans Siberian Railroad, and assisting the in the evacuation of the Czech Legion, which had fought its way from the Ukraine, across the breath of Russia, to Vladivostok.The 27th Regiment (commanded by Colonel Henry D. Styer) was not the only Allied force in Siberia. The U.S. 31st Infantry Regiment (the Polar Bears) as well as British, Canadian, Czech, Chinese, Italian, French and Japanese troops also participated in the expedition.All American forces fell under the command of General Graves.

The Battalion's first mission was to move to the Ussuri sector and operate with the 12th Division of the Japanese Army under the command of LTG Oi. (The Battalion would again reestablish their relationship with the 12th Division when the Battalion trained with the 12th Division's 30th Regiment during "Orient Shield 94".) From late August to early November, 1918 the Battalion helped secure the Trans Siberian Railroad from Vladivostok north to Khabarovsk. It was during this period that the Regiment earned its reputation for marching prowess, moving over 1000 miles in less than a month! In the first winter campaign the Battalion accompanied White Russian and Japanese forces in pursuit of the Bolsheviks or "Reds", who were retreating near Spasskoe and Ussuri. During the campaign, the Japanese and White Russians became weary from the tremendous cold and rapid pace of the pursuit and soon fell out alongside the route, unable to go on. But the men from the 27th Regiment, though subjected to the same hardships continued to advance and soon passed their allies, continuing their pursuit of the retreating Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were soon subjected to continuous attacks from different directions. The tireless soldiers of the Regiment exhausted the Communists as Russian Wolfhounds wear down a wolf, resulting in the capture of a Bolshevik strongpoint. The Japanese commander, GEN Yamada, despite his chagrin for the failure of his own troops, sent a note to the Regimental commander: "The Chief of the General Staff at Tokyo congratulates you upon your fast and able occupation of Khabarovsk."

From mid November 1918 until the Spring of 1920, the Battalion guarded the Railroad in the vicinity of Yefgenyefka, 200 miles north of Vladivostok. In the spring of 1920, the Regiment was given the responsibility to guard the Trans Siberian Railroad west toward lake Baikal. Companies A and B were ordered to the Lake Baikal sector while the remainder of the Battalion remained at Yefgenyefka erroneously called Spasskoe by the Americans. (Spasskoe was a town two hundred miles away from the railroad.) As a result of the Regiment"s actions in Siberia and earlier exploits in the Philippines, the Wolfhound legend was born; from this time forth, the Regiment and its Battalions would be known as the "Wolfhounds". In addition to its nickname, the Regiment's Coat of Arms was now complete. With its crest representing its first campaign in the Philippines, the Siberian service is represented by the blue Polar Bear with a white "S" for Siberia, outlined by an artillery shell. This was the emblem of the Allied force in Siberia.

In early January, 1920 The Battalion received orders to consolidate at Vladivostok for redeployment to the Philippines. On 17 January the Battalion, minus C and D embarked aboard the "Great Northern" and sailed to Manila arriving on 26 January. C and D company would not complete their arrival at Vladivostok until 25 February. With the remainder of the Regiment, C and D companies embarked aboard the "Thomas" on 10 March arriving in Manila on 17 March. While in the Philippines the Battalion(-) was headquartered in Manila, while C and D companies were headquartered at Cuartel de Infanteria. The next move would take the Battalion to Hawaii.


Regimental History Page            

     More pages on AEF: Siberia
Background on the Russian Intervention
Admiral V. Kolchak
Trans-Siberian Railroad
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Last Updated:  Sunday, December 07, 2008


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