Who's Who - Alexander Kolchak

Alexander Kolchak Admiral Alexander Kolchak (1874-1920) commanded the Russian Black Sea fleet from 1916, and succeeded in harrying the Turkish navy in the sector until the advent of the Russian revolution brought about his recall and subsequent career fighting with anti-Bolshevik White forces.

Having established a notable reputation following his service during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Kolchak was appointed a captain with the Baltic Fleet upon the outbreak of war in August 1914.  Receiving a series of rapid promotions under Admiral von Essen he was finally appointed commander of Black Sea forces in July 1916, replacing Andrei Eberhardt.

Kolchak made effective use of his growing fleet to establish superiority over Turkish forces in the sector; in particular his large-scale use of mines set in place an effective blockade of hostile shipping in the Sea of Marmora.  He also set in place a policy of vigorous bombardment of port facilities and defences, and regularly attacked coastal shipping.

Despite the February Revolution of 1917 Kolchak retained command of Baltic Sea forces until, in July 1917, he was finally ousted by a sailor's Soviet.

Serving thereafter as his country's naval attaché in the U.S. Kolchak returned in time for the October Bolshevik revolution.  He set himself at the head of White forces in Siberia and succeeded in gaining control of the trans-Siberian railway, thereafter establishing a dictatorship at Omsk with himself as leader in February 1919.

Within a year Bolshevik Red Army forces had retaken much of Siberia and (courtesy of the Czech army) succeeded in arresting Kolchak.  He was subsequently put to death by firing squad on 7 February 1920.

'Billy' was the Australian nickname for a cooking-pot or can.

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