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The road to the Tartu Peace began with the battle on Keldrimägi

The road to the Tartu Peace began with the battle on Keldrimägi

Immediately before the 100th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty, the “North Coast” was talking with senior sergeant major training officer Aimar Kuldvere, who is now serving in the Alutaguse squad, who wrote a book about the history of the Viru Infantry Battalion. The author emphasizes that without the Viru Front, at the very beginning of the Liberation War, the Tartu Peace, perhaps, would not have reached.

Aimar Kuldvere, who published a brick-thick book Viru jalaväepataljon in November last year at SE&JS. 4. Eesti Rahvaväe polgust 4. Üksik jalaväepataljonini (Viru Infantry Battalion. From the 4th Regiment of the Estonian National Army to 4 infantry battalion "), confidently states that too little has been written about the military unit that played such an important role in the War of Independence and the reasons for this lie in the politics of its time.

Aimar Kuldvere and owner of SE&JS publishing house Sirje Endre

Kuldvere began collecting material for the book back in 2005; one of the reasons, he said, was that they began to appreciate the history of military units again. "Several military units - the Kuperyanovsky infantry battalion, 1st and 2nd regiments - have already received their book, and materials about the Viru infantry battalion, although they were collected before 1937, didn’t reach the publication," says Kuldvere .

- Nobody has written in sufficient detail about the 4th regiment of the Estonian People’s Army and the battles of the War of Independence that took place on the territory of present-day Ida-Virumaa. Attention went more to the Southern Front, the author finds.

So he set himself the goal of completing this work.

- Since I have no historical background, it took a lot of time to process the material. I copied the manuscript three or four times and looked for better solutions in the course of this. So that the story does not turn out to be too monotonous and is connected not only with military affairs, I expanded the subject. As a result, the book also uses many life stories and photographs of people from this region; the book tells the story of soldiers serving in the same unit. Thanks to this, the gap was filled. What do we still know about the war of liberation? Much has been said about Kuperyanov, acting on the Southern Front, and we are also talking a lot about armored trains. In 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, the history of the War of Independence was also released, in which not a word is said about the Viru Front, says Kuldvere.

Wines of the "era of silence"?

How did it happen? An author related to the army finds that the reason may lie in the so-called era of silence, since many of the warriors who were part of the regiment later became “vapses”.

- The then domestic policy led to obscurity and the Liberation War had the impression that it was happening only on the Southern Front. When I took up the manuscript, I came across a lot of historical facts that indicate that the first period of the War of Independence, its rearguard fights took place precisely in northern Estonia and primarily on the Viru Front. The military unit in question is important from the point of view of the history of Estonia, primarily because it was the first to come to grips with an external enemy.

In fact, in Estonia at that time there was no other unit except the 4th Regiment, the formation of which was again undertaken on November 22, 1918 in Narva (the formation of the regiment was first started on December 19, 1917. -Ed.). A regiment a month and a half acted at the front alone. His main task was to slow down the advance of the enemy. “The commander of the Viru Front was General Tynisson, whose monument stands on the central square of Johvi,” says Kuldvere.

Due to the lack of Estonian troops, even German units that were still in Estonia were hired to protect the recently gained independence.

"The first was a battle in Keldrimyagi"

“The history textbook says that the first battle of the Liberation War took place in Yoala.” This is a total lie. The war of liberation began with a battle on the other side of the Narva River. And after him there was a battle in Joala, ”Kuldvere clarifies.

“From November 26 (1918), soldiers from the Estonian military unit gradually took over the position of the Keldrimyag from the Germans. The defenders of the Keldrimyag were attacked by 2,800 Red Army soldiers who came along the St. Petersburg highway.

The battle, in which the Keldrimägi Upland appears as the site of the first battle of the Liberation War, unfolded in full on the morning of November 28 after a long artillery preparation of the enemy. At 5.30 the guns of the Red Army opened fierce fire on Narva, the targets were the city of Narva, Ivangorod, Keldrimää cemetery and Keldrimägi. The batteries fired from the villages of Zhorzhino (Novaya) and Zarechye (near the Yamburg cobblestone road). As a result of artillery fire in Ivangorod, several houses caught fire, the fire was directed mainly at the city, because the trenches on the eastern outskirts of Ivangorod were not affected by shelling.

At 6.30, enemy infantry appeared on the horizon. Chains of soldiers approached the city mainly along the Yamburg cobblestone road, walking on both sides of the road. Near the railway, Russian infantry units appeared on the western edge of the grove, located about 1200 meters east of Ivangorod, but the infantry attack was repulsed at 8 o'clock by machine gun and artillery fire, and in the afternoon all the Bolshevik attacks on Keldrimyag were repelled. Then the German units began to leave the trenches in the Keldrimägi. Estonians have also been ordered to retreat. The Germans at 15.30 blew up bridges across the river. Keldrimyagi played a role."

Amazing people

“The first two months of the war were magical, because the army really wasn’t - the actions of the units were not yet coordinated, and the external enemy was great. But, despite this, they managed to resist, and in the battle of Valkla on January 3, 1919, the offensive of Soviet Russia was stopped. Thanks to this, we can talk about Kuperyanov today, we finally came to the liberation of the territory of Estonia and to the Tartu Peace.

Can Kuldvere imagine himself in the place of the warriors of the War of Independence? "They were amazing people. One that played a role was the youthful courage of schoolchildren who did not know how to be afraid of anything. The other part was those who knew what lay ahead, they participated in the First World War. Their role propaganda also played, fear also arose: can we still confront a large Russia? However, history showed at that moment that we could! "

What does the Tartu world mean for Kuldvere? "The Tartu world is of great importance in the history of Estonia, primarily because it has become a birth certificate for the Republic of Estonia, which confirmed the borders and sovereignty of our state."

Aimar Kuldvere

Born March 10, 1973 in Põltsamaa.
He has served in the Estonian Defense Forces since 1993; He began in the then Viru separate infantry battalion, where he served until 2016, having gone from the senior group to the senior non-commissioned officer of the operational-training section. Then he continued his service in 2016-2017 at the Kalevsky Infantry Battalion in Paldiski. In 2017-2019, he served as the commander of a group of small arms in the service of training ranges of the army command. Since June 1, 2019, he has been the training commander in the Kaitseliita Alutaguse squad, where he ensures the organization of the structure and conduct of training, as well as the management of training throughout the squad.
Education: special secondary (military school of the Defense Forces, which he graduated in 1994). He completed professional courses up to the courses of staff non-commissioned officers.
Title: Senior sergeant major.


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