After leaving for Europe, the general became one of the central figures of the White emigration. Up to 100 thousand people entered the general military alliance under his leadership; they were waiting for the right moment to return the crown to Russia with arms in hand.
Elite of the Livonian Order
Close to the White movement Wrangel prescribed pedigree. Representatives of this wealthy noble family, starting from the XII century, chose military craft for themselves. Their fame spread to Livonia, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Sweden. Two dozen generals, a couple of governors, diplomats, a senator, a minister and a navigator — the surname had no less talent than money. After the accession of the Baltic states to Russia, the family moved to the service of the Russian emperor. At various points in the country, Wrangel’s mansions now stood - majestic, European-style buildings. After scrupulous research, scientists found out that eight Wrangels took part in the Battle of Borodino alone, three of whom died.
When Japan and Russia entered the war, Pyotr Nikolayevich was 26 years old. Successes on the battlefield forced the chiefs to look at Baron Wrangel favorably. Two years after the end of the war, he was called to one of the most elite subdivisions where Wrangel traditionally served, the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment with the rank of lieutenant. By the beginning of the First World War, he had served as captain of the Horse Guards. Desperate cavalry attack - "calling card" Wrangel. In the battle of Causeni, he and his squadron attacked the enemy’s artillery battery in the equestrian ranks. The Germans retreated, but this victory was worth huge human losses - the Russians lost 81 people killed and 293 wounded. Representatives of the most famous noble families were killed in battle.
The fellow soldiers noted the amazing working capacity of the Baron, which even tired him. Wrangel could not sit idle and did not give peace to anyone around, even if the regiment had been in reserve for weeks. In addition, Pyotr Nikolayevich was notable for his impulsive temper - once, as he exploded, he threw a person out the window. Fortunately, it was the first floor.
War of two vanities
The abdication of Nicholas II from the throne for the army was marked by chaos, and in this Baron Wrangel saw a serious miscalculation of the military leaders. “In these decisive moments, nothing was done to explain the army of the incident, no attempt to master the psychology of the army. On this basis, inevitably, a whole series of misunderstandings should have occurred. Contradictory, sometimes completely meaningless interpretations of the renunciations of the Sovereign and the Grand Duke (one of the infantry regiment commanders explained to his soldiers that “the sovereign went mad”), confused and obscured the true situation in the concept of the troops, ”Peter Nikolayevich wrote in his words memoirs. Democratization of the army, according to Wrangel, finally ruined the Russian armed forces.
The beginning of the civil war the baron met in Yalta. In the Crimea, nothing resembled about the revolution — it was the same calm sea, a measured rhythm of life and deserted streets. According to the memoirs of Peter Nikolaevich, the peninsula was as if cut off from Russia, Bolshevik newspapers did not even reach here. However, in December 1917, the Soviets were in power in Sevastopol.
Wrangel and his family almost fell victim to mob violence. The commander managed to free himself and flee to Kiev - anti-Bolshevik forces flocked here from different parts of the country.
Alexander Krivoshein, Peter Wrangel and Pavel Shatilov
Wrangell joined the Volunteer Army. The nature of the "black baron" remained as active and restless - if he was absent from the front, he traveled around the Crimea and in one day held about a dozen meetings with representatives of political organizations, merchants and clergy. Baron spoke about Anton Ivanovich Denikin as follows: “General Denikin made an impression of a thoughtful, solid, slouchy, purely Russian person.
He had the reputation of an honest soldier, a brave, capable and possessing a great military erudition chief. " In his memoirs, Wrangel lashed out at OSVAG, the propaganda body of the Volunteer Army, initiated by Denikin. Firstly, OSVAG cost the government crazy money; secondly, his staff made up secret reports about the closest associates of Anton Ivanovich. In response, Wrangel distributed caustic pamphlets exposing the white general. In short, the relationship went wrong from the very beginning.
The Black Baron Reforms did not have faith
Under the leadership of Pyotr Nikolayevich, the White units fought successfully in the Kuban and the North Caucasus, and Novorossiysk and Tsaritsyn were captured. “Tsaritsyn was in a terrible state. In winter, terrible epidemics raged in the city, they did not have time to bury the dead. According to residents, up to 12 thousand corpses were dumped in the ravine. The streets were a dumping ground ... Within a few days, our parish began to revive in our parish. Stores began to open gradually, ”the commander recalled.
In April 1920, after Denikin resigned from his post as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Southern Russia, Wrangel was left alone with depleted white troops. The number of volunteers decreased by about 7 times: about 25 thousand people remained in the ranks. As Pyotr Nikolayevich had foreseen, the Cossacks, as they liberated their lands, refused further struggle. Wrangel attended to the restoration of parts of the regular cavalry and severely punished the soldiers for looting. There was a lack of experienced officers. In his memoirs, Wrangell conveys the atmosphere of chaos that engulfed the army. “Poorly supplied units were fed exclusively by the population, putting an unbearable burden on it. Despite the large influx of volunteers from the newly occupied army places, their numbers almost did not increase. The rear was packed with evaders, a huge number of whom safely settled down to incredibly overgrown endless offices and institutions. ”
To attract supporters, Wrangel initiates land reform in Crimea. He promises land to the peasants for ransom. All free areas are sown with grain. Production started on the peninsula, jobs appeared. In 1920, the Crimea was the only territory in Europe that exported grain to the external market. The agrarian reform “worked”, even though the peasants accepted it with suspicion - will the baron not give the reverse direction to the transformations?
The Russian army under the leadership of Wrangel occupied the Northern Tavria. In October 1920, a truce was concluded between Poland and Russia, and the red units left the Polish front. A month later, they broke through to the Crimea. Wrangell began preparing evacuation to Constantinople.
In Europe, Peter Nikolaevich created the Russian All-Military Union, the number of which reached 100 thousand people. The leader of the White movement died of tuberculosis in Belgium in 1928.