THE NOBLE REVOLUTIONARY
Egorov's campaign, with the First Cavalry Army in the vanguard, appeared to have ended organized resistance to Bolshevik rule in European Russia. As the campaign came to an end, Trotsky began the conversion of some of the armies in the field that were not actively engaged to "labor armies." The first of what ultimately became eight labor armies was the Third Army of the Eastern Front, which in January 1920 was converted into the First Revolutionary Army of Labor. The plan was that the personnel of these armies would be used in rebuilding the civilian economy while retaining the organization and equipment of the other Red armies and that they would be sufficiently trained to rapidly return to military service in the event of an emergency ( SVE 7:126, 127).
Such an emergency developed almost at the same time that the first field armies were undergoing conversion. After being driven out of Rostov on the Don, Denikin's battered forces retreated to defensive positions behind the Don and the Manych. They were joined there by elements of the Don Army, which was retreating before the Southeastern Front. In mid-January, the Southeastern Front (now renamed the Caucasus Front), reinforced by the transfer of the Eighth Army and the First Cavalry Army from the Southern Front, launched a series of frontal attacks, which the Whites threw back with heavy Red casualties. The First Cavalry Army was especially hard hit; it suffered 3,000 casualties. Budenny and Voroshilov complained to the RVS of the Republic that the Caucasus Front commander, Vasilii Ivanovich Shorin, who had been a colonel in the old army, did not know how to employ cavalry. The RVS of the Republic responded