"Do not give up Petrograd!" The fierce battle for the cradle of revolution

Smoot. 1919 year. On 28 of September 1919, unexpectedly for the Reds, Yudenich’s army went on the offensive. Parts of the two red armies defending the Petrograd direction were defeated and driven back in different directions, the 7 Army to the northeast, the 15 Army to the southeast. The White Guards broke through the front, on October 11 they took Yamburg, October 13 - Luga, October 16 - Krasnoye Selo, October 17 - Gatchina.


"Do not give up Petrograd!" The fierce battle for the cradle of revolution

Defense of Petrograd 1919. Seeing the Red Army to the front. On the podium - G. E. Zinoviev and L. D. Trotsky


The Northwest Army, pursuing the Reds who were retreating in a panic, made transitions with battles along 30 – 40 kilometers per day. On October 18, General Yudenich ordered the 1 Corps of the North-West Army to launch an assault on Petrograd. On October 19, the 5 I White Lebanese Division captured the village of Ligovo, and by the evening of October 20, the troops of the 7 Red Army retreated to the Pulkovo Heights line, the last tactical line on the way to the northern capital.

Red Army Defense Breakthrough


The White Command was counting on occupying Petrograd by a sudden and powerful blow to the shortest direction Yamburg - Gatchina. Part of the generals of the Northwest Army (NWA) believed that before attacking Petrograd, it was necessary to secure the southern flank, take Pskov, or even choose the main Pskov direction. However, the prevailing opinion of those commanders who believed that success in a maneuvering civil war would bring a blow by the main forces in the shortest direction to Petrograd, despite the situation on the flanks. In the Pskov and Luga directions, only auxiliary, distracting strikes were inflicted. NWF flanks covered Estonian troops: in the north - the 1th Estonian Division, in the south (Pskov direction) - the 2th Estonian Division.

The Red Command, weakened by the apparent weakness of the previously defeated NWA, by peaceful negotiations with Estonia, missed the enemy’s preparations for the offensive. The intelligence was poorly set and did not reveal the plans of the White Guards. In addition, when as a result of the September counterattack of the Red Army the whites were defeated and driven back from Petrograd and the immediate danger to the city passed, many of the most combat-ready units, commanders, commissars and communists were transferred to the Southern Front, where Denikin’s army broke through and the situation was extremely dangerous . Therefore, the 7 I Red Army (about 25 thousand bayonets and sabers, 148 guns and 2 armored trains), which occupied the defense directly in the Petrograd direction, on a stretch of 250 km, was noticeably weakened and not ready for a surprise enemy attack.

On September 28, 1919, units of the NWA, with the aim of diverting the Reds from the direction of the main attack, launched an offensive in the Luga and Pskov directions. Part of the 2nd Rifle Corps (4th Division), supported by tanks, which were used for the first time in this sector of the front, easily broke through the enemy’s front over a wide area. The next day the offensive was continued, but without the participation of a tank detachment. Tanks had to be returned to the base in Gdov due to poor condition of engines and broken roads. In the first few days, White developed an offensive, but from October 1, the movement slowed noticeably, as the Red Command transferred large reserves to this direction. The Reds tried to counterattack, but without success. On October 13, the whites took Luga, on October 17 they reached the Strugi Bely station, intercepting the Pskov-Luga railway. On this, White’s successes, in view of their extremely small numbers and lack of reserves in this area, ended practically.

In the future, the White Guards could still advance on 20 - 30 km east of the Pskov-Luga road. By October 21, when the decisive battles for the Pulkovo Heights took place, parts of the NWA on the southern flank occupied the Batetskaya junction on the Petrograd-Dno and Luga-Novgorod railways. At the same time, the 2-th Estonian division, which opposed Pskov, showed complete passivity, without entering into battle throughout the operation. Although the Estonians could quite easily capture Pskov and divert significant forces of the Red Army. The passivity of the Estonians led to the fact that the southern flank of the NWA remained open to counterattack of the Red Army.

Thus, the White offensive in the Luga and Pskov directions, despite fairly modest successes, solved the main problem. The Soviet command, believing that it was in the Pskov direction that the enemy strikes the main blow, transferred large forces to the Pskov and Luga region, removing them from the Yamburg section.


Source: https://sankt_peterburg.academic.ru


To Petrograd


On the northern flank, whites and Estonians launched an offensive on October 8, 1919. From the sea they were provided by British forces. fleet and Estonian Navy. The left flank of the Northwest Army advanced along the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, with the main task of capturing the Gray Horse (Peredovaya from October 21) and Krasnoflotsky (former Krasnaya Gorka) forts. The operation was led by Estonian Admiral Johan Pitka.

On October 10 of 1919, NWA launched an offensive on the main Yamburg-Petrograd direction. Yudenich’s army (2-I, 3-I and 5-I divisions of the 1-corps) quite easily broke through the enemy’s defenses. Already 10 October White captured the crossing of the river. Meadow, and 11 on October, with the support of the shock tank battalion captured Yamburg. Here, the white tanks stopped for a long time, as did the armored trains and SZA armored vehicles. The only railway bridge over the river. The meadow was blown up while leaving the Yamburgs red, while other bridges in the area could not support the weight of the tanks. Tanks managed to be transported only on October 20. Armored trains and armored cars were delayed even longer, until the completion of the repair of the railway bridge in early November (at that time the whites were already broken and retreated).

In pursuit of the retreating reds in a panic, the White Guards began to develop an offensive along the Yamburg - Gatchina railway line. The white parts, almost without resistance, made transitions along 30 – 40 kilometers per day. 7-I red army suffered a heavy defeat, the units fled in chaos and panic, without communication with the command and even without enemy pressure. Spare regiments of the Petrograd military district, hastily sent to the front, simply fell apart along the road, of which deserted up to 50 - 70% of the personnel.

On October 16, White occupied Red Village, October 17 - Gatchina. On the same day, the headquarters of the 7 Red Army from Detsky Selo moved to Petrograd. A serious threat loomed over the heart of the revolution. By the evening of October 17, the White Guards were in 15 km from the Nikolaev (October) railway. Having cut this highway, Yudenich’s troops could cut off Petrograd from the possibility of delivering basic reinforcements. This would greatly complicate the defense of the city. However, the Vetrenko 3 Division advancing in this direction did not comply with the order to seize the Tosno station. The main forces of the division headed towards Petrograd, which gave the Reds time to concentrate large forces in this area and cover the iron ram.

On October 18, the commander in chief of the NWA Yudenich ordered the 1 corps to launch an assault on Petrograd. 19 October 5-I Liven Division White occupied the village of Ligovo. By the evening of October 20, the Red Army retreated to the line of the Pulkovo Heights, the last tactical line on the way to the city. The headquarters of the red 6th Infantry Division moved to Petrograd, to the Baltic Station. 21 and 22 of October were bloody battles for the possession of Pulkovo heights. Having captured these heights, the whites could conduct artillery fire at the Putilovsky and Obukhov factories with their workers' settlements.

In the meantime, the advance of the Whites and Estonians on the northern flank failed. The operation to seize the forts of the Forward and Red Hill did not lead to success. The garrisons of the forts, despite the fire of the naval guns of the Estonian fleet, raids by Estonian and British aircraft, attacks by ground forces, held their ground. At the same time, active fire was fired at sea and land targets, forcing the enemy to withdraw. In addition, the forces of the British Navy and Estonia were distracted by the Bermondt-Avalov Western Volunteer Army, which, instead of helping the NWA attack on Petrograd, confronted the Latvian government and tried to capture Riga. This led to the fact that the Reds left the entire coastal flank, where Estonian and English landing forces were supposed to operate with the support of the British Navy. As a result, red troops from the areas of Peterhof, Oranienbaum, and Strelna began to threaten the left flank of the NWA, advancing on Petrograd. Since October 19, the Reds have been attacking Ropsha. And the ships of the Red Baltic Fleet were able to land marines on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland and fire at enemy positions.

"Do not let Petrograd!"


It is worth noting that by the beginning of the assault on Petrograd by the army of Yudenich, the situation had already changed in favor of the Red Army. NWA was originally small in number, had no second echelons and reserves. That is, it was necessary to storm Petrograd with the same units that began the campaign, tired, exhausted. Tanks and armored trains at the time of decisive battles near Petrograd remained behind. And the enemy all the time received fresh reinforcements, reserves. It was not possible to intercept all the railways to Petrograd. The calculation of support for the Estonian army and the British fleet was not justified. As a result, the northern and southern flanks of the Yudenich army remained open. The Bermondt-Avalov Western Volunteer Army, which was to develop an offensive from Dvinsk to Velikiye Luki, in order to cut the Nikolaev railway in the future, breaking the ties between Petrograd and Moscow, launched its own war in the Baltic states. Bermondt-Avalov began a campaign in Riga. This caused a terrible commotion in the region. The British fleet, the best Estonian and Latvian regiments, were sent to Riga, which led to a strong weakening of the anti-Bolshevik forces.

In the meantime, the Reds restored emergency defenses. The Red Command came to its senses after the first shock and strengthened the defense. The headquarters of the Petrograd fortified area sent to the front 18 thousand soldiers with 59 guns from the garrison of Petrograd (in total there were more than 200 thousand people in the Petrograd district). The Baltic Fleet marines were landed on the coastal flank - up to 11 thousand soldiers to hold the coast and forts. Detachments composed of the most motivated fighters, communists, cadets of red commanders, Baltic Fleet sailors, workers, etc. were transferred to the front. Reinforcements arrived in the city. So on the basis of military units that arrived from the Eastern and Southern fronts, the Bashkir group of forces was formed. On October 17, the Bashkir Separate Cavalry Division and the Bashkir Separate Rifle Brigade were cast to defend Pulkovo Heights.

On October 15 on 1919, when the catastrophic situation in the Petrograd direction became obvious, a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) Was held. A resolution was adopted: “Do not turn in Petrograd. Remove from the White Sea front the maximum number of people for the defense of the Petrograd region. To help Petrograd by sending some cavalry ... ” Trotsky was sent to the cradle of the revolution; on the 17 he arrived in the city.

Trotsky himself, by cruel methods, restored order to parts of the frustrated 7 Army. The red units now showed the most fierce resistance, fought for every inch of the earth. The “Internal Defense Region” of Petrograd and the “Internal Defense Headquarters”, which were to organize defense inside the city, were functioning during the First Spring Offensive of the White Guards. In the 11 districts of Petrograd, their own headquarters and armed detachments were created - a battalion with a machine gun command and artillery. Plans for street battles were being developed, streets and bridges were blocked by machine-gun points. Preparing the evacuation and destruction of the most important facilities. Three lines of defense were prepared inside the city. On October 20, the mobilization of all workers from the age of 18 to 43 was announced. The city’s communists were mobilized, the communists also arrived from other places in Russia, and the Komsomol members were also mobilized. Improved supply of the city and the army. All this led to a radical change in the battle. Already 21 October 7-I Red Army went on the counterattack.


Bashkir group of troops in Petrograd


To be continued ...
Author:
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Battle for the North Caucasus. How to suppress the Terek Uprising
Battle for the North Caucasus. CH 2. December battle
Battle for the North Caucasus. CH 3. The January accident of the 11 Army
Battle for the North Caucasus. CH 4. How the 11 army died
Battle for the North Caucasus. CH 5. Capture of Kizlyar and the Terrible
Battle for the North Caucasus. CH 6. Furious assault of Vladikavkaz
How Georgia tried to seize Sochi
How the Whites crushed the Georgian invaders
The war of February and October as a confrontation between two civilization projects
How did the "Flight to the Volga"
How Kolchak's army broke through to the Volga
Catastrophe of the Don Cossacks
Verkhniyon uprising
How "Great Finland" planned to seize Petrograd
"All to fight with Kolchak!"
Frunze. Red Napoleon
The missed opportunities of the army of Kolchak
May offensive of the Northern Corps
How white broke through to Petrograd
Battle for the South of Russia
Strategic change on the southern front. Manych operation
Crimea on fire Russian distemper
Crimea in 1918-1919. Intervents, local authorities and whites
How did the uprising of ataman Grigoriev
Nikifor Grigoriev, "ataman of the rebel forces of Kherson region, Zaporizhia and Tavria"
Odessa operation ataman Grigoriev
Uprising in the Ukraine. How failed the “Blitzkrieg” of Grigorievka
Ufa operation. How were defeated the best parts of the army of Kolchak
Moscow campaign army Denikin
"All to fight with Denikin!"
Battle of the Urals
The defeat of the Siberian army. How the Red Army liberated Perm and Yekaterinburg
The defeat of Kolchak in the Chelyabinsk battle
August Counterattack of the Southern Front
The battle for Siberia. Recent operations Kolchak
Pyrrhic victory of the Kolchak armies on Tobol
Operation "White Sword". Beat at the heart of the revolution
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  1. Cartalon 9 October 2019 06: 19 New
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    Well, in general, everything was always done for White through one place
    1. 210ox 9 October 2019 06: 39 New
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      +6
      Both sides went through one place. But then there was a complete tear-off, a common struggle must be waged, and as always there was a wise guy (Avalov ibn Bermond) who decided to catch a fish in troubled waters.
  2. igordok 9 October 2019 07: 43 New
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    On October 13 White took Luga, October 17 went to the station Strugi White, intercepting the railway Pskov - Luga.

    Today, this station is called Strugi Red. The landfill, next to this village is now called Strugokrasnensky, and 76 DShD is used. Although in Soviet times, this training ground was called - Vladimir Camps. The name received, even in tsarist times, by the name of the Grand Duke.
    1. Doliva63 9 October 2019 18: 01 New
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      Quote: igordok
      On October 13 White took Luga, October 17 went to the station Strugi White, intercepting the railway Pskov - Luga.

      Today, this station is called Strugi Red. The landfill, next to this village is now called Strugokrasnensky, and 76 DShD is used. Although in Soviet times, this training ground was called - Vladimir Camps. The name received, even in tsarist times, by the name of the Grand Duke.

      Maybe not Camps, but Camps? An example is Cossack Camps near Rostov, but in vernacular, yes, also Camps. And the landfill there, too, was once good drinks
      1. igordok 9 October 2019 18: 07 New
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        The place is called Vladimir Camp, but in vernacular, it is called in the plural, and it is the camp. hi
        1. Doliva63 9 October 2019 20: 07 New
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          Quote: igordok
          The place is called Vladimir Camp, but in vernacular, it is called in the plural, and it is the camp. hi

          He served nearby, but somehow this Camp was not reflected, alas.
  3. Aviator_ 9 October 2019 07: 59 New
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    The topic is very interesting. Execution by the author is careless, there are repetitions.
  4. antivirus 9 October 2019 08: 18 New
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    directed to the front, just fell apart along the road, of which up to 50 - 70% of the personnel deserted.

    and then the victors looked and put up with such deserters and 37 g they became innocent victims of repression
  5. Dalton 9 October 2019 08: 21 New
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    It is amazing how Yudenich did the maximum with the meager forces - he reached the gates of Petrograd
    That is what the commander of the Suvorov school means.
    Cities, however, still could not be taken. Street fighting is a very costly and viscous thing
    1. Moskovit 9 October 2019 09: 23 New
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      Almost the same thing the Germans did in the Second World War. Lesson for the future. The flight time from Limitrophs to St. Petersburg is 4 minutes.
  6. rusin 9 October 2019 08: 31 New
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    The reason for the Soviet victory is very simple: if, under bloody tsarism in February 1917, people rebelled because they didn’t bake bread fast enough, then during the Soviet era people died of hunger, lived in poverty and were hunched for weeks for soldering crackers for the sake of the International and the world revolution! Well, the brilliant decisions of the most humane Lenin and the kind Stalin:
    22 / X-1919 year.
    Comrade Trotsky. Yesterday Zinoviev’s demand for new regiments somewhat “embarrassed” me. Is it true about Estonians?
    I nevertheless handed Sklyansky and the order for sending from Tula (again from Tula!) Was given.
    But to take further from the reserve of the southern front is not safe. Isn't it better to search elsewhere?
    Ending Yudenich (namely ending - finishing off) is devilishly important for us. If the offensive begins, is it possible to mobilize another 20 thousand St. Petersburg workers plus 10 thousand bourgeois, put machine guns behind them, shoot several hundred and achieve real mass pressure on Yudenich? ...
    Hey. Lenin.
    1. Moskovit 9 October 2019 09: 06 New
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      What did these unfortunate people, who were hunchbacked for crackers, did not follow those who baked bread at least slowly? Will you continue to live in captivity of illusions?
      1. rusin 9 October 2019 09: 14 New
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        Quote: Moskovit
        What did these unfortunate people, who were hunchbacked for crackers, did not follow those who baked bread at least slowly? Will you continue to live in captivity of illusions?

        It is clearly said: because in Petrograd there was food under the accursed tsarism, but there was no International! Indeed, for five years of Soviet power in 1922, the population of Petrograd decreased by half compared with 1917, but there were no riots, because the people fed on dreams of the inevitable victory of the world revolution!
      2. Sasha_rulevoy 9 October 2019 23: 03 New
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        Quote: Moskovit
        What did these unfortunate people, who were hunchbacked for crackers, did not follow those who baked bread at least slowly?


        So Ilyich directly said, a bread monopoly, a bread card would be stronger than the Convention with its guillotine. "The guillotine only broke active resistance, but this is not enough for us." For White, you dodge the draft, violate the order, while they still find you and punish you. But the Bolsheviks do not even need to look for you, you yourself will run to the window in which they give out bread, wagging their tail. The Bolsheviks have a monopoly on food, except for their small window you can’t get bread anywhere, neither earn nor buy.
    2. voyaka uh 9 October 2019 22: 16 New
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      "Is it possible to mobilize another 20 thousand St. Petersburg workers plus 10 thousand bourgeois,
      put behind their machine guns "////
      ----
      So Trotsky and Lenin and acted the whole Civil.
      Therefore, they won.
      Forced mobilization. Mobilized were thrown across
      a train thousands of kilometers from home, trained to shoot,
      and threw at the enemy. People were in a bind:
      if you don’t run forward with the rifle, they’ll shoot them anyway.
      So the mass of the Red Army was created. There were, of course, ideological volunteers,
      but the mass was created from forcibly mobilized.
      White did not dare to take such measures.
      There were not enough volunteers. White lost.
      1. Moskovit 10 October 2019 07: 16 New
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        Amazing revelations about the Civil. Have you heard of White’s mobilization? Did Olgovich bite you?
        And in your army you can not follow orders and refuse to transfer to other areas? Well, in other armies of the world too.
        And by the way, Trotsky proposed mobilizing St. Petersburg workers to defend Petrograd. What a scoundrel!
        1. voyaka uh 10 October 2019 10: 22 New
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          St. Petersburg workers, by the way, were mostly against the Bolsheviks. These were skilled workers with high salaries. They worked in military factories and had armor from the front of the 1st World War.
          From the October Revolution, they had only trouble. Lenin in St. Petersburg was supported not by workers, but by soldiers and sailors who did not want to go to the front (the Bolsheviks promised to end the war).
          But the St. Petersburg workers were forcibly mobilized, thrust into the echelons and brought to fight against Kolchak or Denikin. Not really asking whether they are for Lenin and Trotsky or against.
          But White did not dare to carry out extensive mobilization, hoping for volunteers.
          ----
          And I do not tell you what is good and what is bad, and who is right and who is wrong. And that was.
          1. Okolotochny 10 October 2019 13: 18 New
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            St. Petersburg workers, by the way, were mostly against the Bolsheviks.

            And to prove such a statement is, with what?
  7. Olgovich 9 October 2019 09: 33 New
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    Defense of Petrograd 1919. Seeing the Red Army to the front. On the podium - G. E. Zinoviev and L. D. Trotsky

    Two Bolshevik heroes:

    1.The Lion of the Revolution Trotsky recognized as a power agent of Germany with pre-revolutionary experience and agent of GESTAPO yes
    2. The same happened to Zinoviev.
    3.It was also shot -ALL the first composition of the Lenin Politburo

    German agents .... defended ... petrograd belay request
  8. Alexey RA 9 October 2019 13: 33 New
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    The garrisons of the forts, despite the fire of the naval guns of the Estonian fleet, the raids of Estonian and British aircraft, attacks by ground forces, kept their positions.

    Oil painting: the mighty Estonian fleet shells the Red Hill. smile
    In fact, Estonian ships supported the coastal flank exactly as long as KG artillery did not pay attention to them. This was followed by 2-3 shots from 12 "- and the Estonian ships departed. For those who wanted to climb EM and KL from their 102-mm and 120-mm under the fire of the fort with 6", 10 "and 12" there was not much.