Victories of Denikin’s army in New Russia and Little Russia

On August 18 on 1919, the Red Front in Novorossia collapsed; units of the 12-th Soviet Army were surrounded in this area. 23 — On 24 of August Denikin’s troops took Odessa, and on 31 of August they took Kiev. In many ways, the relatively easy victories of Denikin’s in New Russia and Little Russia were related to the internal problems of the Bolsheviks in the Ukrainian SSR and the activation of other enemies of Soviet Russia.

Victories of Denikin’s army in New Russia and Little Russia

The troops of General N.E. Bredov enter Kiev on Sophia Square, 31 on August 1919.

Victory Denikin in New Russia and Little Russia

The offensive of the Volunteer Army in the Kursk direction covered the movement of the Denikin strike groups in Little Russia and New Russia from the east. While the 1th Army Corps of General Kutepov fought on the outskirts of the Kursk fortified area, the 3th Separate Corps of General Schilling left the Crimea and in early August 1919, with the support of the White Black Sea Fleet, captured Kherson and Nikolaev. Then the 3-th corps aimed at Odessa.

On August 18, the Red Front in New Russia collapsed. The forces of the 12-th Red Army, which stood at the front of Kiev - Odessa - Kherson, were diverted to the east. Odessa was defended by the 47-I division, but it had extremely low combat efficiency, since it began to be formed in the city only in the summer by 1919 from mobilized local residents who were not distinguished by high fighting spirit. In general, the Reds had for the defense of the city 8-10 thousand people, but most of them had low moral and combat training. But the red command and representatives of the Soviet government could not organize strong resistance. Panic started in Odessa. There were rumors of a huge white landing and enemy fleet. In addition, the city was in a dangerous situation due to the peasant uprising in the district. On the night of August 23, a white squadron under the command of the captain of the 1 rank, Osteletsky, together with the auxiliary fleet of the British fleet, appeared suddenly at Sukhoi Lyman and landed troops under the command of Colonel Tugan-Mirza-Baranovsky (Consolidated Dragoon Regiment - more than 900 fighters).

The Red Command could not organize the defense of the coast, so the white landing landed calmly. Movement to the city also took place with virtually no resistance. The batteries and units along the way surrendered and went over to the white side. The Russian cruiser "Cahul" ("General Kornilov") and the English "Karradok" followed the coast along with the advancement of the landing and opened fire on the squares at the request of the landing. At the same time, an uprising of clandestine officer organizations began in Odessa. At the very beginning of the uprising, the building of the Odessa Cheka, the headquarters of the Defense Council and the headquarters of the military district were seized, and many red leaders were arrested. There was no particular resistance anywhere.

By noon, learning about the enemy landing, all the top red leaders fled from the city — the military commissar of the district, the chairman of the Defense Council of the Odessa military district Boris Kraevsky, the chairman of the Odessa Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Yan Gamarnik and the commander of the 45 Division Iona Yakir. Until the end, only the chairman of the Odessa Provincial Executive Committee of the Council of Workers 'and Soldiers' Deputies Ivan Klimenko remained. This led to the failure of defense and evacuation measures. Attempts by individual red units to organize resistance were suppressed by ship fire. The mobilized Red Army soldiers of the 47 division simply ran home at the first sounds of artillery shelling. An attempt to evacuate from the area of ​​the railway station, where large forces of the Reds gathered, was thwarted by ship fire.

Thus, a relatively small white landing with the support of naval artillery and the rebellious Odessa officer organizations captured the huge city by the night of 23 August 1919. By the morning of 24 August, all of Odessa was under the control of the White Guards. Denikinites captured rich trophies. On August 25, the Red Army, with the support of an armored train, tried to recapture the city. However, the naval artillery again worked well - its armored train was destroyed by fire, and the railway track was badly damaged. The Reds finally retreated north. Having lost Odessa, the Reds were forced to leave the entire south-west of Little Russia. The southern group of troops of the 12 army under the command of Yakir (45 and 58 infantry divisions, Kotovsky’s cavalry brigade) was surrounded, and began to retreat along the Petlyura rear to Zhitomir to join the main forces of the 12 army. Parts of the Southern Group marched with battles over 400 km, on September 19 occupied Zhytomyr and joined forces. In September and October of the 1919 of the year, the 12-I army held defenses on both banks of the Dnieper north of Kiev.

The group of General Yuzefovich (2 Army and 5 Army Cavalry Corps) was advancing in the Kiev direction. This offensive continued in August, when the red Southern Front launched a counteroffensive and created a threat in the Kharkov direction. The 5th Cavalry Corps captured Konotop and Bakhmut, interrupting the direct connection between Kiev and Moscow. At the same time, the 2-th Army Corps, moving on both banks of the Dnieper and overturning units of the 14-th Red Army, went to Kiev and the White Church. On August 17 (30), the troops of General Bredov crossed the Dnieper and entered Kiev almost simultaneously with the Petliurites advancing from the south. Even a joint parade of troops was planned. However, after several provocations and shootings, Bredov gave the Petliurists 24 hours to evacuate from the city. 31 August 1919 Kiev remained with the White Guards.

Subsequently, the white troops of the Kiev region and Novorossiya, from the north, east and south, gradually occupied the territory between the Dnieper and the Black Sea. The remnants of the right-bank group of the 14-th Soviet Army retreated beyond the Dnieper.

Armored cruiser General Kornilov (formerly Cahul)

About the reasons for the easy victory of Denikin’s army in Little Russia

It is worth noting that in many respects the relatively easy victories of Denikin’s in New Russia and Little Russia were related to the internal problems of the Bolsheviks in the Ukrainian SSR and the activation of other enemies of Soviet Russia. So, in Ukraine-Little Russia, in parallel with the war of white and red, there was a peasant and rebel war, a criminal revolution.

The policy of "war communism" in the Ukrainian SSR was superimposed on existing problems and contradictions, and caused new ones. As a result, the Reds had strong positions only in cities, at the locations of military units and along the railways along which troops were deployed. Next was the power of either local governments and self-defense units, or atamans and bateks, or a zone of anarchy and chaos. Against the backdrop of the defeats of the Red Army at the front, the White began a new wave of atamanism. Atamans had thousands of soldiers with artillery, their trains and steamers subordinate. They controlled vast rural areas. The Red Army, associated with the struggle against the whites, could not divert significant forces to suppress them. In addition, as already noted more than once, the red units created in Little Russia and New Russia, mainly from former rebels and partisans, had poor combat effectiveness and discipline. At the first signs of a real threat, such Red Army soldiers quickly “repainted” as Petliurites, White Guards, “Green”, etc.

At the same time, the Polish threat intensified. In the spring and early summer of 1919, the army of General Haller, formed in France, arrived in Poland. Pilsudski immediately pursued a policy of ardent nationalism. The Poles, taking advantage of the collapse of the neighboring great powers - Russia and Germany, began to create "Great Poland from sea to sea. Polish troops captured Poznan and Silesia. In June, the Poles entered Grodno and Vilna, despite the protests of Lithuania, which considered these cities to be its own. However, the Lithuanian nationalists did not have large battalions to defend their claims, but the Poles did. The Polish troops moved to Little Russia, captured Novograd-Volynsky. Taking advantage of the fact that the forces of the Western Ukrainian people's republic went to the aid of Petliura and fought with the Red Army, Polish divisions invaded Galicia and captured it. The Western Ukrainian People’s Republic disappeared, its territory became part of Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania. The government of Petrunkevich fled. The Galician army for the most part crossed into the territory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (a small part of the “Sich Riflemen” fled to Czechoslovakia).

So the Poles began the process of creating Poland "from sea to sea." Their appetites grew with the development of successful expansion. Having expanded their power at the expense of Germany, Lithuania and Galician Rus, the Poles moved to White Russia. 8 August 1919 g. Polish troops captured Minsk. Their offensive also captured the northwestern part of Little Russia - Sarny, Rivne, Novograd-Volynsky.

Meanwhile, the UPR army, including the Galician army (about 35 thousand in all), launched an attack on Kiev and Odessa. The Petliurites tried to use the favorable moment - the successful offensive of Denikin’s army in Little Russia and the movement of the Polish army to the east, which caused the collapse of the defense of the Red Army in the west. Petlyura’s troops occupied Zhmerynka, intercepting the railway link between Kiev and Odessa. However, at the same time, a new and rapid degradation of the fighting efficiency of the Petlyura troops took place. The core of the Galician ideological “Sich Riflemen,” who made the main contribution to the development of the offensive, quickly grew into detachments of rebel chieftains and batiks, who again quickly “repainted”. To receive ranks, ranks, awards from Petliura, weapon, equipment and material content. These detachments retained their commanders and a partisan organization, poorly managed and poorly operational (the same problem became one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Red Army in Little Russia and New Russia). On the one hand, this led to a drop in the combat effectiveness of the Petlyura army. On the other hand, a surge of violence, robberies and Jewish pogroms. It is clear that the robbers, rapists and looters did not meet the mass support of the population, and could not resist the ideological White Guards.

On August 30, the Petliurites, together with the Whites, occupied Kiev. But the very next day they were expelled from there by Denikins. The White Command refused to negotiate with Petlyura and by October 1919, the Petlyuraites were defeated. At this time, there was a gap between the military-political leadership of the UPR and the ZUNR. The command of the Galician army was against military operations with the All-Union Federal League of Justice, since the Entente stood behind Denikin. The Galicians believed that they had one main enemy - the Poles. Therefore, the ZUNR leadership, headed by Petrushevich and the command of the Galician army, took a wait and see attitude. Galicians were even accused of surrendering Kiev to the whites. As a result, the Galicians proposed Petlyura to begin negotiations with Denikin on an alliance, since it is impossible to fight on two fronts. However, Petlyura continued to pressure the Galician army, demanding active military operations against Denikin's troops. In addition, Petlyura leaned toward an alliance with Poland against Soviet Russia, it is clear that at the expense of the interests of ZUNR.

As a result, the Galicians began negotiations with the whites. The command of the Galician army at the beginning of November 1919 signed an agreement with the leadership of the All-Union Federal League of Justice. From the Galician army, the agreement was signed by its commander, General Miron Tarnavsky, from the White Army - by the commander of the 4 Infantry Division, Major General Yakov Slashchev and commander of the forces of the Novorossiysk Region, Lieutenant General Nikolai Shilling. The Galician army in its entirety went over to the side of the All-Union Federal League of Forces. She was taken to the rear of the Volunteer Army for replenishment and rest.

The parade of units of the Volunteer Army in Kiev. Left in the foreground is the commander of the Volunteer Army, General V.Z. May-Mayevsky, behind him: the head of the group of forces General N.E. Bredov (behind May-Mayevsky in a white gymnast) and the commander of the 5th cavalry corps, general Ya. D. Yuzefovich (foreground in a white gymnast). Source:

Makhno's actions

At the same time, Ataman Nestor Makhno, breaking off relations with the Reds and defeated by Denikinites, retreating along the Right Bank of the Dnieper, in August turned out to be pressed against the Petliura front. Under his command there were about 20 thousand soldiers of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine (RPAU), and a large convoy with wounded. Makhno did not feel the slightest sympathy for Ukrainian nationalists and Petliura. But the situation was hopeless: on one side the Makhnovists were drawn in by the white, and on the other, the Petliurists. Therefore, Makhno entered into negotiations. At the same time, the Makhnovists hoped that they would be able to seize control and liquidate Petlyura. On 20 of September 1919 of the year, at the Zhmerinka station, a military alliance was concluded between the Makhnovists and Petliurists. The union was directed against Denikinites. Sick, wounded and refugees of the “army” Makhno got the opportunity to be treated and placed on the territory of the UNR. RPAU received a foothold and base, supply. The Makhnovists occupied a front section in the Uman region.

True, on 26 of September, the Makhnovists began to break back into the Yekaterinoslav region and in early October of 1919 created a powerful threat in the rear of Denikin’s army.

To be continued ...
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Battle for the North Caucasus. CH 2. December battle
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The defeat of Kolchak in the Chelyabinsk battle
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