Military Review

Intervention in the South of Russia: how the Greeks fought near Kherson

29

The intervention against Soviet Russia involved not only such powers as Great Britain, France or the United States, but also countries of "lower rank." For example, Greece in 1918-1919. undertook her trip to southern Russia (the so-called Ukrainian campaign).


From the decision to intervene to the landing in Odessa


As you know, Greece entered the First World War late, on July 2, 1917. Thus, she joined the Entente and allied obligations also extended to her. When French troops landed in Odessa in December 1918, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau appealed to the Greek government for assistance in a military intervention in southern Russia.

Eleftherios Venizelos, then Prime Minister of Greece, having received guarantees of France's support for Greek territorial claims, agreed to allocate a corps of 3 divisions for intervention.

It was thought in Paris that Britain, France and the United States would try to greatly expand the size of Greece and increase its power. The allies willingly used her services. Greek divisions accompanied the French on their shameful foray into the Ukraine; they were allowed to overrun and occupy Thrace; finally, they were ordered to land at Smyrna. Venizelos was very willing to carry out these orders of the higher realms, and although the Greek armies remained mobilized for almost 10 years, at that moment they seemed to be the only troops willing to go everywhere and carry out any order.

- wrote about the policy of Greece at that time Winston Churchill.

It was decided to transfer the Greek corps to the south of Russia from Eastern Macedonia. However, only two Greek divisions with a total strength of 23 soldiers and officers were sent to Russia. General Konstantinos Nieder, a Greek military leader of German descent, who had made a great career during the Balkan War, was appointed commander of the expeditionary force. At the time of the events described, he was 350-53 years old.

The troops were sent by Greece in a hurry, so the divisions did not have heavy weapons, and upon arrival at the place they were divided into battalions, companies and passed under the command of the commanders of the French formations. The first Greek units - the 34th and 7th Infantry Regiments - landed in Odessa on January 20, 1919. Later, the Greeks landed in Sevastopol.

Three fronts of Greek troops


After the landing in southern Russia, three fronts were formed, on which the French command used Greek troops. The first front of Berezovka passed 70-100 km north of Odessa, the second front of Nikolaev - 100 km north-east of Odessa, the third front of Kherson - 40 km east of the Nikolaev front.

The first to unfold hostilities on the Kherson front. The 1st Battalion of the 34th Infantry Regiment under the command of Major Constantin Vlachos was transferred here. The battalion consisted of 23 officers and 853 privates. Together with the battalion, a French company of 145 soldiers acted, with a French officer, Major Zanson, in overall command.

Intervention in the South of Russia: how the Greeks fought near Kherson On the Kherson front, the Greeks and the French were opposed by the 1st Zadneprovskaya brigade of the Red Army, which was commanded by ataman Nikifor Grigoriev, who was still serving the Bolsheviks. On March 2, 1919, the troops of the ataman Grigoriev began shelling Kherson, and on March 7, the infantry of the 1st Zadneprovskaya brigade managed to occupy part of the city blocks.

On March 9, as a result of a general attack, the Red Army took the railway station. On the morning of March 10, the Greek and French units, or rather what was left of them, were evacuated from the city and transported by sea to Odessa. The losses of the Greeks were impressive: 12 officers and 245 privates.

On the Nikolaev front, the situation developed rapidly: already on March 14, Greek and French soldiers were evacuated from Nikolaev to Odessa. As for the Berezovka front, it was defended by the French Zouaves and the battalion of the 34th Greek regiment. The fighting with the Red Army began here on March 7.

On March 17, the Greeks managed to successfully repel another attack, but on March 18, a new offensive by the Red Army plunged the French into a disorderly flight. Then the Greek units hastily retreated. At the Berezovka front, 9 Greek officers and 135 soldiers and non-commissioned officers were killed. In addition, the 2nd regiment of the Greek division operated in Sevastopol, where it participated in the joint defense of the city with the French.

Negative consequences of the March to the South of Russia


The Greek campaign to the South of Russia ended in April 1919, together with the general evacuation of foreign invaders from Odessa. In Greece itself, interestingly, participation in hostilities against Soviet Russia was assessed negatively by almost all political forces.


French interventionists in Odessa. Photo: Wikipedia / unknown author

In addition, the campaign had far-reaching consequences. As you know, a very large Greek population traditionally lived in Novorossiya and Crimea. After Greece's participation in the intervention against Soviet Russia, the Soviet government began to view the Greek population with a certain degree of suspicion.

Now, 100 years after those events, it is safe to say that the decision to march was a big political mistake of the then Greek leadership. The negative sediment left after the participation of the Greeks in the hostilities against the Red Army had a bad effect on further relations between the two countries, and for a long time Greece was viewed in the Soviet Union as a hostile state, and so much so that it was considered preferable to cooperate even with Turkey.
Author:
Photos used:
Wikipedia / D. Vassiliou, http://rama.net.ua
29 comments
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  1. alone
    alone 11 August 2020 15: 30
    +9
    This is one of the reasons why the Bolsheviks made a deal with Ataturk ..
    1. Mavrikiy
      Mavrikiy 11 August 2020 15: 44
      -6
      Quote: lonely
      This is one of the reasons why the Bolsheviks made a deal with Ataturk ..

      Do you think so? belay There was no one else to talk to, only the defeatists Germany, Turkey and complete isolation. It was through them that we turned around on the world stage. It's not through sprats to cut a window into the world.
      1. alone
        alone 11 August 2020 16: 23
        +4
        Quote: Mavrikiy
        Do you think so?

        So I wrote, one of the reasons. There were several reasons
        1. Mavrikiy
          Mavrikiy 11 August 2020 19: 10
          -4
          Quote: lonely
          Quote: Mavrikiy
          Do you think so?

          This is one of the reasons why the Bolsheviks made a deal with Ataturk .. So after all, I wrote, one of the reasons. There were several reasons
          Stupidity is incomparable. fool Due to the fact that the Greeks participated in the Civil War, we were offended by them. belay And what do you know about the stay of the Turks in Baku, Derbent? Rave!!! There is no place for stupidity in politics, about which the AUTHOR writes.
          The negative sediment left after the participation of the Greeks in the hostilities against the Red Army had a bad effect on further relations between the two countries, and for a long time Greece was viewed in the Soviet Union as a hostile state, and so much so that it was considered preferable to cooperate even with Turkey.
          Nonsense. The Greeks put up a barely full-fledged division for 3 battles, and we were on our guard and worried for life belay ... With the Germans in the West and Ukraine, they were cut to death and a year later peace, friendship, chewing gum. fool
          I repeat once again, the Greeks entered the Entente and were the winners, and from this position they communicated with us, and they were not independent. We quickly came to terms with the outcast Germans and Turks precisely because we proposed a peace without annexations and indemnities. Think more about what you can believe, do not absorb everything. hi
          1. parusnik
            parusnik 12 August 2020 09: 03
            +3
            And what do you know about the stay of the Turks in Baku, Derbent?
            ... There were not the troops of Ataturk, but the troops of the Ottoman Empire ... The Ataturk movement arose in connection with the conclusion of the Treaty of Sevres on August 10, 1920 in the city of Sevres (France) by the Entente countries and the states that joined them (Italy, Japan, Belgium , Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Hijaz, Czechoslovakia and Armenia), on the one hand, and the government of the Ottoman Empire, on the other. By the time the treaty was signed, a significant part of Turkey had already been occupied by the troops of the Entente powers. According to the Sevres world, the number of the Turkish army could not exceed 50000 soldiers. International control was established over the finances of Turkey. Further, Turkey lost a number of territories previously occupied by the Seljuks and Ottomans.
    2. tihonmarine
      tihonmarine 11 August 2020 16: 25
      +3
      Quote: lonely
      This is one of the reasons why the Bolsheviks made a deal with Ataturk ..

      It turns out so. I have not heard of the Greeks in the Civil War.
      1. alone
        alone 11 August 2020 16: 28
        +2
        Quote: tihonmarine
        It turns out so. I have not heard of the Greeks in the Civil War.

        Well, two divisions were operating under the command of the French. That is why few people know about the participation of the Greeks in the Civil War. The Greeks then, under the patronage of the Entente, wanted to take over the whole of Turkey. So they served before the owners.
        1. tihonmarine
          tihonmarine 11 August 2020 16: 33
          0
          Quote: lonely
          The Greeks then, under the patronage of the Entente, wanted to take over the whole of Turkey. So they served before the owners.

          The Entente is greedy, all the same nothing shone to the Greeks. But they knocked on their face.
          1. alone
            alone 11 August 2020 16: 45
            +1
            Quote: tihonmarine
            The Entente is greedy, all the same nothing shone to the Greeks. But they knocked on their face.

            Well, naturally. Used them as meat
    3. Mavrikiy
      Mavrikiy 11 August 2020 19: 25
      0
      Quote: lonely
      This is one of the reasons why the Bolsheviks made a deal with Ataturk ..

      Read from the beginning of the VO dated February 6, 2018 "Turkish invasion of the Transcaucasus." Thousands of Russians were shot and burned alive. Armenians undergo indescribable torture " recourse
      1. alone
        alone 11 August 2020 21: 55
        +2
        Quote: Mavrikiy
        Read from the beginning of the VO dated February 6, 2018 "Turkish invasion of the Transcaucasus." Thousands of Russians were shot and burned alive. Armenians undergo indescribable torture "

        Have you at least read what I wrote? The Bolsheviks made a deal with Ataturk, not the Ottoman Sultan. In 1918, the army of the Ottoman Empire, not Turkey, entered the Caucasus. Say thousands of Russians were shot? And how many Russians were shot, burned alive, hacked to death by themselves Russians during the Civil War, not interested? Millions. So this is the harsh reality of those times. It was common at the time.
  2. bulava
    bulava 11 August 2020 15: 33
    +1
    But this did not teach the Greeks anything, and now they climbed under the NATO boot and joined the European Union (where they successfully play the role of the sidelines of a united Europe). They have already forgotten that Russian soldiers died for their freedom in battles with the Janissaries. But in vain.
  3. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 11 August 2020 15: 39
    0
    In Greece itself, interestingly, participation in hostilities against Soviet Russia was assessed negatively by almost all political forces.
    They robbed a little, and it broke off with a piece of land.
  4. Mihaylov
    Mihaylov 11 August 2020 16: 44
    11
    "In front of the presidential palace, at the grave of the unknown soldier, under large striped umbrellas, two evzones stood guard in ceremonial corrugated skirts, white opera leotards and chuvyakas with huge fluffy pom-poms. On the wall behind the grave were carved the names of the places where Greek soldiers won victories. The list began almost with Thermopylae and ended with Odessa and Kherson.
    Regarding Thermopylae, we would not want to get involved in a long and boring dispute with local historiographers, but as for Odessa and Kherson, in XNUMX we happened to be modest witnesses of the victorious operations of the Greek interventionists. We are not experts in military affairs, but, in our amateurish opinion, never before has any regular army retreated with such speed, noise and fuss. The invaders fled through the city to the port, selling English windings, French rifles and transport mules along the way to the indigenous population of Odessa. They even offered cannons, but the jaded Odessa residents politely refused.
    But there was no one here to talk to about this interesting historical topic. The sun was beating down, and the blond Euzones stood motionless in the shade of their umbrellas. "
    Ilf and Petrov "One Day in Athens" 1936.
  5. TAMBU
    TAMBU 11 August 2020 16: 45
    0
    As for me, what is happening with Greece is now more interesting ... the cars are presumably Turkish ...
    1. Catfish
      Catfish 11 August 2020 22: 18
      0
      Isn't that Apache, by any chance?
      1. TAMBU
        TAMBU 11 August 2020 22: 47
        +1
        I did not understand ... how similar to me ... "from those fields" news and rumors are strange constantly come ... and facta with gulkin ... well, you understand)
        1. Catfish
          Catfish 11 August 2020 23: 48
          0
          Clear. Thank. hi
      2. kostas
        kostas 12 August 2020 10: 48
        +1
        If the Apache, then these are Greek. The Turks are armed with super cobras, etc.
  6. businessv
    businessv 12 August 2020 13: 28
    0
    Now, 100 years after those events, it is safe to say that the decision to march was a big political mistake of the then Greek leadership.
    Ilya, thanks for the article! As always, interesting and informative!
  7. Sergey Oreshin
    Sergey Oreshin 12 August 2020 13: 59
    0
    The article is kind of scanty, rather pulling on an abstract. The author, in principle, cited well-known things, I did not see any novelty
  8. Pavel57
    Pavel57 13 August 2020 00: 11
    +1
    The Greeks tarnished their reputation.
    1. Ren
      Ren 13 August 2020 07: 44
      0
      Quote: Pavel57
      The Greeks tarnished their reputation.

      And not only reputation (judging by the speed of their evacuation and the work "A Day in Athens" Ilya Ilf, Evgeny Petrov) wink
  9. Gregory Charnota
    Gregory Charnota 19 October 2020 20: 55
    0
    Representatives of almost all European nationalities served in the SS. It was not possible to create armed SS units for the Greeks, Armenians, Lithuanians, Swiss, Irish and Portuguese, since the SS did not have time. Also failed to create several additional SS divisions.
    so the Greeks distinguished themselves in World War II