Military Review

"Miracle on the Vistula". Warsaw operation of the Red Army

21
"Miracle on the Vistula". Warsaw operation of the Red Army

Polish positions. August 1920


The "Miracle on the Vistula" happened 100 years ago. Pilsudski was able to defeat Tukhachevsky's armies. The Polish command, with the support of the West, was able to covertly concentrate the strike group (110 thousand people). On August 14, 1920, the Polish army launched a counteroffensive. In the course of stubborn battles on August 15-20, the armies of the Western Front were defeated and suffered heavy losses. Under the threat of encirclement and complete annihilation, Soviet troops rolled back to Belarus by 25 August.

To Warsaw


Under the influence of the July successes of the Red Army in Belarus, overly optimistic reports from the command of the Western Front led by Tukhachevsky and Commander-in-Chief Kamenev, the Soviet government got the impression that Poland was on the verge of falling. As soon as bourgeois Poland is pushed, it will collapse. And over Warsaw it will be possible to raise the red flag and form the Polish Socialist Republic. And then the communists can take up in Berlin. Revolutionary internationalists led by Trotsky dreamed of a "world revolution". Lenin supported these plans.

As a result, a strategic mistake was made. It was necessary to concentrate efforts on restoring borders historical Russia, the main forces to concentrate on the Lviv direction. Liberate Galicia from the Poles. In addition, the civil war in Russia has not yet been completed. It was necessary to defeat Wrangel's army and liberate Crimea from the White Guards, then the Far East. Stalin insisted on this. Warsaw was not a Russian city. Nobody outside of Russia (except for small groups of communists) saw the Bolsheviks as “liberators”. On the contrary, Western propaganda has created the image of the "bloody Bolsheviks", a new invasion of "Russian barbarians" into Europe. The Red Army was presented as a bunch of murderers, marauders and rapists. With the transfer of hostilities to Poland, the Soviet-Polish war lost its just character and became unnecessary for the people. It was enough to restore the western border of White Russia. And the ideas of the revolutionary Trotskyists were dangerous for Russia, leading to its destruction.

Thus, the Soviet government followed the lead of the supporters of the "world revolution". They hoped to crush Poland with one blow. Create a Soviet government there. Dzerzhinsky had already planned the creation of Polish units of the Red Army. Behind Poland lay Germany - defeated, humiliated, disarmed and plundered. Not yet calmed down after her own revolution, she was distressed by the convulsions of strikes and uprisings. For Galicia - the same Hungary. The "world revolution" seemed closer than ever.


Communists before being sent to the Polish front. 1920 year

Warsaw operation


The forces of the Red Army, instead of concentrating efforts on one strategic direction, sprayed. The armies were driven to Lvov and Warsaw. At the same time, the enemy was underestimated, as was the determination of the Entente to save Poland, and their forces were overestimated. The Red Army was already exhausted and drained of blood by previous operations. It was necessary to give the divisions rest, replenish and restore them. Bring up reserves and rear services, gain a foothold on the already achieved lines. Prepare supplies, establish communications. Immediately, without a pause, after the July operation (July 4-23, 1920), the Red Army began the Warsaw operation. From the line Grodno, Slonim and Pinsk, the armies of the Western Front (about 140 thousand people) launched a new offensive.

Attempts by the previously defeated Polish troops (1st and 4th armies, about 50 thousand people) to stop the Reds did not lead to success. The Polish defense was broken through almost immediately. Having crossed the Neman and Shara, on July 25, our troops liberated Volkovysk, on July 27 - Osovets and Pruzhany, on July 29 they entered Lomza, and on July 30 - Kobrin. On August 1, 1920, the Red Army liberated Brest, then occupied Ostrov and Ostrolenka. However, in early August, enemy resistance had already increased significantly. So, the troops of the 16th army of Sollogub and the Mozyr group of Khvesin for a week could not break through the enemy's line on the river. Western Bug. These battles showed that the southern flank of the Western Front does not have sufficient forces and reserves for the rapid development of the offensive and parrying a possible enemy counterstrike.

On July 30, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Poland (Polrevkom) was established in Bialystok, which included Markhlevsky, Dzerzhinsky, Kon and Prukhnyak. In fact, it was the future Soviet government of Poland, which was to carry out the Sovietization of the country. However, the lack of experienced personnel and poor knowledge of Poland led to the fact that Polrevkom was unable to win over the Polish people to his side. In particular, an attempt to solve the agrarian question on the model of Soviet Russia failed. The Polish peasants wanted to get the landlord's land as their personal property, and not create state farms on it. The Polish Constituent Diet immediately knocked it out weapon from the hands of the Bolsheviks, speeding up the decision on agrarian reform. Now Polish peasants willingly joined the army to fight for their own land.


The reconciliation of the Baltics


In the same period, Moscow was able to deprive Poland of possible allies in the Baltic. Influenced by the victories of the Red Army over internal enemies and thanks to the generous promises of Moscow, the Baltic limitrophes made peace with Soviet Russia. After a 13-month war with Soviet Russia, on February 2, 1920, the Yuryev Peace Treaty was signed between the RSFSR and Estonia. Moscow recognized the independence of Estonia, renounced all rights and property that belonged to the Russian Empire. Russia transferred to Estonia a number of lands with a mixed or predominantly Russian population: the Volosts of Narva, Koze and Skaryatino, the Pechora Territory (now these are parts of the Leningrad and Pskov regions). Estonia received part of the gold reserves of the Russian Empire in the amount of 11,6 tons of gold (15 million rubles in gold), as well as movable and immovable property belonging to the Russian treasury and some advantages. That is, the whole world was in favor of Estonia. However, the Soviet government needed peace to weaken Russia's hostile encirclement.

On July 12, 1920, a peace treaty was signed between Lithuania and Soviet Russia. The Moscow Treaty ended the Soviet-Lithuanian conflict. Moscow ceded significant Western Russian territories to Lithuania, including the cities of Grodno, Shchuchin, Oshmyany, Smorgon, Braslav, Lida, Postavy, as well as the Vilna region with Vilna (the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Russia - a medieval Russian state). The agreement guaranteed Lithuania's neutrality in the Soviet-Polish war (the Lithuanians feared Warsaw's claims to Vilno) and secured the northern flank of the Western Front, which facilitated the Red Army's offensive in the Warsaw direction. In August 1920, Soviet troops handed over Vilno to the Lithuanians, which became the capital of the Republic of Lithuania.

On August 11, 1920, a peace treaty was signed between Russia and Latvia in Riga. Moscow also made big concessions. Recognized the independence of Latvia, ceded property to the Russian Empire, including the ships of the Baltic fleet and merchant ships. The Russian lands became part of Latvia: the north-western part of the Vitebsk province and the Pskov province (including the city of Pytalovo). Moscow transferred to Riga part of the gold reserves of Tsarist Russia over 3 tons of gold (4 million rubles). So Poland lost its Latvian ally, which strengthened the right flank of the Red Army.

All to fight the "Russian barbarians"


At this time, the Polish high command was putting things in order in the defeated army, preparing reserves and new units. On the one hand, Polish propaganda showed the selfless struggle of the Polish troops "against the invasion of the Russian barbarians in Europe." The Poles were able to rouse and mobilize the entire people for the war against the "red threat". At the same time, Pilsudski was able to show the invariability of the imperial policy of Russia, to stir up Russophobic sentiments. The Catholic Church has also actively joined the information war. The hesitants were persuaded with the help of information about the Soviet Polish government in Bialystok, pogroms and requisitions of the bourgeois strata of the population, and the anti-church policy of the Bolsheviks.

On the other hand, the Polish command, using the most severe measures, brought order to the army. Military courts were introduced, barrage detachments were created. Volunteer "hunting" regiments were formed. The aristocrats created a "black legion" to fight the Red Army, and the Polish social democrats created a "red legion". Pilsudski understood that Warsaw was more important than Lvov, and withdrew some of the troops from the southwestern direction. Also, garrisons were transferred to the east from the German border. From the previously defeated and newly formed troops transferred from other sectors of the front and rear, shock groups are formed north and south of Warsaw, on the flanks of the shock group of Tukhachevsky's Western Front.


Polish poster: “Help! Everything for the front! All to the front! " Here the Bolsheviks are generally infernal

It is worth noting that the Polish armies operated near their main bases and arsenals, while the continuously advancing and fighting Soviet armies opened up further and further from their rear. Railroads, stations, bridges were destroyed during the fighting by the Poles during the retreat, so the supply of reinforcements, weapons, ammunition and food for the Red Army was very difficult. Part of the troops remained garrisons and barriers against the bypassed enemy defense centers. As a result, Tukhachevsky's strike group by the beginning of the battle for Warsaw was reduced to 50 thousand fighters.

An Anglo-French military mission led by Generals Weygand and Radcliffe arrived at the Poles. Paris sent instructor officers. In Britain and France, volunteers are being formed from persons of Polish origin. Military supplies from the West began to arrive in Poland. Britain hastily dispatched a squadron to the Baltic. Part of the squadron dropped anchors in Danzig (Gdansk), the other in Helsingfors. London was even already considering the possibility of creating a new line of defense in the rear of Poland - in Germany. Also, England and France stepped up aid to the White Army (Wrangel) in Russia in order to divert the forces and reserves of the Red Army from Poland. The USA on August 20, 1920 issued an anti-Soviet note. In a note, Secretary of State Colby said: "The United States government does not consider it possible to recognize the current rulers of Russia as a government with which it is possible to maintain the usual relations of friendly governments ..."


Polish poster. The Bolshevik monster brings murder, fire and destruction to Poland. Who wants to ensure peace, let him immediately join the army

Battle plan on the Vistula


While Polish troops were holding back the enemy's onslaught on the line of the Western Bug, the Polish high command, with the participation of the French military mission, developed a new plan of military operations. On August 6, 1920, it was approved by Piłsudski. The Poles planned: 1) to pin down the enemy in the Lvov direction, to protect Lvov and the oil basin of Galicia; 2) not to allow themselves to be bypassed on the northern flank, near the German border and bleed the Red Army with defense on the Vistula line; 3) south of Warsaw in the Demblin area (Ivangorod), on the river. Vepshe, a shock group was formed to strike the flank and rear of Tukhachevsky's troops attacking the Polish capital. As a result, the Poles simultaneously strengthened the defenses of Warsaw and prepared a counteroffensive on the southern flank.

In accordance with this plan, the Polish troops were divided into three fronts: North, Middle and South. The Northern Front of General Haller included the 5th Sikorsky Army, which was supposed to defend on the river. Narew, 1st Army of Latinik - in the Warsaw area, 2nd Army of Roy - on the Vistula River. The middle front under the command of General Rydz-Smigla (from August 14 - Pilsudski) was to decide the outcome of the battle. The main striking force of the front was the 4th Army of General Skersky in the Demblin-Lublin region. To the south, the strike group of the 3rd army of Rydz-Smigly (2 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades) was preparing for the offensive, then the rest of the 3rd army of Zelinsky was deployed, which provided the flank and rear of the strike group. The southern front of Ivashkevich, consisting of the 6th Army of Endrzheevsky (3 divisions) and the Ukrainian army of Petliura, covered the Lviv direction. It should be noted that many Polish commanders were former officers and generals of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian imperial armies, had experience of war with Russia and Germany. So, Latinik, Rydz-Smigly fought as part of the Austro-Hungarian army with Russia, and Skersky, Ivashkevich and Endrzheevsky - on the side of Russia.

The Poles fielded 23 divisions, of which 20 divisions operated in the Warsaw direction. Most of the cavalry was concentrated in this direction. The Polish group on the Vistula numbered about 110 thousand people, more than 100 heavy guns and 520 light ones, over 70 tanks, more than 1800 machine guns. Also during the battle on the Vistula in August 1920, the Entente sent 600 cannons through Romania, which were immediately thrown into battle. This significantly strengthened Poland's artillery park.

The concentration of the Polish strike force was a difficult and dangerous business. The Polish troops needed to break away from the enemy and occupy the designated areas in an organized manner. It was especially difficult to concentrate on the Vepsha River the divisions of the 4th Army, which were fighting on the Bug and had to leave the Russians and make a flank march almost along the front. A strong onslaught of the Red Army in this direction could upset the entire plan of the operation. However, the Poles were lucky that the strike forces of the Southwestern Front were tied up in heavy battles for Lvov and did not take part in the Warsaw operation. And the southern flank of the Western Front (the Mozyr Group and the 12th Army's right-flank division) was weak and incapable of a rapid offensive. As a result, the disruption of interaction between the Western and Southwestern Fronts led to the dispersal of our forces in different directions that are not connected with each other. This made it easier for the Poles to organize a counteroffensive.


Józef Pilsudski and Józef Haller after the victory at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920

To be continued ...
Author:
Photos used:
https://ru.wikipedia.org/, https://bigenc.ru/
Articles from this series:
Smoot. 1920 year

Battle of Rostov
The disaster of white Odessa
How Slashchev Crimea defended
Dono-Manych battle
The death of the Northern Army Miller
Why Western agent Kolchak is turned into a hero and martyr of Russia
The defeat of the army of Denikin in the battle of Tikhorets
How did the Ice Siberian campaign end
The fall of the White Kuban
Agony of White Novorossiysk
The death of the Kuban army
Denikin's resignation
Far Eastern Republic and the Japanese threat
Polish "liberation" campaign in Kiev
Baku “Blitzkrieg” of the Red Army
The battle for Belarus. May operation of the Red Army
War of the Russian Army Wrangel
The first victories of the Wrangel army
The defeat of the 13th Soviet Army in Northern Tavria
Our Kiev!
The battle for Rivne. How Budyonnovtsy smashed the Polish defense
Minsk is ours! The defeat of the Polish army in Belarus
Battle for Lviv. The failure of the Red Army in Galicia
The death of the cavalry group Rednecks
The fierce battle for the Kakhovsky bridgehead
The defeat of the landing group Ulagaya
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  1. svp67
    svp67 19 August 2020 05: 25
    0
    Yes, the victory of the Poles ... Tanks - French, planes - French and British, there were French in the tanks, in the planes the same French with the British and Americans ...
    People who fought in the "Great War" and have rich combat experience in the use of "new" weapons
    1. Dr. Frankenstucker
      Dr. Frankenstucker 19 August 2020 14: 37
      +1
      Tanks - French, tanks were French


      Well, this is the 505th French Light Tank Regiment, driven to Lodz and stupidly renamed the 1st Polish Tank Regiment)
      1. svp67
        svp67 19 August 2020 14: 44
        0
        Quote: Dr. Frankenshtuzer
        Well, this is the 505th French Light Tank Regiment, driven to Lodz and stupidly renamed the 1st Polish Tank Regiment)

        And then he performed a "miracle on the Vistula" and squeezed Guy's cavalry corps into East Prussia, where he was interned ...
        1. Dr. Frankenstucker
          Dr. Frankenstucker 19 August 2020 15: 28
          +5
          well, in fairness, the composition of the regiment was initially Franco-Polish. Approximately half of both. And by August 1919, the French were demobilized. In September 1919, the regiment (in fact, the entire battalion was combat-ready) was manned by Poles, although, of course, there were also Frenchmen who went over to serve in the Polish army.
          and squeezed Guy's cavalry corps into East Prussia, where he was interned ...

          against Guy's cavalry corps, tanks were mainly used as mobile firing points from railway platforms, sort of like. The Poles did not have much fuel and worn-out materiel.
  2. Far B
    Far B 19 August 2020 05: 29
    +4
    It was necessary to concentrate efforts on restoring the borders of historical Russia
    Well, yes, there was little to do - to determine where they were, these "boundaries of historical Russia."
    "World revolution" seemed closer than ever
    That's it. So the logic in the actions of the Bolsheviks was fully present. Did not work out? So it’s unrealistic for someone to succeed in everything.
  3. apro
    apro 19 August 2020 05: 49
    +5
    Yes, this is a victory for many parents, and defeat is an orphan ...
    All pochnmuto accentuate awareness of the slogans of the Reds. But the White Poles licks are no less interesting .. especially in the head of the company. Then they changed their shoes dramatically. And they became, as it were, injured.
    On the other hand, with what slogans it was necessary to go to Poland? As one indivisible? But the Poles had hired this back in tsarist Russia. And with the socialist slogans freedom, equality and fraternity and down with the bourgeoisie there was a chance.
    1. VIP
      VIP 19 August 2020 17: 42
      +2
      "with the socialist slogans freedom, equality and fraternity and down with the bourgeois there was a chance" just then these slogans did not come.
      Think for yourself, they planned a "world revolution" and will go with the slogans "united and indivisible Russia" - ABSURD. The slogans were the most, the most socialist, but they did not go through
      1. apro
        apro 19 August 2020 17: 57
        -3
        Quote: V I P
        Think for yourself, planned a "world revolution"

        And nothing that Poland. Itself invaded Soviet Russia and seized Kiev?
        1. VIP
          VIP 19 August 2020 18: 08
          +2
          And so it was otvetka and no one thought about "World revolution"?
          1. apro
            apro 19 August 2020 18: 09
            -1
            Quote: V I P
            And so it was a reply

            No ... invited to visit.
      2. Sergey Oreshin
        Sergey Oreshin 19 August 2020 22: 00
        +3
        The slogans were slogans, but as the article is rightly said, the Polish peasants dreamed of getting land ownership, and the communists began to transform the noble estates into state farms. By the way, exactly the same one got burned in 1919 in the Baltic States: they began to create state farms, instead of distributing land to the peasants.
  4. Olgovich
    Olgovich 19 August 2020 06: 31
    -6
    And over Warsaw it will be possible to raise the red flag and form the Polish Socialist Republic. And then the communists can take over in Berlin. Revolutionary internationalists led by Trotsky dreamed of a "world revolution". Lenin supported these plans.

    When Russia fiercely fought off the invasion of the invaders, these "people" came out for ... "the victory of Kaiserism" and wept over the victims of the imperialist war and loudly proclaimed Peace for all and forever ..
    When they seized power, let's go ... To fight Warsaw, Berlin and all of Europe, carrying them the occupation "government" in a train, extended the war for Russia for a while morethan World War and drenched it in blood six times more than it was during the World War.
    As a result, a strategic mistake was made. It was necessary to concentrate efforts on restoring the borders of historical Russia, concentrating the main forces on the Lvov direction. Liberate Galicia from the Poles. It was enough to restore the western border White Russia.

    What mistake"? They did not care deeply about Russia, she was so wood for the world slaughter-revolution.

    What interests of Russia can we talk about when, AGAINST the will of the majority, even in the same White Russia, instead of the Western region of Russia, the so-called "BSSR", where the forced Belarusianization of Russians was carried out?

    What kind of Russia is it fashionable to talk about, when already AFTER the formation of the USSR, in 1924 and 1926? from the RSFSR were cut off русские cities Mogilev, Vitebsk, Orsha, Gomel and, as a bag of potatoes, AGAINST the will of their population, cut to the "BSSR"?

    And the Belarusianization in Russian cities was carried out by the Russophobic Nazis invited by the Bolsheviks from abroad, such as the member of the Academy of Sciences "BSSR" who was treated kindly by them, Director of the State Museum of the BSSR Lastovsky, Dubovka, etc.?

    And again, the bomb planted against Russia then explodes today ...
    1. VIP
      VIP 19 August 2020 20: 18
      +3
      Perhaps I agree: then they broke firewood, but it is now clear that then they were cutting with borders. But who then would have thought that in Belarus the "bubble for three would be crushed" The Union would be finished off?
      1. Olgovich
        Olgovich 20 August 2020 07: 02
        +2
        Quote: V I P
        Perhaps I will agree: then they broke firewood, but it is now clear that then they did it with borders

        And even then people saw and understood WHAT was going on: from a survey by a commission of residents of the Gomel region
        : “We are not going to divide Russia, (Chechersk).
        Quote: V I P
        But who then would have thought that in Belarus the "bubble for three would be crushed" The Union would be finished off?

        When the right to free exit from the state is enshrined in the Constitution, one must think that sooner or later they will take advantage of this.
        There was nothing to create the so-called. Ukraine and Belarus and invent them a separate, non-Russian history, literature, self-consciousness
  5. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA 19 August 2020 09: 07
    +1
    The Red Army was already exhausted and drained of blood by previous operations. It was necessary to give the divisions rest, replenish and restore them. Bring up reserves and rear services, gain a foothold on the already achieved lines. Prepare stocks, establish communications.

    Need to. But the enemy would do the same. And he would have had more forces and means to restore the army. Therefore, it was decided to continue the offensive. And at the first stage, it gave a positive result:
    Attempts by the previously defeated Polish troops (1st and 4th armies, about 50 thousand people) to stop the Reds did not lead to success. The Polish defense was broken through almost immediately.
    1. Dr. Frankenstucker
      Dr. Frankenstucker 19 August 2020 14: 11
      +2
      As a result, Smigly fell forever ill with the winner's complex, and even in the summer of 1939 he told Ironside, who doubted the combat readiness of the Polish army that Germany was tough for her. It's funny that the British, represented by Ironside, were pushing Poland towards an alliance with the Soviets.
  6. pytar
    pytar 19 August 2020 17: 21
    +2
    With the transfer of hostilities to Poland, the Soviet-Polish war lost its just character and became unnecessary for the people.

    With that, everything is said.
  7. VIP
    VIP 19 August 2020 18: 03
    +2
    "lack of experienced personnel and UNKNOWLEDGE of Poland" Is Samsonov joking or not thinking what he is writing? Dzerzhinsky, Markhlievsky, Kon, Pruhnyak, Unshlikht THEY ARE ALL of Polish and Polish-Jewish origin. And they DO NOT KNOW Poland?
    Can you imagine this?
  8. VIP
    VIP 19 August 2020 20: 07
    +1
    Quote: apro
    Quote: V I P
    And so it was a reply

    No ... invited to visit.

    , GY, GY. Cool said
  9. nnz226
    nnz226 19 August 2020 21: 32
    -2
    One can say about the Bolsheviks with the words from Gaidai's comedy: "What are you, you bastard, squandering state lands ?!" Until now, the Bolshevik: "Take it!" regurgitates Russia ...
  10. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov 30 September 2020 15: 28
    0
    As a result, a strategic mistake was made. It was necessary to concentrate efforts on restoring the borders of historical Russia

    This is all clear to everyone in hindsight. If the revolution won then in Germany, Hitler and World War II could be avoided. Another thing is that Tukhachevsky and his ilk failed everything.