95 years ago, the Red Army crushed the last stronghold of the White Guards in southern Russia, broke into the Crimea. At the beginning of 1920, during the rout of Denikin’s armies, General Slashchev’s corps managed to hold the peninsula, repeating red attacks three times. This turned out to be a salvation for the white groups that were retreating in the Kuban. In March, 30 managed to evacuate thousands of officers and soldiers from Novorossiysk to the Crimea. Denikin then resigned, convened military council to select his successor. The meeting sounded the name of Lieutenant-General Peter Nikolayevich Wrangel. At Denikin he headed the Caucasian army, but entered into a conflict with the commander in chief, was exiled to Constantinople (Istanbul).
4 April, he arrived in Sevastopol, at the military council he was asked to express his views on further actions. He replied "with honor to lead the army out of a difficult situation", while not thinking about active operations. This satisfied everyone, and Denikin approved the choice. Indeed, the victories did not have to think. The small army was exhausted, crushed by defeats; during evacuation, they threw almost all the artillery and horses. And in addition, the Western powers by this time determined that it was time to end the civil war in Russia. They reached their goal, the country lay in total chaos. It was the turn to master the giant trophy, press down with trade and concessions. The White Guards were now a hindrance.
Already upon returning from Istanbul, Wrangel was given the ultimatum of the British government - to stop fighting, to reconcile with the Bolsheviks on the terms of amnesty. Otherwise, England threatened to refuse "from any support." Whites did not accept such conditions, especially since the Soviet side was not at all disposed to amnesty. But defensively looked problematic. In Crimea, there was neither human nor material resources, the peninsula is vulnerable from different sides — through the Perekop Isthmus, the Chongarsky Peninsula, the Arabat Spit, and the Kerch Strait.
Wrangel cherished hopes to persuade the Allies to transfer the army to one of the surviving fronts - in the Far East, in Poland, in the Baltic States. But the course of events was determined by other circumstances. AT
the same days the Reds began a new assault on the Crimea. On April 13, they shot down the guard of Slashchyov, captured Perekop wall, broke into the Chongar peninsula. The commander-in-chief abandoned the most combat-ready units to save the situation - Kutepov's Volunteer Corps. He repulsed the former positions with counterattacks, knocking out opponents. This success encouraged the troops, returned them self-confidence.
But the external environment also changed. The Red Terror and the surplus-ups provoked uprisings in Ukraine, in Siberia, in the Kuban. And Poland at one time did not support Denikin, who fought for "the one and the indivisible." Now I started my own game. She signed an agreement with the defeated Petlyura, the autocrats became dependent on foreigners, ceded to them the Right-Bank Ukraine, Belarus. On April 25, the Poles went on the offensive, went down to the Dnieper, occupied Kiev. But the patroness of Poland was France. It was believed that the White Guards could be useful, drawn by the Reds. Suddenly appeared by their "friend", promised to cover the Crimea with forces fleet, supply everything you need.
True, the position of Poland remained more than doubtful. She avoided the conclusion of a full-fledged union and coordination of actions. But such circumstances were considered secondary. The commander-in-chief vigorously set about reforming his units. Stiff measures tightened discipline. The very name of the army, Volunteer, was abolished as the element of elementalism and partisanism. Introduced another - the Russian army. Got some reinforcements. Out of Sochi, 12 thousands of Cossacks were taken out, trying to escape to Georgia and squeezed onto the coast. The White Guards of General Bredow, who had fled abroad, were taken out of Poland.
Under the commander-in-chief, a government was created, headed by A.V. Krivoshein, with the king, he was Minister of Agriculture. Wrangel himself was a staunch monarchist. However, in order to maintain unity, it was important to preserve the principle of non-denial of government. He said: "We are fighting for the Fatherland, the people will decide for themselves what Russia will be." He reorganized the weak Denikin counterintelligence, put at the head of a special department headquarters of General Klimovich - the former director of the police department. Recruited professionals from the gendarmerie and the police. In just a month and a half, they drastically cleaned up the rear areas, eliminating the Bolshevik underground in Simferopol, Sevastopol, Yalta, and Theodosia.
Meanwhile, the Reds concentrated large forces against the Poles, on May 27 launched an offensive. It was the most suitable situation to speak. On the one hand, to help the "allies", on the other - to take advantage of the fact that the enemy was involved in battles. Wrangel issued the order number 3326: “The Russian army is going to liberate native land from the red scum. I call on the Russian people to help me ... I call for the protection of the Motherland and the peaceful work of the Russian people and I promise forgiveness to the lost, who will return to us. People - the land and the will in the dispensation of the state! Earth - by the will of the people set by the owner! "
6 June, the White Guards went for a breakthrough. On Perekop, he attacked Kutepov’s corps, on Chongar - the Kuban Corps of Pisarev, on the Azov coast near Kirillovka the corps of Sashchev was landed by a landing force. Exits from the Crimea blocked 13-I Soviet army. She created a strong field defense - trenches, surrounded by barbed wire, heavy artillery. The fighting began stubborn. White suffered huge losses, but could not advance. Only 12 June overcame the defense on the left flank, came to the Dnieper. Oleshchal success and landing Sashchev. Cut the Bolsheviks rear railways, captured Melitopol. 13-th army just planned to take in ticks, surround and destroy. But the Reds realized the threat in time, moved away in the central sector. As a result, Wrangel's army came out of the Crimea, occupied the territory of 300 km along the front and 150 km in depth. But the Poles have already thrown Kiev, rolled back to 200 km from the Dnieper, the hope for interaction with them has evaporated. And the Bolsheviks preserved the integrity of the front, imposed on the enemy a disastrous war for him in a limited space. After all, it was much more difficult to make up for the losses of the Russian army.
The Soviet command was not going to put up with the appearance of a white bridge in Tavria. Three fresh divisions and the 1 th Separate Cavalry Corps of the Redneck - 12 thousand sabers immediately transferred here. 28 June two blows hit the Wrangel. It was supposed to break through the front on the flanks, cut off the army from the Crimea and finish off in the steppes. In the western sector, the Reds forced the Dnieper at Kakhovka, but they were not allowed to advance, they were knocked back. From the east, under the Tokmak, 12 regiments, goons piled on two Cossack regiments and crushed them. The corps began to delve into the enemy rear.
White saved the situation aviation. 20 old General Tkachev’s airplanes began to peck the red cavalry. They watered it with machine guns, bombed it, or simply rushed about on a low-level flight, frightening and dispersing horses. The redneck tried to disperse, move on short summer nights, the pace of its march dropped sharply. But Wrangel pulled out troops from passive sections of the front, threw them to the breakthrough, the Reds were lined up on several sides. The goon was already 15 km from Melitopol and Wrangel’s headquarters, but he was cut off from his own people and surrounded. Under the blows, the corps crumbled, choosing separate units, and lost three quarters of the personnel.
Developing the successes, the whites took Berdyansk, Orekhov, Canopies, Aleksandrovsk (Zaporozhye). But they were exhausted, the shelves were thinning. At the front, Wrangel had 35 thousands of bayonets and sabers, in the 13 Army there were one and a half times more. There was an idea to raise Don. To do this, Mariupol's troops landed a detachment of Colonel Nazarov, 800 Cossacks, went through the villages. But Don was exsanguinated by the civil war, epidemics, famine, joined by a few. The Bolsheviks rushed into pursuit, overtook the detachment and destroyed. And to the front, they were pushing new forces, including the Siberian 51 Division of Blucher, it was worth a good body (instead of nine regiments - 16). The remains of the Corps Zhloby replenished and created 2 th cavalry army Gorodovikova.
7 August began the second operation against Wrangel. The plan remained the same - to cut it from two sides. The army of the army Gorodovikova attacked near Tokmak, but this time they didn’t allow her to get into the rear. And from the west, Soviet units again rushed across the Dnieper at Kakhovka. But they acted much more clearly than last time. Having occupied the bridgehead, they immediately built a pontoon bridge, the whole of Blucher's division went across the river. In Kherson, the citizens were mobilized; on barges they sent Kakhovka under construction to build fortifications. The situation was aggravated by the miscalculations of Slaschova. He missed the landing, when they forced the river, celebrated someone's birthday. I thought about counterattacking, but it was too late, White was met by a solid defense, a barrage of fire — the artillery was shot “in squares”. Reserves came up, again and again trying to beat off the bridgehead, but it turned out only blood flow. Wrangel removed Slaschev from his post, and under Kakhovka there was a constant threat to the left flank.
After the failure on the Don, the commander-in-chief planned to raise the Kuban against the Bolsheviks. There were about 30 large rebel groups, the most significant - "Army of the revival of Russia" Fostikova, 5,5 thousands of fighters. On August 14, parts of the Ulagai landed from ships near Primorsko-Akhtarskaya. Scattered red detachments, rapidly rushed to occupy the village. A second landing force, General Cherepov, was landed near Anapa. But the Reds quickly overcame their confusion, and large forces from all over the Caucasus tightened. They did not allow Cherepov to turn around at all; And the Ulagaya's troops were carried away, dispersed by a wide fan. The Soviet command undermined him under the base - captured the rear base, Primorsko-Akhtarskaya. White began to smash, cut into several parts. With heavy fighting, they got out to the sea, they were taken out of Achuev. Then the red fell on the rebels and Fostikova. They went through the mountains to the Black Sea, and thousands of Cossacks were taken from the Xagr 2 to the Crimea.
In the meantime, the forces against Wrangel were increasing; on August 5, the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) Decided “to recognize the Wrangel front as the main one”. 20 August began the third operation against the Russian army. The scheme has not changed - blows from Kakhovka and Tokmak. From the west, red managed to break into 40 – 50 km. But the breakthrough was localized, drove them back to the Kakhovsky bridgehead. From the east, the 2-I Cavalry Army managed to overcome positions, went beyond the front line. But repeated история Corps of Goons: it was surrounded, smashed, the remnants escaped to the west, to Kakhovka.
In September, due to mobilizations, evacuated Cossacks and prisoners put into operation, the number of the Russian army was brought to 44 thousand people with 193 guns, 26 armored cars, 10 tanks... And the Poles at that time defeated the Reds, and again attacked in Ukraine. A plan has matured to break through to meet them. But already three armies, united in the Southern Front, acted against the White Guards, they numbered 60 thousand fighters, 451 guns, three tanks. Frunze took command of the front. Nevertheless, Wrangel struck several blows. His troops entered the Donbass, harvesting Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk). However, Frunze correctly assessed: these are distracting operations. White will break through to the west. In other directions, he limited himself to defense, and concentrated his main forces behind the Dnieper and near Kakhovka.
He was right. October 7 The 1 Corps of Kutepov forced the Dnieper at Khortitsa. To the south began the crossing of the 3 Corps and the cavalry of General Barbovich. They shot down the opposing part, took Nikopol. At the same time, the 2 th white corps with tanks and armored vehicles attacked Kakhovka. But on this line, the whites were waiting, the 6-I Red Army and 2-I Horse stood here - Mironov headed it. Fierce oncoming battles ensued. And it was here that the best shots of Wrangel were already raised, the troops were replenished with motley replenishment. They "broke down." Panic swept over them, hurrying to get back beyond the Dnieper. And the battle of Kakhovka turned into only thousands of dead and wounded, killing nine tanks from 10.
Wrangel did not yet know: on these very days, October 12, when they were making their way to the Poles, the government of Pilsudski signed peace with the Bolsheviks. It lived very well, having snatched Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, but did not even remember its Russian allies. From that moment on, the White Guards were doomed. They were no longer needed. And from the Polish front, numerous contingents, including the 1-I Conarmian Budyonny, moved against them.
Frunze was already preparing the fourth attempt to destroy Wrangel, where much greater forces and much better organized. He gathered 144 thousands of bayonets and sabers, from the arriving formations formed another, 4-th army and 3-th cavalry corps. In addition to two converging strikes, from Kakhovka and Tokmak, it was envisaged two more, the Russian army was surrounded, cut into pieces and finished off. The White Guards in the previous offensive stretched the front, their battle formations thinned out. October 28 grouping Blucher swept the opposing part in front of the Kakhovsky bridgehead. The next day I went to Perekop, tried to seize the Turkish shaft on the move, but the small garrison repulsed all attacks. Together with Blucher entered the breakthrough 1-I Conarm. I rushed to Chongar and Genichesku, cutting the last escape routes with white. The environment is complete.
But for the 4 and 13 armies, the matter stalled. Wrangel restrained them, brutally counterattacked. And the troops, shot down from the standpoint of the Soviet breakthrough, were by no means defeated. Kutepov assembled selected units: the Kornilovites, Markovtsy, Drozdovtsy, the cavalry of Barbovich, and other connections around him into a fist. Budyonnovtsy scattered divisions in several villages, considered themselves already winners, relaxed. But October 31 Whiteguards rushed at them. The divisions were wounded separately and dispersed, clearing their way. They found unexploded two bridges on Chongar and a bridge on the Arabatskaya spit, they began to leave for the Crimea. Letts came to the aid of Budyonny, the conarmia of Mironov. But Kutepov skillfully maneuvered, besieged them with counterattacks. On November 3, the rear guard missed their last columns and destroyed the bridges behind them.
Then Frunze ordered the assault to be prepared - without respite, until the enemy recovered and consolidated. Concrete casemates on Perekop, land mines, large-caliber guns were the fruit of the imagination of the Crimean journalists, calmed the inhabitants. Red intelligence took it at face value. In fact, there was only an earthen rampart with trenches, dugouts, field three-inches and 17 rows of barbed wire. Drozdovskaya division defended him, 3260 bayonets. The coast of Sivash was guarded by the Fostikoff brigade - 2 thousands of poorly armed rebels. The Kornilov and Markovites were in reserve. Chongar and the Arabat Spit were covered with 3 by thousands of Don and Kuban. In total, Wrangel had 22 – 23 thousands of fighters.
Reds collected thousands of 184, more 500 guns. In front of Perekop, Blücher's group attacked, three columns bypassed through the Sivash, an auxiliary strike was planned against Chongar. On the night of November 8, the team “Forward!” Sounded. The west wind drove the water out of the Sivash, struck a frost minus 12, bounding the mud. Already at night the whole division fell on the Cossacks Fostikova. But the Kornilov and Drozdov people came to them, rejected the Reds with the bayonet, they only caught on the edge of the shore. And in the afternoon, attacks of the Turkish Wall began - wave after wave. The White Guards fought back desperately, the first waves destroyed or pressed to the ground. The defense on the bank of the Sivash was also held, although the fresh red parts were pulled up. Only the appearance of two Soviet cavalry divisions changed the course of the battle. The defenders retreated to Yushuni. And at night Blucher began another assault. The Turkish shaft garrison continued to fight, but found out that the enemy was already in the rear, and made his way with bayonets from the encirclement.
Under Yushun was the second line of defense, two lines of trenches in the intervals between the lakes. The Reds brought 150 guns, brought down heavy fire. For two days they had been attacking and counterattacking. Wrangell sent here the last reserve, the cavalry of Barbovich. He took off the Don corps from Chongarsky direction. However, the Soviet command advanced the 2 Cavalry Army towards Barbovich. Mironov applied cunning. Hid behind the ranks of his cavalry 250 machine guns on the cart. Before the collision, the horsemen leaned to the sides, and the whites mowed down with lead. 11 November Yushunskaya defense fell.
And the departure of the Dontsi took advantage of the 4-I Red Army, began to ship to Chongar. The hull was turned back, but he could no longer straighten the position. The Bolsheviks erected a bridge, the cavalry, artillery moved along it. The Frunze armies poured into the peninsula from two sides. 12 November Wrangell ordered an evacuation. To ensure fast and smooth loading, it had to be made at different ports. The first and second corps were ordered to retreat to Sevastopol and Yevpatoria, the Barbovich corps to Yalta, the Kuban residents to Feodosia, and the Donians to Kerch.
Frunze did not want extra blood. He sent Wrangel a radiogram with a proposal for surrender on honorable terms. Those who surrendered were guaranteed life and immunity, and “those who do not wish to stay in Russia will be free to travel abroad, on condition that they refuse to continue their fight on parole”. But they told Lenin, and he sternly pulled up the front commander: “I just found out about your offer to Wrangel to surrender. Surprised by the pliability of conditions. If the enemy accepts them, all efforts should be made to capture the real fleet, that is, not a single vessel will withdraw from the Crimea. If he doesn’t accept, then in no case shall he repeat and deal mercilessly. ”
However, to prevent the evacuation failed. The Reds were also tormented by the battle, 10 lost thousands of people. They were able to establish persecution only in a day. White has broken away from them. The headquarters of the commander-in-chief mobilized all the boats. Faulty steamers and barges clung to the tow. A request for asylum turned to France. After hesitating, she agreed - although petty in demanding "as a pledge" of the costs, to transfer the ships of the Russian fleet to her. But there was nowhere to go ... On November 15, the loading was over, the 145 693 man (except for the crews) was put on board the ships. "White Russia" has become a huge city on the water. He withdrew from the anchors and moved to the Turkish shores. Into the unknown, in the wanderings of emigration ...