Disposition and concentration of opposing forces. Material protection of the Kakhovka operation. Organization of the communications of the western group. Battles for the control of the Lower Dnieper. Kakhovka: its strategic importance. Landing of Wrangel forces in the Kuban; their operations, crushing of the same. New Red offensive; of Wrangel's South-Russian government. Military reasons for the same. Political and economic results of the same. Conclusions.
By August 1st the numerical strength of our Thirteenth Army had amounted to 57,111 infantry, 1,497 cavalry and 247 guns. Of this total strength the western group of forces* included 12,000 men, 205 machine-guns, 33 light and 17 heavy and medium guns. The Second Cavalry Army included 2,700 cavalry effectives with 25 guns. In all we thus had at our disposal here 57,111 infantry, 4267 cavalry and 272 guns, against 41,420 infantry, 14,850 cavalry and 241 guns of the Wrangel army. **
The nucleus of the Western group of forces consisted of the Latvian infantry division operating against Kakhovka back in July, 1920. (See above). Early in August there were attached to this group: the 15th Infantry Division and the 52d Infantry Division, along with the Kherson group (3 battalions of Kherson workers). In addition, there was moving up to Berislav from the Apostolovo railway station the 51st Infantry Division, transferred from the former Eastern Front. This division arrived at a time when the fighting of the western group was already in progress. Thus the Western Group comprised the following forces: The Latvian Infantry Division, the 15th, 51st and 52d infantry divisions and the small Kherson and Nikolayevsk detachments. On August 4, 1920, the headquarters of this group was duly organized. An operations section was established for this group with R.P. Eideman assuming command of the group. The 51st Infantry Division arrived on the scene when the operation had already gotten under way, and because of this, its strength has not been included by us in the original figures of the forces involved; it was the strongest of the divisions, including 9,787 men, with 182 machine-guns and 24 guns. (Archives of the Red Army, Documents 58-333, p.2; 78-929, p. 2l5; 49946, pp.30 and 32; 78-833, p.54; 53653, pp. 292, and 293)
* The front lines in the early part of August are shown in the sketch. (Sketch on page 490 of original text).
These hostile forces were disposed as follows: against our western group of forces was the Slashchov corps and the 3d Native Cavalry Brigade, with an aggregate strength of 3,500 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and 44 guns, occupying the front extending from Nikopol to the mouth of the Dnieper river, a line of 170 kilometers. In general reserve the enemy had in the Crimea about 5,100 infantry, 550 cavalry and 31 guns. The remaining forces of the enemy occupied the rest of the front, with the bulk of wrangel's cavalry during the early part of August, 1920 being maintained in G.H.Q. reserve, namely: in the Sieragoz area there being General Barabovich's Cavalry Corps numbering 6,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry effectives.
In evaluating the relative strength and dispositions of the opposing forces, it should be pointed out that numerically we enjoyed a superiority of several thousand men, but that the enemy enjoyed a material advantage over us by virtue of his greater cavalry strength. This facilitated his movements on inner lines, under cover of the Dnieper river. The facility of Red maneuverability was hampered by a lack of cavalry or of a developed railway system in the essential strategic areas.
Taking advantage of the numerical superiority of his western group of forces over the Slashchov group of forces, the commander of the Thirteenth Army (Uborevich) decided on the delivery of an attack with this group of forces against General Slashchov's corps and, by advancing on Perekop, to cut off the enemy from the Crimea, while at the same time attacking Orekhov.
The action of the western group of the Red forces on the Lower Dnieper is indicative of the accomplishments of the Red Army at the close of the third year of the civil war in the matter of control and command functions. Furthermore, it enables one to follow also the gains in the functions of the service of supply. We have not dwelled upon the latter so far for two reasons. First, for fear that we might take up too much space here, and second, because of the lack of necessary data bearing on most of the civil war operations. Covering this in our study primarily from the standpoint of control and command, we believe it necessary, on the basis of one of the operations (in order to provide a more complete picture), to present here the organization and functions of the service of supply and logistics.
In preparation for the execution of his mission, the commander of the western group of forces made a most careful and extensive preparation for the task before him. The preparations involved consisted of the secret formation of a powerful assault group, provisions for reconnaissance, and the minute preparation of a plan for the crossing of the great water barrier represented by the Dnieper river, 600 meters wide and over 10- 1/2 meters in depth.
As a result of all this preparatory work, the commander of this group of forces, at the close of August 6th, on the front: Mount of the Ingulets river - Klostendorf, inclusive, extending about 48 km., deployed 12,96l men, with 220 machine-guns, 71 light, heavy and medium guns; providing per kilometer of front 270 infantry, 5 machine-guns and 3 guns. The enemy in his sector of the front facing this group of Red forces, had a total of 870 infantry, 126 cavalry troops, 65 machine-guns, 14 light guns* providing per kilometer of front, 20 infantry and cavalry soldiers, l,l/2 machine-guns and about l/4 gun.**
* Archives of the Red Army, Doc.No. 81-201, p. 123; No. 78-833, pp. 14 & 57; No. 128-132; No. 78-832, pp. 6, 60-70, 75
** All in round numbers.
Both sides could count on reserves beginning with the second day of the operation as follows: Red forces; on the 51st Infantry Division (9,787 men, with 24 guns), which augmented their striking force by an additional 75% of infantry and 30% of artillery. The White forces had at their disposal behind their lines in the nature of reserves, the second brigades of the 13th and 34th infantry divisions and the 8th cavalry regiment, with a total strength of 3,600 infantry and cavalry troops with 14 light and heavy guns.
The commander of the western group of forces succeeded in gathering this superiority by a skilful disposition of his forces into active and passive detachments. To the latter detachment (security forces_) he assigned only 7% of the available forces of the entire group. The preparations for the undertaking in question show that the principle of the attack and the advantages of the same had been duly recognized and applied by the Red high command and that the execution of the plans had been vigorously and decisively accomplished. The same principle of the attack was gradually put into effect and utilized by the commander of the group of forces in the distribution of the weapons of the same. On a far wider scale than at other previous occasions was there accomplished the massing of artillery weapons and the maintenance of centralized control over the same. In order to support the crossing of the Dnieper river, the entire artillery of the group had been deployed on a 24-km. front, in two groups. The principal group of the artillery was concentrated in the Berislava area. Here 31 light and 37 heavy and medium guns were put in position; in the Lvov area were deployed 14 light and medium guns ( artillery of the 15th Infantry Division), and in the vicinity of Kazatskoye one of Taon's batteries was established (2 heavy guns). The remaining mechanical weapons of this group, comprising four armored detachments, were moved up to Berislava, in anticipation of an opportunity for their utilization on the left bank of the Dnieper. Here were moved up also the air forces of the group, consisting of 8 airplanes.*
* Archives of the Red Army, Doc. No. 53,653, pp. 291, 292, and 293; Doc. No. 78, 929, p. l80.
Comparing the mechanical weapons of the Red group of forces with that of the enemy, we note that the Red forces enjoyed a considerable superiority over the Whites in fire power. This was not due to any accident, and was also noted before during the various phases and in the different sectors of the civil war. The fact that in the operation under consideration this stands out more fully is due to the fact that the principle of the concentration of these means in the direction of the main effort was more thoroughly provided for in this particular instance.
The most effective utilization of these means depended not only on the skilful employment and control of the same, but also on the supply of these weapons with the necessary munitions and supplies. It is therefore quite proper to stop and to consider this matter, particularly so in view of the fact that the example of the western group of the Red forces did not constitute an exception but rather represented the general rule in the case of all Red armies in the 1920 campaign. Obviously the continued deterioration of our economy, particularly as regards our heavy industry, was bound to have a deleterious effect upon our military industry. As a consequence, there was also a considerable shortage in the supply of munitions.
The ultimate objective of the group of forces, in conformity with the strategic mission involved, was the destruction of the hostile manpower and the reaching of the Perekop area, i.e., penetration into the depth of the hostile disposition, to a depth of 90 kilometers. Taking into consideration the need to advance with fighting, we believe that the greatest extent of the advance by the group within 24 hours could not have exceeded an average of 20 kilometers per day, and this the entire operation should have been considered to require approximately five days. What then, were the provisions made with respect to ammunition for this five-day undertaking? The available reserves of rifle ammunition and shells (especially the latter) was hardly enough for one day's intensive fighting. In extending the operation over a five-day period, the expenditure of ammunition per day of fighting (according to N.E.Kakurin) was less than 30 rounds per man, 57 shells (in round numbers) per light gun and 27 shells (in round numbers) per medium gun. Anyone at all familiar with the rate of ammunition expended in the World War* will at once come to the highly significant conclusion that, (1) the supply of ammunition was so meager as to preclude full utilization of the most important quality of the weapons, namely, their rapid-fire action, and that (2) with such a shortage in the supply of munitions the Red army was suffering not from a lack of heavy weapons, but was rather overburdened with the same. The shortage in ammunition had to be made up by increased maneuverability.
* There were cases wherein an infantry regiment with 3,600 rifles and 8 machine-guns in a single day's action expended 2,500,000 rounds of rifle ammunition. There were instances wherein an artillery brigade comprising 36 light guns in 1916 expended 12,000 projectiles in one day's fighting, i.e., 334 shells (in round numbers) per gun.
No theoretical conclusions concerning the computation of the number of guns or other weapons necessary to put out of action a particular number of machine-guns or guns on such and such a sector of the hostile front can be arrived at on the basis of the experience of our civil war, inasmuch as there was lacking the basic condition affecting the same,namely - the normally necessary supply of ammunition for the weapons in question. It is also to be noted that the commander of the western group of forces regarded the quantity of ammunition allowed him as inadequate. He called for an additional 2,200,000 rounds of rifle ammunition and 20,000 light artillery shells.*
* Archives of the Red Army, Document No. 58-263, p. 10
If we are to consider the fact that of the total of the rifle ammunition one-half, i.e., 1,100,000 rounds, was to utilized by the machine-guns, we see that the commander of this Red group of forces considered it possible to accomplish the mission before him by providing each rifleman with 39 rounds of ammunition, each machine-gunner with 4,085 rounds, and each machine-gunner with 4,085 rounds, and each gun with 137 shells (based on calculations of N.E.Kakurin). We thus note that the calculations of the commander of the western group of forces with respect to ammunition requirements were rather modest.
As shown by the data available in the Red Army archives, all statements to the contrary notwithstanding, the situation of the White forces with respect to the supply of ammunition had been much worse than in the case of the Red forces. The rate of ammunition allowances per gun did not exceed 20 shells for a day of combat. In view of the critical situation affecting the supply of munitions, the White forces were compelled to employ their artillery only during crucial stages in their operations, while some of their batteries were simply taken to the rear on account of the shortage of munitions.*
*Archives of the Red Army Docs. 78-832, pp. 112-115; 78,-833, pp. 235, 237; 8l-204, p. 123; 58-734, p.77; 58-734, pp. 85, 86
As regards provisions and forage, these were mainly obtained locally in the course of operations. For emergency purposes, some of the divisions (15th Infantry Division) carried a week's reserve of food.**
As regards wheeled transport, the troops of the western group had to depend mainly on local resources, inasmuch as the shortage in transport equipment in the case of certain units amounted to 60 per cent.***
*** Id. 78-929
It is now of interest to review briefly the organization and structure of the communications of the western group of forces as a whole and the condition of the military roads involved, in order to evaluate the process of development taking place in the Red army in this connection from the time of the echelon phase of our civil war. The western group of forces had been based on the railway line Apostolovo-Alexandrovsk - Sinelnikovo - Pavlograd - Lozovaya, about 360 kilometers in length, and on the unimproved road from Apostolovo to Berislav, 110 kilometers in extent. Both of these routes were equipped to serve as military routes of the group.
Aside from the considerable extent of this route, an unfavorable condition affecting the Red forces was the low capacity of the railway in question, which did not permit the passage of more than six trains per day (24 hours) in either direction. Considering the fact that this road had to serve a group of forces including four relatively strong divisions along with the small Kherson group, it might be said that the military route was capable of handling the transportation involved only because of the fact that it was not called upon to carry provision and forage freight. The supply bases of the Thirteenth Army from which the western group of forces received supplies, were situated at the Lozovaya and Pavlograd railway stations;* on the entire section of the road from Apostolovo to Sinelnikovo there was only one supply station (No. 255) at Alexadrovsk; at this point there were also set up two army field hospitals (Nos. 715 and 1005)** (see Sketch 18) - original text. - Tr.
* At the first were situated the army supply section, the army ordnance depot the army medical supply sections No. 4 and l8, regulating station, disinfecting train No. 4. At the second: supply depots 1 and 4,army bakery, field hospital No. 283, 10th labor battalion; at the Sinelnikovo railway station there was also a regulating station.
** These data, as well as all other data presented above and that to follow with respect to the service of supply and communications of the western group of forces are based on the following documents of the Archives of the Red Army,No. 49948, p. 282, and No. 49946, p. 27.
The railway terminal station serving the western group of forces was that of Apostolovo. Here were situated: the ammunition depot of the group and the ammunition depots of three divisions (that of the 15th, Latvian, and 52d divisions), two supply depots (No. 3l4, 3l5; one apparently in reserve of the communications section), and the headquarters of the communications section (No. 79). The section of the unimproved road: Apostolovo - Ivanovka - Novo-Kamenka - Berislav), was served by two supply stations (Nos. 313 and 316) - at Ivanovka and Novo-Kamenka. Supply station No. 313 was situated 39 kilometers from Apostolovo, which leads one to believe that between these two points there was situated some sort of sub- station; the 316th Supply Station was situated 25 kilometers from Ivanovka (normal distance), and 45 kilometers from Berislava (apparently there was a sub-station between these).
This organization of military routes and the appropriate development of all elements connected therewith testify to the proper realization on the part of the Red command of the importance of the service of supply and communications. Based on a sufficiently developed and well distributed supply service, the Red troops were operating with a sound supply system back of them. This was one of the reasons why in the operations against Wrangel's forces, the temporary failures of Red forces were at no time turned into a complete rout. Finally, in order to evaluate the flexibility with which the Red command found it possible to resolve the problems incident to the service of supply under conditions of a poorly functioning railway system and the nearly complete absence of motorized transportation,let us see how the commander of the western group solved the problems involved in the preparations of his operation on the Lower Dnieper. Upon reaching the Perekop isthmus the troops of this group of forces became separated from their railway terminal station by a distance of 156 - 160 kilometers, i.e., by 5 to6 days march. To bring up supplies over an unimproved road system of such extent with the aid of wheeled transportation alone was a difficult matter, especially considering the fact that some of the units lacked about 60 per cent of their transport equipment. The commander of the group of forces here solved the problem by the establishment of intermediate ammunition dumps along the railway stations of Blakitnaya - Bielye Krinitsy - Sniegirevka (on the Apos6olovo - Kherson railway), and the establishment of an advance ammunition depot on the line of the Galagnovka, Tronia, Blashkov villages, which brought the ammunition supplies one day's march nearer the front. To these same stations there were also transferred the divisional supply bases. All this served to cut almost in half the extend of the unimproved road distances involved and greatly facilitated all further supply functions. The commander of the western group of forces fully recognized the advantages afforded him by the apostolovo - Kherson railway extending parallel to the line of his front under the protection afforded by such a powerful water barrier as the Dnieper river. To insure a better and more convenient evacuation of sick and wounded, these were evacuated over two different lines, sending them to the Apostolovo railway station and the Kherson railway station. Owing to the general shortage of hospital accommodations, use had to be made in large measure of existing hospital facilities.*
* Archives of the Red Army, Doc. No. 78-929, p. 100; Doc. No. 58-275, pp. 169-174
The advance of the western group of forces had been ordered to be
launched without waiting for the complete concentration of the 51st Infantry
On the night of the 6-7 August the western group began crossing the Dnieper river at Kakhovka, at the Korsun Monastery and at Aleshki, and it attacked the Slashchov corps, making the main effort with the Latvian and 52d infantry divisions against Kakhovka and the Korsun Monastery. At first it succeeded in driving back the Slashchov corps, but before long the enemy, throwing into action the Barabovich cavalry that had been maintained in reserve he halted the advance of the group and the latter was even compelled to withdraw partly beyond the Dnieper river.*
* During the fighting at the Korsun Monastery the 15th Infantry Division suffered particularly heavy losses. The commander of the division, Solodukhin, and his staff, were lost here. Prior to this the division was receiving its replacements from Yekaterinoslav, and many of these included poorly trained and politically unreliable men.
The crossings at Kakhovka nevertheless remained in the hands of the
Red forces. The operation had not been fully developed owing to the weakness of
the 15th Infantry Division, which failed to withstand the hostile attack, and
retreated to the crossings at the Korsun Monastery.
Up to August 15th the II Corps and the corps of General Barabovich continued their efforts to restore the situation in the Kakhovka area. The cavalry attacks launched by General Barabovich were shattered on the wire barriers and upon the organized resistance within this area. The White cavalry suffered heavy casualties. It might be said that at Kakhovka troops were wildly thrown into action without any fire support, especially without artillery preparation, against fortified positions - and the White cavalry here suffered blows to its morale from which it never recovered. Finally on August 15th Slashchov was forced to recognize the futility of his efforts, and he requested Wrangel's permission to curtail his attacks here. Taking advantage of the failure of the II Corps, Wrangel hastened to replace the unassuming Slashchov, who applied for retirement, with General Vitkovsky (see Sketch 19 - original text).
As a result of the advance, though it was not entirely successful, the Soviet high command attained important strategic advantages. Kakhovka, situated only 80 kilometers from the Perekop isthmus, was the center of the communications of the shortest route leading to it. Thus the enemy, in developing his further operations in the north and northeasterly directions, was getting further away from his main base of operations - the Crimea, always facing the threat of being cut off from it by an attack from the direction of Kakhovka against Perekop.
Receiving a hostile reception from the inhabitants of Taurida, experiencing failure in his efforts to bring about an uprising in the Don territory, and being unsuccessful in his efforts in establishing dependable relations with the Makhno forces, Wrangel turned his attention to the Kuban. Here the remnants of the counter-revolutionary forces, having taken cover in the hills during the collapse of the Don army in the spring, once more now raised their heads, gathering about them the wealthier peasants and higher Cossack elements who were dissatisfied with the Soviet government (including such White elements as the bans of Colonel Skakun, Colonel Lebedev, General Fostikov, etc.) Greatest activity was manifested by the white- green detachments, operating in the Maikop, Batalpashin and Labinsky sections. Unified under the banner of the so-called "Army of Russian Renaissance," (General Fostikov), the early part of August these reached a total strength of about 6,000 to 7,000 infantry and cavalry troops with 30 to 40 machine-guns, and several guns.
The Kuban contingent of General Wrangel is of considerable interest to the historian of our civil war, constituting as it did an operation based on political rather than military considerations. Wrangel sent his forces to the Kuban for the purpose of organizing a mass uprising. Scattered insurgent detachments were to gather about these forces, which were to serve as the nuclei of the insurrection.
Wrangel was convinced that "later on, proceeding in their native localities, among their friendly people, joined by numerous insurgent elements, the troops would succeed in seizing Yekaterinodar - the heart of the Kuban, and before the Red command would have time to concentrate sufficient forces, the northern part of the Kuban territory could be cleared of the Reds." For political reasons, as commander of the,White forces here was selected General Ulagai, a man (according to Wrangel himself) who was very popular among the Cossacks, a man of daring and resolution, one "capable of performing miracles." It was assumed that "everyone would follow him". As we know, Wrangel was mistaken in these optimistic calculations. The attitude of the leading Cossack elements (represented to General Wrangel by his agents in a rather optimistic light) had been mistaken to represent the attitude of the entire Cossack population, and General Ulagai found himself unprepared for the organizational and leadership task that this undertaking involved.
Wrangel's plan of action here contemplated the landing of the main force of his landing detachment in the vicinity of the Akhtyr-Primorskoi railway station, swiftly moving it up to the important railway junction of Timoshevskaya and, basing the operation on this point, to seize the city of Yekaterinodar.*
Smaller detachments were landed on the Taman peninsula (General Kharlamov) and between Anapoi and Novorossiiek ( General Cherepov), whose mission was, on the one hand, to divert as much of the enemy forces as possible from the direction of the main effort, and on the other, after capturing, respectively, the Taman peninsula and Novorossiisk, to advance on Krasnodar (Yekaterinodar), having the local insurgents join in the undertaking. Thus, in the Yekaterinodar (Krasnodar) area, there was to be effected a junction of all forces for a further offensive to be carried into the depth of the Kuban territory.
According to the data in our archives, the strength of the forces landed by Wrangel during this landing operation had been as follows: Ulagai detachment: 4,050 infantry, 4,050 cavalry troops,243 machine-guns, 17 guns; Cherepov detachment: 1,500 infantry, 15 machine-guns and 2 guns; Kharlamov detachment: 2,450 infantry 450 cavalry troops, 25 machine-guns, 6 guns. The data furnished by General Wrangel are quite at variance with the above. Wrangel gives the strength of his entire forces here as 5,000 infantry and cavalry troops with 130 machine-guns and 14 guns. It is to be assumed that the data afforded by our archives present the picture that had been created as consequence of the initial successes of the landing detachments and after these were joined by the local White bands and civilian inhabitants. Wrangel himself admits that by the end of the operation, notwithstanding the heavy losses involved, some of his units had greater strength than at the outset. Events during the initial phase of the operation developed favorably for the Wrangel detachment commanded by General Ulagai, which effected its landing on the 14th of August without much interference at the Akhtyr-Primorsk railway station and by the evening of the 18th of August, after delivering a number of concentrated assaults against the Red forces that were operating in a most indecisive and sporadic manner, occupied the Timoshevskaya railway station. Thence an open route was available for General Ulagai's forces to Yekaterinodar, which latter point was very poorly covered by our forces. However, instead of continuing a vigorous advance, General Ulagai, for some unknown reason, or the probable reason of mobilizing the local inhabitants, actually halted for several days his advance and permitted the Red forces (Ninth Army commanded by Levandovsky) to concentrate new units. The basic principle involved in any landing operation, namely the decisive extension of the base of the undertaking, was thus overlooked by General Ulagai. It is quite likely that this lack of decision on the part of General Ulagai had also been due to some strategic considerations. Beginning August 16, there was in the vicinity of Brinkovskaya the only suitable crossing over the marshy stretch of "Beyegskoye Girlo," that was covering the Ulagai detachment in the north. Vigorous fighting developed between Babyev's cavalry and the Red forces, which continually increased their pressure in this area. From August 16 to 23, when the shifting by the White forces of their entire operation to the direction of Auchuev was still held in abeyance. Brinkovskaya changed hands several times .The action of the Red forces in the Vrinkovskaya area now confronted General Ulagai's forces with the threat of being cut off from their base. August 22d may be said to have been the day when a complete change in the situation took place. On this day the Red forces once more captured the Timoshevskaya railway station, driving off the detachment of General Ulagai from the shortest route leading to Krasnodar. The improvised Red Sea of Azov flotilla, arriving before the Akhtyr-Primorskoi settlement of the Whites, which had not been protected at the time by White naval forces, compelled the Whites to evacuate General Ulagai's base of operations and headquarters. On the 23d of August General Ulagai transferred his base of operations to the south, at Achuyev. His further operations, however in spite of some considerable tactical successes, were already market by failure. Even the sympathetic elements of the population, having lost confidence in a White victory, now avoided mobilization. The inhabitants were hiding in the rushes and sinking their vehicles in the lakes. The ring of the Red forces was closing in ever more tightly around the White contingents. On the 28th of August the Red forces, moving up the Kovtiukh landing detachment secretly by boats in rear of the enemy, over the Protoke river, delivered a surprise attack on Novo-Nizhne-Stebliyevskaya, where the headquarters of General Ulagai's detachment was situated. This raid, disorganizing the control of the detachment, hastened the withdrawal of the enemy. The enemy, defending himself tenaciously, retreated toward Achuyev. Taking advantage of the fact that the swampy area was highly suitable for defense and that it was difficult of being traversed, thus facilitating the delay of the Red forces, General Ulagai maintained a small base at Schuyev up till September 7th, covering the evacuation of the Whites. (See Sketch 20) original text - Tr.
As regards the operations of the Cherepov and Kharlamov detachments, these had a minor effect upon the general course of the operations. At all events, the basic mission of the operation in question, namely that of diverting as much of the Red forces as possible, had not been accomplished by these detachments. In part, this may be explained by the fact that their undertakings had not been coordinated with the action of the Ulagai detachment. The Cherepov detachment effected a landing between Anapoi and Novorossiisk with considerable delay - only on the 17th of August, and after vain efforts at penetrating into the direction of Novorossiisk on the night of the 23-24 August and losing about 50 per cent of its personnel, effected its evacuation under the protection of naval artillery guns. The action of General Kharlamov's detachment developed more successfully at first on the Taman peninsula, but upon leaving the peninsula where, taking advantage of the terrain which had favored defense, the Red forces (22d Division and 33d Cavalry Brigade) put up strong resistance, Kharlamov"s advance was finally brought to a halt. It is interesting to note that the Kharlamov detachment manifested its greatest activity at a time when the forces under General Ulagai had already withdrawn to the Achuyev area. On September 2d the Red forces on the Taman peninsula themselves launched a vigorous offensive that led to the almost complete rout of those White detachments that had not already succeeded in withdrawing to their original landing base -at Tamanskaya.
After the retreat of General Ulagai's detachment, the Wrangel insurgents still continued their activity for a considerable time in the Kuban territory. General Fostikov's " Army of the Renaissance," operating on the Batalpashinsky area, required for its liquidation considerable further efforts of the Red forces. Surrounded from directions, being short of ammunition, gradually losing the support of the population, General Fostikov early in October found it necessary to withdraw with his detachments over mountain trails into Georgian territory in the vicinity of Gagr, where his troops were supposedly disarmed, and shortly afterwards turned back over to General Wrangel. This comedy in the release of these troops was of little significance by itself in the general course of the civil war; the historian may be interested in this episode only from the standpoint of the position of democratic Georgia, which had not formally recognized General Wrangel. The Georgian high command voluntarily agreed to the release of the Fostikov detachment to Wrangel, notwithstanding the fact that it could not help knowing that this detachment would be employed in action by the White army. For diplomatic reasons the Mensheviks would not take the risk of releasing the men openly. In order to mislead the Soviet high command the Wrangel and Georgian Mensheviks staged the turning over of the Postikov detachment under the pretext of an armed threat. Wrangel's destroyer fired several shots, the Georgian troops withdrew, and the Postikov detachment safely embarked on the vessel and went back to the Crimea. The entire incident tends to illustrate the true aspects of the Georgian Mensheviks.
Taking advantage of the diverted attention and some of the forces of the enemy to the Kuban territory, the Red command decided once more to repeat its advance from Kakhovka and Alexandrovsk. From Alexandrovsk and Melitopol there was to advance the Second Cavalry Army. The western group of forces, with its two divisions (5lst and 53 infantry divisions) was to launch an attack on Melitopol with a view to establishing contact with the Second Cavalry Army, while using one division (the Latvian) for an advance on Perekop. Judging from the nature of the missions involved, the plan of the army commander contemplated the envelopment of a considerable portion of Wrangel's army, and to prevent it from getting into the Crimea (See Sketch 19).
Even though this operation did not lead to the routing of Wrangel's forces in Northern Taurida, it is nevertheless of considerable interest from the political and strategic standpoints. Penetrating deep into the territory held by Wrangel's forces, the Red army to a considerable extent disrupted the efforts of the White forces in Northern Taurida toward accumulating provisions, disrupted the communications of the White forces there, and by so doing undermined the confidence of the population in a lasting Wrangel victory. Further interest in this operation consists in the fact that by its concept and nature it represented a duplication of Frunze's October operation that led to Wrangel's defeat. The events in August could not help convincing General Wrangel of the danger which the Kakhovka base represented. His penetration in the northern and northeastern areas in the face of the kakhovka base, situated only 2,1/2 days' march from Perekop, inevitably assumed the aspects of an adventurous undertaking. On the other hand, the entire political and economic situation of the republic demanded of the commander of the Thirteenth Army vigorous measures for the protection of the Donets Basin. We might state without any exaggeration that with the establishment of the Kakhovka base of operations the defense of the Donets Basin was no longer merely a matter of covering the approaches thereto, but now consisted of the active employment of the Red forces at Kakhovka. The Kakhovka base abruptly changed the strategic situation on the Wrangel front. General Wrangel assumed an active defense, maintaining considerable reserves for employment in accordance with the particular requirements of the situation in the westerly and easterly directions. Henceforth his tactics involved the delivery of brief decisive thrusts. Tactically he remained active during the subsequent phases, though strategically he was now much constrained by what is generally known as the lack of freedom of action.
The Kakhovka group of the Red forces launched its attack on the 21st of August. The advance developed quite successfully, though rather slowly. In proportion as the Melitopol group (commanded by Blucher) became separated from its base, restrained, moreover, by the commander of the Kakhovka group, it become ever more cautious and methodical in its actions. manifesting apprehension for its exposed flanks. The war strength 51st Division operating in this area was reinforced on the 27th of August by the weak and rather exhausted 52d Infantry Division. By evening of the 27th of August the Melitopol group, maintaining in its center the 51st Division, with the composite cavalry division on the right flank, and units of the 52d Division on its left, reached with fighting the line: Ivanovka - Nizhnie Sierogoz - Novaya Alexandrovka. Here, on this line, a three-day battle was fought for the initiative with the White forces, who were endeavoring to turn the flanks of the Red forces.
Against the left flank of the Melitopol group, commanded by Blucher, by evening of the 27th August,.at Diemyanovka, there concentrated the White assault group - the Kornilov, 6th Infantry, and 1st Cavalry divisions (under the general control of General Skoblin). The White 2nd Cavalry Division operating in the Agaiman area withdrew at this time to the Petrovsk area, leaving rear-guard units in the Kuchkogus area. Contact between the two White groups of forces, moving up against the flanks of Blucher's group of forces, was maintained by the rather extended independent cavalry brigade commanded by General Shinkarenko, which was concentrating in the Kalga area. Thus already on the evening of the 27th of August there was apparent the plan of the White counter maneuver, contemplating the turning of both flanks of Blucher's group of forces that had overextended itself in the Melitopol area and scattered its forces. This situation caused Blucher to hasten the strengthening of his left flank, where he shifted by forced marching the cavalry detachment commanded by Sablin.
As regards the Perekop area, here the advance of the Latvian Division developed tardily and by evening of the 27th the Latvian Division was still engaging the enemy in the Magdalinovka area. Units of the 15th Division, moved up on August 30th to Askania-Nova, at the time when the events in the Melitopol area assumed a dangerous turn for the Red forces, seized Askania-Nova, situated between the Perekop and Melitopol groups, but this no longer exerted and influence on the course of events here. The advance of the Kakhovka group caused considerable alarm at the White headquarters, which General Wrangel himself admits in his notes: "On the morning of the 30th August on the entire front there was renewed sanguinary fighting. Up to noon the outcome was still in doubt; General Kutepov considered the situation most alarming. I decided to proceed to Melitopol. At the Dzhanka railway station we were warned that Red cavalry patrols were approaching the railroad. With extinguished lights we proceeded north at dusk. I arrived at Melitopol late in the evening. Notwithstanding the late hour, a large crowd had accumulated in the streets near the headquarters. In the gloomy, sullen faces there were signs of alarm."
While there were thus developing the operations of the western group of forces under Eideman, on the remainder of the front of the Thirteenth Army the following events were taking place. Assisting in the assault of the Second Cavalry Army, the infantry of the Thirteenth Army occupied Bolshoi Tokmak. The Second Cavalry Army, penetrating the front of the White forces in the Vasilyevka area, moved on Skielka and farther on Orlyansk, endeavoring to establish contact with the 52d Division. The left flank of the White forces in the Alexandrovsk area moved back to the Mikhailovka - Fridrichsfeld area. On the 29th of August, when on the front of the Kakhovka group, in the vicinity of the Upper and Lower Sieragoz, battles were being fought with alternating successes and failures on both sides, the Second Cavalry Army at Maloi Bielozerskoi dispersed the Don Infantry regiment of the Whites and continued to move on Menchekur. Between the cavalry army and the left flank of the Kakhovka group there was left a gap of 60 kilometers. By the evening of the 29th the Red forces succeeded in maintaining Lower Sieragoz on the left flank of the melitopol group. The favorable tactical situation here, however, was not fully exploited by the Second Cavalry Army, which had been moving very slowly, owing to the exhausted condition of the cavalry forces. On the morning of the 30th of August the enemy launched a concentrated advance on the left flank of the Blucher group and after vigorous fighting compelled it to abandon the Lower Sieragoz area, while at the same time containing with his aviation and covering forces the advance of the Second Cavalry Army. On September 1st units of the 51st and 52d infantry divisions (Blucher group) began their withdrawal toward the Kakhovka base. Here also, independently descending on the flanks of the group of forces commanded by General Skoblin, was directed the Second Cavalry Army, which only on the 2nd of September established contact with the 51st Division at the Kakhovka base of operations.
Beginning September 2nd the enemy launched a series of attacks against the Kakhovka base with General Vitkovsky's corps that had been brought up to a strength of 7,000 men. The enemy developed his main attack along the Perekop - Kakhovka road. All attacks were repulsed, with the Red forces capturing two hostile tanks. The fighting in this area died down on the 6th of September.
After the hostile attacks against the Kakhovka base of operations had been repelled, a temporary lull set in along the entire Taurida front. The White command was preparing for a new campaign, effecting a regrouping of its forces and bringing up reserves.*
* This new operation was the result of Wrangel's overestimation of the entire strategic situation in connection with the events on the Polish-Soviet front.
As we shall see later, these events had caused also the French government to change its views concerning Wrangel's adventure and to seek a businesslike arrangement with him.
Overestimating the successes of the Poles on the banks of the Vistula and attaching an exaggerated importance to the insurgent movement in the Ukraine, Wrangel had abandoned further operations in the Kuban territory.which in his opinion were possible only provided Taurida were cleared of Red forces and driven beyond the Perekop isthmus; but he therefore suggested the plan of the "establishment of a unified, connected front with a general military leadership" in a unified campaign against Bolshevism. This solid front contemplated joint action with the Polish forces, while the political goal involved called for a shifting of the center of gravity toward the westerly strategic areas. In the execution of this plan, Wrangel the westerly strategic areas. In the execution of this plan, Wrangel sought the support of the French government. The plan, however, fell through . The Poles merely agreed to the formation from among the remnants of the White Russian forces that crossed into Polish territory at various times (Bulak- Bulakhovich, etc.) of the so-called Russian Third Army, which was formally subordinated to General Wrangel, but actually remained under the control of Savinkov.
This time its objectives were the capture of the city of Yekaterinoslav, that of reaching the Donets Basin and the Don territory. This was to constitute the preliminary operation before the launching of the main undertaking, in the direction of western Ukraine. Wrangel sought to gain freedom for his action beyond the Dnieper. Successively defeating the Pologa and Verkhne-Tokmak groups of Red forces and simultaneously advancing frontally and operating against the rear of the Oriekhov and Alexandrovsk groups of Red forces, the units of Wrangel's army were to inflict a decisive defeat upon the Red forces on the left bank of the Dnieper.
Early in September there began returning to the Crimea from the Caucasus the expeditionary corps commanded by Ulagai, and, in addition, there began arriving from Poland Russian volunteer detachments that had been organized there at various times with a total strength of 10,000 men (under Bredov), and these were incorporated into the army. The forces were also considerably augmented by a reserve of captured Red troopers (see Sketch 19). Thus by mid-September Wrangel's army was considerably strengthened. Taking advantage of this fact, General Wrangel decided to develop his action on a more extensive front, indicating two areas for the delivery of his attacks: that of the Volnovakha and the Sinelnikovo railway stations. The forces arriving from the Caucasus (Kuban 1st, 2nd and 3d and 4th cavalry divisions, Alexeyevsk Infantry Division), were sent by rail via Kerch, Militopol to Northern Taurida. By mid-September the enemy had concentrated in the Mikhailovka-Vasilyevka area his entire I Army Corps, the Kornilov division, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Kuban cavalry divisions and the Don Corps. These units were intended for an attack on the Alexandrovsk - Sinelnikovo front. The fighting on this front started on September 14th Under enemy pressure the units of the Red Thirteenth Army abandoned the line of the Yanchokrak river in the vicinity of Orekhov and withdrew to the Konskaya river. On the 15th of September the enemy, developing his attack, penetrated the lines of the Red Thirteenth Army at Novo-Grigoryevsk and continued to exert pressure on our forces, compelling them to withdraw to Alexandrovsk and Miroliubovka. The right-flank units of the Thirteenth Army, subjected to hostile pressure, were compelled to abandon the city of Alexandrovsk on the 19th of September, withdrawing to the Khortitsa island on the Dnieper opposite Alexandrovsk. At the same time the enemy occupied Slavgorod, for the possession of which sanguinary fighting developed in the days that followed.
On the 22d of September the White forces already occupied the Sinelnikovo railway station. Leaving a screening force on the Sinelnikovo - Alexandrovsk front from the I Corps, the White command transferred the rest of its units ( the Don Corps,3d and 4th Kuban cavalry divisions) to the Volnovakhskaya area for an assault on Yuzonvka and Mariupol), which were occupied on September 28th. On the next day, i.e., on the 29th of September, the hostile Don Corps reached the boundary of the Don territory at the Dolya and Kandrykin railway stations. It was with this that there practically come to an end the territorial gains of the extensively planned campaign. The Thirteenth Army found it possible to halt the progress of the enemy by means of counterattacks. It defended itself actively in the Sinelnikovo area; it once more recaptured Sinelnikovo and lost it again on the 3d of October, but by means of its assaults forced the hostile screening force to pass to the defensive. On the Kashlagach river the advance of the Don group of forces encountered the strong resistance of the reserves of the Thirteenth Army which not only arrested the progress of the enemy here but forced him back. The enemy was compelled to halt his operation; but he almost immediately decided upon a new undertaking. This time he assumed the objective of attacking our Nikopol group of forces (Second Cavalry Army and 1st Infantry Division) believing it to constitute our assault group intended for the invasion of the Crimea, and then of defeating the Red Sixth Army at the Kakhovka base (the Western group of forces was renamed the Sixth Army on September 8th), and by so doing,to open the route to the western Ukraine.
This new operation of the enemy got under way while the center and the left flank of the Red Thirteenth Army were continuing to make good progress, which the hostile screening forces could no longer hold in check. On October 5th the Red forces once more occupied Volnovakha and Mariupol, while on the 6th of October they consolidated their ground at Sinelnikovo.
The plans for the Nikopol operation of the enemy in general contemplated the following: The Kornilov, Markov and 1st Kuban cavalry divisions were to cross to the right bank of the Dnieper over the Khortitan island, which had been occupied by them back on the 25th of September, during the night of October 7th. After effecting the crossing, these forces were to advance due west against the line Dolgintsevo - Apostolovo, stationing a screening force in the north. The III Army Corps of the enemy and the hostile cavalry corps (1st Cavalry Division and Terek- Astrakhan brigade ) were to force the Dnieper river at Ushkalka on the night of the 8th of October and, sending the cavalry to seize Apostolovo, attack the rear of the Red Kakhovka group of forces that was engaged frontally with the White II Corps. Owing to delays in the regrouping of the forces involved the operation was postponed 24 hours.
At 4:30 A.M. October 8th the enemy crossed the Dnieper river in the Burvald area opposite Alexandrovsk and, defeating the units of the 8th Infantry Brigade ( 3d Infantry Division belonging to Fedko's group of forces forming the right flank of the Thirteenth Army), began swiftly to extend his operations in the west and southwest. By 9:00 A.M. on the right bank of the Dnieper river there was already the entire Markov division. On the 9th of October the enemy occupied on the right bank of the Dnieper a base 25 kilometers in depth, establishing positions at Lukashevka and Vieselaya. The Red command had already adopted measures on the 8th of October for the liquidation of the penetration of the enemy on the right bank of the Dnieper. It concentrated two brigades of the 46th Infantry Division and the Kitsiuk cavalry brigade to the north of the point where the penetration had been effected, in the Kanseropol area, and moved the 21st Cavalry Division to the area northeast of Nikopol (Strukovka, Redutny, Amastasyeva area), intending to attack from the north and southwest the hostile forces which effected the penetration.At the same time the northern assault detachment of the Red forces was to be reinforced by the 16th Cavalry Division (Second Cavalry Army), which had been directed to the Vysokoye railway station. Thus, the assault of the White forces from Alexandrovsk, which preceded their attack from the direction of Ushkalka, had the immediate effect of weakening the Second Cavalry Army by two cavalry divisions.
With a view to intensifying its defensive undertakings, the Red command itself transferred to the south bank of the Dnieper from Nikopol a brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. This brigade launched an attack against the Volyanoye and Znamenskoye villages. On the night of the 9th of October, however, there began the crossing by the White III Army Corps of the Dnieper at the Babino and Ushkalka villages. The 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division which had occupied the bank of the Dnieper facing these points was forced back, which made it necessary to commit to action at Nikopol the last reserves of the Second Cavalry Army - the 2nd Cavalry Division and independent cavalry brigade.
Only on the 10th of October did the development of the advance of the Northern group of the Red forces (46th Infantry Division), reinforced also by a student brigade, get under way successfully. These forces conducted a successful advance on Khortitsa, forcing the Markov division back.*
* As Wrangel points out in his notes, starting October 11th he began a new regrouping of his forces, owing to the threat against his forces by the units of the Red Thirteenth Army in the Melitopol area. Wrangel shifted the eastern sector of his front the Kornilov division, which on October 11th once more crossed to the left bank of the Dnieper at Nikopol and proceeded eastward. At the same time the Markov division was gradually drawing back to the left bank of the Dnieper. The entire cavalry which had crossed to the right bank of the Dnieper had been unified under the single control of General Babiyev, and was proceeding against the Apostolovo railway station.
However, the hostile penetration in the western and southwestern directions continued to develop successfully, the White forces endeavoring to establish contact with their III Army Corps there. The 2lst Cavalry Division was driven back to Tokmakovka, where it engaged in vigorous fighting. The 16th Cavalry Division took up position on the right flank of the Fedko group of forces and advanced together with the latter. On the evening of the 10th of October the enemy penetrated Nikopol, but was later driven out of the town. The left flank of the Sixth Army was gradually becoming involved in the fighting here. Units of the 52d Infantry Division (left flank of Sixth Army) endeavored to advance on Babino and Ushkalka; in the vicinity of the left flank of the Sixth Army there was shifted the cavalry brigade of this army. On the 11th of October both penetrations of the enemy joined into a single general breakthrough, inasmuch as our forces were compelled to abandon Nikopol and to withdraw 25 to 30 kilometers to the northwest and north of Nikopol. The 2nd Cavalry Division was now in the vicinity of Vysokaya; the 16th Cavalry Division occupied Chumaka. Between these divisions was the 1st Infantry Division. Only the advance of the 46th Infantry Division continued to develop, slowly, but successfully. Thus, by the 12th of October the movement that had been undertaken toward cutting off the wedge which the enemy had driven into the Red territory failed and the Second Cavalry Army merely extended the front of the Fedko group of forces. As a result, beginning October 12th, the action of the Second Cavalry Army and the Fedko group consisted of efforts at driving the enemy back on the left bank of the Dnieper.
In these efforts, as heretofore, the left-flank division (52d Inf. Div.) of the Sixth Army endeavored to assist with its two brigades the Second Cavalry Army, attempting to develop an assault against Grushevsky Kut.
On the morning of the 12th of October the Second Cavalry Army and the Fedko group advanced on the Podstepnoye - Nikopol - Khortitsa.The Fedko group engaged in vigorous fighting for the possession of Viesoloye and Lukashevka and by the close of the day drove the enemy out of these villages. Meanwhile the 21st Cavalry Division occupied with its main forces the Alexandrovka village, moving up advance units to Perevoznoye; the 1st Infantry Divison and the independent cavalry brigade occupied Sholokhovo; the 2nd Cavalry Divison advanced on Chetomlyk while the 16th Cavalry Division reached Krasnogrigoryevka. On the 13th of October the advance of the Fedko detachment continued to develop with considerable success on its left flank. The Khortitsa and Kichkas settlements were occupied and fighting continued for the possession of the Khortitsa island. Thus, the 13th of October marked the complete failure of the hostile Nikopol operation. The efforts of the enemy on the 13th and 14th of October at launching a frontal attack against the Kakhovka fortified base apparently was merely a desperate gesture.*
* In his notes, General Wrangel stresses the receipt of reports from his aviation that the Red forces had started abandoning their Kakhovka fortified base.
These hostile attacks were repelled in the same manner as the
previous attacks. Our units launched a brief pursuit of the enemy, who had
suffered considerable losses here; during the unsuccessful attacks of the enemy
our forces captured and put out of action nine hostile tanks. The failure of
the second hostile attack on the Kakhovka base coincided with a decisive change
in the situation in the Nikopol operation in our favor.
On the 14th of October a decisive victory was imminent on both flanks of our nikopol front. At the junction point of the Second Cavalry Army and Sixth Army the 154th Infantry Brigade of the 52d Infantry Division and sablin's cavalry brigade (Sixth Army) defeated the hostile screening force at Marinskaya, captured 6 guns and repelled the enemy in a northerly direction. At the same time, the Second Cavalry Army, concentrating its main cavalry forces in the vicinity of Shelokhova, defeated the hostile cavalry group of forces consisting of three divisions, while the left flank of the Fedko detachment occupied the northern portion of the Khoitsa island.*
* According to Wrangel himself, the retreat of the III Corps and of the former Babyev cavalry group ( General Babyev was killed on the 13th of October) across the Dnieper was in considerable disorder.
The enemy now continued the fighting merely for the purpose of enabling his overextended units to withdraw from action and to cross to the left bank of the Dnieper. He therefore stubbornly resisted the advance of the Fedko detachment on the Burvald - Arbuzovka line, launching frequent counterattacks. On the 15th of October, however, there was already noted the hasty retreat of the enemy rear-guards along the entire front, and our forces, pursuing the enemy, reached the line of the Dnieper river.
The Nikopol operations, notwithstanding its negative outcome, remains nevertheless instructive from the standpoint of the forcing of a water barrier of considerable importance. The coordination of the two attacks launched from Alexandrovsk actually served to divert at once almost half of the forces of the Second Cavalry Army, which facilitated the execution of the mission of the enemy in the direction of his main effort at Babino - Ushkalka. The action against the fortified base was decided by the gradually augmented efforts of the Red forces there, since the turning movement against the flanks of the first of the hostile groups which effected the crossing of the Dnieper proved unsuccessful. We should note here the assistance which the left flank of the Sixth Finally, the Nikopol operation also had another equally important aspect. It proved that the combat efficiency of the stronger Wrangel divisions had no longer been the same as during the initial phases of the campaign. Thus, for example, the Kuban cavalry, suffering defeat at Shelokhovo, fled in extreme disorder to the Dnieper, abandoning in its flight equipment, ammunition, rifles and machine-guns.
Summarizing the two-months period of the fighting within the Taurida theater of operations, we note that it was characterized by extensive maneuver, owing to the intensive struggle for the initiative, which both sides were making every effort to gain. Up to the failure of the Kuban expedition Wrangel enjoyed the advantage in this respect but, after August 10th Wrangel experienced ever greater difficulty in maintaining this initiative, and finally during the latter part of August, 1920, his efforts assumed the aspect of spasmodic jumps in different directions throughout the entire theater of operations and amounted essentially to nothing but defensive efforts, though these were still quite active, and were more or less directly affected by the activity of the Soviet forces. The particular activity of the latter had been due to the slow but imperative, gradual increase in the superiority of the Soviet forces over Wrangel's forces. Actually, beginning September 5, 1920, the relative strength of opposing forces in this theater of operations had been as follows:
The Thirteenth Army included 54,028 infantry and 10,118 cavalry troops with 294 light and heavy guns (Kherson group comprising two independent battalions, the Latvian Infantry Division, 1st,3d, 15th, 23d, 40th, 42d, 46th, 51st and 52d infantry divisions, 85th Infantry Brigade, student brigade, brigade of Siberian volunteers, cavalry groups of Hoff and Kitsiuk, Second Cavalry Army, 5th Cavalry Division, 9th Cavalry Division). The large number of military units necessitated a reorganization and extension of the system of control, and the western group of forces was designated on the 8th of September as the Sixth Army (commanded by Avksentyevsky).
The enemy, on the other hand, also effected a reorganization of his system of control, organizing all of his forces into two armies: The First Army, commanded by General Kutepov, and the Second Army, commanded by General Drotsenko, but the aggregate strength of the two armies did not exceed 40,000 to 45,000 infantry and Cavalry, and we thus enjoyed a superiority of 50 per cent over the enemy throughout the entire theater of operations.
Having decided to continue the fight against the Soviet government at his own risk, against the wishes and advice of the British government, General Wrangel found the unexpected support of the French. Disturbed by the victories of the Red Army over the Polish military forces, which swiftly brought the Soviet Army to the banks of the Vistula, and being incapable of supporting with manpower the "bastion of its military power in Eastern Europe" that was beginning to totter under the blows of the Red armies, France decided to support General Wrangel for the purpose of diverging a part of the Soviet force from the Polish front.
The difficult position of Poland, and the economic advantages which the Wrangel government so freely promised, had caused France actually to recognize this government. For the material assistance in fighting the Bolsheviks the Wrangel government mortgaged to French capital the entire South Russia with its industrial enterprises, railways, etc.
Thus the vigorous efforts of Wrangel's forces in the various parts of Northern Taurida during the summer and autumn of 1920 produced definite political results for himself along with strategic results for the principal enemy of Soviet Russia - Poland. These caused the Soviet strategists to weaken the main theater of operations by detaching considerable forces for employment on the Wrangel front at a time when there was a decisive turn in the campaign in Poland. At the same time, however, they hastened the beginning of the end of the Wrangel forces themselves. As soon as a peaceful settlement of the Polish conflict became possible, the Soviet high command proceeded to transfer considerable forces from the principal theater of operations to the Wrangel front. The arrival of these forces in the Taurida theater of operations was the beginning of the end of the agony of our internal counter- revolutionaries that had been prolonged by virtue of foreign intervention and assistance.