Dundich, Toma

Dundich, Toma

 

(also called himself Ivan; known in historical literature as Oleko). Born Apr. 13, 1896 (Aug. 12, 1897, according to other sources), in the village of Grabovac in Dalmatia; died July 8, 1920, near Rovno. Hero of the Civil War in Russia. Of Croatian nationality.

Dundich was the son of a peasant. At 12 years of age, he left for South America where he herded cattle in Argentina and Brazil. In 1914 he was drafted as a private in the Austro-Hungarian Army. During World War I he was taken prisoner by Russian troops near Lutsk in May 1916. He voluntarily joined the 1st Division of the Serbian Volunteer Corps in Russia and then the Red Guard, probably in Odessa, in mid-1917. In March 1918 he headed a partisan detachment near Bakhmut (now Artemovsk) Raion, which was merged with the Morozovsk-Donetsk Division and which retreated with K. E. Voroshilov’s army to Tsaritsyn in May and June. He participated in the defense of Tsaritsyn as part of the International Battalion and then as part of Kriuchovskii’s and Bulatkin’s cavalry brigade. He joined the Special Don Cossack Division of S. M. Budennyi in 1919 and later served in the cavalry corps and the First Cavalry Army. He was deputy commander of the regiment for special assignments under Budennyi and commander of the cavalry squadron attached to the command of the First Cavalry Army. He participated in many battles and was often wounded. The legendary bravery of “Red Dundich” made him very popular and much loved among the members of Budennyi’s army. He became deputy commander of the 36th Regiment of the 6th Cavalry Division in June 1920. Dundich was killed in battle. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

V. V. ZELENIN

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