June Offensive 1917
June Offensive (1917)
an offensive operation by the Russian troops of the Southwestern Front under the command of General A. E. Gutor during World War I.
The June offensive was undertaken by the bourgeois Provisional Government, supported by the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, in order to consolidate its position and satisfy the Allied demand for more vigorous action by the Russian Army. If the offensive succeeded, the bourgeoisie hoped to take all the power in its hands and to crush the revolutionary forces in the country and the army; in the case of failure it hoped to put the blame for the disintegration of the army on the Bolsheviks. On June 18 (July 1) the Eleventh and Seventh armies launched an offensive, delivering the main attack toward L’vov from the regions of Zloczów (Zolochev) and Brzeżany (Bere-zhany); despite a considerable superiority in men and matériel, the offensive was unsuccessful and was stopped on June 20 (July 3). On June 23 (July 6) the Eighth Army, under the command of General L. G. Kornilov, assumed the offensive, delivering a secondary attack in the Halicz and Stanistawów (Galich and Stanislav) sector toward Kahisz (Kalush) and Bolechów (Bole-khov). The army broke through the enemy defenses and captured more than 7, 000 prisoners and 48 guns; developing its success, it occupied Halicz and Kahisz and reached the -Lomnica (Lomnitsa) River on June 30 (July 13). On July 6 (19) the Austrian-German troops counterattacked from the Zloczów region toward Tarnopol (Ternopol’) and broke through the front of the Eleventh Army, forcing the Seventh and Eighth armies to retreat. On July 8 (21), Gutor was replaced by Kornilov. On July 15 (28) the Russian troops halted on the line Brody, Zbaraż (Zbarazh), and the Zbrucz (Zbruch) River.
The general plan linked the June offensive with an offensive on the Rumanian Front and secondary attacks on the Northern and Western fronts. The Rumanian Front offensive of the Rumanian Second Army and the Russian Fourth Army, which began on July 9 (22), developed successfully but was stopped on July 14 (27) upon the order of A. F. Kerensky, the supreme commander in chief. The July 9 (22) offensive of the Fifth Army of the Northern Front from the region of Molodečno in the direction of Vilno (Vilnius) and the July 10 (23) offensive of the Tenth Army of the Western Front from Jakobstadt (Jekabpils) toward Kovno (Kaunas) ended in a complete failure.
As a result of the bloody venture of the Provisional Government, Galicia was abandoned; the total losses of the Russian Army on all fronts exceeded 150, 000 men. The June offensive drew 13 German and three Austro-Hungarian divisions to the Eastern Front. The June offensive and its failure revealed the counterrevolutionary policy of the Provisional Government and of the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, provoked the violent protest of the working masses and the soldiers that culminated in the July Days of 1917, and raised the prestige of the Bolsheviks, who demanded an immediate end to the war.
REFERENCESZaionchkovskii, A. M. Strategicheskii ocherk voiny 1914–1918 gg. Part
7: “Kampaniia 1917 g.” Moscow, 1923.
Talenskii, N. A. Kampaniia 1917 g. Moscow, 1938.
A. G. KAVTARADZE