August Offensive of 1919

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

August Offensive of 1919


an offensive by the Soviet troops of the Southern front commanded by V. N. Egor’ev, against the White armies of General A. I. Denikin; on July 15, the Soviets had approximately 160,000 infantry and cavalry and 541 artillery pieces, and the Whites had approximately 115,000–120,000 infantry and cavalry and 300–350 artillery pieces.

The main blow of the offensive was delivered by the left wing, a special group under V. I. Shorin that included the Ninth and Tenth armies. Preparations for the offensive were protracted, and Shorin’s plans became known to the enemy, which moved against the junction of the Eighth and Ninth armies on August 10 in a deep raid on the rear of the Soviet troops carried out by the Caucasian corps of General K.K. Mamontov. This raid drew a large number of Soviet troops away from the front.

Shorin’s group of 45,000 infantry and cavalry moved to the offensive on August 14. It met stubborn resistance from the forces of the Don and Caucasian White armies, which were approximately equal to it in size, and in early September was held by them at the Khoper and Don rivers.

V. I. Selivachev’s group of some 36,000–37,000 infantry and cavalry was able at first to attack successfully at the junction of the Don and Dobrovolets armies and seize Kupiansk. But on September 3, under pressure from the White forces which had moved to a counterattack against its flanks on August 26, the group began to fall back. It suffered heavy losses and by September 12 had retired to the area of Voronezh.

The failure to complete the operation was due to the lack of forces, especially cavalry, in the attacking groups. The uncoordinated offensives of the two groups of Soviet troops were repelled separately by the enemy. However, even though the goals of the August Offensive were not completely attained, it played an important role in the struggle against Denikin. It brought the main forces of the Don and Caucasian Cossack armies to the defense of the Cossack oblasts and protected the communications between the central oblasts of Russia and the eastern areas of the country, securing the transport of provisions and reserves from the east.


Lenin, V. I. “Vse na bor’bu s Denikinym!” Poln. sobr. soch.,5th ed., vol. 39.
Istoriia Grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.