Lvov Operation of 1920

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

L’vov Operation of 1920


an offensive operation by Soviet troops of the Southwestern Front between July 25 and August 20 during the war between Soviet Russia and Poland in 1920.

The objective of the operation was to crush the L’vov grouping of forces of bourgeois Poland and to take L’vov. The troops of the Southwestern Front (commanded by A. I. Egorov and members of the Revolutionary Military Council J. V. Stalin and R. I. Berzin) had the following missions: the First Horse Cavalry Army (four cavalry divisions) and three rifle divisions were to take L’vov and Rava-Russkaia and capture the crossings over the San River by July 29; the Fourteenth Army was to advance along the Tarnopol’ (now Ternopol’-Nikolaev line; the Twelfth Army was to support the operation with an advance on the Chelm-Lublin line.

On July 26 the First Horse Cavalry Army took Brody and on July 28 crossed the Styr’ River; the Fourteenth Army crossed the Zbruch River and reached Tarnopol’. Both armies met resistance by major forces of the Polish troops (the Third, Second, and Sixth armies). On July 29 these forces went on the counteroffensive, striking Brody from the northwest and southwest with the objective of destroying the First Horse Cavalry Army. On August 3 the First Horse Cavalry Army was forced to abandon Radziwittowka and Brody and go over to the defensive. The Polish forces were unable to develop a further offensive because on August 2 the forces of the Soviet Western Front took Brest, and on August 4 the main Polish command began to divert the Second Army and some of the forces of the Sixth Army for transfer to the Lublin and Warsaw regions.

Since the initial plan of action was changed in July and by the end of the month the Western and Southwestern fronts were advancing in diverging directions, a gap formed between them and cooperation was disrupted. On August 13 the commander in chief (S. S. Kamenev) ordered the Southwestern Front to halt its attack on L’vov and transfer the Twelfth and First Horse Cavalry armies to the Western Front for use in the decisive battle in the Warsaw region. But, in conformance with an order by the command of the Southwestern Front given on August 12, on the morning of August 13 the First Horse Cavalry Army had al-ready renewed its attack, and after stubborn fighting occupied Brody. On August 15 it also took Busk, but on the Bug River it met strong enemy resistance and again became involved in protracted fighting. Only on August 20 was it able to begin withdrawing forces from the battle, and thus it did not take L’vov.

The reasons for the failure of the First Horse Cavalry Army were that it was weakened by the fighting for Brody and the terrain and strongly fortified L’vov fortress region were unfavorable for cavalry actions. Because the First Horse Cavalry Army was detained at L’vov, it was not possible for it to give timely assistance to the Western Front, which had a negative effect on the outcome of the battle of Warsaw of 1920.


Istoriia grazhdanskoi Voiny v SSSR, 1917-1922 gg., vol. 5. Moscow, 1960.
Grazhdanskaia voina 1918-1921, vol 3. Moscow, 1930.
Kuz’min, N. F. Krushenie poslednego pokhoda Antanty. Moscow, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.