Northern Tavrida

Northern Tavrida

 

(also Tavria, Taurida), an area in the southern European USSR, bounded in the west by the lower Dnieper River and in the east by a hypothetical line between Aleksandrovsk (now Zaporozh’e) and Berdiansk; in the south it is separated from the Crimean Peninsula by the Perekop Isthmus.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 1920, during the Civil War of 1918–20, Northern Tavrida was the scene of an offensive operation by the forces of the Southern Front against the forces of the White Guards. Between June and early August 1920 the White Guard forces of General P. I. Wrangel captured Northern Tavrida in the course of two offensives originating in the Crimea. The main forces of the Red Army had been diverted to the Soviet-Polish front in the summer of 1920 and thus could not repulse the White Guard forces. On Sept. 21, 1920, the Southern Front was created, with the purpose of destroying Wrangel’s army. It was under the command of M. V. Frunze and consisted of the Sixth, Fourth, and Thirteenth armies and the First and Second Cavalry armies, with about 100,000 bayonets, more than 33,000 sabers, more than 2,660 machine guns, and about 530 field guns. Moreover, about 10,000 communists were sent to reinforce the front. The White Guard army had 27,000 bayonets, 15,000 sabers, more than 1,380 machine guns, 213 field guns, and naval support. Wrangel planned to use part of his forces to defend his positions at Melitopol’ and strike with his cavalry, concentrated in the Mikhailovka and Serogozy areas, to defeat the Soviet forces in the west and northwest.

From October 28 to October 30, the Sixth, Fourth, and Thirteenth armies smashed the Whites’ covering forces at the Kakhovka bridgehead and in the area of Melitopol’. However, they were unable to carry out Frunze’s plan to surround Wrangel’s forces in Northern Tavrida. The Fourth and Thirteenth armies were helped up in the Melitopol’ area; the Second Cavalry Army, delayed south of Nikopol’ by the counterattacks of the Don cavalry, was unable to reach the Serogozy area rapidly; and the First Horse Cavalry Army, which had broken through to the enemy rear, scattered its forces between the Serogozy area and Genichesk. As a result, Wrangel’s main forces were able, despite heavy losses, to break through into the Crimea via the Genichesk and Chongar crossings. Soviet forces captured all the rear forces and facilities of Wrangel’s army, taking more than 20,000 prisoners, more than 100 field guns, nearly all the armored vehicles, and a large amount of grain. The White Guards, once in the Crimea, were able to mount a defense at fortifications at Perekop and Chongar and along the southern bank of the Sivash. Soviet forces set out to prepare for the Pere-kop-Chongar operation of 1920.

A. V. GOLUBEV

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