Perekop-Chongar Operation of 1920

Perekop-Chongar Operation of 1920


combat actions during the Civil War of 1918–20 by troops of the Southern Front, commanded by M. V. Frunze, from November 7 to 17, against the White Guard troops of General P. N. Wrangel. The objectives of the operation were to break through fortifications on the Perekop Isthmus and the Sivash and liberate the Crimea.

In October 1920 the remnants of the White Guard troops that had been routed in Northern Tavria (20,000–25,000 infantry and cavalry and about 200 guns) occupied fortifications on the Perekop Isthmus and at the crossings of the Sivash. The first line of defense on the Perekop ran along the Turkish Wall (length up to 11 km, height 10 m, depth of moat 10 m), with three lines of barbed wire entanglements of three to five pickets in front of the moat. The second line of defense was the strongly fortified Ishun’ position. There were also strong fortifications at the Chongar crossings and lesser ones on the Litovskii Peninsula and the Arabat Spit.

At first M. V. Frunze planned to deliver the main strike along the Chongar axis with the forces of the Fourth Army, commanded by V. S. Lazarevich; the First Horse Cavalry Army, commanded by S. M. Budennyi; and the Third Horse Cavalry Corps, commanded by N. D. Kashirin. But the impossibility of support from the sea by the Azov Flotilla forced him to switch the main strike to the isthmus axis using the forces of the Sixth Army, commanded by A. I. Kork, and the First and Second horse cavalry armies, commanded by F. K. Mironov. The Fourth Army and the Third Horse Cavalry Corps delivered a secondary strike against Chongar.

On the evening of Nov. 7, 1920, the 15th and 52nd rifle divisions began crossing the Sivash under difficult weather conditions, and on November 8 they took the Litovskii Peninsula. On November 9, after repeated attacks, V. K. Bliukher’s 51st Rifle Division took the Turkish Wall. From November 9 to 11 the Sixth Army, committing the Latvian Rifle Division to action, broke through the enemy defense in the Ishun’ region. At the same time the 30th Rifle Division made the Chongar and Sivash crossings and captured the fortified area near the Taganash railroad station, while the 9th Rifle Division, having crossed the Genichesk Strait, prepared to invade the Crimea along the Arabat Spit from the mouth of the Salgir River. The Whites’ situation had become hopeless.

On November 11, acting on behalf of the Soviet government, M. V. Frunze sent a surrender proposal to General Wrangel, guaranteeing amnesty to all personnel of the White Army. But Wrangel concealed the proposal from his troops, and during the night of November 11 he issued an order to retreat to the ports and evacuate. The White Guard troops who retreated hurriedly were able to put one to two days’ march between them and the Soviet troops. With the assistance of French ships, up to 80,000 soldiers, officers, and civilian refugees were evacuated to Turkey. Sevastopol’ and Feodosiia were liberated without a battle on November 15, Kerch’ on November 16, and Yalta on November 17.

The Perekop-Chongar operation of 1920, which was conducted under very difficult conditions, demanded great exertion and heroism from the troops and great skill in command. V. I. Lenin called it “one of the most brilliant pages in the history of the Red Army” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42, p. 130). As a result of the liberation of the Crimea, the last large organized front of the Civil War was eliminated.


Perekop i Chongar: Sb. statei i materialov. Moscow, 1933.
Golubev, A. Razgrom Vrangelia. Moscow, 1932.
(Lithograph.) Korotkov, I. S. Razgrom Vrangelia. Moscow, 1955.