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Entries / Petrograd Defence of 1919

Petrograd Defence of 1919

Categories / Social Life

PETROGRAD DEFENCE OF 1919. Military operations aimed to protect Petrograd in May-December 1919, during the Civil War. The enemy had planned to seize the city with White Guards and Estonian troops under the command of General N.N. Yudenich, with Finnish troops striking from the north. Petrograd was defended by Western front troops consisting of the 7th Army (under the command of D.I. Nadezhny; from 22 July 1919 V.M. Gittis), the Estland Army (until 30 May), and the 15th Army, as well as the Baltic Fleet (under Commander of Naval Forces D.I. Zelenoy) and the Onega Military Flotilla (under the command of E.S. Pantserzhansky). Petrorgad Red Army forces outnumbered the enemy, but were inferior in terms of organization and technique. Furthermore, they were stretched out too thin along the front. On 24 April, the Finnish Olonets Volunteer Army occupied Olonets and reached Lodeinoe Pole. In early May, Soviet troops launched a counteroffensive, freeing Olonets on 6 May. In mid-May, the White Guards Northern Corps and the 1st Estonian Division, supported by British fleet ships, mounted an offensive in the direction of Narva, while Colonel S.N. Bulak-Balakhovich's detachment and the 2nd Estonian Division advanced in the direction of Gdov and Pskov. The enemy occupied Gdov, Yamburg, and Pskov; in late May, the Northern Corps reached Luga, Ropsha, and Gatchina; on 11-12 June, they approached the Krasnaya Gorka and Seraya Loshad forts, where an anti-Bolshevik rebellion broke out. According to instructions given by the Soviet of Workers and Peasants' Defence of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Committee of the Petrograd Defence, actions were taken to reinforce the units defending the city, and to strengthen the rear guard. Communists and Komsomol members were mobilized, the 7th Army was reinforced with workers, and fortifications were established both surrounding the city and within Petrograd itself. On 16 June, troops from the disbanded Estland Army put down a rebellion at the Krasnaya Gorka and Seraya Loshad forts. On 21 June, the 7th Army (under the command of A.K. Remezov; from 1 July, M.S. Matiyasevich), reinforced by units from the eastern front, launched a counterattack against the White Guards Northern Army (deployed from the Northern Corps on June 19; from July 1, the Northwestern Army, under the command of Major General A.P. Rodzyanko; from October 2, Yudenich; from November 28, Major General P.V. Glazenap) and, supported by Baltic Fleet ships, broke through the Northern Army's defence. On 5 August, Yamburg was set free. The 15th Army (under the command of A.I. Kork) occupied Pskov on 26 August. In late September - October 1919, the White Guards Northwestern Army and Estonian troops launched another offensive against Petrograd. During the latter half of October, they occupied Luga, Gatchina, Krasnoye Selo, Detskoye Selo, Pavlovsk, approaching Petrograd's perimeter around the Pulkovskiye Heights area. On 15 October, the Politburo (political bureau) of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) resolved to "Never surrender Petrograd!" Three lines of defence were erected in the city and at the approaches, which were protected by ships brought into the Neva. New forces were moved to Petrograd, and labour detachments were formed in its factories. V.I. Lenin, I. V. Stalin and L. D. Trotsky were ordered to travel Petrograd (in May and October, respectively) as emergency representatives. Soviet troops arrested the advance of the enemy during intense battles, achieving victory in late October - early November. In late November - early December, the remnants of the White Army was driven into Estonia and disarmed by the Estonian government. The Seventh All-Russian Congress of Soviets decided to award Petrograd with the Order of the Red Banner and a Revolutionary Red Banner of Honour.

References: Родзянко А. П. Воспоминания о Северо-Западной армии. Берлин, 1920; Пухов А. С. Петроград не сдавать!: Коммунисты во главе обороны Петрограда в 1919 г. М., 1960; Кулышев Ю. С. Разгром Юденича. Л., 1972; Юденич под Петроградом: Из белых мемуаров. Репр. воспр. изд. 1927 г. Л., 1991.

A. M. Kulegin.

Bulak-Balakhovich Stanislav Nikolaevich
Gittis Vladimir Mikhailovich
Glazenap P.V.
Kork Avgust Ivanovich
Lenin (real name Ulyanov) Vladimir Ilyich
Matiyasevich Mikhail Stepanovich, Archbishop
Nadezhny D.I .
Pantserzhansky Eduard Samoilovich
Remezov A.K.
Rodzyanko A.P.
Stalin (real name Dzhugashvili) Iosif Vissarionovich
Trotsky (real name Bronstein) Lev Davidovich
Yudenich Nikolay Nikolaevich
Zelenoy Alexander Pavlovich

Юденич под Петроградом: Из белых мемуаров. Репринт. воспр. изд. 1927 г. Л., 1991
Пухов А. С. Петроград не сдавать!: Коммунисты во главе обороны Петрограда в 1919 г. М., 1960
Кулышев Ю. С. Разгром Юденича. Л., 1972
Родзянко А. П. Воспоминания о Северо-Западной армии. Берлин, 1920

The subject Index
Baltic Fleet


Yudenich N.N. (1862-1933), commander, general of infantry

YUDENICH Nikolay Nikolaevich (1862-1933), military leader, Infantry General (1915). Graduated from the Alexandrovsky Military School (1881) and the Nikolaevskaya General Staff Academy (1887) in St. Petersburg