Military Wiki
Donbass Operation of 1919
Part of the Southern Front of the Russian Civil War
Репродукція картини «Звільнення Донбасу».jpg
Reproduction of Vasil Vasilovich Zhuravlov's painting "Zvilnennya Donbassu" from 1919
DateDecember 18–31, 1919
LocationDonbass, Eastern Ukraine
Result Red Army victory
Russia Armed Forces of South Russia Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Russian SFSR
Commanders and leaders
Russia Sergei Ulagay Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Grigori Sokolnikov
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Anatoliy Gekker
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Semyon Budyonny
Units involved

Don White Army.svg Don Army

Russia Volunteer Army

Southern Front

unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
8,000 men,
24 guns, 170 machine guns, 5 armored trains
3,000 men

The Donbass Operation of 1919 was a military campaign of the Russian Civil War between December 18–31, 1919, in which the Southern Front of the Red Army conquered the Donbass region from the Volunteer Army and part of the Don Army.


After the successful Khopyor–Don Operation (November 20-December 8, 1919), the troops of the Red Army on December 16, 1919, entered the Kupyansk-Svatove-Bilolutsk area. In order to prevent the Red Army to cross the Donets River, the White Guard command began to concentrate a strong force in the area where the crossing was thought to take place. The force consisted of

  • the 4th Don Division (General Pavlov),
  • the 2nd Kuban Division (General Segei Ulagay)
  • the 3rd Kuban Division
  • the Cavalry Corps of General Andrei Shkuro,
  • the 3rd Cavalry Division of General Chesnokov.

The operation

Location of the Donets River

The Red Army plan of attack was as follows. The main attack to this group was to be conducted by the 1st Cavalry Army under command of Semen Budyonniy, from the direction of Popasna Station, Debaltsevo and Ilovaisk. An other part of the Red Army forces was to advance on Taganrog, thus not only to defeat the Volunteer Army, but also to prevent its withdrawal to the Don Region. Secondary strikes were to be executed by the 13th Army (commander A.Gekker) in the direction of the cities of Lyov and Yuzovka (now Donetsk) and by the 8th Army (commander G.Sokolnikov) towards Lugansk.

On December 18, the Red Army launched its offensive: 1st Cavalry Army cross the Donets River in the night of December 23. The White Guard command concentrated a new group in area of Bakhmut - Popasna, with the task of pushing the 1st Cavalry Army back over the Donets River and then going on the defensive. However, on December 25, the 1st Cavalry army again attacked. On December 27, the Red Army troops captured Lugansk, Bakhmut on the 28th, Debaltsevo on the 29th, and Gorlovka, where the White Guards tried in vain to hold their ground, on the 30th.


On January 1, 1920, the White Guards were also chased out of Ilovaisk, Amvrosiivka, Rovenky and Diakovo.
Having suffered serious losses (3,000 killed and 5,000 prisoners), the White Guard troops gradually retreated to the Crimea and, partly, to Rostov-on-Don.


  • Link O. Y. Shchus. Donbass operation // Encyclopedia of the history of Ukraine: T. 2: GD / Redcorn: VA Smoly (head) and others. National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Institute of History of Ukraine. - K .: In "Naukova Dumka", 2004 - 688 pp .

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).