The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Fight for Petrograd


Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

* * *

Down to October 21 Yudenich was advancing, meeting only feeble resistance. On October 21 the Seventh Army consolidated itself on the Pulkovo line and repulsed the enemy. Yudenich’s advance was halted. On October 22 the Red Army went over to the offensive. The White Guards’ resistance proved very stubborn. During October 21 and 22, when Yudenich’s offensive was at a standstill, he managed to bring up reserves, and thereby to strengthen his ranks. The fighting became intense.

By the evening of October 23 we had completely conquered Dyetskoye Syelo and Pavlovsk. This was a serious success. We had not only halted the enemy’s offensive but had also struck him a very heavy blow.

Our units have been regenerated. The apparatus of communication and administration is functioning without interruptions or hold-ups. Thanks to the efforts of the best workers of Petrograd, supply has been properly organised. Units that had been taken unawares by Yudenich’s offensive and embittered by a series of defeats are now rivalling each other in self-sacrifice and heroism.

The first crack has appeared in the enemy’s ranks. In the past period hardly any prisoners were taken, and the soldiers coming over to us could be counted in single figures. The number of deserters from the enemy and of prisoners taken by us has now suddenly increased. They are arriving in dozens, and soon they will start to arrive in their hundreds and thousands.

Our success is great. But we are still far from having finished our task. We have to smash Yudenich, to wipe him off the face of the earth, and thereby to ensure the security of Petrograd once and for all. So far we have dealt the White bands only the first blow.

The danger hanging over Petrograd has been pushed back, but it has not disappeared. The enemy is only two days’ march from Petrograd. Work on the fortification of the city must therefore proceed at full blast. No less energy must be devoted to the work of keeping the field army up to strength and providing it with horses and all the supplies that it needs.

It would be unforgivable if our first success were to be the cause of thoughtless complacency. On the contrary, it must be the signal for a fresh effort. The enemy has been weakened but not smashed. We have driven him from an important position. He must now be pursued untiringly. All forces and resources for an offensive must now be brought into play: Yudenich’s bands must be allowed no rest, no time. The army’s apparatus must be improved, communications strengthened, discipline tightened. We must attack, pursue and beat, until the end, until complete victory is won. Then the first blow will soon be followed by the last.

October 23, 1919
En Route, No.100

return return

Last updated on: 23.12.2006